How you show up for life is how your life turns out. So many people think they are a victim of circumstances, but when they connect the dots in reverse, they can the decisions and actions that led to their place in life now.
How do you show up for anything? Do you wear a mask to show people someone you’re not? Let’s dive into this topic and figure out if authenticity is the key and showing up on day one as “yourself” is your best option.
Today’s quick quote is by Alan Cohen, and it’s this:
You are in integrity when the life you are living on the outside matches who you are on the inside
Integrity is a great word for that, because it represents full, honest expression of self. If you’ve been listening a while, I also call this congruence.
When your thoughts and intentions match your behavior, you are congruent. But if you say or think one thing, then do another, that’s incongruent. Though, it’s not necessarily out of integrity.
We all have a right to change our mind, but let me tell you what happens when you are more incongruent than not: You never get what you want in life.
The reason for this is because there’s a part of you, your subconscious mind, that takes commands and listens to you very diligently. It also learns from you and behaves how you train it.
So if absorb a lot of personal growth stuff and apply it in your life, you’re probably noticing changes and succeeding in small or big ways. But if you listen or read this stuff and only apply it now and then, or not at all because you don’t think it works for you, then you probably notice a lot of stuff that doesn’t work for you in life.
It’s like making a commitment to yourself that you’re going to go to the gym every other day. You reach a point and just think, “That’s it, I need to lose weight, get stronger, get healthier, and start going to the gym.”
Then the first week, you’re all over it. You’re hitting the gym and you are pumped to go back. But after a few days you’re thinking, “Well… I had a good workout, so I’ve earned a cheesecake.”
Then the next week you go, “Well… It won’t hurt to miss a day. I’ll just skip today but I’ll make it up tomorrow.”
Then soon, and you know where I’m going with this, you stop going altogether.
You started out congruent and doing what you committed to yourself. Then, slowly, you started being a little incongruent and letting days slip, and you let your diet plan get a little loose. Then eventually, it was like the commitment you made to yourself simply never existed.
What this does to your subconscious mind, and this will sound a little funny, is show it that when you say you’ll do something, it isn’t really true.
Sure, it happens to all of us every now and then. We promise ourselves we’ll get to it, but then we don’t. It’s a mistake or something else got in the way. But if you do things like that more often than not, your subconscious mind starts not believing you anymore.
And since all of our behavior stems from our subconscious mind, you end up creating events in your life that you don’t want.
You lose money, you forget things, you have trust issues, your health falters, your relationships fail, and more. All of this stuff happens because your subconscious mind doesn’t believe what you say.
And when that happens, your world becomes unpredictable and harder.
Well, think of a musician that plays his or her instrument several hours a day, everyday, preparing for a concert. Practice after practice, trying to get the perfect sound, or as close to it as they can.
Day after day, they are feeding that subconscious mind more and more subtleties of playing the songs better and better. They are fine-tuning their brain. And the brain eats it up. It loves the reinforcement.
This results in a harmony between the outside world and his or her inside world. What is being learned is being played, and what is being played they are learning from each and every time. It’s continuous reinforcement and recycling of information.
This strengthens the subconscious mind so that it is on target to perform at a moment’s notice. It gets sharper by the day because it is continually reminded to follow the patterns fed to it.
Then when the musician gets on stage, they don’t have to think, they can just play. And all of their practice pays off because the subconscious mind puts out what it was fed.
Now take the musician who plays one day, then decides to go bowling the next. Then the following day, picks up the instrument and plays again – maybe even playing better than before, but then decides to change the song because he or she doesn’t want to play that song anymore.
And just add more variety to this example and you have an idea of what an incongruent mind can get filled with. Just different pieces and parts of the song, if he or she ends up playing the song they were practicing in the first place.
When they get on stage, they have to think harder, try harder and be more conscious of the process of playing.
What ends up happening when you are incongruent, or at least altering the patterns that go into your brain, is that you end up destroying the trust you have with your subconscious mind.
It might sound weird, but your subconscious mind trusts what you tell it, so it will do what you tell it to do. But then when you’re on stage or where ever you show up in life, and you forget what you’re supposed to do, or things don’t work out as planned, it might be because you didn’t have that harmony between you and your mind, if that makes sense.
In other words, by committing to a thought or idea, then not following through with it, and repeating that cycle over and over again, you are teaching your brain that your thoughts and ideas aren’t that important and not to help you follow through with them.
So if your own subconscious doesn’t trust what you tell it, it will start steering you in the wrong direction in life.
