I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
The famous poem Invictus captures beautifully the essence of what it means to be a Self-Leader. It is the ability to make things happen without the need of anyone else to scream down your neck. The brilliant self-leader is not merely content to make things happen—they make things happen with excellence. Regardless of whether or not there is a boss or manager around, they are giving it 100%. They do not blame others nor make excuses. Does this sound like the kind of person you would like to be? Here are 10 ways you can become a brilliant self-leader.Advertising
1. Exercise self-discipline.
Guard yourself against procrastination and laziness. Workout your willpower each day through finding a way to say “No” to yourself. Set some chocolate on your desk but refrain from eating it. Practice completing little tasks each day such as cleaning your desk, or making your bed. Strive to keep you car tidy. Discipline in one area will lead to discipline in other areas.
2. Stick to a schedule.
Write out your daily goals every morning and work through getting them done. If you do not get every task done, put them on top of tomorrow’s list. A great self-leader is an organized self-leader. Rather than letting the day dictate what you do, take charge and be the dictator of the day.Advertising
3. Track your progress.
Keep a journal of all your little accomplishments and steps that you need to take in order to get to your goal. More importantly, you need to celebrate all your little wins. Give yourself a high-five, and pour yourself a glass of red wine. The self-leader works hard, but also plays hard.
4. You are what you eat.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. The self-leader takes good care of their health because they know that a healthy brain and clear mind is crucial for navigating through making the right decisions. Anyone can gather information, knowledge, and facts, but the brilliant self leader knows how to put it all into practice.Advertising
5. Only be with the best.
Jim Rohn gave the incredible insight, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Take a look at your inner circle of friends. Are they also brilliant self-leaders? You need to surround yourself with people whom you can learn from and be encouraged by. As iron sharpens iron, your network of friends is a great resource for brain picking. That is, if you have a great group.
6. Forgive and forget.
Even though the brilliant self-leader is constantly pushing themselves—always setting the bar higher and expecting nothing but the best—they also know how to handle obstacles and failures. To become a better self-leader, you need to change the way you look at failure. Rather than treating failure like a tomb-stone, see it as a stepping stone. Everything is a learning experience.Advertising
7. Know your weaknesses.
This will require honesty with yourself. Even more helpful is asking some friends to be honest with you and let you know what areas you are weak in. You need to see the enemy in order to beat the enemy. Once you identify these weak areas, work on improving them. A great self-leader is always looking for ways to improve themselves. Be content enough to be satisfied and happy, but not too content that you stop growing.
8. Be a mentor.
The best way to learn is to teach. It may sound paradoxical, but the more you are able to vocalize and communicate what it is that you know and pass that onto someone else, the better grasp and understanding you will also come to have.
9. Focus on your game.
It is very easy to get distracted and become envious of what other people are doing or achieving. The brilliant self-leader does not compare their life with others. They know that they have been created unique with their own set of skills and talents. They focus on refining and sharpening their own tools.
Self-awareness is key for becoming a brilliant self-leader. You need to be able to access your internal dialogue and observe the thoughts that are running through your mind. Take some time out each day and sit in stillness and silence. Take in long deep breaths and be an observer to them. When random thoughts come into you mind, first acknowledge them, label them, but then cast them aside and return to your breathing.
Last Updated on September 17, 2020
5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block
There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.
A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.
Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.
Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.
Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.
1. Break Your Project Down
A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?
As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?
A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:
Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.
When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.
Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People
Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.
2. Change Up Your Scenery
Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.
Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?
Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.
During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.
You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.
The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.
3. Do an Unrelated Activity
When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.
Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.
In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.
If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.
The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.
4. Be Physical
Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.
While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.
Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.
On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.
5. Don’t Force It
It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.
“I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.
If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.
When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).
More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block
- How to Be Creative When You’ve Hit a Creative Block
- Not Good At Creativity? You Will Be After Reading This.
- 12 Ways to Prevent Your Mood From Killing Your Productivity At Work
Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com
|||^||99U: 7 Types of Creative Block (and What to Do About Them)|
|||^||Entrepreneur: 7 Unexpected Ways to Get Around Mental Blocks|
|||^||The American Genius: Study: organized desks dramatically improve productivity, focus|
|||^||Inc: The Surprising Secret to Breaking Through a Mental Block, According to Science|
|||^||Writer’s Digest: 7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block|
|||^||Inc: The Surprising Secret to Breaking Through a Mental Block, According to Science|
|||^||Nature Neuroscience: Stress weakens prefrontal networks: molecular insults to higher cognition|
|||^||Brain Pickings: Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth|