Be Your Own Authority – Developing the Self-Leader Within

From The Beautiful Brains Commentaries by Eileen Shoals, Psy.D

There is no greater joy than being your own boss, making your own decisions and experiencing validation from the positive choices you have made. In a world full of followers searching for the latest authority on whatever, it’s difficult to find individuals who are willing to assert their own opinions and remain true to their own convictions. Allowing others to make choices for you prevents you from experiencing the satisfaction of being your own authority. Think back to when you were a child. What did you like to build? Close your eyes and think about what you used to create. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with your tea set or creating with your bake set. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with Legos or building blocks. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with Play dough. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with rocks outside. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with sand on the beach. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating in your mother’s closet with her shoes and clothes. Perhaps, you enjoyed creating with your chalk board, or crayons, or paint set, or doll houses, or motorized car set, or train set…and the list of possibilities goes on and on and on. The point is that while we were playing as children we were also creating.

We were creating possibilities for our future; for as we played, we began to dream about what we wanted to be when we grew up. At that time, we believed that all things were possible. The future had no limits. Somewhere along the way, for many of us, the dream of being whatever we wanted to be began to fade. The dream of being an individual creator faded and the act of being a follower increased. For many of us, the happy-go-lucky child of the past that believed he or she could do and be anything, sunk slowly into the background of our minds. That pitiful process began the transition from being an independent thinker into an immobile follower. Immobility is created when a person refuses to take a stand for what he or she truly believes or wants. The immobile follower is stuck in the quick sand of life. He or she is co-dependent, needy and afraid of what others think. So the true dreams and desires of the heart go unlived or watered down by the collaborative opinions of dream-stealers and dream-killers.
The immobile follower’s desire to please others supercedes self-satisfaction. Pleasing others feels good to this individual and brings a certain amount of joy, until the follower realizes that he or she is not being authentic. When this person realizes that his or her real person (their true identity and personality) is unknown by the people he or she spends the most time trying to please, the distressed follower reacts. This reaction can take the form of depression…stemming from the belief that nothing can be done to change his or her following mode. Without a change in attitude, this person remains stuck and lives a sad, depressed life. Immobilized by fear and a chronic following tendency, he or she never realizes his or her full potential.

The other reaction to the realization of being stuck in following mode is all out disgust! Disgust for the time wasted trying to please others; disgust with the self-betrayal that chose the chronic following mode over the self-preservation of being an independent thinker. This form of disgust can be the catalyst for major change. It can be the precipice for rising from the boring rut of always doing what others tell you to do, into the exciting leap into passionate existence were authentic decisions are made and self-validation is practiced regularly. Inactive assertiveness keeps your leadership potential buried and infantile. Activate your self-leader now! It’s in this remarkable space, that your self-leader comes alive.

Practice being your own authority first in all situations. Be open to suggestions, opinions and advice from others, but weigh them behind your own initial ideas. You may decide that someone else has a better idea, but be your own authority first. In this way, you will have given yourself the highest honor by thinking about what you believe first, without the influence of others. This is a critical component to developing self-confidence. Continual practice in creating and owning your own beliefs and values makes you your own authority.

You have the ability right now to change the world. One of your brilliant creations may take the world to a higher state. However, whether you impact the whole world or influence your small corner of the world, your unique views, concepts and creations have value. With that value, you will make the world a better place. Being your own authority is only one part of developing your self-leader. The possibilities of self-leadership are endless. You can choose to be your own role model, your own teacher, your own best friend, your own cheerleader, etc. Look within. If you look closely, you will see an amazing leader blossoming from the shadows. Lo and behold…it’s you! 2011

Be Your Own Authority by Eileen Shoals, Psy.D
From The Beautiful Brains Commentaries