I didn’t understand that at the time. I didn’t even understand shame or the terrible feelings of powerlessness which were so much a part of my life. I just knew that I wanted power and respect.
I promised myself that I would never again be controlled by others. I promised myself that I would have power and that I would no longer have to obey. I promised myself that I would give orders, not take them.
Leadership guru Michael Hyatt told a story on the Typology podcast earlier this year about a promise he made to himself when he was young. Hyatt’s father had a serious alcohol problem as Michael grew up. When he was 18, some of his friends were dropping him off at home — and his father was passed out on the sidewalk in front of the house.
As he tried to get his father up and into the house, his friends were laughing and watching. As he got his passed-out father into the house, he felt humiliated and he made himself a promise.
“I will never be like that,” he said to himself. That fear of becoming like his father drove Hyatt to become successful — and the same promise almost destroyed him.