Do you know someone that, they tell you they’re going to do something, but you know deep down that they won’t do it? And is life going well for that person? Or, do they always seem to be lagging behind?
When your thoughts and intentions do not match the behavior you put out into the world, more and more your world will crumble. Because imagine people looking at you and wondering the same thing you do about people who don’t follow through.
You look at someone who doesn’t follow through, and you think, “Well, they say they’re going to do it, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Do you trust people like that to follow through? Would you trust them with important stuff? I know I wouldn’t. It’s the same way between your conscious state of being and your subconscious mind.
If you consciously tell yourself, “I’m going to walk 5 miles a day from this point on”, then you don’t follow through, the subconscious mind goes, “Ahh, got it. You tell me one thing but do another. So, I’ll mark that in my notebook.”
Then if you repeat that kind of behavior, the subconscious mind starts mistrusting you more and more.
And you know what happens if your subconscious mind doesn’t trust you? You make bad decisions. You take steps in the wrong direction.
Your life starts to crumble in certain areas. Then you start asking yourself, “Why is everything going bad? Why is this happening to me?”
It happens because of how you have trained your mind over the years. If you say you’re going to do something, and you do something else, and repeat that behavior over and over again, then you are creating your own vortex of misery.
And people will see that about you. They will think you’re not in integrity. They may say that you don’t walk your talk. Even though you know you do, they’ll see the pattern you’ve been following in your own life and make a judgment that you aren’t someone that can be relied upon.
This creates job loss, breakups, and all kinds of havoc.
And it all comes down to how you show up. Not just for other people, but for yourself. You can even be trustworthy and dependable to others, but if you’re not that to yourself, you will find life a lot harder than it needs to be.
Showing up as who you are on the inside is integrity. It’s congruent. And when you are congruent, you are being the best person you can possibly be. Even if you think you could be better. You can say things like, “I know I can do better!”, and if that motivates you, great! But being the best isn’t about improving yourself, it’s about showing up as yourself.
I sat in silence for the longest time a few days ago. I sat there, wondering what I would talk about this weekend. Typically, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and get ready to write my outline. And the week coming up to this episode was no different.
Well, actually, it was different. One of the differences was that I was busy promoting my new ebook called “How to Deal with Irrational People”. So busy that I missed my day to write the outline. Then, the next day, I missed it again.
So I sat there on Thursday, still a little jaded from reaching out to people to let them know about the book, with my mind completely blank about what to talk about on Sunday.
And I realized that I was so late, that I might actually miss my own deadline to get it done. If I miss the deadline, the show is delayed or worse, doesn’t come out at all. And I thought to myself, “What would happen if I didn’t get the show out at all? What would be the repercussion from that?”
Would people rally against me and be angry that I’m not keeping up with my duties? Or would no one notice? Or, if they did notice, would they shrug their shoulders and tune in next week to find out if this was just a fluke.
I was using my own process of Worst Case Scenario. I asked myself:
“What’s the worst possible scenario if I cannot figure out what to talk about this weekend?”
The answer that came was really not so bad. Sure, thousands of people would wonder what happened, and some would probably be disappointed that I didn’t create a new episode, but for the most part, I think I’d be forgiven!
I think about when I used to watch TV, I’d tune in once a week to catch the next episode of my favorite show. I was once hooked on The X Files. Every week, I had to make sure my butt was on the couch, and my girlfriend and I were ready before it came on.
And during that time, I would ignore the phone and put away anything that distracted us. The show would entertain us once a week, and we were definitely fans. But every now and then, it would be a repeat or worse, not be on at all.
It was rare, but when it wasn’t on at all, we’d be like, “Hey, where is it?” And get disappointed.
I’m sure there were various reasons it wouldn’t come on at the time, but regardless of why it wasn’t on, it didn’t matter. We were let down, and we had to find something else to do that night.
But that disappointment didn’t last long. In fact, during those times where our “regularly scheduled program” was interrupted, we’d actually find something fun to do. Either we’d watch something new, or do something that didn’t involve sitting in front of the TV.
But either way, we found ways to enjoy ourselves even though we were just let down.
So I thought, “You know, I was hooked on a TV show back then, and when it wasn’t on, I didn’t write to the network and complain, and I didn’t stop watching it. In fact, I built up even more anticipation for the next week waiting to once again be entertained by my favorite show.”
I wondered if this would happen if I could not think of anything to talk about. What would happen? Then I thought, “Wow, am I the center of the universe? Does the world revolve around me?” Ha ha. Though, there are people that listen once a week, so maybe I am relied upon just like I relied on X-Files coming out every Sunday night.
