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Chapter 10 – The Ultimate Integration – Unleashing Your Leadership Potential

Written by: Sara Hegy, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Sara Hegy

Dear visionary leader who has been following this series, as we arrive at the culmination of our journey in this final chapter for now, it's time to integrate the profound insights and skills we've garnered throughout this series. Chapter 10 is dedicated to Unleashing Your Own Leadership Potential, a synthesis of all that we've explored, aimed at transforming you into the most effective, empowered, and visionary leader you can be. 


A photo of a car.

Visualizing Burnt-Out, as the state of driving a car in wear and tear conditions such as overheated engine and worn-out tires, representing the depletion of the car’s resources and the mental energy of the driver who would still use such a car to go about their daily life. The car here represents the behavioral ways of working or dealing with the change in life’s circumstances. The great news is with the repletion of the driver and getting a new car to drive, the driver will still have a whole new unleashed experience of being alive.


The synthesis of leadership mastery 


  • Integrating Brain Science and Leadership: We started by understanding the brain's processes in shaping our perceptions, decision-making, and the mental frames of decision-making. Now, it's time to consistently apply this knowledge in everyday leadership situations. Be it strategizing, problem-solving, or inspiring your team, let the perfect processing power of your brain guide you in making more informed, effective decisions.

  • Embodying Emotional Intelligence: Leadership is as much about managing emotions as it is about strategic thinking. Continuously develop your emotional intelligence - not just to understand and regulate your own emotions but also to empathize and connect with others, building stronger, more resilient teams around you. 

  • Visionary and Adaptive Strategy: Combine your visionary thinking with adaptive strategies. In a world of constant change, the ability to foresee future trends and adapt your strategies accordingly is invaluable. Be the leader who not only anticipates the future but also shapes it. 

  • Cultivating a Growth Mindset: Embrace a mindset of growth and learning. See challenges as opportunities to grow and encourage the same attitude in your surrounding environment. Foster an environment where continuous learning is the norm, and every setback is viewed as a stepping stone to greater success. 

  • Authentic and Inclusive Leadership: Authenticity and inclusivity should be integral pillars of every leader. Lead by being true to your experiences, your values and your belief in the power of great teamwork, and create an inclusive culture where diverse thoughts and ideas are not just welcomed but celebrated. 

  • Resilience and Flexibility: Develop resilience to withstand the trials and uncertainties of leadership. Coupled with flexibility, resilience allows you to navigate through tough times and emerge stronger. 

  • Effective Communication and Collaboration: Master the art of communication. Be clear, transparent, and open in your interactions. Encourage collaboration and dynamic teamwork, understanding that the collective strength of a team is much greater than the sum of its parts. 

  • Empowering and Inspiring Others: Your greatest achievement as a leader is not just in what you accomplish but in how you empower and inspire others to achieve their best. Lead in a way that others feel motivated and equipped to reach their full potential.

If you find yourself clueless or curious about your life’s or business’s progress, it’s a great idea to understand why you made those decisions in the beginning. When you become aware of the driving forces of your decisions that led to your choices. When you can understand the sources of your mental blocks, you start to influence them and then, proactively dance with the waves of change along the way. 


Most of the knowledge I shared with you was knowledge I learned over only the last 10 years of my life. I practically knew nothing about change management, mental resilience, or active thinking. I was aware of the theoretical practices and definitions and I listened to many informative resources but I was never trained to develop the necessary skills for leadership. Hence, I struggled to create results with fear-driven reactive thinking which led me straight to a.. 


Let me reveal it to you within my story where I integrate the different elements I distinguished within the last chapters of this series. 


Ane expert opinion: Tales of integration from the eyes of a first generation Middle Eastern immigrant, a PhD holder, and a Coach instead of an expert opinion


It was one day after I landed a German Ph.D. with the highest honors from a prestigious University in Europe and after having published a first-author paper in the best academic journal in the world! I was still feeling surreal; did yesterday actually happen? Can you pinch me? I feel like I’m in a dream! 


Ring ring, ring ring, ring… my Facebook messenger rang, Hey, mum what’s up?


Good, you? 


Yes, I’m great! I still can’t believe what happened yesterday I said. 


Well, what happened yesterday is great but today is a new day; when are you applying for jobs? she said. 


Sorry, what? puzzled by what I just heard considering that it was less than 24 hours after my defense. 


No, mum! I spoke with a serious and straight tone, I’m not going to apply for jobs now! Forget it! I’m going to rest, enjoy, and enjoy a little more! Woman, I just spent the last 7 years of my life on this project and with the academic pursuit! 7 years of my life and less than a year ago, I healed from severe depression. I earned this rest, every bit of it.


