And how to flip it back in the right direction

I’ve noticed lately that there’s something many of us seem to be getting fundamentally wrong, about ourselves and about each other.

It can be summed up quite well in this quote by evolutionary biologist Heather Heying: “The amazing rate of change we’ve created is itself deranging us and making it very difficult to understand and remember how to be human.” 

In this quote, Heather is saying that the culture we’re in, and the craziness of the world, is causing us to actually forget how to be human. I think this is really profound, because I’ve seen in my work that most of us don’t know who we are anymore. And it’s a fundamental problem. 

The consequences of not knowing who we are

We can’t lead, live, or thrive if we don’t know who we are, as human beings, at our deepest core levels. And I don’t just mean “I know what I like, where I’m from, what I care about…” I mean knowing what it means to be a human person.

When we know who we are, when we can ask ourselves this question and actually get it right, then all kinds of leadership possibilities align. But when we get it wrong, everything falls out of place. We disown our choices. We become indecisive. We allow life to happen to us in reactivity, instead of claiming life. We move into passivity. We don’t know what the meaning or purpose of life is, so we just let it pass us by. And from that place, we react and do things that aren’t good for us, that aren’t productive, and that aren’t coming from our best selves. We find ourselves completely disconnected from Source and from Grace. 

If we understand this, the question becomes: where does this disconnect come from? I think the number one thing we’ve forgotten is that we are fundamentally good. That life is fundamentally good. That we as human beings are all fundamentally good. At COR, we call this our essential goodness, and it’s something that, culturally, we’ve just rejected. 

Becoming masters of suspicion

When we personally get into this place of reactivity, this mindset where we give up and lose ourselves, we forget that life is a gift. We no longer believe that we are valuable, or that we are good. Because we forget our essential goodness, we stop trusting. We can’t trust our own goodness anymore because we don’t believe in it. As a result, we become masters of suspicion. We actually become suspicious of everyone, and everything around us, including ourselves. This is the fallout of not owning our goodness. 

Another thing that occurs when we can’t own our goodness, is that our human condition takes center stage. This is what makes us drop the ball. It makes us do things we wish we wouldn’t, it makes us act badly, and it causes our Survivor Self to act out. 

Now, our human condition and our essential goodness are both present, all the time, within us, and the interplay between them is what makes us human. The primary mistake we are all making is that we’ve gotten our priority backwards. 

When we lose ourselves, it’s because we’ve actually switched these two things in our heads, and we think our human condition is the main part of ourselves. We think it is our fundamental bottom line. We don’t think we’re fundamentally good; we think we’re screwed. We think we’re rotten, we’re bad, and we’re valueless. And we think others are as well. The “essential goodness” is only present in the sense that we think, if we try hard enough, we can force some goodness into our being.

Do you feel the difference in this dynamic? 

We’re telling ourselves, “I’m fundamentally suspicious of myself and everyone else, but if I try real hard, I can pull some goodness out of myself, out of you and maybe the world will be good”. It’s very different than saying, “I’m fundamentally good. Sometimes I make mistakes, I’m not perfect, but to be me, to be alive, is a good thing. And the world is better because I am here. And I am made to live, embrace, and share that goodness”.

So what do we do about this?

Reclaiming your essential goodness

We have to reclaim the fundamental goodness of ourselves and our lives.

We have to learn how to consider life a gift again. If we don’t, we go into control mode and we blame others for things, instead of being empowered and responsible for ourselves. We move into timid and passive realms rather than being humble and surrendering. 

When we get it right, when we trust in our goodness even with our human condition, we can move into humility. We can move into empowerment and productivity and clarity, rather than blaming and irresponsibility. 

The stakes here are high. If we don’t make this fundamental switch, we don’t grow up. In our maturity we “get” our fundamental goodness, but if we don’t claim it we lose our vitality and our life force. We become complacent, and miserable, and we regret. We regret everything, ultimately. We aren’t proud of the lives we’ve lived, or the effect we could have had on the world, but didn’t.

The path forwards

There are two things you can do to flip this switch within you, and to start claiming your fundamental goodness. The first is to actively do things that connect you to your essential goodness. Do things that remind you of it, or things that reveal it to you. Actively and intentionally do things that allow you to truly claim for yourself, not from an egotistical place, but from a place of reality and humility, your essential goodness.

The second thing you can do is to intentionally learn the tools and skills that help you navigate your Survivor Self. Even when we’ve claimed our fundamental goodness, the human condition still comes into play – it comes from our Survivor Self, and it wants to be unraveled. So, we need to learn how to wisely and skillfully navigate it so that it can’t tank us on our journey.

When we do these two things, we can become leaders. In fact, this is where leaders are born.

I hope this speaks to you, and if it does, I invite you to join us for our free COR Leadership Classroom. We offer free teachings and take deep dives into ourselves, entirely based on this principle of claiming our fundamental goodness and navigating our Survivor Selves.

Check it out here: