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Am I really me?? – Self Leadership


- Feb 20th 2021



Close to four decades in corporate life,  I have seen a lot of effort in ‘Behavioral Change’. This is very one dimensional and I knew I had to go deeper than Behavior to really start making lasting Behavioral Change. Below is a snapshot of my research and my reality.
“Leadership is a choice, not a position” – Dr. Stephen Covey
Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa, was widely respected as the man who brought together a divided country – peacefully. Early in his life, he was an activist and co-founded the militant ‘Umkhonto we Sizwe’ – the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC). In 1961, he led a sabotage campaign against the South African government, was arrested, and spent 27 years in prison.
How did this man who had no communication, could not give any speeches to the world outside for 27 years, create such massive change and be the leader to millions of South Africans – even whilst in prison??? How did this man – a militant – come to win the Nobel Prize for Peace???
It begins with exploring the ‘I’ – Self Leadership.
Self-Leadership stems from within and is very prevalent in children. When children explore leadership, they encounter conditioning by ‘authority’. This authority  ‘brain-washes’ them as they keep growing up. Parents, siblings, teachers, friends etc., are the influencers and it is done with ‘good intent’, based on their own perceptions and frame of reference. Their perceptions are instilled during their growing years, conditioning their behavior – and the cycle continues.
When you join a team, you are taught and learn a great deal about teamwork and culture. What is the minimum number of people to form a team? The answer is ‘two’ right?
However, before there is a team there are two ‘I’s – two very different individuals – brought together to create a team. The team’s success is absolutely dependent on the ‘I’s having the beliefs and behaviors needed to collaborate effectively – It’s that simple.
Self-Leadership builds the beliefs and behaviors in the ‘I’ that builds an effective team.
Self-Leadership prioritizes the ‘I’ first – Self-Care.
When you fly on any commercial flight and the safety demo is done prior to take off, one of the key instructions on using the oxygen mask in an emergency is to put it on first prior to attending to children – a real world example of looking after ‘I’ first in order to be able to care for anyone else.
Self-Leadership defines your identity… The ‘I’ in you.
At birth, human beings are given a NAME, a RELIGION, a NATIONALITY, and a RACE … an identity not chosen by us. We spend the rest of our lives defending this ARTIFICIAL IDENTITY. As we grow up, the ecosystem we are brought up in continues to influence and add to this ‘artificial’ identity. This shapes our belief system which influences our behaviors that lead to all the actions we take, resulting in our achievements.
ACTIONS cause the RESULTS we get – Kurek Ashley, How would love respond
Do you see where this is going? How it works? Are you taking the same actions over and over and expecting a different result?
I am’ is your identity and is yours to choose. You have a choice to be whoever you want to be. To achieve lasting change; to get the results you desire in your life – dig deep into your soul and re-create your identity to be your very own. It is your journey … Make your own Destiny.
“I am the Master of my Fate … I am the Captain of my Soul”William Earnest Henley, Invictus

About The Author

Devapriya Perera has close to 40 years of demonstrated excellence in leadership development of executives and teams. He has held key director level positions in small to medium-sized companies prior to graduating into his role as Senior Vice President of a large MNC across borders with responsibility for 2500 plus people at any given time. His unique perspective comes from people centric leadership. Deva applies his experience in leading large teams, motivation, and the power of ‘I’ when developing leaders for success in various self-developmental arenas, including emotional intelligence, communication, leadership, relationship management and holistic living. Deva’s trademark coaching style is elevating Senior Executives to become authentic leaders who play to their natural strengths.
Program Attended:                                        ICF Coach Certification Program Level 1
Reason for taking this program:                  To obtain ICF certification in Coaching
What worked for me:                                    The ‘Open Frame’ experiential learning
What benefits did I get:                                The power to unlearn and re-learn thereby a huge amount of self-development in all areas of my life

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