Don't Box Yourself In

Anybody who knows me knows my love of teams. Teams are about working together to create better outcomes than I could possibly create by myself. Teams are about relationships in the present that often continue in the future. Teams come in all shapes and sizes: husband and wife; father/mother and child; athletic teams; work teams and a myriad of others. The purpose of this article is to strengthen your relationships, decrease our tendency toward isolating and to make your life and work richer.

Being a positive teammate starts with giving love to yourself. If we don’t love ourselves who will? This is not about some maniacal ego trip. It is about being kind to yourself, taking care with yourself, nurturing your spirit, having fun and treating yourself as a wonderful human complete with foibles. Our human energy is in constant use as we search for meaning.

The only person who has control of creating personal energy is you. If we as individuals don’t learn how to energetically care for ourselves, we will struggle. Without daily conscious action, a constant leak is established in our well of energy. The following song sung by many a country star expresses our futile search outside of ourselves,

“I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places
Lookin' for love in too many faces” [1]

It makes no difference what kind of relationship you engage; your first responsibility is to open your heart to your own love. Actively do things that are about loving you. The possibilities are endless from the simplicity of loving a nice shower, a peaceful walk, having fun playing games, to the courage to express your love and appreciation to others. Remember, it is all about you. You are not seeking love; you are giving yourself your love.

Through my profession as an executive coach and consultant I see many of us pursue a path of perfectionism and this path is conceptual, impractical and a mental mirage. The concept of perfectionism is antithetical to being a human being. As a father, husband and son, I am often aware of my own tendencies toward these punishing, mental expectations. Many people don’t realize the magnitude of destruction this silent siren of perfectionism creates. If we don’t ground ourselves in our own love, we are destined to a life of “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.”

When we are able to give ourselves a steadier stream of love we open our hearts and minds to this marvel called positive, loving relationships (remember the number one relationship is with yourself). Without creating this loving aqueduct to our soul, people have a tendency to be more fearful leading toward isolation rather than positively relating. The conundrum lies in the fact that until we learn to open the flow of love to ourselves, from ourselves, we create a self-imposed sentence to wandering this barren desert.

This quest to learn how to love oneself is a life-long joy. It is a spiritual gift, a process, something that ebbs and flows second by second. Learning how to love and relate to oneself is the nucleus of life-long learning. Self-awareness is the captain of your journey. She steers your spiritual ship. She rebuilds your ship if you find yourself swept into rocky shoals and temporarily disabled. She provides you with tremendous strength. All she asks is that you open your soul to the rainbow of human emotion lead by love.

This rainbow of human emotion includes fear. However, our minds allow fear to poison our well of positive, human energy. The “Fear of Failure” is an erroneous concept that permeates our culture. Why not choose to re-frame this negative message with a different concept called, “Learning and Enjoyment?” Incentives are very powerful and we can choose to apply negative incentive messages or positive incentive messages in our lives. I encourage people to follow the path towards positively loving oneself, positively relating with others, positively enjoying learning and spurning negative messages. The following man suffered beyond the beyond and yet his life is about courage beyond the beyond. He provides millions of people (including me) with his lived experience that sobers me when I stray to negativity, fear or pity.

Victor Frankl, wrote his story based on living in the most horrific experience known to human beings. His life, his mind, his spirit and his humanness is a beacon to all regarding living a meaningful life.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which Man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of Man is through love and in love.[2]

The goodness of life comes from the goodness of individuals. The strength of teams comes from the strength of individuals. Strong individuals have strong relationships. Strong individuals are constantly aware of keeping the pipeline to her heart alive and open. He loves himself, by exercising his personal gift of love. I see my clients take loving actions toward themselves by courageously learning how to learn. Watching isolated men in positions of power learn the joy of enjoying heartily greeting others. Watching managers learn how to create environments for others to succeed. Watching an owner of a company express his passion about being passionate.

Writing this article is a version of my self-love. It takes courage to express my thoughts, feelings and experiences. This action of writing keeps the pipeline to my heart open helping me deepen what is meaningful to me. I think of the strength and love I find in my relationships with others. Finally, this is about choosing relating over isolating.


I find great joy in being able to write these articles and share them with the public! The greatest compliment to me is if you would pass this along or share it with others if you found my information helpful!



[2]Man's Search for Meaning, Part One, "Experiences in a Concentration Camp", Viktor Frankl, Pocket BooksISBN 978-0-671-02337-9 pp. 56–57