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Slaying Your Dragon: Confronting Fears and Assumptions

When nurturing individual growth and professional advancement, it’s often observed that individuals seek technical solutions when aiming to enhance their skills. However, from my experience coaching and developing leaders, authentic growth and change are typically adaptive in nature.

Surprisingly, the underlying catalyst for change or growth is often rooted in deeply held beliefs or assumptions, which are invariably linked to underlying fears or anxieties. Without effectively identifying and addressing these core fears or anxieties, what Jordan Peterson refers to as Slaying Your Dragons, the potential for genuine growth or meaningful change remains restricted.

Consider a leader who approaches me seeking guidance on effective delegation. While acquiring specific knowledge and skills related to delegation (the technical aspects) could be valuable, I recognize that their hesitance to delegate runs much deeper than a mere lack of knowledge or technical expertise. Through coaching and the establishment of trust, we delve into identifying not just the individual's behaviors, but more significantly, their underlying assumptions. (If I delegate, they will do it wrong; If I delegate I will be preceived as weakl If I delegate I wont be seen as the hero; If I delegate I will end up doing it myself) These assumptions are ingrained beneath the surface, often operating beyond conscious awareness. It becomes crucial to uncover and address these assumptions. Only by courageously confronting our fears and anxieties can this leader experience meaningful personal and professional growth.

As Max Lucado's enlightening tale "You are Special" elucidates, the power of thought profoundly shapes our realities and decisions. Through the characters of Eli and the wooden Wemmicks, the story adeptly illustrates the impact of perception and the influence of erroneous beliefs on individual esteem and behavior.

In the story, the Wemmicks’ interactions involve affixing either stars or dots on each other based on perceived characteristics, resulting in positive or negative judgments. These outward adornments influence the Wemmicks' thoughts and ultimately their self-worth, akin to how our own perceptions and external feedback can shape our self-image.

The tale poignantly mirrors our lived experiences, where we often internalize external feedback and allow it to dictate our self-perception and actions. We may inadvertently carry these learned fears and anxieties into adulthood, manifesting as hesitancy, self-doubt, or inadequacy.

Thankfully, the narrative also imparts a powerful lesson: the ability to choose how external opinions influence our inner thoughts. The character of Lucia embodies this empowering choice, demonstrating how one can consciously determine which beliefs to internalize and let influence their own perceptions.

As the tale unfolds, Eli's message underscores the fervent belief that every individual holds intrinsic value, irrespective of external validation. His wise counsel serves as a reminder to prioritize one’s inner beliefs and care little for external judgments.

By courageously confronting and dismantling our learned fears, we can begin to shape our perceptions and thereby influence our thoughts, words, and actions. Bringing our fears and anxieties into the light serves as a transformative act of courage and vulnerability. By openly acknowledging and addressing these fears, we weaken their power over our thoughts and actions. Just as shadows dissipate in the presence of light, the act of shining a light on our fears unveils their true nature and diminishes their impact on our lives.

I have seen time and again clients who have made massive growth when this action is taken.

Moreover, by confronting and articulating our fears, we begin to strip them of their perceived strength. There is a remarkable power in giving voice to our fears, as it challenges their ability to remain hidden and unchallenged. This process of acknowledgment and revelation sets in motion the transformative journey towards embracing our true potential and charting a course for personal growth and self-discovery.

It's by acknowledging and understanding these deeply entrenched beliefs and assumptions that individuals can break free from self-imposed limitations and realize their highest aspirations. Remember, authentic transformation commences with the fearless exploration of the very beliefs that hinder our progress, unlocking the path to our most fulfilling life.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. – Nelson Mandela

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