“J., what have you been doing the past few weeks?” said the voice I was all too familiar with. It was my conscience.
“Are you talking to me?” I answered, not sure I was alone or not.
“Do you see anyone else in here,” my conscience said. I have a way of stating the obvious.
“No,” I answered looking for an exit from the room to depart through. “What are you talking about?”
I have over 20 years of successful senior leadership and entrepreneurial experience in health care. On occasion I have had to re-focus managers, departments, and staff. On rare occasions I have to refocus my own attention and behaviors. This story will illustrate just such a moment.
I could feel my glare on the back of my neck. I exhaled slowly, my shoulders falling as I did. I was not sure specifically what my conscience was referring to but it didn’t sound good.
“You have been doing lots of writing on your blog lately,” my conscience said. “Most of it has been pretty good.” My conscience let the words hang in the air.
I was relieved to know that I was not having any issues with my self-esteem. “That sounds good,” I said, “what’s the problem?” I have a certain comfort with myself and I am at ease asking these questions that other people who are shy of themselves might not ask.
“Your title is has leadership in it,” My conscience again let the words hang. I seemed in no rush to pursue some sort of quick kill of my ego.
I mentally fingered through my memories of articles I had written over the past couple of weeks. They seemed pretty good to me. There were articles that marketed coffee, affiliate marketing, moblie texting services…I stopped short. I knew what my conscience was talking about. “I have gone off of my main mission of presenting leadership topics.”
There was silence.
I hate it when I do this to myself. “That’s it, isn’t it?” I said in a voice a bit too loud for being indoor and in a room by myself.
“What’s that, Honey?” It was my wife in the kitchen.
My face burned hot as a tamale. “Nothing , Darling. It was just a cough.” I circled my toe on the floor and bobbed my head from left to right.”
“It didn’t sound like a cough,” my wife responded.
“She doesn’t cut you any slack, does she,” my conscience whispered into my ear. “Are you going to put up with that?”
“Look,” I said to myself, “Let’s deal with one thing at a time. I understand what you are saying. I have wandered off of my main mission. I have not written any articles to speak of on leadership techniques in the past two weeks.”
I could feel myself agreeing.
“So what do you want me to do?” I said to myself.
“I can’t make you do anything,” my conscience started. “I can only encourage the behaviors that I want to see more of.”
My eyebrows were pulled tight together. “Of course you can make me do stuff, your my conscience.” Sometimes I can be pretty dense when I am talking to myself. “That upsets me, because I am pretty sure that I have said I was sorry about two thousand times in my life when I did not really want to. I always blamed you for those.”
“I think that you were misdirected with your anger. You need to accept responsibility for your error, in this case going off leadership topic, accept responsibility, and make amends with yourself.”
I was a bit confused about whether I should be upset with myself, but I believe that my conscience was merely making me aware of my wandering into the affiliate marketing world. I was simply holding myself accountable and keeping my mission intact. “Is there something in particular you wanted me to do?” I asked my conscience.
“I think you know the answer,” he said in a zen like tone. “I will support you in any manner I can. Is there something you need from me?”
“I guess I should write another article about leadership,” I said.a
“Good idea,” my conscience encouraged.
An idea struck me. “I could write about how leadership helps keep a teams focus.”
My conscience nodded.
“If a team does go off track, I could tell how a leader makes them aware and then helps re-establish their direction.”
Again my conscience nodded.
“While the process is going on, the leader holds the team accountable, offers encouragement, and helps to remove any stumbling blocks that may exist until the mission has been re-established, or the project team concludes it’s job. Is that right?” I looked over my shoulder to see if my conscience agreed or not, but there was nobody there.
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