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Battling Resistance When You Know What You Need to Do

Most of the time, what leaders find the most daunting is putting themselves and their vision out there. Resistance in the form of self-doubt can be all-consuming and paralyzing, even after you know what you need to do and the rewards in store.

Resistance to the Call

Resistance to the Call is the second phase of the Heroic Journey of the Leader.* In truth, it takes real courage to overcome self-doubt and lead yourself and your team on a new path of transformative change.

You are probably aware of the Imposter Syndrome. Common among highly successful, talented people, the Imposter Syndrome is when you are secretly afraid you are not good enough to merit the success coming your way, like getting a promotion or leading a new effort. The Imposter Syndrome can trigger as much paralyzing self-doubt as actual failure can. In both cases, the key to battling this powerful form of resistance is increasing your awareness of your assets and enlisting the guidance of mentors. Usually, your mentor knows you are ready before you do.

Here are some reflection exercises to help you give and get the most out of this the second phase of your journey: Resistance to the Call and Meeting the Mentors.

Recall moments in the past when you have overcome resistance

Think about specific instances in your life when you have trusted yourself to engage challenges (welcome or unwelcomed) in a productive, proactive way.

  • Who did you ask for help? Colleagues, counselors, friends?
  • Which of your strengths did you tap into?

Leverage your strengths and sources of support to answer this new Call

Apply the tools you used to move beyond self-doubt in the past to this new situation.

  • Which strengths will you tap?
  • Who will you ask for support and guidance?
  • What do you see as the benefits of saying “yes” to the Call—for you, your stakeholders, and the organization?

Despite what we say to ourselves about wanting to know who we really are, there is a very strong chance that we will steer clear of decisive meetings with ourselves for as long as possible. It is far easier to walk in shoes too small for us than to step into the largeness that the soul expects and demands.”

~ Noted Jungian analyst James Hollis, PhD, in his book What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life.

Be inspired to know yourself more deeply as you “step into the largeness” of the hero’s adventure that lies before you.


*If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know all about the Heroic Journey of the leader. It begins when the Hero/Leader answers the Call to lead their team or organization on the path to positive transformational change and ends when they survive a Supreme Ordeal that teaches everyone involved how to operate on a new higher level that changes the very fabric of the organization for the better.

Embarking on a journey of heroic proportions takes practice. It involves honing your skills and modeling the behavior you want your followers to have on a daily basis. Over the next few weeks, I will be digging deeper into each phase of the Heroic Leadership Journey to coach you, the Hero/Leader, on how you can can live fully into each phase every day. For a primer on the phases of the Heroic Leadership Journey, read this.


Dr. Kathy Cramer

Kathryn D. Cramer, PH.D.
Founder and Managing Partner, The Cramer Institute