This past Friday, July 5, marked the end of the first full week of summer break for high school students in Ontario. Whether you have been lounging on a dock or getting into the swing of your summer job, a sigh of relief for no more homework and tests was shared throughout the province over these last few days. However, while summer break may be a vacation from traditional classroom learning, the freedom to do whatever you want offers a unique opportunity for you to do a different kind of learning; learning about yourself.
The most strong, successful and impactful leaders know themselves. They know their strengths, they understand their struggles and they take the time to grow and improve. Having said that, being self-aware is difficult. Many who are years into their career are still trying to master it. Start early and take time this summer to learn all about who you are. Here are some of the ways you can begin:
Go on a Date with Yourself.
Do something alone that you would traditionally do with someone else. Go to the movie theatre on your own, walk around an art gallery solo or get a table-for-one at your favourite restaurant. At first it may feel uncomfortable to be in these environments alone but quickly you will become more comfortable with yourself. Self-confidence is key for great leaders because it allows them to trust their abilities and their capacity to lead the team.
Practice Something You Struggle With.
Pick something that you struggle with and work to actively improve it. Maybe you have a tendency to overstep when working with others or maybe you just cannot stay organized. Start taking small steps on your own to make changes or ask for some guidance from you mentors. A leader who is able to recognize their struggles and who is committed to improving will always grow.
Make to Do Lists and Try to Complete Them.
Start making to do lists and checking things off. While to do lists help us keep organized, they also make us aware of what is important to us and give us some direction. Prioritizing and planning is a necessary skill of a successful leader. Without it, you can become burnt out and make poor decisions.
Discover Your Outlet.
Discover what activities help you feel calm and bring you back to a balanced state. The next time you are feeling overwhelmed go for a run, paint, play outside or take a bath. When in a leadership position you must be able to manage daily stressors. It is crucial to maintain your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your team.
Give your time to a cause that you are passionate about. It is important to learn what values will guide you for the rest of your life. The greatest leaders are those who do what is right no matter what anyone else is doing. With a good moral compass, you will make the best impact.