What Drastic Action did 30yo Kjerstin Gruys take in 2011 and what Lesson does it give to us all about Authenticity?

Kjerstin GruysIn 2011, this beautiful young woman did not look at a mirror for a year. Even on her wedding day and right up to the point of walking down the aisle Kjerstin stayed true to her commitment. For one whole year Kjerstin covered up all the mirrors in her house and at work, and even if she caught the slightest glimpse of herself in reflections outside of home, Kjersten would quickly look away. She spent those 52 weeks blindly putting on make-up and combing her hair and relied on her friends and family to assure her that she looked okay.

This wasn’t some strange test or weird challenge that Kjerstin had decided to take up, it was all about her body image and self esteem. According to ABC News Reports in the USA, having battled anorexia since she was a teenager, Kjerstin Gruys, now a size 10, said she began to feel her old insecurities creeping back in with the approach of her wedding. Seeking to regain control of her self-esteem, Gruys came up with the idea of living without mirrors after reading about nuns in Renaissance Italy who were not allowed to look at their own reflections. She has since written a book about her experiment, called “Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall. How I Learned to Love my Body by not Looking at it for a Year” and although I haven’t read it myself (it has only just been released), I am sure that some of what Kjerstin discovered during that time would have been about the value of allowing her authentic self to shine.

Gruys said that the year-long experiment made her less focused on her outward appearance and allowed her to concentrate far more on other rewarding aspects of her life, especially on her wedding day. She told ABC News that she really didn’t have any regrets about not seeing herself on her big day, because it allowed her to be more fully engaged in the day itself, and to really live in the experience of each moment that it brought.

And isn’t that what life should really be all about? Appreciating each moment that we are blessed with and caring less about external factors such as past regrets or future concerns, or how others may judge us, especially on outward appearances?

This news item is particularly timely for me, because just the other day a young psychology graduate who is working as a receptionist in a busy psychology clinic sent me an email, saying how much she loved reading my posts about the inner workings of motivation at work and asking me how to find herself in a role that would lead her on a similar path to mine. She mentioned that her interest in her current position was waning as there didn’t seem to be much opportunity for learning or progression, even though her days were busy and filled with tasks. In my reply I thanked her for her feedback and praised her for her willingness to step out there and seek the advice of others whom she might see as mentors, regardless of whether she knew them or not. I am sure that she’ll go far as a result of her eagerness to learn from others and the courage to engage with them.

But here is also what I said to her…  “Often the learning doesn’t always come from where we consciously expect it to. For example, a job where we might be feeling bored may be teaching us something of even deeper significance at this point in our lives.

Lift your sights beyond the mundane tasks of your job while you are involved in it and see if through your energy and compassionate nature you can make a welcoming and positive difference to the lives of the people who are arriving and waiting to see your clinical psychologists. You know (name deleted), the small difference in how you make them feel valued and nurtured as they walk in the door of your employer’s practice, may well be the most important impact you can have on their readiness to receive their counselling when their turn comes to see one of your practitioners. Of course don’t do that in the hope that they will pass on positive feedback about you to your boss. Just do it because it is a worthwhile way to make a difference each day in the role you currently have, and put your heart and soul into it while you are there.

Think not of what your current role is giving you, but more in terms of what you can lovingly bring to that role as part of your unique gift as a human being.

From that foundation, you may discover that doors open up for you in ways you never before realised or expected. Based on this philosophy – I’ll leave you with this thought.  “The Heart that Gives, Gathers.”

Both of these events this week are significant, because I have been getting some really amazing requests of late to do something for company executives, business owners and entrepreneurs alike which is aligned to the ‘motivational fingerprinting’ that I do, but goes much deeper into the very heart of what each person stands for and how that is expressed through their work or their business.

True Purpose Profiling

I call it “True Purpose Profiling,” and it is designed to help company leaders and business entrepreneurs uncover their highest expression of themselves without all of the unconscious clutter, entanglement and sabotage that often gets in the way when they are not in complete alignment with their highest expression.

What I do has a definite structure to it, but I combine my method of questioning with a deeply held trust that each person’s transparency and authenticity and my open hearted willingness to work with whatever they share with me, will lead them to a depth of self discovery that they have never before encountered. And that is exactly what has been happening as a result. The resulting level of awareness and alignment they have been achieving has been incredibly powerful for them, and humbling for me to witness.

The key point I wish to make here is this. We often hear of the Richard Bransons, Warren Buffetts and the late Steve Jobs of this world ‘living the dream’ whatever that has meant for them, and we make that judgement  as if living our dream is not for us, but only for those fortunate few we read about from afar who ‘have it all’ in our perception. Surely the key to their and other’s incredible influence in the world has not come from ‘living their dream’ but from ‘knowing their dream’ and aligning to it through their actions every day regardless of the personal successes and challenges they meet along the way? And surely that level of engagement and contribution is the birthright of each of us if we bring our highest expression of ourselves to the work that we do?

