step into yourself

Step Into Yourself

Have you been holding yourself back? I was. For years.

Once, I was the man with the plan. I knew what I wanted, where I was going, and how to get there. And I got there! In just four years, my living room language “school” became a juggernaut. But “there” was no longer where I wanted to be: I wasn’t satisfied. So I published my first book, launched my speaking career, and crushed that, too. I could do no wrong, apparently: every decision I made was the right one.

I reached the mountaintop. From my pinnacle I saw a new, higher mountain I just needed to climb. So I started in on that peak, and then the next, and then next, and….

Well, at some point things went sideways, as they say. And I went on a journey of self-doubt and, finally (thankfully!), of rediscovery.

I walked through the fire. I lost my mojo, and in reclaiming it, I claimed a whole new, somewhat more serene and much more self-secure me. At 47, I am literally not the man I was at 34 when I started that living room school of mine.

My trial by fire cleansed me. The deepest parts were very painful. The road back up hurt quite a bit as well. Instead of feeding my bottomless ego through business accomplishment, though, that painful journey of mine helped me to shed the worst parts of my ego. In so doing, I found my lost sense of clarity, of purpose, and of certainty.

I’m ready to lead again. I’ve stepped back into myself.

Instead of feeding my bottomless ego through business accomplishment, though, that painful journey of mine helped me to shed the worst parts of my ego.

How about you?

Where are you on your journey?

Are you striving to fill a bottomless ego, as I was on my first at-bat leading a company? That is a necessary experience for most of us. If you’re still there, you likely stopped reading this post before you got this far, because you’re the person with the plan. Self-doubt is for the other guy. And because you’re afraid of your own doubt, you are your own bottomless pit.

Are you wandering, searching for your lost mojo? Did you take a misstep, and now you’re desperate to end the pain of self-doubt and uncertainty? I hope this post, and others I share on this topic now and then, can guide you, if just a bit. I aspire to lead you back to yourself. If nothing else, take heart: you’ll get through it. We all do. And take solace knowing that the painful journey serves an essential purpose in your development as a leader, and as a complete human being.*

The painful journey serves an essential purpose in your development as a leader, and as a complete human being…if nothing else, take heart: you’ll get through it. We all do.

Are you back to your true, confident self? You’ve noticed a difference, haven’t you? Not in your situation, or your surroundings. But in yourself. You can feel it. You’re back, but you’ve changed. It’s almost like a different person is back in your place, looking at your familiar “you” in the mirror.

That person is still you, don’t worry. But you’re stronger, aren’t you? Your confidence has replaced your previous swagger. The hole within you has been mended. It’s not about you now, not at all. It’s about your mission, your team, your organization and your movement.

You’re ready to lead. Truly. Powerfully, though not forcefully.

You’re back. You’ve found yourself. Let’s change the world together! It’s time.

 

*Have you read Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankel? It’s a very short book. The first half is very hard to read, though the way he writes about his experience in the Nazi concentration camps is, I think you’ll agree, somehow not crushing. If you haven’t read it, you owe it to yourself. Among other insights, you will never resent suffering again.

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Copyright: frugo / 123RF Stock Photo

Keynote speaker. Author of A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive. Three-time CEO. Chairman and Founder of Switch and Shift. Ted Coiné is one of the most influential business experts on the Web, top-ranked by Forbes, Inc., SAP Business Innovation, and Huffington Post for his leadership, customer experience, and social media influence. Ted consults with owners, CEOs and boards of directors on making their companies more competitive by making them more human-focused. He and his family live in Naples, Florida.

  • reply @cathy1847 ,

    Thanks Ted a little tidbit of relevant encouragement. I’m in my 2nd year of my 2nd business. The first one was a breeze compared to this one, because this one is my passion, and mine alone. But I say “don’t be a sissy, get on with it :) ” Thanks.

    • reply lifeisntbroken ,

      Adversity isn’t a pleasant teacher, but it’s a great one. It’s only through adversity I’ve ever grown in any meaningful way. Maybe I’m a blockhead, but lessons I learn from the dark side stay with me and change me permanently. I’ve come through them a gentler more compassionate person able to see many sides of things where before there was tunnel vision. Thanks for sharing.