You see, to my mum, it’s a completely normal conversation to engage in, she was raised in circumstances when you had to hustle with every bit of energy that you have to survive until the end of the day and walk up to fight for your place the next day, on repeat! The price of resting is too high, if you rest, you lose what you piled up or you become left out (whether this is money, prestige, esteem, or friendships). (That’s what we coined earlier in the series as social pressure, reactive thinking, and resistance to change.) 


She raised me to be the same, but somewhere in the German system, I got stuck! Putting more pressure on myself ran out of effectiveness. In the end, I exhausted my battery entirely! For years, I’d go home to Cairo, Egypt to have holidays, and end up doing work for my academic paper. So, after 3-4 weeks, I could only manage to rest for 2 days and I’d return to work, still hungry for holidays, with an empty battery. 


The truth is, I had no boundaries for who I was separate from work! I used to believe that I am the PhD, I am the project! I am the degree! And I am not enough because it’s not working, so clearly I am not enough! Oh, the Germans are so much better than me, they had bettereducation as children, they thought more proactively, and they lived in a better system! They have better clarity of mind, I bet they have a smarter brain than mine. (That’s what we coined earlier in the series as reactive decision-making, fearful sensory perceptions, lack of self-belief, and failure to integrate waves of change that came about from the experience of immigrating to Germany.) 


So, how can I navigate through that? Clearly, Do more!

Do you know the probable almost certain outcome of this attitude? 


Yes, you guessed it right! Burnout and depression! 


Experiencing burnout that reflects failure of mental adaptation to change


I’d like to define burnout by visualizing a car, you know when the motor is out of oil, the tires squeak and the battery is out of energy, so the car hits the tree and stops moving. This is it! This is the mental state of burnout! You’re stuck! And your heart keeps rushing, you’re in danger! Run as fast as you can! Run for your life! But your mind can’t leave, for whatever reason, it gets paralyzed! I can’t run! I can’t run, oh my god! I’m not safe! The car is in danger, I’m in danger. I have to push the car out and try to move it away from the tree. 


When you don’t notice it like I didn’t and you keep trying to push the car away from the tree, despite the lack of ease and energy, you experience the light of your brain dimming and you become so out of energy that you experience fade-outs and disconnects from who you knew yourself to be! 


Here’s the good news and the good news about this! 


First the good news: Congratulations, your car crashed but, you’re still alive!!


Then, the good news: It’s time to buy a new car soon! 


This is what most of us collapse together as individuals, and businesses: when the car crashes, our brains think we’re dead! It’s either the car’s way or noway (refer to the last chapter to understand the mental blocks that we experience in dealing with change)! But, dear reader, that's an illusion! 


The car here is what we define as our personalities, business personas, and it refers to the built-in systems that we have created from and through our previous experiences so, what are we good at, how can we execute our daily tasks, what to do in circumstances of fear and sudden losses (where resources became limited or the outer circumstances are forcing a certain wave of outcome), how to respond to new waves of change, how to maneuver through the streets of life’s adventures.


And like all cars, they have a limited shelf-life so the more adventurous your strides are, the bigger ambitions you have, the faster, the longer the car will drive, and consequently, wear out. So, when you start going through long travels with your car, especially if you are driving through a lot of bumpy roads and stormy weather then, you’ll start losing the clarity of your view, and you may start to unwittingly panic (you start noticing signs that you’re experiencing resistance and friction), and gradually, you may or may not lose trust in the car or in your driving skills.


So, back to our visual experience, you crashed, now what?


That’s not an easy question because your brain is envisioning danger, a lot of it and it’s unconsciously fixated there! (we coined this brain’s behavior with the movie tool of creating awareness in Chapter 5) Your mind is even creating this illusion that you’re dead inside, of course, there’s no joy, passion, or aliveness where you’re so your mind is getting some of the picture right but, you’re absolutely not dead! You’re as alive as you can be if you’re reading my words now, you have got a heart, it’s beating, you have got a chest, you’re breathing and you are here!


How fast this realization of being alive despite the car crash hits the car driver depends on the person’s mental resilience. i.e. how many times did the car’s driver rise and fall before the accident? Did they rise to their feet after the failure of a previous project? A previous relationship? Failure of a business? Are they naturally a hustler? All these factors will dictate the degree of help and support required for the car driver to realize that they are alive.


In my experience coaching hundreds of people with highly similar backgrounds and being coached by tens of people from various backgrounds, the more ashamed we feel as human beings, the more separate and alone we experience ourselves in the world, and the more introverted we end up and less self-expressed, the more resources are required to help us rise back from the “dead” and discover for ourselves that we are indeed alive, that only our car is weary and we don’t have to stick to the weary car for the whole duration of our life.


