“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” Nelson Mandela


This week we will revisit how the tools and concepts explored during the programme can be used to stay on track with your goals. Sometimes we may find challenges and obstacles arise which prevent us from bringing our visions to action. Sometimes the source of the challenges is external to us, and sometimes it is internal – for example it may be a particular subpersonality dominating at the wrong time, or perhaps a tendency to be more vision-oriented than action-oriented...

Many people find that in different situations they make use of different parts of their personality – sometimes emphasising strength and willpower, at other time more reflective or creative sides. These different parts are sometimes called "subpersonalities" and it can be useful to know which subpersonalities play a role in our life as often they can not only be the source of challenge/obstacles, but also the way to resolve issues.

Subpersonalities are there for a reason. They may serve us now or they may have served us in the past. At times they might be useful, and at other times they might actually hinder us from getting what we really want. For example a subpersonality may have developed to protect us from unsafe situations in the past but now makes us risk-averse and holds us back.

Knowledge of your subpersonalities combined with a wider awareness of what you really want (remember when we spoke about your values?) can be hugely helpful in staying on track. Being aware of the roles that your subpersonalities play, and being able to manage or direct them (like the conductor directs the instruments in an orchestra) can help resolve challenging situations.

On the program we also discussed a useful model for understanding our own natural preferences - the model distinguishes between the mystical and the pragmatic aspects of our inner life. The mystic within us can be seen as the sensitive dreamer that thinks big and holds the vision, whereas the pragmatic part is about feasibility, meeting targets and being practical. To reach our objectives we need both. Again, knowledge of natural tendencies can be hugely beneficial for staying on track.

Connect to the programme

During the program you did several exercises to identify your key subpersonalities – we looked at examples of when leadership has worked well, and when it hasn't worked so well, and discussed what subpersonalities were in play at the time.

  1. What are the subpersonalities that tend to be on the foreground on your life?

  2. Did you identify a subpersonality that has served you in the past, and serves less of a purpose today?

  3. What is your dominant way of life - pragmatist or mystic? What would be the benefit of having more of a balance between pragmatist and mystic?

10/10/10 – Doing, reflecting, connecting

Doing – physical activity: Choose something that you would like to achieve in the near future. Make a list of 5 things that you need in order to achieve this goal (remember that a goal needs to be SMART, and that the A in the acronym stands for Achievable). Then, choose one (or more if you are keen) of the things on the list and act upon it.

Reflecting – thinking, meditating: Reflect on the following questions:

  • Did you have the outcome you wanted? If yes, is this something you want to repeat? What the benefits of it? If you were not able to achieve this, what were the obtacles, what got in the way. What could you put into place next time to achieve your goal;

  • Was there a subpersonality that helped you achieve the goal?

  • Was there a subpersonality that hindered you in achieving the goal?

  • What quality/support do you need to stay on track?

  • In terms of reaching your objective, assess where you are at the moment in terms of the pragmatist/mystic and is this what is needed at the moment?

Connecting – singing, speaking, sharing with others: Share your experiences with your homegroup on your Facebook page.

  • What topic did you choose and why?

  • Did you get any new insights doing these exercises?


It is not always easy to stay on track. However, an awareness of who you are, what drives you and what the dominant parts of your personality are, provide freedom to choose your path consciously. And remember: practice makes perfect!

A personal story (shared by Kanan from India): I was accepted in 2 US universities on a prestigious fellowship to pursue my masters. However, I was not hearing back from the University where I really wanted to study. I had to make a decision about whether I wanted to accept the existing offers or to wait for the 3rd University. I decided to wait and waive the offers.

I was just preparing to give a very important speech in front of some of the most prominent people. Moments before I had to make the speech, I got an email saying that I was not admitted to the 3rd University – this would mean relinquishing the fellowship too. I was distraught and broken. It was the dream of my parents that I go to USA on that fellowship. I did not have the courage to face myself, let alone the world.

But I had to make that speech. I forgot everything else and cleared my mind of all the thoughts. I focused on just feeling the peace inside and started to tell myself to live in THAT moment. I felt suddenly very empowered and could give a great speech!

When I got a standing ovation, only I knew what I was actually going through. Now whenever I feel low, even thinking about that moment gives me great strength!"

Further reading

  • A bit of background on subpersonalities: link

  • Now, that's perseverance: link