Each of the heroines in Jane Austen’s main works represents an aspect of Internally Referenced Leadership by sourcing her power from within even while living in confining circumstances. Through their various strategies, these fictional women from the 1800s achieve a kind of independence and personal agency that is astonishing and unexpected in patriarchal Regency England and is even revelatory today.
Jane Austen’s six principles for internally referenced leadership are as follows:
1. Like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, know your inherent value.
2. Like Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, respond to difficulty with an internal calm, acceptance, and problem-solving resilience.
3. Like Anne Elliot from Persuasion, choose and claim your hard work and merit.
4. Like Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, insist on faithfully following your internal moral compass.
5. Like Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey, protect and retain your internal childlike dreaming, wonder, curiosity, passion, and hope.
6. Like Emma Woodhouse from Emma, learn from a place of openness and humility.