Before we can reach our full potential as leaders, we must first be leaders to ourselves. We must capitalize on our innate talents and strengths, challenge the habits that hinder our growth, and manage the fears and negative emotions that frequently keep us from realizing our goals.

As you probably know, our minds function in two distinct spaces: conscious and subconscious. Our conscious space houses our critical, analytical thoughts. Our subconscious is the instinctive, impulsive part of the brain – it houses emotions and memories, and even guides the body to perform its vital functions. While we tend to know our conscious minds rather well, we often overlook the power of the subconscious. Unfortunately, when we do, we squander a wellspring of human potential.

Imagine a tiny ant on the back of a massive African elephant. No matter how diligently that ant marches east, if the elephant he sits upon travels in the opposite direction, the ant will end up farther west than his original starting point. Similarly, we will find ourselves receding from our goals if our conscious and subconscious minds are not aligned. What elephant-like aspects of our personalities hold us back from meeting challenges? How do our emotions get in the way of our ability to act and communicate effectively? What does it truly mean to commit to realize a dream?

Good leaders may recognize they indulge elephant-like habits that keep them shy of their goals – but great leaders do something about it. They confront the behaviors and routines that keep their subcon-scious stuck. They work to refashion deep-seated beliefs, attitudes, and truths so that they support conscious efforts. Great leaders conquer hidden fears and make emotional investments in their vision so that they can show others the way to success. Do you?

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