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4 Barriers That Stop Your Personal And Leadership Growth And How to Break Them?

Written by: Ágnes Vad, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Do you ever feel trapped or imprisoned? Have you been improperly labeled? Are you an abandon or scarcity thinker? — Whatever you answer to these questions, you can be sure that your answers are based on your beliefs. And our beliefs about the world determine how we behave. Those beliefs can act as mental prisons that keep us from becoming centered on principles. Our perspective will significantly influence what we see in our current circumstances.

That is why it is essential to understand your belief system to break it when it’s time and the need!

Let’s see what the problem is and what keeps us behind bars?

1. Emotional Imprisonment

When we disappoint or disagree with another person, we are often labeled and may cross over some sensitive line and hurt, insult, or offend another person. We may feel justified at the time, feeling that the person deserves this treatment. However, the other person sees it differently, takes offense, builds walls, and locks us up in this prison cell lined with labels. These labels tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies: “He hates me; I can’t trust him; he’s biased; he’s unfair.”

People tend to become as we treat them or as we believe them to be.

And if others believe those things of you, they will treat you accordingly.

Personally, whenever I cross over the sensitive line out of anger, I wound feelings. My pride, for a while, may keep me from apologizing. The other person is hurt, and the relationship is strained. If I merely try to be better and not confess and ask forgiveness, the other person will still be suspicious.

He has been hurt and wounded, so his guard is up. He is defensive and doubtful of my new behavior.

Nothing I can do will change his mind because I am behind bars and walls in a prison of his own making. These bars and walls are the mental and emotional labels he puts on me.

And what could be a solution? I need to pay the price. So it is only by acknowledging my failings and seeking forgiveness that I can get out of that jail cell.

From a workplace perspective we may see people ‘sprinting to their cars after work’ because they’re anxious to start their so-called real life. It’s (probably) because they experience so much terrible management and control in their work-life that they want to get out of that stifling environment and into something meaningful to them.

2. The Sickness of Finding Fault

There is a strong universal tendency to find fault in others, to see the microscopic faults of another while ignoring our own significant faults. When we focus on the faults in others, we tend to rationalize and justify the faults in our own life. If we then try to correct another person, it doesn’t work. We may be correct, but our approach is wrong. We hurt, reject, offend, and threaten. Because of the beam in our eyes, we can’t see our faults clearly. Our judgment may be entirely wrong. We may be merely projecting our weakness. If we have a self-serving motive, that motive will be translated in a thousand negative ways in every aspect of our lives.

And what could be a solution? We need to work on ourselves. The first is to remove our own faults, and only then will we see clearly to help others. We then become a light, not a judge. We need to take responsibility and get out of the victim mentality, learn to confront the issues, leave the job, or make needed changes and love it.

3. Scarcity Mentality

People with a Scarcity Mentality believe there is only so much pie to go around: if you get a piece, that’s one less piece for me. That leads to win-lose thinking: If you win, I lose, and I can’t allow that.

Scarcity thinking comes from several sources: conditional love supplied at home may cause us to try to win love by good behavior but leaves us without a sense of intrinsic self-worth; comparisons at school and work cause us to develop a comparison-based identity; competition in the family, school, work, sports, and in social life reinforces this Scarcity Mentality.

The scarcity script becomes our life script. It becomes deeply embedded. Even though we are unaware of it, we look at life through this lens, which affects everything we see:

  • This scarcity paradigm gets translated into our marriages and all relationships at work. When push comes to shove, this scarcity drives us to win-lose thinking in our dealings with customers, suppliers, and everybody else.

  • In our leadership roles, we don’t want to share our power: We don’t want to give the keys to the inmates. We feel that if we start empowering people, we’ll have less power. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we have a comparison-based identity, we will always see ourselves as deficient. Will we want to share profit or gain? Will we want to share recognition with other people? Will we want to share knowledge? No, because knowledge, position, recognition, and profit are power.

  • The scarcity mindset shows up in win-lose systems, and if the system is rigged, most people

  • lose, everyone becomes cynical, and no one really buys in.

