Rusty Stewart, Ph.D., ACHt.
We all have people in our lives with whom we share varying degrees of closeness, openness, and connection. Most of us have conversations with our friends, family, and colleagues that involve listening, supporting, and responding to a variety of topics or personal issues. It is through these meaningful encounters that we share our hopes, dreams, aspirations, and fears. We also tend to speak about what is and is not working in our lives. And, we respond in many different ways depending on who the person is and what we stand for. Some of us stand for agreement, some disagreement, others victimhood, some responsibility, many inauthenticity, and yet others mediocrity. This article is about the minority of people that stand for integrity and transformation in themselves and others.
So just what does it mean to stand for people authentically? It means getting out of our own way by trusting ourselves. This means not being concerned about what other people may think when you’re being honest with them in supporting their dreams, greatness, and everyday miracles. Being authentic means communicating the ways we’ve not been genuine and inviting people to share the ways they have been not been honest, which includes having withheld information. This also means cleaning up our relationships and unfinished business. This may mean pointing out potential sensitive blind spots to friends, colleagues or loved ones that are keeping them stuck in mediocrity. It may result in spending less time with people that choose to be victims of their stories and excuses.
Integrity is being true to yourself and your word. If you cannot be true to yourself, how are you ever going to be able to be true to another? Like attracts like. I love the poem “The Invitation” by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. Here’s a partial quote where she shares about authenticity, integrity, and possibility; “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.” Just like it does not serve me for someone to buy into my bullshit, I am not in integrity if I buy into another person’s disempowering story of circumstances, “can’ts”, and victimizations. I want the people who really care about me in my life to hold me accountable for everything I attract. This is true self-responsibility, true self-empowerment, and being in integrity!
When one stands for transformation one is standing for possibility (as the only option), unlimitedness, or to put it another way, living outside their comfort zone. Much of our programming from our past has taught us about what’s impossible, that we’re limited, and that we are to conform to society and only think in ways that support the status quo. This type of thinking is representative of living inside the box. Living outside the box is being open to our blind spots (what other people may know about us that we don’t know) and being curious about what “we don’t know that we don’t know.” New paradigms, or belief systems, are seeded within us and grow in the window of the unknown. This is also where greatness resides. As a coach, public speaker, and leader, I stand for the possibility of our greatness as human beings.
In order for transformation to occur individually and globally people must choose to take a stand for authenticity and completing unfinished business from our past. This means cleaning up any withholds we have with people. It comes down to owning our shit and being brutally honest while at the same time gentle with ourselves and others. When we truly take a stand for ourselves, nothing gets in the way of our purpose. All problems are looked at as opportunities. All failures are interpreted as stepping stones to success. There is no room for stories, excuses, or inauthentic ways of being. It is through our own transformation and courage that we model new and unlimited possibilities for others. We are not served by remaining mediocre, ignoring our blind spots, and keeping our heads in the sand of victimhood, limitedness, and status quo conformity. In order to be our greatness we need to surround ourselves with others who will hold us accountable, be assertively honest, and challenge us to live our word. In short, be in integrity with what we say with our words and actions.
Thus, authentically standing for people and their greatness requires us to take risks and be vulnerable in our sharing and feedback. This may piss some people off or put them on the defensive. The question I have is, do you really care about them? Do you want to support them being mediocre or being in their greatness? What serves their highest good, authenticity and integrity, or inauthenticity and consistently and perhaps unconsciously breaking their word? Who do you authentically stand for? What’s the risk of not authentically standing for people’s excellence? I dare say it may be your own lack integrity and inauthenticity and the ultimate betrayal of your own soul. Once our eyes are open to human beings’ unlimited possibility and greatness, the cat is out of the bag. Our eyes can truly never shut again. We know too much about what we don’t know that we don’t know. Transformation is permanent and empowering. Authentically standing for our and others greatness is the only viable option. Everything else is just a story of victimhood.