Living a Transparent Life that Changes Lives

Wow! It has been a while since I have blogged! Having two careers can be challenging even for a coach who preaches “Balance!” Life has been crazy for my wife and I since November of last year! The past few months I have been going at it six and seven days a week!

Sitting thinking about writing and the busy schedule has brought me to an interesting thought. Do I write about “Balance” while my life has been so out-of-balance? What will my readers think? How can I tell clients my life has been crazy, yet share that we should lead balanced lives!

So, no…I won’t talk about balance today. I have a different thought. I’m going to talk about “TRANSPARENCY!”

Now how in the world do you get transparency from talking about balance, Robert? Thanks for asking.As I pondered my busy life of late and thought about writing about it my brain suddenly said, “You can’t do that! You’re a coach! You help people find balance; if you talk about how your life has stretched the boundaries of nearly being out of control who will want your advice?”

Then a second thought hit me. That’s exactly what’s wrong today! No one wants to be transparent. Everyone from the media to the momma wants to portray an image of life being perfect and having everything under control. No one wants anyone to know they have blemishes, tummy aches or that women really do burp!

Today we have preachers bottling up their struggles because congregations hold them to a level of perfection that only Jesus obtained. We see women in their 40s and 50s dressing and acting like teenagers as they attempt to hold onto their youth. Families are in debt trying to keep an image to fit into a certain social status. And the list goes on and on. We are pretending…hiding…trying to portray something or someone we’re not.

Our society is being held hostage by a force of unrealistic expectations of perfection.

But we know this image is far from truth. Just look at a few statistics.

  • In the past 25 years the number of people seeking help for depression has doubled to 25 million a year in the US. (CDC reports).
  • 11% of Americans aged 12 and up are on some kind of antidepressant (that is 1 in 10 people).  14% are taking more than one type of medication. (CDC reports).
  • In 2011 antidepressant use was up 400%. (CDC reports).
  • The CDC reported in 2008-2009 timeframe that 4.3% of adults (8.3 million) reported thinking about suicide of which 2.2 million actually made plans, 1 million attempted and 36, 909 followed through.
  • NIDA reports that youth illegal prescription drug abuse was 11.4% (25% started at age 13). That’s 1 in 9 students!
  • At the end of 2011 there were nearly 1,700,000 pending bankruptcy cases (U.S. Government bankruptcy statistics report).

These are just a few statistics that scream out that all is not well. American’s are not all that and a bag of potato chips. We might be going to the plastic surgeon to have our face tightened, drive expensive cars, live in larger than life homes and wear name-brand clothes, but there is something desperately wrong. So what do we do?

Well first we need to start being real by accepting who we are and where we are in life.

Men, the cigar and sports car aren’t fooling anyone, you’re broke and everyone knows it.  Grandma, get out of that mini-skirt and caked on makeup, your grandchildren keep thinking someone hired a clown for their birthday.  Pastors, tell your congregations that your family comes first and that you’re not going to be going to everyone’s great aunt’s funeral or visiting little Joey because he stumped his toe. Husbands, stop comparing your wife to the airbrushed images in magazines and 15 year olds made to look 20 in beer commercials; have you looked in the mirror lately! Why hold your wife to a standard that you can’t even keep.

Instead of trying to portray what society tells us we should be, we need to make a huge U-Turn. Dad and Moms need to spend time with their children, not be their friends, but be parents by being examples. Business professionals, draw a line in the sand. Have boundaries that separate work from family and ensure family has the quality time; the best time. Everyone needs to live within their means. My father-in-law, a very successful man has always said, “It’s not how much you make, its how much you spend.” You can make $5 million a year, but if you spend $6 million you are just as broke as the person standing in the unemployment line. Couples, face the truth that love is a choice, not a feeling; quit living in relationships based on feelings but instead on commitment. Look past the smoke and mirrors of what society and media want us to believe we should be so we’ll purchase their products. Look at the real qualities we bring our world in being who we are.

And back to the point that started this whole topic. We who call ourselves coaches, leaders, counselors, mentors, parents, politicians and religious leaders; those of us that find ourselves in positions where people ask for our advice…be honest…be transparent!

Admiting That We Don’t Have It All Together is a Freeing Experience!

The truth is a person who portrays having it all together is not someone you need to be taking advice from because they are not being totally honest. In fact, it is failures or less than pleasurable experiences that bring most of us to a point of wanting to help others. When we fall, we learn. When we learn, we grow. When we grow, we want to help others grow. To help others grow, we have to let them know that we too have fallen and that there is hope.

As a Professional Coach I have spent hundreds of hours helping others find their dreams, experience more balance and have encouraged people to take risk in life, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with these same issues.My family and friends know this and I don’t try to hide it. I have coaches, friends, and counselors who I go to in my areas of weakness. And, when I choose to be transparent by telling clients that I get knots in my stomach thinking about a risk I need to take, that I too fall short of God’s desire for my life, when I let someone struggling with their health know  that I too am not consistent with my exercise; or, as it has been over the past few months, I share that my schedule has been bonkers, it encourages people in their journey. Their eyes light up to know they are not alone!

It’s transparency that takes people to the next level; not hiding.

Here are a few thoughts to ponder:

  • Who is in your life that has a struggle?
  • Have you been transparent with your own struggles?
  • What could you do different within the next 24 hours to open dialogue sharing the real you?
  • Do you have someone that you can go to and trust with becoming transparent about your own struggles and begin getting things in order?

There is no better time than now to start new and fresh. There is no greater feeling than to be able to be yourself!

It’s time to bring out the best in you!

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