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It’s Ok To Be Imperfect

By Ellen and Dana Borowka

So many times we don’t allow ourselves to be imperfect. We hold ourselves up to impossible standards, then criticize ourselves for not meeting those standards. We graciously accept for others the same flaws we berate ourselves for. So, how do we challenge this issue? Dr. Rudolf Dreikurs had an idea that he called “the courage to be imperfect”. When you have the courage to be imperfect, you can begin to let go of the past and focus on your talents today.girl with flower

You can:

♦ Constantly encourage yourself through positive self-talk, and don’t expect perfection. Positive self-talk is giving yourself encouragement rather than discouragement or criticism. Some examples could be, “I know I can do this”; “I am capable and effective in my work”; “I believe in myself”; and “I like who I am”.

♦ Monitor discouraging self-talk that may begin with absolutes like, I must, I should, I have to or I always and I never. These place judgment and are often unrealistic expectations.

♦ Challenge discouraging thoughts by asking yourself questions like, “Is this realistic and reasonable?”; “Why am I thinking this way about myself?”; and “What is really true about myself?”

♦ See mistakes as part of the learning process, not failures since everyone makes mistakes.

♦ Strive to express your talents and qualities fully, rather than to be better than others.

♦ Do what you can, and say no when you need to.

♦ Accept and value your efforts and yourself.

♦ View tough situations as challenges, rather than problems to overcome.

♦ Explore and love your imperfections as well as your strengths and good qualities.

I discovered a wonderful story that I think says it all:

“A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with a large crop of dandelions. He tried every method he knew to get rid of them. Still they plagued him. Finally, he wrote to the Department of Agriculture. He enumerated all the things he had tried and closed his letter with the question: “What shall I do now?” In due course, the reply came: “We suggest you learn to love them.”

– Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird

plant twinLike the dandelions, we need to learn how to love ourselves with our imperfections, and not let the flaws take importance and attention away from our strengths. After all, perfection is all relative and is based on a perception of what we behold as being “perfect”. When you find yourself striving towards that model of perfection you may want to ask yourself several questions like , “Why am I holding out this model as being better than my current “self”?; What are the underlying reasons for wanting to change?; and “What small steps can I make in order to revise this goal to be more realistic?”.

Remember, life is filled with opportunities for learning and growing. The first step is to appreciate yourself right here and now with all your “imperfections”. The more you explore and challenge negative beliefs, the stronger you will feel. Then your courage will grow, and you’ll find that it’s ok to be imperfect.

For a long time it had seemed to me 

that life was about to begin – – real life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way.

Something to be got through first,
some unfinished business;
time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
Then life would begin.

At last it dawned on me that
these obstacles were my life.

Bette Howland: Life in the Snake Pit, 7/90

This article contains some modified concepts from the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting Program, developed by Don Dinkmeyer, Sr., Gary D. McKay and Don Dinkmeyer, Jr.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

The Masks We Wear

By Ellen Borowka, MA

Masks have long been a part of daily life. From the past when tribal dancers wore them to worship their gods, to the present where children wear them for special holidays like Halloween. Our ancestors used masks for a variety of reasons. Some were worn to portray spirits, gods or animals; and others were used to protect and guard against misfortune and disease. There were masks to maintain contact with the dead through burial rituals or in ancestor worship; tomask2 represent characters in theater; and to celebrate the change of seasons and festivals.

Masks in Everyday Life

We use masks in everyday life too. Usually not made of wood, clay or stone as in primitive times, but one that seems invisible though it too conceals our true nature. This mask is the image or facade we present to others. It is our false self that was developed in response to an unsafe and demanding environment. We have different reasons for using this type of mask. We may want to protect ourselves from getting hurt or rejected by others. We may want to become what others want us to be, in order to be accepted by them. Perhaps we feel no one would like or love who we truly are, so we hide our true self. Or we might not like ourselves so we try to pretend to be like someone else.

Yet, I think the core issue is not feeling loved by others and ourselves. This seems to fuel our insecurities and we may find ourselves willing to do anything to be loved by others. Even denying our true self – who we are – our beliefs, our values, our desires, our needs. If we don’t love ourselves, then we depend on others to provide that love and make us feel worthwhile. Yet, they may look to us to provide the same thing! That makes for a very unstable foundation for our relationships as well as for our psyche.

How Do We Cope?

