When was the last time you felt as though you were being yourself? I mean the real you, natural and unadulterated; the authentic YOU. Do you feel as though you’re putting on a show for everyone out there?
Then, at night, as you’re fighting to get to sleep, it all comes crowding in on you. Why did I send that snarky email to the supplier? How am I going to manage the salaries if I don’t get the next order? What will I do if my dispatcher leaves? Am I ever going to get any sleep so I can get up in the morning feeling half-human and ready for the 8 a.m. meeting? I’m so bad-tempered these days, it’s a wonder anyone can bear to talk to me.
When you were a youngster, most likely all you could think about was being a grown up. Then you’d be able to boss people round, never eat cabbage again and go to bed when you wanted. And now you’re an adult, you’d give anything to slide into that state of blissful innocence again. Granted, you haven’t eaten cabbage since you left home, and yes, you get to boss people around, but the kicker is, they all rely on you for their jobs and their salary. If you don’t get it right, you’re not the only one who’s going to suffer.
When you were growing up, no one enlightened you about the worries and how terrifying the night can be. You tell yourself that maybe no one else worries like you do. You’re a failure and sooner or later it’s all going to come crashing down around you. You envy the others. They seem to be living the lives you wanted for yourself.
Listen to me for a moment. It’s not true – the others are just like you. Everyone has had occasional nights like that. You’re not the only one. The self-doubt, the worry – it may be a part of you but is not necessarily YOU. The way you handle those fears and worries is the real you. It may not be possible to find your real self without being tormented and tested by those night time fears. Real life can be hard. You have to either snap those fears off at the root or bend with them until the whirlwind stops. Don’t quit. Just remember to tell yourself that in the shorter term the closer you get to your real self, the more difficult the challenges seem. If you feel overwhelmed dealing with your fears on your own, find a mentor or coach to support you in your breakthrough.
Real people know all about it; it’s a huge part of the human journey. They’re the ones who understand your fears. They’re the ones to take advice from. They’re the ones you can trust. Who knows – maybe after you’ve learned how to conquer your fears, you’ll eventually become one of the wise ones with a bucket load of experience to draw from.
Try this out tonight, when you go to bed, just relax. Things always look worse at night and in the dark. Your mother probably told you that, just before you drifted off to sleep. In the morning, you’ll have the strength to face the challenges. Go to sleep. Chill out. Re-energise, you need it.
Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, an award winning author and recognised as Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.
He is a regular commentator in international media organsations ABC, CNN, NBC, Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Success, The Financial Review and Vogue.