You can probably remember when you were young, you were constantly told what you should and shouldn’t believe by your parents, teachers, and other role models. Most of us didn’t question it, and if we did, we were probably quickly put in our place, or given an answer that wasn’t arguable.
So we adopted other people’s thoughts and beliefs and that became our truth.
We were like little tape recorders, and a lot of those messages we received while growing up stuck with us. Those messages shaped our thoughts and beliefs and our behavior.
When I was growing up, I heard things like “You’ve got to work really hard to make a good living” and “All people who are rich are greedy.” Some of these things continued to be voices in my head for a very long time - and some remnants still exist!
It can be pretty comical when you start to listen to the voices in your own head. I think some of mine were certifiably crazy! Why would we say those things to ourselves? Well, we most likely attached to it subconsciously, storing it on our tape recorder—usually without even thinking about it. You may have seen it in children who imitate mom and dad with their words, behaviors, and even emotions.
These thoughts and beliefs can become deeply rooted emotionally, playing out later in our lives.
Years ago, I volunteered to help teach entrepreneurial skills for an inner-city youth program. It took awhile for the students to warm up to me, but once they did, they openly shared their passions and their talents. I had so much fun learning about each one of them!
We started talking about turning some of those passions into goals, creating a better life for ourselves. I learned so much in that conversation with these kids.
I had always assumed that given a chance, a person would want to do better.
Obviously there would be some lack of confidence and maybe a little disbelief to deal with, but I always thought it was a no brainer, of course they’d jump on the chance to do better. I learned just how deep emotions can affect us.
My students confessed that if they left and created a better life, it would be like dissing their families. One boy said he was sure his older brother would think he didn’t love him if he left.
These students had watched other family members leave, either never to return, or at odds if they did. They were talked about as if they were selfish and thought they were better than everyone else. To stay connected, to feel loved, these kids felt they couldn’t leave and become someone else.
Over the next few weeks, I worked with the students to question our thoughts and beliefs. And we talked about awareness, love, and choices. They agreed that maybe they could do it differently than the others before them. Maybe there was a way to be true to themselves and stay connected with the families they loved.
We all need to question our beliefs and realize where they came from. Ask yourself, does that thought serve me in a positive way? Is there something emotional attaching me to that belief? We need to keep challenging our thoughts and beliefs to discover and remain true to ourselves.
Our self-esteem, patience, confidence and courage are in direct correlation with our truth, and those same attributes are paramount to leadership. When we know and accept our truth, we will set the example with a perfect mix of confidence and humility. We will see things more objectively and our intent will be to help the people on our team, rather than be irritated and angered.
Think of how freeing it is when you realize those were not your original thoughts or beliefs or emotions. Nor do they define you. You get to choose. That’s when you can begin to find your own Truth. That’s when you can rebel and disrupt and find who you really are!
Over the next few months, we’ll be featuring each component of the GRIT® model: Generosity, Respect, Integrity and Truth in a series of free webinars. Because it all starts with our Truth, that’s where we’ll begin too!
Join us April 3 at 2pm EST for The Powerful Truth of Leadership - GRIT® Series Part 1.
Stay tuned next week to learn how to prevent your ego from interfering with your truth! Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be? —Danielle LaPorteCheers,