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Senior Correspondent

You haven’t led if you haven’t felt embarrassed. Sadly, egocentric fear of embarrassment blocks exceptional.

Embarrassment freezes you in your tracks like a deer in the headlights, afraid to move.

Embarrassment reflects concern for another’s judgment or opinion. That’s not all bad. The more others judge your contribution as helpful, the more impact you enjoy. The trick is staying focused on your purpose in a world of diverse opinions and judgments.

Focus on purpose protects leaders from being pushed around by irrelevant opinions.

People who brag they don’t care what others think lie.

People who don’t care what others think don’t have to say they don’t care what others think.

Leaders listen to opinions that matter.

Anyone who has done anything of significance has felt embarrassed.

Dealing with embarrassment:

  • Remain focused on the reason you stepped out in the first place. You’re trying to make a difference. The deadly power of embarrassment is its ability to obscure purpose. Never solve embarrassment by embracing someone else’s goal/purpose for your leadership.
  • Prepare diligently. Willing to be embarrassed never justifies laziness or lack of preparation.
  • Execute with energy. Tentative movements invite criticism and increase embarrassment. Timidity anticipates embarrassment and pulls back.
  • Stay vulnerable and in tune with your heart. Lack of vulnerability causes you to lose yourself.
  • Enlarge your circle of friends. Find supporters who share your values and vision.
  • Consider the source. Is ridicule coming from arrogant asses sitting on the sidelines? Ignore them.
  • Choose goals that matter more than embarrassment hurts. I spoke at a High School graduation in a Federal Prison. I honored the graduating prisoners by pointing out they had been willing to fail and feel embarrassed in order to reach their goal. You have to be willing to say you failed your history test in order to pass it.

How can leaders deal with embarrassment?

Check out the great list of leadership E’s on the Leadership Freak Facebook Page. While you’re there, add leadership F’s for tomorrow’s post.

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