Be Encouraging by Removing Your Layers

IT is quit amazing that one of the smallest parts of the body, the tongue, can have such a powerful impact on us and others.  The number of Proverbs and statements about the tongue are vast.

  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue  (Prov. 18:21)
  •  A soothing tongue is the tree of life  (Prov. 12:25)
  • The tongue is mightier then the sword ( ok I know its,pen, but the pen just writes what the tongue would have said )

Even though the tongue physically speaks the words it is the heart that creates the words before they are spoken.  Luke 6 :45  “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.   Since it is the heart that produces the words we use and the way we use them then we really need to solve the heart issues to become a true encourager to others.  You see what happens is we are living our life and words are spoken to us and about us.  Those words have a great effect on our view of ourselves.  We will start to build up protective layers around the fear in our heart that we are trying to protect.  As we speak, our words are affected by those layers.  When we build up enough layers we begin to speak from the layers instead off from our core self.  This can lead to creating blind spots.  These blind spots are areas that we don’t even recognize as causing issues in our life.

Let me give you a personal example of how layers affect your life.  My mom and dad were divorced when I was eight years old.  Not having a father figure produced some protective layers that I did not recognize until my 40’s.  Not having a father or any other male role model created a fear of  acceptance in me.  Now to protect that fear, I built up a layer of toughness and anger.  I was always noticing people that I thought were looking at me funny, reacting because of what I did ( lets use driving on the highway  🙂 or talking about me.  All of these were rooted in my fear of male acceptance.  I know this is true because one of my friends had the same issue and we were always looking for a fight.  One of my other friends didn’t have this fear ( layers )  and always thought me and my other friend were crazy.  By the way, he did have a great relationship with his father.  I think the layers we create are manifested based on our personality traits.  Choleric, melancholy, phlegmatic, sanguine.  The choleric’s layers become aggressive or angry; the melancholy becomes sarcastic or introverted; the phlegmatic becomes stubborn or recluse;  the sanguine becomes goofy or unaware of whats going on around them.  These are just some of the layers I have witnessed but there can be many more.  As these layers develop we start to hear everything filtered through those layers and speak from those layers.  Both situations will make it more difficult to build great relationships with people.  You have all experienced these conversations.  You say something to someone and there reply back to you has nothing to do with what you just said.  Now you have layers also and so you reply back with something that has nothing to do with what that person says.   Example, I was getting physical therapy and had to lay there and witness a half hour conversation about NOTHING! I thought I was going to go nuts.  Started off with ” My husband took me to that new restaurant” “Did you hear there is a food poison break out”  “My son was sick two weeks ago” “I think I’m going to train for a race.” “I just don’t like working out” both ladies were going back and forth and never acknowledged once what the other person said.  That was when I started praying that God would seal their lips shut.  God didn’t answer that prayer so I was forced to endure.  You see the problem with speaking from layers is that it means we aren’t really hearing the other person we are trying to achieve a desire of our own.

A desire may be defined as something wanted that cannot  be obtained without the cooperation of another person.  It is an objective for which a person can assume no responsibility, because it is beyond their control.  Reaching a desire must never become the motivating purpose behind behavior, because then a person is assuming responsibility for something he cannot fullfill on his own.  Encouragement by Dr. Larry Crabb and Dr. Dan alexander


Think about it for a minute.  The person that is best to talk to is probably the person in your life that has the fewest fears that they are trying to protect.  The less fears they have the less layers they have.   They can hear what you are saying, without filtering it through layers, and when they speak they are speaking from their core, not their layers.  When people speak from their layers their words seem like they are coated with the film of the desire they are trying to fulfill.  Some speak trying to make you feel worse about yourself so they can feel better, some speak in a way that they are fishing for compliments,  others speak in tones that imply to leave them alone, some speak in a way to try to convince you they know what they are talking about.  The list goes on and on but when you hit that person that doesn’t have layers it is like a breath of fresh air.  So how do we fix this.

The real key to fixing this is to eliminate the fears.  Once you eliminate the fear the layers go with it.  A lot of people try to fix these layers with technique or skill.  They will read books on how to improve their people skills but the core fear is still there and so their protective layers just change to a different type of protective layer.  Reading and self analysis can work but very few people are skilled enough to identify their own fears and layers.  The best way to identify and change them is by mentoring with someone who can help you see what you cant see.  I have been very blessed to have two mentors  (Orrin woodward – Life founder and Chris Brady – Life founder) that have helped me eliminate some of mine.  Once you have done this process you are now able to help others identify their fears, grow, and become better.  I wish you the best of luck on this very important subject.

God Bless

Bill Lewis


40 thoughts on “Be Encouraging by Removing Your Layers”

  1. Good stuff Bill! I so appreciated your talk on this topic last weekend. It is very apparent when you talk to someone who has attacked & eliminated many of their layers. Very refreshing. I believe we all have “layers” to peel off. Your post will help many accomplish that.