But, I got over it when my favorite show didn’t play, so why wouldn’t this audience?
And the thought came to mind, “Hmm, maybe if one week went by without a show, I’d be forgiven.”
In fact, I know I would. It may sound pretentious, but I’ll tell you why (you knew there was a personal growth lesson coming up from all this, right?): It’s because I’ve built a reputation and I keep “showing up. “
This is something I learned early on in my current relationship. I just kept showing up where so many others… didn’t.
The X-Files kept showing up. It was a loyal show and came out once a week almost every week. The “almost” part didn’t matter because most of the time, it was there. And I came to rely on it.
So when it didn’t show up one week, I didn’t get that upset. It already had a reputation for “showing up”, so I knew next week it would simply show up again.
And you know what showing up time and time again does? It builds that loyalty. It creates security and consistency. And when you have something that is consistent, you become comfortable.
Showing up time and time again is what creates harmony and a life that you want. How do you show up in life? Whether at your job, in your relationships, or anywhere else?
How you show up and who you show up as has a direct affect on your level of satisfaction in life, and your level of progress in what you do.
Fortunately, I finally wrote the outline and showed up today. I am pretty consistent and people have come to trust that I’ll keep showing up.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to meet everyone’s expectations at all times, it just means I’ve earned a bit of trust. And trust from others makes like a whole lot easier.
Showing up as yourself can be very difficult for some people. I know when I started this show, I thought I had everything together. I had my cheat notes and I prepared harder than ever trying to make sure I had a contingency plan for everything that went wrong.
Logistically, I had it down. I was ready to go. But I wasn’t as authentic then as I am now. Or, I wasn’t as authentic as I’m always trying to be now. In fact, I was nervous. And the reason I was nervous was because I was focused on how to best present myself.
Isn’t that funny? We think about how to best present ourselves to others when in reality the best way to present ourselves is to show up as ourselves! Which means you don’t have to prepare at all!
But most of us will prepare just a little, knowing that the first impression is the most memorable. So we’ll think of what to say and how to look. But after you show up in a way that is not truly you, how long can you stay that way?
Probably for a whole day. Maybe even a whole month. What about a year? How about a decade?
Imagine you show up as someone that other people adore, but it’s not really you that’s showing up. It’s the “you” you thought they’d like.
I’ve done this most of my life, both at work and in relationships. I showed up as the person I thought people would like most. And I stayed that person for the entire time I was with them.
Do you know how draining that is? I repressed more anger and more bad feelings all those years than ever. Being someone you’re not just to impress or please someone else is like wearing a hot iron mask. The mask burns you, but at least it looks great on you to others.
That’s probably a bad example, but you get the picture. If you show up as that perfect job candidate and it’s because you are telling them what you believe they want to hear and not what you know to be truth inside of you, you will burn out in a matter of months or just a few years.
My burnout point was 4 years. I couldn’t last more than 4 years at a job because I finally got tired of being someone I wasn’t. I got tired of faking smiles and holding back negative emotions. I showed very little of my authentic thoughts and feelings because there was always some fear that I’d get fired.
Then when I decided that I didn’t care if I got fired or not, and that I was going to speak my truth no matter what, suddenly my jobs got easier. I was more liked and respected because of my honesty, and I was promoted more often.
The whole time I wore a mask, my job was hard. When I took the mask off and showed people my true, inner self, my job got easy. That’s it! It took people by surprise that I started saying “no” more often, but they got used to it. And soon, I was confided in more often because I was a person of integrity.
How you show up is felt, to put it quite bluntly. How people feel around you gives you an idea of how they feel about you. Or, let me reverse the scene: How you feel around certain people gives you an idea of how you feel about them.
If you feel comfortable and safe, you probably sense stability and honesty in the person you’re with. And because of this, you’re more likely to trust them. It’s usually indicative of a congruent person. “Hey, Joe says what he means, so I can trust him!”
Or, “Barbara may sound harsh, but I’ve never known her to sugar-coat anything. She tells it like it is.”
These are typically the more assertive go-getters that actually do get what they go after.
And you’ll often find that what they think and tell themselves, they follow through on. It’s the congruence in their thoughts and intentions that matches their behavior. They’ve built a trust between their conscious and subconscious mind, so when they think, “I’m going to take a five minute break and not answer the phone no matter who it is”, they actually do that.
And because they keep commitments to themselves, they get more of what they want out of life. Their behavior is in alignment with their feelings, thoughts and intentions.
