As an entrepreneur you’re a leader to your internal team, your clients, the community you build, and on any stage you step on.
This role as leader and the responsibilities of entrepreneurship can feel overwhelming, so cultivating mindful practices that contribute to your personal development is essential.
Not only will this benefit you personally, but investing in your growth will help you create spaces where others grow, amplifying the impact of your work.
Here we’ll discuss 7 steps you can take to build a personal development plan and become a more mindful entrepreneurial leader.
But first let’s define what it means to be a mindful leader and why this matters.
What is mindful leadership and why it matters
As an entrepreneur you have likely heard the many personal benefits you gain from practicing mindfulness.
Executive Coach, Patricial Omoqui, describes it as a leadership style where you “cultivate [your] ability to be present, open-minded, and compassionate when interacting” and one in which you “respond to what’s happening in the moment instead of defaulting to reactive patterns”
You can build mindful leadership with a consistent mindfulness practice that benefits your personal growth and of those around you.
A study with 57 senior leaders found that mindfulness, if practiced consistently, can help with resilience, the capacity for collaboration, and the ability to lead in complex conditions.
The study showed these were the result of three meta-capacities:
- Metacognition: the ability to observe your thoughts, feelings, and senses means that in the fast-pace of entrepreneurship where people are often in survival mode, you are able to step back and be fully present to observe the situation.
- Allowing: having more openness and kindness towards yourself and others prevents criticism from getting in the way of observing and seeing situations as they really are.
- Curiosity: the desire to explore and learn more about what shows up in your inner and outer world.
The benefits of developing these capabilities is that you lead without relying on fear or manipulation.
Instead, you overcome challenges and move through conflict while cultivating a safe environment for your community and teams to grow along with you.
So if you want to be a leader who encourages growth, it’s important to bring mindfulness into your daily life and use it to improve your personal development.
How to develop as a mindful entrepreneur
Focusing on your personal development should be a priority. Often, we want to prioritize strategies in the business before we prioritize ourselves, and we end up falling victim to the never-ending new strategies.
You’re not grounded in anything, and end up burning out. This approach to business is not sustainable and prevents you from growing as an entrepreneur, leader, and as a person.
The first step to avoid falling for the never-ending tactics is to create a plan for your personal development.
7 steps to create a self growth plan
Creating a plan will bring more awareness to your actions, so you can take ownership of your growth.
The key to being a mindful leader is creating a plan that goes beyond habits by taking an inward journey.
1. Develop a mindfulness practice
Mindfulness is more than meditation. It’s a practice that brings awareness to your thoughts and feelings.
If the thought of meditation makes you uncomfortable, there are different mindfulness options you can try.
The more known one is seating in silence while you observe your breath. You can modify this approach and instead of observing your breath, you might use a guided meditation or repeat a mantra.
If sitting down is not for you, try movement meditation. This is a mindfulness practice where you do an activity like walking and pay attention to your body and your environment as you move.
There are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness. Start exploring to find what works for you. As you learn more about what feels right, you can start to mix and match different tools.
For example, I often mix reading and deep breathing meditation. I randomly flip through my copy of 365 Tao: Daily Meditations or The Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh and follow it with deep breathing meditation.
Know that mindfulness will make you more aware of yourself, including your limiting beliefs. One book I recommend to help you understand the illusion of your limiting beliefs is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.
Building this level of awareness is the foundation for your personal development, so creating a consistent mindfulness practice is important.
[Bonus tip: Check out Headspace for different options but remember to check in with yourself and pay attention to what puts you into a state of mindfulness]
2. Create a vision board
Being aware of your limiting beliefs means you can start to look beyond them. This and your ability to calm your mind will make it easier to create a vision board for the business and lifestyle you want to manifest.
How you create your vision board will depend on your personality. Here are two examples:
You can be very specific and envision a contemporary house with a beachfront, pool, and 4 rooms in Bali.
Alternatively, you can be more broad and think about a beach house in a location with a temperate climate. You can focus more on the feeling and add words like “warm”, “spacious”, and “bright”.
What’s important is that you create a vision board in a way that lets you dream bigger and brings you joy! I created the Vision Book for just this thing!
3. Write down why this matters to you
After creating your vision board, write why these manifestations matter to you.
Using the example of the house: Is it because you want to create a home for a future family? Is it because you want to have a home office to create more impact with your business? Is it because beaches bring you peace?
While this example is about a house, you can do the same for your business. Exploring why you want to build your business and the type of business you want to build will help you define the purpose behind your business. This “why” is an essential part of your brand message.
4. Identify areas for growth and create goals
Your vision board can be a guideline for your personal development goals. Looking at your vision board, identify your top goals for the year. Limit it to 3 needle moving goals.
If you want to travel more, you might need to increase your profits, so your goals could be launching your brand or booking 3 quality speaking engagements. Based on this, identify what areas of your life you need to prioritize.
Here are 5 areas to consider:
If you want to book 3 quality speaking engagements, your area for improvement could be physical to take better care of your voice.
5. List your personal growth habits
After doing the internal work to identify what you truly want and where you need to improve, list the habits that will help you grow in the area of your life you’ve chosen.
For example, maybe you want to be an influential speaker who attracts more opportunities that support your traveling lifestyle. You could create habits like doing daily vocal warm-ups for speaking. You might choose to make exercise a habit to help reduce stress, and feel more at ease when you speak.
If you’re unsure of how to build your habits, Atomic Habits by James Clear gives you a process to create habits that stick. Throughout his book he walks you through the steps needed to build habits including tips like:
- Create identity-based habits (instead of I want to eat more fruit say I am a healthy person who enjoys eating fruit)
- Make habits easier by making them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying
- Stack habits to create a system of habits rather than isolated actions
Whichever the habits, focus on your why and knowing the identity you want to embody (e.g. a speaker who loves travel) to help you build habits that actively contribute to your growth.
6. Track your growth journey lessons
One of the activities I suggest to all my clients is to journal. Many people may see journaling as a way to get to know themselves better, but it can also be a great way to track your growth.
By the end of the year you will have a “record” of how you’ve changed and grown.
7. Own and celebrate your growth
Take the time to celebrate, and include the small wins. Celebrating your wins doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as eating a piece of your favorite chocolate or going to your favorite coffee shop.
Celebrating yourself will make it easier to stay on track and help you stay motivated.
Be mindful with your actions
So if you want to be an entrepreneur who is more grounded, at ease, and creates environments where you and others can grow, mindfulness is essential in your life and leadership approach.
This will make you more aware and give you more ownership of your personal growth journey as you build your business.
This is why I encourage my vivacious clients to explore their limiting beliefs, create a vision board, and step into their personal power. They know that personal development is part of building a personal brand.
If you are ready to build an online brand that allows you to live a freedom and joy filled life, check out my brand development coaching program. This program gives you hands-on experience creating your brand from scratch, including messaging and social media strategy.
If you prefer a 1-on-1 approach, I offer a customized social media branding package.
If you want to find your authentic brand strategy, check out this brand strategy quiz I created to help you understand how to show up in your business in alignment with your unique energy, personality & Human Design.