Lesson #51 – The Inside Is What Counts

–Leaders use pressure to reveal the best of the real you

Many years ago in a town in Thailand, a large plaster Buddha was discovered. It sat in a makeshift covering for 20 years before a temple was built to house it. When they tried to move it with heavy equipment, the plaster cracked.

They stopped and examined the damage they had caused. To their amazement, inside was a pure gold Buddha, standing 13 feet tall and weighing 5 tons!

The gold Buddha was apparently plastered and painted so that warring tribes threatening to take over the village would not steal it. For hundreds of years, no one knew there was a gold Buddha hiding inside the plaster.

In many ways, this is the story of our life. I believe the inside of everyone is more precious than a gold statue.
Over our lifetime we cover it up with lies we buy about ourselves. We believe we aren’t worthy or good enough for something. We believe we aren’t capable of doing something.
We believe we can’t handle the pressure of a bigger job.

Sometimes we get so covered up with our beliefs that we can’t even remember what is inside. Then we put pretty paint on the outside by attaining a degree or dressing fancy or acquiring a big house. We are afraid to look inside because we know its plaster.

Sometimes it takes pressure, like the heavy moving equipment, for the plaster to be cracked and the greatness to be discovered.

Take 15 minutes and make a list of great qualities you have displayed in the past but have let dim. Perhaps at one time you were supremely confident and now there is an area of self-doubt. Perhaps you displayed total trust in a person or concept and now are mistrustful. Or perhaps you simply had a passion or excitement for life and it has ebbed.

Now decide how you will put yourself under pressure so that something cracks and the gold has a chance to be displayed again. Many people think pressure is something to be avoided, but leaders create pressure. They proactively put in place a creative tension.

Our goodness is often covered up by our not-so-good beliefs, which is then painted over. Pressure is a good thing. It reveals what is inside.

Action Step #1

Write down an area where you were most recently challenged (i.e. marriage, finances, health, etc.). What did the challenge reveal? If you don’t like what it revealed, you are still in the plaster. What gold remains hidden?

Action Step #2

Who do you know who has not discovered the beauty inside of them? What can you do to assist them in seeing that beauty? Can you offer them an opportunity? Can you offer them encouragement to persist past the plaster?

An Example:
In 1995, after spending almost twenty years helping build my mentor’s company, I left. With new leadership, many things changed about the company.
The split was not an amicable one. I was asked not to talk to any of the facilitators whom I managed for fear that I would take many of them with me. I left alone.
I decided to do business seminars instead of public seminars so as not to compete with them. At age 45 I was starting from scratch, with no clients, no business plan, and about $7,000/month in expenses. I was scared and excited at the same time. The pressure of all that brought out things in me I could not see on my own.
I would not have picked me as a business owner. I would not have picked me to write a bestselling book, with many more to follow. It deepened my faith in God. It strengthened my marriage and the intimacy with my children. It freed my creativity. It added new people to my life almost instantly.
In sum, it was one of the best business moves I have ever made. And yet, while it was happening, I felt tremendous pressure. It felt unfair, but it forced me to reveal who I really was rather than the pretty façade I was putting on.

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted”
–Albert Einstein

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