Authentic leadership: You can choose who to be
You can learn to harness the ways of being that work for you so you only use them in the leadership situations and circumstances that really call for them. In this article we look at how you can choose who to be.
This morning, if you slept well, just a few seconds before waking up, still within your dreams, you had no idea of who you were and who you were going to be today. For some moments just before and just after waking up, you had some blessed time of not being ‘somebody’ but just pure self, pure consciousness. Then the day flooded in and you ‘knew’ who you are – spouse, parent, boss, worker – and what your day would be like – busy, stressful, blissful, normal, unusual etc.
We actually start every day by ‘putting on’ our ‘being’ – though usually completely unconsciously. You need to be recognisably ‘yourself’ for yourself and the others in your life. If we are not aware of this process, we end up recollecting bits and pieces of yesterday’s ‘being’ and settling for that. We do it every day habitually.
This is all good when you do it knowingly and willingly – but what about if you do it because you feel you have no other choice? You assume the mantle of submissive partner because that’s what you did yesterday and that’s what your spouse expects of you. Or you struggle to be an authoritative boss because you think that’s what’s required in your new management role. Or you continue to swallow your anger and be ‘nice’ because that’s how you were brought up. To some extent every person every day ‘puts on’ some way of being to blend well into the world – and just as well. There’d be chaos otherwise.
But it doesn’t work if you just do it unconsciously, with no sense of choosing who to be. Can you see how much mental/spiritual energy you spend on maintaining some of these ways of being? Sometimes it’s just too much. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to willingly put on/take off, turn on/turn off your ways of being as you chose?
Well you can. You can train yourself to observe from that still, peaceful, core self that you experience in those quiet moments before waking up. You can learn to say, “Oops there I go, assuming I have to be the way they want be to be again”, and decide for yourself whether that way of being is an authentic expression of the true you. You can learn to harness the ways of being that work for you and only use them in the situations and circumstances that really call for them.
For example, some of the most mature and powerful true leaders in the world don’t take charge of every situation or throw their weight around when there’s no need. They often appear to be quite quiet and still. But watch them step up when leadership is required – they just ramp up the power and lift their presence and their behaviour to another level.
Nobody needs to be authoritative all the time, or submissive (though it’s useful sometimes), nor (even) ‘nice’. You can increasingly learn to live your life from that still quiet place inside you – to be the same inside and out. Then, when needed, alternative ways of being will be available to you – you’ve had plenty of practice after all. And you’ll find from personal experience that it’s a much more energy-efficient way of living your life!
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