Effective Self-Management

Effective Self-Management: The Key to Unlocking Your Growth Mindset

Mindset, as we have discussed in previous articles, is one of the three vital elements of The Effectiveness Equation, E = MC², where capability and capacity are the other vital elements.

Building our effectiveness is how we will break free from our self-imposed limitations and live a successful life.

But to improve our effectiveness, we first need to improve our mindset; and to improve our mindset, we need to improve our self-management.

Therefore, improving our self-management will improve our effectiveness.

Defining Self-Management

According to psychologists, there are four requirements you will need to embrace to exhibit good self-management. They are:

    1. Responsible choice-making.
    2. Mature reasoning and emotional intelligence.
    3. Self-determination.
    4. Self-leadership.

To exhibit good self-management, and thus exhibit an effective mindset, you will need to show responsible choice-making, which is the ability to make reasonable and informed decisions.

You will need to show mature reasoning and emotional intelligence, which is the ability to control your own actions and emotions.

You will need to show self-determination, which is the ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals

You will also need to show self-leadership, which is the ability to be a positive influence for yourself and in your environment.

Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, has defined self-management as:

Being able to manage impulses and moods and to think before acting.

We will use this definition in discussing strategies for self-management, emphasising the importance of managing impulses (natural instincts), moods (emotions), and thinking (thoughts), the same three filters of awareness and blocks to effectiveness we have discussed in previous articles.

Identifying Self-Management Areas of Need

In order to work on and improve your self-management, and thus your effectiveness, you will need to identify areas of need.

Generally, there are two main areas of need you should focus on:.

    1. The first area of need is identifying self-limiting habits and implementing the strategies to overcome these habits.
    2. The second area of need is identifying self-limiting thoughts and implementing the strategies to overcome these thoughts.

The below list is a summary of common self-limiting behaviours amongst many people.

      • Not starting things.
      • Not finishing things.
      • Poor preparation.
      • Inability to commit.
      • Failure to follow through.
      • Failure to follow up.
      • Putting yourself/others down.
      • Not putting yourself forward.
      • Controlling behaviour.
      • Poor listening, talking too much.
      • Avoid difficult things, give up.
      • Not asking for help.

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Habits of Poor Self-Management

Of the self-limiting behaviours just listed, what behaviours resonate with you and why? What is the result of these behaviours? What is the true cost of continuing these behaviours and not doing anything about them?

The problem with repeating these self-limiting behaviours over and over again, even for many years, is that they become entrenched as self-limiting habits.

The problem with self-limiting habits is that your effectiveness becomes self-limiting.

As the old proverb goes:

Sow a thought, you reap an act.
Sow an act, you reap a habit.
Sow a habit, you reap a character.
Sow a character, you reap a destiny.

There are four common self-limiting habits that arise from constant repetition of self-limiting behaviours that limit your ability to build your effectiveness:

    1. Inability to say ‘no’.
    2. Procrastination.
    3. Approval seeking.
    4. Perfectionism.

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Inability to Say ‘No’

In our personal and professional life, the ability to say ‘no’ is as critical as saying ‘yes’.

As billionaire, Warren Buffet, said:

The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.

However, it always surprises me how many of my clients struggle with the inability to utter this simple word.

The inability to say ‘no’ is often rooted in a need to please others, a desire to avoid conflict, or a fear of missing out on opportunities.

On the surface, this probably doesn’t seem too much of a problem. But its effects are often hidden and insidious.

The inability to say ‘no’ can have far-reaching effects that hinder your productivity, stifle creativity, and even lead to burnout.


It’s said that we often overestimate what we can accomplish in a single day and underestimate what we can achieve over a lifetime.

But what holds many of us back from realising our true potential and limits our success is the all-too-common act of procrastination.

Procrastination is characterised by the irrational inclination to defer essential tasks and obligations, even when fully aware of the adverse consequences that such delays can have on both individuals and the entities they are associated with.

The truth is, most of us engage in procrastination at some point, often putting off tasks we know we should tackle.

While procrastination may be considered a normal part of human behaviour, what is far from normal is allowing procrastination to persist for years on end.

Procrastination is insidious. It surreptitiously steals your precious time, leaving little room to live the life you truly desire.

That’s why it’s called ‘The Thief of Time’, and why I call it ‘The Killer of Dreams’.

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Approval Seeking

Through self-approval, we gain the inner confidence to face life’s challenges, build genuine connections, and pursue our dreams with unwavering belief in our purpose and abilities.

Self-approval is therefore a cornerstone of a fulfilling and successful life. With it, we are empowered to lead a life true to ourselves and our own values.

Without it, however, we become inauthentic, needy, and ineffective.

Approval-seeking is a common human behaviour. It’s normal to want to be wanted. It’s normal to need to be needed.

But approval-seeking behaviour can become a problem when it interferes in your personal life or your work, when you constantly seek approval from others to validate yourself or to feel good about yourself.

Some common reasons for approval-seeking behaviour include:

-> Fear of looking foolish.
-> Fear of offering opinions/feelings/beliefs.
-> Fear of saying ‘No’.
-> Fear of hurting another’s feelings.
-> Need to belong/be accepted (fear of rejection).


Striving for perfection can instill within you an unrelenting drive to excel.

At one end, the pursuit of perfection encourages you to exceed your personal horizons.

But at the other end, it carries a burden of frustration, disappointment, fatigue, and stress.

The perfectionist, feeling far from her goals, resorts to working harder, sleeping less, and sacrificing the balance between her work and life.

When you demand perfection from yourself, you pursue an ideal that is forever elusive, forever beyond your grasp.

Perfectionism affects all areas of our life: career, academia, parenthood, physical appearance, relationships.

But this unrelenting drive often conceals a deeper longing—a yearning to be liked, accepted, and valued.

Yet, while there’s nothing wrong with hard work and high standards, the irony is that perfectionism can undermine your effectiveness.

Main Points:
    1. The key to unlocking an effective mindset is self-management.
    2. Building our effectiveness is how we will break free from our self-imposed limitations and live a successful life.
    3. Self-management is being able to manage impulses and moods and to think before acting.
    4. The problem with self-limiting habits is that your effectiveness becomes self-limiting.
    5. Sow a thought, you reap an act.
    6. There are four common habits of poor self-management: Inability to say ‘no’; Procrastination; Approval seeking; and Perfectionism.

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Dr. Scott Zarcinas | Doctor, Author, SpeakerABOUT DOCTORZED

Dr. Scott Zarcinas (aka DoctorZed) is a doctor, author, and transformologist. He helps pro-active people to be more decisive, confident, and effective by developing a growth mindset so that they can maximize their full potential and become the person they are capable of being. DoctorZed gives regular workshops, seminars, presentations, and courses to support those who want to make a positive difference through positive action and live the life they want, the way they want, how they want.

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