EP 73: Creating Headspace: Tips for Leaders

Ep 73

Listen, Follow, Review, and Rate the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Audible | Amazon Music | Spotify

If you’re a leader who is constantly firefighting and feels like you’re not as effective or influential as you’d like to be, today’s episode is for you. Learn how to go from a reactive to a proactive leader by clearing more headspace so you can be a more conscious leader, able to see the big picture in your business or career. 

Executive and Leadership coach Akua Nyame-Mensah gives you insight into her SEE Better Method, the key to having more headspace and the capacity to make more strategic, rather than tactical, decisions. 

This episode will be especially helpful if you are a high-achiever in business, a founder, or a proactive leader in the corporate or service provider space who feels like you’ve hit a plateau and aren’t as effective as you’d like.

What's Covered in this Episode About Reflective Leadership

  • The subconscious mind makes up more than 90% of our brain power and includes things like bodily functions and making memories. 
  • Why it’s important to create headspace to be a more conscious and strategic leader. 
  • Self-awareness is the first step in Akua’s 3-step leadership process, called the “SEE Better Method.” 
  • Cultivating our self-awareness and making more headspace is a cyclical process. As leaders, you always need to be open to reflection.
  • Akua talks about the importance of building a routine around self-reflection and actively scheduling the time. 
  • Find out how to hold yourself accountable when it comes to reflection and being more conscious.
  • To move forward and grow, you may find yourself needing to first slow down a bit, and that’s okay! 
  • Akua has limited spots available for 1:1 executive and leadership coaching program for proactive leaders who are ready to take their Leadership to the next level.  

If you’ve enjoyed the Open Door Conversations podcast, please leave a review. When you do, you'll receive Akua’s 15-minute Thought Leadership LinkedIn Checklist.* It’s the routine she has used to build social wealth and relationships on LinkedIn that have directly contributed to her ability to impact so many leaders around the world.

*Be sure to screenshot your review after submitting it, share it on social media, and tag Akua!

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "You have to create time to reflect on how you're going to do things differently. You have to create time and honor it to reflect on how are you going to effectively use your team, your stakeholders and your network." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "We're all biased, I'm biased, and we discriminate. And I think that a conscious leader accepts this. They then build systems, processes, checklists, mental models, and also have people around them to check them. But the first step is to acknowledge and recognize that this is what we do." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Naturally, we try to surround ourselves or we are drawn to like minded people, we surround ourselves with people who are like us, whether it's you know, physically, like us superficially, like us, maybe sound like us, we see ourselves in them, we think they think like us, and a part of it is is that psychologically we like to be liked." - Akua Nyame-Mensah

