Some from my professional diary, some from my heart, some from my perspective, some from good reads, some from observation, some from life's stories, some from imagination, some from sweet nothings of life...
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
I wasn't who I am today and I very well know that I won't be the same person as I progress in my life. Change is what truly defines me. And I am happy to declare that I am loving this journey of self-discovery, self-awareness, evolution and transformation. I thank each & everyone of you in this journey of mine because all of this happened in your space. Consciously, unconsciously, subtly, intentionally, I was held to experience what I was experiencing; to feel what I was feeling; to act/not act in certain ways to arrive at results expected/unexpected. All I say is, I have grown & now my mental map has widened, my energy field has expanded to be able to accommodate more, hold more, see more and most importantly enjoy more being myself, enabling others to be themselves as they are. On this 30th October 2019, I will turn 39 and so I thought of reflecting my lessons learnt so far and share with you all hoping you'll benefit from this. This in a way is my return gift to you all for all the love and warmth that you have showered and bestowed on me throughout.
1. No one else but only you can give yourself the love that you have been seeking outside.
2. True happiness lies in our ability to experience all our pleasant & unpleasant emotions.
3. The complaints that we have of others are exactly the same someone else is having about us. The only thing is, we aren't aware of it or finding it hard to own & accept.
4. Your experience of life majorly depends on who you choose to BE.
5. No one is bad, it's just that our mental maps aren't aligned as a result of which we aren't able to access their bright, more evolved sides.
6. Nothing in life is as scary as our mind makes it to be.
7. By not diving into the other side of fear, you are missing out on a blissful experience of life.
8. Every one has a unique story that you can truly hear only when you drop your judgement, guards, masks and choose to be in your essence.
9. You can experience another person's greatness when you first experience your greatness by being in your essence.
10. Never spend your life comparing yourself with another soul. You are different, they too are. Never believe anyone who does this comparison to make you a better version. Truth is, in comparison you loose your power.
11. To have a meaningful & peaceful life, embrace adult responses over childhood patterned responses. We majorly act based on our conditioned protective childhood responses. Don't forget that you are no longer that child but growing & evolving.
12. Nobody needs fixing. All they want is the space to be themselves to be able to experience who they are. In that space you flourish & evolve to your highest self.
13. Your triggers are the best place to get access to the brokenness that is inside. Your true work starts in this exploration.
14. Every experience in life matters. If you don't believe me, look back & you'll realize what I mean.
15. If you find yourself in an experience of life that you are not enjoying or don't want to be in; then know that this is exactly what you need for your growth. Yes, a bitter truth.
16. Don't hold on to anything, nothing is permanent; this includes your thoughts, feelings, emotions, ego, judgement, actions, literally everything. Instead hold the sacred space and let things get created in that space freely. Master the patience to hold the space.
17. Never underestimate the power of anyone however hard you may find it. Your rationality can't match the light inside every soul.
18. You can get access to your intuitive abilities only after you have had access to your intellectual abilities.
19. You attract certain kinds of people in your life because you need them to learn something/experience something unfamiliar/co-create something. Don't detest this experience, but thank them for being there.
20. Our greatest learnings come in seemingly unpleasant ways.
21. However compassionate, caring you might be, know that your leaning back & allowing the person to carve out his/her path in that challenging/struggling moment will only truly serve them. So learn to lean back even if it is discomforting and all you want to do is save them & do it for them.
22. Remember that excitement for anything after some point fades. Be it in relationship or any venture that you started. Your decision to not give up when the excitement goes away will enable you to take the leap to the next level of your growth. Giving up is not the solution to not being excited. Rather it is a great reflection point for you to look at your own patterns.
23. Be okay with asking for support. Don't equate that with your inability to do on your own and don't beat yourself up for that. When giving support is joyous, so let be receiving joyous too.
24. Blaming is one of the easiest thing you can do rather than owning a part of you in that messiness. Blaming does no good to anyone. Owning your messiness needs courage & depth of character.
25. Our excuses are our true projections of how powerful our intentions are. They are inversely proportionate.
26. Love the person for who he/she is and not what you want them to be. That's not love, that's transaction, an agenda. Hence your experience of love will be around your definition of love.
27. One day you'll leave this world and anyways go away to the unknown. So decide now who you choose to be, because that's the best you can do with your life.
28. In the name of responsibilities don't run away from your dreams. Likewise, in the name of your dreams, don't run away from your responsibilities.
29. Follow your own truth.
30. Life is beautiful. People are in their space doing their best as they can. I am joy, devotion, radiance, wisdom and serenity (from my essence work with my coaches & people who have truly experienced me).
Expand and spread your wings, fly as high as you want to & create your own lessons. Every lesson is a personal experience & has its own unique beginning, middle and ending. Believe in that.
