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Life Coaching


Don’t be put off by your feet of clay!

Over the recent pages, I’ve basically been giving you a number of principles by which to work, together with some goals to go for. Now, I’d like to ring the changes and give you something to think about in a more broad sense.

Have you heard the expression, “having feet of clay”? One web-site says it means you think the person has hidden faults. Another said it has come to mean a failure or weakness in a person's character.  Historically in the book of Daniel in the Bible there was a large idol made of various metals but with feet of clay. The feet were thus the vulnerable part of the idol.

Over the last couple of years I have been reading biographies (written by another) and autobiographies (written by the person whose life it is).  Broadcaster Alistair Cooke had always been a hero of mine and when I came across his biography in a charity shop, I bought it and devoured it over the summer holiday. I was mortified! This hero of mine had faults (I won’t bother to go into them) but suddenly I was confronted with his failures. After I struggled with this, I pressed on through the book and realised that despite these personal failings, he was still an amazing communicator and achieved great things.

Since then I’ve read a number of other ‘life stories’ and been struck again and again by this same thing: they were great people who had feet of clay!  One of the most recent was Alan Sugar’s autobiography. Now he is remarkably honest in writing about himself and clearly points out his own failings, but despite that he achieved a lot of really good stuff.

Here’s the lesson: as you think about yourself, you are probably aware of your short-comings. Most of us are. Those of us who struggle with low self-esteem are especially aware of our inadequacies. Some of them may be true and many are not. We covered in the early pages the person who has believed a lie spoken by unkind or unthinking parents or teachers: “You’ll never be anything, you’re no good!”  We believed it and were conned.  We allowed our ‘feet of clay’ to make us think we can never achieve anything good.

Don’t believe the lies about yourself. Your ‘feet of clay’ do not disqualify you; they simply prove you are a human being. The various biographies and autobiographies you will find on the shelves of Smiths or Waterman’s will all tell the same story: feet of clay do not mean you can’t do great things. Go for it!  Don’t focus on your weaknesses, focus on your good points and think about you might be capable of achieving!