Remember in the story of Sleeping Beauty how the wicked stepmother stood in front of the mirror every morning and night, asking Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is fairest of them all?
And of course the mirror always replied Snow White.
For the rest of us, taking a hard look in the mirror means standing in front of our honest selves and taking some daily time for introspection.
As leaders we are always answering to others, but we must answer to ourselves first.
Make it a ritual to take some time to look hard in the mirror and see if you like the reflection.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you proud?
Are you proud of who you see because you’re living the kind of life that reflects who you really are, or are you hiding from our own image because you don’t know how to project what’s inside you?
Are you self-aware?
Do you know what you want? Have you put effort into figuring out how to get it? Made a plan and worked toward it?
Are you managing?
Are you managing your emotions and the circumstances that come at you daily? Are you humble enough to admit that you don’t always have the solutions and that you sometimes need help? Remember, managing doesn’t mean you have to manage on your own.
Are you responsible?
Are you responsible for your flaws and accountable for your strengths? Life is a mix of good and bad, but the best you can do is be responsible for everything that happens to you so you can be accountable to yourself.
Are you struggling?
Are you struggling in your circumstances or stuck in your patterns? If so, what are you doing to stop the struggle? Are you seeking help if you need it? Struggle is a sign that things have to change. Will you take the leap?
Are you grateful?
Are you truly thankful for the things you have? Do you spend time acknowledging the small things while working toward what you think will fulfill you, while also being fulfilled in the present?
As you answer, be objective and don’t judge—try to think only in terms of whether your actions, thoughts, and speech reflect your character and represent who you really are.
You probably have someone to hold you accountable for your abilities to perform, to produce, to show results. But who is holding you accountable within yourself?
When the life you lead reflects your inward self, you can then truly lead others.
So after taking a long hard look in the mirror ask yourself: Am I as I want to be?
Lead From Within: Reflect and decide whether or not you are the best example of what you would like to reflect for those who call you their leader.
[box]Lolly Daskal is the president and founder of Lead From Within a consulting firm specializing in executive coaching and customized leadership programs Connect with Lolly Daskal[/box]
© 2014 Lolly Daskal. All rights reserved.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.