"A clear rejection is better than a fake promise." - Anonymous
We all fear rejection. We want to avoid it at all cost. Rejection makes us feel bad, low. But what is rejection in the first place? It simply means dismissal or refusal of a proposal. But what we generally do? We give our own meanings to rejection and allow that story to play in our mind. We then operate from that space again & again. We let the word rejection mean something about us, we take it personally. We use this formula: Rejection = I am not good enough, Rejection = I am not worthy, Rejection = I am a failure, Rejection = I am not enough, Rejection = I couldn't convince, Rejection = I am __________. You may fill in the blank as you give meaning to it. And that's when the problem lies. Later in our lives, we become so good in avoiding the rejections that we stop playing where we feel there's a chance to be rejected. We start playing low even without realizing it. All rejection meant was, the other person failed to see what you had to offer. So, does it mean that you will stop offering to others who might be eagerly waiting for you and what you have to offer? Or should we make peace with our self-sabotaging definitions and live with it indifferently? We can be indifferent to anything we wish to be. That's one of the most easiest things to do to avoid feeling the pain & regaining ourselves. Feeling the pain is tough. And who wants to be broken every time. But, if you rewrite your definition of rejection, then the heartbreak would have a different meaning for you. It will be an opportunity for you to see beyond just the emotion but what you might improve not because you got rejected but because you are committed to your growth and highest version.
Let me quote a live example here of my rejection story. There was a story that played in my head for long. Most of the time I would speak up, bring forth an idea or something that I deeply believed in & thought might serve an organization that I was serving; I used to face rejection. Rejection can be of two kinds: one is you get ignored totally or you bear the consequences of non-compliance, cornered. And I used to be in one of the zones mostly. Never to be accepted. I gave meaning to all of these to mean something about me, I took it personally and so I stopped sharing, to be accepted. I stopped being authentic to be with the bandwagon without analyzing if it was good/bad, I stopped sharing my views to please people with whom I had worked with. But, on the inside I felt terrible. I was doing something that wasn't authentic to me. I was doing something that I didn't believed in. I was doing something that wasn't me. And what did this do to me, the fear of rejection gave me acceptance, superficial love and feel good factor for a while; but it robbed me off me. Slowly, I started becoming who I wasn't. I felt unhappy on the inside. I felt conflicted and so I decided to confront my definition of rejection. What does rejection mean to me? I decided to explore that which I hadn't perceived earlier. My previous definition was: Rejection = Nonacceptance & Cornering. Deep down there was this need in me which longed for acceptance & involvement. That's my stuff and the emotional baggage that I was carrying. I dealt with that separately and came out of it. Then, I decided to redefine the terminology 'rejection' in my dictionary. Rejection for me is simply next one now. No arguments, no defense; simply acceptance of the other person's views because I know that is personal and has nothing to do with me or my potential. It's the way they choose to see it and I honour that. But, I will put forth what I believe to be true of course with an attitude to re-look at my views not to mean anything about me but for greater good. Now, approaching others and getting rejected doesn't feel bad. Now I don't refrain myself from speaking authentically. Because now my focus is not me, but the bigger intention of creating a greater impact.
When we allow rejection to mean something about us, we loose our power. But when we allow the same to mean something about the fact that there was a mismatch in perception, all things fall in place. No defense required, no justification required. It just opens the doors to creating newer possibilities and doesn't curb me from being who I am. But, of course, who I am doesn't have to be rigid again. Acceptance of the fact that we do make mistakes and it is okay to learn, grow & not know is the key. Ah, I wish I would have had this lesson earlier, I would have approached so many people & things; may be my trajectory would have been different. But again, I do know that everything comes to you including the guidance of the Universe only when you open up to its mysteries. Nothing before, nothing after. Just at your right time, depending upon your willing to receive it.
Our stories recreate our experiences of us, people & life. To have a newer & more meaningful experience, we need to investigate the stories playing in our head. Are we tightly holding on to that or willing to let go to create newer & more powerful ones? This simple awareness will enable us to make a shift, a tiny shift that will lead us to exponential growth.
Some of the areas that you might reflect on are:
1. Are you hiring people that you are comfortable with? What does this pattern reflect?
2. Are you resisting to see a different side to the issue that you are facing? Reflecting on why & your resistance might help you?
3. Are you unwilling to take support because you believe this is who you are? Diving into this arrogance might lead to a breakthrough you might be resisting all your life?
4. Am I playing small fearing rejection?
5. Am I not open to newer perspectives?
6. Am I being guarded & not vulnerable?
7. Am I showing that I am too good to even need any support?
8. Am I not being aware of my emotions & indifferent to that side?
9. Am I sensing some resistance while reading this blog? What thoughts, feelings & sensations you are having as you read this?
