The courage to be you
by Stephane Leblanc
Who are you? Why are you here? These are two fundamental questions that people have been asking themselves for centuries as they are two of the most fundamental existential questions. In this article, we will discuss the first question. Who are you?
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. - E.E. Cummins
When we ask this question to many people, we get different answers: I am an engineer, lawyer, vice president, mother, yoga teacher, world traveller. We get as many different answers as there people, but the truth is that all these definitions are not really what these people are. They are only the definition that they are using to fit in society. Who they really are is more profound than that as not one definition cannot fully describe one person.
In our life, we wear so many masks, it is sometimes difficult to remember who we really are. We are not our career, the suits we wear, the car we drive, the house we live in, the hobbies we have or the restaurant we eat in. Since we were very young, we have learned to wear many masks to meet the expectations of our family and society.
We wear a mask at work, a different mask with our family, a different one with our friends, another one in society in general and possibly another mask with ourselves as we are not perfect enough to accept ourselves as we are.
All these masks are designed by our ego to fulfil a need to be loved and to belong. And we go to great lengths to fit with the representation of these masks. If we are a senior executive, a doctor or a successful professional, we feel the need to drive a certain brand of car to ensure everyone knows we are successful even if a much less expensive car would still get us from point A to B in the same time. We use a certain kind of watch, even if a less expensive watch would give us the same time, and we write with a certain kind of pen, even if a much less expensive pen would write just as well.
Who do we do all this for? For us or others? Most people do it so others will recognize them as successful, beautiful, worthy. They put all their focus on their outer selves and not on their inner selves. They focus on their ego needs to be accepted and loved. They give a lot of their power to other people. They forget that the most beautiful part of a person is invisible as it is inside.
I used to be a senior operations executive in a large manufacturing industry and for a long time I defined myself as a demanding, fast and strategic leader. After a lot of inner reflection, I discovered I was also a caring, compassionate and loving leader and I chose to honour who I really was and this allowed me to significantly increase my leadership impact and my ability to lead major organizational transformations. It also increased my happiness and my ability to connect with people and develop strong relationships.
It is time for you to remove all your masks and show us the real you. It is time to choose to be authentic and nakedly vulnerable. You are unique with unique talents. You have a special soul mission in this life. It is time to let go of the fears and limiting beliefs of your ego and embrace the desires of your soul.
Being the real you is actually the best and most perfect thing you could be. - S. Sparks
Self-knowledge and self-mastery are essential stepping stones for a leader to transform into a conscious leader.