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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Strip Away The Marble

As a CEO Coach, one of the things I try to find out about the clients I consult are the beliefs that exist which ultimately drive their businesses. One of the critical success factors for a business is leadership action and that action is driven by the beliefs and thoughts of the leader. I always like to ask, “What are you willing to do to make this business successful?” Rather than answering the question directly, the answer is typically more along the lines of what they are not prepared to do. We know our boundaries better than we know our vision. These boundaries are set by deeply helped values and beliefs, which shape the thinking of the leader. They are not always productive. They can be constraints.

Sometime prior to the year of 1501, there was a large block of marble, which would eventually become the magnificent statue of David. The Overseers of the Office of Works of Florence Cathedral had tried unsuccessfully to commission artists to tackle this project. Although various individuals tried to engage in the production of this work of art, no one could seem to get past the beginnings of the legs, hands or feet. At one point, the marble sat untouched for a period of 25 years in the yard of the cathedral workshop. Michelangelo was eventually the only person who could envision what could be produced once the exterior marble was stripped away creating the authentic piece of art underneath. Instead of seeing nothing in it, he saw everything beneath it. This vision led him to create one of the world’s most magnificent results.

We know our boundaries better than we know our vision. These boundaries are set by deeply helped values and beliefs, which shape the thinking of the leader, but they are not always productive.

In many cases, we as business executives are the same. Through the years we have covered over our authentic selves with negative beliefs and fears we need to shed. It’s not about being someone you are not. It’s about stripping away all the outer insulation which separates us from becoming the best versions of ourselves. Without becoming the best versions of ourselves as leaders, our organizations will also not accomplish this goal. The old idea that you must have the right gene pool to be successful has long been debunked through the work of Anders Ericsson and others in the field of superior performance. It doesn’t matter if it’s Kobe Bryant or Picasso. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tiger Woods or Mozart. It doesn’t matter if it’s Jack Welch or Babe Ruth. These people are not built differently from a raw DNA material than you and I. There are a few things we need to recognize, capture and control to have an option of transforming ourselves.

  1. Get in touch with your doubts and fears. From the moment you were born, you have been bombarded with messages of all sorts. Things like “don’t get your hopes too high”, “you have to be realistic” or “stop being such a dreamer.” In many people, these messages have taken hold as real truths, which prevent them from taking steps toward being the authentic leader they were born to be.

  1. Learn to spot these negative messages. Raising the level of self-awareness in your emotional intelligence allows you to catch yourself when these negative messages begin to direct you rather than the real you directing yourself toward the life and business you really want to create.

  1. Work to close the gaps. These gaps are the ones between the negative beliefs, doubts and fears, and who you really are meant to be. Negative beliefs that you have adopted, which may not be true for you, have become your reality. This false reality is something that needs to be exposed and closed for you to grow authentically.

  1. Under every excuse lives a fear. What’s holding you back? What is really imprisoning you professionally, personally, economically, or from your health, your family, and your relationships? The more you can clean out these poisons, the more you can absolve yourself and break these habits, the more you will get into mastery and the better positive results you will see in yourself, your leadership and your organization.

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