10 Mantras to strengthen your leadership

Kathy Archer
Nov 9 · 5 min read

Rock that upcoming meeting by managing your thoughts

Meetings can be a hotbed of triggers, emotions and expectations. They can also be a breeding ground for toxic relationships and teams. As the tension rises, people’s patience decreases. Instead of working together, people become pitted against each other as they stake claim to their ideas, their pitch and the outcome they think is right.

Strong Emotional Intelligence is the key to effective leadership

Leaders who don’t just get through meetings, but excel at having meetings go well, have strong emotional intelligence (EI). Too often, leaders get triggered and react to what’s going on in a meeting. Instead, you need to manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviour and respond rather than react. Leaders with high EI respond with intention and are thus confident and composure. As such, they are able to influence the vibe of the meeting positively. This positive impact leads to stronger team relationships.

Access your inner wisdom

Managing your thoughts, feelings and behaviour isn’t as easy as it sounds. To help you use, use the Inner Guidance Cycle framework from Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system.


Before going into the meeting, PAUSE and reset yourself. A couple of deep breaths, a moment to get grounded and making sure you’ve had something healthy to eat will put you in the right physical state and frame of mind.


Take a moment to tune into your thoughts, feelings and body sensations before going into the meeting. PONDER while reflecting on this question: What am I bracing myself for? This preparation will help you identify potential triggers and hot spots.


Knowing what you might react to, plan for potential triggers helps you to PIVOT from bracing yourself for the worst to planning for the best. It’s time to prepare some of your responses, and choose the mood you want to bring.


PROCEED into the meeting knowing you are in control, prepared and willing to be courageous to deal with the agenda.

Then, when things don’t go as planned…

Please be aware that just because you’ve done all of that work, doesn’t mean things will go smoothly. The truth is, you will still be triggered, questioned, put on the spot and pushed to defend your decisions and the direction you give. The following mantras can help you maintain your calm, cool composure keeping you in control of your thoughts, emotions and actions.

I’ve got this

  1. I’ve got this — Confidence is what you think you can do, not what others think you can do. If you tell yourself you’ve got this, you will be much better able to handle what’s thrown at you.

One step at a time

2. One step at a time — Change takes time. That is true whether that change is your growth, organizational change or a team member who is working on something. Remind yourself: One step at a time, my dear, one step at a time!

I’m learning and growing

3. I’m learning and growing — Developing skills also takes time and practice. As you learn to manage your emotions, speak up about something with a bit more assertiveness or share a concern more vulnerably, it might not go as smooth as you’d like. Just remind yourself, I’m learning and growing!

This is an opportunity for practice

4. This is an opportunity for practice — Your growth requires practice. You will not be perfect the first time out of the gate. Therefore each time you are put in that spot again is an opportunity to practice. Practice makes progress!I’ll figure it out — You don’t have to have all of the answers or know everything. Give yourself permission, the time and the freedom to figure things out. You might even remind yourself, I know where to start looking because you do. You might need to slow down long enough to tune into your inner wisdom.

It’s ok to fail

5. It’s ok to fail — Yes, it is. I know us high achievers and Type-A women don’t like to fail. But the truth is, if you are not failing, fumbling or floundering, you aren’t learning something new, and therefore you aren’t growing. It’s ok to mess up, that’s how learning happens!

When I know better, I do better

6. When I know better, I do better — This Mya Angelo saying, made famous by Oprah reminds us that we can only do our best, and our best changes. As we learn and grow, we can do things differently. So, keep learning, so you know better and can do better.

That was then, this is now

7. That was then, this is now — Similar to the above mantra, this reminds us that we have grown. What we said, did, or how we acted last week, last month or last year doesn’t mean we have to do that now. We are different; we know more and have learned more. Now, is different, than then!

It’s ok to be me

8. It’s ok to be me — As you uncover your strengths, gifts, talents and values, you learn to lead more authentically. Some people may not be used to your ways or like them. That’s ok. You will be a stronger leader when you lead authentically, not acting, putting on a persona or leading in a way you think you should be leading. Take time to get to know you and be you, by reminding yourself; it’s ok to be me!

I’m not alone

9. I’m not alone — We often feel very isolated and alone in leadership. It’s like everyone is out to get us. It can feel pretty devastating. But you are not alone. First, remember there is a higher power with you all the time. Say a little prayer and connect. Second, consider who is on your team. That might be your spouse, friends, mentor or coach. It could be a few people in the room or on your team. By reminding yourself that you aren’t alone, you will feel a bit stronger!


Your inner dialogue is key to feeling confident and composed. Practice saying these mantra’s in your head during tough meetings, conversations and difficult times. They’ll help you lead with your sanity intact!

Kathy Archer

Written by

Helping women leaders make it in the nonprofit world. Leadership Development Coach * Best-Selling Author * Wife * Mom * Grandma * Mom to one boxer named Zeus!

Women Leaders

Supporting women leaders in nonprofit organizations to lead with competence, confidence and composure.

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