Business leadership demands self-mastery

| June 12, 2018

Although this is going sound very cliché, the reality and principle reasons why some, in the tumultuous world of business, achieve great heights, whereas others do not – lies within.

Non-achievement of goals – note that I do not use the word ‘failure’ – is an internal process, exacerbated by external events. All good managers set goals. Goals that are specific, realistic and achievable are great motivators.

They present the individual with a point of focus that is akin to a heat-seeking missile. Remembering, however, that the purpose of a goal is to ‘create an obstacle’ and that ‘there is no growth without effort’.

That being said, if a perfect goal is set, why do some achieve and others not?

Based on many years of working with and observing leaders, my response comes down to ‘Three Saboteurs’ and ‘Misalignment’. Beginning with the latter…

Individual goals align with personal values

For example, if you value ‘family’ and do not invest any time and effort towards a goal targeted at developing your relationships, you will suffer from a lack of alignment. Your goals need to be in harmony and not compete against one another.

If you have a goal to reduce your personal debt and another to lease a new BMW, chances are you have goals in conflict.

Work out what is your highest priority. Is your emotional well-being detached from this goal?  We need to learn how to achieve at a high level and to be relaxed and happy at the same time.

Anyone can be ‘happy’ when things are going to plan. It takes a Master to be ‘happy’ and to take appropriate action when things are not going the way as planned.

An aligned set of goals also means that when you achieve a goal you will have taken a step further towards fulfilling your vision.

In other words, does this goal, and the action taken to achieve it, create the future that you want, or destroy it?’ … nothing is neutral, everything counts.


This then leads to the ‘Saboteurs’… Having crafted the perfect goal and a winning strategy, the number one reason for non-achievement becomes sub-conscious self-sabotage.

These are internal ‘tripwires’ that become active when we seek to extend ourselves beyond our current circumstances or realize our dreams.

The first ‘saboteur’ is “self-image” or how we see ourselves. After all, we are either too tall, too short, too something or other. None of us is perfect.

It is the quality of the heart and strength of mind that is important.

The second ‘saboteur’ is “self-esteem” or how we value ourselves. After all, when we were four-years-old somebody told us that we wouldn’t amount to much – and we believed them … I don’t think so!

The third and very potent ‘saboteur’ is “fear of success” … not fear of failure.

Many are fearful that success will put more pressure on us to perform at a higher level and change unalterably our current circumstances. Even if those circumstances are less than optimal – they are known and kind of comfortable.

So, when the ‘saboteurs’ come calling – and they will – remember that they are not ‘real’ and are only set by our sub-conscious mind to keep us ‘safe’ and/or stuck in our ‘zone of comfort’.

Those leaders that are able to ‘let go’ of their internal ‘road-blocks’ and align their inner world with their outer expectations are the ones that achieve where some others do not.

But remember, success is not a ‘point of comparison’, it is ‘self-defined’. The master does not compare him/herself to anybody … think big and dream your own dream.