The Empowered Blog

How to Rise to the Top of Your Leadership Game

Are you a business leader who …

• Aspires to accomplish great things?

• Is always seeking to raise your bar higher?

• Continually searches for an edge in personal performance?

• Gets diminishing returns from your efforts?

• Is fired up to take things to the next level, but doesn’t know how?

For a moment, put aside the stresses of your day and shift your focus from what is to what can be.  It’s time to enter a world of new possibilities for yourself and your future.  It’s time to play a new Leadership Game.

Imagine  …

Photo Credit: David Niblack

• You could be at the top of your mental game with volition

• Instantly elevate yourself into a peak emotional and mental state within minutes

Fuel your confidence, passion and motivation on a daily basis that moves you to action

What would that do to your leadership performance, success and results   in the future?

Ninety percent (90%) of your leadership success boils down to one critical factor: your psychology.  Great leaders who achieve their extraordinary visions and success share one fundamental power: the ability to harness their emotions and transform them into focused, self-directed actions and accomplishments.

Shifting your psychology is the quickest, most profound strategy for realizing peak performance. Let’s look at what you can do to master your state and ultimately your outcomes.

The State–Success Connection: 

“How are you feeling at this moment?”  Whether you realize it or not, right now your state is running your performance.  If you are depressed or fearful, you will experience low motivation, focus and/or productivity.  If you are in a positive state, you will feel a sense of vitality, direction and momentum.

No matter what your state, there is great news!  Unlike goals which take time to achieve, your state can change instantly.  Below are 7 key strategies for changing your state and rising to the top of your business game … starting now.


1. Lead From Your Peaks

An important presupposition about all humans is that people have all the resources they need to achieve success.  Our mental images, self-talk and feelings are the foundations of our “inner” resources.  We can use those resources to build any thought, feeling or skill we want.

To build those inner resources, practice leading from your peaks.  Imagine a defining moment in your past when you overcame fear or a setback. Notice your physiology at that time.  Recall what you said to yourself as you triumphed.  Reconnect to that feeling of determination and courage. Anchor those inner resources by “stepping back into those memories” as though they are happening now.  If you have done this process correctly, you will have ignited the same emotions in present time as you felt from your past peak moments.  Now ask:

From what peak moment(s) can you lead? 

What past triumph inspires you to realize your vision and to overcome any obstacle?  

What higher peaks can you climb?


2. Re-Engineer Your Brain For Bigger Goals and Visions

Have you ever noticed when you are flying into the vast skies, how small a car or house look from above?  Likewise, in a vast world of endless possibilities, our norm is to pursue teeny, tiny goals that are the size of specks compared to our potential.  These goals often lack fire and excitement are driven by “shoulds” and “needs” rather than “wants” and “desires.”

Big, bold visions are the fuel of every great achievement.  They are the catalysts of magic.  Walt Disney – the ultimate dreamer – had one directive for his project managers in building theme parks:  “Build the castle first.”  He knew that getting the castle in place was where the magic was.   If you could feel the magic, you could go the distance and do the hard stuff.

When was the last time you felt excited about your own personal leadership direction and that of your organization?

  How can you re-engineer your leadership visions to ignite the magic?  

What “castle” must you build first to go the distance?


3. Upgrade Your “Inner Rule Book”

Your “inner rule book” – namely, your beliefs and convictions — drive all your leadership behaviors, actions and decisions, as well as your state and emotions.  They make up the boundary conditions of your thinking and form the parameters of your Inner lLeadership Game.*   When your beliefs are based on a mindset of limitations, you narrow your possible outcomes.  When transformed into new empowering beliefs, they ignite potential and allow you to soar.

Warren Buffet believes that it is easier to create money than spend it.  Richard Branson believes that business is fun and creative and anything is possible.  The only difference between you and Warren Buffet or Richard Branson is your “inner rule book.

What “inner rules” are keeping you back from playing a bigger Leadership Game? 

Who is producing the leadership results you want?  What is that person’s beliefs or “inner rule” book?  

Which of their beliefs could you adopt to realize a breakthrough in your own performance?


4. Make Supreme Confidence a Deliberate Choice

In my 28 years of transforming leaders, I have found that more than 70% of all leaders are victims of “backwards thinking.”  That is, they believe that confidence is a by-product of success, rather than the driver of success.

