Our essence is the state of groundedness of our being, a state of our peak-performance, our zone of genius. A state of our highest-self, a state where we are at our best & when others experience us as our best. Yes, both! But we oscillate from over-expressing to under-expressing it. How you arrive at your essence, is by doing the deep work with your coaches, taking feedback from people who have experienced you, from honest self-evaluation, from being open to receiving feedback from people (apart from your relatives & blood-relations) with whom you have worked with, even taking feedback from strangers whom you have connected for the first time. You'll see common patterns and themes. Your ability to receive, just receive (without having to counter/defend) what they have to offer you will allow you to see your essence, who you truly are. And when you live in your essence, you are that unique person that you are meant to be, being able to manifest the gifts that Universe has bestowed on you.
"Everyone has unique gifts & talents. What you love is, what you are gifted at. To be completely happy, to live a completely fulfilled life, you have to do what you love." - Barbara Sher
And like I mentioned before, we keep oscillating between over expression & under expression of our essence. We do this for various reasons. One of the reasons is because of our fears, some acknowledged and some unacknowledged. Having been coached and having coached my clients, one thing I have observed is the resistance to first accepting that there is fear. Denying that one has fear is also a reflection of the fact that either you don't want to dive deep or having fear would mean/reveal something about you that you are not willing to face/get present to. Whenever there is denial, resistance, there is something more beneath that. Uncovering it will truly serve you. But sadly, many a times we live in denial and even resist opening to that someone who is willing to take us to that depth that we are fearful of going.
"Denying the truth doesn't change the facts."
Let's look at the chart below to understand what over & under expression of our essence would look like. I am taking just five of the many essence that me & my people, my kind of people have. Please note that I have got in touch with my essence from the deep work that I am doing with my coaches and my fellow coaches in the safe container called the Forge group that I am in as a part of my learning initiative as a coach & a leader.
You can uncover your essence & then see if you are over expressing or under expressing it. When we feel that what we are doing isn't enough, we do more. The underlying fear is to be secured, certain and be the best at it or else we may not have it or be left out. Mostly driven, passionate and ambitious people would be over expressing their essence. Because they want more and more & want to free themselves from the underlying feeling of 'I am not enough, I need something outside of me to feel enough'. They want to be sure, experience abundance at the cost of who they are. When you do so, you are leaving yourself with an experience of life where you actually feel unfulfilled, not enough and not good about where you are at. Hence you jump to the next level to feel that you are enough. But sadly every time you get to that level, you realize there is a level beyond & your focus is to getting to the next. It's like climbing a ladder that has no end and your drive is to get to the end, highest continuum of it. At some point you get frustrated and tend to give up or do more, exhaust yourself to get to somewhere that you realize you never wanted to go. You live a highly stressed, driven life that robs you off your energy, peace of mind and leaves you with a feeling of disconnect & vacuum. You live a life where you have to constantly prove to yourself & others to satiate the feeling of being enough.
For those who under express their essence, the hidden fear is, 'I am not worthy, I don't deserve, I am not good enough.' Here it is more of a victimized stance that you adopt as a result of the failures, negative/unpleasant experiences that you might have had while growing up or what you experienced of the world around you. May be you were conditioned to be this way to underplay and stay protected. Fear of not being accepted as you are might have led to this stance and so your need is to be accepted the ways others want you to be, to fit in somehow. What is the experience of life you are left with as a result of this stance?
What is really getting in your way to living in your essence? My experience of myself & my clients says the following might be something to reflect on.
Are you willing to deep dive? If yes, what is that tiniest step that you would take in that direction?
I will be happy to have a conversation with you around this to know what you want to create for yourself & where ever you are at life. I am willing to support you. I resisted receiving support earlier, but after opening my arms to receiving support from my coaches, my life & who I BE has transformed drastically & so my outcomes. Are you willing to receive that support that I am offering you? If yes, write to me at email@example.com or direct message me or just reach out in any creative way that you deem fit.
Believing in you,
What we see is what we learn & imbibe. More than what we learn by what is told to do, we learn by what is being modeled to us by our leaders. And I am so glad to have witnessed that sort of leadership which is purely based on the leader's being and not based on 'driven-doing' mode that we mostly operate from. Where did I experience this? In the Forge group that I am currently in as a part of my leadership deep dive. Every time I feel I had a breakthrough, I am complete; I see another blindspot & it is an ongoing journey. I never thought this kind of self-revelation was possible, unless & until I got present to this phenomenon through coaching. And so I wonder what powerful impact we can create when we walk the inward journey & be in our zone of genius!
One of the rarest commodity in leadership is, leadership without ego. Ego is centered with 'I' and 'my needs'. And so we give meaning to every experience that we create to mean something about that 'I' & 'my needs'. Hence, leadership in such a scenario doesn't remain leadership in its truest essence but more of control, manipulation & driven by agendas that aren't accepted & acknowledged by others & even self at a deeper level. And unless & until we choose to break this cycle, we keep creating the same experience again & again.
Real leaders are different and they don't fit the general idea of leaders that we commonly hold on to. Leadership without ego is a choice to do & be the following no matter what:
It is hard to pause, reflect & see what's the clearing that is required for a repeated unwanted experience of life that we are creating. It is hard to call out on self because that would trigger underlying beliefs that we might be unwilling to explore & get present to. The very identity of who we had been, might be shaken when we choose to look within & that might be uncomfortable. Hence the seemingly easiest way we think is, to look outside us & distract ourselves from the real stuff. But sadly, this isn't the way to do away with the deeper discomfort that we are running away from. The more you be with the discomfort, you dilute its ability to trigger us and control our behaviours & outcomes.
Leadership is a way of being that not only elicits the greatness in others but enables us to experience our greatness even more powerfully. It isn't something that leads to burn-out, sleepless nights, auto-pilot mode of operation but an inner stance of leading; first self and then others to a path of acknowledgement & liberation from fears, inhibitions, hypocrisies, self-doubts, distractions and settle in groundedness & serenity i.e. our essence. The road is slippery though!
Leadership is a muscle that needs to be built & can never be put to halt & assumptions that it will get shaped by default. It needs reflection, deep work and constant evolution & not necessarily just when we are holding a position or title in the professional world but generally too. So the question that I leave herewith for you to reflect is: "What would the impact of leadership without ego on you, your life and people around you would be?"
Believing in you,
Life & Organizational Development Coach