What impact does family background have on leaders?

May 04, 2023

We are a complex and ever-changing soup of our past, present and future hopes.
I have worked with many successful CEO’s who have consciously or subconsciously been driven by scripts that were written for them in their past. Maybe they were told by a parent or teacher that ‘they would never amount to anything.’ They had a subconscious choice then; to accept and obey that limiting belief or to prove them wrong.
Their family background may have been difficult or, on the surface good, but behind the closed doors they were not praised (‘it will make them big headed’), shown love and affection ( ‘real men are strong and don’t show their feelings’) and avoided conflict (because their parents argued). Often this means that the echoes from the past are still playing out in their current life and roles.
There may have been significant trauma, such as injury, illness, or the loss of a loved one. We can either be limited by that trauma or benefit from post-traumatic growth.
What can we learn from our past and what do we need to do to apply those lessons to our futures?   It is also important to reflect on what it is we really want and why that is? Is it genuinely for ourselves or is it to try and get long wanted affirmation from a parent or other significant person in our lives.
Here is an exercise that may help clarify where we are, where we want to get to and our motivations:
·     Get two large pieces of paper and some colouring pens
·     On one piece draw a representation of the pivotal relationship as it is right now
·     On the other piece draw a representation of how you would like it to be in your ideal future
·     Compare the two
·     What is different?
·     What do you need to have happen to get from now to the ideal future?
Carpe Diem