August, 2013

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Herald of Success- 5th Edition: “The Self-awakened Leader™”

Success Pathways’ newsletter- Herald of Success- in its 5th edition covered the theme “The Self-awakened Leader”:

Though all of the Nine Cardinal Building Blocks are important for continued success in leadership for emerging, novice, and seasoned leaders, the very first Building Block they should develop is Self-awareness. This is because anything you build on a wrong or faulty foundation is going to crumble, if not now, at the end of the day.  Self-awareness gives us the important ingredients to build a strong and firm foundation for continued success in leadership.

For the sake of convenient, let’s divide leaders into two major hypothetical categories: Unawakened, and Self-awakened. Un-awakened leaders may not know their true self very well, and they lead while their eyes are ‘closed’. The majority of such leaders lead out of zeal, not necessarily out of their strength, full of doubts, uncertain, insecure, and unsure about so many critical aspects of their life and leadership. They may not assess their leadership on a consistent basis that they may not know where they stand in the spectrum of leadership. On the other hand, self-awakened leaders know themselves (both their strengths and weaknesses), their surroundings, and their people very well. They know who they are, from where they came from, what they should do with their life now, and where they are heading. They evaluate their leadership, and know where they stand in the spectrum of leadership. They lead while their eyes are ‘wide open’. They aren’t blind guides who ditch themselves and their people once in awhile. They are rather enlightened guides. If you are reading this article, I can tell that you’re a self-aware and seeker of the truth kind of person. Congratulations because you are among some elite group of leaders.

But mere self-awareness is not enough. There are great self-awakened giant leaders who use this attribute to manipulate, abuse, and twist the people under their influence. Rather than changing some of their unproductive and unfair personality traits they have discovered through the process of self-awareness, they continue to use them in their advantage and in the expense of the people they lead and influence.

One good example is the late Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers, Inc.  I am one of his fans regardless of his flaws. He was a man on a mission, visionary, creative, and seeker. He revolutionized many industries that influence our life on a daily basis because of his insights, focus, and the ability to see ahead of the curve. He’ll remain remembered as one of the men/women who shaped the 21st C. However, a close look at his personality shows that he had some failings. Not surprisingly, as no one here on earth is perfect, Steve wasn’t perfect. His autobiographer- Walter Isaacson, learned from the people closer to Jobs that he had complex and conflicting personalities where he is not only self-aware, but also he quickly understood the strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerability of others. What was sad? He used the latter in his advantage. Though he was a self-awakened and enlightened leader- who knew his flaws, he didn’t attempt enough to change some of his counter productive personalities. Regardless of so many mentoring advices from the people he respected, he continued to offend, frustrate, irritate, and burnout the people who entrusted themselves under his influence. Many of his colleagues admitted that Steve caused them to reach the level of excellence they never thought they could but they wondered why he was so mean sometimes 🙂 lol Here is what his mother figure, Ann Boers, said: “He [Steve Jobs] was self-aware, but that didn’t always modify his behaviors”. 

The kind of self-awake leaders we need in the 21st C are not those who are mere enlightened. It is unfair to be self-awake and use that in our advantage to abuse, twist, and manipulate others in order to meet our goals, and needs. Our self-awareness should bring a positive change in our behavior and create a trusting, forgiving, and loving environment. Self-awakened leaders know how to tap into their strength, and also seek help in those areas where they are weak or inadequate. Because of that, these kinds of self-awakened leaders are humble, sensitive, creative, and great team players.

The 21st C, not only needs leaders who are self-awakened but also those who raise the self awareness of their people. The latter creates a win-win scenario. You cannot go anywhere as a self-awakened leader if the people under your influence are unawake. You are unable to tap into the true potential of your people until you help them figure out who they are, their strength, weaknesses, and so on. Let me stop here and ask you a few questions:

  • Have you spent some time to enlighten yourself and become self-awake? From 1 to 10, 1 being unawake and 10 is self-awake, where do you find yourself in this self-awareness continuum? If you are in the lower end of the continuum, what are some of your plans to advance toward the higher end of the spectrum? Let me know if you need any help in this regard?
  • If you are self awakened, have you refrained from misusing this enlightenment to exploit others unfairly? Be honest and evaluate your behaviors, and change those that prompt you to manipulate, abuse, and exploit others unfairly. Such behaviors may bring some temporary benefits but they will leave behind lots of messes, wounds, and ill-relationships.
  • Most importantly, have you made some behavioral, personality, values, and character changes as a result of becoming a self-awakened leader? Are you helping others to become self-awakened?

The book on the Nine Cardinal Building Blocks, which will soon be published, will be a great resource as you invest on your and your people’s self-awareness. Success Pathways also designed a workshop entitled “The Self-Awakened Leader™” workshop that provides great insights about the importance of self-awareness, its benefits, the challenges, and steps to become self-awake. The workshop also offers various reality checks and assessment tools that can be used to assess your level of awareness and also raise self-awakened team members.

I will soon start to record video clips on the nine cardinal building blocks including this the same topic. Thus, you may subscribe to Success Pathways’ YouTube channel @ so that you may watch the clips as soon as they are available. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write me email at or give me a call at 703-895-4551. Looking forward to hear from you.

I also encourage you to subscribe to our monthly newsletter by going at the bottom of this page so that you will be able to receive the newsletter every month. Remember, we won’t spam you by sending emails now and then. This is a once per month thing…