Self Mastery-Busting the Personality Barrier

Self Mastery-Busting the Personality Barrier


We’ve all experienced the leader who knows everything.  The successful, unaware individual who has not experienced failure and has had no reason to let go of past ideas and change his behavior.  As a result, his frame of mind shuts down learning and listening, prevents new insights and leads to righteous, impatient and defensive behavior.  Some of my most important lessons have come from working for this type of leader. Leaders like this prevent companies from growing.

 What’s the opposite of this leader?  Someone who is on a personal mastery journey.

 Peter Senge, describes personal mastery as,

 “..not something you possess. It is a process. It is a lifelong discipline. People with a high level of personal mastery are acutely aware of their ignorance, their incompetence, their growth areas. And they are deeply self-confident. Paradoxical? Only for those who do not see the ‘journey is the reward’.

 Where do you start? First, be aware of what is driving your behavior. 

 David Daniels, MD and author of “The Essential Enneagram”, states the following about what drives behavior:

“Your awareness of three laws of behavior can help you better understand why you think, act and feel the way that you do..”  

 Law 1: Wherever your pattern of attention and energy go, your behavior follows.

Law 2: To change your behavior requires self-observation of your pattern of attention and energy.

 Law 3: Although self-observation becomes easier with practice, it never becomes habitual. Self-observation requires continuing practice

 There are many ways to deepen self-observation and Daniels recommends this 4 step process:

  1. Have an awareness practice, such as meditation or yoga, to increase your receptivity and develop a grounded presence.
  2. Open your heart to accept what is happening now, including negative feelings and sensations. You only can work from where you are. Everyone is in a different place in his or her journey.
  3. When you notice a feeling or sensation, gently inquire in order to discover, discern and consciously choose how you want to act.  By choosing a different path of action, we help build new neural pathways and develop a new habit.
  4. Commit to your process.  Practice this for 1-2 minutes a couple of times every days.

To be a really effective leader, you must be effective as an individual. You need to master the art of self-mastery and be able to consciously choose your thoughts and behavior in any situation to get what you want. I challenge you to start now and schedule a couple of times every day to observe yourself.

One definition of a barrier from Webster’s dictionary is : something immaterial that impedes or separates.

Barriers are so easy to build in organization.  All of us bring our habitual barriers, aka personality, to work.  If you haven’t noticed yet, you will soon.  I believe change starts with the individual.  Unlike the Dilbert cartoon where he says, “Change is good, you go first”, real change must start with the leader.  Anything less is blasphemy.

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