Why do we believe what we believe about who we are and what we’re worth? That’s a question that we don’t often reflect on, but it has so much power over our lives.
From the moment we are born, we are given a clean slate. We have no beliefs. No strong opinions. No thoughts on what should be or what we could be. We just are.
But as we live and learn and grow, our beliefs change. Our view of the world and what is right, true, wrong, wise, or foolish, does too.
All of this leads us to who we are and why we do what we do. As leaders of our families, businesses, churches, etc, this is critical to understand. Here’s why:
Leaders all have a story.
There was a young boy who grew up in a small town in America. He had a great family who loved him. He was safe, loved, and secure. One day, this young boy was walking to school when he heard the sound of older kids talking and joking and approaching him from behind. As they approached, an older kid – a neighbor of the young boy and one that he looked up to as a sports star in their community – came up to him and made a comment about his ears. “I hope the wind doesn’t pick you up and carry you away with those big dumbo ears!” Everyone laughed. To the kid making the joke, it was just a flippant sentence. He probably never thought twice about it.
But not the young boy.
It hurt him deeply.
From that day forward, he began to see himself (and his world) differently. He wondered if everyone saw him the same way that older boy did. He imagined that they did. He began to believe that he had big ears and he began to do whatever he could to try to hide them and protect himself from being embarrassed by them ever again.
What’s your story?
You see, we all have a story to tell that helps explain why we do what we do. Why we believe life to be like it is. And it has a tremendous impact on us still to this day.
If you were the boy in the story, how would this experience affect your view of the world today? It shouldn’t, right? But it does.
Here are a few ways it may impact him still today:
- He doesn’t take chances because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed
- He believes he will get hurt if he’s not sure what to do so he decides it would be safer to not try than to fail
- He is desperate to fit in and believes it is better to not go out on a limb and risk ending up alone
- He is constantly afraid of what others think about him
On and on it goes for this adult that still feels like the little boy who was wounded so long ago.
Our lives are like a live version of Connect the Dots. The problem is, we can’t always make the picture clear. We don’t like living with the fear of rejection, but we just can’t fight the feeling inside of us. We’ve felt it for so long that it feels like a part of who we really are. We want to push forward, but we wonder if people will approve. We desperately want to believe that anything is possible, but we’re just not sure.
So we conform to lives we don’t really love. But it feels safe. After all, we don’t want to get embarrassed or get hurt again.
For many people, we are the boy in the story. We have a story that, if everyone knew it, would help explain why we respond to life and to challenges like we do. But most don’t understand it. We don’t dare share those things with others, right? Why would we? It’s not safe and we don’t want to risk it.
Taking control of our story
Here’s the thing: you are in control of your story from this day forward! You don’t have to be afraid. You are not alone. In fact, do you know what you and most leaders have in common? They have stories to tell, too! The reason that so many of them are so successful, in fact, is BECAUSE of those stories! Rather than letting the experiences of their past keep them down, they used it as fuel to grow and change and propel them forward. This, too, is a part of their story. A story of changing what they believe about what is true and possible for them.
That boy, by the way, is me. That is my story and it’s one that I’ll never forget.
My hope, is that by sharing my story it may encourage you to change your story. Grab courage from those of us who have decided to fight the voices that have controlled so much of our lives. Then share your story and become the story that someone else can hang on to as well.We all have a story to tell that helps explain why we do what we do. Click To Tweet