Quite noticeable, if you come from a family generation who has built wealth and lost it, who have never been able to build wealth, who have experienced any form of mental or physical oppression in the form of powerless gender (ie. women), lack of wealth and hence impact, lack of being heard, you will have to discover for yourself that your family has unforeseeably passed this myth on to you because this is how they lived their life, with the same weary car, stuck or beyond, but rarely admitting it!


The next stage in moving beyond the car crash is to get out of the car, experience the freedom of being alive, and take some time to recover from the physical or mental wounds that the crash has caused. This is the time to slow down and heal, discover the sources of the movies that are keeping your mind stuck, and deal with the mental blocks you’ve been experiencing.


Then, the more space you’re able to create, the more ready you’ll be to go shopping for a new car that you love, you’re excited about and the faster you’ll surf off the new road.


The synthesis of leadership mastery – Real-life story

Working the process I’ve been revealing to you in the previous chapters since the day I decided to slow down and ask myself what I want after all of that career success I had, is the day that I realized my true power and potential. The journey has been a roller coaster yet, very fulfilling. During COVID-19, I transitioned from becoming an award-winning scientist to a founder of an English-speaking coaching business in Germany. For 3 years, I only had email-based residence permits. I hired a lawyer to help me get a residence permit but he said I should leave Germany because I had low chances of making it, I had no stable housing conditions, I had no safety net yet, I was trained for over 10,000 hours of coaching, I created more than 45 clients from more than 10 countries to date without prior entrepreneurial experience. Why? Because I discovered the power of active mental decision-making, the power of discovering opportunity through every tough wave of change. I cleared most of the movies where my mind was once stuck by now and I’m only tapping into what’s possible. In 2021, I won an academic prize for my Ph.D. work and I received embassy congratulations on winning the prize in 2022, I’ve been featured in tens of TV, radio, and newspaper interviews as I shared my struggle and success story openly. In 2023, the German government approved my career transition and I’m expanding my realm of partnerships with decision-makers, influencers, and highly successful individuals who are looking to build a life of outstanding achievement that is worth living and loving.


A giraffe and a lion.

Illustrative cartoon image showing how limited our views are if we are juxtaposed in our opinions, and beliefs in how we see and experience the world. That’s what we can overcome by increasing our social awareness and emotional intelligence in accepting that we’re only seeing one angle of our view and it’s not a matter of being right or the other party wrong, it is a matter of being curious and discovering what we don’t know in how can we cooperate to create a better world for everyone.


Opportunities for enhanced inclusion and development in global systems and institutional laws and policies


To decision-makers in businesses, universities, organizations, and institutions: 


The current integration efforts of immigrant expertise within the current inflexible systems hold significant economic and social burdens. There lies a profound opportunity to enhance organizational effectiveness and cultural diversity by engaging in a revolutionary open dialog of visionary leadership founded in a relationship of trust, service, and innovation for an inclusive future. 


The importance of science-backed self-development and role models 


Emphasizing science-backed self-development experiences and presenting successful immigrant role models can profoundly impact both personal growth and organizational effectiveness. These elements serve as powerful tools for motivation and learning, offering practical examples of resilience and adaptation in diverse cultural landscapes. 


Addressing systemic flexibility and emotional intelligence 


For a truly inclusive and productive environment, it is essential to move away from rigid systems that fail to accommodate diverse backgrounds. This flexibility is not just a matter of policy but also mindset. As demonstrated through my 11-year journey in Germany, leading to business success and finally securing residency, the challenges faced by immigrants, including skilled individuals and refugees, can be immense. Addressing these challenges requires systemic adaptability and dynamic teamwork of policymakers and successful immigrant leaders to ensure that individuals can thrive both personally and professionally, contributing positively to their communities and the economy. 


Spotting emotionally intelligent leadership 


A key aspect of fostering an inclusive environment is the presence of emotionally intelligent leaders and experts. Emotional intelligence in practice is the ability to empathize genuinely with others' experiences while maintaining an objective and empowering stance. It involves listening and responding in a way that validates experiences and offers constructive insights, rather than reinforcing a sense of victimization or cultural alienation. 


For instance, An emotionally intelligent person in practice is a person who can empathize with the person’s experience despite their full awareness that they can never be in the person’s shoes. An emotionally intelligent person is a person who is not victimized by what the communication is (not in a state of powerlessness) or by the person who is saying the communication. Say, I tell experts X.Y that I feel unsafe at work. 


