Lead Yourself First

Guest post by Susan Caba The ancient Greeks said it first: “Know Thyself.”  That timeless piece of advice was inscribed on the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi, and it’s been the basis of philosophical, psychological and self-help theories ever since. Most great leaders know themselves--their strengths, weaknesses and motivations--very well. Their self-awareness contributes to their effectiveness as leaders. Why? Because in order to lead others, you must be able to lead yourself. Self-leadership only comes with self-knowledge. It gives you insight into how others see and respond to you; it confers the ability to interact more successfully with others. This is as true for a relationship between two people as it is for the CEOs of enormous organizations. 4 Ingredients There are four basic ingredients in everyone’s personality or behavioral style. All four are present in every person, to different degrees. Just as the flavor and texture of a particular bread depends on its ratio of ingredients, spices and baking time, an individual’s personality depends on the varying ratios of all four traits. Nobody is all one style or another; no particular mix is better than the myriad … [Read more...]

Maya Angelou: A phenomenal woman…

Leaves a legacy and many lessons By Susan Caba Maya Angelou, poet, author and phenomenal woman, died earlier this week. I realized, when I heard the news,  that I really knew very little about her. I had read only her best-known book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” So, with her distinctive voice echoing through the house in tributes to her passing, I Googled the poems I was hearing for the first time on the radio. What an eye-opener they were, especially “Phenomenal Woman.” That poem should be given to every girl on her 12th birthday, again when she graduates from high school and college, and thereafter pasted next to her bathroom mirror. The poem so courageously—no, I mean brazenly—celebrates attributes that, as women, make us powerful and in which we should be proud. Pretty women wonder where my secret lies… I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Now, before you complain that Ms Angelou is referring to, and I’m lauding, the use of physical feminine charms as the source of our power, she’s not and neither am I. I read the … [Read more...]

Showing Up Hungry?

I had an uncomfortable experience recently when, through the grapevine, I learned that a professional contact had mentioned to mutual colleagues that I didn’t seem to be “hungry enough.” As sometimes happens (more often than I’d like) I reacted out of ego, “What? I show up hungry. I’m driven, I’m focused, I’m the hardest worker you’ll ever meet -- blah blah blah – how on earth could he think I’m not hungry?” My self-talk initially was pretty silly. I ran through a litany of all the things I’ve done to show up in the world hungry, like earning a law degree, learning a language other than English... Whoa. Where did this all come from? How much time am I going to waste on this? Not a second more, was the choice I made. Yet, this did cause me to reflect upon how more and more women are approaching the way they show up in the world. Women Stepping Off the Ladder As one of the millions of American women who benefitted from the U.S. Women’s Movement, I grew up understanding that doors would equitably open if we got ourselves educated, worked really, really hard, and competed like mad in this man’s world. Truly, I bought into a bill of goods that said showing up “hungry” and … [Read more...]

Spring Is the Perfect Time for Renewal, Self-Reflection

STOP.  PUT. YOUR.  PHONE. DOWN. I’m going out on a limb. I just googled leadership books and in .28 seconds 762,000,000 results popped up. I’ll bet you that every one of those books includes “Know Thyself” as the cornerstone to leading, that self-awareness and self-reflection are the keys to well-being and success. If you find one that doesn’t talk about knowing yourself, write me and I’ll wear a clown’s nose for a full day in public – I swear – I’ll take and post pictures to prove it. Whether you’re leading your busy life, leading a company, a classroom, a team, your kids’ schedules and on and on,  when is the last time you stopped, breathed and really thought about YOU? About what makes you tick? Spring Cleaning It seems we’re addicted to what’s next. We’ve let an endless, chaotic intake of information and activity cover up self-awareness about who we really are, how we’re thinking, feeling, and are being in the world. Today, we're having a blizzard here in St. Louis yet my thoughts are all about spring. Renewal. Growth. New energy. New insights. Getting myself ready for new life! With things shut down, I'm getting the gift of time. I'm cleaning out the mental … [Read more...]

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