Having this alignment creates a harmony in their body. I know that sounds weird, but we all have feelings and emotions as indicators that things are going right or they’re not.
But if you’re incongruent long enough, you start feeling and thinking things that just aren’t true. You start not being able to trust what you’re feeling and thinking. The more incongruent you are in life, the more you will get the wrong signals and take the wrong steps.
I know this first hand, because my intuition has worked the opposite way it should have for most of my life. I’d get a feeling and think, “Oooh, my intuition tells me to do this, and not that” and when I’d do that, I’d be wrong.
When this happens enough, you start not trusting your intuition. When I realized that my intuition was almost always wrong, I decided to cheat.
I figured instead of being more congruent in my life and showing up as the person I am on the inside, I’ll just tune in to my intuition and do the opposite of what it says.
You know, I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but it worked! I realized that my intuition was mostly wrong, so I started doing the opposite of what it told me, and I was right more often than not from that point on.
I figured, “Hey, I’m cured!” But soon realized that I may have figured out how to hack my intuition, but I still have things in my life that aren’t coming together.
So I decided to explore why my intuition was failing me, and found some incongruences in my life. One of them was not saying “no” when I really wanted to.
By not honoring myself and telling people “no” when I really didn’t want to do something, it created mistrust in my body, strange as that sounds. But I confused my subconscious mind! I was thinking, “No, I don’t want to do that.” then saying, “Why yes, of course I’ll help you out this weekend. I finally get a weekend off and there’s nothing I’d like to do more than to help a friend move their their furniture up and down four flights of stairs” ha ha, or something like that. You get the point.
So by learning to say no, I started feeling better. I started building trust in my body again. And when people would ask me to do something I didn’t want to do, I could honestly make a choice instead of falling back into old, self-destructive behavior.
This increased the trust I had in myself, and I started to be more congruent both in my inner world and my outer world. And of course, I was starting to trust my intuition again.
It’s strange how interconnected our level of trust in ourselves expands into the world around us and directly affects that world. We think that if we keep things to ourselves, that it will affect no one but us.
Well, that’s not untrue, but it also does affect our world greatly. What we hold back inside comes out in other ways. Just like when we show up as anyone other than ourselves, life is a lot harder.
The world has a hard time conforming to something that isn’t congruent, which is why our world crumbles when we aren’t in alignment with who and what we are inside. Or at least, when we’re not being as authentic as we can be when relating to other people.
How do you show up in life? What does that even mean?
It really doesn’t matter what it means to me, it matters what it means to the people you interact with regularly. I first really connected with this concept only last year when the girl I met who would eventually become my girlfriend said that I do something more than any guy she ever dated.
I was like, “What?”
She said, “You keep showing up!”
I asked her what that meant.
She said, “You say you’re going to do something, and you do it.”
I was like, “Why wouldn’t I do it?”
She said, “So many people simply don’t do that. They say one thing, then do another or nothing at all!”
As a self-labeled perfectionist, not “showing up” is simply against my programming. I grew up showing up over and over again because I knew nothing else.
So her and I had a great talk about how some people who seem to show up over and over again eventually stop showing up after the honeymoon phase is over.
You know that phase, right? In a relationship, that’s when you are both so excited to be with and discover all you can about one another, you are blind to anything that might be a problem later on down the road. It’s when all appears wonderful and you are both on top of the world.
It’s those first few dates of not knowing someone and finding more about them every time you meet.
The “honeymoon phase” is usually when you spend more money, have the most fun, and treat each other like king and queen, or king and king or queen and queen, you know, depending on your preference.
So many people know the honeymoon phase because they know what happens next! After that, little things that used to be adorable are now abhorred. That laugh you found so cute you now wish they were mute!
It’s the point in the relationship were the true colors finally show and you both let your guard down. And, any mask you were wearing comes off too.
The first couple months are all about showing how wonderful you are to the other person, then, the honeymoon phase dissipates, and you settle into the relationship. When you settle, you start finding out what annoys you about the other person.
The relationship seems to take a 180. It goes from, “I’m tired, but I want to talk with you all night” to “I’m tired. Good night!”
Of course, there is a good reason that some of the honeymoon phase has to wear off, because you still have to live your life and pay bills. After all, every night staying up all night eventually causes you to crash and burn.
But there are ways to keep the spark alive in anything you do, and that’s determined by how you show up in life.
“Showing up” is being that person you’ve always been known to be from day 1. It’s who you are and how you behave almost all the time. It’s that predictable, likeable nature about you that gets recognized as something truly authentic inside of you.
