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

Ted Coiné is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer and an Inc. Top 100 Leadership and Management Expert. This stance at the crossroads of social and leadership put him in a unique perspective to identify the demise of Industrial Age management and the birth of the Social Age. The result, after five years of trend watching, interviewing and intensive research, is his latest book, A World Gone Social: How Companies Must Adapt to Survive, which he co-authored with Mark Babbitt. An inspirational speaker and popular blogger, Ted is a pioneer of the Human Side of Business (#humanbiz) movement. He is also a serial business founder and three-time CEO. When not speaking at conferences and corporate functions, Ted advises CEOs on how to become Truly Social Leaders, or “Blue Unicorns” as they put it in A World Gone Social, in order to bring their companies into the Social Age. Ted’s advice: “Change is only scary if it’s happening to you. Instead, bring the change your competitors dread. That is something only a Social Age business leader can accomplish.”

  • @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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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