Exploring Self-leadership Through The Life of Jesus

Self-leadership has become a modern buzz word. Andrea Graham shares insights on what we can learn from this unique form of leadership from the life of Jesus

In all the fast-paced rhythms of modern life, the concept of self-leadership often commands attention. We’re constantly bombarded with advice on how to lead ourselves better, how to achieve our goals, and how to live authentically. This is good, however, when all is said and done, there’s one timeless figure whose example speaks volumes about self-leadership – Jesus Christ.

I vividly recall the beginnings of my spiritual journey some 40 years ago, a time when I sought solace in my relationship with God, especially during moments of turmoil that demanded swift action. In those challenging times, I often found myself grappling with the question, “What would Jesus do?” Admittedly, the answer wasn’t always what I wanted to hear. There were instances when my ego yearned for validation, and my emotions threatened to overshadow reason. Yet, deep down, I understood that following Jesus’ example meant embracing a higher standard – one that required mastery over my impulses and emotions, rather than allowing them to dictate my actions.

At the heart of Jesus’ life lies a deep understanding of self-leadership, rooted in love, compassion, authenticity and wisdom. His life guides us towards a deeper understanding of ourselves and our capacity for growth. So, let’s explore some of the principles of self-leadership that Jesus practised and what we can learn from them.

Clarity of Purpose: From the onset of His ministry, Jesus possessed unwavering clarity of purpose. He knew His mission and He pursued it with unswerving commitment. Jesus knew without doubt who He was; He knew that God had given everything into His hands and that He had come from God (John 13:3). We as individuals and organisations can learn from Jesus’ example by clarifying and staying in touch with our own purpose and aligning our actions with our deepest values and aspirations. When we have a clear sense of purpose, we’re better equipped to navigate life’s challenges and to stay focused on what truly matters.

Self-Reflection and Spiritual Practice: Jesus, a model of self-leadership, prioritised solitude for prayer (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:13, John 6:15), gaining clarity and resilience. Planned solitude enhances self-awareness, which is crucial for success. Studies show that only 10–15% possess true self-awareness, a key predictor of success. Like Jesus, individuals benefit from regular self-reflection, prayer, and meditation, deepening their connection to inner wisdom and to God.

Authenticity and Integrity: Throughout His life, Jesus embodied authenticity and integrity. He spoke truthfully, acted with integrity, and remained true to His principles, even in the face of adversity. He spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:9) and He hung out with purpose at the tax collector’s house. Jesus’ actions were not influenced by the opinions, filters or narratives of others. He lived from His genuine, authentic self and acted from His own authority. Individuals can learn from Jesus’ example by cultivating veracity in their words and actions, and aligning their behaviour with their core values, like Jesus did. This can increase self-efficacy and inspire trust and confidence in those they lead.

Courage and Resilience: Jesus faced numerous challenges and trials throughout His earthly life. Despite the personal sacrifices and risks involved, Jesus remained steadfast in His commitment to His mission, inspiring countless followers to rise up and embrace their own courage and resilience. We can draw inspiration from Jesus and cultivate courageous self-leadership by stepping out of our comfort zones, developing inner strength, maintaining a positive outlook in times of difficulty, and taking bold and decisive action in pursuit of our vision, even when confronted by uncertainty and adversity.

Inclusivity and Diversity: Jesus’ ministry was characterised by compassionate service to others. He welcomed individuals from diverse backgrounds into His circle, transcending social barriers and embracing diversity. He dined with the unpopular, healed the sick, and extended compassion – particularly to the marginalised. We can consciously mirror Jesus’ inclusivity by embracing diversity and developing environments where every individual feels valued, respected and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation: Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness and reconciliation offer profound insights into the transformative power of compassion and grace. He forgave those who wronged Him and extended a hand of reconciliation to all. Individuals can practise forgiveness and reconciliation by letting go of resentments, healing past wounds, and embracing a spirit of compassion towards themselves and others. Forgiveness frees us from the burdens of the past and opens the door to healing and reconciliation in our relationships.

As we reflect on Jesus’ life, may we be inspired to embrace our own journey of authentic self-leadership, guided by the principles of love, compassion and service to others. In doing so, we can create a world where authenticity, empathy and grace abound, transforming lives and communities for the better.

Andrea Graham is an Authentic Self-Leadership trainer and coach, and founder of Authentic Woman. Visit www.authenticwoman.co.uk

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