10. Am I getting triggered by something outside of me? That could be a great place to start with.
Believing in you,
#leadership #authenticity #rejection #fearoffailure #ourstory #meaningweattachourselvesto #lookingbeyond #uninvestigatedthoughtsandstories
Into this world she comes,
With hopes high she hums;
Like a hummingbird she hovers around,
With joy deep & profound.
This newfound existence,
This life; into it she dives fearless;
Her radiance spreads all over,
She drenches in this radiant shower.
One day she bumps into,
A reality, an experience new;
She decides to dim her light,
To fit herself into a box oh so tight!
She detests, resists, struggles,
But eventually gives in & falls…
Into a dungeon that is dark,
This leaves an indelible mark;
In her heart & soul,
It reminds her of the unexpected fall.
She is tender, she is compassionate,
She is unable to understand this strange date;
A date between light & dark,
She is shocked & stark.
The same girl now holds herself,
She sees everyone but herself;
She hears every voice but hers,
She decides to lower her bars.
She is caged in her own prison,
She forges ahead to complete tasks undone;
She forgets herself in this process,
Slowly she becomes comfortable with this mess.
She gives love to everyone,
She cares for everyone;
But she doesn’t know how to stand tall,
How to get out of this deep dungeon?!
If she follows her heart,
She fears her world will fall apart;
She fears she’ll be left all alone,
Tight she holds on to her family & her clone.
Deep inside her voice calls her,
She shuts it, denies, distracts, ignores her;
She doubts her, feels the pain,
She takes a walk down her memory lane…
She meets her radiant self,
From a distant she looks at her;
She wants to hug her & help,
But she is fearful of this feeling so rare.
At the crossroad she stands,
She justifies her journey, she defends;
Questions her existence without her essence,
She is then left speechless.
Trickles down her painful tears,
Liberating her from all her fears;
She now sees life clearly,
She now sees herself wholly.
Her mirror reflects & shares,
“Was it worth dimming your radiance?”
She looks deep into her & stares,
“What did you gain & lose while taking this stance?”
She becomes uncomfortable,
She is falling apart from within;
She asks, “Can I embrace myself fully, is it doable?”
And she decides to lean in.
She steps into her power,
Embraces her essence so dear;
She felt alive again,
She heard the hum again.
Tightly she hugged the little girl,
Into each other they curl;
She was lit up, she felt the spark,
This day left an indelible mark…
Deep in her soul,
She decides to attend to life’s call;
She realizes; in this pain,
Nothing you gain.
By losing yourself,
How can you be of service, be of help?!
She invites herself & all the radiant girls,
“To up your bar, fly; a new beginning ushers;
Stand up for yourself,
Celebrate your gifts, love yourself;
Do a favour to life,
Don’t just strive, live freely & thrive;
Recreate & renew."
#EmbraceYourEssence #CelebrateYourself #RadiantGirl #Femininity
My mind is holding me back from penning down these thoughts. It's giving me multiple reasons, logic & rationality to not show the dark side of this realization that is profound & powerful. But I am choosing to take this leap of faith & dive into the world beyond logic & reasoning. This is what is known as the intuition. The leap to the unknown, beyond intellect & into the infinite intelligence. And I am centering myself now to speak from my intuition. I don't know what to say, how to say but just trusting myself & my feelings to give it a form that projects clarity of thoughts & gives a message for you to uncover. Remember, there's a message here and it'll depend on your level of maturity, awareness & consciousness to be able to figure out that which is appropriate for you.
After having spoken to so many people in different capacities, with people leaders in particular; I have figured out one thing and that is, most of them have come very far in their career, is successful but there lies a vacuum in them, a part in them that they find hard to acknowledge & own. They are in committed relationships yet don't feel deeply connected to their partners, there are areas that they struggle with & so put it under the carpet since that's the most easy & rational thing to do; their pain is not on the outside but on the inside due to their inability to show up as they are in their relationships, their connections with their inner circle of people, their close people. The way they are stuck in these aspects are exactly the way they are stuck in their leadership dynamics too. But, they find it hard to own that side because that questions their whole identity of being successful & who they have been projecting. There is guilt, there is shame & there is helplessness. So, I decided to look into myself & my relationships. Because I very well know that my clients, the people I come across by coincidence or choice are nothing but a reflection of me. And if I resist from uncovering this relationship aspect, then they too would. And I know this is scary, not easy because lots of stakes are involved. But, after having moved into the coaching space, after deciding to be authentic in every way possible; I have decided to accept things as they are and not run away. There is greater joy in owning those aspects that we reject & fear; because that's when we get edgy & uncomfortable. And for transformation & growth to happen, this discomfort is very much required. So, here I am modelling by owning these things in me & me being able to put it in words is a testimony to the fact that I have indeed grown & evolved to my next level of being. I acknowledge myself for that.
