From the beginning of time, people and communities have learnt to assemble and gather together to develop systems, pseudo-governing bodies, and leadership structures, to serve as a means of survival, to protect the collective rights of individuals, the most vulnerable members of the community, etc. Essentially to ensure the protection and preservation of life and maintain order.
Apart from external forms of governance, the importance of self-governance at the individual level cannot be understated. According to Wikipedia ‘Self-governance is not just a philosophical concept but also a practical one. It can be seen in various forms such as self-regulation, self-control, self-management and self-leadership. It is an important concept in the fields of management, leadership, and governance, and is seen as a key to achieving personal and organizational goals’. Defining and developing who you are as a person begins with the mastery of Self-governance. In a sense, Self-governance or self-regulation could be considered to be the fundamental building block of personal growth, success, and self-fulfillment. Through self-governance, individuals embrace responsibility, practice autonomy, and develop self-discipline. By gaining a deeper understanding of self-governance, individuals can fulfil their potential and lead purpose driven lives.
Embracing Individual Responsibility
Self-governance encourages individuals to take responsibility for their actions, decisions, and overall well-being. It instills a sense of ownership, enabling people to recognise that they are the ‘architects of their lives’. By acknowledging personal responsibility, individuals are empowered to make conscious choices, set goals, and work towards achieving them. This sense of agency fosters personal growth and allows individuals to transcend limitations and external constraints. When Kemi, a young HR professional, found herself stuck in a non-stop cycle of unfulfilling jobs and dissatisfaction for five years, she realised that she was not living her Authentic self. Dealing with guilt and anxiety about leaving a job that had the security she needed but lacked the fulfilment she desired. Kemi decided to take control of her life and embrace self-governance. She identified her passion for writing and enrolled in evening classes while working full-time. Through consistent effort and self-discipline, she honed her skills and eventually transitioned into a fulfilling career as a professional writer.
Engaging in self-governance implies that you are nurturing the development of self-discipline, a vital attribute for personal and professional success. It requires individuals to exercise control over their impulses, make conscious choices, and adhere to their commitments. Self-discipline empowers individuals to overcome obstacles, stay focused, and persevere in the face of challenges. It enables them to cultivate habits that lead to personal growth, productivity, and overall well-being. For Kunle, a busy oil and gas executive his core struggle was with time management and procrastination. Recognising the need for better self-governance, he devised a plan to improve his delegation skills as his team was under performing because he tried to do most of the work himself due to trust issues and productivity steadily declined. John decided to take control by creating a practical work flow management team schedule, he eliminated his major distractions such as spending too much scrolling on social media, and held himself accountable for ensuring his team executed assignments on time. Through consistent practice and self-discipline, he witnessed a remarkable improvement in his team output and overall productivity. Not to mention his stress levels and high blood pressure dropped.
One beautiful thing about self-governance is that it fosters self-awareness, allowing individuals to introspect, learn their strengths, development areas , values, and aspirations. Think of it like a SWOT analysis. I highly recommend you do one. It encourages introspection, reflection, and continuous self-improvement. By embracing self-awareness, individuals can align their actions and choices with their authentic selves, leading to a greater sense of fulfillment and purpose. Nkem, a mid-career nursing professional, felt unfulfilled in her role. Seeking clarity, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery and self-governance. Through practices such as meditation, journaling, and seeking feedback from trusted mentors, Nkem gained a deeper understanding of her passions and values. This newfound self-awareness empowered her to make a pivot and embark on a successful career transition into a field aligned with her true calling.
Encouraging Personal Growth
Self-governance serves as a catalyst for personal growth and continuous learning. It motivates individuals to introspection, know firstly that development is a continuous, ongoing process seek knowledge, acquire new skills, and broaden their horizons. By taking charge of their personal development, individuals can adapt to changing circumstances, embrace challenges, and unlock their full potential. When a seasoned professional recognises the need for ongoing personal growth to prevent stagnation, that person demonstrates a level of self-awareness. A professional can pursue continuous professional development by attending industry or networking conferences, take the latest industry certifications, and actively collaborate with peers in his or her field. Consequently, expanding knowledge, refreshing skills, and staying active and progressing in career.
Cultivating Autonomy and Freedom
Self-governance empowers individuals to lead autonomous lives, free from excessive external control or dependency. It enables individuals to make informed decisions, exercise their agency, and shape their destinies. By embracing self-governance, individuals can break free from societal expectations, discover their authentic selves, and live lives true to their own values and aspirations. A young woman raised in a traditional household, faced societal pressures to conform to predetermined paths. However, she chose the path of self-governance, asserting her autonomy and pursuing her own dreams. She defied societal expectations, embarked on an entrepreneurial journey, and built a successful business that aligned with her passions. Hussaina’s narrative showcases the transformative power of self-governance in cultivating personal autonomy and creating a life of fulfillment.