Leading Ethically Only is an educational outreach of Leadership Ethics Online (LEO). Essays range widely--from ethical analysis of the news, to ethical challenges to leaders in society, to personal reflections of an ethical nature. We welcome your thoughts and criticisms to make us better.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Leading Positively in Negative Circumstances

Life is complex.  Life brings us into contact daily with negative people and situations.  Family, work, neighbors, national and international news, all can present us with negative information.  The fact is, we cannot control others or conditions around us.  We have some choices.  Do we allow others to control our emotions, thoughts, and actions, or do we decide to control our responses in positive outcomes?

Understanding Our Power and Authority

Very often we are battered by our contacts with other persons and situation.  We wake up in the morning with our priorities, then are hit like ping pong balls to go zinging off in directions that seem beyond our control.  Others zap us with their emotions, statements, and behaviors, for whatever reason.  Too many of us allow others to alter our daily directions and effectiveness with our permission.  How do we change this pattern?

If we are to be in charge of our own lives, we must understand our personal power and authority to control how we spend our limited emotions, thinking, and behaviors.  No one else has this power, right, and capacity.  We are the only ones responsible for either keeping our daily focus and invested energies, or giving them up.  We must be inner-driven, not outer-driven.

Let us use the analogy of boats, ping pong balls, and directional compasses.  If a boat has a broken rudder, or has no anchor, when storms and winds blow, the boat is driven wherever external forces take it.  If a ping pong ball is picked up and hit, it will zing off in whatever direction sent.  If a compass is never used, its needle showing "north" cannot give bearings on which way to travel.

When we are outer-driven, we are like boats without rudder or anchor, like ping pong balls waiting to be sent off in space, and like compass owners who fail to use their directional tools.  One of the greatest enemies to our happiness and satisfaction at home, work, and in life, is when we become victims as outer-driven people.  When we are outer-driven, we are followers.

When we are inner-driven, we are prepared to face external conditions so we remain in control of our life resources, our responses, and how we use our energies and talents.  One of the greatest reasons successful people continue to be successful, even despite unusually great challenges at home and work, is they (a) know who they are; (b) know where they want to go; and (c) remain focused on their goals.  When we are inner-driven, we are leaders.

Contact Leadership Ethics Online to find out more on how to become an inner-driven leader.  We can help you to recognize outer-driven forces keeping you from being true to yourself and your real life and career goals.  We can help you define and remain faithful to the inner-driven goals that will keep you moving forward every day and week.

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