Consciously Living Our Best Life - June 2021 Newsletter Article
“Enough about me. I’ll be quiet and you can talk about me for a while.”
That’s what one of my mentors used to say when he felt like he was dominating too much of the conversation. It was a funny break, and it allowed us to ensure balance in our interactions.
I smiled, thinking about him, as I read a book titled, “The 15 Commitments of Conscience Leadership.” This wasn’t a book that I was running to. It found its way onto my list, and I thought - What the heck, I haven’t read a leadership book for a while.
It turned out to be great. It contains lots of affirmation for servant leadership, our leadership academy, and my 3Cs - the belief that leaders need to be Clear, Consistent and Curious.
Near the beginning of the book, the authors ask what people would say if you said, “Did you hear that the leader of a major corporation is unconscious?” Most people would say, “Oh no, did he hit his head? Did he have a heart attack?”
Author note: Did you catch that they said “He” when referring to a CEO? As a Girl Dad, that makes me say Grrrrrr 😠.
Anyone responding to that question would not reply that it’s a good thing that the leader is unconscious. Yet, many leaders are walking through life and their responsibilities without self-awareness and conscious behaviors about living or leadership.
When they train leaders to be conscious, they draw a single black line on a blank piece of paper and ask, “Are you leading above the line or below the line?”
Above the line leaders are committed to living their genius and doing what they are uniquely qualified to do. They want to be curious, learn, and grow.
Below the line leaders, those who are unconscious, want to be right.
It’s important to point out that conscience leadership, and living, is not sequential. We operate more in states, not stages. Where are you living today?
To illustrate this point further, the authors offered four states of leadership:
- To Me
- By Me
- Through Me
- As Me
Remember, these are states that we live in, not stages that we move through sequentially. It’s important to bring awareness to what state you are experiencing.
The “TO ME” state says that something outside of my control is happening to me. My spouse or friend is doing something to me that I don’t like. The pandemic is making me do things that are not positive and generative. We typically describe feeling like a victim. Why is this happening to me? Something in my past, or my childhood, is causing me to behave like this today. There is something wrong and we need someone to blame. You might know a neighbor who searches social media or TV news for someone to blame.
“BY ME” is all about creative thinking. We are the cause of our circumstances and happiness. Everything in the world is unfolding for our learning and development. Nothing has to be different.
That sounds very positive, doesn’t it? It’s true that a commitment to learning and growth is “above the line” conscious living. While that’s great, I’ve experienced a hero instinct that feels more below the line. There is too much focus on me. I can fix this. I can control this situation.
Whereas in the “THROUGH ME” state, we acknowledge that there is a greater power. For some that might be God, Allah or Buddha. For others, they feel an energy, love or nature. Something is greater than me and working through me.
“Through Me” thinking is aligned with purpose in a way that “To Me” is not. We ask questions like, “what is the best version of my life and how am I living that today?” By Me state causes us to try and answer that question. Through Me allows us to let things unfold. We surrender and let go. Very little might be within our control. The focus is on learning and growth.
The authors said they spend little to no time teaching the “AS ME” state to leaders. This is a state of oneness where there is no separation. Energy is all there is, and it is not divisible. Questions about life and purpose are replaced with presence in the moment.
As we become more aware of what state we are in, their recommendation is to commit to curiosity and responsibility. Then, we dedicate ourselves to growing our emotional intelligence.
Below the line leaders blame. Above the line leaders take responsibility. Below the line leaders attack with guilt and fear. Above the line leaders apply learning, love and play.
We all have leadership responsibilities in our lives. We all have influence on other people and environments. Try to let go of being right and commit to your learning, curiosity and growth.
Thanks for taking the time to explore conscious living and leadership with me. Please take great care of yourselves and one another.
I am always here to support you.