      • reply JohnRichardBell ,

        Very thoughtful and inspiring post, Ted. My view, as it relates to CEOs is this: It is never too late to change. There may be many styles of leadership, and some will hinge on the health of the business. But along the way, business leaders must be aware of the people they touch during the journey. Notwithstanding the incessant trials and tribulations, there is every opportunity to lead with honor and do some good with the power that comes with the corner office. Use it well, while you are there.

        • reply Medium Cheddar ,

          This is a powerful post Mr. Coine. Thank you! The pain is purposeful, I have found, and has great lessons if you learn from it. I love the important distinction you make between powerful and forceful leadership, and being driven by purpose. I wrote a post with a similar theme to it, about embracing your role as a leader daily. I think it is so important for leaders at all levels to recognize that our followers need us to be leaders every day, inspiring them to their own leadership. And I don’t think that always happens from the top down. I have been inspired by the passion that my team members brought to their work, and I know I have inspired senior leaders in my work as well. I hope everyone who reads your post sees that you don’t have to be the CEO to embrace your opportunity for powerful leadership. At every level and role, we need to be humans with a whole story who acknowledge our leadership without ego, but with great purpose. http://wp.me/p4gIgD-2Z

          • reply Dean M. Brenner ,

            I feel this also. Won’t bore you (or your other readers) with too many details, but my parallel life with the US Olympic Sailing Team didn’t end the way I wanted it to, and that sapped me of a great deal of confidence. I had reached that mountaintop, felt invincible at times, and then didn’t. It had an impact on all areas of my life.

            It took a while, a lot of thought and a lot of time with the important people in my life (most especially Emily and Zach, my family) for me to get refocused and re-energized. V2.0 of Me is stronger, better, more influential because I have a better sense of who I am, what I bring to the table, and what I am NOT. I think I am easier to work with, more collaborative as well.

            I love this post. Thanks for sharing, and for being so honest.

            • reply TedCoine ,

              Thank you, John. Your advice is rock-solid. I especially want to draw readers’ attention to this: “It is never too late to change.”

              • reply TedCoine ,

                Katherine,

                As my wife Jane says about experience, which can sometimes be painful: “Everything happens for a lesson.” Your comment reminds me of this saying.

                As Leaguer Susan Mazza says, “Lead from where you are.” I love that thought. After all, we’re all leaders at some point in our week, be it at work, with friends, with our children, at church, a club, working with our favorite charity… The notion of some of us being leaders and others being followers is, well, a false construct.

                BTW I love your post – thank you for sharing! Let me call this out to share with the community here at S&S: The people all around you need you to ignite their belief, trust, and leadership and offer them their own green light.

                Ted

                • reply TedCoine ,

                  Thanks so much, Anita! You, a blockhead? Hardly. Gentler and more compassionate: me, too.

                  Friends, if you haven’t read Anita’s post on S&S, now’s your chance: http://switchandshift.com/when-appreciation-isnt-appreciated. It’s outstanding.

                  BTW “Life isn’t broken” is hands down my favorite handle on twitter ;)

                  • reply TedCoine ,

                    Glad you enjoyed it, Cathy! “…because this one is my passion…” is an interesting reason for a business to be difficult to launch and stand up successfully, isn’t it? I completely get that, though. It’s as if we care too much, as if the business were our baby. Tap that passion, harness it to propel your company forward, if you can. And keep us posted!

                    • reply Ted Coine ,

                      Dean, a belated thank you for this heartfelt note. Though a bit shy of Olympic caliber, I was a very dedicated swimmer (known as “Swimmer Ted” around campus) up until the last race of my senior year in college. Then my career came to its natural end – and, natural or not, I felt lost and empty, like my identity was behind me along with my childhood sport.

                      I have a friend here in Naples who is a retired NFL player. He has confided to feeling the same way, though again, like you, I’m certain it was even more profound to lose his sport than it was for me.

                      Sports careers end, or at least transition from career to hobby, as we choose. Careers of the mind don’t have to, at least not until most of us are well past the artificial age of traditional retirement. The question is to take the long view, and not look at our current vocation as the point of it all. It’s all about our growth.

                      By the way, this line from your comment is a post waiting to happen, if you feel so inspired: “…I have a better sense of who I am, what I bring to the table, and what I am NOT.”

                      • reply Dean M. Brenner ,

                        Thanks for the note, Ted. Working on that post idea currently. Thanks for that inspiration.

                        Have a great day.

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