A real change leader is courageous in dealing with personal growth – changing one’s self. Let’s be clear here; personal growth is not about “fixing yourself’. It is about learning and growing to reach more of your true potential. A leader will need to acknowledge her or his fear and keep moving forward anyway…leading the way. This is simple yet not easy – at first. Facing change may not be without doubt or uneasiness, still, the more one comes from a place of confidence and authenticity, the more likely courage will be the response instead of “denial”.
Denial will only lead to failure as you or your company become irrelevant in the new environment. The more we understand how to change our conditioned way of reacting and responding to change, the more we can embrace it as a fact of life and an adventure. We can experience change in a state of presence and with more peace of mind – instead of panic or terror.
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t have fear; it just means that you have enough heart and passion about what you value that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and lead the change necessary. What does this type of change leadership require?
1. Self-Awareness - This type of transformational leadership typically requires greater self-awareness as the leader has to “walk their talk”. It is a waste of time, especially in this time of greater transparency, to talk about change and innovation if the leader his or her self clings to old behaviors and ways of doing things.
2. Confidence – How we perceive ‘who we are’ can be a roadblock to leading change. If we are overly concerned with the opinions of others, ‘looking good’, or appearing invulnerable, we are not likely to have the resiliency and clarity to take risks. Most people do not typically have the, ‘brain awareness’ to recognize that their self-image is not written in stone and is a type of ‘Mind memory” – that can be changed.
3. A Congruent Self-Image – Our emotional brain plays a very important role storing our images of self and ‘how life is’. There is emotion involved in this perception of, ‘who we think we are’. It is through our perceptual filters that we unwittingly wire the storylines (narratives) into our brain of our role as leader, spouse, partner or friend. Did you know that these subjective narratives are literally wired into your brain – and that they can be “updated” and changed? You don’t have to stay stuck.
Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.” ―Henry David Thoreau
Inner peace is closer than you realize. You don’t have to ‘do’ any thing. In fact it is your tendency to need to, ‘do something’ that is driving peace of mind out of reach. We have been taught to separate our self into pieces. Be one way at home and one way at office. One way at church or temple and one way with our friends.
In fact, the one thing we don’t tend to do is to question – who is the ‘real me’? Is there a ‘real me’ buried under all those ‘shoulds, oughts and have to’s? Yes – and this center, this core self is peaceful – peace filled – by Nature. You will have to slow down and reflect to reconnect with your Self however.
This segmenting of our self is reflected in our ‘divided brain’. Are we left-brain or right-brain? Why not both? We have two hemispheres for a reason. We also don’t tend to trust our own mind and heart. We have allowed the outer world to define us – who we should be, what we can do, what we can have – and we’ve lost our Self, our inner peace in the process of chasing outer ‘stuff’. Enough already.
Ironically, we can have the outer experience and enjoy it more when we show up whole. When we allow our authenticity to come through, drawing on our whole self, our whole mind, our spirit and our physical body, we come to life integrated. The path to inner peace is to stop living in pieces and to start living with purpose.
‘The purpose of life is a life with purpose’
Knowing your life purpose makes life more meaningful and fulfilling. It gives you the “Why” to look forward to in your day, in your work and in your life overall. Knowing your true values can point you in the direction of your purpose, they underpin meaning. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the nightmare of the “routine” – Wake up, go to work, come home, eat, take care of “stuff”, go to sleep…repeat. How dull. How painful! Life is meant to be an adventure of growth and learning, not clinging to a mediocre life and then you die. How sad. Thank goodness for the power of choice, the power to change. While change can feel scary and uncomfortable, it is what adds spice to life. Besides, that – it’s unavoidable!
So why do we so often fall into miserable ruts and get stuck, yet are afraid of “change”? A huge part of it is conditioning. Sure, there is the element of “danger” in the unknown, but Mother Nature has given us the tools to cope and innovate. Our brain is amazingly adaptable and it is leads us to “self-fulfilling prophecy”. This is part of the problem – we believe change is scary and hard, so “be it unto you as you believe”. We have trained our brain to focus on what we don’t want and fear…and we sometimes find get it.
Work and life balance is central to health, real wealth and enjoyable relationships. Gratitude and appreciation are apparently little known secret ingredients to what everyone is really seeking – inner peace, meaning and joy. Then we can “in joy” our efforts and monetary results and use money constructively and with greater purpose. “Stuff” starts to lose its meaning in general.
“Happiness” is very situational, yet joy is the “peace that passes understanding”. It is not a transient mental state; it is the essence of our “being”. We’ve just lost sight of this truth. So, why is there so much increase in disease, debt and divorce or unsatisfying relationships – at home and at work? For one thing, we have forgotten, “who we are”. We have attached our worth and identity to “stuff” that many of us don’t really want.
