Let’s change the world, one ego at a time (starting with mine)

ClaireBy Lara Nuer

15 years ago this day, Claire Nuer (pictured at left) who co-founded the LaL methodology 30 years ago, passed away.  She was my mother, my mentor and my best friend. She inspired these thoughts in me, as a wish for 2014 and beyond.

I believe we are born with a need to contribute, to make a difference in the world.

Yet we have been bullied and have bullied. We alienate others when we feel hurt and raw. We are hurt and we hurt back. We need to be right. We need to prove how smart we are. We need to win the argument. We build up walls, we’re guarded. We cyberbully. We blast a righteous abrasive email and cc the whole world. We’re passive aggressive. We’re aggressive. We’re passive.

For each of us, there is a gap between our professed values and our daily behaviors, when our ego feels threatened.

Our ego defense mechanisms hurt others, who then in turn hurt someone else. It is only because in small ways, in our daily lives, we play out the victim/victimizer cycle that it is possible for countries, races and communities to do the same. I set the tone in my micro world for what is possible on a macro scale.

“Never Again.”  What if it started with me?

Am I willing to be aware of my reactive behaviors, my defense routines?

Am I wiling to admit them to you, here, and ask for your support to work on them, to stop me if I fall into one of them?

What if that feels raw, exposing? What if I don’t look perfect, like I have it all together? Is being the change that I want to see in the world worth that discomfort?


Then, let’s catch ourselves when we are demonizing another. Let’s reconnect with our ability to empathize when our ego feels threatened.

Let’s stop the victim/victimizer cycle when we feel victimized.

Let’s ask ourselves: What is my “Noble Goal”? How do I want to leave the world a better place? What difference do I want to make?

How do I want to behave when my ego is threatened, so that in that moment, I contribute to a context for humanity, rather than destruction?

Am I willing to talk about it, with all of you, even if I feel exposed or vulnerable?

Will we support one another on this journey?


That is my wish for 2014.


In memory of my grandfather Henry Nuer, who perished in Auschwitz, and of my mother Claire Nuer, who turned her loss and trauma into an unwavering commitment to help release others from the prisons of their egos.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Nelson Mandela

  1. elissa wyatt-hodgson says:

    Lara, that is so beautiful. thank you for reminding me of all I learned at LAL and through having Shayne in our family’s life over these past year. Because of your Mother and through LAL and Shanye, our family is closer than ever (in my estimation) and that is a tribute to all of you!! I just lost my husband, Hank, this month and you have just helped by reminding me to remember “what IS my Noble Goal” and to “not be at the mercy”!! Bless your Mom, In Metta, Elissa Wyatt-Hodgson

    1. Lara Nuer says:

      Dear Elissa, Thank you so much for your words of gratitude. They mean a lot to me- and to Shayne. Our thoughts are with you as you confront the everyday reality of the loss of your husband. There are no words to appease the pain. And yet, you have the grace and courage to remind yourself that even in that situation, you can remember your Noble Goal… That is ian inspiration. Thank you. Lara

  2. Lara,

    I have had the privilege of listening to your mother at a SoL conference. I have had the pleasure of being through two of your courses and have been interacting with Marc and Sami over the last decade – sporadically.

    Your work is good “system” to do the shift. But let me say from my personal experience…this is not a one-time thing…but a life long process….but there is a way.

    with much love

  3. Lynne Hill says:

    Lara, my time with LaL was so special and I can’t believe it has been 15 years. Claire, and indeed, all of you are still very special to me. I frequently think of all I experienced and learned and the people I met. Thank you for sharing. Love, Lynne

    1. Lara Nuer says:

      Thank you Lynn, it is so great to hear form you. The whole team joins me in sending you warm thoughts. What are you up to these days? Come by and see us!

  4. Allen Kilgore says:

    The article reminded me of the influence of my parents to try and make me “good.” Only by focusing on our Goals and not our “self” can we achieve good for everyone. Today is anniverary of a great leader who had a great nobel goal – M L King. Thansk for teh article that is a reminder of how much we as individuals can do.

    1. Lara Nuer says:

      Yes, we all make a difference don’t we! So great to hear from you Al. How have you been? Will we get to see you again any time soon??

  5. Margie Tatro says:

    Thank you, Lara, for your continued wisdom and reminders about what it means to make a difference. I was in a particularly challenging situation today and I tapped into ALL of my LaL tools and learnings to try to stay focused on my noble goal and to be the best, collaborative, constructive contributor that I could be. Please pass along my best to the entire LaL team.

  6. Dear Lara,
    Thanks for your inspiring thoughts. I recently came across a small calendar page I had saved. It reads March 26, 1999, the day your mother, Claire Nuer, passed. It serves as a reminder for me of the many things I learned from her and the LaL team. Though that was so long ago, the concepts and tools continue to be immensely useful for me to this day. Indeed, the goals I formed in the seminars helped me to infuse purpose into my business and each and every relationship since then, in business and in life. Thank you, again and keep up the good work!
    Love, Candice

    P.S. I have recently reconnected with Sam. 🙂

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