The three traits for a more authentic life

Recently I was in a conference call and someone mentioned the word “exquisite” and how beautiful it sounds as well as the deep and rich meaning it conveys. We made it a fun game to come with some new “words” for the next conference call.

At first I was going to open up a dictionary and look up some really interesting words, but then I took a step back and asked myself, “what do I really believe?” There is a difference between cool sounding words that are foreign to your everyday life versus concepts and principles that you strive to achieve on a daily basis or that you are currently working on.

As I thought about this I came upon three traits that were explained to me in one way, but that I have re-defined for everyday use. The first trait is LEADERSHIP, but I have focused on EXAMPLE. There is a leadership quote that says “Example in leadership is not the main thing, it is the ONLY thing.” Whatever it is that we seek to achieve in our life we must become the living example of it. Whatever we ask of others to do we must be able and willing to do ourselves. This is one of the reasons that I go through all my programs twice before I publish them. First by myself because I am in the creation mode and there is a lot of experimentation that goes along with it. Once I hit upon the system that works I step back and then do it a second time with other people (my beloved guinea pigs) that have varying degrees of fitness to see how others react to the program. The most important thing I have noticed when training others is that you MUST be the living breathing embodiment of what you are asking them to do. Just as important, they will pick up and mimic the enthusiasm and interest you have when performing the exercises. So the first trait is a lesson from LEADERSHIP which I have synthesized to the more accessible BE THE EXAMPLE of what you want in your life.

The second trait I picked up from a Colombian Naval Captain. He used the term SAINTHOOD which turns me off a little bit because I am very human and very far from being a saint. In fact if you knew me when I was a teenager you might be more inclined to agree that I was the exact opposite of a saint, and I would have to agree. He told me during one of our casual conversations that it should be within our goals to become saints. As I raised my eyebrow upon hearing this he said, “Eric, do you know what a saint is?” Since I already knew he had the answer on the tip of his tongue and no matter what I said it would be something other than his prepackaged answer I said “OK, tell me what a saint is.” His reply was very straightforward, “When what we think, say and do is the same thing.” To me this means INTEGRITY. Now this version of integrity has more to do with the alignment of who you are in thought, word and deed to your AUTHENTIC self rather to some cultural attributes of morality which vary from country to country and region in the world.

The third trait is COURAGE. In the military courage has been valued for centuries, in fact the original term was arĂȘte in Greek which was exemplified by your courage in battle in holding your shield, standing your ground and fighting. This was very important because in those times your protection was provided by the man next to you holding up his shield which protected you and not him. Formations needed courageous men to hold the line in order to be successful. The term was expanded to mean “virtue” and “being the best you can be.” In today’s U.S. Navy the three core values are Honor, Courage and Commitment. However, courage is a term that has a requirement and it is that requirement that I am focusing on. The requirement of courage is ENERGY. Perhaps you have heard the quote “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” attributed to Vince Lombardi. You need ENERGY to take action and implement the changes you want to take in your life and to take you closer to living your authentic self. You need ENERGY to be Courageous.

Depending on your taste and personality you can choose the three original terms or my terms. The original terms would be LEADERSHIP, SAINTHOOD, and COURAGE. I have chosen the more universal terms of EXAMPLE, INTEGRITY and ENERGY to implement in my life. Use these traits or explore what it is that you VALUE and use them to get you closer to living your AUTHENTIC self.

Very respectfully,
Eric Guttmann

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