So of late, I have been reading a lot about relationships. Also on leadership & intuition. I must thank Coach Kendra Kunov for her profound writing & understanding on relationships & the intricacies involved therein. I got an opportunity to meet her, chat with her & also experience her deep work during a coach intensive for a short while. Then I didn't really bother to either read her stuffs nor listen to her videos. Although intuitively I knew that she is an amazing coach & a leader. I was not ready to receive her wisdom or investigate my own relationship at that point in time. That was a part that was very private to me & so I just wanted to just let it be & not do anything about it. It is rightly said that when you are ready, the master appears. Now I am ready I believe and so have taken interest in giving deep thoughts to what she shares in social media & also draw insights from all of that.
There was an article that she had published on the correlation between our leadership development & the intimate relationship that we are into. It just struck the right cord in me. It triggered something in me that needed to be addressed but I had put it under the carpet for long. May be I wasn't even aware of that aspect. There she beautifully quotes about how the way we show up in our relationships, is exactly the way we show up as leaders. And bingo! That's so true! If you really want to uncover your bottleneck, your blind spots & see where you are stuck as a leader, the best way to do that is to look deep into your intimate relationship with your partner. Taking feedback from your partner is one of the best yet scariest ways to really see the mirror. Remember you are showing up exactly the same way as a leader in whatever field you are. This to me sounded weird at first and I tried to defy it. I wasn't comfortable doing this assessment. I also wondered how could there be a correlation at all. But when I used all my defense mechanisms to the fullest & was left with none, suddenly my right side of the brain,the intuitive side woke up. And it sort of helped me to understand something that sounded illogical & meaningless to the rational mind. With lots of courage I decided to really have a look at the relationship that I had with my partner & also the relationships that I had with my close circle of people. And I did this from an absolute non-judgmental space, just to be aware of what was happening not with any intention of fixing or blaming self or another. One thing that came to the fore was that I didn't have the deep connection with anyone of them. In fact, I couldn't/never tried to build that deep connection. I held myself back. As if I had guarded myself & showed up from a space of fear. I had created a distance that didn't allow me to completely lay my trust. I wasn't vulnerable & so I was guarded. My essence was love, but I was either over expressing or under expressing that essence. And it all originated from deep fear of not being good enough, not being loved & not being important. That was my survival mechanism. If I have to use a diagram to explain this phenomenon, it was like this:
As a result of this, I was reliable for showing up in a particular way in my relationships. I was doing either of these: being too possessive or completely withdrawn; craved for intimacy or be totally cold; be totally in it or absolutely show my back; communicate only what was required & avoid difficult conversations; perform stuffs as a result of obligation & withdraw things that required my genuine involvement; unaware of what deep connection is, yet longed for having deep connections without being ready to be vulnerable; felt a vacuum that was created by my own guarded nature, yet didn't muster the courage to communicate that; was led by the relationship dynamics instead of leading it in the desired way; be fearful of hurting self & others, lost myself in the process of meeting needs of others; didn't know what I wanted from the relationship; be okay with mediocrity in relationship, distract myself with other things in life & not really bother to work on the relationship that I have, operated from head & not from the heart; ego took the front seat & intentions were at the back burner; glorified the good in the relationship & buried the not so good aspects without realizing that even if I bury it, I carry these with me & these get manifested in different ways oblivious to me; focus was more on getting than giving; more on superficiality rather than on the deeper aspects.
I asked my partner to honestly give his feedback on how I showed up in our relationship. And he listed down 10 good things & 1 negative. That's when I realized that the greatest bottleneck was that I didn't create that space for him to genuinely tell me the truth & give him the space to reflect. Because it really can't be that you only uncover 1 negative. This may happen in either of the two cases: either you don't want to speak about it or you fear consequences.
After lot of introspection, also after finishing one module of Psychodrama & now gearing up for my next deep work with Coaches Adam & Bay, I have really figured out that the way I have showed up in my relationships is the way I show up with my clients, in my profession as a coach & as a leader. All that I do in my relationship, gets manifested in one or the other way in my working relationships too. And I am so thankful for this awareness. It has given me the room & opportunity to look deep within & do the work needed to take my leadership depth to the next level. The deeper I go, I will be able to take my clients that deep. That is the key to positive & lasting transformation. By working on my relationship with self & others, I open the doors to increasing my depth as a leader. A coach has to be a great leader to be able to lead the clients through that side that they deny & resist.
Leadership is not just having a title, or enviable success, or followers or just charismatically leading, but it is self-realization and awareness that opens the door to newer possibilities & creations for embracing miracles, the impossible; it's diving into the world of the unknown with trust, faith & love; powerfully owning those aspects that we detest & deny. Once you find yourself, once you know yourself, once you lead yourself back to your essence, the core; everything else becomes a cake walk & the by product of that evolution. I invite you to reflect on your intimate relationship & see the mirror that you are resisting to see. If you defy, you aren't ready to take the next cut; if you are ready, you'll dare to see yourself. After all leadership is a shift, a growth inside you beyond what you think is possible. Welcome to your inner self!
