Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter. Every two weeks I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.


She told me that she was not a good leader. I told her I am not buying that.

“I have been trying to prove myself my entire life”, she told me during our first coaching session.

I often have similar conversations with high-performing leaders. I continued to listen to her story.

“I experience guilt for letting myself down. I am constantly anxious that I will let my team down. I am struggling and each day feels like a lonely battle. I am not a good leader”, she added.

I was really intrigued and surprised. You know, I had googled this leader before our conversation. Here is what I had found –

“She has been a social entrepreneur and running her organisation for the last 7 years.

Her enterprise is tackling a taboo and highly sensitive issue in a traditionally conservative society.

She is all over the media for her accolades and the work her organisation has done.

She has been awarded multiple awards and had been recognised by national and international organisations for her leadership.”

And she told me she was not a good leader.

I told her I understand her story but I am not buying into what she has been telling herself.

I told her that “I see you for who you are”. I see told her she is one of the most inspiring leaders I know.

I told her that I was anxious before our coaching conversation because of her accomplishments.

We did some deep work in the 6 months I coached her to understand her emotions of guilt, shame, and fear. We worked together to channel her emotional energy into furthering her cause and her leadership. Considering the kind of challenges (including mental and physical harassment) she faces in her mission, she started asking for support and opening up to her team. She saw herself for the powerful leader that she was – which the outside world already knew.

She is one of the most extraordinary leaders I know. I told her it is my privilege to coach and support her.

Cheers, Sumit

PS – As a coach, it is my job to serve people and not to please them. These conversations are often not comfortable or easy. But they can be magical and transformative. If you want to make a massive impact with your leadership and are brave enough to seek support, I have only a few 1-on-1 coaching spots available for 2021. Write to me. I read and respond to every reply.

Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me


5 Unconscious Ways We Limit Our Own Freedom

Freedom is not something to be given by others. People are as free as they want to be. However, it is very easy to be un-free, and most of the time we do not even realize that we are limiting our own freedom.

As Daniel Kahneman points out in the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” our fast and unconscious thinking brain helps us survive by making quick decisions. It is then a paradox that the same part of our brain limits our freedom in so many ways before we can consciously intervene and make our own choices. Conscious thinking and reasoning are very tiring for our brains, and hence most of our decisions are made unconsciously or in our brain’s autopilot mode.

Let’s find out 5 unconscious ways in which we limit our own freedom

  1. We are not clear about what we want.
  2. We are unaware of our own false stories and beliefs (like the person in the story above)
  3. We don’t execute our plans.
  4. We don’t aim big enough.
  5. We don’t ask for help when we need to.

From an article from my desk – 5 Unconscious Ways We Limit Our Own Freedom


Are Metrics Useful or Evil in Business?

Organizations frequently waste effort by pursuing too many conflicting goals. Metrics focus efforts and get everyone on the same page. The power of ambitious goals to improve productivity has a long history in industrial psychology. Making the goals public both encourages alignment and makes people accountable for their outcomes.

Doerr, for his part, concedes that it can be problematic when goal-setting becomes an obsession. To avoid the potential downsides of metrics, Doerr suggests:

  • Do not tie metrics to compensation.
  • Be willing to change your metrics if they turn out to measure the wrong thing.
  • When both quality and quantity matter, add more metrics to balance your current ones.

Metrics both inspire effort and encourage corruption. They allow for progress on easily quantified goals and may be damaging to more qualitative ones. Like a potent medicine that cures disease and also creates side effects, each metric needs to be carefully considered in light of the trade-offs.

From an article by Scott Young on Metrics


My Biggest Learning in 2021 – Fear Is a Friend

Leaders often see fear as an enemy. For most of my leadership journey, I have also seen fear as a weakness or something to overcome. However, in just the last few years I have come to believe that fear is our friend as a leader because of the below 3 reasons – 

  1. Fear tells you what is important to you. You do not feel fear about something you do not care about. Fear reveals what is important to you. As such, it is an important signal that you must not ignore. Seen this way, fear can guide you towards meaningful results over the long-term.
  2. Fear shows up at the edge of your skills. You do not experience fear because of what is up against you. You experience fear because you do not YET have the capacity to deal with it. Fear is an invitation to learning and growth. Once you take the next step and learn, your capacity to act will increase. You will still experience fear but only when you face the next level of challenge. 
  3. Fear invites you to manage risk. It stops you from doing stupid things. Fear tells what are the risks that lie ahead. It is an invitation to prepare and manage those risks, not to shy away from them.

I used to say for the longest time that I could not act because I lacked courage. What I have realised after multiple leadership adventures is that courage is not the absence of fear but instead acting in the presence of it. 

The opportunity for courage only arises in the presence of fear. There is no courage possible without fear. In other words, strong leadership is not possible without the constant companionship of fear. Fear has a lot of energy. You just have to learn to channel it in a constructive way.

That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,


(Twitter) @SumitGupta
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