Maybe it’s time to be the real you. No one ever went to their grave joyfully embracing all their accumulative regrets! Be courageous! Give yourself permission to be BIG.

Why is it so hard to be all that we can be? We rarely seem to remember those moments when we were “BIG”—not arrogant, but full of “true self”—when inner purpose aligned with outer purpose. Recently, I had an email from a woman that read: “I just landed a great job! For the first time in my working life, I negotiated my salary to my satisfaction. I didn’t give my talents away for fear of not being hired. At 48 years-old, I feel proud that I gave myself permission to be me. Why did it take me so long to become aware of my self-esteem? Why did I feel the need to diminish my spirit?”

Guess what? She’s not the only person slow to awaken their self-esteem. I always ask clients: “Have you given yourself permission to be as big, as powerful and as passionate as you really are?” I’m not talking about your girth I’m talking about your mirth. I’m talking about your passion and depth of essence. Or are you stuck in conditioned responses, such as “uncertainty paralyzes me” or “I’m too old to make changes?” Are these the labels you’ve fastened on your life’s journey? If so, this is the opposite of courage.

Many of my readers, corporate/association clients or coaching clients tell me that I have given them “permission to be themselves.” I haven’t really. What I have done is guide them to see that their courageous self, the one who perceives deeply; yet, hides it for fear of being judged or demeaned. From that real self perspective, new insights about their inner passion and hidden wishes comes forth. This newfound courage and sense of freedom merges body, mind and spirit.

In many cases, the inner power of the person is different from the power of the visual persona we show the world. I don’t know where or when we were told that being who we are is in some way inappropriate or inadequate, but people don’t want an artifice. Most people say they prefer truth and authenticity. Have you noticed in the media when someone is blatantly honest people are shocked whereas corruption, cheating or lying is accepted as an everyday happenstance? Here are a few questions for you:

  1. Is there any difference between the ways you joke around and play in your kitchen with close friends than the way you are with your colleagues?
  2. Do you lose your sense of spontaneity and voice when you “step up” to reveal an opinion in a staff meeting?

I certainly have, and if you do, I would request you begin the process of bringing your true self and your courage (from the origin of the word meaning, “heart and spirit”) closer together. Give yourself permission to be yourself such as speaking up about something you have been unwilling to say. Ask yourself:

  • “What courageous conversation did I put off in 2008 that needs to be addressed?”
  • “What am I doing what I absolutely dislike? Why am I procrastinating?”

Maybe it’s time to be the real you. No one ever went to their grave joyfully embracing all their accumulative regrets! Be courageous! Give yourself permission to be BIG, and take the next step.

Moral of the story from an Ancient Chinese Proverb: “He who hesitates before each step spends his life on one leg.” 

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She is an organizational effectiveness consultant, speaker, internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE, trainer and courage coach. She is certified in the Enneagram and MBTI®.

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