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Filtering by Tag: character

6 Fears That Lead You to Rationalize Your Behavior- Clarity #33

Alan Andersen

The evolution of a leader includes an ever-increasing emotional intelligence, starting with self-awareness. If you lack self-awareness, you are unable to see when you step out of integrity. In other words, you are unable to see how your words, thoughts, and actions are not in alignment. This dissonance forces an auto response to spin the story — leading to compromised truth, ending with a skewed reality.

Conversely, if you’re a leader with high self-awareness, you are able to quickly discern when and where you are out of alignment with truth. You quickly see your error, admit fault, and take personal accountability. You take action to repair the crack in the relationships due to lack of judgment, and with your words and action, you own the issue at hand. The humility of the self-aware leader leaves plenty of room to learn from mistakes, be curious to what you do not yet know, and be open to feedback as a way to learn and grow.

Most people don’t intentionally rationalize. It comes from being scared, to be blunt. If you have taken the Talent Insight Report, you know that there are four fears that people struggle with and will do most anything to avoid.

  • Fear of Being Taken Advantage Of
  • Fear of Social Rejection
  • Fear of Loss of Security
  • Fear of Making Mistakes

Or how about the two fears of the successful entrepreneur:

  • Will I be found out?
  • Do I have what it takes?

Fear gets in the way of truth, and thus we must rationalize or falsify something in order to psychologically survive and bring a sense of order and control.

What do you think? What are other fears that cause leaders to rationalize?

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Have You Killed Your Curiosity? Clarity #26

Alan Andersen

Curiosity can be defined as: the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitiveness. Like children, great people have an inherent desire to learn from their environment. This hunger drives them to ask questions and explore how all this new information affects their lives.

In Clarity: Focusing on What Matters we are on Week 26 – halfway through the book! This installment is all about how our character is shaped by curiosity. Not only is it a character trait, but curiosity is an emotion, and driven by that emotion, you are led to explore, investigate, and learn.

That explains why people who shut off their emotions and live from their heads turn off their natural curiosity and settle for fact-finding. The left side of brain sets goals. The right side comes up with creative answers. Did you know the best leaders and problem-solvers are those who regularly practice being curious?

I remember when my niece Kylie first discovered her shadow. It was so delightful to watch her on that warm summer evening. She would lift up her arms and almost jump back when she witnessed her shadow doing the same thing. Now she is five and does not even stop to see her shadow. She is busy and has other things to discover and learn about.

Her auntie however does not want to ever lose the moment when her natural wonderment stirred mine. I just got done taking a walk with a friend and her boys. The boys yelled “STOP” and made us come back and see. There were flowers that had bloomed and we had walked right past them. Shame on me! So glad I was hauled back to smell the flowers.

I invite you to welcome curiosity into your day. It will make you a better listener and more productive.

Awaken your curiosity!

Your turn: Do you think curiosity is more like an emotion or character trait…or both?

Your Coach for Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching


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Character in Small Moments

Alan Andersen


I love to water-ski! However, each summer I dread the first time out because I know I’ll use muscles I forgot I had and will endure days of pain for my seven minutes of fun. Do I stop because it hurts? No, because I also know that those obscure muscles, if used, will soon be strengthened, and the pain will be replaced by being able to go faster, grab another buoy and have a blast on the water!

Right now you are undoubtedly facing one or more trials. The fight you had with your spouse, your aimless teenager, that dishonest employee, second-quarter financials, disgruntled shareholders – or perhaps all of the above: How you react and act to them is the measuring rod of where you truly stand in regard to your character.

Remember, “Character may be manifested in great moments, but it is made in small ones” (Phillip Brooks).

Okay, you probably realize that. But are you truly aware of whether or not you shortcut the amazing opportunities your trials are offering you? Do you shortcut your character development because it is too painful? Challenge yourself here, because in leadership, character is everything.

As Gen H. Norman Schwarzkopf said, “Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy”.

So ask yourself, do you run away and work more hours or do you resolve the conflict at home? Do you buy your way out of guilt with gifts or actually resolve the problem with words? Do you have that difficult conversation with your worker, or do you hand it off to your direct report?

Character is gained during trials. Identifying areas of weakness is painful, but you have a choice to open your eyes, face the truth, realize you are not perfect, and become a better person. Or you can continue to avoid pain and live your guarded (and inevitably self-centered) life.

Enlarge your character by improving your weak side, and don’t worry – after a few falls – you’ll nail it. The reward will include the honor of being the person you have always greatly admired.

Your Coach,

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