(This is Part 8 in The Liberating Leader at Work series. Read Part 7 here.)
Take a look at this tool. It’s called “Inhibited or Prohibited”, and the provoking question is “Who says you can’t?” Think about this at work, and in the rest of your life for that matter, and how it might help you in your self-liberation.
Fundamentally, the speed bumps to moving ahead or progressing on anything come down to either inhibition or prohibition. If we know what’s holding us back we’ll have greater clarity on what to do about it.
What are the repercussions?
On the left: Inhibition. This is the internal mind game that keeps us from the next move. All of us have insecurities, and we live in places of uncertainty. What should I do? Is this safe? What are the repercussions if I do or if I don’t? Sometimes we over-think or over-calibrate, and it holds us back.
On the right: Prohibition. In this case, we literally have no choice in the matter; we are handcuffed. External circumstances prevent us from moving ahead. It’s not going to happen.
Which do you bump up against most often? Likely, it’s inhibition. That’s why you and I need to keep growing in our emotional intelligence and in our self-awareness.
Am I inhibited or am I prohibited?
Years ago my 10-year-old son and I were at the Kennedy Space Center when an astronaut was giving an inspirational pep talk to students about achieving their dreams. He energetically said something like, “You can achieve anything you set your mind on!” My son leaned over and jokingly said to me, “Dad, I’m going to be the first man to walk on the sun!” (I think I said something like, “Well, maybe at night!”) We both laughed.
So, we are prohibited by some things, like walking on the sun. But more often it’s our inhibitions which hold us back. Today and this week, when something is in your way, ask these questions. Am I inhibited or am I prohibited? Who says I can’t? Go ahead and take a risk. You might get burned, but probably not.