Coping mechanisms, like pleasing others, are based in these insecurities. We seem to develop our mask as a way to handle our fear of rejection and other painful feelings. Those who wear masks on Halloween are in disguise – pretending to be another person or creature. If we are conscious of our masks then we know we are not what we pretend to be. Many are not aware of the mask they present to others. Like the tribal dancer, we can in some ways become the mask we present. The facade can take over where we may feel we have little control over our lives. Whereas our ancestors may have believed that one’s religious or magical powers are released by changing identity and becoming another being, we actually lose our power when we allow our mask or false self to take over our lives. If we can’t be true to ourselves then we deny our expression, our soul, and we deny the light we bring to this world. I believe that each of us is here to not only discover and accept our unique qualities, but also to share them with others. That is the healing process when we touch heart to heart.

What’s Our Mask?

So, what kind of masks do we wear? I would say that our mask changes to meet the demands of the environment. In other words, our mask or false self depends on our external world whereas our real self relies on our internal world. Our mask reacts to the demands of our environment and our true self responds to our needs and desires. There are many different masks or coping mechanisms we take on. We may push ourselves to be perfect in how we look and/or how we act. We may deny our feelings of sadness or anger or fear, because we may have learned these feelings are “bad” or unimportant. We may feel we must always be right or good or knowledgeable. We may feel we have to care for everyone else to be loved and needed. Or perhaps we think we exist only to make others happy. These are just some of the masks we wear.
mask1What kind of mask do you wear? What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself? Do you think you “have to” or “should” or “must” do or say or be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others? If so, that might be part of your mask. A good exercise to learn more about your mask is to create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw with markers or crayons and/or use parts of magazine pictures and words to create a life-size mask. Clay or paper mache with acrylic paints is also a good medium, and symbols are helpful to give your mask depth. Or you could write about it.
One might think it is necessary to get rid of the mask to allow the true self to be seen. Yet, actually we need both to live in this world and as our world becomes safer then we may need our mask less and less. George Washington once advised, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” So, we need our mask to protect our inner self. What is also needed is to have a balance between the two – allowing our inner light to shine out to others, while protecting it from those that cannot appreciate it. Our masks are not bad, but it just comes down to choice. The real self has choices of how to be, but the false self depends on others for how it should be.

Finding Balance

How do you find a balance? Some ways are to explore your inner world, and learn more about your true and false self. Begin to distinguish between the two, and discover all you can about yourself – not only your good qualities, but also your “bad” qualities or what Jung would call your shadow. The shadow contains our dark side and it’s important to explore the darkness and find healthy ways to express it. Work to appreciate and accept your qualities, your style, your strengths and your weaknesses. Support your realness to come to the surface while still acknowledging the need for your protective mask.faces

Being Real

Allowing your inner self to come forth is scary as it risks rejection, so you might want to take small steps in your risktaking to feel safer. Some may have so much pain and anger from past rejections or betrayals that assistance may be needed. When the past needs to be healed first, I suggest turning to a counselor or clergy for help. Norman Cousins once said, “The great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies within us while we live.” Don’t let your mask suffocate your inner light, but rather use it to create safety and security so your light burns brightly to the world.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2016 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

The Masks We Wear

By Ellen Borowka

Masks have long been a part of daily life. From the past when tribal dancers wore them to worship their gods, to the present where children wear them for special holidays like Halloween. Our ancestors used masks for a variety of reasons. Some were worn to portray spirits, gods or animals; and others were used to protect and guard against misfortune and disease. There were masks to maintain contact with the dead through burial rituals or in ancestor worship; tomask2 represent characters in theater; and to celebrate the change of seasons and festivals.

Masks in Everyday Life

We use masks in everyday life too. Usually not made of wood, clay or stone as in primitive times, but one that seems invisible though it too conceals our true nature. This mask is the image or facade we present to others. It is our false self that was developed in response to an unsafe and demanding environment. We have different reasons for using this type of mask. We may want to protect ourselves from getting hurt or rejected by others. We may want to become what others want us to be, in order to be accepted by them. Perhaps we feel no one would like or love who we truly are, so we hide our true self. Or we might not like ourselves so we try to pretend to be like someone else.

Yet, I think the core issue is not feeling loved by others and ourselves. This seems to fuel our insecurities and we may find ourselves willing to do anything to be loved by others. Even denying our true self – who we are – our beliefs, our values, our desires, our needs. If we don’t love ourselves, then we depend on others to provide that love and make us feel worthwhile. Yet, they may look to us to provide the same thing! That makes for a very unstable foundation for our relationships as well as for our psyche.

