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What's Really Going on When Fear and Ego Have Their Way with You

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I spend a lot of time talking about the dangers of an overattachment to our needs for certainty (which manifests as fear) and significance (which manifests as ego).

And that’s for good reason.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with either of these needs (certainty is the need to feel safe and secure, and significance is the need to be validated as worthy of love), when we become overly attached to them, we can get ourselves into all kinds of trouble.

The fear arising from an overattachment to certainty can cause us to stay in a job we hate for years on end, or to avoid challenge, change or even reasonable amounts of risk. The ego that arises from an overattachment to significance can cause us to disregard thoughts and opinions that are different from our own. It can cause us to become boastful. And it can cause us to ignore the feelings of other people, even those that we love.

We’re all guilty of these overattachments from time to time.

I’ve coached and trained a lot of people through the years and almost without fail, the first major ah-ha moment my clients have is the realization of how much of their lives, relationships and careers have been driven by their needs for certainty and significance. It doesn’t matter what gender they are, how old they are or what profession they’re in. At some point or other, certainty and significance have had their way with them.

The thing is though, our worst fears rarely come to fruition. And our worthiness is never in question. Our very humanity makes us worthy of love.

So, what’s really going on?

I have a theory.

It’s not certainty we’re after, it’s the ability to trust ourselves and to know that if the worst happens and everything goes pear-shaped, we’ll be able to handle it.

And it’s not significance we’re after. It’s the desire to be worthy of that self-trust.

Kinda mind-blowing isn’t it? Just think of all the destructive behavior that happens in the world because so many of us simply don’t feel worthy of our own regard.

This is at the core of the work I do with my coaching clients.

In my experience, the only way to trust ourselves, and to feel worthy of that trust, is to enter into what I call an Expansive State (Learn more about that here). When we’re expansive, we’re grounded in solid core values and purpose, yet open to new ideas, people and situations. From here, we experience heightened energy, creativity and joy.

And isn’t that what we're all really after in life?


The Unstuck Leader book is now available.
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