Updated: May 21
Humans share a collective secret...it may surprise you to know that you are not alone.
There is clear evidence that a new era is upon us, an era of authenticity and transparency. Some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs are revealing the biggest secret of all: that they are human. They are sharing their struggles with mental health, emotional health, self doubt, and self worth.
Most of the voices that are speaking out are saying they feel a responsibility to humanity to be upfront and honest about their struggles and their victories.
The successful people that are sharing their real stories can see how humans across the world are suffering. If you have any doubt about the depth of human suffering - take a look at the World Health Organization statistics, where they name depression as the world's leading cause of disability.
The brave entrepreneurs that are speaking out are talking about their struggles with self doubt, self worth, depression, bi-polar, ADHD, OCD, anxiety ... and they are also sharing how they thrive and succeed. They fall down and they get back up, they are redefining mental wellness.
In general most people are open and willing to complain about their circumstances and to blame others, but usually stop short of naming their greatest struggles, and their perceived failures. As humans, we share the collective secret of needing to protect ourselves by not sharing our pain and suffering with others.
Elizabeth Lesser the author of Broken Open states “When difficulties come our way we don't readily seek out help and compassion because we think others might not understand or would judge us harshly or take advantage of our weakness and so we hide out and we missed out”.
We believe that if we suffer we are flawed humans. We idolize those that are successful are we falsely believe that they have never suffered and that because we suffer we can never be successful.
The downside of these limiting beliefs is that without being open and honest with another human being we miss the benefit of a different perspective, and we get stuck in a cycle of emotional torment. I have witnessed first hand with my clients, the amazing transformations that are possible when someone has the courage to admit their greatest suffering. Once it's no longer a secret, once you let someone in and allow for feedback and reframes you allow for a new way to look at your perceived flaws.
Side Note: Confessing your fears, your suffering, your weaknesses should not turn into a pity party. If it does, please consider talking to someone that will help you see a different perspective. Someone that will uplift you and not someone that will join you for the greatest pity party.
Let's reveal some of the voices speaking out with their human stories:
1. Tim Ferriss
Tim Ferriss is the author of the 4-Hour Workweek, a best seller across the world, fourhourworkweek.com. He is also a successful entrepreneur and popular speaker. He has recently started openly talking about his struggles with managing his mind. He says that his mind often resembles a war zone. He also spoke about having and managing suicidal thoughts while in college. He shares many tools and techniques he uses to help manage his mind and stay focused on his goals on his blog and podcast. A great one to read is "Productivity" Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me).
2. J.K. Rowling
J.K Rowling is a world famous author of the Harry Potter series. Rowling talks about experiencing clinical depression when she wrote the first book in the series. She also talks about dark times after she became famous so fast, and needing to reach out and get help to manage her new found fame.
3. Jen Gotch
Jen Gotch may not be a household name, she is however a very successful entrepreneur. She started Bando.com in 2008 with no prior business experience and turned it into a multi mullion dollar company with a very successful brand. The business brand is all about fun, so it may surprise you that on her instagram feed she openly talks about being bipolar. She shares her struggles with mental health before, during and after building her business.
4. Marie Forleo
Marie Forleo is a very successful online entrepreneur. She is the founder of B-School, Marie TV, and marieforleo.com. She is very outspoken about her ups and downs personally and in business. In a recent Marie TV episode, she talked about how some days she feels on top of the world and some days she is lost and can't see her value. The fact that she makes the majority of her income as an online business expert, to admit she has times where she doubts herself is a big deal.
The great news is you don't have to wait until you become a success story to reach out and share your human self with others. You too can make a difference in your life and in the lives of others by being openly human.
In the book Broken Open Elizabeth Lesser says “when we don't share the secret ache in our hearts, the normal bewilderment of being human, it actually turns into something else..it leads people to take actions that do not represent who they really are, but rather the actions are protective to keep others from seeing their true self."
We are so invested in keeping the collective human secret that we would rather be seen as cruel and jealous than to be seen as broken and weak.
Elizabeth suggests that healing happens when you open the door, even just slightly to allow another into your imperfections, when you face the embarrassment of being human.
I am grateful for all the successful voices that are opening the door, and allowing all of us to see their imperfections. It inspires me to do better every day, to forgive myself for moments spent in darkness, and it gives me permission to be imperfectly human.
What keeps you from sharing your human stories of imperfection? Share your insights in the comment section below.
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Wishing you love, joy and peace,