Love & respect,
There is so much fuss about leadership. And as usual, I am least interested in the normal, regular stuff. What excites me are newer ways, newer perspectives, something unique & something that stands out from the crowd. All credit to my Enneagram style 4. Well, that's my box, I am aware of it and I am also open to embracing the good aspects of other styles. But around leadership, I have a very different view and may not conform to the normal ways that we look at leadership. For major part of my life, I have been led by others. I somehow attracted some influential figures one or the other way around and would abide by mostly what those leaders would think & say. I bestowed those leaders to have an influence on me. And when I say leader, it can be your parents in your growing years, your teachers, your friends whom you looked up to, your boss during your formative years while in your professional journey, your partner and so on. A leader is someone who inspires you, influences you by their being to bloom into who you truly are. You get drawn by them, their ideas and have a deep sense of trust on them to be able to lead, guide & take you forward to a path that you might resist or may not be sure of.
When you are not conscious, not aware of yourself, have a distorted self-image within for whatsoever reason, have the attitude of always getting affected by other's opinions and don't have the courage to look into the leadership within you, this very essence of idealizing & having admiration for others, become detrimental to your self-growth in reality. This very attitude of being just a follower takes a toll on your life and your being. You slowly start to get molded into ways that you are being shaped by them. You then get enrolled to the leader and slowly start to lose touch with your essence. The very essence that makes you unique in your own ways. You become so absorbed in their ways and ideas, that you start losing confidence in your own decision making capabilities. You start to doubt your ways, your ideas and slowly put a silent mask & become that person who your leader wants you to be.
THE FOUR TENDENCIES
For quite sometime, I felt trapped with such leadership. No offense to anyone. Everyone did their best. But I was unaware of what the real problem was. And I always felt like a victim to such leadership styles, where the relationship was majorly vertical. And I completely take responsibility for enabling such patterns in my life. My being was so, that I attracted those leaders in my life who could lead me to be like them or if not, obey what they wanted me to do. This was conflicting for me! Because in the inside, there was a rebel who wanted to defy everything and break-free. Which I very well hid from the rest of the world. Do check out the four tendencies quiz by Gretchen Rubin to know your style. For your benefit I am sharing the link here quiz.gretchenrubin.com/. It is a free test and worth taking.
Although I was being an obliger, the rebel in me wasn't getting any outlet to manifest itself. So, there was unspoken anger & rebellious energy in my being. But, my love for my leaders was also equally powerful. So, I accommodated and it went on for many years. Because of all of these, I wasn't growing or evolving in totality. In fact, as an outlet, I took it out on others like me using the same style of leadership that was modeled to me by my leaders. And I didn't feel good at all. There was something missing in all of this. My quest was always to free myself, to fly, to reach the mountain top, allow myself to feel the freedom that 'the caged me' was feeling from the inside. But I wasn't aware of what I wanted myself to set free from. This created a deep vacuum within me. But, I never give up. And that's why I kept searching, kept looking for answers and ways to find the way out. Finally, I got the first taste of what that gap was when I attended a coaching intensive to enable my evolution process. There I realized, in fact had an insight & these were my words after that profound realization.
"For years I have been hungry for a leader that would inspire me, whose work would be transformative & include a mission that serves people to an exponential level, who would elicit the genius in me & help me bloom into the person that I am truly meant to be. It is rightly said that great leaders don't make you follow them but they create leaders. My long thirst got quenched today. I went there seeking for a leader to follow, but the gift that I got was that, that leader resided in me, I didn't have to look anywhere else. The intensive was so profound that it gave the voice, the purpose & the mission to look at the leader in me & not outside. Yes, that day the leader in me was born. That day a great leader helped me spot the leader in me and gave me the courage to feed that leader inside me & not look around. This was my breakthrough moment."
EMBRACE THE LEADER IN YOU
I flew back with this deep sense of awakening & belief planted inside of me. And true, I decided to embrace the leader in me. That's when self-leadership was born and I was gravitated to everything that spoke about inward journey. Because I very well realized that leadership is about who you are being & not what you are doing or telling others to do. You do so much of deep work on yourself that you make a massive shift in your being and from that space evoke & enable that self-leadership in yourself & others. To me this is the essence of leadership. Rather than trying to influence or shape others, do the work on yourself. Then you don't have to try to be a leader. You will just be who you truly are. This itself is a journey & doesn't happen overnight. It requires courage to stand tall to your own inhibitions, your internal demons, external pressures, acceptance of self, embracing your imperfections, feeling comfortable with uncovering your gifts that have remained dormant for years, wanting to transform despite of all odds, buckling up to look into the mirror & keep walking the path, embracing uncertainties and many more. And once you do this, a deep sense of liberation comes in, you feel so good from the inside. You shed all the masks layer after layer, you realize the beautiful you, inside & out. Life takes a new meaning then. You start taking actions which you never realized you could and your life starts changing for good. Good is an understatement, your life becomes meaningful & you look up to living everyday as if it's a new start.
