Parents don’t know how to parent. This is the first problem that all leaders will have: they are where they are currently in spite of their childhood and rarely because of it.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO, big boss, manager, housewife or professional. Your skills may be new but the ‘who’ you are, and how you have learnt to perceive the world and interact with it have come from your need to survive and succeed in your childhood.
No human is a perfect parent. We can have, or be, decent or indecent parents. Whatever type of parents we had (Fantastic or terrible) all of us have learnt to protect ourselves from the big bad world.
As a result of our upbringing, all of us have been infected with the need to compete, be one up, and hide our weaknesses and hurts from one another. We have become so adept at it we even hide it from ourselves!
Tragically what we once used to defend ourselves successfully now becomes the cause of our downfall : Simply because of our lack of awareness and love of the comfortable.
The best leaders struggle with change. They truly fear that if they change they will lose the power, influence, status, income or comforts that they have built up.
To give you an analogy: – Imagine a racing car driver attributing his success to (1) Poor fuel efficiency (2) Flat tyres (3) Non aerodynamic car design.
You’re thinking – that’s silly!
Yet that’s exactly what most people are doing. They are attributing their current levels of success to their underdeveloped selves and are scared that they will lose these levels of success if they further develop.
Underdeveloped because they learnt early in childhood to hide behind hurt and shame and feelings of not being good enough or feelings of being insufficiently loved.
So as adults now they would rather compete and win (as infected in childhood) than appear to lose by displaying their ‘weakness’ and resolving their hurts or sense of being lesser, in an adult and caring manner.
Meaning the racing car driver is really scared that s/he will drive slower if s/he had a car which had better fuel efficiency, inflated tyres and better design!
What’s parenting got to do with this?
Raised as we have been in this fashion we have learnt to race with flat tyres and poor design…and we have learnt to be comfortable with that. We have learnt to operate out of our weak selves.
The state of conflicts in the family business, stagnation in business performance, burn out; being sick and tired of coping with those who claim to love us, and those we feel compelled to love…we have reached this situation not via our strength, but via our weakness.
We have been hiding the child within us, and this has caused us to remain weak and under developed.
To consistently get hurt by those who claim to love you – even when the outside world considers you successful is not madness – it’s simply the way you have been brought up.
To wind up feeling insulted and misunderstood by those closest to you is not because ungrateful idiots surround you. It’s because you are still living in hiding, refusing to grow up.
You can change that today.
To be the stronger, better us, we need to embrace the child within, let it go and then grow up. We need to behave as needed to suit our current purposes, rather than as we have learnt to in the past.
How do you deal with hurt today? How different is it from when you were 13?
Do you realize the many small things you say & do daily, only to feel a sense of self-importance and which has nothing to do with any other purpose?
We’re experts at defending our territories, hiding our vulnerability & helplessness, and pretending we don’t need one another.
Yet we need to understand what suits us best, and grow up and adapt these behaviours rather than cling onto behaviours that protect us best.
We needed a tricycle in our childhood. We need a Ferrari now.
Most individuals are still pedalling away furiously on their tricycles.