“Wakey wakey, rise and shine” is a phrase that brings back happy childhood memories, and still always puts a smile on my face. Today though, I believe it has a deeper meaning relating to leaders and their teams. Conscious leadership is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the business press, with much more focus on service, higher purpose, unconscious and soul-based business. All words and phrases that, until recently, were far from commonplace in the workplace! I for one believe it’s a good thing that we are perhaps finally waking up to the possibility that many previously accepted rules of industry and motivation are outmoded, as we move towards a new understanding of how our world works.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about the growing acknowledgement that true mastery lies in self-mastery. And I don’t mean personal control, strict regimes or forced behaviours in order to “get there” – wherever ‘there’ happens to be.
For too long I have observed rising fear levels in the companies that have hired me – with too much emphasis on external goals, bottom line, and efficiencies, at the expense of the humanness that creates the company. Some people have become so fearful about losing their job that they just do what’s necessary, and work on the “CMA” mantra (Cover My A…) to fit in with internal politics. If they’re seen to be doing the right thing then they’re more likely to keep their job, but in doing that they have no time to actually do the job!
Many times I’ve posed this question to executives “what would you do if this was happening at home?” and every time their response has been very different from their work-based reactions. This highlights a marked separation in what is acceptable as professional behaviour and what is acceptable in the real world. For many it was a light-bulb moment.
The time for change is upon us. The phrase “it’s business, nothing personal” just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. Recently, I’ve started to see evidence that indicates we’re finally on the road to a new appreciation of real authenticity. The kind that asks for feedback, that asks for help, that isn’t afraid to say “I don’t know”. The question now is how to rise up and become a more conscious leader. I wholeheartedly applaud this move – although I accept it won’t be an easy journey.
For many years we’ve been taught that the brain is the master – with emphasis on brain training, mind exercise and thought control. There’s of course a hugely valid place for this approach to development and training – but it’s not the be all and end all, and can inadvertently cause disconnect and depersonalization if that’s all that we focus on. Because there’s something more. The brain is actually not the master, it’s the loyal servant. And as soon as we realise that we are more than just our thoughts, then we wake up to a whole new world.
As we connect with what’s underneath our thoughts, and then consciously learn to live and communicate from that place, that’s when inner conflict stops, mind-chatter becomes quiet, and our results automatically improve. We become more inclusive, more authentic, calmer, more centered – in short, we shine. To quote Marianne Williamson’s words, spoken by Nelson Mandela: “…as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”
Can you begin to imagine how different today’s companies could be if more people were consciously living from that place of authentic personal power? I can. Why? Because I’ve learned how to light-up and connect the hard way by overcoming repeated life-shattering experiences. Through these, I’ve fine-tuned a reliable, replicable, life-enhancing way to guide others to connect with what’s behind the thoughts. I’ve witnessed the most extraordinary results – both in my life and the lives of others, in business and in their personal life. The answers are not ‘out there’ nor are they in your ‘thoughts’ – the answers lie within you. When you are firing on all conscious cylinders, your results automatically improve.
As a final note, I’d love to share a wonderful story about a speaker who told of how he was struggling to find a subject for a particularly important presentation the next day. The ideas just wouldn’t come, and then to cap it all, his young son bounced into the office wanting to go and play in the park.
“But you promised dad, you promised!” he wailed. Needing to buy some time, the man combed through a nearby magazine until he found a page with a full world map on it. He thought, “Perfect!” and proceeded to tear up the map into small pieces, creating a jigsaw puzzle that would keep his son busy for a while. He told the boy, “Here you go. I have created a puzzle for you. And, as soon as you have taped this entire puzzle back together, we will go to the park.” The boy went into the next room to begin his task, and the father continued to look for inspiration.
Just seven minutes later, the father was stunned when the boy returned with the map completely taped together in perfect order. Dumbfounded, he asked his son to explain how he’d achieved such a difficult jigsaw so quickly? The boy grinned, “It was easy, Dad. There’s a picture of a man’s face on the other side. That was much easier. So I worked on that. And I found that when the man was right, the world was right, too.” There it was. The son had his playtime in the park, and the speaker had the subject for the best presentation he’d ever made in his life.
It’s time to wake up, rise and shine – because when we are conscious and connected, our world becomes the same.