In fact, I’d venture to say that most people don’t really know what they want or “why” they are so busy “doing” things. It has become a national epidemic – “Doingitis” – a “dis-ease” state. Then, we don’t even feel grateful or appreciate what we accomplish or have. There are steps and processes one can take to disentangle one’s self-worth and meaning from this chronic distracted way of living. However, here I will offer one simple remedy; cultivate gratitude and appreciation. This one thing, felt with the heart and not just an intellectual exercise can:
Peace. I see holiday cards right now that say, “Peace” and “Joy” on them, yet I see people rushing about complaining that they are “overwhelmed”. I used to be one of them. These days, I’m giving my attention more and more to “why” I do what I do.
Have you ever stopped rushing around long enough to reflect on “why”? Do you slow down to contemplate, “Who do you think you are”?
Or are you still living by the definition that others assigned to you? Are you looking for more “to do” even though you have not mastered what is right in front of you? What are your heart-felt, five top values? Do you know? If you don’t, you are very likely not very passionate about what you do or about your life.
Like most people, you are probably just going through the motions, trying to keep from falling off the hamster wheel of life. Your mind is full of chatter and your heart is disconnected – and a “heartless mind” is no way to live. When we attach our sense of identity to things outside of our self, peace is always elusive. If we think we are our family heritage, money, fame, occupation or social status, we are always in a very precarious situation, as these things can shift overnight.
I was listening to a thought leader’s interview last night and she said she was disowned by her family for asking that her family’s assigned husband for her allow her to go to college. I’ve read articles of billionaires losing it all and then killing their whole family along with themselves – I’ve known personally millionaires who too have committed suicide after losing their money. I changed careers myself – I no longer perform eye surgery and I sold my business. Yet, what I did is not who I am. Life is full of change and unexpected events.0
Personal power can accelerate when we have big “aha” moments. We don’t really know if we “know” something until we actually look at the irritant or trouble in its face and it is how we respond that reveals what we “know”.
I had ample opportunity over the last 48 hours to come face to face with old inner turbulence “under the radar” that surfaced through my close relationships. It gave me an opportunity to practice self-awareness. This is one reason why I call relationships a major type of “mirror of life”.
Our relationships can quickly expose what is going on internally at a subconscious level. Those around us who irritate us most are showing us the shortcut to reclaiming our personal power – pay attention! Now I must say that this works best after we have started to “train our brain” to separate from over-identifying our self-image with our thoughts. You are not your thoughts.
We HAVE thoughts, yet strictly speaking our “being” is life force/spirit, consciousness and is not the same as the patterns or concepts that run through our brain on a daily basis. Herein lies a way to accelerate your personal power and growth. As you learn what thoughts, feelings and emotions are and how your brain processes information based on how you’ve conditioned it, you can begin to change the perception of feelings and this will actually change the quality of their intensity and whether or not you can respond powerfully with self-awareness or if you react and run away or become uncontrollably upset.
In my situation, I had a button pushed that related to a set of expectations and pedestals I had created about the persons involved.7
Until confidence and inner peace is cultivated inside out, you will be subject to having your feelings hijacked without notice. I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal online the other day on Fear and Self-Doubt.
The article is entitled, “Conquering Fear” by Melinda Beck. I created an acronym when I wrote my book, Empower Up and Play Big: Winning at Life from the Inside Out! called FEAR – Fictitious Evidence Affecting Reality.
From a brain standpoint, most fear is literally “all in your head”, meaning it is psychological. The estimate is that 90% of our stress is due to our focusing on things that scare us, like the evening news, or having an inner critic that berates us, or worrying about something that hasn’t even happened.
So, where is this inner critic coming from, those annoying voices in our heads? I don’t know about you, but generally speaking, mine has quieted down and has become a type of ally. This inner critic is a type of “cellular” memory that is within your brain’s, “autobiographical” storage area.
Is there hard research for this? Probably not, but I’m not one to let other mere mortal scientists tell me what to think. We do have areas of the brain that stores this information “autobiographical” information, and is so called, and it makes intuitive sense that since this is the mental construct of your sense of “self” and your life experiences, that it is where the “inner critic” resides as well.
We have “parts” of ourselves that form our personality and do so often at times in early childhood when we were full of fear, even of things like the “boogeyman”. Though they do not have a lot of logic, children do the best that they can to make sense of the world and to stay safe. The problem is, most children think that it is their fault for virtually every unpleasant situation.
They blame themselves for everything from mom and dad’s divorce to their impatient teacher yelling at them inappropriately. Interestingly enough it seems that after age 7 or so, most people begin the totally opposite behavior of blaming everybody else for everything and avoiding responsibility. By then, most people are so full of self-doubt and shame that they spend the rest of their life projecting their feelings onto other people. Life does not need to be lived judging, comparing yourself to everyone else and beating yourself up for subjective performance.6