Self Leadership Blog
by Andrew Bryant

Remembering Sean Connery - Bond - James Bond

“Bond, James Bond”

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Academy Award Winning Scottish Actor, Sir Thomas Sean Connery (25 August 1930 – 31 October 2020).

The first actor to play James Bond in a movie in 1962, Sean Connery has been an icon for my entire life. My parents were fans, and as soon as I was old enough, I was a fan.

This blog reflects on the impact of Sean’s life, both on and off-screen.

Being Bond

Connery had been an actor in small theater and TV productions before he played Bond, but it was this role that launched his career. James Bond 007, a British Secret Service agent, was created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953, but Connery’s physicality and humor brought the character to life. If you watch an interview with Connery, you will hear the humor, that so distinguished his alter ego’s dry wit.

He played 007 in the first five Bond films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with...

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How to Get Out of a Slump

 Are you in a slump?

Do your batteries feel flat, focus is elusive and you are drawn to your couch like a moth to a flame? Symptoms may vary, but you know you are not operating at your best, and you find yourself asking, "how to get out of this slump?"

But wait!

Having been in slumps myself, there is a surprising benefit to slumps.

The Secret Slump Benefit

As a motivational speaker and author on the topic of self-leadership, there's an expectation that I wouldn't experience a slump. Nothing is further from the truth.  You see, when I hit a slump, I'm like a man who is happy at the bottom of a hole. Why? Because I both know the way out and, I know the benefit of being in the hole.

Life can be fast-paced and we can miss the subtle things. A slump is often your body or mind signaling you something. It's only when you accept the slump that you can get the message.

Too often we force ourselves to push through such periods of low energy, but if it...

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Leadership, Love and Projection

Teenage girls love their popstars. Young men love their action heroes, and adults can project a type of love on their leaders.

For example, Donald Trump appeals to a certain audience. I remember a particular TV interview of a woman wearing an oversized MAGA hat, saying, “He loves God, he loves the constitution, he cares about us and he will fight for us.”

She was clearly in love, the kind of love where one positively projects perceived qualities upon another person.

Leadership, Love, and Projection

Psychologist, Carl Jung maintained that all impassioned, almost-magical relationships between people involve projection. The other person becomes the object of great love or loathing, and sometimes both.

We usually do not see our own projections, because they stem from the unconscious, and because they get cast onto someone with a suitable hook. Positive projections are accompanied by the emotions found in the feelings of awe, adoration, and reverence. We do not realize that...

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Getting Respect – You are doing it Wrong!

In a Harvard Business Review study of 20,000 employees, 54% claimed that they don’t get respect from their leaders. Respect has shown to improve employee trust and safety and effect a 92% increase in focus and priority. The obvious conclusion, therefore, is to instruct managers and leaders to be more respectful, but what if this conclusion is wrong?

If you are honest with yourself, do you respect someone who does not deserve respect? Are you able to respect someone who does not respect themselves?

Respect Definition

The verb respect means to admire someone (or something) because of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. It can also mean having due regard for their feelings, wishes, or rights.

In my work on self-leadership, and through over 20-years of coaching, I can share that most people struggle to respect their own abilities, feelings, or rights. And how can you expect respect if you do not respect yourself!

Coaching for Respect - A Case Study

Recently I was coaching...

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President Trump and the need for Validation

 

The media are currently discussing the latest 'tell-all' book about President Trump today. Specifically his relationship with his father. But the need for validation is common in life, but is it healthy, how can we overcome it'?

In the above video (recorded live on LinkedIn), I share my journey from the need for validation to self-leadership. As an Executive Coach, I often find what holds my clients back from their full potential is a pattern of seeking validation.

The Need for Validation

When we are born, we can do nothing useful but are loved by our parents for just being. Just being human in itself has value, and how much we appreciate that value is the measure of our Self-esteem. BUT, and here's the rub, when we go out into the world, to school, to college, to work, we are not appreciated for just being, we are measured for our doing. 

We have been conditioned to perform. From the encouragement to take our first faltering steps, and successful potty efforts,...

