Let's get real
By Stephane Leblanc, Founder and CEO, International Centre for Conscious Leadership
It occurs to me that we living in a society that values superficiality and avoids authenticity.
Many people on social media work very hard to show us the very best part of themselves and avoid showing their real life.
I remember a colleague of mine who was very focused on his image. His favourite saying was: ''It's all good.'' As if life is always perfect. I am judging here, but it occurred to me as being so superficial.
Him and I had some relationships issues and as we were two senior executives responsible for the majority of the revenues and profits for our division, I invited him one day to have coffee with me so we could build a better and more authentic relationship. His response was: ''I have no need to build an authentic relationship with you.'' His need to protect his image was so strong that he chose the path of superficiality.
This focus on superficiality is a side effect of our societal programming. As soon as we start school, we learn that we need to wear masks in public as showing our true selves can be risky and dangerous as kids often like to pick on other kids and as we all remember in high school, there are a lot of tribes and we have to work hard to fit in.
This need for belonging is so powerful that we continue to wear masks for the rest of our life. We wear a mask with our colleagues at work, we wear another mask on social media, we wear yet another mask with our friends and we event wear a mask with our close family.
We believe strongly that these masks protect us from harm but the reality is that they create suffering as they promote separation. When we are in a relationship, it is often the two masks that are in the relationship and not the true selves.
In my work as a catalyst for transformation, I have made a choice to be fully authentic in all spheres of my life. This has not come without challenges as I have lost many friends who no longer resonate with me. I have faced a lot of sadness when some old friends and colleagues stop communicating with me. I have also had a lot of joy with all the amazing people I have met. I used to ask myself where all these wonderful people were all my life. They were always there but I did not meet them before because we were not in the same frequency where I was wearing my masks and now that i have taken off my masks, true connection is possible.
I love to create safe spaces where people can discover and show their true selves. It is so beautiful to see complete strangers connect so deeply at the heart level. I can see the joy in their eyes and in their smiles. People feeling comfortable to share the deepest challenges of their lives with others and being received with an open heart and healing through this and connecting at a level they never had before.
It is a deep human need to connect with others and many of us need to be guided on gaining the courage to remove our masks. As you learn to do this, it becomes addictive to be authentic as you get to cherish the power of true and authentic connections.
I am a master connector and I love to bring people together so we can truly connect in our humanity.