Believe April 25, 2017


Debra Sunderland
Debra Sunderland is a Vistage International Executive Coach/ Chair, Transformational Leadership Coach, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.


Isn’t this the most important question to ask when building a purpose driven company—not to mention your life? This is YOUR LIFE. And, who do you want around you as you journey through your day?

Do you know yourself based on what others believe about you? Have you made their belief yours? Stop and contemplate this.

Do you look outside of yourself, in order to find the answers of how to be and what to do? Maybe you seek out others to find answers that align with you. Yet, you are the one who knows what fits you best.

andrew-neel-218073You see, in this culture of “more is better, and faster is best,” most of us have lost our being for the sake of doing. We do not even stop to consider who we are becoming? How are we growing? We want a quick fix and guidance from the outside because sitting still and looking within is sometimes scary, painful, and foreign.

We are not taught from a young age to invest in who we are but rather what to do. School is about fitting in, following what we are told to do, and what is acceptable. We are measured on some standard set by someone who does not even know us!

As I see it, so many leaders struggle with investing in themselves first. Only when a major trauma, loss, illness, or fallout occurs do we stop in our tracks, and take an inventory of our life, who we have become, and what we truly want.

How a purpose driven life and business are changing from the inside out: Purpose driven companies lead with intention based on WHO first—supporting a tribe of collective WHO—then WHY, HOW, and WHAT in that order specifically. WHO centered leaders and their tribe care about who they hire, before they ask about what they do. They provide a space of personal cultivation, curiosity, and collaboration. Investing in time to notice and appreciate the WHO doing the WHAT is in the every day doing.

As I coach CEOs, I find that most do not know who they are and what they most want. They have just become really great at listening to what is expected of them and how to be the ultimate goal achiever. They operate managing people and their task—not leading their personhood first. And, they are fearful if they do other than what they have always done—all will fall apart. In fact, fear is the driver of most of their decisions. What saddens me is that these “successful” leaders are very disconnected from who they really are and live to fill a task—they are exhausted and do not know how to rest.

My passion is for all leaders to take time today to listen to what you believe about yourself. What you have come to believe is revealed by listening to what you repeatedly tell yourself. If you don’t like what you hear, change your mantra. Your new belief will become your new reality.

You are like no other, and deserve to be fully YOU. You are called for such a time as this. This is my purpose driven belief—that drives change, one person at a time. Moving from the inside out, YOU first (put your oxygen mask on first so you may support another). Companies who invest in WHOS first and value how they relate to one another accomplish sustainable, engaged tribes. Pouring into WHOS is the first place to notice ROI. This is the culture I long to see established in companies, in the world, in YOU. Leaders who lead best are those who lead themselves first. Be YOU—full on. Approve of you as is. YOU are enough!