The Practice of Authentic Leadership
We are all leaders. From conscious executives, parents and teachers to serial killers and rapist. How is that possible? Because every action we take, conscious or unconscious, influences those around us and elicits many responses such as love, connectedness, creativity, fear and rage.
An authentic spark of inspiration often comes because someone in our life or a public figure provokes us. For me, my passion and curiosity about leadership was provoked because I did not feel inspired.
Sometimes the greatest lessons and gifts come in packages that are hard to swallow.
“I have everything I want, why am I not happy?”
I once believed that if I could achieve my ideas about what a happy life entailed I would no longer feel lost or afraid. It was a startling awakening when I found myself married to a loving man, a scholarship to receive my Masters in Business Administration and all the boxes of ‘security and happiness’ checked off my list. The reality was a ‘Perfect life, disconnected heart’.
I would ask myself, “I have everything I could want. What’s wrong with me, why am I not happy?” All the accomplishments led me to the reality that these pursuits are a superficial search for true happiness and freedom.
It was time to get real with my fear to live and my fear to die:
My fear to die to all of those roles and identities I believed represented who I was.
My fear to live wholeheartedly and fearlessly into this uncertain life that beckons me forward into every moment with trust and love. It takes great courage to be transparent and come out of hiding to allow the world to see me just as I am.
There is no map for this way of living besides an open heart, a willingness to be naked, vulnerable and deep listening. The practice of working with beliefs and the conditioned mind is a priceless journey.
The Flow of Connectedness and the Crash of Apparent Separation:
I believe we are all leaders. How do you embrace being in the flow or feeling caught in the loop of stories and suffering? They both reveal wisdom and both provide gateways to our liberation if we embrace them all as teachers and pointers.
This flow can be viewed as the experience an athlete, artist or even someone meditating feels when they are effortlessly creating their art through being. You know the feeling when you are so connected to the moment that time disappears and your mind quiets into the stillness of whatever is happening.
What can be confusing for many is when this spaciousness or flow fades when the activity finishes. What follows is a tsunami of the familiar patterns and contractions flooding the sense of connectivity and joy. What’s left feels like a prickly and protective person. The pursuit ensues again to recreate this level of flow and connection. The grasping is an effort to avoid the internal prison of the conditioned mind and its addictive patterns.
The most obvious step is to simply allow ourselves to have whatever experience we’re having without resistance. Yet, this simple step is one of our greatest challenges!
It’s not a state one strives to achieve but a practice and journey of self-inquiry. This requires presence and commitment. Creating focused practices to identify and work with these patterns as they arise is one of the basic tenets for leading an authentic life and leading with consciousness and wisdom. As the Buddha said, ‘pain is inevitable and suffering is optional.’
Building Your Tribe:
We all need accountability partners to help us along this journey. Just as we are unique individuals so are there many unique paths to cultivate awareness and discover what we are. If we can embrace our life circumstances, both the painful and the joyful, as guides along the path we have all the invitations we could ever need to awaken. The next step is leaning into the ways that support us to reveal our own wisdom and come back to the truth of our existence.
I help people learn to consciously lead their lives from the inside out. My heart is devoted to bringing this kind of awareness to our personal lives, relationships and straight into the corridors of business and the executives that create and guide company cultures and business practices.
Essentially, I feel it’s time to integrate who we are with everything we do to create more wholeness and freedom for ourselves and the planet.