Courageous Leadership from the Heart
Blog 2 of 6: Conscious Lives: Individual (re)connection
Living from the outside-in or from the inside-out –
Reconnecting to our Inner Compass or Inner Guidance.
I wanted to be an accountant from the age of 10 as my uncles were accountants and lived in big houses. I moved to Malawi because I wanted to see the wild animals. I took a job in Finance to pay the mortgage. This is living from the outside-in. I have recently come to know that the inside-out understanding of life is better. This is an “inner guidance”, a sensing, and a knowing how I should be leading my life. Some people might call this my purpose or passion, what makes my heart sing, or my eyes shine from within.
According to Giles Hutchins the thinking rational intelligence (IQ) has been overly dominant in recent years and we should reconnect with our emotional intelligence (EQ); intuitive, spiritual intelligence (SQ); and our somatic “gut-feel” intelligence (PQ or Physical Quotient).
Source: Giles Hutchins
This integrated level of IQ, EQ, SQ and PQ helps you navigate through life without having to figure it out, overthink issues, or overanalyse. Our fundamental way of seeing the world changes, we strip down layers of fear and limiting beliefs to reveal our natural innate health and wellbeing and reconnect with ourselves and our “inner guidance”. This is further encouraged by the 3 principles coach Michael Neil who says:
As your intellect settles down and your intelligence (EQ,SQ,PQ) kicks in more and more, you will:
feel more at peace
have insights more often, both simple and profound
get “philosophical” about life and take things less personally
connect more deeply with others
These are the natural result of using our minds more in line with their design. Your intellect will no longer try so hard to run the show on its own.
My inside-out understanding and appreciation of inner guidance has been a long learning curve, and one started rather late in life.
In October 2013 I received my worst employee appraisal ever, at 53 years of age and after many years as a director in companies and NGO’s! I thought my boss was on a different planet. She may well have been, but on reflection, I was too. I did not take responsibility for playing my part. I did not keep my Boss informed of my work, I kept quiet when I disagreed with the organisation’s direction or having kept quiet so long shouted out in frustration. I also said nothing when the Boss rambled for two hours continuously in staff meetings and did not sufficiently encourage engagement of all my colleagues. These realisations, and more, kick started my journey to a more conscious life.
By chance my wife had booked us on a happiness workshop the following weekend where at one point, during a break for a walk in nature, I got a shock from an electrified fence….which I took as a message to “wake-up”, to reconnect with me, my core identity, my values, my emotions, and what I’d like to achieve in life. To become more my real self, consciously changing habits, learning to be more authentic and making time for reflection, relaxation, and inspiration. To be more in-tune with my mind, body and soul through leading a more conscious life. My wife sees me as a completely different person. Worry and anxiety-free, more open and speaking from the heart.
I have found that additional inner serenity and self-awareness means a quieter mind, an inner confidence, and an inner knowing that changes relationships and the tone of voice and vocabulary used, all for the better.
As for my relationship with the boss – our discussions changed nature to better listening, appreciation of each other’s points of view and wanting to reach a shared understanding. We worked our differences and our beliefs through and operated more effectively together thereafter. I wish I had figured this out earlier!
So how do we reconnect to our mind, body and soul and inside-out understanding of life?
Reconnecting to the Mind and Body – In my journey of “waking up” I reflected on my values and whether I was living to them, I increased physical activity, started changing food and drink habits and worked on improving the quality of my sleep. Subsequently, and with my work colleagues, we followed a programme from Hintsa Performance covering the same ground with their “Circle of Better Life”. Hintsa have several Formula 1 racing drivers as clients but offer a more basic approach for the corporate world. Hintsa state that sustainable high performance, for leaders as well as racing drivers, is built on a healthy and balanced life.
Source: Hintsa Performance
The centre of the circle is the core: core identity, core values, being self-aware, and knowing your control mechanisms to keep yourself “present”. The outer circle is physical activity, nutrition, rest and sleep, biomechanics (flexibility of the body through Yoga and Pilates for example), mental energy and general health. Consciously making an effort with the whole Circle of Better Life is time-consuming and challenging but has been life-enhancing for me.
My colleagues agreed that we had more energy, more vitality, clearer minds, increased ability to focus, feeling different and good, and a greater understanding of our inner world. It is often said that the better the inner “being”, the better the outer “doing” becomes. My colleagues and I resonated with this.
