How to Turn Simon Sinek´s Golden Circle Into Coal, Or How to Wreck Yourself

These Times Are Made for Misfits #3: The Blind Spot of Leadership

Helio Borges
4 min readFeb 1, 2023

A lot of being successful is not only knowing what we’re good at, but also knowing what we’re bad at, and avoiding it. Gapingvoid

This is the third article of the These Times Are Made for Misfits series. The first was How to Be a Misfit, and the second was Action Confidence. Please be aware of the following two articles, Developing Dual Awareness, and Illuminating the Blind Spot of Leadership.

This is a bittersweet, chiaroscuro article where I first expand Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, adding another ring — a dark one. On the bright side, I posted this excellent piece by

that I ran into and could not resist the temptation to integrate here.

The Coal Circle

Simon Sinek sustains that to be an effective leader, you need:

  • To have a clear purpose — your Why
  • To do the things that fulfill your purpose — your What
  • To master the methods and tools that will make the things you do produce a systemic impact — your How

His point is that everyone in a leadership position, either in business or life, is sustained and guided by their Why. In normal times, most conscious people, leaders or not, are connected with the energy of their Why by aligning their Attention with their Intention.

“The power of attention is the real superpower of our age. Attention, aligned with Intention, can make mountains move.”


Nevertheless, we live in disruptive times, characterized by unexpected and far-reaching challenges that reverberate globally in any aspect of society, e.g., climate change, Covid-19, Russian Ukraine war, polarization, and post-truth. Under these circumstances, leaders in government and business can quickly lose focus, reacting emotionally to the impact of the disruption in their countries, businesses, communities, and families. That reaction triggers their Blind Spot, taking their attention away from their intention. When they lose that connection, they turn their Golden Circle into coal, with their Blind Spot in charge of their actions.

In times of disruption, we either innovate or die. So, to innovate, we need a clear connection between our Why, What, and How to have our Attention focused on our Intention. Nevertheless, when confronted with chronic disruption, our blind spot takes charge of our actions, teleporting us away from our golden circle and into a coal one. The problem is that if we lack Self-Awareness, we are unaware of what’s happening.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

The thing about work is that you’re going to encounter a bunch of people you don’t get along with.

But you have to get along with enough of them if you want to move up the ranks.

Which is, our theory, on why there seem to be so many articles on how to work with difficult people. It just comes with the territory.

Like this one: How to deal with people in your org who are not self-aware, i.e. people who have zero perception or interest in how they come across to others.

Sure, there are a lot of perks to working at a big org. Job security, lots of resources, lots of politics and intrigue (for those of you who like that kind of thing), opportunities on a vast scale, plus the satisfaction of working somewhere the other moms have actually heard of.

That being said, it’s only a drawback, it’s not a dealbreaker. For some, it’s just one of those things, the price of doing business, something you don’t take personally. For others, it’s utterly horrible, it ruins their lives.

A lot of being successful is not only knowing what we’re good at, but also knowing what we’re bad at, and avoiding it.

i.e. Self-awareness.


Being Self-Aware

My Why is to do everything in my power to improve the world by helping others open their minds, hearts, and wills to their best future possibilities.

Your job as an entrepreneur, change-maker, or executive demands that you always connect with your Why. In these articles, I am giving you the What — critical elements of Awareness-Based Systems Change that you need to know to manage yourself under disruption.

Soon I will launch the Who, a Disruptive Innovation Bootcamp, where you will join a selected group of change makers in awakening and setting free the misfit that lives inside everyone one of you so that you make a difference in the world here now.

Have you calculated the opportunity cost of not being all out on the things that matter to you? It tends to infinity! I can help you master your awareness to laser-focus your attention on your intention to make your Why shine regardless of the impact of the disruption. Please send a message to to have a generative conversation.




Helio Borges

Executive & Team Coach & Mentor. Cultural Transformation Change Agent & Consultant. Twitter: @hborgesg. Instagram: @heboga. FB: helio.borges.35. Uriji: @hborges