Truth and one of its great Teachers

I had a long career starting or managing technology companies. I had the privilege or working with some very brilliant people. The dynamic tension of challenging what seemed impossible coupled with engaging collaborators with strong perspectives, expanded my mental capabilities. This adventure always excited me and yet there was a sense that something was missing.

While some would say I was successful, parts of my life were not working well at all. I knew that it was important for me to expand beyond my focus on the mind to encompass other parts of myself. I decided to quit my role as chairman of a technology company and focus on finding out more about myself, particularly my emotions and body.

I had met an inspirational teacher, Will Schutz. Will was a psychologist, who understood better than anyone I know, the dynamics of people in groups and how we can learn about ourselves from these experiences.

After I had decided to focus on the next phase of my self-exploration, I had dinner with Will . We talked about all matters of life and love and joy. He was reminiscing about his most recent book, The Human Element, Productivity, Self-Esteem and the Bottom Line. Will wanted to make sure that this book reached the largest audience possible.

We made an agreement that night that I would work with Will’s team to help them expand their marketing abilities and Will would be a teacher for me. What a wonderful bargain. My work with Will was the start of moving from leading technology companies to finding the life I was really called for.

One of my favorite book of Will’s is Profound Simplicity. I was reading something online the other day and came across this except from that book.

“Several years ago I was on the Tonight show with Johnny Carson, promoting my book Joy. I was delighted to be a celebrity and to bring to the masses the word about the marvelous techniques I had collected and created. I had a whole arsenal of new methods, mostly nonverbal.

Carson was intrigued. He gave me thirty minutes on the program, so I had a chance to show how to express anger by pounding on the mattress along with Carson, Ed McMahon, and the guests—everything I had hoped for. Then we had three minutes left, and he asked me what else I did in encounter groups.

We tell the truth,” I replied. I felt the main show was over and now we just would do a short filler and go home.

How would we do that here?” he asked.

Well,” I said, “it seemed to me your singer tonight giggled quite a lot and I thought it annoyed you. You winced a few times. If this were a group, I would invite you to tell her directly instead of holding back and keeping yourself more distant from her.”

After a few denials, Carson acknowledged he did have a slight feeling of that kind once. At my suggestion, he told her directly.

Oh, I’m so glad you told me,” she gushed. “I thought you felt that way and I’m delighted to hear you say it.” With that, they exchanged warmth and the show ended happily.

The next morning, on the streets of New York, I was stopped by at least a dozen people who had seen the show and, to my astonishment, every one of them commented only about the truth episode. At first I was chagrined. Here I had demonstrated all my wonderful new methods and apparently no one cared. Their response was to the simple fundamental of encounter—honesty. “Been watching Johnny Carson for four years, and that’s the first time I’ve seen him real,” was the tenor of their comments. They felt they had come to know their long-time acquaintance, simply because he had been honest.

Reading these words again, I am reminded of the simplicity of Will’s lesson. We long to know each other without masks or hold backs. Yet, we are taught from childhood to not let others know what’s really on our minds. We accumulate a deep fear of revealing our true nature. All the while wanting to have authentic relationships.

What stops us from letting down our guard and speaking engaging each other with true honesty? We have forgotten how and we are afraid if we remembered we might become so vulnerable that something terrible might happen to us.

Yet, if we are fortunate enough to meet someone who is completely authentic, we find ourselves attracted to this inner flame of truth. How ironic.

Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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