Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter, where 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.


Who are you?

This is a simple question that can be scary and liberating at the same time. I have written a lot about powerful questions – and about the value of asking better questions.

One such question to ask ourselves is, “Who am I?”

If you let this question marinate and reflect over it, you will see answers emerge at 3 levels of depth.

  1. At the surface level, the obvious answer is your name. Like – “I am Sumit Gupta”. Isn’t that obvious? But – is that really you – your name? Isn’t it more accurate to say, “My parents named me Sumit, but I am much more that those 5 letters.”
  2. If you go just a bit deeper into the inquiry with this question, you will start coming up with the roles you play. Like for me – I am a son, father, husband, photographer, coach, leader, and so on. Or – the boxes you have found yourself in – either by choice or by default. Like – I am Hindu, Indian, Dutch, liberal, man, and so on. But again, ask yourself – Is that who you are? Or – is there more to you than the roles you play?
  3. The third level is the level where you Deploy Yourself and choose who you want to BE. This is where your creative choice comes alive and you show up as a leader you are required to BE, rather than who you think you are. It means choosing in any given moment who you want to BE – to create results that matter to you. For example –
    1. When you are with your child, you can BE funny and playful (even if you have been having a bad day)
    2. When you are with your team, you can BE empathetic and caring (to create powerful teams and relationships)
    3. When you are reviewing work commitments, you can BE straight, focussed, and hold people accountable (to produce results)
    4. When you mess up or make a mistake, you can BE apologetic to clear the mess you have created.
    5. And when you have to take risks as a leader, you can BE bold and brave (to move forward towards the future).

What is opening up for you with the above exploration?

Instead of operating from who you think you are – nice, kind, bold, shy, caring, etc – you can choose to BE who you need to be as a leader – in any given moment. That is when you Deploy Yourself and produce results previously thought impossible.

What could be possible in your life if you can creatively choose who you are? What could be beyond your name, your roles, your beliefs, and your past experiences?

Do not rush to answer this question. Think about it. Journal about it. And see what comes up. What new possibilities open up? What questions and doubts come up?

And then reply back and share what you discover. I read and respond to every reply.

Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me


Pursue Mastery, Not Status

Measurements give us the valuable information required to track progress, but unfortunately, they also standardize that progress into a universal, almost soulless metric.

Each domain wields its standard metric of progress, and by focusing on it intently, we gauge our work not by what we produce, but by how it is received and measured. Anytime progress is standardized, a status game is reinforced

It often leads to a never-ending game of comparison via shallow standards. Our relentless chase for status (and the showboating of it) is a cancer that masquerades as success. 

Fortunately, there is an antidote to this cancer, and its name is mastery.

Mastery is the quest to improve yourself as an end in itself. Comparisons are not made with other people, but only with prior versions of yourself. 

Status is obtained by collecting attention, whereas mastery is achieved by refining intuition. Status is always relational, so external validation is a prerequisite to feeling secure. Mastery, on the other hand, is gauged by your unique sense of progress, which can only be derived from within.

The key here is to continue seeing status for the societal poison that it is, and to resist its allure.

Do away with status. Choose mastery instead.

And an article by Lawrence Yeo on More Than That


Storytelling matters more than you think it does

A truth that applies to many fields, which can frustrate some as much as it energizes others, is that the person who tells the most compelling story wins. Not who has the best idea, or the right answer. Just whoever tells a story that catches people’s attention and gets them to nod their heads.

Charles Darwin didn’t discover evolution, he just wrote the first and most compelling book about it.

Great ideas explained poorly can go nowhere while old or wrong ideas told compellingly can ignite a revolution.

When a topic is complex, stories are like leverage.

Stories get diverse people to focus attention on a single point.

Good stories create so much hidden opportunity among things you assume can’t be improved.

From an article titled The Best Story Wins.


6 Things You Must Not Do As a Leader To Ensure High Team Performance

It is easier to cause damage as a leader by ignorance than it is to improve performance by deliberate intervention. Here are 6 things that you must avoid doing :

1. Do not accept mediocrity or low standards. Whatever standards you accept will become the norm. 

2. Don’t treat people with disrespect. Even when they mess up. 

3. Don’t force people to commit to deadlines or take on work that would mean spending time away from their families or ignoring their health.

4. Don’t put profits over employee well-being. Don’t push people to stress and burnout

5. Don’t bias your decisions because of who and what you like. 

6. Don’t micromanage. Trust people and let them do the work they were hired for.

From an article from my desk – 6 Things You Must Not Do As a Leader To Ensure High Team Performance


Before you say “I can not do this”, view this Twitter thread

Hansel lost his arm at the age of 6. A wall collapsed on it, requiring amputation. Now he’s a high school basketball star with his eyes on the NBA.

When asked how he wants others to see him, Hansel said:

“Not as a kid who has a disability. I hope they only see me as a great player.”

Do not miss this on Twitter

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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