In this contribution we will look into the 5 essentials of transformational leadership, which really is all about the basic yet profound inquiry: "who do we need and want to be, so that we can take the right actions that will transform the reality around us?"
"Be the Change you want to see in the world"
Often we want to make changes in our personal and professional lives. And then we make firm new decisions, lofty resolutions and strategic plans in the clarity of the moment. But then somehow, somewhere along the way, we get bogged down, we lose focus and it all becomes part of an ever extending list of things to do - in which we tend to lose perspective of what really matters most. Indeed, when we make a new commitment, it may soon become yet another one of a great number of priorities - just another item on our planning list. And when challenges come up or dilemma's present themselves, we can get really stuck, because we have lost our sense of what is truly important.
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind”
However, it does not have to be like that. There is great value in distinguishing between your priorities - and that is over and above the distinctions between what is important and/or urgent and what not. Indeed, at one level, there is your “to do” list, and at quite another, meta-level, there are your “to be” commitments. The first one is business as usual – same old, same old. However, no real and lasting change can ever happen as long as you don't invest focused energy in consciously, seriously and profoundly dealing with the second, which is the only thing that really can bring about true and lasting transformation – from the inside out – at a personal, team and systemic level. Indeed, the second one contains your answers to the fundamental question: "who do I need to be in order to get what I truly want and transform the reality around me?"
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Below then, are the five core essentials that will enable you to transform your reality. They are called Presence, Authenticity, Integrity, Creativity and Love. Mastering these five will inevitably make you a great, powerful and caring transformational leader, who will find great joy and fulfilment in life, make great contributions and add great value to other people's lives, and leave a considerable legacy to the world.
For clarity's sake I would like to offer the following distinction, between change and transformation: change is pushing against what is and trying with great and exhausting effort to alter it in the process; transformation is creating anew – and the latter we can only do from a different, new, higher level of consciousness.
Presence is being Here & Now.
“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That's why we call it the present.”
It is important to get that any complaint, excuse, rant about whatever is, is a “story” that make us a victim, and attempts to exonerate ourselves from our responsibility, and from an opportunity to creatively act. Presence is about our consciousness, our mindfulness, our full awareness 24/7 of our thinking and feeling - much like someone contemplating the clouds gliding before the sun - all the while in the full know that we are NOT our thinking & our feeling, but the observer, the chooser, the decider. Presence is being with what is, in the here and now. Not in the past. Not in the future. Not consumed by emotion. Not lost in thought. Here and now is the only place and time where you can act and create a new future. Without presence we cannot impact on reality, influence others or be a great leader.
Authenticity is being real.
“I know who I am”
Authenticity is about knowing who we are. Being who we are. Doing what we are. Your talents and strengths, your knowledge and experience; your relations and connections, your values and beliefs, your passions and commitments, where you come from (your roots) and where you purposefully going to to (your Calling). You are the sum total of all of this – and more – and the clearer you are on who you are, the more you are being who you are, and the more you act from that place – the more authentic you will be, the more power, influence and impact you will have, the more joy and fulfilment you will experience, and the more value you will create for yourself, and your family, work, community and the World.
Authenticity is a work of consciousness, self-awareness, courage – and especially love, self-love. The cost of inauthenticity is being in reaction, rather than in creation all your life, stepping into other people’s expectations and dreams, and becoming a rudderless boat without compass.
We can be ruled by our Higher Self, our True Self, our Authenticity, or, conversely, by ruled by our thought, our feeling, our ego. If we are not authentic we live a life of pretence. Of chasing riches, position, reputation – following impulses and desires which are not who we truly are. We step into the dreams of others. We do what others or society seem to expect from us, because we have no inner core that speaks loud enough to tell us who we truly are, where we really want to go, and what we are called to do. We are ruled by ego. Our life becomes one endless kneejerk reaction after another to what the circumstances dish us up. We are slave, not master, blown around with whatever wind comes our way. And ego shows its ugly head when we are “on it” and “can’t get off it”, when we are being right and making others wrong; when we are looking good and making others look bad; when we stop asking questions and only have our answers ready, when we don’t see wisdom when it is staring us right in the face, and when we can't have a good laugh at ourselves in the process!
