Starts With You


As I write to you today, my heart is still filled with a poignant mix of sorrow and gratitude. As I mentioned last week, I recently lost my beautiful mother, a woman whose strength and wisdom left indelible marks on her five kids and those lucky enough to know her.

In navigating the waves of grief and reminiscence, I’ve come to realize the enormous impact she had in shaping my understanding of leadership. She was my first leader, teaching by example how to navigate life’s labyrinth with grace, compassion, and resilience.

Recently, I found myself on the  Earned Wisdom: For Accomplished Female Leaders Podcast. The host, Tracy Crossley, seeking to distill my experience into a single piece of advice, asked for the one crucial tip on leadership I’d share with the world.

Thinking of my mother and her unwavering commitment to self-growth, I said, “Lead yourself, before you lead others.”

In our multifaceted roles as leaders, wives, partners, mothers, sisters and daughters it’s all too common to feel pressured into directing all our energies outward – constantly leading, guiding, mentoring, and bolstering those who look up to us.

However, the truth is, that the bedrock of leadership is firmly rooted within ourselves.

Before we venture into the world to sow the seeds of inspiration, we must first turn the lens inward, cultivating a firm understanding and mastery of self-leadership.

Today, I am delighted to share with you a comprehensive step-by-step guide, a collection of inspiring quotes that have personally touched me, and a curated list of book recommendations, all intended to support and nourish your journey of self-leadership.

Step-by-step Guide for Leading Yourself

  1. Identify Your Values: What’s important to you? What are your non-negotiables? Knowing your core values helps guide your decision-making and actions.
  2. Set Personal Goals: Envision your future. What do you want to achieve? Set both short and long-term goals and work towards them.
  3. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence: Understand your emotions, empathize with others, and manage your emotional responses effectively.
  4. Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize self-care. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and plenty of sleep are non-negotiables.
  5. Continuous Learning: Remain curious and committed to personal growth.
  6. Ask for Feedback: Regularly seek constructive feedback from colleagues, mentors, or coaches.
  7. Celebrate Success: Acknowledge your achievements, however big or small they are.

To help you put this into practice, I’ve created a Self-Leadership Worksheet for you.

Let’s remember that the journey to becoming an impactful leader starts from you.

As we navigate the road to leadership success, it’s critical to first establish a firm foundation of self-leadership. Because ultimately, the strength of your leadership lies in your ability to stay true to yourself.

This is a journey, indeed, both deeply personal and universal. As leaders, we find ourselves guiding, influencing, and supporting others as we dance to the rhythm of our roles. However, the initial journey, the one that sets the tone for everything that follows, comes from within ourselves.

May these words serve not only as an invitation to lead, but also as a gentle reminder of the power and potential that rests within us, often unlocked by the silent heroes in our lives, like my mother.

With boundless inspiration,


Your Leadership Journey: Starts With You quote 1


Your Leadership Journey: Starts With You featured podcast

Marissa Levin is the founder of i5 Conscious Leadership. She’s an ICF-certified coach, speaker, author, and 30-year entrepreneur. She has been recognized as one of the top 200 biggest voices of leadership globally for 2023. Her goal is to catalyze leaders and organizations to “achieve their highest potential through conscious transformation.” Listen in as Marissa shares her insights on what has made her journey so successful.

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