The False Self Series, Part 1: Strengths and Weaknesses

I recently listened to an Emotional Healthy Leader Podcast episode by Pete Scazzero (The September 6 episode, Silencing the Seductive Voice of Your False Self) that greatly impacted me. In the episode, Pete said, “one of the most destructive temptations leaders face is living and leading from the veneer of the false self.” He then listed ten examples of how this can happen. 

These examples made sense to me — and I think they’ll resonate with you too. In the upcoming weeks, I’ll talk about all ten. I am doing this because overcoming the false self is the best way to head into 2023. Leadership is about doing things with and through other people, so leading yourself past your false self is step one to leading effectively. 

Part 1: The struggle of pointing out my flaws and weaknesses to others.

How easy is it to talk about your flaws and weaknesses? I feel like this is the first step we should take because it is far easier to point out the flaws and imperfections of others than it is to talk about our own. 

Having said that, here are some of my flaws and weaknesses: 

  • I sometimes process issues with third parties and share too much information. This is gossip when I do. 
  • I can be moody at home. This comes out of my selfishness and desire to have things my way. 
  • I like approval (more on this next week). 
  • I often look for relief in “stuff,” even though I profess happiness cannot be found in “stuff.” 
  • I allow my eyes to critique others and linger too long on what I find attractive. 
  • I occasionally compare my work situation with my sisters, who I co-lead the business with, sometimes leading to a feeling of discontentment. 
  • My opinions often come off as if I can fix everything from the state of the country to the Chicago Bears.

And the above is only the tip of the iceberg. 

Let me tell you something about sharing those flaws with you. It feels good; there is freedom in just being real. It is freeing because you no longer have to put up the front of your false self. It also humanizes you to others as they are not perfect either. We all are works of improvement. 

Want to be someone worth following? Open up about your flaws and weaknesses. You are a human being, after all. No one outside of yourself expects you to be perfect (and more on “beating yourself up” in a few weeks). 

Opening up about your flaws and weaknesses will allow you to live more authentically. You will no longer have to hide. It will also help you become more graceful towards the flaws and weaknesses of others because you will realize they’re human too. 

On that thread, why not be open about your flaws and weaknesses in your home life as well? After all, who knows you better than your spouse and your kids? Or, if you are not married with kids, who knows you better than your closest friends and family? Opening up to these people opens the door to the deepest of human relationships. 

For example, acknowledging that I am a work-in-progress to Sarah is something she sees with her own eyes every day! Yet, I can safely say that Sarah is a work in progress too — and no, saying that doesn’t mean I’ll be sleeping on the couch tonight, because she knows it too. No one knows my flaws more than she does and vice versa. To be known, and loved, is amazing. There is no better human relationship than one that captures this authenticity. 

Yet, only God can fully and truly know all of our thoughts, desires, motives, and faults. So to be fully known, and only God fully knows, and loved, is amazing grace. 

This week I invite you to consider your own flaws and weaknesses. You do not have to post them anywhere, but I challenge you to start sharing them with someone (a spouse, a friend, a coworker) this week. It is your first step to leaving your false self behind.