What it means, why it matters, where to begin?
I was invited by Anni Hood of Well Intelligence to contribute to the Well Intelligence Masterclass Series for Leaders, Wellbeing in a Post Covid World, to discuss conscious leadership.
We are in the middle of a major transformation of consciousness, and it is influencing many levels of our society. Beneath the surface a major current is surging through.
On the surface the world is consumed with the developments connected to COVID-19, its mutation and the reopening of society following months long shut down of ordinary life. The impacts of the pandemic are huge and yet are only part of something much bigger.
Change Management on a global scale
We are living a hugely important moment in history; we are presented with nothing less than the opportunity to open up to an entirely new kind of life. We are being given permission – or perhaps being asked, rather – to change the fundamentals of all of society; this includes yourself, your business and your community.
The micro is linked to the macro and the personal is linked to the universal. We do not change the parameters around us by meddling with them, we change them by changing ourselves.
A Collective Awakening
We witness how old patterns and habits make space for something to emerge. Leaders increasingly become aware that the typical “incremental improvement” approach is challenged. We humans could have “figured out” how to make many positive changes concerning the environment, equality and so on, but on the whole we haven’t. Global issues are rising to the surface like a wild bush fire. We are divided as a society.
What are the big themes?
Many things of old are being deconstructed. What seemed to signify solidity itself is evaporating, disappearing.
A seemingly fixed landscape of knowing is turning into a “mindscape” of change. Who would have thought that the entire world could actually grind to a halt? And yet it did.
When we first entered into lockdown during the spring of 2020, for many it was the first time that they slowed down. Used to a life of rushing around, many people have now acclimatized to a slower pace (and now welcome it). And at the same time there is a sense of everything speeding up, which can be confusing.
As if seeking grounding during trying times, for many the lockdown was a first as far as stepping out into nature goes. Perhaps you too have discovered that your relationship with nature has deepened and has given you a sense of calmness in otherwise turbulent times?
We are starting to develop the capacity to discover joy in the simple things. Excessive consumerism is being replaced with simplicity and minimalism on many levels. This might help one stay sane in a reality that otherwise seems to become ever more complex.
We are experiencing a shift from authoritarian power (the outer) to finding our own truth (the inner) – perhaps initially sensing only the increase in authoritarian power.
How does this manifest in our “outer” reality?
- On the high street, we are witnessing the disappearance of long-established brands.
- The disappearance of cash is no longer an impossible prospect. Jessica Adams, “the big picture astrologist”, predicts that we are to witness the end of banks. By 2026, she says, we will have one global digital currency only (not Bitcoin).
- Within the realm of travel, tourism & hospitality, the wellbeing & spa segment in particular is undergoing major changes. Given the situation of international travel there is enormous focus on the staycation market – in Singapore a ‘cruise to nowhere’ is available (and sold out) and ‘workation’ packages are being offered for those who want to work in more luxurious surroundings. In London (and in many towns and cities), destination restaurants are offering home delivered wellbeing menus and gourmet options in the comfort of ones own kitchen.
- The world can no longer be described in simple terms such as communist-capitalist or left-right and people are questioning their governments perhaps more than ever before, also in the “developed” world.
- Power to the individual. Corona is forcing change and is making hierarchies crumble. Consider social media, which amplifies individual voices, with all their different takes on the good, the bad and the ugly.
- More people see that they are the creators of their own reality and see it fit to be the editors of their influences – mainstream media is losing some appeal which brings with it a new challenge that which we call ‘faked news’. We are starting to question who to believe?
- Corona is bringing on emotions of fear, anxiety, loneliness and disconnectedness to such a level that it is nudging us to seek within – many have gone online to find support for meditation and so on. The wellbeing and personal growth industry have seen a major spike in revenues.
How to thrive in the midst of all this?
Fear can be paralysing. Be aware of this and try to look beyond it. Not knowing is an important skill on this path and trusting ourselves. Could it be that not taking everything so seriously can be the medicine? Instead of pushing, can you surrender and let go, with trust?
Not only you and I are in upheaval; the entire world is. The pandemic affects each and every one of us. We are all learning to deal with an emerging new reality, together. And this can get messy. Breathe.
Those that learn to adjust to the new dynamics have an opportunity to thrive. Adaptability is a key strength if you possess it. Otherwise, how can you improve on it? It might help to consider that the glass may be half full, not half empty. You are the creator of your own reality.
Connecting to your heart intelligence
Trusting the heart at least as much as the head will help. We have been taught to seal-off our heart and remain efficient, start to actively let the light in. Following the heart feeling can also be described as a shift away from “fighting against” to instead “lean towards” what is in fact dear to one’s heart as opposed to the implied and sometimes imposed “ways how things are done”.
Acknowledging belonging to the species that makes up humanity, aim to express love and compassion and to act on that. Deep down we all yearn for this state of being, believe it or not.
Try to become more discerning when it comes to the information that you allow to enter into your consciousness. We are much affected by what is happening around us, and it is important to be selective when we “consume”.
Aware that everything is changing, think of yourself as a tree with strong, deep roots. You may bend with the wind, but you will not break.
A Roadmap to cultivating greater consciousness within
In addition to meditating, which can simply mean finding some quiet time for reflection, be it by taking a walk in nature or exploring a new hobby, you are establishing a relationship with our own presence.
Your heightened level of awareness is the base for a new emerging world. How does this apply to leadership?
There are many books written about Conscious Leadership I will address what lies at its core:
- It is about being rather than doing. It requires an understanding of the power of presence.
- It sees value and self-worth in presence and wisdom rather than only in formal knowledge.
- It is grounded in conscious presence beyond ego, fear, negative self talk and, even, beyond positive self talk.
- It is helped by a deeper understanding of the evolutionary changes to attune our thinking and action.
- It believes in an ever-increasing level of compassion and care, for self and others.
- It is based in flexibility rather than rigidity.
- It directs its energy towards exploration and learning. Less in terms of the traditional, more towards a softening of the heart.
- It leads us within to action from a place of deep inner knowing and from our hearts.
- It is based on each individual’s unique evolutionary progress and yet introduces new pathways for unleashing the human potential to create a new future.
- It is dedicated to awakening to who one truly is.
- It is a state of embracing your authentic self, understanding that vulnerability is courage whilst working towards a new future that can continue to sustain us all.
Dare to be Yourself – 100%
Perhaps one parallel to the restriction-expansion mechanism currently at play is the ever-deepening journey inwards versus the call towards community – to engaging with those around us, the many.
There should not be a contradiction between the two. Rather, as we deepen our relationship with ourselves, we also open up to harmonious collaboration in completely new ways. We are seeing new opportunities that were not available to us.
As we turn up in our own full authenticity – daring to fully be ourselves – we are strong individually and we can strengthen the collective in many beautiful ways.
Stay open, be curious and explore!