When we're living our best lives and leading at our peak, we're alive to all the possibilities for fulfillment and purpose that surround us. When we wander off the path, though, we find ourselves looking through a distorted lens for those same possibilities.

The traditional seven deadly sins are often presented as moral failings, but they also represent common ways people harden themselves to life's goodness.

Ask yourself if you may need to reorient and reopen your heart in any of these areas.

1. Pride

Appropriate pride and self-esteem are healthy, and may even be necessary for success. But if you set up yourself as more important that others, you're harming yourself--likely because you're not feeling good about yourself to begin with. A true leader embraces self with intimate, healthy relationships and deep experiences with others.

2. Envy

It's fine to aspire and emulate, especially when it comes out of admiration for another and what they have achieved. But discontent and resentment distort the truth of existence and keep you from developing your individual purpose. Focus on cultivating your own unique gifts and using them to make a positive difference.

3. Wrath

Occasional anger is understandable, and even justifiable. Feeling anger isn't a problem in itself, but when you use your anger to cripple, harm, or break another, you are falling into trouble. True leaders don't deny anger but transform its energy into something constructive.

4. Sloth

This isn't about "taking some time for yourself," which is necessary and good. But if you have an ongoing issue with procrastination and often fail to meet your obligations, the underlying issue may be fear of failure. Whatever the cause, when people are relying on you, true leadership spurs you to overcome your issues and rise to the responsibility.

5. Lust

Passion and connection are critical, but lust in any form--a shallow and self-centered desire that's about short-term gratification--creates nothing but chaos if you leave it uncontrolled. The best leaders know to keep their focus on the bigger picture.

6. Avarice

It's not hard to find examples of people in leadership positions who treat life as a zero-sum game where there's not enough for everyone. From there it's a short hop to the destructive force of greed. Great leadership is built on the idea of abundance and sharing.

7. Gluttony

Too much of anything never feels good. Excessive behavior, whether it's drinking, eating, sex, or even work, will set you on an unbalanced path. The best leadership is about moderation, balance, and integrating all your wants, needs, desires, capabilities, and goals.

If you're practicing any of the deadly sins of leadership, you're missing out on some of the very best of what life has to offer.

 

Published on: Mar 30, 2015