How Do We Cope?

Coping mechanisms, like pleasing others, are based in these insecurities. We seem to develop our mask as a way to handle our fear of rejection and other painful feelings. Those who wear masks on Halloween are in disguise – pretending to be another person or creature. If we are conscious of our masks then we know we are not what we pretend to be. Many are not aware of the mask they present to others. Like the tribal dancer, we can in some ways become the mask we present. The facade can take over where we may feel we have little control over our lives. Whereas our ancestors may have believed that one’s religious or magical powers are released by changing identity and becoming another being, we actually lose our power when we allow our mask or false self to take over our lives. If we can’t be true to ourselves then we deny our expression, our soul, and we deny the light we bring to this world. I believe that each of us is here to not only discover and accept our unique qualities, but also to share them with others. That is the healing process when we touch heart to heart.

What’s Our Mask?

So, what kind of masks do we wear? I would say that our mask changes to meet the demands of the environment. In other words, our mask or false self depends on our external world whereas our real self relies on our internal world. Our mask reacts to the demands of our environment and our true self responds to our needs and desires. There are many different masks or coping mechanisms we take on. We may push ourselves to be perfect in how we look and/or how we act. We may deny our feelings of sadness or anger or fear, because we may have learned these feelings are “bad” or unimportant. We may feel we must always be right or good or knowledgeable. We may feel we have to care for everyone else to be loved and needed. Or perhaps we think we exist only to make others happy. These are just some of the masks we wear.
mask1What kind of mask do you wear? What are some expectations you put on yourself or false concepts you have of yourself? Do you think you “have to” or “should” or “must” do or say or be a certain way to be loved and accepted by others? If so, that might be part of your mask. A good exercise to learn more about your mask is to create a mask that represents the qualities of your false self. You can draw with markers or crayons and/or use parts of magazine pictures and words to create a life-size mask. Clay or paper mache with acrylic paints is also a good medium, and symbols are helpful to give your mask depth. Or you could write about it.
One might think it is necessary to get rid of the mask to allow the true self to be seen. Yet, actually we need both to live in this world and as our world becomes safer then we may need our mask less and less. George Washington once advised, “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.” So, we need our mask to protect our inner self. What is also needed is to have a balance between the two – allowing our inner light to shine out to others, while protecting it from those that cannot appreciate it. Our masks are not bad, but it just comes down to choice. The real self has choices of how to be, but the false self depends on others for how it should be.

Finding Balance

How do you find a balance? Some ways are to explore your inner world, and learn more about your true and false self. Begin to distinguish between the two, and discover all you can about yourself – not only your good qualities, but also your “bad” qualities or what Jung would call your shadow. The shadow contains our dark side and it’s important to explore the darkness and find healthy ways to express it. Work to appreciate and accept your qualities, your style, your strengths and your weaknesses. Support your realness to come to the surface while still acknowledging the need for your protective mask.faces

Being Real

Allowing your inner self to come forth is scary as it risks rejection, so you might want to take small steps in your risktaking to feel safer. Some may have so much pain and anger from past rejections or betrayals that assistance may be needed. When the past needs to be healed first, I suggest turning to a counselor or clergy for help. Norman Cousins once said, “The great tragedy of life is not death, but what dies within us while we live.” Don’t let your mask suffocate your inner light, but rather use it to create safety and security so your light burns brightly to the world.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”.  They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors.  They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Ellen has over 15 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”.  To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Building Self-Esteem: Taking it one day at a time

By Ellen W. Borowka

Here is an adage to consider: “It’s not what you are that is holding you back, it’s what you think you are not.”

Many people, regardless of their background, education and such, wonder occasionally, “What is my purpose? Why am I here?” These are important questions. We all want to feel needed and that we bring vital qualities and talents to the world. Yet, it is also hard when we don’t feel we have much to offer. It is easy to think of life as a daily struggle, and the world as just a place to survive. We can get to the point where we just try to get through the day, and we forget to fully live life. Music legend John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” So, what plans are we allowing to get in the way of life? And how do we want to change so we can enjoy life more?

