We can all relate to the feeling of wanting to set an example for those we love and who we know depend on us. This was Daniel’s story. A 40-year-old entrepreneur, Daniel wanted to set a better example for his family and his employees. He had built his business from scratch and while it was doing well enough, he could see that it was not thriving. When he sat down with me for the first time, he told me that his family life, too, was functional—but just barely. He realized that if things were to change in a meaningful way, he needed to step up and be the leader he had always wanted to be.
It was clear that Daniel had the energy, drive and intelligence to become the person he wanted to be. It was also clear that he was not getting the results he wanted. Daniel said he was frustrated that his family spent so much time doing nothing. On weekends, the pull to relax at home always won out over the desire to go skating, skiing or bike riding. Daniel believed that this resulted in too many missed opportunities for his children to learn new skills and for his family to create new memories. He felt bad about this because, in his view, it was his responsibility to lead by example. He felt that if he failed at leading, his children would lose out and it would be his fault.
At work, Daniel had similar concerns. He identified that he was the inspiration for his business, but he was also the source of many of its weaknesses. He was afraid that his employees would see him as an obstacle to their success rather than the organization’s guiding light. He recognized that being more organized, consistent and focused would be helpful. But beneath it all, he also knew that reaching his leadership goal would require more: he would also need to see himself as a leader. Daniel needed to genuinely believe that his goal was possible and within reach.
Transformation is possible.
Patterns as Doorways to Success
During coaching, Daniel discovered that he held limiting beliefs which were working directly against his efforts to change. Whenever he was stuck, he viewed it as a sign of weakness—a fault. Whenever he made a mistake or fell short in some way, he would respond by trying to fix other people’s weaknesses in addition to his own. There was an urgent quality to Daniel’s insistence that everyone “get with the program”. He genuinely believed that everybody around him needed to change their habits if he was going to succeed with his own evolution.
While Daniel recognized that his family and colleagues did not appreciate his efforts to improve them, nor his frequent reference to their weaknesses, he felt that their discomfort was a sign of resistance to growth. In spite of this external focus on others, Daniel also knew intellectually that to meet his leadership goals the work he needed to had a lot of work to do inside himself. He was aware that his behaviour simply did not support his goal.
When the limiting beliefs governing his choices were revealed, Daniel courageously asked himself to step up in different ways. When he did, this is what changed:
Daniel was wobbly and uncertain when we first met. After coaching, he left standing straighter and feeling like a leader. Indeed, he had learned how to lead—from the inside.
Inspired by Daniel’s story? Are you ready to take action for what you truly and deeply want?