In a sense, we are all children in adult costumes.
We navigate the world with a large set of core beliefs that are established in childhood.
Our reactions to situations, particularly stressful ones, tend to be ingrained, habitual, and automatic, drawing on our core beliefs.
The challenge is that our core beliefs are often flawed.
As children, we learn from and adapt to our environment.
In some circumstances, we learned to be passive, to sacrifice our needs, to stay small, to people please. The core belief that it is essential to put others’ needs ahead of our own is developed and often persists.
We may have learned that aggression works and is essential for getting results. Punishing, yelling, blaming, and shaming are automatic and unquestioned, a reaction based on a core belief.
We may have also learned that we must have all the answers and work until exhaustion.
What does this mean for leaders?
Becoming a more effective leader, improving our lives, the lives of the people we lead, and our organizations, tends to require becoming aware of and adjusting our core beliefs.
We won’t stop burning ourselves out until we change our thinking. We won’t stop burning others out until we change our thinking.