Leadership and Mythology #6: Panic and Self doubt

by Gary Monti on June 15, 2010

So, you’ve left the confines of the familiar – broke out on your own. Now what? Are you left staring at your computer screen? Do you check and check again to see if there are any emails from prospects? Do you twist in the wind wondering what, exactly, someone meant by an off-handed remark? Do little things take on greater and greater significance to the point of confusion? If you experience these or similar behaviors with responses exaggerated, disoriented, and anxiety-laden then you’ve been touched by a god – Pan, to be exact. You are having a Pan-ic attack!

Are You Sure?

Pan lived on the edge of the forest as well as within it. He was half goat and had horns. His friends were the nymphs and the satyrs – the party people. Their life was much more exciting than the mundane activities in the village where one submits to the group. When a weary villager struck out on his or her own and reached the edge of the forest Pan would sneak up and touch them. Immediately, their heart would be in their throat! They would be riddled with self-doubt and the urge to run back into the familiar would flush across them. Pan was asking the questions, “Are you sure you want to do this? How do you know you aren’t doomed? Do you know who you really are? Are you taking the right direction?”

Here’s the Deal

Pan would offer a deal, “Give up your vision of being unique and following your own path and I’ll make sure you have a place in the village. You won’t necessarily be happy but you will have some security. On the flip side, strike out on your own and you’ll have to figure out how to deal with those mysterious things that live in the forest.”

Just Kidding

If one was courageous enough to walk into the forest and find their own path there would be a sudden change in Pan’s behavior. He’d come up and invite the individual to join the party! “Come and dance with us!”

Business Leadership

In today’s business world Pan shows up in the form of someone who disagrees and in one form or another asks, “Who ARE you?” They don’t settle for seeing credentials and hearing what you know. Rather, the gauntlet is thrown down and a challenge of character is made. In other words, “Are you man enough?”, or, “…woman enough?”

Being able to hold one’s ground free of defensiveness is critical for two reasons:

  1. Leaders deal with uncertainty, being smart and knowing a lot isn’t enough. What one chooses to believe and how to move out proactively determines the path taken, and;
  2. The limits of what can be accomplished are set by what one believes.

If you are having trouble with your dance moves or need help with orienteering through the business forest send me an e-mail at gwmonti@mac.com or visit www.ctrchg.com.

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