Living From The Inside Out Vs The Outside In
One of my gurus, Jay Shetty, recently posted about living from the Inside out vs. from the Outside In. Given the nature of our milieu these days, I am compelled to further this idea. So let’s start by defining terms. So what is meant by living from the outside in? The image that is conjured up from this is one who is out of touch with themselves (with their true nature) and derives the majority of their identity, how they navigate their lives, how they feel about themselves from external sources (i.e. Social Media, News Sources, Pop Culture, Leaders who may be wacko). So the other side of this is living from the inside out. This describes a person who is in greater touch with their truest self. This person spends time in self-reflection and has an individual identity that originates and grows from within themselves. I imagine one is of a fixed mindset – the other from a growth mindset. One takes negative feedback personally, and the other as “oh that’s cute”!
Why Does This Matter?
This matters because we as a society are losing (and I am generalizing here for sure!) our ability to “Self”. To self-anything really…Self Identity, self-regulate, self-satisfy, self-soothe, self-reflect. In my travels as an educator and as a coach I run across people who start out as outside in people. They know deep down that they want to achieve an intention that they set, but they are so addicted to the habit of defining their intentions based on old habits which involved approval from outside sources. Albeit they may achieve success in what they do, they are miserable because they are not congruent with THEIR own self.
One client said to me once “I wish you would just tell me what we are working on rather than always asking me”! I explained that if we did it this way then we are not in a coaching/client relationship and that is not why you hired me. I asked why the client was so hesitant to take a step forward in their own journey? The client, almost in tears, said: “I am afraid of failing”. I gently explained that there is no such thing as failure, there is only feedback that helps us make course adjustments on our journey. Slowly but surely the client, starting with little steps, was able to self-reflect and make decisions on what worked for the client.
How do we overcome this?
Let me start by quoting one of my favorite authors Simon Sinek. In his book Begin With Why, he states “many companies know what they do, very few know why they do it”. we can bring this down to ourselves as individuals as well. Many of us know what we do (in life, for a living, etc), but a lot of us are not in touch with why we do the things we do – “because I am supposed to, or this is the way we have always done it”. It is my contention that we must, as individuals and as a society, take time to get in touch with ourselves again. SO HOW DO WE DO THIS – well…we do not do this by the constant connection to social media, or living and dying by how many likes we have, or the constant need to take “selfies” documenting EVERYTHING we do. To be completely honest, it is just not that interesting, to begin with – REALLY! When I returned from the Army and was pursuing the beginnings of my career in education (about 16 years ago) one of my mentors had us do an exercise (and it was agonizing! and to make this even worse it was before the internet was what it is today). He had the audacity to sit in silence with our eyes closed and merely breathe. Now I am being flippant with this, but that is how he started us: 1. excuse yourself from your family, the internet, your followers, for 5-10 mins a day, 2. Turn off all electronics, 3. Sit with your eyes closed and breathe (extra points for counting your breaths – and if your mind wonders – cool it means your human because that is what our minds or designed to do – think). Eventually, this exercise became less of an excruciating chore and more of a welcome second nature habit. There are other steps in how to do this which I am happy to share with you (just click this link to get on my schedule Learn How To Live From the Inside Out!
I humbly believe we are coming to a crossroads in our existence as humans on this earth, and as a country. Our constant addiction to external validation is decreasing our ability to connect with each other face to face. The result is the tribes that are forming – when the reality is that there is nothing that is wrong that we cannot fix together as humans helping fellow humans.
I am happy to be in touch with you – let’s talk! Learn How To Live From the Inside Out!