A Coaching Power Tool created by Annette Lohnes-Fornoff
(Leadership Coach, GERMANY)
I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
John O’ Donohue
Similar to being born, we emerge from obscurity when we make ourselves visible and tangible for others. The baby born comes to existence as it emerges from the womb of its mother. The blossom emerges from concealment as it unfolds its beauty and scent to the world in the form of the flower. Just the same, the beauty and vitality of nature emerge with the full potential to prosper in complete harmony.
Only when we, like nature, expand our full potential, we feel complete and satisfied with ourselves. We then live in the present and feel our vitality in every moment. This is the feeling: I know who I am and what I want. We are standing on solid ground, self-confident and aware of our potential. From this basis we reveal what we think and feel. Our emotions and ideas are as transparent as we want them to be. We say to ourselves and to the world around us: I AM. That is the essence of our being. Our authentic self is shining through the surface. We experience vitality and joy by expressing our true feelings and thoughts.
This knowledge and self-assurance creates harmony in our lives. We live aligned with the values we nurture, the relationships we experience, and the decisions we make. Therefore we have nothing to hide.
Our true self is emerging without fears and doubts.
On the contrary, hiding is like being in a state of winter sleep. Our body and mind function in slow motion, with reduced pace and energy. We are living, breathing, reacting, but the purpose is not visible and the actions are not powerful.
What do we experience in our winter sleep? We experience loneliness and unhappiness. We are far away from fulfillment and satisfaction. Appreciation and respect are missing in our relationships. For the purpose of self-protection, we oppress every feeling and characteristic we consider weak and bad. In the end, we even pretend to be a different person, and hence, we demonstrate another personality. We consider being imperfect as shameful. Shame, self-judgments, and disrespect of ourselves create behavior patterns that are harmful and limiting for our potential. Instead of unfolding, we hide our potential, feelings, and thoughts.
Thus, we are caught up in a vicious circle. We would strive to get out of our hiding place, if only we knew how.
Self – Application
When we are not happy and content with ourselves, we vaguely understand that something is wrong. We miss something in our lives. We don’t exactly know what it is or how we can achieve it. There is this sense that we don’t live up to our full potential.
In order to find out how much we flourish our potential and give it the chance to be effective, we can look closely at our level of satisfaction and happiness. Unhappiness is a sign that we don’t live our potential fully. We can also check how others perceive us. We can ask for feedback. Lack of respect and appreciation is also a sign that we are not really authentic but insecure and fearful. In this case, we most likely have withdrawn into a hiding mode, a state of winter sleep, where we seek a safe and protective space.
We have different methods of hiding: we wear masks, meaning we pretend to be different than we are; we assume different roles; we lie; we boast and brag; we blame and complain; and we let others tell us what is best for us to do. We avoid responsibility and challenge.
On the other side, we can choose another extreme: we exaggerate everything we do. We are workaholics; and we strive to be the best in sports, jobs, and social life. We want to be the stars. Nothing can be difficult, hard, challenging enough. In reality, we hide behind success, prestige, awards, and action.
All in all we give up power over our life.