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“And what shoulder and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?” – Robert Blake, “The Tiger”

Back in 2010, the media were tripping over themselves to cover and capitalize on the Tiger Woods story. Over the years, I’ve read about and watched many such stories. Typical of much of the media back then, they seemed to be focusing on the titillating, the gossiping, the business repercussions for Tiger, Inc. and his sponsors, and how his actions would affect golf, or perhaps sports in general.

Well, here’s a different take.

Tiger is but one point on the continuum of ambitious folks who’ve achieved success and fame and were still left “wanting,” who fell from grace.

Almost every day, we can find examples of successful folks in politics, in business, in sports, in education, in religion, in the arts and entertainment for whom fame represented a defective, lacking, incomplete brass ring. For whom, simply, fame was not enough. Fame did not provide them with a sense of groundedness, a deep sense of self, a “center that holds,” an “OK-ness” with the world as I like to frame it, or core sense of wholeness and self-love. Rather, amid all the glamour, glitz and groupies, some part of them was feeling alone, lonely, loveless or lacking – suffering.

And to ease their suffering, they act out in inappropriate, self-sabotaging ways – infidelity, crime, abuse, addiction, and other seeming “rational” (as no one who commits a “sin” agrees in that moment it is a sin)or other acts of stupidity – in an effort to fill a “void” that fame could not. Laughing on the outside, not so much on the inside.

For these folks, no amount of fame, or fortune, can ever suffice. Their deep desire or need for fame, more and more of it, is largely in direct proportion to the void or “hole” or emptiness they want to fill. As many have never taken the time to explore what’s really underneath their need for fame, for crowds, for adulation and acceptance, they tend to shy away from their “demons” – seeking escape outside themselves.

Why isn’t fame enough for these folks? Why doesn’t fame “do it” for them? Eckhart Tolle asks, “If there are so many seekers, why are there so few finders?”

One reason is their search for success and fame is misplaced. Their search for acceptance and approval is misguided, misdirected. Their heart’s longing for a sense of their “self” is veiled by their not knowing who they are. So, looking outside their self, they seek something/someone they believe they do not have now.

Our psychological condition – what we think, our attitudes and feelings about “who I am” and about what is happening in my life, the childhood experiences and conditioning we have had that we have not explored and addressed, and the shadow side of our self that we have avoided – are factors that affect how we deal with life, with success, with fame.

As author Orison Sweet Marden, says, “We cannot rise higher than our thought of ourselves”- about who we are – regardless of the amount of our paycheck, the size of our adoring crowds, lovers, World Series rings, Heisman trophies, recordings, books, Oscars, Emmys or glittering marquis pulsing our name.

The Tigers of the world in some way, shape or form feel separate, or lack True and Real love or a harmonious alignment between their personality and their soul within. In this place, healthy and conscious life choices and decisions are often elusive and hard to make. This is their challenge.

Successfully meeting one’s challenges requires a deeper, soul-based, approach that supports one to go within to explore, inquire and gain a greater sense and understanding of their self – “Who am I, really?”

For Tiger, and the rest of us for whom fame, fortune and success “don’t do it,” we’re being offered the opportunity to “work” on issues that seek resolution, for example:

  • Learning something new/necessary for our further growth and development that supports us in overcoming some limitation(s) imposed on our self, for example, by ignorance, by withdrawal from social connection or by not expressing our self on a deeper level
  • Healing relationships where dysfunction, disconnection or  disharmony exist
  • Clearing pathways of expression for Essential soul qualities that we need (e.g., love, compassion, will, discipline, strength, courage, steadfastness, wisdom…)
  • Discovering or clarifying our life’s purpose
  • Restoring order where disorder, or chaos exist in some way, shape or form
  • Understanding when we need to become at times more independent and at other times more interdependent
  • Restoring virtue where vice exists
  • Bringing thoughts into alignment with our heart/soul
  • Aligning our consciousness, understanding and behavior with universal laws
  • Awakening our conscience in order to make moral choices
  • Overcoming fear, terror and separation in order to experience greater unity within our self and with the greater whole of humanity
  • Learning how to teach or express unconditional love
  • Making connection with the Universe and trusting in its intelligence and love
  • Learning that soul is present within us and within everyone and that each being is divine in their own right
  • Supporting others when they need support

So, when the hubbub dies down, and we experience some quiet time before the next “star” falls from grace and captures all our attention, perhaps we can step back, take some deep breaths and inquire within, “Do I spend much of my life in a ‘wanting’ state? If so, what am I wanting? And, why? And what makes me think that someone or something outside myself will fulfill that wanting when I know, honestly, sincerely and and self-responsibly, that will never happen?”

“And what shoulder and what art
should twist the sinews of thy heart?”
-William Blake

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Is there a part of your life where you feel separate or lacking connection? Why do you think this is so? What might support you to overcome this separation?
  • In what part of your life do you lack understanding? What might support you to overcome this challenge?
  • Do you have a tendency to disempower yourself or others? What might support you to empower yourself and others?
  • Where is love (real love, not the concept of love) lacking in your life? How might you resolve to express love appropriately in those parts of your life?
  • How do you deal with success? Are you obsessed with success, fame, or being seen and acknowledged?
  • Have you ever acted inappropriately in order to feel like a “somebody?” Do you ever compromise your values to be successful, liked, or acknowledged?
  • Do you ever feel worth-less, value-less, unloved, or un(der)appreciated? How did that make you feel? When did you first notice this feeling?
  • What was success or fame like for you when you were growing up?

(c) 2019, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful. Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com

You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda.

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