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Self-Leadership Begins with Self-Awareness

Four Levels of Learning

There are four levels of learning. However, we have realised that most people don’t get beyond the second level of learning. This leads us to question how we can facilitate moving people into the fourth level of learning.

The first level of learning is knowing of.  Here you may say, “I know of something. I know a little bit of it. I know of it, but I don’t know about it.” When you get to knowing about something, that is the second level. I know a bit about something. I’ve got some information now. I’ve got some facts, some understandings, “I know about it.” This leads to the third level – relational knowing, where you can start to relate to what you know about.  At this point, you may seek to understand how it works for you in a relational way. This is followed by the fourth level of learning, which is embodied knowing.  This is the embodiment of engagement; you engage in, emerse in reading, understanding, conversation, research and actualisation.


Unconditional Knowing

Embodiment is when you’re really interested in something, and you’re moved by it to go do something about it. You take action. As you move through the different levels of learning, you go from knowing of, to knowing about, to relating, and then embodiment. This factors into the way we teach people about leadership. We want people to have a direct experience for themselves. It’s beyond resistance or attachment and is what we call unconditional knowing.

Sharing an experience without attachment is unconditional knowing. When you don’t have any conditions and experience something in an unconditional way, it becomes the author. Then you can see the truth in what the structure was around.  This is self-leadership because you can see in that moment, and you can actually come back to being present to see very clearly what’s really happening.



We have mirror neurons which means that we are wired to model each other.  If I create a model of freedom, then I’m free to be and not bother myself with anything you say or think about me as a human being. I can see you’re not seeing me as a human being, you’re thinking about the parts of yourself you do or don’t like hence the statement, “I like you.” What you’re really saying is, “I’m like you.” If you can provide a model of freedom where you don’t need to react, you can be more responsive.  


Seeing in the Moment

Here the question moves from “how do I get that” to “how do you stop yourself from being what you know how to be already.” This is the fifth person perspective that you attain after you’re able to see first, second, third, and fourth person perspectives.  You can see what’s arising in you along with the cultural perspective. You’re able to see all of the variable behaviors and the system effects they will have. This fifth person perspective enables you to see in the moment so you can access what’s going on at the stage of vision logic (see How to Develop Wisdom for more info on perspectives).

It is in this special capacity that you have the distance to disconnect from identifying as being absorbed in the moment, but it takes a level of self-work to be able to get that distance.  This is the self-leadership work.


Avoiding Affirmations

Affirmations are actually inversely affective . While they do reinforce concepts you want to focus on, you’re affirming the opposite as true. That is, what is presupposed is that you don’t actually agree with the current thought and by affirming it to yourself, it’s reinforcing its opposite. Let’s say you affirm “I’m a good person”. What you are actually affirming by presupposition, is that you believe you are not a good person. Instead, try changing your affirmation into an inquiry question “what could I do today to express myself as good?”



As we facilitate self-leadership, it’s up to you to determine what you’re ready for and that’s what you will get from the process.  You may not be ready to hear certain things in the present, but maybe in another five or ten years something occurs, and it suddenly makes sense.

Awareness is curative in and of itself. Your understanding of now and an awareness is all you require; the rest will unfold itself.

Self-leadership has to start from within. It’s down to a human being’s readiness to look at what they need to look at in order to start to free themselves of it.

The most powerful thing that you can do is work on you, because working on you is you leading you.


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