Have you ever considered whether you “belong to yourself”?
I was in a senior or executive management position for over 15 years and not once did I consider whether I “belonged to myself”.
I often felt like an outsider yes, but I never linked this to “belonging”.
I frequently found myself disagreeing vehemently over a point of principle or moral with a peer or with my manager, but I rarely fought my corner very hard, for want of not rocking the boat too much (and I’m a disruptive kind of human!). No not “belonging” either.
I prided myself (still do) on being independently minded, a disruptor and someone that “did their own thing”, but you know what? The amount of my life that I contorted my chameleon-self to fit the position, partner or friendship was astounding. Some were subtle, some outrageous – for the most part spectator sports, bore the hell out of me – why did I make out that I liked them? Fitting in is why – I know now that subconsciously I desperately wanted to be accepted, so I made myself what other people needed. But nope, still not about “belonging” apparently.
I went through a good measure of my career believing that one day I would be “found out” that I wasn’t anywhere near as good as everyone seemed to think I was - I felt like a total fraud (as it happens I’m full of shit and I was great at my job!). But still the “belonging” penny didn’t drop.
Oh wow do I wish I’d understood belonging to myself sooner, it might have saved my corporate career. I left my final corporate position as I could no longer reconcile me with the company, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Would I go back now? Hell no, I do believe I’m an independent soul who should have listened to the calling to work for myself sooner, but that doesn’t mean that’s the answer for all of us.
It has been my last 2 years of coaching extraordinary humans and the last 3+ years of consciously working on myself that has brought this notion of belonging to yourself front and centre. But what does it even mean, how do we go about cultivating it and why would we even want to?
My ever-changing working definition of “belonging to yourself” goes like this:
building a safe and secure home within yourself where, before you look to belong to any group, place or situation, you first belong to yourself.
I love the metaphor of a home as we often talk about where we “feel at home” and there’s “no place like home”, but how do we build a home within ourselves? That is a question that has preoccupied my mind over the last 6+ months and so I set about trying to figure out a way that I could continue my work with extraordinary humans, focussed on this overarching aim of belonging to themselves.
I looked at the commonalities with all the clients I have worked with, read and researched voraciously and leant very heavily on my own journey, What I developed is a framework that I believe enables us to work towards belonging to ourselves. I’ve called this framework The Four Pillars (of Belonging to Yourself).
The Four Pillars are the 4 cornerstones that support that safe and secure home. Areas of your life that are essential to work on to belong to yourself and live love and lead your way.
This is the first in a series of posts looking at each of the Four Pillars and the bricks that support them in detail. They will include some practical and implementable tools to help you belong more to yourself and develop your personal leadership. For now, let’s just look at the Four Pillars themselves.
Core Personal Values
Your “Why” or Purpose
Principles, Ethics & Morals
Vision & Dreams
Personality & Character
CARE for Yourself
Asking for and receiving help
Faith in something “bigger”
Working on yourself
I developed the Four Pillars in 2018 and as such, I am sure as I work with more clients in this area, the pillars will shift and change and I will share that learning here as I go.
For today I’ll finish with this: my work over the last three years has been influenced by many writers, researchers and fellow coaches, but none more than Brené Brown. Brené is a grounded theory researcher and author of some bloody marvellous books, the most recent of which was in autumn 2017 - Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. I’ve read it 10+ times and it has changed my life several times over. The quote below is from that book and is quite extraordinary. I can’t wait for her next book out in autumn 2018 called Dare to Lead.
True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.
YOUR values | YOUR life
Have you signed up for my FREE course YOUR values | YOUR life yet? Your Core Personal Values are one of the bricks in the first pillar of Four Pillars of Belonging to Yourself "KNOW Yourself"; when we live, love and work in a way that honours our values, we feel safe and fulfilled. Are you living, loving and leading aligned to your Core Personal Values? Click on the image to find out more and sign up to YOUR values | YOUR life.