We have accumulated a lot of head trash over our lives — a combination of wrong ideas, deeply held beliefs which aren’t true, and unresolved experiences. You accumulate head trash on money, relationships, power and influence, your purpose, self-respect, your identity, loneliness and community, and sense of entitlement.
I am not a therapist, nor am I advocating that you need one. I’m not suggesting you are “damaged” or have “issues” because of your childhood.
Recognize that you face two great lies at work here:
Lie #1: All the problems are “out there,” or “with them.”
Lie #2: It’s entirely your fault.
Notice that I listed “self-respect” rather than “self-esteem.” Simple reason — the word “self-esteem” has been destroyed over the last twenty years by sincere, but misguided individuals. The truth is that you can have all the self-respect that you earn.
Clear out head trash by a combination of pursuing wisdom from God about what is true, and by mature/systematic/ruthless self-leadership. You must learn the truth, and act upon it. You must face down the fears and lies and excuses, which are just lies we tell ourselves.
True leadership battles are fought in our heads and hearts first. And fought again. Here is where reading Sun Tzu is helpful. Just start with some of his quotes. The true warrior fights and wins the internal battle before the external battle is won.
Pilate asked “What is truth?” (John 18:38 ) and philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists continue to study this question.
As a kid growing up in the 60′s and 70′s, we were encouraged to “find ourselves.” Even today that’s an effective marketing message to both the young and the doubters in middle-age.
There’s good news on this front – actually beyond merely good news. Jesus made it plain that he is the way, the truth (and reality) and the life. (John 14:6) I don’t have to find my way, because He has found me. My identity is in Him.
Even with this profoundly beautiful truth, we are still going to accumulate some head trash. We are perfectly capable of living out of new lies, incorrectly interpreting our experiences and drawing the wrong conclusions, and believing things which aren’t correct. We’re on a long journey, and are still in the foothills of discovery. So, we study and reflect and learn. We apply what we know, and seek feedback. We reflect on what has happened, and develop better frameworks for understanding ourselves and one another.
Learning the truth is necessary, and then you need to act on it. Live out your purpose and identity. This takes courage.
Call out lies when you hear them in your head. Don’t listen to them, believe them, or act on them.
Do one hard thing today.
Develop friendship and mentors who can help you.
I encourage you to stay in the fight.
Want to know a great secret of self-leadership? Encourage other leaders to stay in the fight. You will find that you are strengthened by encouraging others.