Fainting Goats & Self-Leadership

So.  Let’s talk about Self-Leadership when under the gun, in the spotlight, or when squeezed by life’s circumstances.  The goal is to respond well by having insight into your own mind and navigating your emotional landscape. 

Do not turn into a fainting goat (seen here) when frightened, excited, or challenged.  Why?  If you cannot lead yourself through the minefield of your own emotions (a challenge we all face) then quite frankly, you haven’t earned the right to lead others.  Self-leadership is a first and constant requirement for being a great leader.

In July, Marion Bartoli won the women’s Wimbledon Championship.  If you’ve ever seen Marion play, then you know that “odd” is a good descriptor for her approach to the game.  She kangaroo leaps between points, never bounces the ball before serving, and has a variety of other unorthodox behaviors.  She isn’t built like a typical athlete.  Never seen her before?  Watch the first 90 seconds of this training video, and you’ll see why a famous BBC commentator made disparaging remarks about Marion’s win at Wimbledon.   He basically said that Marion’s father probably informed Marion that a Miss America title was not in her future, so she’d better work hard at tennis.  (Never mind that she’s French and has an IQ of about 170).

Naturally, this incident created its own public firestorm.

How did Marion react?  Admirably.  She didn’t turn into a fainting goat.  She reportedly shrugged her shoulders (as only the French can do) and calmly agreed.  “I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a modeling contract?  No.  I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon?  Absolutely,  yes.  And to share this moment with my dad was absolutely amazing and I am so proud of it.”

We can learn from Marion.  Stay focused on you.  Stay focused on your dreams (and don’t let anyone define them for you!)  Pursue them with passion and ignore any detractors, naysayers, or folks who would be gravity to your orbit.   When faced with the inevitable, unexpected criticism or attack, remain strong.   Don’t be a fainting goat because all that does is prove that you are not ready to lead yet.  It undermines others’ confidence in you.

Self-leadership takes practice – and we’re going to talk a lot more about it because I have some ideas and tools that can help us all be a lot more like Marion.  And you won’t faint – I promise!  (That thud you just heard was not me hitting the ground.)


15 thoughts on “Fainting Goats & Self-Leadership

    • Hi Vicki! So glad you visited and added your awesome two cents. I will also invite my readers to follow your excellent blog – they too can benefit from the thoughtful and reflective approach you have to building relationships and leading with the heart. The humanity you bring to the workplace is priceless… and so many have benefited. :-) Once I start inviting folks (next week I hope!) I will at some point feature your blog. Look forward to that! Thank you for stopping by and celebrating with me. Onward!

  1. Hi Maureen
    I did enjoy both articles so far, look forward to read more and more, both made me thing of my goals and how my strengths can contribute to others. :) Thank you

    • Hello Lydia! So glad to see you here! I look forward to hearing more about your goals (let us support you!) and also how you bring your best (your strengths, skills, and energy) to the universe! :-)

      More to come on Self-leadership and “Becoming Fully” – they are related! I’m working on a speech about it and made some progress over the weekend. So, one of MY goals is to deliver that speech soon. My strengths involved are Strategic, Ideation, & Maximizer. Glad you stopped by to play with us!


  2. Good Morning, Maureen!

    What an amazing start to a new week….a great cup of coffee, a comfy chair and a little inspiration from YOU.

    Self-leadership takes practice – Amen!

    I am so proud of you…your energy is contagious. The passion, insight , integrity and humor you bring to everything you touch is priceless. I love learning and laughing!

    You, my friend, are a rock star!


    • Hi Amy!! Many thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts with us – we will learn and lead together, my friend. Look forward to seeing you in person tomorrow at our big meeting with Method Park! Onward!


    • Hello Mark! Thanks so much for coming by! I owe so much of my meager success to you – for encouraging me to blog, to go external, to share from my heart, to be content rich, to be… totally awesome! :-) Your Born to Blog book is a great “personal navigator” for such things – and the Social Slam event just helped me gain confidence with knowledge and example after example of why this works and why it’s good for the universe. For those reading this who are unfamiliar with Mark Schaefer, please visit his blog: http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog/

      I recommend you follow him for interesting updates on the world of social media and social business – which of course, we are all engaged in whether we embrace it or not. So why not embrace it? Many thanks again, Mark. More soon! Maureen

  3. Just one of those things you never really stop and think about. Then, somebody writes an article that makes you think (about a lot of things at once). This is good…

    Must keep an eye on your blog Maureen, guess I’m about to learn a lot more.

    Thank you for writing it up.


    • Hello Rogier! Many thanks for coming to learn and share with us – you are a social business guru so my followers can learn a lot from and with you! This is just the beginning – more fun to come! Maureen

  4. Maureen, great post, and you are right about the leadership aspects, but I feel I must speak up for the fainting goats.
    When the goat faints, it is taking a pause in reaction to something exciting or frightening, it then recovers and moves on. This sounds to me like they are Deliberative goats. Maybe lying down for ten seconds is a bad idea when being chased by a wolf, and maybe the fainting goat stands little chance of survival without human assistance, but pushing the analogy just a little further than you intended, there is merit in not rushing headlong into whatever appears.

    • Hazel! I love it! You have called me out! I totally misunderstand fainting goats because they have different strengths than I do!! I didn’t even realize it! I am dying with laughter and can’t wait to talk about it in my next blog. Thank YOU for sharing your awesome strengths with us – and I honor your Deliberative with all my heart! Forgive me for not recognizing it in the first place! ;-)

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