Mark Linsenbardt International

The Linsenblog

We forget that we are leading


Every so often I get a little something in my life that reminds me to talk about how we sometimes forget that we are all leading, and that somebody is always following, nearly all of the time. In this case we were visiting family and I was very fortunate to witness my nephew Gabe, repeatedly emulate the behavior of his older cousin Maya all while she was completely unaware that he was doing so. This was not limited to her actions, but actually included her emotional states, as he would act sad and upset if she did, just as he would shift into happy and playful as soon as she did.

This of course applies to us all and is one of the many lessons that we teach at Leadership Challenge Camp. In fact now that I am writing about it, I see images of cadets in my mind and I can clearly hear my friend Phil saying “You are leading… are you paying attention to where you are leading?” and see the look on the faces of the cadets.

We often forget that we are leading, we forget that at any moment someone is going to follow the example we set, go down the path we selected, decide what is important to them based on what WE think is important to US, and so many other possibilities. Sometimes is helpful for me to just to stop and think. “If the people who follow me are watching right now, am I leading them in the right direction?    Am I leading on purpose?”

Its not just for children (though, they are so often the source of great lessons), it is I think for all of us to remember we are leading, to recognize that someone is following you. Think about that just a bit, does it impact the way you think just to acknowledge that you may have someone following you? If for example you knew, that a child was going to take whatever you were doing, and emulate it…. would you continue?


The combination of “Victim Thinking” with “Being Right”

The curious thing about being in a victim state, is that you can see it so clearly in others, but for some reason its the hardest thing in the world to spot in ourselves. Once we start feeling sorry for ourselves and telling stories about how we have been victimized by someone or some-thing, the rest of our tools tend to warp themselves to the vision and in this way, we will see plenty of evidence to prove that we are in fact being victimized, instead of being responsible in any way. We will use logic, facts, story, feelings, and results to prove unquestionably that we were victimized.

The really cool thing to understand here, is that you actually combine two separate destructive patterns because you are (being a victim) , and you are also (being right). Naturally its not cool to be there, but its cool to understand because that can show us how to recognize this in ourselves, and how to get out of it and move into a more productive mindset.

So if you notice that the story you are telling (either to yourself or to another) places you in the role of victim, then you are in a victim state, plain and simple. If you have an anylitical mind, you will very likely be thinking “well sure but what if…(insert example)”. The thing is, no matter what your example here is, there is a difference between the event, and they way you think about it. You can choose to think that you are powerless in the world, and that things happen TO you, or you can choose to be the active player, and be responsible for everything that happens. You see no matter what, to think any other way, does not serve your best interests.

In the same way, you can nearly always identify when you are “being right”, because you can see proof everywhere that you are. If you find yourself thinking or saying “see – that’s proof”, you are being right. Remember that once upon a time, nearly the whole world believed that the earth was flat, that the earth was the center of the universe, and any of a host of other ideas that in time were proven to be false. Yet everywhere we as a people looked, there was proof and since there was proof, there was no need to question it.

When looked at in this way, it may be concluded that questioning what is obvious is both feasible and sound practice. In the case of being right, its frequently more fruitful to look for how you may not be, how there can be more than one truth, and how your insistence that you are correct, may be costing you everything…

What else can we do?

Be WRONG – not all the time, but at least allow for the possibility that you may not be correct, that they may be another perspective to see, that there may be a path outside of what you have seen thus far. Open your mind, and you will see many doors that were previously closed to you, and possibly locked.

Be Responsible for EVERYTHING – this way you are the only one who can take action, you are responsible for your failures, and also your Successes! You get to be the active player in everything. This type of thinking can only serve your highest and best interests.

And then they were 2


The Whirlpool corporation in a remarkably smart move, has taken the last of my writers. Megan Gesing moved on into a position she has long been qualified for. Megan who was one of the very first of my writers, and who has been for nearly all that time my very dear friend.

Part of the Unbreakable team whose ties will remain though we are all now so far apart, she is without question the smartest hire that Whirlpool has made in some time. Once they see her in action they will realize the incredible bargain they got when they hired her.

Thank you for everything Megan I miss you already.