7 Ways How Leaders Lie To Themselves

Most of us did in our lives something we are not particularly proud of. Hopefully we learned from our mistakes and strive to better ourselves in the future. However, there is one thing that we do over and over again – we lie. We lie to ourselves. And as strange as it may seems that is the worst thing we can do as it is constantly holding us back and prevents us from reaching a true success and happiness. Just read through some of the most common lies and if you recognize yourself find a way how to break the loop and stop this lie. And if you are in a leadership position it is your duty to make sure your team doesn’t hold to them.

  1. “I will be happy when I get my next promotion”

We are incapable of predicting future. As I wrote in this article our brain has a unique capacity in misleading us. Why would you think that getting promoted from a team lead to manager will make you ultimately happy? Sure, it will feel good for couple of weeks but then you will most likely figure out that you will be only happy when you get to the next level and become a director. And what about vice president or CEO? If you are unhappy in your current role chances are that promotion won’t make you much happier. You should either rethink your field of work or learn to enjoy any job you have. Only then you will be truly happy with your position in the company.

  1. “I just need to finish this project and then I will have more time”

Good one. You have no idea how many times I told this lie to myself until I realized that it is not in my nature to get to a state of having nothing to do. As long as one project is coming to the end there are two others waiting and fighting for your attention. If you are unable to “make the time” today with your current workload it is very unlikely it will get better in the future unless you dramatically change how you approach your life and priorities. What worked for me is to dedicate specific timeslots for things that I want to do regarding the rest of the important and urgent things in my life. For example, I really want to write a blog and since it is big enough priority I simply find the time even if I’m snowed under with work on other projects.

  1. “I cannot leave right now as I’m needed”

Being it a project, a company, a family or any other area in your life. Not being able to leave when the time comes is something that will hold you back. Everyone is replaceable. If you believe that without you things will go sour and the darkness descends on the world you are most likely lying to yourself. As long as you did your job to build an environment where people act as adults and are able to think on their own they will be just fine even after you leave. And I’m not advocating here that you should leave when things are bad, or to run from responsibility. I’m talking about situations when you simply did your duty and it is time to move on towards new challenges and adventures with a feeling of job well done.

  1. “I have to take care of my family before myself”

This one sounds like a talk of someone you want to live with. Someone who will always have in their mind your well-being before their own. Who wouldn’t like to live with this person? The problem is that if you are like this then you don’t really live your life. You are just a background noise in the life of others who may or may not recognize your sacrifices. You focus so much on others that you forget to take care of yourself, you ignore your health, your desires, and your needs. Eventually you may become the exact opposite of what you wanted to be. You will become a burden on others.

  1. “I cannot leave the job I hate because it pays too well”

Too bad you got yourself into a position of someone who is overpaid for the contributions you provide. Not many of us get to that position but if you do then you basically admit that you accepted a pay way above what you deserve and the price you pay is in the form of being stuck in a job that you may not even like. For me personally the knowledge that someone else on the job market is willing to pay a bit more than I have today is the way to keep me happy since I know that if it would happen and I stop loving what I do I will not be stuck there just for the money. This gives me a freedom and peace of mind like nothing else.

  1. “When I move to another place/city/country I will be happy”

Been there. Didn’t work. I actually spent a year as expat in the Philippines (I’m originally from Europe). Before I moved there I had all sorts of plans on how things will be different, how I will spend more time outside of work or be on the beach every weekend. After several months I realized that I’m who I’m regardless of the country I live in. Moving to another country or city will of course change some bits and pieces of your life but your values, habits, and priorities will not change. For that you need to work pretty hard and you don’t really need to move to the other side of the World.

  1. “I’m self-sufficient and I can do it alone”

There are many things you can indeed do yourself but at the end of the day you make it unnecessarily hard on yourself. If you are willing to ask for help, if you are able to surround yourself with good people, friends, and family everything in your life will get easier. Just having someone around to share your thoughts with, to talk to, share a laugh or two will work miracles in your ability to get things done, renew your energy and generally live a happier life.

As you can see the list could go on and on but these are the lies most often encountered in professional circles that prevent you from truly explore your potential and reach success and peace of mind.

More on topic of Life and Leadership:

Human Brain, The Biggest Liar Of All Times

Fortune Favors The Well Prepared

Life Is Not Fair! So What?

The Ultimate Question Of Life, The Universe And Everything

Life Is About Communication And Attitude

Your Heart Is Not In It Anymore


What is your favorite lie you see all around you or even when you look in the mirror?

Photo: Shutterstock, Inc.

Categories: Leadership, Life

Tags: , ,

2 replies

  1. Thanks Tom for this, this is one of the best framework someone can create when evaluating things in life. Very very helpful


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