  2. I’ve heard you do this talk twice now and I absolutely totally agree with what you said. I have, for years, built up these layers because of my childhood and I’ve slowly been peeling them away and finding out who I am and letting people in more and more. I’ve found my relationships to be much better when I do and my anger to be released from all that I went through. Thank you so much for talking about this topic. I really connected with it at the major.
    Thanks again.
    Sherry Fix

  3. Great article, Bill. I love that we have a mentoring system to help speed up the layer removal process. I’d encourage everyone to seek out a successful person to truly mentor with.

  4. Bill,
    I love this article! When you spoke about this at the Major Convention in Columbus this past weekend it really resonated with so many of our team. When we asked them what talk hit them the most a lot of them replied that it was your talk about “Layers”. Thank you so much!

  5. I really liked the book, Encouragement, that you are referencing. Your talk and this blog article helped nail the point home!

    To get past the layers that people build up and actually speak words of encouragement, one of the principles the book highlighted is helpful:

    “To do so, encouragers need to understand precisely what it is that makes a person valuable. The essential fear that is locked deep in the core of fallen people is the fear of insecurity (rejection) and insignificance (loss of value). If encouragers clearly understand that these two deep longings lie beneath people’s layers of self-sufficiency, their words may reflect a greater understanding of people’s fears. Words that encourage take into account both the need for relationship and the need for meaning. All of us want to know we matter. An excellent way to encourage people is to let them know of the difference they have made in other people’s lives, ours included.”

    I did a brief review of the principles of Encouragement and how to help unravel the layers that we all build up.

    Thanks for the awesome post Bill!

  6. Bill I love this post. I heard you speak on this topic this weekend and was definitely one of the best talks all weekend. And because of it ,I was able to identify some of my fears which have created layers. My next question is how to remove the fears. I understand doing what you fear removes fear, but how do you remove the fear you are feeling( while speaking to someone) that causes the layers? Would you say its possible to have a layer with one person but not with another?

  7. Great article. Best way to help others is to examine your own heart & get help from a mentor to identify & eliminate your fears.Then you can be more effective at helping others. Thanks for sharing your perspective & wisdom.

  8. Bill,

    So many amazing truths here. You brought this to life at the Leadership Convention this weekend. Without a doubt, your talk on this subject was one of the best ever. Thanks for speaking the truth and also, living it.
    God Bless,

  9. Dear Mr. Lewis: Thank you for this important lesson. One of my favorite ‘ mantras’, is: Do what you fear; watch it disappear! I am a choleric\melancholy who needs to bite her tongue, more than not. I look forward to learning more from you & your lovely wife next week at the seminar in Northern California, as you also gave powerful lessons in Columbus.

    Student of Life, Sea Jai.

  10. Bill,
    I absolutely loved your talk at leadership. This talk on layers I think doesn’t just relate to business and professional relationships. I was even think about marriage, and how many times Emily and I have layer conversations… Even sometimes going in the wrong direction, provoking a layer, hoping to find out the core fear, and all that does is build more layers!!
    It’s kind of like catching a squirrel, with a box, and a stick, with a rope or string attached to it. The box being propped up by the stick, and when the squirrel comes under the box, to get the nut, pull the string. You can’t run right at the squirrel, they’ll just climb higher in the tree!
    Anyhow, great thinking! Thanks for sharing the book.

  11. Bill,

    This is by far one of the most impactful blog topic I have read. Your talk at Leadership on this same subject was quite revealing. I know it is a very deep topic and I want to tell what a great job you did with that talk. I am expecting follow up articles on this from you as there is so much that can be disected to get to the bottom of these layers. Like you said, mentoring and exposing these layers to a mentor or better let them expose them in a safe environment could make all the difference on many of the bondages we have been holding on to. Thank you so much for your leadership. God bless you. Hebrews 12:1,2

  12. Thanks so much for the time you invested in this blog. The LIFE Business has helped me to remove many layers and dig into my own life and be able to fix many things that were holding me back. I appreciate the effort of the PC members to give everyone the opportunity to work on themselves to become the best person possible in their career and all areas that are important. I encourage all to plug into the LIFE system which includes the power of association where the community is focussed in a common goal. To get better results and serve others.

  13. Great reminder Bill! I appreciate the depth of thought and the time to write this article to share with everyone. You’re truly a difference maker!

  14. Bill
    What a Great artical and such Great nuggets for us all to dig into and start applying.
    Thanks for your Leadership

  15. Bill,
    This is so true most of us can’t even admit we have problems deep down let alone verify them so how can we be a leader or mentor to anyone until we learn this step in life. By association of mentors that we have in the LIFE business we start our process of fixing ourself first then be able to understand others. Thank you for this great post.

