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4 ways childhood trauma expresses in business

Childhood Trauma in business expresses in so many ways. Here's (just) 4 expressions that will likely sound familiar for you, or make you think of someone you know.

Side bar: I am of the opinion that awareness + insights, expands self-awareness.

When the self-awareness window opens wide enough, we can better see the next 1 to 2 steps we can take, to shift the madness.

childhood trauma in business

4 Childhood Trauma Expressions in Business:

1. Difficulty with authority and an inability to trust

can be so overwhelming for many Adults with trauma in their past, that they will opt to work for themselves, unconscious to the underlying motivations driving them.

Interestingly - up to 75% of entrepreneurs would acknowledge having a more challenging upbringing than others.

2. Perfection and over-achievement

which often seeks to appease the "not-good-enough' sensation in the mind and body that is in overdrive with individuals who have trauma in their past.

"Anxiety dressed up as ambition', if you will.

Individuals experiencing this unquenchable drive often find themselves with inflammatory disease, severe allergies, impeded physical movement, and eventually burn-out that goes on to antagonise their sense of identity, and irritate their need to "keep moving" when the body is saying - 'no'! - This forced 'stop' can often trigger some of the darkest nights of the soul in the absence of available resources, support systems and tools.

3. Hypersensitive to any form of criticism.

Regardless of "how-helpful, accurate, or positive" this feedback is presented, an individual with trauma in their past can struggle enormously to receive, process and resolve the constructive feedback.

They may have mastered a "Stoic" mask to show in times like these, but will often demonstrate behaviour that shows the deep struggle they face self-regulating the experience, and processing the criticism in healthy ways, within minutes of receiving the feedback.

childhood trauma in business

4. Workaholics and missing boundaries for themselves;

in how they manage their life, as well as missing boundaries for how they engage others.

Their desire to be busy means they don't have to Be Present. Being present is typically avoided at all costs as there can be a deeply rooted belief that being still will mean they feel.

Which all makes me thing of this quote, often accredited to Jung...

childhood trauma in business

What I've observed a lot of recently, is that anything we repress, will find a way to express. That expression will prompt us to take actions to resolve underlying drivers producing challenging day-to-day living, or that expression will have us on all sorts of roads to avoid and ignore underlying challenges, that will ultimately bring us back to illness and shorter life expectancy, or resolving those underlying drivers.

All of that gives this wee quote here, a deeper, more nuanced meaning.


A lot of what I share here is really me looking in the mirror and objectively seeing myself in all versions over the years. I have also interviewed more than 2000 business professionals in my career and as such, patterns and insights tend to be far easier to identify.

The people who have influenced my study in this particular area would include Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius's book, Meditations. A private journal he did not intend to be disclosed to the world. His writing is to his younger self. An extraordinary gift he left us to ponder and reflect on as it applies to our world 1500 odd years later.

A page from my published adult colouring book - Aristotle

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