Removing the Mask

Do you show the world a true version of yourself every day or is your whole life one big masquerade ball? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around Personal Power by helping you to remove the mask.


For most of my adult life I got around pretending that I was someone that I wasn't. And once again, the motive for doing that was to get people's approval. And as we talked about last week, that can be very debilitating and hold you back from being who you truly are. And wearing that mask to pretend that I was this person because that was the person that I thought would be good enough, would belong and would be loved meant that there was a lot of stress. You see, pretending is a fun game when you're a kid, but when you're an adult, pretending can get you into some hot water. Pretending can cause a lot of anxiety around your performance.


So once again, this whole thing of wearing your mask is counterproductive for the reason that you're actually doing it. It actually puts you in a state where your performance, where your likeability, where your acceptance, all those things are diminished because people are confused by this version of you. It's not the real you and people can sense that. So, what I want to do is I want to give you the benefit of my own personal experience and my experience of working with others and help you to feel confident to remove the masks that you wear during your day.


Now, there are different types of masks and I'm going to deal with just a few of those in this short time together. However, to get started, I want us to realise that it's okay for you to be who you need to be in particular arenas of your life. So for example, when I'm being a husband or being a father, there are certain ways that I will act and behave and perform that are perhaps not as appropriate in being a speaker, a trainer, an educator, a business person. So, I'm not talking about being this cookie cutter that goes around in a monotone way all their life. What I'm more talking about is forcing yourself and pretending that you’re someone that you're not to feed that approval addiction that we talked about.


As I said, there are many types of masks that you could wear. There are masks that hide just a little bit of you and there are masks that totally hide who you are and a lot of those, as we talked about in the Johari window, are in your unknown area where you don't even know that you're putting on these masks. Some of them are in that blind spot area where others can perhaps see it, but you can't see it. Most of them live in the area where the hidden area lives, where you can see it, but others can't because it's a version of you that you're wanting to portray because you think that that is the one that's going to line up and give you the reaction, the response that you want from others.


So, the first mask that I want to help you to get rid of, if it's one that you are accustomed to wearing, is the “I’m okay” mask. You see, when we wear the “I’m okay” mask, it says, “I got everything under control. I don't need any of your help. I'm doing great.” And I know when I wear that mask and when I've worn that mask, that might be what's coming out when you see me, but inside I'm dying. Inside, I'm scared, I'm anxious, I don't know what I'm going to do.


But the reason I'm wearing that mask is because I don't want you to think less than of me than you already do. I don't want you to think because I had a negative belief, a wrong belief that said asking for help was a weakness, I don't want you to think that I'm weak. So, that mask of “I'm okay” is the first mask that we need to remove.


The second mask to remove is one I see a lot in any area of leadership, whether it's in the home, in the workplace, in the community, doesn't matter where it is. Whether it's leading one person or a whole organisation. And that's the mask of “I've got all the answers”. A lot of leaders feel like, “Well, now I'm a leader. Wow, now I have to have all the answers. Now I have to know everything.” And I don't.


So, this is where the imposter syndrome sneaks in and instead of letting people in and know what's really going on, we go, “Okay, I better pretend that I know everything.” And I know in my career that that created a lot of anxiety. It created a lot of seat of your pants working that didn't always get the results that I wanted. It created an opportunity for me to stay up late at night to make sure that I got it ready just so that I could keep wearing that mask tomorrow.


So, the “I know everything” mask is the second mask that we need to remove. Even as a parent or particularly for me as a parent, I've grown okay in saying to my children, “Hey, daddy doesn't know the answer to that. I can help you find out.” And not fearing at all that they're going to think less than of me. But what it's actually doing is modeling to them what I hope they do as they grow up.


And I used the term “daddy” there. My youngest are about to turn 18, my twins. So, it's a great time in their life. They're doing their last year of high school in lockdown, just going back to school now for some time together with their friends and with their teachers. But I'm really hoping that's something that I can instill in them as they go into adulthood as well. So we've had two masks, the “I’m okay” mask and the “I know all the answers” mask.


And the third mask that I want to talk about is the mask of the victim. This is a mask that we wear that says, “I don't have the ability to do this. I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. I'm not great. Oh, don't ask me to do that because I'm a bad choice for that.” It's that mask that we wear that says, “I'm the victim here.” And what it portrays is how we're really feeling about ourselves and it's keeping us safe from people relying on us, from people giving us responsibility, from people asking us to do things.


What it also does, it's a mask that gives people an opportunity to go, “No, you're great. You're really good at that.” Which is, once again, feeding that approval addiction. So, the “victim” mask is one that may need some help to be recognised so that you know when you're wearing that.


And that “victim” mask is one that's put on by that small inner voice, that one that wants to pull you back and says, “Hey, okay. Don't portray yourself as being who you're not. Don't tell anyone that you’re good. Come back. We're less than. We're not good enough. We're not loved. We don't belong.” So when we wave that mask, we're telling people how to actually deal with us. We're telling people, “Well, hey. Don't think that I'm worthy because I don't.”


And as we build up those affirmations we talked about last week, as we change the beliefs, as we expand things that are unfamiliar to us now and make them familiar and we rebuild those neural pathways, this is a mask that we want to tear off and throw away because it's a mask that's stopping you from being who you really are. It's a mask when you're wearing it, that someone gives you a compliment and you go, “Oh no, no, it wasn't me. It was such and such.” Or, “Oh no, it wasn't really that good. It's not a big deal.” It's diminishing what they say about you to bring it back in line with who you really believe you are.


So as I said, there are many masks that we can wear and we've just talked about three of them. The mask of “I’m okay”, the mask of “I've got all the answers”, and the mask of the victim that says, “I am not worthy.” So when we can overcome what we feel about ourselves, we can become more self-approved. We can work on the layers that I'd been laying down each week. We can then confidently remove the mask and be who it is that we were created to be. Being who I really am, I find that to be the easiest role to play. I don't have to remember any lines. It just comes out of the abundance of my heart and who I am. And I want that for you as well.


So hopefully, that's spoken to someone. If it's just spoken to one person, then my work is done. And I thank you once again for trusting me and helping you along this journey of developing your Emotional Intelligence and particularly Personal Power.


Well, that's it for another week. Join me again next week when we continue this conversation around Personal Power by teaching you how to change the internal dialogue. I'll see you then.

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