And I always write my story authentically & vulnerably to let my people know that dreams do come true. We are all fearful, but when you choose to feed your possibilities, you start creating miracles. If you can dream it, you can do it. That every lasting transformation begins from within. What you want, must first be created inside of you. Spot the leader in you and feed it to enable you to newer horizon. Embrace self-leadership before you lead others. This is the essence of leadership.
I write for my people. I am drawn to serving people who resonate with my thoughts. If I can be that leader like the one who evoked the leader in me, my purpose this life-time will be fulfilled. I want to enable that leadership in my kind of people and I am looking forward to talking to them wherever they are, in whatever parts of the globe, in whatever sphere of life they might be. The diamond that I found, I want to gift it to them & enable them to live a life of freedom, joy, liberation, purpose, a life created by them because there is so much joy in doing this. This is my purpose.
If this resonates with you genuinely, do feel free to write to me at email@example.com. I would love to have a one on one conversation with you.
Believing in you,
I strongly believe that what you need exactly at the moment for your greater good, comes to you in different forms in disguise. So, just after my coaching session today, I had a gap of one hour or so. To relax myself, I thought of giving a call to one of my friends. She is someone whom I have known for many years now. And we talk on & off whenever we face any challenge or just a casual sharing about how things are in our life. Sharing is mutual & I acknowledge the fact that our conversations are intellectually stimulating, thought provoking & I always benefit from the discussions. Same goes for my friend too. So, today while we were discussing things, somehow a topic came up around coaching. And I asked my friend a question: "What kind of a coach you would like to have in your life given a choice?" Let me give you the context. My friend was struggling with some professional challenges and we were brainstorming to arrive at some possible solutions. To my question, my friend answered: "I would hire a coach who is well-known as an expert in his/her field, who has a proven track record in my area of expertise, who has many years of experience, who can tell me what I am supposed to do & how, someone who would guide me because he/she has traveled a path similar to me & someone senior. That would be my kind of coach, my mentor who would give facts, have strong data to support what he/she is saying."
Hearing this version of a coach from my friend pained me to the core. Because it didn't resonate with my essence of a coach or coaching for that matter. Had it been the earlier me, I would have instantly reacted to this difference and end up with something not so pleasant. But, I have evolved & transformed over these couple of years as a coach, as a leader & human being in totality. All thanks to my coaches, the coaching that I have consciously undertaken for my own growth, mostly because of my strong trust in the coaching modality & my coaches; a positive attitude backed up with my strong commitment to actions! Over these years I have become aware of myself & my patterns. So, I chose to just listen to what my friend had to say. I chose to understand my friend from her space rather than reacting to something inside me which triggered the pain in me. That needs to be dealt separately! I get that. I was aware of this and this helped me to manage my emotions well & turn around my responses. My current coach gave me a wonderful tool which is like this:
Over these years, since I have myself experienced the benefit of having a coach, since I have witnessed the transformation in me & how that changes my being & my actions, I have decided to always have a coach to enable me to grow to my next level. Coming back to the above spectrum in the above picture, many a times we choose to be in either of these two spaces depending on our personal experiences. But commitment doesn't fall into this spectrum although we might think it does. Commitment is absolutely different. Whenever I tend to move to either of these, my coach asks me this question: "What's your commitment? Are you reacting from the space of attachment to the outcome or from withdrawal due to neediness or you stand tall to your commitment?" For major part of my life, I choose to operate from either of these two spaces. But, that only temporarily satisfied my ego & didn't fetch me anything in the long run. So, as I became aware of this in me, I chose to stand up for my commitment to make a difference in my people whom I am drawn to serve without caring if they would approve of it or not. So, after my friend finished sharing her perception of who a coach is & whom she would like to hire; I shared who a coach to me is & what coaching is all about to make it more real.
