People are doing a lot of talking, texting and technology…but are they feeling heard? Better yet, do you feel heard? While at one time the masses of people may not have been able to “speak their truth” as we were gagged and bound it seemed by “the media control” that allowed access for an elite few or those with sizable enough bank accounts to bankroll one’s message or agenda.
Now, with social media and Internet access, technology allows anyone with access to a device to create a blog, open a free social media account and to upload free videos. Some people have seemingly become overnight, Justin Bieber for example, wildly successful entertainers by getting started on YouTube. There is a lot of talking going on, but I’d have to agree with an article I read on The Atlantic, “Saving the Lost Art of Conversation” written by Megan Garber, that people may be using the various technology platforms in record breaking numbers…yet they are not having real conversation. Paradoxically, this leads to feelings of isolation in the midst of the crowd.
Clarity is powerful and is a primary ingredient to performing at your best. It is poorly understood and generally not a feature of most people’s strategies. Why? Because we are too busy…being busy. We take pride in taking, “massive action.”
Yet, if you are not clear about where you want to go and why, IF you arrive at your chosen destination at all you will likely find it was not the solution you were seeking. IF you even make it to your goal, you may find that you wasted much time, energy and money and made unnecessary mistakes – a.k.a. “learning” by trial and error – along the way.
Why do this? Why do we typically do this?
1. It’s because we don’t know what we don’t know.
2. We have not been taught the energy efficient way of creating and innovating with intention.
3. We believe it takes “hard work in order to be successful.”
4. We really don’t know what we really want.
5. We don’t know who we really are and what our authentic, heart-felt vision is.
There are other reasons; these are five significant ones. We tend toward massive action without insight because we are not used to the idea of reflection, restoration and we don’t know and trust ourselves. We don’t listen to our own inner intuitive voice.
Change is the theme of our times. We can either embrace it and proactive create the change that we want to see or allow it to random come upon us. Either way, change will continue to be a part of our lives. Neuroscience can help us as leaders to learn how to “optimally operate” our truly amazing brain.
The Art and Science of NeuroReInvention® allows us the space of integrating our whole brain and mind. Change is an art as much as it is a science. Both hemispheres are involved in the creative process. We have been repressing and leaving out our ‘art’ side – the right brain.
Trying to only be ‘logical’ and predictable is a stumbling block to innovation. It is a sure sign of mental rigidity. We have tried to ignore the right-brain’s contribution to innovation and our intelligence. Thanks to neuroscience the right-brain – which is the metaphor of the heart – is beginning to receive its long overdue recognition.
We need to be able to integrate the various parts of our brain in order to integrate the various parts of our life into a whole with self-awareness. As I’ve become more self-aware, I’ve even been able to take my professional training in neuroscience, via my need to be able to diagnosis brain tumors and other neurologic diseases into what I’m now doing as a speaker, facilitator and executive coach. I use my creativity to translate my knowledge of the brain into my knowledge of human behavior and spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well-being.
I was listening to a video by an author where he defined ‘self-actualization’ in terms of ‘ego’ or selfish individualism – a type of narcissism. This goes to show the limitations of language and how meaning can be confused. The ‘self’ in self-actualization in my mind is just the opposite. It is the freedom from the mental constructs of the ego-self. And, it’s an ancient concept.
It is the awareness that there is a ‘core’ you that is beyond the labels and judgments of the ‘autobiographical memory’ of the brain’s cellular memory that forms the ego – in neuroscience terminology. Self-actualization is another way of saying, ‘enlightenment’. It is the ‘real you’ Self. It reaches beyond the social conditioning that says, ‘you are only this or that’. Or, ‘you cannot be, do or have this or that’ – just because society holds you in an itty-bitty box of judgment.
Self-actualization is about recognizing more and more who you really are and hopefully accessing more of your true potential. It is freeing your mind from the limitations that create distraction, disease and dysfunction. So, just to be clear, my definition of self-actualization leads a person to be more collaborative with others, not more selfish.
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: