Who have you given your unquestioned authority to? Who do you believe without question? For most, there are the obvious people, like doctors, lawyers, or police. From many, there are some less obvious ones, like bosses, some friends, or spouses. I know for me, I have given much of my unquestioned authority away in many areas, especially in the work environment. I work for a very brilliant entrepreneur, he has built one business and sold it, and has come back and built an even bigger business, and I have been with him through both of them. I have followed him almost blindly in both businesses. I have done things that I would never have done before, because I have given away my authority to question him to him.
As I look back at it now, I realize that I have let him control my life in areas where I should have pushed back more. The first example is when we were in the first company he built, we were installing a wireless network connection and the sales person made a mistake in scoping out the installation, which left me with having to build a 50 Ft TV tower on the top of a building. It was a scary and unsafe experience. I did it with another engineer tied to the tower with ropes, just ropes — not safety harnesses. After it was done, I remember sitting down with him and questioning why we had to do it, and he said, because it had to be done and I felt I was at the point of either I go with it or I leave. I stayed and I can feel that that is the point I gave my authority to question away to him.
I do not want to paint my boss with a bad brush stroke. He has been very good to me over the years. When things are good, I am treated exceptionally well. I have made more money than I expected, I have had trips, cars, and wonderful experiences because of my relationship with him, but he is really an unquestioned authority in my life.
Who else is an unquestioned authority in my life? Well, my parents. I have always followed what they have asked me to do. Growing up, especially when we are young, we believe our parents 100%. Usually when we become teenagers, we start to rebel. As I look at that time now, this is when we shift from having our parents as unquestioned authority figures in our life to a more equal relationship. I am not sure that I ever went through that stage, I still hold my parents up as an unquestioned authority.
Why do I do this? With my boss, I do not want to rock the boat, to give him a reason to fire me, but when I really look at that situation. He wants my opinions as long as when the final decision is made, it is executed. For my parents, it is because I never wanted to disappoint them. Funny, there are times that I did not ask them for their opinion, because I was afraid just asking the question would make them disappointed in me.
So, how do I move forward from this place of having unquestioned authority figures in my life? I feel the answer is within me. It is looking at a situation, feeling the question or statement that needs to be made, and standing up and asking or making the statement, and to repeat until a decision has been made, or I feel comfortable with the situation. I do feel some fear around what I have just said, because making a statement or questioning an unquestioned authority might mean that I might get in conflict with that person, and sometimes, I will have to be in conflict with them, because I need to be true to who I am first and ask questions, or make statements, when they need to be asked, or stated.
How will I do that? First, breath, breathing helps me to center in me and release some of the emotions that get stirred up in the moment, two, look at, or feel into, what question or statement needs to be asked or made, and three, step up and ask or make the statement. Will it be easy? May be not at first, but it will get easier as I practice and stand up and be me.