Are You Trying To Prove You're Not A Banana?
Sunday, January 8, 2012 at 06:50AM
Paul Hunting

Are you a banana? Would you spend any time trying to prove you're not?

Of course not. Why try to disprove something that's self-evidently already untrue?

Yet most personal and corporate leadership strategies are, at a fundamentally disatrous level, trying to prove people are not 'unworthy' in some form. This is most certainly untrue - but not self-evidently so.

This pandemic 'leadership strategy', I assert, is the very key to why so many people and businesses experience failure.

Human beings cannot fail. We are hard-wired for success. So how come our businesses bomb? People are miserable? We go broke? We get sick?

One reason is, our false beleif systems drive us to set goals that have no intrinsic value. They may look and feel worthwhile, but they are based on a lie.

Example: here's the mission statement of the CEO of a global conglomerate we worked with. 

Our mission is to be recognised as the undisputed global food leader.

An inspiring thought, huh? The deeper motivation, however, is that the visionary CEO is driven by his need to be recognised. It's right there in the statement, 'Our mission is to be recognised...'

When his intention was challenged in a horse-assisted leadership session, he came to realise this need was in turn disguising his hidden fear that he was unworthy. The 'leadership strategy' the work exposed was driven by his (erroneous) belief that if he got recognition from others this would prove he was not unworthy and he would thus feel better about himself.

In other words, his mission in life, and thus the implied mission of his entire billion dollar, global operation was set up to prove that this guy was not a bad person.

The truth is - HE IS NOT A BAD PERSON. HE IS A VERY BRILLIANT AND CAPABLE PERSON. Putting his life's energy into proving that a false beleif is false is like trying to prove you're not a banana. You wouldn't do that, would you? Because you KNOW you're not a banana. But if your deepest fear is that you are somehow 'bad' and you believe this is true, then you are driven unconsciously to prove you are not.

This backfires in two ways. You waste your energy in a futile strategy. And this energy goes back in to feed the erroneous belief - which gets stronger and stronger at your expense. This is what so many organisations are doing on a global scale. Is it any wonder we keep cycling round and round in so-called financial and energy crises.

If you think this looks like convoluted thinking - it is. It is also the deep internal defence strategy that is driving probably 80% of businesses to the edge of the abyss.

When this kind of thinking is blended with high intelligence and creativity, it becomes a heady cocktail that intoxicates on a grand scale. Like all corporations driven by similar motivations, our CEO and and all who sail in him are heading drunkenly towards the edge of Niagara Falls. For a while they may feel swept along by the currents of great favour and fortune. But by the time they realise they're in a ship of fools, it's too late.

The good news is we have a place inside us where authentic leadership dwells. It may be sleeping beautifully, but it can easily be woken up. During our horse-assisted leadership sessions, we ask our clients seven, fundamental questions. Questions that can transform your life. Questions that raise your awareness of what does not work for you - and then refocuses you on your authentic self - so you have a new reference point for more effective choices.

  1. Who are you afraid you are?
  2. Who do you pretend to be?
  3. How do you seem to gain from this?
  4. What price do you pay for this?
  5. Who are you really?
  6. What do you really want?
  7. How can you be more true to yourself?

Because horses resist false leadership and instantly follow authenticity in leadership, you get pricelessly honest feedback that will guide you towards a more natural, authentic self-expression. Your vision will reach far beyond the limited horizon. You'll naturally begin setting goals that are expansive, worthwhile - and sustainable. Often, you'll reach far bolder goals than ever before - with a lot less stress and resistance.

Get in touch to discuss how you and your organisation can benefit from greater authenticity in leadership.

Article originally appeared on authentic leadership skills development (
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