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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

What’s your 1-percent?

Updated: 5 days ago

Have you ever found yourself intoxicated by nostalgia of days gone by, of happier, or more exciting times, when the world seemed simpler, and the burden of life’s responsibilities hadn’t cast a shadow on your freedom? When I look back at my younger self, I see a man responding to the world on a whim without paying any real attention to the person I wanted to be or become. I felt bulletproof – a hedonistic ‘experience collector’ with no targeted identity to act toward, and no clarity of direction other than to pursue whatever obsession fuelled my interest. I was also running from myself; suppressing a vital aspect of my identity that I longed to express, but denied out of a need for acceptance and fear that it would threaten my security and significant relationships. It was a different world back then.

There comes a reckoning point in our lives when we must stop avoiding and take responsibility. First and foremost, it is about honesty with self and understanding non-negotiables. For some, it is acknowledging who you really are. For others, it is having courage to unashamedly express what you want. In my instance it was both. Brendan Burchard writes in the Motivation Manifesto, if we don’t have integrity to ourselves “we risk becoming an amalgamation of the desires of others and of the circumstances and cultures in which we live”.

In 2015 at the Thought Leaders Business School immersion in Sydney, my friend and mentor, Peter Cook, shared a story that changed my life. I don’t say this lightly – his words were the catalyst to courage that resulted in me being honest about who I am – and getting clear about my purpose and the work I am on this planet to do. It was a Saturday morning, and I was at the back of the auditorium listening as Pete talked about being invested in one’s own success. He said...

“When you’re 99-percent in it’s hard. When you’re 100-percent in it’s easy.”

These sage words unlocked something deep and resonant within – like a master key to a hidden part of my soul. For the first time, I had absolute clarity of my one percent – of the pretence that had caused me to spin wheels and sabotage success for as long as I could remember – and of the real cost of choosing to live my life 99-percent in. The revelation excited and terrified me. It’s cliché to say that we have to make sacrifices to fulfil our destiny. However, I knew the best version of me was on the other side of radical honesty, which I had unconsciously avoided my whole life for fear it would destroy the people I love the most. In the weeks and months that followed, I ended a 23-year marriage – a life of indescribable love with my wife and children – and stepped into a new and unfamiliar context.

It’s been a challenging road to redefine, but on the other side of that agony, I have more freedom, love, authentic connection, and intimacy with my family and friends than I ever thought possible, which is the priceless gift born of choosing to be 100-percent in. When we are incongruent and act in ways that are not aligned with who we are and avoid or hold onto situations and relationships out of shame and fear, we end up living in regret and become despondent, disempowered, and unhappy.

Few people do the work to define their character and the specific identity they wish to have. But it’s an essential prerequisite to a life of freedom and integrity. Who are you really and what do you want? What sacrifices would you have to make to embrace the fullness of who you are? By doing so what would you gain? What would the world gain?

What’s your one percent?


Until next time...

Stephen

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