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the ego – it is part of all of us and can never be successfully fought. Trying to do that is akin to trying to kill your shadow. The question is rather, do you own your ego, or does your ego rule your life? The first approach gives us gives health, power, growth. The second makes us ugly, driven by fear, lust, greed & blind ignorance of the consequences of our deeds. Authenticity then is not about being good and fighting the bad. It is about being Great. This is about enjoying the good and accepting the bad, and being master, rather than slave of either.
And we can only respond rather than react, be response-able rather than reactionary, be a creator rather than a victim when we give ourselves that space – consciously. When we choose to become the observer, and live, find meaning, connect, grow and contribute from our Higher Self.
Integrity is being whole, integrated, congruent.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
It is acting based on who you are (authenticity – especially in congruence with your values), it is walking your talk, and it is doing what you say you will do by the time you say you will do it. This is about completion – and completion requires two things: our full commitment to act to the best of our ability, and our loving forgiveness for self and others when the commitment cannot be achieved in this space and time..
It is therefore not about just keeping your word (factor of doing), but about Being your Word. This is based on acting from who you are (authenticity). It is about asking the right questions on what can be done, getting clarity on what we can do, committing ourselves to do this specific thing, acting upon this commitment and coming to completion. Integrity is where our power truly lies – it is where we can find full authentic self-expression – by releasing the potential of who we truly are – by letting the rubber hit the ground. Our mettle can only tested in daily action. It is our actions that will speak loudest about us – far louder than our words and best intentions ever could.
Creativity is about being innovative, spontaneous, free in response to what reality is serving you up.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will”
George Bernard Shaw
When we act from authenticity we do not follow scripts. Nor do we need to, because we access our inner source and power, which has infinitely more knowledge, wisdom and ability to deal with what is, than any encyclopedia on history ever could. We need to let go of having to do things right, and learn to do the right things – and trust our deep inner wisdom and intuition in the process. For that we need to get into that space that Viktor Frankl so aptly describes (quote above). Where there is no pressure to be right and make wrong, to look good and make look bad, where we are in freedom and able to respond to what the future is requesting us. Creativity comes from seeing, hearing, formulating the right questions (not from knowing the answers). This puts us in a space where we can be creators – in response to what is actually needed – rather than victims, ever in reaction, clinging to the past, and deploring why things can’t be as we want them to be – moaning, complaining and finding excuses. As creators (with Theory U) we are not rehashing the past, but creating from the future. We can be in a space of spontaneity that is fertile ground for what is actually needed, rather than what should have been from the point of view of the limited, boxed in, conditioned mind. Creativity never reacts, complains or makes excuses – it is in the zone of courageous action, it deals with what is, it asks the right questions, it recognizes no borders or limitations but sees the possibility and the solution, and simply, joyously and outrageously creates.
Love, lastly is about manifesting who we truly are – all of us, over and beyond our individual differences, the different authentic aspects of the diamond we are as humanity.
“My mission is making love a worldwide reality through a revolution of consciousness”
Marc Steinberg (Creative Consciousness International)
In our deepest authenticity as human beings we are love, we are consciousness, we are one. Understanding that love is our true identity gives us total liberation to grow, to create and to contribute from whom we truly are for the betterment of all. Finding our true self frees us to truly live, learn, love and leave our legacy. It is our consciousness of that seeming paradox between our authentic uniqueness and our authentic oneness that, more than anything else, defines humanity. This very thing, Love, is the sum total of it all. It is what, if anything, will make us survive, grow and evolve. It is the light shining through in you.
Are you living a life of Presence? Authenticity? Integrity? Creativity? Love?
Which new choices, decisions and commitments can you make so that you really can live the life you were born to live, find true joy and be of great service to yourself, to others and the world?
In conclusion, I would like to offer you the following research questions which you can ask yourself when confronted with any challenge or dilemma you may face:
• What does your Presence see?
• What can your Authenticity do?
• What will your Integrity do?
• What can your Creativity give life to?
• What will be your committed Act of Love?
I trust this may be valuable to you. Your feedback is always welcome!