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

  • Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

  • Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

Playlists-Wide Rectangle Ad

Here’s the transcript for episode 73 about Creating Headspace

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 00:00 If you find yourself just doing, doing, doing and not having the headspace to really reflect on what you want to do next, the headspace to be strategic, the headspace to even think about how to leverage your stakeholders effectively, you need to listen to this week's podcast episode, we're going to be talking a little bit about how just executing just delivering is not enough to be a next level leader. We're going to be talking about the importance of creating space for reflection and the importance of being a conscious leader. If that sounds good to you. Keep listening. Hello, and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. My name is a Korea Nyame-Mensah. I also respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised learning and organisational development facilitator, speaker and former startup executive. And I am so excited because this year I'm celebrating five years of working for myself five years of supporting leaders. And I am so grateful because I've had the opportunity to partner with amazing organisations, from high growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, and 2022 alone, I serve over 600 Yes, over 600 leaders around the world. And in this podcast, you will have the opportunity to learn my three step leadership framework. I actually break it down in Episode 71. I use this framework with my high achieving and entrepreneurial minded clients that are juggling a million responsibilities so they can easily build wealth. This three step framework is going to teach you how to leverage your innate personality to learn how to prioritise and maximise not just your time, but also your money, you don't have to work harder or turn into someone else. To get more done. Let's tune into this week's episode. Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast episode. Today's episode is all about evolving. As a leader, I'm going to be talking about something I see in a lot of my executive and leadership clients something that I know they're working towards and wanting to achieve. And it's all about having enough headspace. Our subconscious mind makes up over 90% of our brain power. And it handles a lot of things. It's what our body needs to function properly from eating, to breathing, to be able to digest the food in your stomach. And making memories we do a lot of this without much thought. That is why it's called the subconscious mind. As you can probably tell, there is not much of our mind that is actually conscious. And so I'm not going to get into whether or not we can control our subconscious mind. But what I do think we should be spending a lot more time and energy on is what we can control and to be able to control and I put that in quotes. And I want to make sure that I said control in quotes are the pieces that we need to spend time and energy cultivating our self awareness. And self awareness is the first step of my three step leadership process I call the see better method. And I think it's the key to really being able to have enough headspace to really step up into that leadership position that you are already in. So if you feel like you are not as effective, you're not able to influence you're losing steam, maybe you're not as motivated. You don't feel like you're getting traction with your team with even maybe your clients, maybe even you've hit a plateau. That's really what we're talking about today. What can really help to shift that. And I think this is so incredibly important and will be very helpful for you. Because if you're in the process of scaling yourself, scaling your business or growing fast and your career, what got you here will usually not get you to where you want to go. And so it becomes even more important to create time and space to think about where you want to create time and space and where you want to use your time, energy and resources. You will need to do something different and that's why I'm always talking about the importance of awareness and why it's the first step of my three step process. And why my process is a circular one right it doesn't end we are constantly in should be totally always open to cultivating our aware harness. And as I mentioned earlier, I've had so many conversations with my clients. And this is both within the startup space. Alright, this is also with my friends within the service industry space, right? This is also within the corporate space as well. So many of my clients are really thinking about how they can step up, right, how they can get out of whatever space they're currently in. And a huge part of that is recognising one, that maybe you don't have enough headspace, and then to, to build that system to build that routine, you might have to slow down, okay, you might have to take the time to reflect. And then you can potentially speed back up. And you might not go as fast as you've done in the past. And that's okay, as someone who's a high achiever who's done many things in their lives, and I'm sure if you're listening to this, you're probably also a high achiever have done many things in your life, you're probably used to delivering, you're probably used to doing things at speed. And so what I want you to consider for this conversation, and what I'm going to share with you today, is doing something a little different. A coaching, and learning and development friend of mine has a really great metaphor for this, I will make sure I link an article to how she talks about this in the show notes. But she describes it as creating space to be on the balcony. So you can actually see the dance floor. And so many of us leaders spend so much time on the dance floor, turning and watching other people and trying out the cool new moves. We don't create enough space to go above and beyond that, and really be on the balcony to see what will really work and to really reflect on what might come next, or what we should maybe do next, or what those next 10 steps could potentially look like. I personally love the imagery or the metaphor of a hamster on a wheel. So a lot of us are hamsters in a wheel. I know I was like this when I worked for a fast growing startup. A lot of the conversations I have with my clients also working within the corporate space sort of feel like they're just constantly doing doing doing. They're on this hamster wheel. They're going in some direction. But is it the right direction? Should they turn around? Should they go eat? Should they do something different? So rather than being the hamster in the wheel, right, what I want to suggest is that you want to be the human walking around the hamster that's in this enclosed tank, right? Because that human walking around can see everything they can see the hamster, they can see where the food is whether or not there's enough food, whether or not the cage needs to be cleaned out from that vantage point, right? Because they can walk around, it's a lot more strategic. They can make decisions, right? That human can make decisions about how to engage with the hamster, saving them time, energy and resources. All right. So if you're listening to this, you're probably thinking to yourself, how can leaders get to this point? How can they get to this point. And one of the first things I did when I was putting together this episode was Google conscious, and Google conscious leadership, Google conscious leader, and they looked at a lot of definitions. But I saw something on vocabulary.com that I wanted to share. So conscious is a Latin word that comes from knowing or aware. So a conscious person has awareness of her environment and her existence and thoughts. As I mentioned earlier on, a lot of us our subconscious, right over 90% of what we do is subconscious. So as much thought as possible. I think a key thing here and this is also included in that definition is conscious, should not be confused with self conscious, were self conscious is your overly aware and even embarrassed by how you look or act. So I'm not suggesting that you become self conscious, but more conscious, more self aware. And that's why once again, right, I'm probably going to sound like a broken record. It starts with that self awareness piece. And it starts with being open and ruthless about