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Joey Klein, CEO of Inner Matrix Systems, Tells Us Why Leaders Must Invest in Themselves First

One defining characteristic common among effective leaders is personal mastery. Defined as personal growth through principles of purpose, vision, belief, and commitment — personal mastery comes from knowing oneself well enough to align emotions with vision. Here, Joey Klein, CEO of Inner Matrix Systems, outlines how leaders and other high achievers can invest in themselves to increase their level of personal mastery.

Too often, organizations mistakenly identify someone that is “good at their job” as a candidate for a leadership position. While mastery of the technical aspects of one’s job is a desirable leadership characteristic, it is far from being the most crucial consideration.

More important than being able to perform the work of the organization well, an effective leader must be able to motivate, guide, and inspire the organization. To do this, a leader must possess the self-awareness to filter out thoughts, actions, and emotions that do not align with their vision for the organization.

Vision realization will not happen serendipitously. It takes consistent effort and self-improvement. To lead others, a leader must first learn to master themselves. Without investing in the physical and emotional self-care needed to attain personal mastery, their words may be inconsistent with their actions and thereby appear hollow to those they hope to inspire and motivate.

Personal mastery is achieved by learning how to recognize, assess, and analyze emotions — setting aside those that are not consistent with personal goals and their vision for the organization they lead. For example, at some point, every leader will be disappointed with the performance of others in the organization. A strong feeling of retribution toward those that have let them down is not an emotion that will move the organization forward. Personal mastery enables a leader to redirect undesirable emotions and channel their energy in a more constructive direction. It also allows us to be transparent with ourselves and others, which is a significant key to success in any organization.

Without investing in the training needed to achieve a higher level of personal mastery, a leader may react negatively to strong emotions that are not aligned with the values they espouse. Actions speak louder than words, and a composed, measured reaction to adversity will instill confidence in employees that they can trust the leader to do what’s best for the group.

Investing in themselves first — no different from putting on an oxygen mask in a depressurized airplane cabin before helping others — enables leaders to perform at their best consistently. Some helpful self-care suggestions include:

  • Learn to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness teaches us how to avoid stress and fear by living in the present moment.
  • Exercise regularly. Staying active, regardless of how difficult it may feel to tear away from work, will keep the brain in peak condition.
  • Spend time each day in self-reflection. Daily meditation/inner training can significantly enhance a leader’s ability to keep a healthy perspective.
  • Strive for a healthy balance between work and life. All work and no play will not make a leader more effective – on the contrary, it will likely decrease productivity and effectiveness.

About Inner Matrix Systems

Inner Matrix Systems, based in Denver, is a personal mastery training system for high achievers. For more than twenty years, IMS has delivered a proprietary methodology that rewires, trains, and aligns the nervous system, emotions, and thought strategies to create real-life results. CEO, Joey Klein, and IMS have worked with more than 80,000 individuals from around the world through both live and online training programs, as well as one-on-one coaching. Clients have included: Boeing, IBM, Dell, Google, Panda Express, Coca Cola and The World Health Organization. Joey is the author of The Inner Matrix: Leveraging the Art & Science of Personal Mastery to Create Real Life Results (June 2021).