Lose That Excess Baggage

Many times, what gets in the way of enjoying life is a lack of trust in ourselves as well as a poor self-image. As we go through life, we usually pick up some baggage and that can really weigh us down. We can start to carry a great deal of anger, disappointment and false beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. Some of those false beliefs can include: “I’m not good – smart – pretty/handsome – special – perfect enough;” ”There’s something wrong with me;” “I don’t deserve good things or people;” “I’ll always fail at what I do;” “I’m just lucky when I succeed;” “I need something or someone to be ok;” “I have to be right – perfect – good … always;” “It’s someone else’s fault for my problems;” “It’s hopeless;” “I can’t trust anyone;” ”I have to save/help others at my own expense;” and “I must always come first.” Of course, this is only a partial list of some of the ghosts that can haunt us through each day. In the words of the late author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, “That’s just stinkin’ thinkin’.”

What Gets In The Way

What obstacles get in the way of making changes and growing through our issues? I recently saw a segment on 60 Minutes that looked at an old psychological study on prison life (known as the Stanford Prison Experiment), where college students enacted a fake prison with some as prisoners and others as the guards. While this study is controversial, what was interesting was that both the prisoners and guards forgot who they truly were. They almost immediately embodied the roles they were given. The guards became abusive and cruel, while the prisoners felt trapped and hopeless. In fact, the college students never realized that they could or should stop the abusive interactions during the study. They forgot they had an option to refuse to continue their roles. While there may have been some personality tendencies for the students involved to be abusive or submissive, this example shows how we can easily take on the characteristics and beliefs of the environment. We can get conditioned to give up, feel trapped and stop trying. We can even forget who we truly are and embody qualities from the situations we grow up and live in. Yet, we usually have choices, even when those choices are hard. As someone once told me, when a door slams shut, look around for an open window – another open possibility. So, what are some steps to making changes? What can we do to break out of that prison?

Tips For Building Self-esteem, One Day At A Time

Here are several tips for building self-esteem:

Manage the emotions – anxiety, hurt, disappointment, guilt, and anger – and don’t let them take control.  It is hard to try something new or make changes if we allow our emotions to dominate. That does not mean we ignore the emotions, but to work through them. For example, if you have a hot temper then be sure to take timeouts and do not allow yourself to say something in anger. Better to say nothing then to destroy, once again, a relationship you care about. If you struggle with high anxiety, then get support to face difficult situations and take small steps to making changes. Writing, drawing, making collages, or discussing problems with others are good ways to managing emotions. There are also many good self-help books on this subject, so choose what feels right for you.

Be honest with yourself about flaws in yourself and others. Look at your part in those problem situations and what you could do differently. Chip away at the old behaviors and find small ways to change. An example could be pleasing others to control them. You could learn to be more direct for what you want or need. Or rationalizing one’s moodiness where instead you could develop guidelines for minimizing the moods and how they impact others.

Be the best you can be to yourself and others. As “Dear Abby” advice columnist Abigail Van Buren once said, “The best index to a person’s character is (a) how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and (b) how he treats people who can’t fight back.” It is extremely easy to be loving and kind to those who are loving back or can give us something we want or need. A good way to be our best is to look at our motives. What do we want out of the situation? What is driving us?

Find a balance between work, relationships and private time and do not allow just one to dominate. Many people depend so heavily upon their work or relationships to define who they are. It is important to expand our horizons by nurturing all aspects of our lives, whether developing a hobby, going to a play, or taking a community college class. We need to be able to feel more comfortable with ourselves when we are alone, with others or at work.

Let go and forgive resentments, anger, and betrayal because it is vital for healthy relationships and a healthy self. It can be extremely hard to forgive, but carrying hate and sorrow is pretty damaging to the soul and body. Many people keep score on what others do or do not do in their personal and business relationships. This is very destructive and only deepens the wounds. Regardless of the offense, eventually it is necessary to let go and forgive.

Forgiving and accepting yourself with all your perceived imperfections. Constantly beating yourself up for your weaknesses is not going to help you to become a better person. It sounds like an old cliché to say to love yourself more, however that is exactly what we must strive to do every day. Some people have not grown up in homes where we have learned to love ourselves. Quite to the contrary, we learn how to obsess on our flaws. That needs to be changed and there are ways to show love to ourselves. One way is to take one weakness a week and make it ok to have that weakness. Strive to replace each self-criticism with a loving positive statement to yourself. For example, if you are overweight – learn to be more supportive to yourself. If a friend had a similar problem, how would you talk to that friend? Probably more caring and loving then how you talk to yourself. Strive to balance out the obsessions of the negatives with accepting statements.

