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The Tale in Perspective

The case you have just read represents an attempt to illustrate two very divergent patterns of self-leadership under essentially identical conditions. Obviously, both individuals are trying very hard. Their general pattern of living, however, is leading to very different types of results. Simply put, Jen is exercising effective self-leadership à la this book—Tom is not. Jen is applying many of the strategies and techniques that have been suggested, and she is doing so in a way that is consistent with her own situation and personal makeup. She is controlling cues (having phone calls held and limiting office hours), for example. She is also monitoring her progress (self-observation) by using lists of pending tasks as a guide. Items on the list represent her goals for the day. Also, rehearsing her presentation apparently contributed significantly to her success at the budget meeting—the major challenge of her day.

A primary strength in Jen's approach is her overall constructive and positive orientation to thinking and behaving. For example, she is liberal in her use of self-rewards, both at the physical level (a good lunch after a hard morning of work, rewarding herself with rest breaks from time to time while she enjoys the pleasant pictures on her walls and the view out her window, planning to celebrate the day's success when she gets home) and the mental level (positive self-statements, imagining desirable experiences in the future). Perhaps even more importantly, Jen tries to build in, focus on, and otherwise experience the natural rewards of her work itself (surrounding herself with pleasant pictures on her office walls, she works in a steady and controlled, rather than frantic, haphazard style, and she purposefully seeks out the enjoyable aspects of her job). Also, it seems that Jen from time to time performs a mental examination of her purpose in life (thinking to herself why she loves her job and the contribution she is making as a result of her job).


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