Lessons from Other Leaders: James Allen

This Book is a “Must Have” for any Leader’s Library

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.   

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. 
Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.


(The male dominant language was typical in 1903)


Our world and our success are dominated by our thinking. We often create negative results with our negative thinking. James Allen* has created a valuable resource for leaders, providing principles for positive thinking. Our circumstances are a result of our thoughts, not the other way around.

When coaching clients on making capital presentations, I notice how their fears and doubts come through in the presentation, even if there are no words describing those fears and doubts. We transfer feelings in ways other than words. Many leaders are not aware that they are making sales presentations, however, we all make sales presentations. For the purpose of this discussion, I am classifying a sales presentation as an effort to get a desired result. In selling, it’s about getting the sale or purchase. In leadership, it’s about getting the sale in another way – influencing behaviors or actions. The sale is closed when the person influenced “buys” the concept and acts upon it.

Consider that leaders sell in the following ways:

  • Motivating Teams
  • Increasing Team Performance
  • Achieving Goals
  • Recruiting Members (church or nonprofit)
  • Raising Capital (loans, donations, grants, equity, etc.)
  • Reframing Conflict as Energetic Creativity

These are certainly my own ideas, and there can certainly be many more examples. As leaders, we show up as persons of influence. In order to influence others, we must first influence ourselves. If we have any doubt, then we become ineffective.

James Allen gives us many anchor statements to guide our thinking. Our thinking guides our results. Our results impact our culture, our organizations, and our lives.

Doesn’t it make good sense to begin any transformation with transforming ourselves? To transform ourselves, we must first transform our thinking.

Inventory your most important goals. Next, define the barriers, fears, and obstacles between you and those goals. Now consider writing a positive statement of completion that addresses each of those items between you and your goal. Read your statements daily to plant a positive image in your mind of success. Know that the only failure is the failure to learn.

You begin achieving your goals once you define them and believe that success will happen.

Start now.

James Allen (November 28, 1864 – 1912) was a British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry and as a pioneer of the self-help movement. His best known work, As a Man Thinketh, has been mass produced since its publication in 1903. It has been a source of inspiration to motivational and self-help authors.  – from Wikipedia


Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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Hugh Ballou (Author)