The Highest Expression of Ourselves

I believe that now is the time for all of us to come from this level of self awareness and understanding because in my humble opinion, this world of ours and all of the people in it need more and more leaders like you and me in business right now who are in touch with our highest expression of ourselves if we are to heal it for future generations and not destroy it through profligate consumption and unbridled expansion.

You may just think I am getting a little off track to delve into a subject that, on the surface, might not seem too relevant to the topic of business success or personal achievement. But I think otherwise. For now more than ever before, I believe that our world needs business leaders and executives like you who think differently, and I have been thrilled by the level of interest and feedback that has been coming back to me as a result of this work I have been doing.

Wasn’t it Einstein who once said that the current problems we face today cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that brought us here… or words to that effect?

If you are interested to know more about how you can align to your highest purpose, get in touch with me c/- brian@precisionprofiling.com.au and together let’s start the change we wish to see.

And if what I have written today touches a chord within you, please share this message around, because I believe, as I hope you do, that it is a message which needs to get out there more and more.

In the meantime, let’s seek to understand more and judge less.  – Brian

Precision Profiling What Makes You Tick? Through ‘Motivational Fingerprinting’ we help you to uncover why you do what you do and most importantly, which patterns can lead to your success, while others might be holding you back.

About Brian Clark

Brian Clark is the principal director of Precision Profiling®.

He is a renowned practitioner, writer and speaker on building total customer cultures; values driven leadership and world best practice strategy and implementation.

He has been a guest lecturer on world best practice for the executive management programme at Monash University’s business college (Mt Eliza campus); an adviser to and key note speaker for the Singapore Productivity Association and a consultant to many major Australian and overseas corporations and government departments.

Read more about Brian Clark Here


  1. Kenneth Mouton says:

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand.It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

    • Hi Kenneth. Hang in there pal. :-) Maybe have a browse over some previous posts to get a feel for the depth to which we can go in understanding ourselves and each other better. Just about all of my previous blogs are specific as opposed to broad as this one was. I look forward to sharing observations and further insights with you and others in the weeks and months to come.

  2. Caylene says:

    Hey Brian, just read your beautifully written piece, on your blog and wanted to say “Thank You.” It is so hard to let go of judgement with a brain that requires certainty. But you are right, too often we don’t think about what we could do for you, but what it is that you could do for me.

    • Thank you Caylene for your encouraging feedback. It is my desire that what I write based on my work and observations gets shared around so that others are inspired also to think beyond themselves and their own lives and more about the contribution they can make to others in whatever role they find themselves. Hopefully what I have posted this week will get you and others talking about this subject further which would be great.

  3. Marguerite Montenegro says:

    You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation but
    I in finding this topic to be really one thing that I think I might never understand.
    It kind of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me.
    I am having a look forward for your subsequent put up, I will
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    • Hi Marguerite,

      Actually the process I lead people through only takes between 1-2 hours no more, and the self discovery that they have as a result comes through loud and clear because of the way I elicit it from them with my questioning. If you want to know more specifically about the actual process I lead people through, you are welcome to email me at brian@precisionprofiling.com.au and I will endeavour to answer any specific questions you may have. Also if you would like to just get a general insight into the depths to which we can now understand people you are welcome to read earlier posts of mine on a variety of topics and applications of this “motivational fingerprinting.” – Brian

  4. Elva Lemons says:

    I always spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s articles everyday along with a cup of coffee.

  5. Arlen Black says:

    Ridiculous quest there. What happened after? Good luck!

    • Well actually she has since written a book as I mentioned in my blog and is gaining quite a name for herself as a speaker and social commentator on issues regarding self esteem in young women and body image, so I guess she has parlayed her experience into something positive for herself and others.

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      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them and all the feedback I have been receiving for you and others.It helps to encourage me as I share my observations and insights from the work i do.
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  15. I tend not to leave a great deal of responses, but i did a few searching
    and wound up here What Drastic Action did 30yo Kjerstin Gruys take in
    2011 and what Lesson does it give to us all about Authenticity?
    . And I do have 2 questions for you if you don’t mind. Is it only me or does it appear like some of these comments appear like they are written by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting on other online sites, I’d like to follow
    everything fresh you have to post. Could you make a list of all of your shared sites like
    your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

    • Hi Marian
      My Twitter feed is BrianJohnClark , FB business fan page is Precision Profiling and LinkedIn profile is Brian Clark, Melbourne, Australia. In all of those various social media you will discover that the weekly blog post is the same. However if you subscribe to my newsletter on site you will receive a direct feed via Mail Chimp once a week in your email inbox. (I only post once a week due to my business commitments and besides any more frequently would mean I might get stale.) With regard to the comments, when time permits I do endeavour to delete any obvious spam etc, and respond where appropriate. Sometimes what might seem to be stuff that is hard to understand may just be a reflection of English not being their first language so I have to be careful that I don’t be too arbitrary in my judgment. I hope that you continue to enjoy my musings. No I do not post on other sites – only on my web site, however if you are a follower of groups on LinkedIn you may discover that I upload my posts with links as appropriate also on a weekly basis. – Brian

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