I was reading an article this morning and it just prompted some reflections. The article was about a bit of controversy that’s going on in the US about whether Harriet Tubman should be on the new $20 bill or not.
For those of you don’t know Harriet Tubman. She was a slave and freed herself from slavery and subsequently became a very strong political activist and evolutionist. She also gave rise to create this network that I think I became known as the Underground Railroad or the Underground Railway.
I can’t remember exactly which, but it was a network of houses that people move through to free themselves from slavery.
I love the story of Harriet Tubman. For those that don’t know about her, then I really suggest that you go and read up about it because she was just an extraordinary lady!
She has one quote that I just love and she said,
“I freed 1000 slaves, I could have freed 1000 more, if only they knew they were slaves.”
Now, I think that is fascinating!
When I reflected on that, it started to make me think about, you know, what is it that we all enslave ourselves with or about? There’s no doubt that we all do. I certainly know that I have.
There are things that really enslave us and stop us becoming what it is we could become. If only we were to let go of that. That thing which is keeping us enslaved. The truth is that it can be many different things.
It can be fear of failure. What if I try and follow what I believe I should be doing but fail?
What will people think of me, or rather what will I think of me?
Sometimes it can also be a fear of success. What if I succeed then what will I become and who will I become if I succeed?”
There’s also fear of reaching out to a person and thinking what might happen? What might be the consequence of it? So, therefore, I don’t do it. And I stop myself from doing it. That fear really gets in the way of us becoming what we can.
We also have this fear about the loss of material things. And we all have it. I have it as much as anybody else.
What if I try this new idea and venture? What if I decide to leave this job? But then if I go and do this, then I might not have the same money. I might lose the ability to fund that shiny new car.
So, therefore, I won’t do it. So I’ll stay where I am.
In the corporate world, you see it time and time again, where we become enslaved by the title we have.
I know when I was CEO and I was thinking of leaving, I’d be honest and say that at certain times the thought came into my head – “What will people think of me when I’m no longer CEO?”
The question is then “Is my identity wrapped up in my title?”
What about our beliefs?
I talked to somebody the other day whom I’ve coached and they were in the corporate world, which is where we met. They really wanted to leave corporate and do something on their own. But, the corporate world equated to security for them.
Their inhibiting thought was, “What if I go out there and I don’t succeed?”
However, they got made redundant.
So this perceived security about the role was just suddenly taken away and it doesn’t exist anymore.
Now, they are out in the world, fending for themselves and they realize that there’s nothing really to be afraid of. That it was the fear that was enslaving them.
So really, just my thought for today is for you to reflect:
- What is it that is enslaving and stopping you from getting that freedom – however we define that – in our lives?
- What is it that is preventing you from doing and becoming what you are capable of?
- What is it that enslaves you to even reach out to that other person that you have an issue with? What if you actually reached out and maybe you could resolve that issue?
- What if you just freed yourself from the fear of becoming what you might be with all the risks that that may involve?
So just for today, reflect on what is enslaving you because I know I will be thinking about it too.
But it is worth remembering.
And also look up Harriet Tubman. She just was quite a lady and certainly somebody whom we should be modeling in some way.
Talk to you soon.