  16. Bill,

    This is a very thought provoking article. I can remember cutting words from over 40 years ago and those words still sting today.

    I wonder how many of us have had words (many not very positive or uplifting) lay the foundation for our lives in different ways. Some have caused us to react by creating word filters to avoid or eliminate the pain those words when spoken into our lives again may cause.

    Since words are one of our primary communication methods I wonder how many of have created filters as a result of inappropriate words, sometimes even from well meaning friends and family that hurt do their own hurts. As they say hurting people hurt people.

    This is a deep subject and you have given me much to think about.
    Thanks for such a well thought out discussion.

  17. Great post Bill! Thank God for the LIFE business, now we can help hurting people and offer them hope and happiness back into their lives with new information.

  18. phenomenal article Bill. I listened to you share this at the LIFE leadership convention in Ohio. I was amazed hearing it live and I’m more impressed reading it. You continue to be an inspiration to me and my family and I thank you and Jackie, and the kids, for continuing to reach to others helping them remove their layers. Godspeed on your journey. Matt

  19. Excellent article!!!! I enjoyed this talk Live!! What a light bulb moment it created for me to see the areas I still need to grow! As well as help me in dealing with others!
    Bless you and your family!’

  20. Bill,
    I thought you did an excellent job of explaining this “Layers” concept. I watched your part 1 of this talk via the teamcast a few weeks ago in Marquette, MI and thought it was awsesome! I couldn’t wait to hear part 2 and then at the Major, ta-dah…there it was. It is so accurate to say that fear manifests itself into many layers if the root of the problem isn’t resolved. It’s just like if you’re going to say…like the movie Outbreak, if the ebola virus breaks out you gotta find the source of the virus in order to completely eradicate it. Just quarantining people or not truly getting to the core of the problem does nothing! Great success talk Bill. As always, keep it coming man. As I’m sure Brian has informed you, we got great things going on in the U.P. It’s time to explode this thing!!!

  21. Bill,
    This is an incredibly powerful article. I could hardly get through it without thinking of at least a dozen recent conversations. The dynamics of layers is worthy of our study and our thought. It so requires us to want to change if we are going to help others learn to leave their fears behind.
    I think between every layer of fear is a thin (or maybe thick) layer of denial. I know that the better my relationship with my mentor, the easier it is to let them help me get past denial, and then ultimately to the actual fear. I want to have the kind of relationship with my mentor that she CAN help me with this….that she trust me and I decide to always trust her.
    The mentoring CD done by you and few other Founders is rich on this topic and I know it needs to be in my CD player regularly.

    Truly, thank you again for the time you put into this post. Amazing.

    Stealth, Team 180,

  22. I would like to thank you Bill for opening my eyes to the fear that is holding so much inside my core. I read the book encouragement when it came in system. I forgot how much I like that book, for that reason of layers. I speak to parolees once a month and this month I was a little excited to share your talk with this group. My spiritual mentor leads this ministry , and he was impressed. It give me another opportunity to share how awesome Life is. Thank you for being obedient and doing Gods will. I can not wait till I can call you my mentor… God bless…

  23. Bill,
    Outstanding post. Having been involved for some time now, I’ve begun to listen more than speak. What I’ve learned is that most (me at first) speak from underneath many layers, meaning hiding their fears instead of confronting them. When a persons communication is primariiy negative, that should be a sign to ask more questions.
    GOD Bless you my friend

  24. Thank you for posting another great article Bill! I’ve been learning, with the help of my mentors, to peel away the many layers I have to find out who I really am. What an incredible journey this is! Your article makes total sense. Thanks and God bless!

  25. Thank you for this article! This article spoke to me on a level that allowed me to begin to look at myself and realize that I was operating out of fear in so many different aspects in life. That realization has lead to some very deep conversations with myself about self acceptance, self worth and self image. I have begun to realize that my fear of failure has forced me to build layers that have strained my relationships across the board. I wish I could say I have made a complete turn around since my first reading this article but I realize that these layers were built up over the last 30 years and will not be shed in a day, a week or a month but I believe with constant vigilance and consistent application and analysis I can overcome my bout with my layers. Thanks Bill for this wonderful article.

  26. Bill, just reading this article today is what I needed. I am grateful to be associated with LIFE Leadership, and have the opportunity to be mentored through my own layers.

  27. This is an interesting article. I read it this morning before an interview for a job. Of course, one of the usual interview questions is “What are your weaknesses.” I immediately recalled this article that speaks of us surrounding our fears with protection. We all do that. I pointed to mentors helping us to identify our fears, our weaknesses. I explained further. I saw some very positive reaction to my answer. Thank ouy Bill for this post

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