I began this way: I firmly believe in coaching and I see that impact in me; which my friend agrees too. I never hire coaches based on how much experience they have or if they have expertise in my field or not. I factually & intuitively look for two things: who they are being (how authentic & genuine they are?) and will I gain by being in their presence & container? It's a matter of deep trust in my coach's coaching skills & not subject matter expertise, it's a kind of space that is built where I can freely lower my guards & talk about my deepest challenges/fears, secret dreams that I have & then take actions with self commitment & trust. It's a relationship where I don't have to look up to & feel inferior & intimated by who they are, but be inspired to raise to their vibrations. I don't want anybody to tell me what needs to be done because that would be a disrespect to my wholeness & resourcefulness that I am bestowed with. Neither do I want others to influence my decisions but honestly give me feedback and leave the choices to be made by me to me. We all are different and as a high potential, driven, ambitious person, I need a partner to partner with me to be able to be my side & support me to get to where I want to. I am not looking for tips, quick fix solutions, because I believe I am reliable & competent enough to find the answers myself. Just that I need a coach who is an expert in coaching skills which involves rapport building(to enable me to connect deeply with my coach), intuitive ability(to understand beyond data & facts), deep listening(to read what I haven't shared, pick up on subtle cues), questioning(to know the underlying truth, the real reason), feedback giving(to enable me to make the right choices & take actions accordingly), holding me accountable for my goals & dreams, someone who is committed to me, while I am committed to my goal. Because after all its my goal. I hire my coach to support me in achieving that goal. It's never the other way round. My coach doesn't have to attain my goals for me.
My coach is an expert in coaching who shows me what I don't see, what my spouse doesn't see, what my friends don't see, what my mentors don't see & what I resist seeing & doing. My coach is such an expert who in a seemingly skillfully easy way inspires me, elicits the answers from me, draws me, pulls me towards an action oriented mode to be able to get to a space where I myself move forward to my goals. This in itself is an exceptional art & science that needs mastery & only coaches who have done deep work, committed to deep work on themselves, who have intentions bigger than self, an intention to creating an impact & to transformative service, who have strong leadership presence not necessarily in professional area only will be able to do that. And years of experience doesn't matter to me at all. I look for such coaches. And I model exactly that with my clients too. May be then I am not the right coach for those who are looking for tips, short-cuts, quick success, spoon-feeded strategies. For a transformation to happen, it takes time, commitment & doesn't come cheap. And I am ready to invest or create the money to work with my kind of coaches because I know it is powerful, impactful & life changing.
Here are examples of coaches who I look up to & who has made remarkable life transformations in their clients' lives & who has no background in any of the fields that their clients are into. They are skillful in the coaching skill and so in their result creation for their clients.
And as I shared all of these, my friend towards the end told me,"I didn't know that coaching is all of these. I thought coaching is all about self-discovery & nothing more than that. So, it never appealed to me because I thought to guide me, one has to be an expert in his/her field. Otherwise how will he/she guide me? I didn't know the art & science behind coaching. Thank you for the enlightenment!" I responded to my friend,"Buddy let me simply gift you a session or connect you to my coach & then you will have an experience of what it is. No amount of my telling will support you. Experience it and see for yourself." To which my friend readily agreed & we had a great laugh together.
P.S. This blog doesn't intend to demean any modality but just sharing what the essence of coaching is from the author's perspective who is a professional coach.
Love & respect,
If you really want to do a favour to the Universe, then don't hold back, don't hide your magic. Let the magic flow through you. And everyone has the magic in them. The only thing standing in its way is "YOU". Yes, you are getting in the way to creating a magical experience not only for yourself but for others who can benefit from your magic. It's a proven fact that people don't change unless they want to. So, unless you get out of your own way, you can't change. And by change, I mean changing from where you are, to being at the peak of your being unleashing all your gifts, stepping into your zone of genius, your seemingly unbelievable possibilities.
Every person I have come across in life, is endowed with unique gifts, their special magic. But many a times they don't see that in them, they don't believe in it, they don't trust the magic, they are fearful of stepping into their own hidden power, they wait for the right moment, they wait for their gifts to be perfected, mastered till they feel it worthy enough of showing it to the world and what not. I get it totally. But, alas that day never comes in their life. Only they hang on to newer fears and reasoning for postponing it. The irony is just the opposite of what they believe. Once you get a glimpse of your magic in you, which you will for sure; all you need to do is to take the magic wand and just play with it without any further delay. As you play, you become expert in that over time, you gain mastery & you grow. By holding back, you are doing an injustice to yourself, the Universe which entrusted you with that magic for you aren't using it because of your own inhibitions & fears.
