founder of naked leader

Born to Win – Programmed to Fail?

Naked Leader Week – 240 – Monday 14th January 2008

Leadership from a different perspective – Yours

Born to Win – Programmed to Fail?

 Many NL Weeks have been about the Wonders of Within – well, what about The Woes of Without?

Those external messages, guidance and rules given when you were young in order to protect and guide you – perhaps having an unwittingly negative affect on your attitudes as you grew into an adult.

Children know this. Many of us have forgotten, as we have dressed ourselves in our ‘King’s new clothes’ of other people’s values, beliefs and fears…

Think, just for a moment:

  • At home, how often did you hear the word “No” when you were a child?
  • At school, how often you were taught what to think, rather than how to think
  • How many ‘rules’ do we learn at a young age?

“Speak when you are spoken to” (great advice for communication)

“Children should be seen and not heard” (know your place)

“Don’t talk to strangers” (best avoid a career in selling)

By the time you reach the age of 18, you’ve heard the word ‘no’ 200,000 times, seen 30,000 acts of violence, and have received more than 12 million messages in the form of advertising telling you how to look, what to eat, and how to feel.

 No wonder most of us grow up with a negative self image!”

 Get Off Your Assets! How to Unleash the Power in You, by Desi Williamson

Of course it helps them to understand NO early (so that they can live to celebrate a second birthday); however, if like me, you were brought up in this way, you have predominantly learned what to do by learning what not to do.

It also helps to remember that you are a coach to those around you, a mentor to your children or to children in your wider family. You are these things by example – who you are, what you believe and say, and what you do.

And then you grow up. You go to work… and the pattern of speaking and learning is set from the earliest of days. So, even if you are very positive, energetic and optimistic, chances are that you often drift into negative language, without even knowing it.

 Of course we need to use firm words at times and alert our children to emergencies and dangers, but the habitual No’s begin to eat away at a child’s spirit. Some kids will let their emotions escalate immediately upon hearing “No” and stop listening to any further explanation. If you notice that your child gets angry the instant the word “No” comes out of your mouth, try saying it in a different way:

 “Can I go to the cinema tonight?” (a school night)

 ‘Yes, you can go to the cinema… at the weekend.”

 ‘Yes, you can go outside, after you finish your homework.”

 Saying “yes” and then stating the rule or conditions avoids the harshness of the word “no”.  More importantly, it provides you with an opportunity to remind the person of the specifics of the rule. It also focuses the child’s mind off the “No” of the moment, to the circumstances of a future “Yes”.

 Even “Yes, you can have a new bike… next year” gives something to look forward to.

 Mimi Doe, author of 10 Principles for Spiritual Parenting.

 So, given that “No” will play a big part in our lives – what to do about it? – the very best sales people, entrepreneurs and business people decide to do something different:

They decide – in a heartbeat – that as hating the word “No” does not help them.


 Open the champagne when they hear it…

 Run around and kiss total strangers…

 Love that wonderful, awesome, powerful word, because…

 They know the word “Yes” is just around the corner.

With my very best wishes




Leave a reply