Scenario X:

When X says, oh no that’s terrible! Those work environments are quite toxic and competitive. I too had worked in a toxic environment. (that’s not emotionally intelligent) 


Scenario Y: 

When Y says, oh no, I’m so sorry this has been your experience. Are you open to telling me what happened? I remember when I too worked in an environment that I perceived as highly toxic and I hated it! I can’t imagine what it’s like for you! But, after telling me about your experience, let me share with you something interesting I discovered from my experience hoping that it can make a difference to you in your struggle. (that’s emotionally intelligent, it gives the person the experience of being heard, empowered, and inspired by Y’s expertise, this relationship creates trust) 


Enhancing integration through coaching conversations

 

In the dynamic process of integrating diverse cultures and experiences within predetermined policies and systems, the role of coaching conversations emerges as pivotal. These conversations, when conducted effectively, are instrumental in facilitating the successful bilateral integration of immigrant expertise, enhancing emotional intelligence among leaders and their team members, and fostering a more inclusive and adaptable competitive work culture. 


Key aspects of effective coaching conversations


  • Facilitating Understanding and Empathy: Coaching conversations provide a safe space for individuals to express and reflect on their experiences, challenges, and perspectives. This sharing fosters understanding and empathy, critical components in building inclusive environments. Through active listening and empathetic responses, coaches can help bridge cultural and experiential gaps among team members as well as guidance in executing performance gaps in systems and processes to achieve better results. 

  • Empowering Individuals: Coaching is about empowerment. It helps individuals recognize their strengths and potential, encouraging them to take ownership of their development and integration within the new environment. By focusing on solutions and growth, coaching conversations help individuals move beyond any feelings of alienation or inadequacy. 

  • Enhancing Emotional Intelligence: For leaders and decision-makers, coaching conversations are an opportunity to develop and refine emotional intelligence skills. These discussions can reveal unconscious biases, offer new perspectives to expand our view of opportunities and teach us how to empathize with and effectively manage a diverse workforce. 

  • Promoting Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptability: Coaching conversations can address the nuances of cultural differences and their impact on professional interactions. Coaches can guide individuals and teams on how to navigate these differences respectfully and adaptively, enhancing bilateral cross-cultural communication and collaboration. 

  • Identifying and Overcoming Barriers: Through coaching, individuals can identify personal and systemic barriers to integration and develop strategies to overcome them. This process is essential in creating a more inclusive and supportive workplace, especially for immigrants and individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

  • Creating Personalized Integration Strategies: Every individual’s experience is unique. Coaching allows for the development of personalized strategies that cater to specific needs and circumstances, ensuring a more effective integration process. 

  • Building Resilience and Coping Mechanisms: Coaching conversations can equip individuals with resilience and coping mechanisms to handle the challenges of adapting to a new cultural and professional environment. This resilience is crucial for long-term success and well-being. 

Collage photo of a woman.

Some images of the author that reflect her journey from ‘’i can’t take it anymore‘’ to ‘’faking it and really sad’’ to ‘’i’m committed show me the way’’ to ‘’I’m incredibly grateful and thankful’’ to ‘’repletion state’’ to ‘’fulfilment and power’’. You can trace back those moments with the original captions and statements written by the author via her Facebook Profile.


Your leadership journey ahead

 

As this series concludes, remember that your journey as a leader is ongoing. The insights and strategies provided in these chapters are tools for you to use, refine, and adapt as you continue to grow. Leadership is not a destination but a continuous process of learning, evolving, and transcending limitations. 


Your potential as a leader is limitless. With the knowledge and skills you've acquired, you are well-equipped to face the challenges ahead and seize the opportunities that come your way. Embrace your role not just as a leader but as a visionary, a catalyst for change, and a source of inspiration for those around you.

 

In your hands lies the power to create impact, drive change, and achieve extraordinary results. Unleash your leadership potential and witness the transformative journey not just of yourself but of everyone you lead.

 

As you step forward from here, do so with confidence, passion, and a commitment to excellence. The world needs leaders like you, now more than ever. Need help to rise to your highest potential? Book your coaching call with us here and if you're interested in joining our growing Facebook community for leadership development, join here.

 

If you know or are a decision maker and you’d like to make use of my coaching expertise to help your team or organization, let’s connect here.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Sara Hegy Brainz Magazine
 

Sara Hegy, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Sara Hegy is an award-winning scientist and a leadership coach who is dedicated to helping other leaders achieve their full potential while being fulfilled. She grew up in an environment where producing results is a measure of self-worth. Hence, she always struggled to apply self-development teachings until coaching helped her gain clarity on her struggles and gave her tools to overcome them. Through harnessing the power of her mind and taking effective action, she graduated with honors, won a scientific prize, and her findings raised a$2.7 million research grant. She's the founder of her coaching business that globally serves. Her mission: Passionate leaders who create massively and live a life that they love.

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