Build Your Leaders

Archive for May, 2010

What To Do When Your Inner Critic Barks

May 31st, 2010

How to silence that negative inner voice. Whether you have an inner critic or an inner committee, I’ve found that the best strategy for dealing with our internal negative voice is awareness. When I identify the types of situations in which my inner critic thrives, I can be on special alert when they occur. When my inner critic kicks into high gear, I can become “observer-participant,” laugh, and say, “Oops, there he goes again.” By doing so, I take away my inner critic’s power.

I also try to cut myself some slack. Sometimes I am just tired, inattentive, or simply out of kilter. I am too quick to discount the good stuff and focus on the bad. When something goes wrong and my inner critic starts to squawk, I try to stop concentrating on the negative areas and focus on the positive ones.  I also find it helpful to focus on the big picture instead of that one detail that has gone awry. I am human, and I know I will make occasional mistakes.

Another strategy is to catalog our inner critics’ criticisms and determine their historical sources. Were they based on something that our dad, mother, siblings, teachers, or peers once said? Once we know the source, we can begin to uncover the truth and change our thinking.

Finally, I find it helpful to take a reality check. For example, when my inner critic tells me that I did a lousy job, I check in with a trusted friend. Almost always, I find the job I did was fine.

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An Easy Way to Change Your Life for the Better

May 22nd, 2010

What do you believe? Change your beliefs about past events and you’ll change the way you live your life today, says author Mandy Evans. In her book Travelling Free Evans offers the top twenty self-defeating beliefs.

Here are ten:

1. I’m not good enough to be loved.

2. No matter what I do, I should be doing something else.

3. If it hasn’t happened yet, it never will.

4. If you knew what I’m really like, you wouldn’t want me.

5. I don’t know what I want.

6. I upset people.

7. Sex is dirty and nasty; save it for the one you love.

8. Better stop wanting; if you get your hopes up, you’ll get hurt.

9. If I fail, I should feel bad for a long time and be really scared to try it again.

10. I should have worked this out by now.

Recognize any? I had to claim four.

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The Saboteur Within

May 9th, 2010

Who is yours? While we may not be aware of it, most of us have a saboteur lurking within us. Change management expert Morrie Shechtman says there are six ways the saboteur shows up in leaders.

Acting on scarcity rather than plenty. When we operate from fear, we may miss valuable opportunities.

Avoiding and discouraging conflict. Conflict is necessary for growth.

Refusing to get involved in employees’ personal lives. Employees bring work home and they bring their home issues to work. Leaders who ignore how their workers’ home lives are affecting their work aren’t getting the whole picture.

Intervening too early in people’s struggles. Great leaders allow people to make mistakes and mine their own resources.

Being charismatic. If employees are mesmerized by the leader, they become followers rather than future leaders. Instead, the culture should be charismatic.

Being moody. In the unpredictable post-9/11 world, people want to know what they can expect from their leaders.

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Alone or Lonely?

May 2nd, 2010

There’s a big difference between being alone and lonely. Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the Osho Zen Tarot deck. There are fifty-six cards in the deck, each with a beautiful illustration and poignant message. Often as a part of my morning meditation, I shuffle the cards, cut them, spread them out facedown, and pick one randomly.

This morning I picked “Aloneness.”  I often do. The message is a good one: “When you are lonely you are thinking of the other, you are missing the other. Loneliness is a negative state. You are feeling that it would have been better if the other was there – your friend, your wife, your mother, your beloved, your husband…. Loneliness is absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself. Aloneness is very positive.”

I am once again reminded that whether single or coupled, I am called to be “a light unto myself.”

P.S. You can check out the Osho Zen Tarot deck at

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