None of Us Arrived with an Owner's Manual: A Fresh Perspective on the Drive to Lead (part 2)

Rosemary Johnston

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Why didn’t I get an Owner’s Manual

After a little while with life happening and no sign of the Manual we began to realize we would need to make the best of it. We began to look around to see who had one and studied what they knew, surely some of it must be generic! We began to study our parents, our siblings – if they looked competent enough, and our other care givers.

They all seemed like gods to our small experience of life, so confident, so able, so talented. Surely they must have a great version of their Owner’s Manual! Many of us translated this into a presumption that they had a Manual and it was a wonderful copy, full of talents and abilities. We had our confidence high that we could do it! We could find mastery.

After a while of looking it seemed like everyone big had one. Another doubt crept in, maybe we were the only one who didn’t get one. We got secretive about it. Hiding the humiliation, coldness, rejection, betrayal and abandonment deep inside ourselves.

Many of us did such a good job we threw away the key and forgot we ever had such deep and painful doubts about our ability to make it here. Instead we got involved in studying others, working at it and seeking to create a new version of our own. Some of us got so good at this game we forgot why we were doing it; there just remained some deep unrest about who we really are.

Some of us progressed from here and made different conclusions based on our perception of those around us. Some of us looked at our siblings and thought they were a bit spare, maybe they didn’t get one either. Maybe it was just our family, all our generation, kids in our neighborhood and so on.

Some of us looked at our parents and thought they got a warped one, however our faith in them and their ability to support us was so great that we willing joined into their pain and shame. We were so driven to work out how to operate here, it was such a primary drive we would do anything to learn.

Crisis is a blessing in disguise.

The strange thing is this was not a real representation of reality. Our hearts are wonderful places of honor, strength and courage. Anyone in an extreme crisis has not needed to doubt the courage of our true nature. Our heroic acts are legendary. The terrorist attacks of recent times bring this home to us. In Bali, ordinary injured Australians did extraordinary things and saved lives. In New York, September 11 brought out an extraordinary unity in this big, fast, hard city. The tradition is older, our heros of the wars; our pioneers of territory, mind, spirit and heart; our popular leaders’ values and so the list is infinite.

The question is never what is the value of the human heart, rather it is – is our heart open? Can we access our greatness or have we become immune, scared or so small we no longer want to go there for fear it won’t be OK anymore.

Put aside the falseness of your egoic nature, the part you alone created, apart from your heart. Take up instead your essential nature, who you truly are, and heal the rift in your drive to lead as a beacon, an example, a shining light and a wonder!

This article may be reproduced in printed or web format, provided the resource box below is included.

Rosemary Johnston is a professional corporate and personal coach. Working with executives from some of Australia's largest and most successful companies for over 15 years.

Rosemary's new book, “How To Develop Your Leadership Style and Skills to Take Charge of Your Career and Life" is now available to download at her web site. Read about some of the success Rosemary has had coaching leaders in Australian blue chip companies.


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