By: David Lesser
The CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation once acknowledged to me that at his core he didnt know who he was or what hes really about. This kind of self-forgetting is surprisingly common. My colleagues and I work with people who have achieved great success by dedicating themselves to giving their employees and customers what they need to flourish. Yet, when asked at the most personal level, they find it difficult to say clearly what they want for themselves. We forget ourselves by becoming adept at perceiving other peoples points of view. We learn that it is safer or more expedient to give them what they want and need than to take a stand for something we may think or feel. At other times we become engrossed in what we are creating to the point of forgetting why we are doing it. As a client put it recently, "I believed that being true to myself was selfish. I see now this has been a cover for the ways I have been denying the world what is actually mine to bring." For many of us, this is a crucial turnaround. You might want to look at what you hold back for fear it would be selfish. Is this how you excuse yourself from speaking or doing what is yours to bring? Freedom comes from exposing this lie. We may still feel fear of failure, rejection or retaliation, but at least we are no longer disguising that fear by pretending we are holding back for the benefit of others. Our reticence denies them our gift. When you scratch the surface most people are ashamed of who they are. For example, in working with clients, it sometimes comes out that from earliest memory they had made a decision never to be like their father. As a result they are constantly plagued by the parts of themselves that remind them of dad. Others strive to live up to be the remarkable person their dad was in their eyes. Same result: a life plagued by the constant shame of never being quite good enough. We use a process that reconnects people with the lost love of and for their father. In that most tender space, the message often heard from the father is something to the effect: "I want you to be free to do what is yours to do. Honor me by showing up as you." What a privilege to see executives make the leap out of people pleasing into radical change. These people are now making bold business moves in their industries and stepping into whole new ways of handling their personal lives. Turn away from the lie that it is selfish to be true to ourselves. Real giving is when I show up as me and you show up fully as you. About the author: Formerly CEO of a major real estate and contruction group, David Lesser has been guiding people and organizations through crucial transitions for over 20 years. Go to http://ExecutiveConfidant.com. Join David's blog or arrange for a free 30 minute consultation.
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