Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Self-Awareness and Self-Leadership

In my work as a leadership instructor and executive coach I’ve often stated that research study, after research study, clearly shows that one of the most essential skills to becoming a highly effective leader is: Self-Awareness.  Many leaders, or potential leaders, are derailed because they have an inability to take a brutally honest look at themselves – their strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and potential blind spots – and deal with them maturely and professionally.  It still astounds me how many “leaders” I come into contact with that have tremendous personal or professional issues but refuse to admit it and just ask for help –  and still expect to be successful in leading their organization!  It simply does not work that way. That is why I asked my good friend Palika Trudeau to write a brief guest blog with her take on this issue from the position of a executive coach and relationship expert. 


Importance of total life balance for cutting edge sustainable leadership


 Palika Trudeau, M.A Psychology


   “…As a senior partner, he was in charge of a multi million dollar deal. But he just discovered his wife had cheated on him with her personal trainer. So instead of leading the final negotiations, he was in the office stairwell, crying, drunk… feeling desperate.”


 Without the proper personal alignment and total life balance, a single‐minded focus on ones career can negatively impact your inner quality of life and ultimately cost you your career. Top executives are confident and successful individuals, yet many of them experience high levels of stress and poor personal relationships. As long as things “look good” on the outside, addressing their internal conflicts is the last priority on their list…they don’t seek help until it’s usually too late…when they are already unraveling…resulting in huge losses… for themselves personally and for their company. It is impossible to be an effective leader of others, if you are not an effective leader of your own life.  And we all know you truly have to have “It” to give “It.” …There simply is no credit system when it comes to radiating authentic qualities of a leader.

 In today’s business world, integrity, authenticity, total life balance and ability to have great personal connections is key for both gaining and retaining respect. Yet ironically, in a cut throat business world we often sacrifice our integrity, balance, connection to self and our loved ones in a desperate attempt to survive and thrive…ultimately, leaving one vulnerable, as lack of inner balance and fulfillment becomes the weakest link… making you ordinary instead of an exceptional leader.  Indeed, such a crude sacrifice is like cutting out ones own heart, the very source that sustains vitality.

 The corporate world is starving for more heart, more connection, more leadership with total life balance …exuding inner fulfillment. Does success have to be at the expense of personal happiness and inner quality of life? Absolutely not! Today the key to sustainable success for executives lies in creating and maintaining total life balance. This means that instead of the old “disconnect” song and dance, today’s effective leaders needs to face their vulnerabilities, embrace humility, be introspective and reflective, and like the great kings of past times, receive personal guidance or coaching from trusted confidants– that keep the leader connected to their core self, creating a solid, balanced, harmonious life – and in this way, be highly qualified to sustainably guide others to fulfilling success.

Prioritize creating total life balance and walking your talk.  Be a guiding light: Enjoy the pleasure of being a cutting edge elite, who is aligned to self, balanced, and truly fulfilled, powerfully of service…uplifting and inspiring as your legacy.

***Note:  Symptoms such as inability to sleep, anxiety, stress, fatigue, depression, addictions, and disconnected relationships are clear signs of lack of inner balance.


From John: I believe that Palika hits on some very important points here.  To me, at the end of the day success all comes down to whether your daily actions and behaviors were completely aligned with your personal values and your individual philosophy of excellence.  In other words, can you put your head on your pillow every night and say, “That was another fantastic day – I lived my values, I treated people with love and respect, I feel good about everything I’ve done today, this is exactly the way I want to live my life.”  If your answer is not a resounding “YES” – then you’ve got some work to do, and it might be a good idea to bring in a coach or mentor to help you take an honest assessment of the situation and figure out the right steps to move forward in a highly positive direction.

I hope you found this post helpful – I very much look forward to your comments – take good care my friends – John Spence


About Trudeau Transformations

Palika Trudeau, MA in Psychology, is both an educator and in private practice. In her work with corporations, individuals, and private couples retreats, her extensive training and background in Eastern philosophy, paired with her education in modern psychology, gives her an unique perspective and approach to human development and life transformation. Trudeau works with an international clientele and specializes in creating sustainable, high quality relationships, helping clients quickly solve core problems and consciously create the life they want. Palika is passionate about her work and is a believer in “walking her talk”‐knowing it’s a critical ingredient to effectively serve her clients.

Palika Trudeau may be contacted at: 352-283-3102


  1. Bobby Villines says:

    Thanks for your advice above- I should be able to say- that was another fantastic day, I lived my values, etc. That fits well with a talk I heard from Tim Sanders and Bill George’s True North. There is a lifetime in your statement. So again thanks.

    I very much appreciated Awesomely Simple and gave a copy to my boss. Your recommended books page has also been very helpful. Again thanks.

    • Bobby — thank you for the kind words — Tim and Bill are friends — and mentors to me. So glad you enjoyed my book too! Thank you!!

  2. Thank you for pointing out the importance of self-awareness for leaders. Thank you for being a messenger of bringing more heart to all organizations including business. Operating with more integrity, authenticity and self-awareness. Great article.


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