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If there’s one thing I’ll never be…

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…it’s a “guru”.

I turned to my colleague, smiling.

“We’re just two guys who’ve mastered some skills in the personal success business, right?”

He laughed: “Absolutely.  It’s crazy”.

He and I had been standing for two and half hours while people queued to have their photo taken with us and the rest of the faculty at the John Maxwell Team event.

I’ve got used to it over the years.  I don’t need to ground myself anymore.  You can easily go on an ego trip when you’re treated as if you’re a rock star within your field of expertise.

I see it for what it is.  And I never lose sight of the privilege and the responsibility that comes with it.

Someone referred to me as a “guru” last week.

If there’s one thing I’ll never be, it’s that.

I don’t mean from the perspective of the true meaning of the word.

In Sanskrit, “guru” means “teacher”. The Hindi, Tibetan and Buddhist interpretation is guide, trusted counselor, advisor, mentor and “recognised leader in a field’.

I represent some, or all of those things to many people.

I’m no “guru” though.  Not in the context of the modern day, westernised perception of the word.

I’m not the unfallable, untouchable, distant, self-annointed “big shot” who paints a flawless picture of himself to the world.  No, I can be accused of many things, but not being open, transparent and vulnerable about my shortcomings isn’t one of them.

I own my flaws, well at least those I’m currently aware of.  When you have as many shortcomings as I do, it’s quite disconcerting to think you’ve got more you’re not conscious of.

“Guru”, for me at least, also has connotations that the person concerned is the “finished article”.  Mmmm.  I don’t think so.  The day I convince myself of that is the day I’m literally “finished”.

One of the most self-detracting ideas embedded in our society is that one human being has more inherent power or wisdom than another.  We’re wired to believe it.  Throughout history, we’ve glorified others.

We look UP to teachers, mentors and prophets rather than looking INTO them.

There’s nothing wrong with recognising the talents, genius and contribution of others.  There’s nothing wrong with celebrating them.  And there’s nothing wrong with being inspired and admiring people for who they are and what they bring to the world.

But it’s a matter of degree.

Glorification helps no one.

It masks the truth of both the message and the messenger.

And it masks the truth of ourselves.

Imagine how different the world would be if more of its inhabitants looked into the Christ’s, Buddha’s and Krishna’s rather than looking up to them to the degree of glorification.

The idea that more wisdom has somehow been imparted into one human being more than another is flawed.  It’s ignorance.

Yes of course – more wisdom can be expressed, in both word and deed, by one human being than another but it’s not because the person was born inherently wiser than the next, it’s because the person is more consciously aware – they’re operating at a higher level of consciousness, so they express less ignorance and more wisdom in their language and behaviour.

The source of all wisdom is within us all.  A highly conscious messenger once spoke into this truth when he said: “I and the Father are one”.

Until you make the unconscious conscious it will rule your life and you will call it fate.

And you will glorify others.

To the detriment of self.

How much wisdom is expressed by a person in word and deed is determined by the individual’s level of awareness.  You can’t express what you’re not aware of.  You can’t speak into and live into what you’re unconscious of.

I made the “looking into not up to” point in an powerful (and public) exchange on stage with my mentor, John C. Maxwell.

After coming off stage in the main training event, I was invited to join John and three of my colleagues in a “bonus” session, held in a separate conference room, for an audience of returning alumni.

John skillfully asked each of us about how we approach his personal mentorship and what the biggest lessons have been so far.

The outcome was two hours that, according to many of those present, was the “best event” they’d ever attended (high praise indeed from serial self-developers).

It was raw.  It touched hearts, souls and minds.  It moved many to tears.


It was real.

People positioned as “gurus” or “mentors” and perhaps even glorified in the minds of some, being vulnerable and real about their shortcomings.

In doing so, it gave a lot of people permission to own and live with their flaws, because regardless of what the misled, the blindsided and the glorifiers will tell you…

…no human being has ever been without flaws.

Ignorance, the “not knowing”, is an important part of our make up.  It has its purpose.


Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here


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Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. Click below for FREE ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies...

Entrepreneurial Success Strategies


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