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Let's Talk About Internal Leadership!

Why is Internal Leadership Relevant?

Internal Leadership focuses on leading from within. Many of us feel the need to learn and understand more about ourselves but don't know where to start. Understanding Internal Leadership is a great place to begin! This blog will provide tips for building self-awareness and supporting the development of Internal Leadership.

Imagine today... if you asked people at random whether they considered themselves leaders or not, the majority would either give you a perplexed look or confusingly say "no". Even the thought of asking that question might have spiked your cortisol!

We have created a stigma around what it means to be a leader. Here's the thing...leadership is present every day in our lives! All of us in some capacity are leaders. No matter what form it may be in, leading yourself or a team of people, we all have the capacity to be leaders.

If you break it down, it starts with leading yourself (internal Leadership) and every decision you make represents the ability to lead your life. You are the person in control of your actions, behaviors, and decisions.

Once you have accepted yourself as a leader, the benefits are undeniable. Internal Leadership has the ability to influence parts of your life for the positive. Being self-aware and internally connected can benefit your (work and personal) relationships and add value to them. The ability to understand and use Internal Leadership will aid in your developmental journey, provoke your thought process, provide connectivity, and support clear thinking.

How Internal Leadership Affects External Leadership

Internal Leadership is a concept that rarely is ever the center of attention. We tend to focus on External Leadership practices (leading others in a formal setting). Examples of External Leadership concepts are Transactional and Transformational Leadership (google it!), both concepts are designed and applied in a professional setting.

There is a disconnection through the application phase of all leadership concepts. The lack of education or teaching around Internal Leadership has created a gap in most of these concepts. How are we expected to lead the masses if we don't know how to lead ourselves? We must have a strong sense of self in order to begin the comprehension of External Leadership practices. In order to be effective in a leadership role one must hold themselves accountable to excellence before they hold others to the same standards.

External Leadership concepts are extraordinary and can be successful with the support of Internal Leadership. look at Internal Leadership as the foundation. The foundation guides the overall purpose by identifying individual leadership styles and how to maximize them! Influential leaders use versatile methods to support their vision but the most successful leaders in our history have the ability to make people feel valued. In order to add value to another person, you need value yourself!

Arianna Huffington Knows About Internal Leadership!

Recently, while researching this topic, I stumbled on a website called Sharecare ( It was there that I found a quote by influential leader, Arianna Huffington, who enlightens us on Internal Leadership.

“We tend to think of leadership solely as an external force, associated with those who effectively carry out the responsibilities of their office or direct staff in a confident way. That’s very useful, but its only one kind of leadership. There is another kind-internal leadership-that does not depend on office or position or staff hierarchy or anything imposed or granted from without. This kind of leadership is generated instead by an inner force that compels us to try and make the surrounding world-whether it’s our family, our community, the entire nation, or beyond-a better place. When we define only in the most narrow, external way—thinking of it only as it relates to elected office and the executive suites of corporate America-we undervalue the internal qualities of leadership that made outsiders like Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Teresa such powerful leaders. For women to be fearless in leadership, they have to embrace these internal gifts.”

Thank you, Arianna Huffington, for leading the way! All individuals must be fearless and ready to embrace their internal gifts! People who live a selfless life have often gone down the path of self-discovery first. They found an internal drive that pours over into their actions and allows for brilliance to form. Internal Leadership can be freeing, allowing the mind to accept things and see connections it didn't see before.

Tips for Internal Leadership

Internal Leadership is about embracing the gifts we have and using them to our advantage, most importantly to the advantage of others!

We all have different reasons for self-exploration and Internal Leadership can assist in all situations, for example:

  • Seeking guidance

  • Trying to identify your role in life

  • Looking for self-awareness and understanding

  • Looking to improve relationships (family, friends, or significant other)

  • Individuals looking for promotional opportunities

  • If your new to a leadership role

  • Tenure leaders looking to stay current with their changing environment

Good things come from educating yourself and applying positive tools to your life. Yes, there is a good chance you've read multiple blogs like this and didn't see any immediate results but repetition can train the brain without you even realizing it! Putting in the effort, will help you gain an abundance of knowledge and insight that will make a positive impact, even if it doesn't feel that way immediately. Have you heard the saying, "All good things take time"?

If you are interested in developing your Internal Leadership capabilities, here are a three tips to help you get started:

  1. 16 Personalities Test

  • Uncover more about your personality. This personality assessment is free! If you enjoy the website and want to dive deeper, they offer subscriptions. (20% off of subscription with code: soulshineleadership)

  1. Identify Your Strengths (Journal Entries)

  • Take some time and think about your strengths.

  • Analyze what feels natural to you and write them down.

  • Next, ask close family/friend what they think your strengths are and why.

  • Compare the two lists and think about how they apply to your every day life.

  1. Observe Your Ways (Journal Entries)

  • Observe how people receive your communication tactics.

  • What kind of body language do they showcase while you are communicating in different styles?

  • Study your tendencies in an objective manner.

  • How do you react in certain situations?

  • journal for a day about your immediate reactions to different situations and reflect back.

  • What makes you feel positive or negative feelings?

  • Identify these feelings during the day.

  • Take the time to think about why you feel negative or positive about certain situations.

  • Accept the areas of opportunities and celebrate the positive findings! Everything you identify during this process makes you the unique individual you are!


These tips will help you start each day with intention and purpose by allowing you to explore internally. The essence of life is to live it fully, you have the ability to maximize yourself in the best possible way! Understanding how and why you do what you do, will help you develop as a leader and as a person. Take time to provoke your thought process and stimulate your mind. There isn’t a right or wrong way to discovering more about yourself in terms of Internal Leadership. One must possess the need to grow in order to embrace Internal Leadership and all its magnitude!

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