Make Time for Personal and Leadership Development

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Personal and Leadership Development Creates a Solid Sense of Identity

Author and life coach Martha Beck once said “the way we do anything is the way we do everything.” This quote has become a mantra among my team at ADVISA. It rings especially true in times of stress and uncertainty.

The way we show up today is the way we naturally respond to most things in our world—just elevated.

Take the pandemic. A friend of mine said it perfectly, “I’ve never been more ‘me’ than I have been since March.” She then went on to describe that her “default” mode, while usually productive, was suddenly causing tension and disagreements at home because of the changing circumstances around her.

This is why fundamental personal and leadership development is so important. It supports us in times of feast and in times of famine. It gives us grounding in who we are and how to leverage our natural gifts as well as develop our areas of weakness. Most importantly, it’s our guiding light to how we want to be with the “anything” in our lives—and will naturally fall into place for the “everything.”

The foundational model of leadership development at ADVISA is also the one that gives structure to our Emerging Leader Series, which specifically serves people who are early in their career and looking to take on more challenge. It’s called the Connection Circle, and it’s based on the idea that leadership starts inside and springs outward from a solid sense of oneself.


Knowing what you need, your natural strengths, and your natural blind spots is the starting point to any type of growth. I think of it as my home address. It’s where I begin for any journey I may want to go on. I can get anywhere, but knowing where I’m starting from helps me determine how far I will go.

In times of stress, trouble, and uncertainty—like our current world—many of us run “home” to our most natural selves. We tend to really lean into our strengths and become extra blind about our blind spots. A healthy dose of self-awareness can remind us, in these times, how far from home we must travel.

Perhaps the healthiest dose of self-awareness I’ve been served amidst the pandemic is that, while being empathetic is generally a strength of mine, it’s a muscle I’ve been overworking to my own detriment. My husband’s fatigue and frustration when he returns home from his work at an essential business becomes my own. The anguish and uncertainty I hear about from my friends in the hardest-hit localities become my own worries. My stress and anxiety multiply with every other person’s account that I hear or read. And, as I am sure you know, stress and anxiety are no friends to productivity.


Self-awareness is a great springboard to self-management. The better you know yourself, the more aware you are of how you show up (and how you may be perceived by others). The more aware you are, the better you can manage the behaviors that don’t always serve you well. I think of this as GPS: it shows you the distance between home and your final destination, and gives you suggestions on how to get there!

The two big parts of self-management are managing your energy and owning your challenges. Both of these are mental processes that involve taking an honest look at your circumstances and finding positive, action-oriented ways to keep moving forward.

So, I’m stressed and anxious. What can I do about it? What gives me energy that I can seek more of? Which of my challenges can I control, and how? By asking myself the right questions, I find myself actually able to move past the emotions and act.

Engaging Others

The better you can self-manage, the more effectively you’ll be able to communicate with, influence, and involve others.

I know I’m not a great communicator when I’m stressed and anxious. But through good self-management, I’m able to provide myself more energy and more direction. Then, my battery is charged enough to be intentional about the way I engage with other people, exert my influence, and communicate effectively.

Achieving Results

The best results are won by a team that works well together. And a team that works together well is made up of self-aware individuals who leverage their strengths, develop where they need to, and engage with each other so their strengths complement each other. For some of us right now, the result we’re going for is simply to survive. For others, it’s navigating the troubled waters our society currently occupies while continuing to push forward at work. No matter the result we are pushing for, though, it starts by looking in the mirror.

By focusing on personal and leadership development simultaneously, emerging leaders can obtain crucial guidance on how to navigate challenges.

The Emerging Leader Series is a five-month virtual learning experience designed to walk early-career leaders through the fundamental practices of self-awareness, self-management, engaging others, and achieving results. Registration for our June cohort is open. Visit to learn more and register today.


To read more on leadership development and self-awareness, check out this recent blog post by Leadership Consultant Mandy Haskett.

And, don’t miss “Why Empathy Might Be Your Most Powerful Tool as a Leader Right Now” by Leadership Consultant and Certified EQ Coach Kye Hawkins.