The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership (Book Review)

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

Personal leadership can be your source of renewable strength, clarity, focus, and fulfillment.

In my experience, there is always a tremendous gap between the state of the art and the state of the practice when it comes to both work and life.

This gap becomes increasingly obvious when you really begin to explore the art of the possible.  Some people really know how to shine.

Lucky for us, Joelle K. Jay helps us bridge that gap in her book, The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership.

This book is perhaps one of the greatest deep dives into how you can use personal leadership to achieve more meaning in your work and create the life you want.

It’s a book about having it all in a sustainable and fulfilling way in work and life.

Learn from an Executive Leadership Coach

Dr. Joelle K. Jay is an executive leadership coach and the founder and president of Pillar Consulting, L.L.C.  Her clients includes presidents, vice presidents, and C-level executives in international, national, and local organizations.  She’s helped leaders in companies such as: Microsoft, Google, MetLife, Facebook, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ATG, AT&T, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Intuit and more.

You get the benefits of Jay’s world-class experience, right at your fingertips.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the book …

Chapters at a Glance

  • Chapter 1 The Inner Edge
  • Chapter 2 The First Practice: Get Clarity
  • Chapter 3 The Second Practice: Find Focus
  • Chapter 4 The Third Practice: Take Action
  • Chapter 5 The Fourth Practice: Tap Into Your Brilliance
  • Chapter 6 The Fifth Practice: Feel Fulfillment
  • Chapter 7 The Sixth Practice: Maximize Your Time
  • Chapter 8 The Seventh Practice: Build Your Team
  • Chapter 9 The Eight Practice: Keep Learning
  • Chapter 10 The Ninth Practice: See Possibility
  • Chapter 11 The Tenth Practice: All … All at Once
  • Chapter 12 Leading on the Edge

What’s In It For You

  • How to achieve personal and professional success and leave your mark on the world
  • How to experience a life of joy and fulfillment
  • How to get your life back and get better results
  • How to develop you personal leadership style and achieve a better life
  • How to develop a mindset that is more abundant, resourceful, efficient, and creative
  • How to apply the ten essential practices of personal leadership to improve real-life situations
  • How to find your edge, gain clarity, and focus your efforts to make a bigger impact
  • How to redefine your professional and personal life on your terms with your values
  • How to transform yourself as a leader by finding out who you truly are and what you truly want
  • How to be more efficient and productive where it counts
  • How to feel more motivated and inspired in all aspects of your life
  • How to use your strengths to be more innovative and resilient
  • How to live your values in work and life
  • How to prioritize work and life and maintain a healthy work-life balance
  • How never to choose between success and happiness (have it all)

Key Features

Here are some of the key features of The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

  • Examples.  Jay shares vivid examples through conversations with accomplished leaders to help show how the techniques and her ideas apply to the real world.
  • Exercises.  There are several worksheets throughout the book that help you find your values, identify your focus, perform reflection, design your ideal schedule, and more.
  • Thought-provoking questions. Jay asks questions that make you think throughout the book:  Do you want to be happy?  Are you trying to reach your full potential? Do you hope to make a difference? Do you wan to feel at peace? Who are the people that support you?, etc..
  • Self-Assessment.   There is a self-assessment to help you evaluate yourself  in terms of your personal leadership skills.
  • Success stories.  Jay includes success stories that help you relate to the ideas and that help illustrate the art of the possible.

Here is a sampling of some of my favorite nuggets from the book …

Personal Leadership

Lead yourself first, from the inside out.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“Personal leadership is your commitment to take the lead in your own life.  You take the opportunity to design, create, and achieve your ideal ways of living and leading.  In a positive, unselfish way, personal leadership means putting yourself first.  Literally speaking, personal means ‘about you’; leadership means ‘coming first.’”

The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership

  1. Get clarity.  Find what it is you want, and what strategies that complement your strengths will most effectively get you there.
  2. Find focus. Define focus areas and isolate practices that will help you achieve your goals.
  3. Take action.  Create an action plan through a two-part process.
  4. Tap into your brilliance.  How to find, and lead with, your personal strengths.
  5. Feel fulfillment.  Discover what motivates you and makes you happy, and how to practice letting the feeling of fulfillment be fully realized.
  6. Maximize your time.  Customizable techniques to help you achieve more with less.
  7. Build your team.  Surround yourself with people who can advise, champion, advance, and elevate you.
  8. Keep learning.  Redefine the process of learning, and create a practice of expansion.
  9. See possibility.  Making it happen versus letting it happen, listening to your intuition.
  10. All … All at once.  Practices to align a work-life balance that allows you to continue to excel.

Far Exceed Any Vision You’ve Dared to Dream

It won’t be easy.  But it will be worth it.  Make your journey count, and you just might exceed your wildest wishes.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:
”My wish for you is that what you achieve will far exceed any vision you’ve dared to dream.  I hope that you will be not just clear also honest and courageous about what you really want for yourself, for the people around you, for your life, for your leadership, and for the world at large.

There are times you’ll lose heart.  You’ll get busy, you’ll get tired, you’ll forget, you’ll have setbacks, or you’ll drift away. But you won’t get lost.  You have everything you need to succeed, right there within you.”

