For years I held on to my sales job in corporate America. My position had all the perks: the best 401(k) plan, a new company car every two years and four weeks of paid vacation. My family was proud and my career was impressive. I worked from my home office in Seattle and could do the job in my sleep. It all seemed great—except I was pretending I was happy. I was pretending I cared about the mission of the organization. My spirit ached for my purpose, knowing there was more out there for me. But I denied my spirit. Every time I did that, I killed a piece of my authenticity and lost some of my power and credibility.
It wasn’t until I got honest with myself that new possibilities emerged. First, I took inventory of my life. So much of the quality of our existence lies in the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. Poor questions gain unimportant answers. Queries like What’s wrong with me? get you nowhere. Why am I here? is a powerful question. What impact am I having in this moment? What and who am I allowing to impact me? What are my gifts and how can I use them to serve? What can I learn from this situation? These are revealing, connecting inquiries.
One of the most critical questions we’ll ever ask ourselves is What am I pretending not to know? Whenever we are in denial, we weaken our integrity and stop being true to ourselves. Whenever we operate from pretense, the price is high—we lose power and credibility not only with ourselves but also with others. You give up your freedom of full self-expression.
When we are in denial, we are actually lying to ourselves. We are pretending something is the case rather than dealing with reality. It’s the art of the cover-up, except it’s not really covered up, because we carry it.
Are you pretending not to know you hate your job? Are you pretending not to know you are unhappy in your relationship.? Are you pretending not to know those extra 50 pounds you’re carrying are impeding your mobility and lowering your self-esteem? Are you pretending not to know you are strong and gifted so that other people feel comfortable? For years I pretended not to know I was great at certain things to make sure others would approve of me. This facade cost me years of delay in finding my path. We convince ourselves something is okay and find ourselves tolerating what we are denying. We pretend that we don’t know that we can change anything we choose to change.
A decision must be made to stop being in denial. We must first decide we are worth it! We matter, our voice matters and our dreams are important. We don’t have to look far to know this. Look down at your fingertips. Out of billions of people on the planet, you and only you have those fingerprints. You are a miracle—you’re magnificent with a very specific purpose.
Discovering our greatest power starts with being honest with ourselves. We cannot shift what we are unwilling to acknowledge. When I stopped ignoring I was miserable, I created a life I love. You can too. I share the important questions to help you do that in my book The Little Book of Big Questions: A Journey in Self Discovery. I now travel the world as a transformation coach through my company, Aiming High. Each morning you rise, you are gifted with two powerful things: the power of choice and the fact you are unlimited. What will you choose to acknowledge today?