According to Bill Gates,  “supreme confidence is a choice.”  You choose it first; then the proof appears later.  To cultivate it, you must declare victory before you even step out on the battlefield.  Certainty will propel you to victory.

What would it take for you to feel supremely confident as a leader?  

What leadership victories are you ready to declare now? 


5. Distinguish Between Fact and Interpretation

In the world of NLP (NeuroLingusitic Programming), a core theme is:  “the map is not the territory.”  Your perception of reality is only a representation of reality.  It’s never reality itself.  No more than the map of California is California itself.

Einstein said that ‘there are very few facts,” yet we treat everything as fact.  We believe our perceptions are “truth,” when they are really subjective experiences.  The meaning you give to an event … your “story” … rather than the event itself will drive your state, your response and your outcomes.

I recently heard a cancer patient say that “she did not see cancer as killing her, but rather it gave her permission to live more fully.”  How many people do you know that would respond accordingly?  While we may not have control over the events in our lives, we do have choice in how we respond.  Our state depends on how we interpret events in our lives.  Our interpretation and ultimately our response will drive every outcome.

What negative “story” are you telling yourself as a leader when revenues drop or a major customer is complaining about poor service?  

What might be 3 positive interpretations of any current business challenge or setback you are experiencing personally or in your organization?  

Given those new interpretations, how might you respond differently in terms of actions, behaviors and outcomes?


6. Amplify What Is Excellent

NLP is the study of human excellence.  It provides the tools, technologies and processes for leaders and organizations to achieve rapid breakthroughs and unleash greater potential.

In this spirit, one of the best ways to rise to the top of your game is by amplifying your excellence so much that the roadblocks seem like little bumps in the road.  How do you amplify your excellence?

One of my favorite processes is called The Circle of Excellence.  The process anchors into your neurology your state of excellence so you can access it on demand when needed.  To do something similar, think of a time when you excelled and relive it.  Amplify that memory by making it bigger, brighter, more colorful and compelling.  Put yourself into that memory as though it is happening now.  Imagine utilizing this excellence resource state in future situations when you need/want it.  Recall another memory of excellence and repeat the process.  Taking a few moments to stack and amplify your excellence memories will increase your performance exponentially.

When in the past have you excelled in your leadership role or even personally? 

In reliving those memories, what did you see, feel and say to yourself in that experience?  

How can you use those images, feelings and self-talk as an excellence resource state in future situations?


7. Stay Committed To and Aligned With Your Core

Goals by themselves do not motivate actions.  They are merely the stepping stones to realize what we deem important: our values.  When identifying goals, we answer the question “what do we want?”  With values, we answer the question “why?”

Values act like superchargers on our motivations. Strong values ignite strong motivation.  When we disconnect from our values, we become de-motivated, feel empty and depressed, and cut off from  “our souls.”

Our values are our compass, steering our course based on our own sense of personal integrity and what we consider important.  Staying committed to our values drives authentic power, momentum toward  goals and experiencing meaning and fulfillment in your role and life.  True success and emotional mastery cannot be obtained without this alignment.

What’s most important to you in your leadership role?  

What recent actions, decisions or behaviors are out of integrity with your core values? 

What new choices must you make to get back to your core? 

In the words of Thoreau, “For things to change, we must change.”  One new thought, one new decision, one new belief can change the size and direction of your entire Leadership Game.*

Applying the principles and exercises in this article can be that one thing that changes everything.  Learn how to master your emotions and your state and you are on the path to mastering your leadership destiny.

For more information about mastering your Inner and Outer Leadership Game,  click here.


Denise Corcoran – CEO, The Empowered BusinessTM – helps growth-seeking companies develop game-changing leadership teams and organizations that drive and sustain profitable growth by design.   Denise can be reached at or



Denise Corcoran works with CEOs and executive teams seeking rapid growth yet are challenged by the “invisible barriers” that keep them stuck, overwhelmed or in crisis mode. Her company —The Empowered Business — is one of the few companies providing whole brain, strategic solutions for unleashing leadership and organizational potential. Her secret sauce is assisting CEOs and executive teams develop the “X factor” – i.e., the mindset, attitudes and game-changing thinking -- that drives double and triple digit growth … by design.


Posted by Denise Corcoran on February 15, 2013 in Emotional Mastery, Goal Achievement, Leadership Development, Leadership Performance, Mindset, Motivation and tagged , , , , , , , .

Comments are closed.