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The real me stood up. Now what?

By Sue Ellen Haning
PREVIEW Columnist

Welcome back, you adventurous, nut-seeking people.

If you took on last week’s exercise, you quite possibly stepped outside your comfort zone, for if you have been living a life that has up to now placed less value on you than anyone else, this is new territory. Congratulations if you are seeking the real you. The unknown can be terrifying, and you are to be commended for coming this far. Payoff is immediate when living the authentic you. I guarantee you will feel better once you stop expending huge amounts of energy trying to cover up who you really are. I spent most of my life pushing myself aside and covering the real me and making sure everyone else’s needs, desires, and wishes were met. I’m not saying it was always pretty for them, but I did it nonetheless. No wonder I was exhausted. Since realizing and accepting that I can be the person I am, I have developed a sensitivity I did not have before. I had to get quiet and listen to me. I had to spend more time with me than anyone else.

Hopefully, last week’s exercise created new meaning for you and inspired some thoughtful moments in your week. Question No. 9, “Do I see myself as a leader or a follower?,” is the key question and the other eight questions can easily be answered behind this one. There are leaders and followers, but we are all in at least one leadership position…the most important one. Even if you choose to delegate leadership of yourself to someone else, you still make the decision every day to do this. In Successful Nutsville it’s all about mastering you and understanding that nothing can change on any level if you don’t take command of you, but first you have to be aware of what is happening within. Once aware, you can be more responsible for what you think and do each day. As Socrates, 469 B.C.–399 B.C. Greek philosopher, said, “Know thyself,” a good place to begin don’t you think? It is fascinating to me that Socrates was condemned to death for “corrupting the minds of Athenian youth” considering the Socratic method is the best way to help students learn to think, and I use it regularly in teaching … that is if the students can endure the incessant questioning without running screaming from the room!

Do you have the greatest influence over what takes place in your life? Do you recognize when something triggers you and you react? Can you stop right then and realize you are being controlled by an outside force?

Right now take a moment to think about the qualities you admire in those you consider leaders.

Leaders are patient, open, resourceful, inventive, persistent, loyal and courageous to list a few. Our culture has made resourcefulness and persistence a challenge. Modern technology has reduced our need to be resourceful and inventive, and failure to persist carries little or no consequence in our society. Our culture of instant gratification doesn’t prepare us for leadership, but we were all born with the ability to lead, and what better place to begin than with No.1?

When you take over leadership of yourself, you will recognize the above qualities in you. You have already experienced changes in your thinking and existence outside your comfort zone. All the different aspects of you need a leader. To lead yourself, you must be a priority in your own life. Are you efficient at managing your physical, mental, spiritual and social parts? Do people listen to you? Do you listen to yourself? We certainly cannot lead if we can’t listen. Listening to yourself may need some practice, especially if you are in the habit of pushing yourself aside. You may find you are adept at leading one aspect of your life but you ignore the others. I’m pretty good at leading my spiritual and social departments and am gaining ground in the mental area, but I cannot honestly say I lead the physical part of me. But that’s okay. We are all a work in progress and being aware of our weaknesses is the beginning of change.

A willingness to examine you and make adjustments comes natural with the desire for change and self-growth. Stepping outside your comfort zone these past few months has moved you in the right direction, and if you have come face to face with the real you, you have the capacity to lead yourself. When you are your leader, you are invigorated and resources that you didn’t know existed begin pouring out of you which in turn creates more energy. This new energy is like gold and you’ll need some containers to bottle the excess. As a self-leader you no longer ask what life has to offer you, but you begin to see what you have to offer life. Nothing is harder than facing ourselves, loving ourselves and leading ourselves, and there is no journey more worthwhile or one that has more power for good in the world than this very private journey.

What resonates with you? Have an authentic moment every day this week. Whatever this means for you, do it, and join me next time for “That’s not what I see.”

Until then, chew on these words from American cowboy, vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator, motion picture actor, Will Rogers: “Why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anyone from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on earth.”

This story was posted on May 9, 2013.