Explore and discover why you do what you do. Ask yourself questions to gain more insight. For example, after an upsetting situation, ask yourself what really upset you about what happened and keep asking until you get to the bottom line. You may be surprised why something or someone really bothered you. Seeking support may be needed to help gain new perspectives and ideas.

These are just a few ideas to help with the healing process so we can learn to trust in ourselves more and improve our relationships. If you get stuck working on an issue, do not hesitate to turn to others to work through the problem. Support from friends, family, clergy, and counselors is very helpful in overcoming our obstacles.

Learning To Fly

Finally, here is a story that expresses how we forget to trust our natural talents and qualities. We have a sweet cockatoo that struggles with the need to fly and her lack of trust in her natural flying abilities. She seems to both like and dislike this activity. When we pick her up, she tries to avoid this subject by running up to our shoulders. That way we cannot hold her up to see if she would like to fly. However, many times she will take off suddenly and fly quite gracefully. Afterwards, she always sternly squawks at us as if to say, “How could you let me do that? You know I can’t really fly!”

So, I leave you with this thought: How often do you convince yourself that you cannot fly, when you really can? To quote what President Abraham Lincoln said 160 years ago: “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” The same can be said for self-esteem. Happy flying!

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2021 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, Santa Monica, CA, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires and staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching, and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication, stress and time management, leadership training as well as our business consulting for higher productivity. Our team of inter-disciplinary specialists are ready to help raise the effectiveness of critical functions in your organization such as sales, customer service, operations, and IT.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst and Co-Founder of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC, constantly remains focused on the mission statement: “To bring effective insight to your business.” Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC does this through the use of in-depth work style and personality assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching, and offer a variety of workshops such as team building, interpersonal communication, and stress management. Ellen has more than 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, Cracking the Personality Code, Cracking the Business Code, and Cracking the High-Performance Team Code. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

Success at Work Starts with Understanding

By Ellen & Daniel Borowka – Excerpt from Cracking The Personality Code

Have you ever looked carefully at a seed? It’s really amazing to see what is in a little seed. This may help us to learn more about what is inside of us and those we work or live with. For in some ways, we are much like the seed and its growth process.

A seed is made of an embryo, that is, a baby plant that has all it needs to grow, develop, and blossom into what it was created to be. The embryo has the materials to develop its leaves, stems, and roots to gather needed nutriments from water, light, minerals, and such to produce food and pro-vide support for itself. That’s what we’re like when we’re born. We have all we need to be who we were created to be—all the unique qualities, talents and knowledge that is needed in the world.seedling

The Seed and the Pod

Now the seed has another part that it needs for its growth, and that’s its seed covering or pod. The pod provides protection, support, and nutrition to the seed during the growth process. It provides food for the seed until it can produce food on its own, and protects it from harsh elements in the environment. We also have something similar to the pod in our lives to help protect our seed from harm and support it during our growth process. We tend to look at the seed and pod in much like our true and false selves. The true or real self, like the seed, is the life-giving core of our being. The real self holds all the beauty and light of whom we are—it is the soul of the individual. The true self also has our entire real feelings and thoughts, feelings, and thoughts that may not be acceptable to those around us.

This is where the pod or our false self enters the scene. Like the pod, the false self protects and hides the real self from harsh elements of the environment. The false self responds to the demands, beliefs and possible abuse from our parents or caretakers, family, siblings, peers and other places and people that impact us as we grow. The false self takes on the mistaken beliefs, misguided directions, and sometimes harsh treatment we experience as we are growing up so our true self is never touched. The false self or pod becomes our mask, our facade to the outside world, to conceal and defend our true self, our little seed.

The Pod within Us

The pod, as we become older, begins to be written on by all the things we are told: all our experiences—bad and good—and all the wounds we gather throughout our life. Our pod may have written on it that we are worthless or bad or stupid. We may believe that we are good at certain things, but bad at other things like math or communication. We may think we should not show anger, fear, or pain to others. We may believe that people are not to be trusted or that confrontation is bad. There are many beliefs and ideas that our pod or false self takes in and learns from others. Some might not like the false self, because they think it keeps them from their seed. Actually, though, the pod has kept our seed safe until the time is right for the growth process. Once again, the seed’s growth process can help us to understand our own growth process, our discovery of ourselves.

