Put That Baggage Down!

Reject GuiltWhat’s keeping you from achieving the success you deserve?

Would it surprise you to learn that most of what’s holding you back is right between your ears?

You are carrying around some baggage and you need to put it down or even better, not pick it up in the first place.

The way we think affects the way we feel.

The way we feel affects the way we act.

During the past 17 years I have worked with senior executives and business leaders on performance improvement. This emotional baggage is the one thing I’ve found consistently holds them back.

If you forced me to cite one specific emotion crushing their performance, I’d say guilt.

Business leaders feel guilty about lots of things.

They feel guilt related to money (“I have it when so many people don’t). They feel guilt related to success (“I don’t want to step on people while I climb the corporate ladder”). They feel guilt about the time they invest (“I’m missing meetings at work to go to my kid’s baseball game”).

Leadership brings with it all the extra baggage of guilt…

But it doesn’t have to.

Guilt is an emotion and, like all of our emotions, it is subject to influences from our conscious and subconscious mind. If we focus, we can exert some control over the guilt we feel. Here’s how:

First: Recognize when you feel guilty and reject that emotion.

Ask yourself:

“What good will come from this feeling?”

You will notice there is never anything positive that can come feeling guilty about something. Own your actions and move forward. Do not waste the time and energy re-living things from your past.

Each of us has an opportunity to do great things right now IN THIS MOMENT. Put the past behind you and move on.

Next: Immediately reflect on a positive experience such as winning an award or receiving recognition for a charitable contribution.

This step helps replace the negative thought with positive thoughts. When I feel a twinge of guilt I read notes from my wife and kids. I also read testimonial letters from my clients.

One of the best things to do is to overwhelm your subconscious mind with positive reinforcement of your good work. Take 30 minutes and immerse yourself in positive feedback.

Finally: Eliminate the jerks who use guilt as a tool for manipulation.

All of us are influenced by the people who surround us. Friends, family and clients attempt to coerce us into taking action by making us feel guilty. Confront that crap head-on and let them know you do not accept the guilt they place upon you.

Even better – cut those jerks out of your life.

Manipulating people with guilt is a tool used by an insecure, passive-aggressive, mental midget. Avoid them or, in the case of family, give them a verbal beating every time they try and use that garbage on you.

You control your thoughts. You control your emotions. You control your life.

Don’t let others steal your future. Reject guilt.

Put the baggage down – or better yet – don’t pick it up in the first place.

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