Friday, August 31

Are You Betraying Yourself?

Self-betrayal happens when you have the sense to do something for someone or say something to someone, then for whatever reason, you choose not to do or say it. Think about the following scenarios:

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where a colleague needed some information for a project and you didn’t share this with him even though you knew it was crucial to the project’s success?

Have you ever not held the elevator for someone who was obviously rushing to get to it?

Have you ever thought about telling someone that you admired something about them but just never did?

These simple acts are acts of self-betrayal. In their ground-breaking book, Leadership and Self-Deception, The Arbinger Institute highlights seven principles of self-betrayal:

1. An act contrary to what I feel I should do for another is called an act of self-betrayal.
2. When I betray myself, I begin to see the world in a way that justifies my self-betrayal.
3. When I see a self-justifying world, my view of reality becomes distorted.
4. When I betray myself, I enter the box.
5. Over time, certain boxes become characteristic of me, and I carry them with me.
6. By being IN the box, I provoke others to be in the box.
7. In the box, we invite mutual mistreatment and obtain mutual justification. We collude in giving each other reason to stay in the box.

Take the time this weekend to think about your actions, or the lack of the actions you thought to take.

Why did you not take the actions you thought you should take?

How did you feel after not taking the action?

What changes can you make in order to not betray yourself the next time?

Check out Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute. Your life will never be the same.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn


Michelle Kunz said...


What a great post! Another way to say this might be to say that we have created a disconnect with our integrity. After a while, these seemingly small betrayals affect our self esteem as we begin to wonder if our integrity is worth anything. I am adding this book to my reading list. Thank you for the suggestion.

Michelle Kunz
PEL Coaching

Coach Carolyn said...

Hey Michelle,

"Created a disconnect with our integrity," I love that! Thanks for sharing that. This book has absolutely transformed my life and the way I view others, especially those in my immediate world. I now act on many more situations, that I have created so many new opportunities in my life. Opportunities I would never have had on my radar. I highly recommend it. Thanks for stopping by.