Reconnecting to the mind – Self-awareness is something we all think we are good at and is the biggest step in reconnecting to the mind. Psychologist Tasha Eurich reports that 95% of people think they’re self-aware – that is, conscious of what really makes them tick and how they come across to others – yet only about 10-15% of us truly are. Take the quiz on http://www.insight-book.com/quiz.aspx to find out how self-aware you are.
Self-Awareness is further defined, on https://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/self-awareness.htm as having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, (values), motivation, and emotions. Self-Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment.
My top values in 2015 (they change over time) were Harmony, Contentment, Clarity, Honesty, Teaching, Ethics and Making a difference. I was not living to them as, for example, I would keep my emotions in too long until I ended up shouting at my Boss. Hardly harmonious nor honest. There are a lot of self-assessment tests on the internet and in the marketplace. I found Korn Ferry’s Talent Q an excellent assessment programme for the workplace.
Reconnecting to the soul – Swiss-based COCREA have a “Personal Mastery and Leadership” course that delves into self-awareness and leadership using Claire Nuer’s work on the impact of the Ego System as a base.
CoCrea helped me unearth that my driving force was a need to be a fountain of all knowledge and skill in the workplace and home be that in it finance, IT, HR, governance, communications, DIY, gardening, and child-rearing all in order to avoid criticism. The sheer weight of being the know-all wiseman made me feel as though I was working at 150% stress levels. Just realising and knowing this has freed my mind, lowered my blood pressure, and given me space to be proactive in my own life.
This example shows that we use observations from our past and build unconscious behaviours that are likely to be counterproductive. Understanding this helps us to take responsibility to learn how to shift to a “creative” state to achieve what we want in life. This shift is represented in the excellent simple and yet complex process of Theory U.
Otto Sharmer’s Theory U is a process that I revisit with greater understanding every time I look at it. Theory U is for people, teams and organisations. For people it relates to personal leadership, a different way of thinking and encouraging you to step into the emerging future. It is explaining the foundational process of what is going on in the brain whilst reconnecting with your mind, body and soul, and the inside-out understanding.
Using the Theory U graphic to explain my relationship with my Boss – I judged my Boss to be on a different planet but managed to see with fresh eyes that I had played my part in the saga. I became curious with an open mind and asked questions of myself and my Boss to gain an understanding of how we could see things so differently.
I was firm in my view that nothing could change but used empathy to understand where my Boss was coming from. I did not appreciate the level of open heart and compassion needed at that time, but managed to observe, to listen and to sense what my Boss was wanting to achieve and my resistance.
I let go of my resistance and fear of being sacked, my fear of being shouted at, and took the courage and open will to try to let come a new approach. My vision and intention was for my views on organisational direction to be heard. Operating from the whole of head, heart and mind we calmly discussed Collective Leadership and Collective Impact. We had great discussions. Subsequently, these approaches were introduced in the next strategic plan and received Board approval. Success indeed.
When you have escaped the Ego system and have reconnected with your mind, body, soul you will be connecting to source and speaking from a place of deep knowing. People sense when you are talking from the heart. They believe in you and are motivated to join your vision. This may seem complicated, needing enormous effort, but is really being our natural compassionate caring selves.
In the busyness of our lives it is easy to blame the outside system, others and life. We have become disconnected to what is going on in the world around us, and our own lives. Having an “inside-out” understanding of life, an inner guidance, a silence of the mind, using our emotional, spiritual and somatic intelligence transforms, for the better, our approach to life.
For me, the difference is exponential. Fitter, healthier, happier. More self-awareness and living more to my values. Conversations and relationships change for the better. Clarity of thoughts and good ideas come to mind easier, with a stronger desire to help others and do more to help society.
We all need to have the courage and the time to lead more conscious lives. This conscious awareness changes lives for the better and can enhance workplaces too. Organisations can encourage this change by introducing purpose and simplicity, which will be discussed in my next blog.
Intandem’s offer on Conscious Lives: Individual (re)connection:
We guide people to find quality of mind through leading more conscious lives, reconnecting with their mind, body and soul, inner-compass and the inside-out understanding of life. Thus, helping people to feel more at peace, have insights more often, and connect more deeply with others. This foundational awareness is that more conscious individuals will transform the organization, its purpose, relationships, and processes to co-create a better world.
Courageous and Conscious Leadership from the heart:
Intandem and our network of consultants can accompany you in finding clarity and quality of mind entailing individual Conscious Lives, organisational purpose and simplicity, support for the whole person, embracing self-management and collective leadership for action.
If you would like to discuss your organisation’s way forward contact firstname.lastname@example.org