Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

June 2012

I have a friend who is driving me nuts. Nuts! She’s so into her story that she’s become helpless. Her story is an old one, and it no longer applies to her life, but still she hangs on.

I know that when I react to someone or something that strongly there’s something I need to look at. A few days ago, I took time to examine the stories I’m holding onto that prevent me from living a richer life.

Most stories are based on false beliefs. Four of my false beliefs are:

“I’m a bad person.”
“I’m not lovable.”
“I don’t belong.”
“I’m special.”

Each of these beliefs prevents me from realizing a universal truth—that we are all one.

With this new insight, was I able to retire my old stories? Not yet. I’m still working on it, but in the process I’ve found empathy for my stuck friend.

What stories are you holding onto that  prevent you from being your best and living your best life?

This month, we’ll take a closer look at false beliefs.

The Power of False Beliefs

I’m nuts about the Enneagram. Where Myers-Briggs can tell you how you operate in the world, the Enneagram can tell you why. Many of my clients report that studying the Enneagram has shaved years off their therapy, and I’m not surprised.

The Enneagram is based upon ancient Sufi teachings. In it, there are nine basic personality types. Each of us has a predominant type, although we usually display some traits of the others. There are hundreds of books offering various interpretations of the Enneagram; my favorite is The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types. In it, authors Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson provide readers with a full Enneagram test. On my website,, under Resources, I offer a link to an abbreviated, online version of this instrument that is free.

Another author who writes about the Enneagram is Stephen Wolinsky. Wolinsky has identified nine false core beliefs that underlie each personality type. These false core beliefs reflect early childhood traumas or experiences that when left unconscious guide many of our decisions. See if any resonate with you.

Enneagram   False Belief
One There must be something wrong with me.
Two I am worthless.
Three I have an inability to . . .
Four I am inadequate.
Five I don’t exist.
Six I am alone.
Seven I am incomplete; something is missing.
Egith I am powerless.
Nine There is no love; this is a loveless world.

Do any of these seem familiar?

I am a Three on the Enneagram. On the surface I appear extremely confident, competent, and convicted. But what most people don’t know is that I am filled with self-doubt. Why? Because in many situations, I don’t feel capable. Many of my friends are Sevens; much of their lives is spent searching for the illusive “missing piece.”

All transformation begins with awareness. By identifying the false beliefs that are at play in our lives, we can begin to release them.

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