When I “showed up” for my girlfriend time and time again, she was relieved. I kept showing up as the same person she met on day 1. In fact, I was becoming even more of who I was, not less.
Who you are on day one is who people will expect you to be from that point on
So what that means is that you can actually avoid most of the aftermath of the honeymoon phase by simply showing up as you! In all your perfection and dysfunction, just be who you are.
That doesn’t necessarily mean if you feel like punching someone in the face you do it, it just means you come from a more authentic place. You say things that uphold your values and honor your boundaries.
You can still fake laugh at dumb jokes to be polite, but if they’re starting to annoy you, you say something like, “Yeah, I’m not finding these so funny.”
I know someone doesn’t give a flying f**k what you think and you can leave if you don’t like him. I’m using his words, of course. But, at the same time, I know this person to be full of integrity and I highly respect him because he truly wears his thoughts on his sleeve.
That doesn’t mean I necessarily like his language, but it’s authentically how he wants to communicate sometimes.
What would it be like to express yourself how you want to without the fear of repercussion?
That’s what stops us time and time again: The fear of repercussion.
If you knew there were no repercussions, would you do anything differently? I’m talking about within the law of course, but you know what I’m saying.
If someone puts you down and you want to say, “Hey, I don’t respect you enough to allow you to insult me like that” but instead you say, “Sorry about that, I’ll try to do better next time”, doesn’t it feel disempowering?
I know when I think about that scenario, I can feel myself swallowing anger and hurt. I can feel my tail going between my legs and I’d walk away hoping the insults stop. It feels week and I lose that harmony in my body. I lose my congruence because what I am thinking and what I say are two completely different things.
Of course there are situations where it’s too dangerous to do or say what you want, but most situations are not dangerous, we just think they are.
A boss yelling at an employee isn’t typically dangerous, we just think it is because the employee could lose their job if they stand up for themselves. But we jump into survival mode and let people walk on us because we are so fearful about things like that.
It comes down to your priorities and how far you want to go to honor yourself. Are you willing to be congruent no matter what the cost? Or are you going to just be that way in certain places and certain times with certain people?
You’re certainly allowed to practice congruence and “showing up” as you anytime you want, and the more you do it, the more aligned you will become. But try not to let the times you can’t be congruent rule you. Try not to allow people to disempower you. Because that is a place of unhappiness, and you will never be able to create the life you want if you’re always buckling under the pressure of some false danger.
I say false because sometimes we attribute danger to normal situations. Someone yelling at us could be actually dangerous, or it might not be. But don’t generalize every person yelling at you, if that’s what you fear, as dangerous. Sometimes the person yelling is doing so out of fear themselves, so how you show up in that situation could change it for the better.
What is your priority in life? Mine is to live authentically and honor my boundaries. When I feel they’re being crossed, I speak up or get out of the situation. When you do this, it’s scary at first. But then you start to find out that all these beliefs you had about what would happen if you stood up for yourself simply aren’t true.
Most of them were made up by you, probably spilling over from childhood where you really could get in trouble. But now… a lot of those old beliefs don’t apply anymore. A lot of what you think is dangerous today, really isn’t.
So show up as you, and watch the world conform. Believe me, it will have no choice but to conform if you are truly congruent.
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If I didn’t call your name in this episode, just know that I appreciate you and thank you for being there for me, listening, learning, and growing.
Well, it’s been a week, that’s for sure. I didn’t think I’d be able to create the show in time, and I also learned that time can slip through our fingers so fast. For instance, I’ll never get this morning back… well, none of us will. No matter how hard we try, this morning will never happen again.
But tomorrow morning is coming, and we have that to look forward to. But so what, right? Well, it goes back to what I said earlier about who you plan on showing up in the world as.
Who do you want to be?
Do you want to wear a mask so that people get to know an artificial version of you? Or do you want to be authentic so you don’t have to try so damn hard impressing people all the time. It’s truly challenging pretending and it will burn you out trying to be someone you’re not.
So I say, just show up as you on day one. Be you so that you never have to be anyone else and the people that like you will do so authentically and those that don’t, well, they won’t stick around.
And if you want them to stick around, I’d ask “Why would you want someone who doesn’t like the real you to stick around?”
Show up on day one as your authentic self and you’ll create an authentic life. Doing this will let you step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions so that you can create the life you want
This way, you can step into your power and be firm in those decisions and actions, so that you can create the life you want. When you do this, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.