The Power of Introspective Gains

You know when you take a picture and you’re smiling but anxious?

You want to be courageous, more authentic, no hold back! But it feels scary.

Here I am – Tuesday, October 18, 2022 – in that anxious feeling about to lead a course called Stress Management: Strategic Leadership Skills for 30 senior leaders of a national firm at The Wharton School for Continuing Executive Education. The irony is not lost on me. Plus my presentation is after the lunch break; the digest-sluggish time.

I want to do an excellent job and cut to the chase due to the current U.S. mental, and emotional health crisis and emergency. My intention is to go all in, not “just breathe”; no dumbing down.

In the past, I’ve felt like the lone, touchy feely advocate for wholistic health (mental, emotional and physical) in a corporate business conversation. My quest:

How to advocate for normalizing holistic health and self-care as part of business leadership, and make it relatable and fun?

For an hour and fifteen minutes we practiced:

  • physical aspects of kinesthetic self-awareness and care
  • 6 thoughts that produce feelings that cause a predictable negative downward spiral or vicious circle of fear, disapproval, insecurity
  • 3 thoughts that produce feelings that cause an upward spiral, a new opening or possibility – “I can”.
  • feeling self-acceptance as freeing
  • re-framing our mindset and emotions through guided meditation, intentional journaling, and setting intentions
  • articulating self-affirming intention

Co-workers shared intentions like:

“I allow myself to trust my co-workers and myself.”

“I allow myself to accept compliments.”

“I allow myself to be courageous and truthful when I don’t know the answer.”

The room erupted in applause and spontaneous acknowledgement for co-workers truth-telling.

Care for one another lit the room. Our future depends on leaders who lead from self-examined compassion, loving-kindness and self-awareness. I learned this:

Introspection, in a developmental context, by means of shared insight and story, heals and opens us up to be kind and loving in respect for our shared humanity. And everyone in the room gains. Everyone. 

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