checking in with yourself and others. And it really starts with moving into being aware of how you choose to show up, right, how you choose to exchange your time and energy. And then of course, how you choose to interact with others. And then ultimately, right, that third step in my three step leadership process, how you set expectations, whether you're aware of the explicit and implicit expectations and boundaries that you set. Right. So that is the conscious leader and I think that this idea of the conscious leader is incredibly helpful, and I think this is what leaders need to master the curiosity and to build the routines and habits of check King in a being accountable to themselves and the stakeholders they think are important. And so of course, we'll be diving deeper into the ways to build these habits and routines and upcoming episodes. And my hope is that I'll continue to bring you leaders and founders who have cultivated their self awareness to build their lives and build their business. And my hope is that they also inspire you to create time to reflect. But for this episode, I did want to leave you with some practical takeaways. Because, ultimately, right, I am a coach, that's the primary tool or tool I use to support leaders with their leadership. And that's a very inquiry based, you know, tool, right? It's really about being future oriented, how can we do things differently moving forward. So we wanted to leave you with some key takeaways, I think, to help you think about how you can become more conscious how you can spend more time on the balcony, right? How you can be that human walking around that hamster tank or cage, the first thing I just want to make sure I share with you is that you already are taking action. If you're listening to this, you are doing something different. And I want to make sure that I recognise and acknowledge that because for so many of us that are high achievers, and we're constantly doing things, it's difficult to take a step back and to listen to something new or listen to something you disagree with, or try and take on new approaches to doing things. So that's the first thing, right, making sure that you recognise and acknowledge the fact that you want to do something different. And it might be a bit challenging at first, the second thing I want to share or recommend is that after listening to this episode, take a second to reflect on what you've learned if you've learned anything. And as you reflect, you know, think about one thing, maybe you want to reflect a little bit more on so for me, one thing I know I want to reflect a little bit more on is my signature service, I'm actually in the process of renaming it, because I really feel like what I'm doing with my signature service is really supporting leaders. So they are more conscious, they're more conscious about their time, more conscious about how they engage with others, more conscious about what they're doing in their lives and where they want to go. So for me, one of the things I've tried to do is create more time to reflect on that. And I've also tried to solicit feedback from others as well to try and help me think about how I want to shape that. All right. Once again, I just want to make sure for those of you who are listening to this, I know you're probably an overachiever. So you don't need to pick more than one thing to start off with just one thing and just start small. Okay, because I like super simple frameworks. After you reflect on that one thing, is there something that you want to start, stop or continue in relation to it? All right, I have an entire episode dedicated to this approach. I think it's super simple. We don't have to overcomplicate it. From my perspective, leadership is simple. And the ways we hold ourselves accountable and set expectations for ourselves are also be simple. So I think the start stop and continue approach is a great starting point to use in your reflection time. All right. So once you've done that, that is the starting point. That is the beginning of building a new habit or routine to being more conscious to being more reflective. So what I love to invite you to do is now to set a time in your calendar, right? And schedule time to reflect on that thing, every so often, whatever makes the most sense for you. So for the example I shared about my signature service, it's probably something I'm going to reflect on on a quarterly basis, or every six months or so. So I actually do reflect on this. Now I've reflected on it, I think typically on a yearly basis, I want to reflect on it more often. Because I want to make sure that my messaging and the calls to action related to my signature service makes sense for my ideal decision makers and my ideal clients. All right, so Voila, I know I've probably made it sounds super simple. And you know, realistically, it might look a little bit different as you continue to try to hone this habit and build out this routine to reflect and be more conscious. I know things can happen. So something you may want to ask yourself is how can I make sure I hold myself accountable? To honour that space that I've created to reflect and decide on the next steps in relation to whatever topic challenge or issue that you've set for yourself? One of the things that I like to do is surround myself with like minded people. So I surround myself with other coaches, their service providers, right, and they remind me the importance of checking in on what I'm doing related to my signature service to make sure I'm creating time and space to update it. And even asking myself whether or not I still want to have it. Okay, so that last step right is really about planning those reflection moments and And one of my clients recently said something about sort of planning reflection moments that I just wanted to share, because I thought it was a really great way to think about it. It's sort of like planning date night with your partner at the time, you're like, why would I do this, like this is obviously something I'll create time and space for. But things get busy, right? We forget things, other things pop up. So it's important to put it on there. And you're really going to enjoy it. When you actually get there, I promise you, you're really going to enjoy the impact reflection has on your ability to show up as a leader on your ability to make decisions on your ability to think about where your time and energy needs to go. Alright, so I just want to close out with a quick invitation. If this is something you want to work on this year, if you want to go from doing the work yourself to working through others, if you want to go from feeling like you're constantly sucked into the day to day and never have time for more strategic tasks. If you want to go from being very task oriented and tactical, to more strategic, you want to go to a point where you're not constantly putting out fires and feeling like you're just doing the urgent things to really focusing on the important things get in touch because I do have a few slots open for my one on one executive and leadership coaching programme. As I mentioned before, I'm in the process of renaming it because I've taken the time to reflect on the current name. And I know my clients are already proactive, right? I know that people I work with are already proactive because they're probably listening to this. And that's being proactive. And so it's really about taking their leadership to the next level. And that's about being more conscious and creating the space to be more reflective and more strategic. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. I hope you stay safe, and stay sane. Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode, please share this episode with someone who can benefit from its contents. If you found this episode helpful, I want to ask you to leave a review. This makes it easier for other people to find my podcast and also allows me to bring on even bigger guests, and even more fascinating stories. Thank you so much for listening again. Stay safe and stay sane


There are no comments yet. Be the first one to leave a comment!

Leave a comment


 Untitled design (7)  Untitled design (8)  Untitled design (1)



               CASE STUDIES

               PEOPLE ROUNDTABLE


Leaders aren't born; they're made.

This 5-minute assessment will help you understand what leadership stage you're currently in so you can determine your next steps.


© Copyright 2023, Akua Nyame-Mensah | Terms & Conditions  | Website by Rachelle Deem