Emotional liberation is a sunburst of inner energy. It arises from a deep and fearless understanding that you have permission to be YOU.
That may sound strange, but social research confirms that our inner voice is consistently critical of our behavior, our achievements, our status, our appearance, our possessions, our education, our relationships… just about everything.
There appear to be two reasons for this constant self-attack on our self-worth. The first is that we are simply emotionally wired for self-criticism to protect us from unseen threats due to overconfidence. Our brains are designed to protect us from bad surprises so it has a mechanism that constantly calls into question our thoughts, feelings, social relationships, economic security and even safety.
The second reason is that self-criticism is so limiting that we have been told what we should think, do, believe and who we should obey from early childhood. The people who’ve imposed their agenda on our lives are generally people that we love and respect. But their best intentions have nevertheless created a psychological prison that we need to be liberated from.
This is a big problem for people who get a high sense of fulfillment through helping others. Research from Clear Direction, a company that has profiles of over 250,000 managers and leaders, reveal that there are two primary motives that drive human choice: one is self-interest and the second is helping others. Research from the University of Wisconsin reveals that self-interest is a dominant drive of most males and helping others is a dominant drive of most females. Of course, there are many individual exceptions, but the gender research is pretty clear that most men have a ME orientation and most women have a WE focus.
What I have found by doing my Women Effect multi-day leadership training for groups of women is that their WE motivations are dramatic inhibitors to personal emotional liberation. In fact, one of the highest rated outcomes of our Leadership SPA is achieving a point of clarity about what women want from their careers and what they want out of life. It seems that most of them have been so busy attending to the needs of others and helping others achieve their goals that they are very fuzzy about their own values, capabilities and dreams.
One of the big benefits of spending two and a half days deeply considering your heart-felt desires and discerning a personal calling is feeling emotionally liberated to think your own thoughts and express your greatest dreams, surrounded by support and optimism rather than judgment and fear.
I begin each Leadership SPA with a challenge that not only do you have permission to pursue your dreams you have an obligation to.
This is what I propose…
Suppose the reason that all 7. 5 billion human beings on planet Earth now are all individually different for a reason. Of course, no one can know that for sure but likewise we can’t know for sure that it isn’t true. So, let’s suppose that everything about us, including all our talents, interests, and experiences can be put to a higher purpose. That purpose is our calling. In fact, our inner drive to believe in our own significance is actually “calling” to each of us to make our unique difference, right here, right now.
Now let’s suppose that you are perfectly designed to make your difference. The difference psychologically healthy people want to make is to improve the lives of others in a way you are uniquely designed to do. Your talents, traits, motivations and values form a constellation of capabilities that make you extraordinary in fulfilling your calling.
Once you realize that you not only have permission to pursue your calling, but an obligation, you will feel liberated to become your best by doing your best. Coming to this realization is emotional liberation… the sunburst of aha!
I have been so fortunate over the course of my career to directly help scores of people become clear on their calling by becoming clear on how they are “designed” to excel.
In this last phase of my professional life, I have become deeply committed to liberating women from the shackles of their own self-imposed limitations caused by the fog of bias and acceptance of norms that are unacceptable. I feel that this work is the highest expression of my lifelong calling of helping people discover their purpose and turn it into a career.
I’ve been doing a lot of speaking and training recently, from the Women in Technology International Summit, many new clients and women’s associations and even a regional office of the FBI. Weekly, I am speaking exclusively to groups of women, and to large audiences of male executives. In each, and every case, I find wild and open enthusiasm to the emotional liberation of women so that they can make the world changing contributions that will improve our future in vital and unimaginable ways.
As someone in the front lines of this movement, I can assure you something new and great is happening. I encourage all of you to play BIG right now. We are in the front row of history and it is calling us to follow our callings.
Follow yours. What you do matters.