Does The Persona Reflect The Person?
When Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion finally met up with the mighty Wizard, they were intimidated by his presence. He was big and powerful and confident and wise. But then they discovered something that surprised them. Inside the mighty Wizard of Oz was a little man pulling a few levers and feeling quite inadequate about himself.
This brings up an important lesson. There is a difference between the outer PERSONA and the inner PERSON. The premise is this – our inner voice should be as powerful as our outer voice. The person must be as big as the persona. Too often the opposite is true.
The most important relationship to develop is the one with yourself. I’ve discovered that when the inside gets right, the outside gets better. This makes a person authentic.
You must discover that inner voice. You have to stop and listen for it because the volume level is always on whisper. Just like the Wizard – his outer voice was amplified and rumbled with impressive reverberation. But it was not reflective of the little guy inside.
This is why being silent, observant, and reflective with a listening inner ear is necessary. It’s a matter of taking the time to let your head and heart get to know each other. It requires a “fight to silence” all the other voices that clamor for our attention. And please note that the contest is not a fair one if the inner voice hasn’t been nurtured. This discipline is essential if you want to lead yourself. Self-leadership begins on the inside and moves out from there.
Private victories precede public victories. When the inner voice is silenced or ignored, self-esteem is diminished, which in turn impacts our confidence in facing our lives. The outer voice gets louder and louder, and pretty soon who we really are is not showing up. The authentic self is missed and the real connection with others is lost.
Slow down, be still, and listen. Create margin in your life so you can be more silent, less busy, and just be in the moment. If you’ve never done this then your new behavior can be a little frightening. You begin to discover where your fears and anxieties come from. You become aware of them. You begin to pinpoint their source. In one sense you are demystifying them. You begin to identify these hidden emotions and you connect them to certain ways of thinking about your life and what you face. You discover that they were driving your frenetic behavior. Your person is now catching up to your persona – the outer is reflecting the inner.
Your inner voice is always with you. It’s your friend. Get to know it. Other voices, like dive bombers, swoop in, drop their load, and go away. They abandon you. Your inner voice stays put. So give it all the attention it deserves.
When the Wizard stepped out from behind his massive mask – his persona – at that moment we began to know the real person. And we were drawn to him. He wasn’t as impressive, but he was much more approachable.
Successful people are not people who have arrived. Successful people are simply those who have found the road that leads to where they want to go. They are no longer lost. And while they are not at the end of their journey, they are at the end of their wandering. They are in touch with their person and are now free to be themselves. Authentic.
That keeps the journey on track. That makes the journey meaningful.
That brings out the Wizard in all of us.
(Mick Ukleja is the co-author of the book Who Are You? What Do You Want?: Four Questions That Will Change Your Life)