Look back to the earliest memory of you as a child. If need be, pick up an old picture of yours when you were a kid & saw that magic in you, believed in your possibilities & did whatever you felt like & wanted to. Who were you then? If I recall my days of who I was, I will be amazed at my own magic. A carefree, smart, confident, fearless spirit, a performer, a singer, a dancer, a happy kind person, unrestrained in my being, a sportsperson, full of possibilities and creativity. But, I let my inhibitions, my fears, my ego, my attachment to outcomes, my neediness, my impatience, my withdrawals, my version of stories get in my way & didn't allow myself to bloom to my exceptional possibilities. I allowed my magic to fade with time. I let it simmer inside me without giving it an outlet to expand & bloom. The first time I woke up from my illusions was when I attended a coach & leadership intensive at Los Angeles. There were brilliant coaches across the globe and their being had an impact on me, on who I was. All my fellow coaches saw the light in me, but I was the one who refrained from seeing that in me & so my actions reciprocated what I thought who I was. And then thankfully, one of them walked up to me and said,"Priyanka, do a favour to the Universe and the people out there who are waiting for you to make an impact in their lives by not holding back yourself. Don't hide your magic." Those words were enough for me to question myself as to what was bigger for me: my fears, my inhibitions or my commitment to be who I am meant to be? And thankfully I chose commitment over everything else. Hence, my insight from that intensive was: "It's so beautiful to bloom into the person that you are." In a way, embracing your magic. That was my breakthrough moment because I decided to act on that realization & not just leave it there. From there on, there was no looking back. I made up my mind to give an outlet to my magic, no matter what.
If you have forgotten your magic let me remind you with these lines:
You are full of possibilities,
Waiting for its release;
Don't hold back, don't hide,
Embrace your magic & just dive,
Today is the day to start,
Your inhibitions, I invite you to part;
Stand tall to your magic, your commitment,
You are here to make a dent.
And by writing all of these, not caring & fearing if I get likes or not, whether people follow me or not; I am refusing to bow down to my internal inhibitions, my ego, petty needs & standing tall to bring my magic to this world whatsoever. And if this inspires you to move ahead in your journey, my magic gets a shout out, I will ever be grateful because I am walking my path for my magic to bloom.
Before I leave you in deep reflection, let me share few of my learning from the movie, The Lion King that I watched recently and I believe it had the magic that we needed to look beyond our fears & feed our possibilities:
Love & respect,
After an onsite session today, my mind was totally blank. Everything was fine, the session went really well. It was productive & forward moving. Yet, the critic in me never stops working. I am not sure if this is how the mind of a passionate & driven person works! You work, you give your best, yet you aren't satisfied. You feel as if something is missing. Sometimes no amount of reward or applaud works. Sometimes it's just how it is; just being with that low feeling. And many a times we aren't aware of the exact emotion that is running through us. We give it different meaning based on what we perceive that emotion to be. But as I dived in, I realized it wasn't because of the session today but the exhaustion piling up from couple of days. And being a hands on person, always on the flow; I didn't realize that I had put myself down by not taking care of myself. Due to my busy schedule (my own creation again), I had missed my daily time for reflection & slowing down.
Sometimes small things like self-care, pausing, breathing right, eating healthy, sleeping adequate matters & makes a huge difference to our energy levels. Although everything was fine, I gave my tiredness the name of inaction & low feeling. The body too needs rest & I was not giving that to myself. As I sat down to journal my thoughts, I became aware of what was happening. Along with mental exhaustion, I realized there was physical exhaustion too. And instead of living in this moment, I went ahead & started thinking about the next thing that I had to do & prepare for. This mechanistic approach that I used to just switch from one mode to another, refrained me from experiencing the gratitude of the moment. I went way far ahead & so even caught myself with a headache. Our body is a great tool, only if we listen to it. My mind started working on another project that was ahead of me. And I was not doing all of these under any obligation but willingly because of my habitual thinking patterns. But this time I was aware. I caught myself since I was running away from acknowledging myself & my presence today. As a result of which, I found it hard to even experience the joy of the moment. Yes I find hard to acknowledge myself! Period!
The irony is, today itself I was coaching my client on how he was missing on looking at his progress & his constant focus was on his lack. "What he didn't do, haven't done, could have done etc.?" And he too said that intellectually he is aware of all of these but slips into this habit of looking at the lack. And so he never feels the happiness in the moment. It's true that we don't see our blind spots unless we do the work on ourselves to uncover it. And now I am just letting my thoughts flow without having any attachment to the outcome whatsoever. As I write, I get the clarity as to what is actually happening to me. It has nothing to do with drive or passion or thinking about another project; but a message that my physical being is giving me & that is: "Fill your cup. You have emptied it to support others that needed your energy & vibration. It's time to fill that up to be able to again start a new day with renewed power."
In similar lines, how many of you have forgotten to take care of yourself? If you have, it's time you don't put yourself down but rejuvenate yourself. Only from that space you can serve more powerfully. And the self-care can happen right from the simple act of giving self-love to oneself by just breathing deeply. Take care of your mind, body and soul to be able to multiply your energy & strength. Had I not chosen to sit in this discomfort & pen down what was happening, I wouldn't have arrived at this conclusion today. Yes, journaling is powerful! It is a great stress-buster. It gives clarity of thought & centers the mind. And sometimes just acknowledging your thoughts & emotions allow your mind to calm down. Just acknowledging the fact that it is there & letting it go, is enough to do the work. A small pause, slowing down, makes a huge difference. And journaling enables one to do that.
Love & respect,
Life & Leadership Coach