Are you overwhelmed with guilt to the point that you have no initiative?
Two monks were meditating as they walked along a muddy road. They came across a beautiful young woman trying to cross the road without soiling her shoes. Without saying a word, the first monk picked up the woman, carried her across the road, and set her down.
Then the monks resumed walking without talking. That evening when they reached their destination, the second monk said, “Why did you pick up that woman this morning? You know women are dangerous.” The first monk replied, “I left her on the side of the road. Are you still carrying her?”
Over the last few days, I’ve been writing a lot about balanceability–the ability to balance your life. The third stage of balanceability is initiative versus guilt.
Erik Erikson, the father of balance research, taught that this crisis stage happens primarily between three to six years old. But remember, people can go in and out of stages many times throughout their lives.
Childhood is a foundation for adulthood. When we develop a balance of trust and autonomy, we lay the foundation for initiative. If we do not lay a healthy foundation for trust and autonomy, we develop more guilt.
Guilt is a common feeling indicating we have violated our values. It is a warning sign telling us we are hurting others or ourselves. A little guilt is good. It helps us hurt, back up, and learn from our mistakes. Too much guilt turns into shame. And shame turns into a dungeon of darkness isolating us from ourselves and the people around us. This zaps us from motivation and initiative to reach for our dreams.
The basic attitude of initiative is…
- I will start now.
- I enjoy new challenges.
- This is what needs to be done, and I will do it.
The basic attitude of guilt is…
- I will start tomorrow.
- I prefer sticking with what I know.
- This is what needs to be done, but who will do it?
People with iniative like accepting new challenges. They tend to be self-starters and make effective leaders. People with iniative have energy to set goals, feel adequate, and enjoy making things happen. They have a balanced sense of right and wrong without being overly moralistic.
People who are overwhelmed with guilt tend to procrastinate. They resist new challenges, are slow self-starters, and tend to be followers rather than leaders. People with guilt tend to feel inadequate, have low energy, and prefer sitting in the background. They are hyper moralistic and are focused on the things in life that are “wrong.”
Is guilt blinding you from the good in your life?
What goals and dreams are you putting off because of lack of iniative?
Would you like to…
- Be like the first monk or the second monk?
- Balance out your guilt?
- Build initiative to achieve your dreams?
If the answer is Yes, then develop a coaching relationship with Brent!
Brent O’Bannon creates momentum for outrageous success. He is known as America’s Momentum Coach for individuals, couples in business, and companies. For more information go to www.brentobannon.com and www.marriedtoyourboss.com.