Acceptance is the Pathway to Self-Mastery, and Self-Mastery is the Foundation of Becoming a Great Leader

Two in five Americans sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from others. – Cigna Health

Self-mastery is to become the absolute best version of yourself.  Show me an engaging communicator or any great leader, and I’ll show you a person who has been intentional in becoming the best version of themselves.  Our purpose, as leaders, is to help people, motivate people, and inspire people to become their very best.  

Staying focused on becoming the best version of ourselves gives us the mental, physical, and emotional strength to help others become their best.  

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our own thoughts and emotions so that we respond professionally as opposed to reacting negatively in tense or stressful situations.  

As we strive toward self-mastery the four elements of emotional intelligence give us a clearly defined roadmap.  If each day we’re intentional about improving in each of these areas, we’ll be well on our way to achieving self-mastery:  

  1. Self-Awareness – understanding your natural strengths, capabilities, and emotional tendencies.
  1. Self-Management – the ability to manage emotions and thoughts, taking responsibility for one’s actions, behaviors, and personal motivation.
  1. Social Awareness – recognizing and understanding others’ feelings and the ability to empathize with others.
  1. Relationship Management – the ability to understand and leverage the thoughts, feelings, and strengths of others in order to lead teams to success.

Notice that emotional intelligence starts with one’s self, understanding our own thoughts, emotions, and natural strengths.  Somewhere in the journey toward understanding and achieving self-mastery altogether is perhaps one of the most important leadership skills: acceptance.  


We want to feel accepted by our bosses, our peers, our families, and even the person sitting next to us on the airplane. We need to feel accepted so we can feel significant. That feeling of significance is almost the gateway to feeling confident enough to perform, contribute, or produce. 

Something magical happens when members of a team truly feel accepted. 

Without feeling accepted, people obviously don’t feel welcome. On the other hand, when people feel accepted, they feel welcome and they feel significant. When they feel significant, they open up, lean into their skills and potential, and start crushing their work and life, driving results for their teams and their leaders.

Bringing it all together:

  • Accept Yourself. 
    • Before you can accept others for who they are, you must accept yourself for who you are. 
    • Teams and employees will follow your lead, and they’ll begin accepting themselves the more they see you doing the same. 
  • Accept Others. 
    • Be inclusive. Despite their quirks, habits, and hang ups, a leader who leads with hospitality spends time seeking to understand everyone. 
    • Meet people where they are, accepting them for who they are rather than for their accomplishments. 
    • When they know you accept them, for them, they’ll slowly but surely feel more welcome with you, on your team, and most importantly in their own skin. 
    • That’s when they’ll lean in, step up, and deliver excellent effort and results for you.
  • Accept Organizational Realities. 
    • Determine what you can control versus what you cannot. 
    • Separate issues stemming from inside your team or organization versus those coming from outside influences. 

Why is this important?  

It will help keep your emotions in check, so you can listen to, observe, and stay attuned to the emotions of those on your team.  As the leader goes, so goes the team. 

If you’re stressed and emotional, your team will easily become stressed and emotional, distracting them from performing up to their highest potential. 

Understanding organizational realities helps you focus your mental capacity and energy on more productive, actionable, and winnable battles.

Self-mastery starts with acceptance, and the journey to become a great leader starts with self-mastery.

Have a great day.


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