Leadership Inside Out

Issue 28

The power of understanding your own thoughts

May 24, 2024

Hi Reader,

Metacognition was one of those big words I didn’t know, but seemed like everyone else did, when I started grad school. There were many things that I didn’t know that initially triggering insecurity.

At first it took me right back to that moment in 6th grade when I didn’t know who Cindy Crawford was as a result of being homeschooled my entire life up to that point. I decided to keep my mouth shut regarding my ignorance as I saw the other formerly homeschool kid getting bullied for not knowing. That feeling of not knowing, not belonging and questioning our psychological security it pretty universal and it can have lasting effects.

Luckily, in grad school I soon learned the concept of living with a growth mindset. I began to internalize the thought, “Of course I don’t know everything” and I began to have FUN and ENJOY the challenge of learning.

It was a simple, yet profound mental shift.

I was able to set my insecurity and fear aside, dive into learning and practice application.

METACOGNITION: met·a·cog·ni·tion/ noun PSYCHOLOGY

  • awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes.

Our thoughts directly impact our experience of the world and the results we create.

How much time and effort are we investing in better understanding our thoughts?

Without awareness of our thoughts it can feel like life happens to us. We lose our power to consciously create the desired changes we want. The inability to effectively evaluate and communicate our thoughts causes chaos and frustration for an individual AND an entire organization, if the leader does not invest in this skill.

Coaching is, in part, the process of supporting one’s metacognition.

The more we understand where our thoughts come from, the more compassion and understanding we can give to others. We become better leaders.

Just like our breath, our thoughts are always with us. So it serves us well to evaluate and take responsibility for them.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s important to note that mental health is far more than diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Mental fitness is an essential practice for every human wanting to create more joy, ease, and impact with their life.

I urge you this month to make your mental wellness a priority and not an afterthought.

Reflection Questions:

  • What is the nature of your dominate thoughts?
    • Constantly problem solving
    • Anxious and worried
    • Regretful and ruminating
    • Flexible and hopeful
    • Creatively innovating
  • What practices do you use to release thoughts that no longer serve you and the leader you are becoming?

Recommended Reading:

Wherever You Go There You Are – By Jon Kabat-Zinn​

The title of this book is ironic and yet profound.

Many of my clients can attest to the fact that it doesn’t really matter what job they have or where they are; because when the quality of one’s thinking improves everything improves. (Including one’s ability to explore new possibilities and go to new places).

This is the book that started my meditation journey several years ago and I still go back to it often.

Con Amor, Sonya​

In honor of Mental Health Month, I invite you to find one hour of time for an easy and fun exploratory conversation about protecting and improving your mental health through coaching. You’ll walk away feeling refreshed and empowered whether or not we decide to work together.