Leadership is the power to influence others to create positive change. And we’re always influencing those in our businesses – regardless of our title or position, so it’s critical to get intentional about our values, and live our values daily. Understanding beliefs here is key, because beliefs drive values, values drive behavior and behavior extends to the creation of culture.
The issue is many of our beliefs are self-limiting and unconscious, typically falling into three core areas:
Inadequacy – I’m not (rich, smart, attractive etc.) enough;
Scarcity – I don’t have enough (money, attention, power, love etc.);
Trust – I don’t trust (you, myself, life, God etc.)
They’re programmed into our minds as children, further conditioned throughout life, and often the source of unconscious fear and shame. We then create masks to hide these unconscious beliefs, which creates inauthentic behavior, sabotages integrity, and drains us of the vital energy to inspire, create and execute. The unconscious expression of these unconscious beliefs creates the leader’s shadow.
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Therefore, to access all of your power as a leader, it is vital to make the unconscious conscious – do the required “in-venture” to discover and bring the shadow into the light of awareness.
When the shadow is known, we can accept all of who we are. We free up energy used in masking parts of ourselves we deem wrong, and access the true power of our authentic selves. As we increase authenticity, we build trust and connection enabling us to better empower our teams to drive positive change. We also then operate with expanded mental-emotional clarity, making more impactful choices and decisions to create greater value.
3. Develop Your Powers of Observation
Self-awareness increases only when we begin to observe our minds – the origin of ego and shadow discussed above, and the generator of all thought, emotion and sensation. When we begin to witness our mental-emotional reaction patterns and the stories we construct we can:
Access presence – the place where stillness, calm and mental clarity exists;
Access space – between the story of me (ego identification) and the observer of the story of me (witness) where our power, vitality, effectiveness and integrity live;
Access freedom -in the ability to make more skillful choices aligned with our highest future possibility;
Access power – in observing the shadow and knowing it’s origin, we can accept, integrate and enable greater authenticity, integrity and full self-expression.
As we practice identifying ego, exposing our shadows, and observing the habits of our minds, we naturally feel a greater sense of connection with all things.
We develop a more profound understanding that as leaders, we’re true partners with society – responsible to the whole stakeholder system – shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, partners, community, planet.
And we can access a reservoir of natural power, based in natural law, that allows us to become a more empowered co-creator of business life, instead of a less empowered reactor to business life.