And what could be a solution? Go for the win-win situations with an Abundance Mentality! People with an Abundance Mentality observe the world differently. They believe there is more than enough pie to go around and that they can always make more pie. This mentality leads to win-win thinking.

A win-lose person will convert a win-win system into a win-lose. Only a person with an Abundance Mentality and a win-win style can break the cycle of scarcity and win-lose thinking. When people cultivate an Abundance Mentality, they will think win-win. They will develop more self-respect and respect for others and show tremendous compassion and tenderness toward others.

Organizational behavior doesn’t exist, only individual behavior. Be aware that people can change from scarcity to abundance thinking!

4. Role Imbalance

Why even try to balance our lives when we play so many roles, all very demanding? If we don’t live by the principle of balance, we will crash. Most people live believing they can get away with losing their balance.

That’s living a lie. I agree with what Gandhi said:

“A person cannot do right in one department of life while attempting to do wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole.”

You can’t ignore your family while you put in eighteen-hour days and expect to have a great family life. You can’t fritter away your time on social media without paying the price for your health and productivity.

I’m sorry, but reality doesn’t work that way. We are all buffeted by different forces that tend to knock us off balance, especially if we have no sense of purpose.

And what could be a solution?

  • Accept a season of imbalance gracefully but view it with a long-term perspective. We all move through different phases of life and while we might wish for a more balanced life at certain times, what really matters is long-term balance. Today’s imbalance may be natural and necessary from the week, month, or year perspective. Getting an advanced degree takes a few full years. A project at work might require intense focus for a while. However, if your entire life is invested in one role, such as work or study, everything else eventually crashes family, friendships, health. Still, avoid guilt and take a long-term perspective during times of sacrifice and focus.

  • Involve other people in your meaningful work. Many people get so consumed with a significant project that they neglect everyone and everything else. They leave their family behind. They have no social life, little recreation, and even very few breaks for food or pleasure. And all of this might seem necessary for a while, but if you involve family and friends in the significance of the project, they will feel less neglected. They might even be inspired and uplifted. So involve your family in your work.

  • Share a shared vision of the desired results. What would happen if everyone on a tour had a different destination in mind? This happens when people are kept in the dark or have incomplete information. Don’t leave them to make decisions and act based on an unclear vision. A shared vision of a challenging, meaningful project, goal, or purpose can wash away all petty concerns. People with a great shared purpose will subordinate their egos. They will have one heart, mind, and voice because they have to get the job done.

  • Develop a complementary team. Start doing more leadership work. Stop managing so much. Most companies and families are overmanaged and underled. Of course, the opposite may also be true you may be over-leading and under-managing. Both management and leadership are necessary. Most of us want to clone people in our own image. Still, we need people around us who are different from ourselves who are emotionally independent of us, complement our strengths, and compensate for our weaknesses.

  • Preserve your time for your beloved ones. Every leader struggles with balance as there are many demands on their time. Make sure you schedule some family activities even two years ahead and try to hold them inviolate. It’s like putting fences around that time.

  • Make what is essential to the other person as important to you as the other person is to you. Think of easy things – like watching a movie that you don’t like with your partner just because (s)he likes it or playing football with your kids even if you don’t like it, but they do. It is how you care about them. Be present and be there with them and for them.

All these reasons define your character. And people of good character tend to win in life because people trust them. This inner character is far more significant a factor in success than talent or intelligence, or circumstances.

So it’s worth working on them. It’s worth developing your character! Reach out to me to kick it off.

Good reads on the topic:

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Ágnes Vad, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ágnes Vad is a certified human potential and business coach with 18 years in marketing and 10+ years in cross-cultural leadership roles. Ágnes started her professional career in the multinational world in the marketing domain and built her thorough business acumen in parallel via the international leadership roles she was promoted to. She has been showing passion for working and leading people starting from the beginning of her career. She is a proud winner of the Leadership and Marketing Awards at her company. After 18 years, she decided to follow her passion and became a coach entrepreneur in 2019. In the last 2.5 years, she became experienced and recognized professional in the coaching domain and has cc. 500 hours of coaching experience. She works with individuals and also with teams as a coach. She focuses on activating and maximizing human and leadership potential, emotional intelligence (EQ), mindfulness, and resilience.



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