There is much written about Leadership but little about the human mental obstacles that prevent the development of True Leaders. For me Leadership is not what it appears to be. Sometimes we all get confused between managing people and leading people and of course some people cannot even manage or lead themselves and in so doing add to their own dilemma.
There is popular belief that when we do a Leadership course or a Management Course we can then walk away invigorated and motivated to take on new challenges and face ever increasing demands on our time and skills. Unfortunately it does not always work this way.
After a period of time we can see that the same old negative habits start rising to the surface again. Maybe they are self doubt or uncertainty about our abilities or our performance or perhaps it is just increasing stress from our lives and our reactions to what is going on around us. Whatever the situation we are not performing or coping as well as we expected.
So, what has happened and what do we do?
We all have in-built behaviours and most of us never spend any time in mind management to understand the origin of those behaviours and the impact they can have on our lives and careers. The nature of most of these behaviours is negative and self destructive and as soon as we pay attention to one of these behaviours then we open a “Pandora’s box” of connections to fixated mental activity on that particular behaviour and then like a virus it attracts other negative mental responses and thought patterns.
Within a matter of moments we have become mastered by our mind and we are no longer in control. As an example one of these negative behaviours might be anger and as such displays of anger will not be conducive to good management or good leadership. Anger is one of the 6 primary obstacles to being a True Leader. Anger is self destructive and stressful for oneself and others.
In this article we are not going to focus on the Six Self Destructive Habits but rather we are going to look at that which lies at the centre of this group and, this is what I call “the Assassin Within”.
The Assassin Within is the creator of all our obstacles. It creates obstacles to enjoyment, to fulfillment and to satisfaction within all areas of our life. The Assassin Within can prevent us from being the Leader or Manager that we could or should be. The Assassin Within does not always arise of its own accord because it has to be activated. We can be leading a perfectly normal and happy life and then we suddenly recognise that our mood has changed.
The positive proactive way of thinking and being has gone and we start to feel despondent and unsure. This can then move on to affect our energy levels which become weak and if left unchecked we can become stressed and anxious and thus we have allowed the Assassin Within to rise and take over and we just sit back and watch it happen and feel powerless to stop the spread of its self destructive nature.
As it develops and breeds within us we can become sick and if still left unchecked this sickness can manifest itself with a range of diseases with terrifying consequences for us.
The Assassin Within has awakened and we are at its mercy and mostly we just think that this is normal. The stress, anxiety, doubt and uncertainty appear to be acceptable to most people these days. This is however far from the way that it could be.
There are many triggers to activate the Assassin Within and to set in progress the Self Destructive behaviours of our nature. One of these triggers is “procrastination”. Procrastination is a human condition that seems to affect most people at times in their lives. It affects us all and the more that we procrastinate in our decision making the more we suffer for it. The inability to make a relatively simple decision is a strong indicator that the Assassin Within is being very effective against us.
So therefore one of the ways in which to combat the Assassin is to recognise that within all of us we have tendencies to allow our negative behaviours to dominate us and this then affects our performance as Leaders or Managers. Whether it be anger or stress this becomes for us a major obstacle if not recognised and treated.
By examining this particular trigger point of procrastination we can then study the impact that this behaviour has on our life. If procrastination is allowed to dominate our ways of thinking and interrupts our decision making capability then this will also drain our energy level.
We need to actively focus on ways to overcome Procrastination. Some people become so addicted to Procrastination that they can cease to function and then this becomes a major mental disease. When we are tired or lonely and suffering from fatigue then doubt will arise closely followed by procrastination. When this happens the chain reaction has begun and we have become mastered by our mind and circumstances.
Therefore pay attention to Procrastination and observe the Assassin Within. One of the greatest remedies for procrastination is a few words that I was taught some years ago. These words are inspiring and are -“Decide now and Do it now”. When we do something then we have the immediate sense of fulfillment even if it is not the best decision we have ever made we have still taken a step forward.
Decision making is a practice-the more we do it then the easier it becomes. The more we do it then the more we overcome procrastination. The more we can conquer procrastination then we are beginning to take control and to be mindful about the “Assassin Within”.
When the Assassin is finally conquered then we have become the Masters of our mind and destiny.
By Andrew Clapton