A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

03 November 2010

Shining a Light, Part I

I have recently discovered a new raft of self-limiting beliefs I've been lugging around with me, and am now pulling them out of my karmic backpack to leave behind. This is an interesting experience. I wonder if you've ever had it? You wake up (figuratively or literally) one day and go, "wow! Why am I telling myself THAT? Not only is it not serving me, it's not even true!"

One of my favorites -- perhaps you've heard it -- is "people will hate me if they ever find out what I'm really like." If you're like almost everyone I've ever met, you developed a belief much like this somewhere around junior high, and some small part of it has persisted in you ever since. It feeds on labels. If "people" (at my office, in my bridge club, at my church) ever found out that I was (or wasn't) Christian, Jewish, Democrat, Republican, skeptic, morning person, dyslexic, divorced, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/straight/kinky, or not a natural blonde, I would be run out of town on a rail and would never find another friend.

The really weird thing about this is that our subconscious (what I sometimes call the "lizard brain") somehow persuades us that this is a real risk, even with people we have known for years and who trust and respect us deeply. When we suspect our friends or colleagues of being capable of this sort of treachery, it is we ourselves who commit the more treacherous act. How unkind, to insinuate that another person could be so petty! How distrustful, to imagine that someone who knows you well would change their mind about you based on something as small and ultimately meaningless as a label.

If we want to build real relationships (and we know that real relationships are the first premise of all effective human interaction in both personal and professional arenas), we have to be authentic. That means letting go of the labels we place on ourselves as well as those we slap onto others. It also means trusting that people want and need to know who you really are, and that when you shine a light on yourself, and on them, that everyone will like what they see.

What aspects of you need a light shone on them today, in order to reveal more of who you are, banish the labels, and let you show up fully to the opportunities that lie before you? Whom do you need to trust more deeply? (Maybe even yourself!) Who could help you shine that light, and what would you have to believe in order to feel safe asking?

(And if you don't think this has EVERYTHING to do with success in your business, think again.)

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