What Masks Are You Wearing?

In today’s ‘connected world’, the irony is that most people are feeling disconnected, alone, and craving deep human interaction.

Without even knowing it, most people are wearing ‘masks’, because they’re afraid to being who they really are.

Here’s an article by one of my mentors Greg Habstritt.

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What Mask Are You Wearing?

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I’m not sure who’s more excited about it .. me, or my 2 year old Cooper.  But we’re each looking forward to it for different reasons.

For him, of course, it’s all about the candy (one of his favorite things, like any child) .. but for me, it’s watching him discover new things and simply be who he is — curious, daring and carefree.

And just like his dad, he’s not particularly fond of dressing up in costumes and pretending to be something he’s not.

This past week, we completed 5 intensive days of coaching with our VIP Program and 90 Day Breakthrough Members, and during the sessions, it became clear to me what is keeping us from really connecting and being deeply happy and fulfilled in our lives.

The secret isn’t making more money, getting more time, meeting more people or anything else.  It’s much simpler than that .. and if you’re committed to truly transforming your life, you get make it happen starting today.  Here’s how.

For this round of coaching sessions, we invited a good friend of ours, Philip McKernan, to come and work with our clients.  Philip’s an incredible guy who, among other things, has a powerful ability to help cut through the lies that people are telling themselves.  What he does is difficult to describe, but he basically helps people tear through the layers of hurt and deception they’ve built up over the years, allowing them to get clear and ‘real’ with themselves.

We’ve had Philip speak at our events a few times in the past, and has always been one of the crowd favorites.  Aside from his content, I think what makes him most powerful is that he is committed to being authentic in his life. He doesn’t try to sugar-coat things, and he tells it like it is.

He’s one of the few people I’ve met that will be frank and honest about what they’re thinking, instead of telling you what you want to hear.  Philip and I get along well because we share this in common — an impatience with people who are trying to fool themselves.

Spending time with Philip reminded me again just how many masks people are wearing in their daily lives.

We all grow up, expected to act and behave in a certain way.  Many people are encouraged (or forced) to suppress their real feelings, or to pretend to be something they’re not so they can make someone else happy.

Growing up, we all feel hurt and sadness, but instead of learning to talk about it and work it out, most people learn to bottle it up, and pretend everything is okay.  In other words .. we learn to put masks on to hide who we really are, and what we really feel.

We do it so often, and so unconsciously, that we completely lose a sense of who we really are underneath all the masks and layers.  It gets to the point where it’s impossible to have an authentic, deep connection with another person .. because we don’t even know who we are any more.

This is what I call the Crisis of Connection, which I think is a major epidemic in the world today.  What’s incredible is that we’re more connected than ever before through text messaging, email, instant messaging, voicemail, Facebook, Twitter and everything else .. yet most people are feeling desperately lonely and disconnected.

Think about it – we count success online as how many “Facebook friends” we have .. yet we don’t even KNOW most of the people on our “friend” list!

How To Remove Your Masks

If you can relate to what I’m saying, then hopefully you agree it’s time to start taking the masks off.

Now, this isn’t an easy process, because it means changing what you’ve been doing for many years.

In fact, it can be scary to do this, because it goes against your instincts.  Most of us put masks on automatically, because we’re afraid of being judged or rejected.  Yet, the more you put the masks on, the more impossible it becomes to have an authentic connection with anyone.

The root of authenticity is vulnerability. And that’s why so many people have a hard time being authentic .. because they’re afraid of being vulnerable.  They’re scared to let people see them for who they are.  What if they judge me?  What if they don’t like me?  What if they laugh at me?

As I’ve written about before, I believe that authenticity is going to be the single most powerful characteristic of success (and good marketing) in the future.

People who choose not to be authentic, and instead try to hide behind masks, stories and lies will never achieve sustainable success.

So this isn’t just a theoretical “be a better person” discussion — this is truly at the heart of you being successful in your business, and your life.

If you’re ready to start removing the masks you wear, here’s where it starts — decide right now that you are going to be vulnerable with someone important in your life.  Today.

If it’s your spouse, who things have been rocky with lately, decide that you’re going to be vulnerable.  Maybe it’s a friend that you had a disagreement with recently, and felt a loss of connection.  Decide that your happiness is important enough to be vulnerable with that person.

The risk you take is that the person doesn’t respond in kind. And by the way, you SHOULD expect this — because if you’ve been wearing masks for a long time, they likely won’t take your effort as authentic.

If you’ve been disrespectful or uncaring to someone for some time, you won’t alter their belief about you in one conversation.

DON’T let that stop you.  Because this isn’t about them.  It’s about you.

Be vulnerable with them.

And then be vulnerable again.

And again.

And if you do this consistently, you can turn around almost ANY relationship in your life that you feel isn’t where you want it to be.

Ultimately, you’ll gain tremendous personal power and clarity when you do this – much like my son Cooper loves to run around in the summer sun naked, there’s a sense of freedom and living that comes with throwing off your masks and being who you really are.

This is similar to the concept in martial arts that teaches not to resist an opponent’s force.  When you stop resisting, suddenly the other people reduces their attack or force in kind.

And what if that person never responds to your efforts?  That no matter how authentic and real you get with them, they refuse to do the same?

Well, recognize that not everyone is able to do this easily.  And at that point, I’d say that you need to make a decision.  You need to try and help that person see the light themselves.  Or, that might be someone that isn’t healthy for you to have in your life.

Hey, I said this wasn’t easy, right?

If it’s someone in your family that you just can’t move out of your life, then it means likely spending less time with them if they’re not contributing to a positive relationship.

Here’s the bottom line – if you accept a bunch of insincere, phony and artificial relationships in your life, you’re going to end up feeling disconnected, alone, and longing for that authentic sense of self.  Life’s too short to live this way.

So, on this Halloween weekend, I encourage you to think about the masks that you wear .. and when Halloween has passed again this year, that you think about becoming authentic and sharing who you really are with the world.

What do you think?  Please post a comment below and share YOUR thoughts.

Are you wearing masks that you’re ready to throw away?

In today’s ‘connected world’, the irony is that most people are feeling disconnected, alone, and craving deep human interaction.

Without even knowing it, most people are wearing ‘masks’, because they’re afraid to being who they really are.

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