Self-leadership to overcome challenging times

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Last Updated on March 3, 2022 by Coach M

Because of the coronavirus outbreak across the world, we are now facing a time of stress which we’ve never experienced before.

In this blog, I am going to talk about how to overcome this kind of challenging situation using self-leadership.

Now let me share about my story a little bit.

About 10 years ago, I was in Cambodia to take on the challenge of helping found an international-standard dental clinic.

My mind was full of hope but the reality of the situation there meant life was not easy and there were many difficulties along the way. In addition to being in a completely new environment, I was also essentially all alone.

It was a tough time and I started to doubt myself.

During that period, I met my life mentor who led me to the coaching world. And as I meet him, he always coached me and I could found a way to meet these challenges and reignite my passion.

After two years, I had successfully established the clinic as the leading international dental practice in Cambodia.

So from my tough experience, I realize that to overcome challenges, self-leadership is the most important.

Otherwise, you feel like you are the victim of the circumstance.

If you feel that way you have no power, are unhappy, weak and create negative thoughts.

The way you see the world makes your reality.

 Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Viktor Frankl who was a Holocaust survivor, said

‘’Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.’’

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Even if two people have exactly the same experience, it will be a positive or negative event depending on their perceptions.

You can choose how you think and feel.

If you can choose it, why don’t you try to see the good side and make your life happier?

I know, it’s easy to say but I will show you how to do this step by step. Once it becomes a habit, it will last a lifetime. It means your life become much happier, successful and attract what you want.  

1.What is self-leadership?

By the way, what exactly is self-leadership?

You all know leaders in companies, sports team, schools etc.

But what is self-leadership? Ok, what is a leader then?

Leaders are trusted by their team members, they set goals within the organization, take actions, take responsibility for the team, maintain the motivation of the team, and produce results.

Simply, they lead their people.

It’s like a captain who decides where to sail and takes command of setting the course.

So self-leadership means leading yourself.

Trust yourself, set goals for yourself, take action for your goal, take responsibility for what you are doing and outcome from that, maintain your motivation and produce results.

If you can’t lead yourself, you can’t lead people.

2. Five steps to get self-leadership

Now I will share you five steps to get self-leadership  

Step1. Self-awareness (know yourself)

Let’s start with self-awareness. Understanding your values and beliefs, and looking at yourself objectively.

Knowing yourself will make you become a person of principle and so not affected by others.

 It is important to have introspection time every day, especially when we live in a society where unnecessary information flows all around us and it is easy to get distracted.

When you feel anger, sadness, or joy, training yourself to look at yourself objectively is a huge advantage. Find where these feelings come from. Why are you feeling this way?

Which makes it less likely you’ll be carried away by emotions.

Also doing personality tests, such as a strength finder or MBTI, is an effective way to understand yourself and know your strength and weakness.

Step2. Manage your emotions

Managing your emotion is crucial when you want to make the right decision. Decision making on the impulse in the moment tend to make result to regret.

Don’t you have this experience? I had a lot in the past.

But how can we manage our emotions?

Your perception creates your reality. You can choose how you feel about what is happening in front of you.

For example, you may irritated and anxious because of lockdown. Once you feel these emotions, the things happening next makes you feel more irritated.

And you end up stressed out and maybe take it out to your loved ones. And that makes the relationship got worse and you got angry and so on.

It creates a vicious circle!!

I know, because it also happened to me all the time in the past.

To avoid this, there are two techniques I always use.

Step2-1 Reframing

The first one is Reframing.

This will change the way you look at the world, by changing your feelings about the conditions and the events in your life.

For example,

”I haven’t achieved my sales target this month, and that’s a problem”

By using reframe technique. I will change it to

”It’s a challenge, not a problem”

Now I will show you how step by step.

Think of a past event or situation in your life which you still have negative thoughts about.

On a scale of one to 10, what score is it? 10 for very negative.

Then ask yourself  “How is that a problem?”

Now ask yourself a reframe questions.

  “What’s good about this?”,

  “What could I focus on to make it better?”,

  “What else could this mean?”

  “What would I do differently next time?”

Now think it again. On a scale one to 10, what score is it?

Your score became smaller, Feel better now?

Let me share my story.

I had a quarrel with my loved one the other day, he was really upset from what I’ve done and said to him. I was also very upset from what he said to me.

So it was negative event at that time.

And next day I thought back the event and realized that

I really appreciate what happened, because he made me realize how selfish I was. And learning from this experience will make be better person and make closer and meaningful relationship with people in the future. Not only life partner but also everyone who are around me.

Without this experience I might be selfish for the rest of my life and have no close friends no partner.

It’s not nice life, right?

Please do this technique whenever you face challenges. And it will become a habit to think this way in a few months.

Step 2-2 Physiology

The second technique is physiology. How you use your body.

Our mind and body are connected. So if you keep good posture and put a smile on your face, you automatically feel better.

Emotion is created by motion.  Whatever you’re feeling right now is related to how you’re using your body.

It’s very easy but greatly effective. So please try.

Feel better already?

Step3 Take responsibility and accountability for your life.

Doing so, you will not be affected by the surroundings.

So you can control your life.

I know, when bad things happen, sometimes we want to blame it on our environment.

‘’Because of the economy’’ ‘’Because I don’t have enough money.’’ etc

But it doesn’t serve you. It makes you powerless.

You are the one who creates the story of your life.

Now how to do it?

When something unpleasant things happens, try to find the meaning of the event.

Everything is happening for you. Not happening to you.

Have you ever had the event which was really hard but when you think back, that event made you a better person or improve your ability?

So ask yourself,

Everything is happening for me.

What does this experience trying to teach me?

How can I utilize this situation?

What do I need to overcome this situation?

What will happen when I overcome this situation?

Step4. Focus on what you can control

 There are so many things you can’t control such as climate, economy, people’s thought etc.

 If you can’t control these, why bother.

 But luckily we can control ourselves.

So using the reframing technique, keep yourself positive.

Also, we can’t change people. Change ourselves first.

When you change, people will change their attitude toward you.

So concentrate on what you can control. Cope with what you can’t control.

Step5 Be self-confident

People tend to think that ”I am not good enough” ”I am not young enough” etc.

It is self-defeating and it is not true.

You are the one holding you back from taking action.

Having good self-image makes you believe ‘’I can do it’’ 

It’s an accumulation of successful experiences.

So make it a habit to compliment yourself even after small success. Such as eating healthy lunch today. And give a compliment to yourself.

Also, from my experience, having a partner or friends who sincerely believe in your ability is very supportive and helps you remain confident.

So try to be surrounded by the people who believe in your ability to get things done.

Can you think of these people?


These are the 5 steps to get self-leadership.

Do you already make a habit of any of those steps?

We are all living with the ambiguity. Having self-leadership makes you resilient in the time of crisis.

The good news is we can learn and develop these skills.

You can start with a personality test and know really deeply about yourself.

When you know your values and beliefs from that process, you will find what you want or purpose in your life.

If you can honestly assess your current situation, then you know what you need to do to fill the gap between where you are and where you want to go.

And that makes you understand how to utilize this situation to achieve your purpose.

Ask yourself

”What does this situation mean to me?”

”What can I learn from this?”

”What is good about this?”

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