Self-leadership: Change from within

With self-awareness, reflection, discipline, and a dash of gratitude, self-leadership takes form.

Mindfulness educator Jaqueline Jones shares how the quality can be developed to further children’s independence and ability to succeed in life.

What is self-leadership?

“Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions and behaviors on the way to getting there.” –  Bryant & Kazan, 2012

Jacqueline says this can be achieved through three steps: self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-mastery. Her six-week gratefulness program is included on the KidsMatter recommended programs guide and is a favourite of schools including St Michael’s Catholic Primary Lane Cove.

Self-awareness is the ability to really feel and decode what is happening on the inside,” Jacqueline said.

Self-acceptance means being able to take an honest look at both your strengths and your natural limitations and take full responsibility for your choices and actions.

Self-mastery is when students have the ability to master their thoughts and emotions so that they can respond appropriately when facing any challenges.  Students are taught that it’s not what happens, but how we react that matters.”

Why learn self-leadership?

Jacqueline describes self-leadership as an inner compass that can empower young people to make positive choices and help them to fulfil their unique potential in life.

“Ultimately, self-leadership is knowing how to be your best and knowing how to take good care of yourself – mentally, physically and spiritually.  If students can understand themselves, they will be able to make positive choices for themselves and will know how to bounce back when challenges do arise.”

How to encourage it

Jacqueline says it is important for children and parents to give themselves ‘time in’ amid the hustle-and bustle of daily life. Parents are also encouraged to have open discussions with their child on ways to take care of the mind as they would their physical health.

“Time in can be achieved through meditation, creative visualisation or simply prayer,” Jaqueline said.

“It opens the doors to increased emotional regulation, better sleeping habits, increased creativity and focus and can help to reduce the incidence of depression.”

Parents can also encourage self-leadership in their children by taking a step back.

“Instead of rushing in to help your child when they face a challenge, which is a natural reaction, encourage your child to work through the problem on their own,” Jacqueline said. “Assure them that that they have all the resources and knowledge they need to solve any issues that come up.  This will help to increase their confidence if and when the next challenge arises.”

Read more about Jaqueline’s gratefulness program at

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