My reality was shaken when I was in Auroville in the south of India last November! For many years (even decades) I created this special self-image called Claudia Roth, a successful global business leader who much enjoyed a career in luxury hospitality. I was very proud of my self-image which I curated with passion and careful attention.
Something profound happened!
No doubt you’ve heard people saying, ‘This is who I am and I won’t change!’ Leaders who maintain this position are unconsciously admitting they can’t see beyond their self-image.
To be fixated by self-image means to be non-creative and, in essence, limited to a defined set of often rigid thought processes and beliefs; this has consequences for all aspects of life.
Without realising it, many of us have created identities – or self-images – of ourselves.
Perhaps you have an image of yourself as important, as a successful businessperson, as ambitious and competent, or as someone who has all the answers. This sort of identity, built up over years, governs your view of the world more than you realise.
Jim Morrison – lead singer of The Doors – said: “We're locked in an image, an act - and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains.”
Holding onto this adopted identity is like wearing a professional mask; with it in place, either in business or in life, you are not allowing yourself to be truly authentic and importantly, you are limiting yourself to new awareness so as to evolve as a business leader and individual.
Is it possible to maintain a professional identity or self-image for years and not even be aware of it? Trust me, I speak from experience – I only realised that ‘the other’ persons were there (yes ... you read correctly .... we have not only one self image but several!) when I began to question why I thought and reacted in the ways that I did.
Indeed, it is only when we start exploring our genuine thoughts, reactions, emotions and ways of living that we can begin to live in the truest sense of ourselves. And if you have reaffirmed and energised a mask successfully for many years, it can be a painstaking process to dismantle it to discover who you really are!
So, why would you want to move beyond this learned identity – your cherished self-image – especially if it has been serving you well for many years as in my instance?
The more authentic you become, the more you step into your ‘space of greatness’. You no longer pretend to be somebody else, running on ‘patterns’ or be guided to uphold your self-images. Instead you connect to your inner wisdom, which then guides you throughout your life.
As you explore your self-image, you will start challenging certain beliefs and removing others that may be limiting you. You will find yourself wanting to know the world for what it actually is, rather than what you believe it to be. You will become curious again. Creativity and inspiration will flourish as a result, becoming assets both in your life and your business. Unimaginable opportunities are unfolding!
Embarking on this process isn’t easy. It won’t provide a quick fix to all of life’s challenges. But it is a powerful experience that will connect you to your truth and inner wisdom, where you will find contentment, joy and guidance, and your next level of personal and business success.
I will be returning to Auroville soon again .... The story continues.
Self-Image Assessment Exercises:
1. Start off by naming the labels you give to yourself. For example, “I am a successful, highly in demand, creative and outspoken manager.” Write down your labels.
2. Identify the labels you wish to dissolve and make a commitment to move closer to your ideal life situation.
3. Create some time for reflection, to explore what lies behind the labels you identify.
4. Pay attention to the story you create when you look in the mirror: do you create a negative or a positive self-image, or an over-inflated self-image guided by ego?
5. Observe your opinions: what you say, how you say it, the likes and dislikes you use to reinforce your self-image. Do you judge fairly or based on pre-conceived ideas?
6. Explore how tied you are to your memories: whether good or bad, acting in response to memories can lead to inauthentic results, from irrational fears to rose-tinted actions.
7. Take time to assess how your story, opinions, actions and reactions would be if you created them anew based on what you actually see, think and feel.
Enjoy discovering yourself! Awareness creates choice.
A little about me: I am grateful to look back at a successful, global and hugely rewarding international career in the luxury hospitality & travel industry. I have learned what luxury is and what it is not. I understand service excellence, and I know what it is not! I have travelled the world in style and had many enjoyable moments of living a corporate career.
Having now moved on from corporate life, my network describes me as a global pioneer in luxury and consciousness. People are seeking increased meaning and connection – in their lives and the brands they align with. But whether an individual or a company, true connection can only come from within: from an exploration of awareness and an unwavering commitment to authenticity and integrity.
I am the founder and Managing Director of Soul Luxury, a company operating globally that helps businesses understand these evolutionary shifts and create their own new currency of connection within themselves and with their clients.
I write articles from time to time. There is no right or wrong, it is only a view. Up to now largely my silent view.
Copyright © 2016 Soul Luxury.