Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Halloween is in the air, the perfect time to see if there are some masks which are serving little more purpose than disguising the obvious in your life. 

In ancient Latin, persona meant "mask.&qu...
In ancient Latin, persona meant "mask." Today it does not usually refer to a literal mask but to the "social masks" all humans supposedly wear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We've all worn some or all of these masks and I think it is time to call a moratorium on selecting them for another season of our lives.Maybe we  wear a mask because it is easier than dealing with a truth or it makes us appear more confident if we camouflage our real self.  A mask can help us escape from a life we don't really want to acknowledge or distract us and others from issues we might feel incompetent to handle.

When you are first beginning a new venture everything may feel "foreign" to you and you may initially put on the CONFIDENCE mask because you want to appear to be knowledgeable and capable and yet sometimes the best way to develop trusting relationships is to be honest and share what you DON'T know but always assuring another you will do your best to find out the answer. We need to give an impression of competency but need not fear our lack of knowledge is a breaking point.

People don't want a "know-it-all". They want a sincere and honest individual to trust with their issues. They want someone who might have even experienced what they are now dealing with.

Another mask easily donned is the IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT mask. This mask changes what we really are into what we believe others want us to be. 

While you may truly be an introverted leader, this mask has you appearing to be the life of the party or the consummate extrovert. The problem with attempting to function with this mask on is that what we do is not natural or even enjoyable. We attempt to deliver a different persona because we think that is what is expected. Wearing this mask is not only uncomfortable but causes constant stress.

Transparency builds trusting relationships. Don't work hard trying to be something you don't even want to be.

Most of us have slipped the I CAN HANDLE THIS mask on and sometimes much more often than we should. You might recognize this mask as the one that attempts to cover up any overwhelming issues that are nagging at your progress. Instead of seeking out help, asking for someone's assistance or even admitting we can't take on anymore, the mask says, "Everything is fine and there's no problem, just carry-on."

The best thing you can do for your business, your career or your life is to learn to delegate what you can't handle alone and to ask for help when you need it. 

HELP is not a dirty 4 letter word.

And finally there is the EXCUSE mask which we wear to conceal our real fear of change or moving out of our box. When we have this mask on, we can more easily blame our circumstances, our resources, even our friends and family for being the reasons we are stuck in a rut. This mask is the one we turn to when we need an excuse for not simply pointing the finger back at ourselves, after all, it is easier to let others take responsibility for our condition, then we don't have to expect more from ourselves.

Nothing will change until you take the excuse mask off and see what you need to do to turn things around. As long as you are wearing the excuse mask, everything remains status quo.

The problem with masks is that not only do they cover up ourselves to others, but  they also limit our own clarity and perception.

Maybe we can fool some people sometime with our mask, but we can never fool ourselves and that is a critical point to remember, especially when we fear ever taking our mask off. In the long run, we can't wear our mask forever and the only truly genuine moments we know will occur after removing the mask.

Initially, who is under the mask may come as a surprise but to those who really know and love us, it will be a relief to know the true person under the veil so to speak. We have little to fear from others when we realize the mask did little more than disguise what most people already knew.

What are you afraid of showing or telling someone? Pretending that you are someone else or that you really are what the mask personifies is great for a few hours but becomes an obstacle to getting on with your life if it turns into a permanent facade. 

What mask is your favorite to wear on any given day?

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