Preparing for Growth

The seed will only grow and break through the pod when the environmental conditions are right, when there is just the right amount of warmth and moisture present around the seed. If the environment is too dry or has unfavorable temperatures, then the seed will not come out of its pod. This allows the plant to survive during periods when plant growth is not possible. It’s the same for us! Our seed, our real self, is wise and does not allow itself to be in an environment that cannot support it or care for it. So, the seed waits until the time is right—until we are ready and able to have the support, internally and externally, for our seed to grow. This preparation time is very important so we can begin to let go of our pod with all inscribed beliefs and thoughts that do not belong to us and never did.

Some might say they have always been ready to let go of their pod. Yet, it takes honesty and courage to face what is in our pod and to see it is not who we truly are. This means we have to see that those who gave us these beliefs or hurt us were wrong. That is not to say these people were bad, for they learned these misguided ideas from their experiences, too, and they just didn’t know any better. That’s not always easy to accept about our parents, family, or loved ones. This growth process is not easy either. It takes much work, dedication, and willingness to look at some difficult issues.

A Story of Wheat and Weeds

Now, the seed can’t just come out of its pod all at once, but it happens slowly at a gradual pace so that the growth is strong and sure. That means it’s okay to allow elements of wheat2the pod to remain around the seed until you are ready to let go of those parts.

This process is like the story of a man who planted some wheat in his field. Then during the night, the man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. When the wheat began to come up through the soil so did the weeds and the man’s servants asked him if they should gather up the weeds. The man replied, “No, because while you are gathering up the weeds, you might uproot the wheat with them. Rather, let both grow together. Then at harvest time, we will gather the weeds first, bind them together and burn them. Then we will gather the wheat into my barn.”

In the meantime, if you have an issue written on your pod, like a hot temper or fear of confrontation, you can develop healthy and healing ways to deal with the issue. Then as one grows and discovers more about their seed, the elements in the pod will naturally fade.

Self-Discovery

In the plant’s growth process, first a root comes out of the pod to test the environment and the seed begins to build its root system to support the plant. Then the seed forms its leaves and stem to come up through the soil to the sunlight. That’s what our seed does, too. First, our seed will build a foundation of who we truly are—our values, our ideas, our beliefs—to support our being and growth process. Then when the foundation is laid and our roots are firmly in the ground, we begin to break through the surface and our being self magnifybegins to shine to the world. We discover who we truly are in just the right time and just the right way.

A good exercise to begin or further your awakening process or your team’s is to write down on a piece of paper a list of all that is within your seed and what is written on your pod. You might want to draw and write about these qualities in depth. Look at where the elements of your pod came from, where you learned them, and what triggers these in you. You could also make a collage about your seed and pod using pictures, words, and sentences from magazines and newspapers to get a full picture of your growth process.

Everyone Is Unique

It’s important to recognize and appreciate our unique qualities. It takes effort and persistence to travel through this process, but remember your seed and pod have all they need to do the work. All that is required is already within you, and that’s pretty amazing—just like the plant’s little seed.

Appreciating Personality Diversity

Now that you understand your own personality better, take a look at those who work for you. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who worked for us had the exact same personalities that we do? No, it would not.

The most effective managers appreciate the diversity of their subordinates’ personalities. That’s the view of Management Professor Scott Williams, a business school faculty member at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

“Personality diversity can make communication and coordination of activities more difficult at times, but diversity has its advantages,” says Dr. Williams. “Diverse groups that give the extra effort to understand and accept each other’s personalities tend to produce higher quality decisions than groups that are either (a) homogeneous or (b) don’t manage their diversity well.”

people differenceAccording to Dr. Williams, appreciating the diverse personalities of the people we interact with helps us to understand why they act the way they do and how to get the most out of them. Appreciating personality diversity means respecting the strengths and limitations of each individual, and knowing how to capitalize on each individual’s strengths.

In his online newsletter LeaderLetter, Dr. Williams states that appreciating personality diversity is the opposite of dogmatically expecting everyone to view situations the way you do—no matter how successful you have been using your approach. We don’t all think alike, but that’s often a good thing.

“People with different personalities have different inherent strengths and weaknesses,” adds Dr. Williams. “For this reason, the best groups are made up of members with diverse personalities who learn to appreciate and put to use each other’s strengths. Managers should promote an appreciation for personality diversity. Discussions of personality inventories, especially when facilitated by an expert, can be an effective way to foster such appreciation.”

Before you use in-depth work style assessments for self evaluation or to manage others, you need to select the right instrument. The profile needs to include areas that explore problem solving and stress patterns, leadership and organization style, things to guard against and probing questions to assist with the self evaluation process.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.