When something seems small and insignificant, it can be put off to tomorrow. Or so we tend to think. However, procrastination is a symptom of a larger problem. The real problem is avoidance and lying to yourself. Not dealing with the challenge in front of you can lead to giant obstacles down the road. In order to grow you must slay the lion that’s currently standing in your way.
We can start by talking about integrity which is a big subject with massive implications. Yet we often don’t think about it this way. We tend to think of integrity as something that comes up with really big issues and really influential people.
Corruption in politics. Affairs and infidelity by celebrities and powerful figures of influence.
Both are a matter of integrity. But the reality for you and I is bigger than this.
Recently I went to a retreat for life coaches and teachers. It was a private event with a small group of some powerful individuals who are transforming lives. We met in Dallas for 4 days of intensive training.
Admittedly, I didn’t show up on time. And punctuality is something I highly value. When I realized I was going to be late (both from miscalculating the best time to leave and from extensive traffic), I called one of the head coaches. We got some things sorted so I wouldn’t be too far behind when I arrived.
Still, I’d agreed to be present at a certain time. And I didn’t do it.
When I arrived, my coach was welcoming and gracious. But then he confronted me directly.
“Everyone here agreed to be present by 4P. It’s 5P. You didn’t act in full integrity. And that’s out of place for who you are and what you’re doing as a leader.”
He was right. That kind of direct shot hit me right in the chest. And I had to own my role in not letting my yes be yes. Or in this case, not fully committing to what I said I would do and execute on that commitment.
And if you’re thinking, “Come on man, can’t you have a little grace for this? I mean, Dallas traffic is nuts. Being late isn’t something that makes you lack integrity,” let’s dig a little deeper.
The heart of what was going on here was exposed in this moment. AJ Amyx (my coach at this event) confronted me with something that I’d been hiding. And he did it in the best way possible.
My way of introducing myself to everyone was to answer a short list of questions that began with:
“I’ve been pretending that…”
What a better way to introduce yourself to a group of complete strangers?
So what was I pretending?
I have all of my shit together.
Which I completely admitted to this small group of fellow coaches & leaders. And it endeared me to them in ways that connected our hearts and souls together.
Because to slay the lion in front of you is both taking care of the real threats to your growth as well as admitting when you’re wrong. It’s also being willing to be vulnerable with your weakness.
Here’s a real confession for you:
As a coach, I don’t have all the answers to my clients problems. I’ve had a misconception about that for a long time. But I’m learning that having the answer isn’t my job.
It’s my job to help my clients see the answer for themselves. And show them how the answer they seek is inside them.
I had been pretending to have all my shit together out of a fear of not being taken seriously if I revealed that I don’t have everything figured out. Because isn’t that why you hire someone to help you? Or so I thought…
The truth of the matter is typically different than what we think
You hire a coach to help you grow in particular areas. To overcome massive challenges that have hindered you for a long time. Or find clarity on how to move forward after failure or struggle.
In these ways, there’s not been any pretending from me. I help people overcome lifelong challenges, gain direction and clarity, and become a better version of themselves.
Yet I admittedly struggled with something that keeps everyone from becoming the full version of themselves: the false belief that perfection is what people are searching for from their teacher.
Pursuing perfection keeps you trapped. So you wear masks to cover it up. Because if people saw that you don’t have it all together in every single way, you won’t be taken seriously, and will lose out on opportunities. That’s what fear tells you.
Or that’s why I did for so long. Pretending takes away from real integrity. Your yes isn’t always yes. It’s yes with an addendum, a missing piece to your full ensemble. It makes you incomplete, which is more of a real flaw than imperfection could ever be.
What I was really hiding was my fear of being known. And full transparency, this goes back to a long time.
Like I describe in my book Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole, I struggled with lack of confidence and codependency from a young age. People-pleasing was the fruit of not choosing myself. So I hid my true feelings and desires behind a method of trying to make other people happy so I’d be accepted.
I carried that with me into adulthood through my career and even in my marriage. The ramifications of that were heartbreak and divorce that happened a few years ago.
I’ve been pretty vulnerable about what that experience was like without getting into the details out of respect to my former partner. Yet I have kept some things hidden with a mask of having it all together. Part of that mask has been my name.
D Grant Smith is my first initial-middle-last name. Sometimes people miss the D and just call me Grant. While I was pretending to have it all together, missing that first initial would offend me. Because I worked hard to make that name significant. And leaving out the D hit that trigger that I was insignificant and overlooked. It hit on the notion that my perfection perception was incomplete.
See where this is going?
The truth is, my name is David Grant Smith. I am perfectly imperfect. I am also a steadfast farmer of love, relationship building, empathy, and wisdom. I am Beloved. I am Great. And I am a specialist in transforming difficulty into beauty (that’s what smiths do with metals).
Perfection isn’t in any of that. The pursuit of perfection takes us away from the real fight that needs to happen and clouds the pathway forward into the best version of you, the fully realized you. It keeps you from utilizing the all-too-common missing piece necessary for you to grow in all things.
That missing piece is humanity. It’s the pursuit of excellence with grace for the stuff you don’t fully know. And the willingness to get it wrong in the process so you can learn from the experience and be transformed by it.
Which is vulnerable. And perfectly imperfect.
It’s the pursuit of being fully yourself without excuses. Without fear or hindrances that keep you stuck. This is where integrity comes in.
Because your ability to stick to what you commit to has everything to do with your ability to own your shit and be responsible for not getting it right. Instead of using a double-standard or a mask to cover up what you feel inadequate in.
I learned from this experience that real commitment is an all-in principle. It’s commitment to self and to relationship with others. Full-on. It comes from a heart full of LOVE.
"To LOVE, yes is always YES."
LOVE gives you what you need to slay that terrifying lion now. Before it grows bigger, nastier, and turns into something that can create long-lasting problems for your life.
For the record, you can call me any of my listed names now. There’s nothing to hide behind. The connection and my relationship with you is far more important to me than what you call me (as long as it’s respectful; self-love and honor still takes precedence).
Has this struck a chord with you? Is being fully committed to yourself so that when you say Yes (or whatever you say) is what you do? Are you hiding something from yourself or others out of a fear of being perceived in a way that could keep you from what you want?
If so, I completely understand.
This journey into wholeness and being the best version of yourself is acting in integrity in the moment you’re confronted with the truth. Otherwise, the little difficulty that sits in front of you can grow into a beastly lion that consumes your chances for peace, fulfillment and success.
Don’t let that be you. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and heart garden. I can help you get there and slay the lion that’s keeping you from living your fullest life.
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