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The Key to Less Stress Success: Self-Aware Leadership

By George Pitagorsky
December 13, 2023

Self-awareness is the platform for responsiveness as opposed to reactivity. Responsiveness promotes optimal performance and success. Stress is bodily or mental tension which, when in excess, gets in the way of optimal performance and success.

Coming in March 2024 at the IIL Leadership & Innovation Conference I will be presenting on self-aware leadership and how it influences success in any role. The presentation, The Key to Less Stress Success: Self-Aware Leadership homes in on how to cultivate self-awareness and how it influences the way you experience and manage stress to enhance performance and cultivate wellness.

Self-awareness is being aware of the drivers of behavior, becoming sensitive to feelings and relationships. It is the foundation for replacing reactivity with responsiveness. It makes the best use of the intellect without being ruled by it. It enables stress management and wellness.

Self-awareness requires the courage and perseverance of a Peaceful Warrior applying powerful concepts and techniques. The self-aware leader practices formal and informal mindfulness, concentration, body-awareness, and breathing exercises to cultivate the calm that enables effective action.

The exercises support a mindset founded on a systems and process view and the realization that accepting and letting go into flow is the best thing anyone can do in any situation. That’s a bold statement. But when we think about it, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “For, after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”  Then you can decide whether to stay in or go out, with or without an umbrella.

The idea is that you cannot change the past or the present moment, you cannot stop the flow, the process, and you can influence the future by what you think, say, and do. However, you cannot guarantee the outcome – you are not in control.

Setting a Tone

As a leader you set a tone. Is it a tone of acceptance and letting go, open to performing as skillfully as possible? Or is it a tone that rings of irrational clinging to unfounded expectations and beliefs, reacting to mental models and biases that get in the way of optimal personal, team and organizational performance? Is it a tone that resonates with the team to promote collaboration and motivate optimal performance without unnecessary stress?

Accept and let go. It sounds so simple, and it is. Though it is not so easy. It requires effort and the courage to face and question everything, including your most cherished beliefs.

Because we don’t need any more unnecessary stress, we want to make the effort effortless. That is what letting go into Flow is about. In Flow there is effortless effort, perfect performance with the performer observing the performance. By cultivating mindfulness and concentration it becomes natural to allow skills, experience, and intelligence to do their work. Think about the tight rope walker or ballet dancer during a performance. Are they thinking about where their feet are or are they letting their skill emerge as dynamic balance? Think about how creativity and innovation work, how when you stop “thinking,” answers to the most pressing issues appear.

Paradoxically, it takes effort to make your performance effortless and with less stress. You can take on the work to reduce or eliminate unnecessary psychological stress and achieve success by cultivating self-awareness. Come to the conference and hear how to do it.

Check out my latest book, The Peaceful Warrior’s Path: Optimal Wellness through Self-Aware Living https://a.co/d/97LpYib. It is a guide to free yourself from unnecessary stress, reactive emotions, obsessive thinking, and worry so you can live as best as you can.

Start a dialog with me to integrate mindfulness, and self-awareness into your life, eliminate unnecessary stress and cultivate optimal wellness and the performance it brings. George@self-awareliving.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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