Living and Leading on the Edge

To be an effective leader, for yourself and others, you need to spend time on both the inner edge and the outer edge.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“Every leader has an inner and an outer edge.  Your inner edge is the you behind the scenes: your thoughts and motivations, your aspirations, your plans, your decisions, your strengths and weaknesses, your values, and your way of becoming a success.  Your outer edge is the you that you show the world: your words, your actions, and your interactions with the people around you.  Your inner and outer edges are intimately related.  The way you feel influences the way you act.  Your actions affect your results.  Your results determine the way you experience life.  In order to be effective as  a leader and in your life, you need to spend time on both your outer and inner edge.”

Lead for a Lifetime

Personal leadership is a way that you can balance and blend work and life, while choosing the quality of life you want to live, and improving your effectiveness along the way.

Personal leadership is also a way to bring out your best and stay fresh for the journey ahead.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“It’s time to upgrade that way of thinking.  You don’t just need to work hard.  it serves no one for you to be at work at all hours, eking out shoddy deliberates through squinty eyes, powered by fast food and triple lattes.  Getting ahead has less to do with time and effort that it does thoughtful, reflective consideration–the kind of inner work that allows you to choose who and how you want to be.  You get to work in a way that supports your life.

You are far too talented to lose your edge.  You can choose the quality of your life and improve your effectiveness both at the same time, benefiting both yourself and your business at once.  Then you won’t lose your edge.  You’ll gain an edge because you will truly be at your best.  In order to lead for a lifetime, you’ll need to spend more time on your inner edge.  You’ll need to take personal leadership.”

Using a Mastermind for Inspiration, Information, and Collaboration

One of the ways to build your team and surround yourself with people that lift you through life is to setup a mastermind.  You can use your mastermind to tackle tough challenges and inspire the art of the possible.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:
”A mastermind is a small group, usually three to five people, of dedicated peers who share and support each other through the challenges of life and leadership.  It provides a mutually beneficial source of inspiration, information, and collaboration for all of its members.  Far more than a typical network, a mastermind is your inner circle.  A personal control room.  A team.”

Jay shares samples of how others have used the mastermind approach:

  • Three consultants meet once a week for an hour to grow their businesses
  • Six investors meets once a month for an hour to make investment decisions
  • Four marketing professionals meet once a month for two hours to share ideas
  • Six small business CEOs meet once a quarter for two hours to set goals
  • Five executive officers meet twice a year for a full day to strategize
  • Eight former businesswomen turned ‘mom-preneurs’ meet on an ongoing basis via phone and e-mail to answer questions and share resources

Using a Zoom Lens to Find Your Focus

To find your focus, you need to cast a wide net and then zoom in on areas that you can act on.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“Finding focus is about choosing where to put your time, energy, and attention.  It’s a selection process—something like the steps you go through when you take a photograph.  Getting the vision for your life is like using the wide-angle lens.  It gives you the opportunity to take in a lot at once.  Finding focus, by contrast, is zooming in to take one specific picture, then another, then another.  In this section, I will show you how to zoom in to different areas of your vision so you can reach the goals one at a time that ultimately add up to your vision.  As a result, you will select the parts of your vision that are most important to you now, stay focused on them, and accomplish more—more quickly—than you can when you do everything at once.”

The Practice of Feeling Fulfillment

Finding your fulfillment and the things that make you come alive help you stay energized, engaged, and confident in everything you do.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“The fifth practice of personal leadership is feeling fulfillment–the ability to connect to an internal source of vitality.  As leaders, much of our energy goes into striving.  We want to get ahead.  We want to achieve.  Finding fulfillment is understanding what we are striving for.  The meaning.  The purpose.  The essence.  Do you want to be happy?  Are you trying to reach your full potential? Do you hope to make a difference? Do you wan to feel at peace? These are some of the experiences leaders seek when they search after success.  The key to finding fulfillment is to identify what success means to you–not the results but the spirit of a life well lives.

When you feel fulfilled, you feel full.  Satisfied. Content.  You are a whole-hearted participation in your own life.  You know what’s important to you, and you use it as a guide.  You feel confident.  Energized.  Engaged.”

Be a Leader Wherever You Go

Leadership is not a job title.  It’s a way of life.  You can be a leader wherever you go and in whatever you do.

Via The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership:

“Maybe you’ll be the person who plants the seeds of personal leadership in the mind of the next great world leader.  Maybe you will be the one to help shift your organization into a healthier , more life-affirming place.  Maybe you will initiate positive changes in the world that today you can’t even imagine.  People like you, who see themselves as leaders, aren’t just leaders in their jobs.  They are leaders by definition, wherever they go.  You will be one who asks the questions, has the answers, or creates the opportunities for incredible things to happen.  At home, at church, at work, among your friends, in your political party, when you’re with your kids, when you’re giving to charity, you will be seen as a leader.   What will you do with all that potential?”

Personal leadership is your ultimate edge.  It’s your inner edge.

Are you living a life of ambition and fulfillment, of success and happiness, of achievement and contentment, all rolled into one?

You can have it all.

All at once.

In the words of Robert Burns:

“Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content.”

Get the Book

The Inner Edge: The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership, by Joelle K. Jay is available on Amazon:

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