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Have you noticed how often you try to hide the parts about yourself you don’t think are great? Like being photographed only showing your good side, when we live like this, we are doomed to experience only one side of life.

To do otherwise feels risky. And this is in part because we have parts of our self and our history that we haven’t yet fully owned and accepted. We shudder in remembering that time we messed up that interview, or let down that friend. We think the bits that aren’t as polished or professional should be hidden away.

All this hiding is exhausting. And it doesn’t make us any more effective. In fact, the less we can own the bits of ourselves that are soft, and vulnerable, the bigger our capacity for growth and joy is.

I remember when I first became CEO. Lots of energy went into what I thought a CEO should do and say. Over time, the quirky, dynamic, creative bold parts of me got locked away. I felt if people really knew what I was like, I’d lose respect and ability to do my job.

Luckily someone advised me early on how wrong headed this was. Even then, it took some thoughtful, courageous thinking and work on my part to accept and embrace the totality of me, not just the parts I felt were more mainstream and expected.

I have more to share on this, please listen here.

Being ok with who we are, rather than what we’re not, can be a lifetime’s work, yet its work we need to do if we want to lead others authentically and with compassion. Loving the ‘nice’ parts of our self is easy. Loving the tough parts, the abandoned parts takes courage. Yet when we can bring all of who we are into our centre, when we can embrace the human-ness of us, we can truly be with whatever is thrown at us.

Being present to our magnificence means not discriminating. Can you own your whole self? Can you draw the chastised, diminished, difficult parts of you toward you, instead of away from you?

If you want to know more how to do this with yourself or your team, please let me know.