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Leadership in Uncertainty and Rapid Change

 

Leadership is challenging at the best of times, but during periods of uncertainty and rapid change, it requires a special mindset.

In this video, part of my Leadership Accelerator Program, I talk about the 'Stockdale Paradox'. This term was used by Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, after interviewing Admiral James Stockdale. Stockdale had been the highest-ranking military officer held and tortured in the 'Hanoi Hilton', a Vietnamese Prison. Admiral Stockdale was shot down during the war between America and Vietnam in 1965. He was held for 8-years with no certainty that he would survive, be released, or ever see his family again.

The Stockdale Paradox

The Paradox of Leading in Uncertainty is that you must face the brutal facts of your current reality AND never lose faith that you will prevail.

Leadership in Uncertainty and Rapid Change

If you find yourself in a leadership position during uncertainty and rapid change, it is essential that you communicate clearly, consistently,...

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Goal Setting – A Self-leadership Worksheet

What was I thinking?
20-years ago I kept my goal setting, ideas, drafts for speeches, notes from courses and outlines for books in spiral bound notebooks. During a recent tidy-up I reviewed these notebooks and was fascinated to see how the ideas have become part of me and the goals have been achieved.

One of those goals was to write a book on Self-leadership. This goal was completed in 2012 and in Chapter 7, I share the Goal Setting Worksheet that I used.

I’m sharing it again here it here in my leadership blog, as I believe it’s important to look beyond the current situation and plan your future. I know I’m going to.

Goal Setting Worksheet

Self-Leaders set goals for themselves and through Self-observation and Self-feedback regularly achieve them. When you have a clearly defined intention you gain a laser like focus and act effectively. If you want to effectively and intentionally achieve a goal, the following process will put your goal into your physiology so that...

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Double Loop Learning for Surviving & Thriving

learning self-leadership Apr 27, 2020

The world, as we know it, is in a spin. Assumptions we made about life and business have been upended by a tiny virus that has had massive impact on the Global Economy and individual lives. Typically, when we receive feedback to our actions, we make a course correction and carry on, but in this unprecedented time – we need to challenge our assumptions and apply double loop learning.

 What is Double Loop Learning?

Argyris & Schon (1974) proposed double loop learning theory which promotes learning to change underlying values and assumptions. The following diagram explains it:

In single loop learning, we receive feedback from our actions and adjust our behavior accordingly. Indouble loop learning we take a ‘step back’ and challenge our assumptions, beliefs and values about why we behaved that way in the first place. Double loop learning is really ‘disruptive thinking’. 

As with any learning strategy, using the double loop requires asking...

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15 Self-leadership Quotes for Tough Times

self-leadership Apr 22, 2020

Yes, this current pandemic is frustrating, disorientating and very sad, and yes, it’s OK to feel the emotions that come with the current disruption. For those who have a roof over their head and food in their belly, it's a time to discover what’s really important and what you are made of.

In my 2012 book on Self-leadership with Dr. Ana Kazan, we described Self-leadership as:

"the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objectives”

Right now we need to be practicing self-leadership and one way of 're-framing' how we think about things is through quotes. I'm sure you have your favorite quote that you turn to, to get you through tough times, but to get you started:

15 Self-leadership Quotes

1.    “Mastering others is strength; mastering oneself is true power” - Lao Tsu

2.    “The first and best victory is to conquer self” - Plato

...

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Why Toilet Paper? There's Something More Important

We are in the midst of a pandemic and I’m waiting in my Dentist’s office after having my temperature checked. The patient before me, a young man, comes out from the treatment room, wipes his nose with a tissue and throws it in the bin next to me.

Disgusting!

A behavior that would have barely registered a couple of months ago now triggered my feelings of disgust.

Disgust is an emotional response of rejection or revulsion to something potentially contagious. Unlike our animalistic fight or flight response, disgust is a more evolved response that we developed to protects us from harmful foods. Disgust is primarily triggered by taste, but smell, sight and touch also come into play.

My initial response to the young man in the Dentist’s office was not so much logical as ‘psycho-logical’. My consciousness, and yours, has been primed by news of the dangers of contracting Covid-19 from other human beings. We are primed to see danger and be disgusted more...

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