How many layers are you wearing?

A few years ago, I wrote a book called Business Meltdown which pointed to a new source or place to start in developing yourself and leaders.

In one of the early chapters, called ‘Beginning with You’, I ask a simple question:


And I have a delve around to see what the answer might be. Here’s a few excerpts from the chapter:

‘I wonder if by this point in your life, when you stop and reflect on this question, you have clear sight of who you are. If it’s a bit muddied and not as concrete as you thought, don’t worry, it’s completely natural. 

As you progress through life, your sense of who you are will have been influenced, moulded and changed through your experiences. 

Most of these experiences are picked up from things that happen around you or to you… Much of what you believe about yourself is likely to have come from what you’ve heard others’ say about you. Those experiences and events are stored in the brain as mental maps and used by your brain to help you deal with new thoughts, situations and events every day. For many, it would seem like a standard, efficient process by which we all grow and develop into the adults we have become.


Some individuals have realised that these are stories about who we are and what we can do…. they are just stories. They may have been made up by others (or ourselves) in response to external circumstances over which we feel we have no control. As familiar as these stories are and in spite of the perceived safety they provide…may be the story doesn’t quite fit. It feels like you’re struggling along in an ill-fitting jacket.

Maybe the ‘jacket’ belongs to someone else and is restricting who you are and how you show up in the world and who you want to become.

……shed this ill-fitting jacket to move more freely and create what’s needed for you to become your authentic best.


While most of us might be used to wearing that ill-fitting jacket or feel used to the weight of the many layers we’ve picked up along the way, there’s something not quite right. What I see in businesses so often is the playing out of old stories and the burden of being who you’re not, as an individual and leader.

It can feel like a tough place to look and ‘WHO ARE YOU?’, can seem like a very esoteric question. The answer doesn’t lie in logic or analysis of the contents of your mind. It’s much simpler than that! 

To connect with your core capabilities, your innate wisdom and resilience, all of which form this thing you call YOU,is easier than you think. When you shed a few layers and start to answer that question, the benefits are immense, to you, your business and your experience of life.

As we’re into the season for shedding the old, layers of Winter, what’s not fitting you any longer?

What can you get rid of to free up some space?

Where is your authentic self hiding?