The Dark Side Of Self-Help

    I was approached by someone who was abused by an aspiring self-help guru/coach. 

    The public vitriol this ‘coach’ launched at one of his students, when he was criticised by them, was appalling. 

    But it’s not the first time a ‘Guru’ lost his/her shit. 

    Over the years I’ve had plenty of emails from people in the personal development movement who were subject to psychological abuse and bullying from their ‘teacher’.

    It comes in many guises…​ 

    The seminar leader who ridicules a student in a seminar under the pretence of giving a ‘growth’ experience…

    Or the trainer who uses their higher perceived ‘social status’ or position to psychologically abuse those who disagree with them and ostracize them from the group.

    To gurus who literally have been so reckless in their duty of care that participants have even died at their events.

    Plenty of harm has been done by speakers/coaches/self-help teachers etc. under the pretence of: 

    “Study with me and I’ll show you how to live an extraordinary life.” 

    As you know, not everything that glitters is gold. 

    This goes double for the personal development industry. 

    I’ve been involved with personal development for 20+ years and here’s the #1 thing I wished more people knew: 

    Behind the curtain of personal development industry - there is an awful lot of bullshit that is dressed up in fake knowledge and carefully managed public persona. 

    Many examples of well-known gurus and wannabe gurus, whose public persona doesn’t resemble at all what you would see day-to-day in their private life. 

    I’m not talking about the natural gap between what someone says and does (there is always a gap if you look close enough). 

    But rather, the small but sizable group of teachers who are on power and emotional need trip - that they feed through their followers.

    Teachers who have long forgotten (if they ever knew) that helping others is a privilege, an opportunity to learn together. 

    To serve others. 

    We all got into this field to learn. 

    To learn new things - but always remember you are never required to take abuse from anyone - especially someone you have paid money to. 

    Doesn’t matter how many fans they have, how much money they claim they have made, or how big their platform is. 

    From the biggest names in the industry to a new teacher just starting out. 

    Gurus are gurus because they’ve got others to agree with them. 

    To look up to them…

    That’s doesn’t make them perfect, special or give them a right to abuse YOU. 

    If you pay someone to help you get a bit further on your journey, they have a responsibility and duty of care to you. 

    If they demonstrate an intentional disregard for your well-being, if they attack you in order to feed their ego; don’t tolerate it.

    Go elsewhere. 

    As the late Stephen Covey so wisely put it: 

    “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow.”

    So don't allow yourself to be disrespected.


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