The moment

that you feel that just possibly you are walking around naked, exposing your heart and mind

and all that exists on the inside

showing too much of yourself

that’s the moment you are getting it right

that is living an authentic life

if you wish to connect, not control, respond, not react, start from here.

Gandhi and the art of Business

As leaders we have been conditioned to think that our job is to come up with a brilliant strategy, share that vision with the team and let them at it, all the while “managing performance” to ensure accountability along the way.  We chug along accepting things as they are until business results don’t meet.  Usually a diagnosis is given as to the problem, people aren’t working hard enough, they aren’t spending enough time with customers, the data isn’t in the right format and doesn’t come often enough, etc, etc… and a prescribed regimen to change certain behaviors is mandated.  

It sounds good, but it rarely works.  We try to change too many things at once and most don’t stick.  Most obvious is that leaders don’t model that behavior that they expect.  I have seen this time and time again in my 15 years of experience.  A leader tells the team to spend more time with customers but continues to demand reports that force the team to be behind a desk crunching numbers.  I leader sends the team to leadership training or provides them a coach, but doesn’t participate in the training themselves or demonstrate the behavior they expect in others.

If you want to start to see real change in your organization, start simple.  Follow Gandhi’s lead, and be the change you want to see in your organization.  

 

 

Fear and truth

As leaders we have been brainwashed into thinking that acknowledging or showing fear is a weakness.  The pack will smell your weakness and expose it.  Naturally, because of this, when fear comes up most of move away, sometimes all out run away. We all know that feeling, whether your mouth goes dry, your hands get clammy, you get a knot in your stomach, our brain is registering fear and we move into fight or flight, it is how we are built. If our instinct is to run away, to avoid, we are often missing a big opportunity. To learn something about ourselves and to potentially dissipate that fear by meeting it head on.  Pema Chodron says that “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”   Our fear, whether it is a big presentation coming up a work, having to give someone difficult feedback or that spider in the corner, is telling us something we need to pay attention to. As leaders showing vulnerability, admitting to fear and overcoming it is way more inspiring and impactful than pretending it doesn’t exist. Next time that feeling creeps in, stop, take a breath and sit with it, even for a minute. Examine it, lean into it – is it real or perceived?   What is the worst case scenario, play it out and you may notice the closer you get the farther away it feels.  Experiment with sharing that fear with others, showing your human side.  By opening and sharing people can sense your authenticity and trust increases.

Open to life as it is, not as you pretend it to be.

Opening

One of the things that happens when you open yourself to life just as it is…you may have a constant urge to run the other way, or at least that is what happens to me.  Let me be clear here, I don’t have this all figured out, it is a journey, I try to do it more often rather than less.  In the same way I have a dailish meditation practice.  I attempt to have more moments in the day where I am aware that I am making a choice, whether it is a thought or action and from there try to make the choice that is the most open and real, ishishish…see what I mean?  I ask myself why I am doing what I am doing – what is the feeling behind it? Why I am resisting my boss or colleague or train seat mate or partner?  I may go right on resisting, but I try to do it consciously.  

Case in point.  In my job, the job that in which one of the the things I am tasked with is determining how we can best lead, coach and shape our people to be the best most authentic leaders possible, I also have to role model the behaviors.  Which is damn hard sometimes.  We recently had a very senior role open, one which I declined to interview for (which is a whole other story for a later date).  The final internal candidate is a person I worked with for 12 months during my stint in Amsterdam.  The “person” triggers me to no end.  Very political, extremely hierarchical, not very nice to their team…you get the picture.  The person was given the job, and in an indirect way it is part of my job to help set them up for success.  I found myself so annoyed that they got the job that I spent a good hour with a colleague complaining about all that ails our company and why they would make such a poor choice and how people are going to hate this person, blah blah, complain complain.  I found myself somewhere in my rant realizing I WANTED this to happen!  That I need to be right and I was deep down wanting him to fail.  Pause here.  Yes, this was one of those oh shit moments where I realized that I had a choice to make.  I could acknowledge the feeling, which was embarrassing to begin with, I mean what Director of Leadership secretly hopes for a new leader to fail??  I am gonna go with the “human one” as my answer, that is who.  So in the moment I acknowledged my feeling (to my wife which was way safer) and then made the choice to do what I could do to be wrong.  I decided that as much as the person triggers me, it doesn’t do me, the person, the people around the person, or the Company any good for me to be right.  

So, I am on the journey of trying to set the person up for success.  Even if it is painful.  I look at the him and see him as a person who wants to be happy, healthy, and free just like me.  Ugh.  

My dailish meditation practice and study of mindfulness is what helps me here.  I owe it to that practice that I am cultivating my own self awareness in order to be a more authentic and better person in this world.  If it weren’t for that ability to pause, I would have gone right on waiting for an wanting the person to fail.  

Don’t be afraid to be human but do try to be as honest with yourself as you can.  You may surprise yourself.

On now to your week…be healthy, happy and free my friends.Image

  The pic is just meant to make you smile 🙂

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