I have been looking back over my life a bit recently and I’ve come to a conclusion that I think might help you. So, let me risk talking about myself for a moment.

Though I am not a fearful person, I have come to realize that at certain important junctures of my life I have let fear rule me. Throughout high school, I did not go aggressively after some of my goals because I let insecurity and fear of failure dominate me. Later, in college, I was a recognized leader, but I might have gone much further had I not clung to the safe and familiar. In the years that followed, I sometimes did not branch out, face my fears, or stand down my critics by achieving my best. I think I missed opportunities, fell short of my potential, and may have dishonored God in the process.

Having come to this conclusion, I was forced to consider why fear and insecurity sometimes won in my life. I have come to see two sources. The first, is that I was a military brat who moved nearly every year of my life before college and who was always the outsider, always the one having to prove myself. Behind even this, though, was that I was raised in an aggressive military and athletic culture in which sarcasm, criticism, punishment, and belittling were used as tools to motivate. As well intentioned as it all may have been, it made my younger years a destabilizing experience.

Had I gone to the root of my fears and insecurities earlier in my life, had I identified the wounds and called in help for healing, there would have been less wasted time in my life. Now, in my fifties, I’m pushing past the message of my early wounds and storming forward in ever increasing health and wholeness. Thank God.

Now what does this have to do with you? I want you to take inventory of your life and see what negative forces have dominated you from time to time. Perhaps your issues aren’t fear and insecurity that come from the wounds of a harsh leadership culture and outsider’s childhood. Perhaps your issues are elsewhere. Locate them. Ponder them. Consider cause and effect. Don’t settle for the easy answer. Try to unearth the source of deformity in your soul. Get help. Seek God. Don’t let up until you are on the road to healing.

I will tell you that for most leaders this is the most important process they can undergo. More than an MBA in leadership or reading another book on success or a promotion or a new level of achievement they need to look at the wounds beneath their lesser behavior and strive to greater heights of wholeness. This will change every single thing in their lives and, since great leadership comes from great souls, new levels of stellar leadership will soon be within reach.