It’s an exciting time in my life right now! Our family is moving to a home on a lake and this was an intention my husband and I set both personally and professionally. My husband is an Intrapreneur and I’m an Entrepreneur, we both held a shared vision of creating mindful space(s) so that our clients – like you – will be offered a reflective space to deepen your leadership journey. Our idea began after years of practicing this habit in our own lives and business. I specifically held this vision despite market and other resistance with a mindset that we are:
“All on a journey that connects us more deeply both to what wants to emerge in the world and to our emerging higher self”- Otto Scharmer
My husband and I would not have had the stamina to realize this pivotal dream unless we disrupted our habitual thinking, that working harder and faster without questioning was the key to success.
• “How do we find the road to self-awareness and sustain our authentic selves while building a business?
• “How does one stay true to their values, truths and convictions despite others’ opinions?”
Today’s frantic-paced world keeps us busy often preventing us from slowing down and mindfully reflecting on where we are going including asking,
“Why the #$*! BLEEP do we bother?”
slowing down and mindfully reflecting leads to self-reflection
I’ve experienced that self- awareness has payoffs!
It leads to our WHY
Entrepreneurship and leadership can easily drive us to fill the emptiness of our unexamined lives with relentless thriving and chasing the latest bright shiny objects of success. The result is many leaders fail to take seriously their journey of self-discovery. They see it as unimportant as they keep putting out fires and celebrating only those leaders who rise to celebrity levels of traditional achievement or join business’s that may not be aligned with who they are and what they stand for. This can lead to burnout and disengagement!
Both my husband and I came from humble beginnings, parental loss, and all the repercussions that entails. We have felt tremendous pulls to take jobs, join clubs, and adopt beliefs to join the status quo and deny being an expression of the truth of who we are and wish to become! I often must remind myself not to be pulled in by other people’s anxiety based on their reality of what success looks like.
• What does success look like to you?
• What does leadership look like to you?
Not easily answered without self-reflection and building self-awareness. At a local entrepreneurial expo, I recently met a business owner who laughed and quietly scoffed when I passionately explained my vision of providing space for leaders to slow down to speed up. This person was not curious at all about this statement. I activated my own strength of loving kindness, offered my business card, silently wishing them the best on their journey! In today’s traditional systems, business and others, we have been almost brainwashed – especially in business – that it’s a radical act to slow down, stop, and examine our life. It may only be for two intentional minutes per day, but that’s 14 minutes a week!
Is slowing down, really a radical act or just smart business sense?
Self-awareness speeds up when we slow down!
Perhaps this space will allow us to see our strengths while accepting our weaknesses so we are free to focus our attention on our top strengths.
• What are my strengths?
• Am I using them fully, either overusing or underusing?
“The quest for leadership, therefore, is first an inner quest to discover who you are and what you care about, and it’s through this process of self-examination that you find the awareness needed to lead.”James Kouzes and Barry Posner, Leadership Begins With an Inner Journey
You cannot begin to lead without a good understanding of who you are. Becoming a leader starts with knowing yourself and what you want to make of your life. Knowing yourself is the foundation of strong character, purpose and authenticity. It’s only when you understand who you are, not what the world thinks you are, that you’re ready to lead. Leadership is not a title, but a leadership lab of trial and error and each result, deemed good or bad, brings you closer to that radical vision and purpose you have for your life.
• No radical vision?
• What could it be?
• Who are you and what do you want?
Know thyself, then, means separating who you are and who you want to be from what the world thinks you are and wants you to be.” – Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader
For me, I commit to doing the internal work since I know it pays off. Often with two self-employed individuals in one house, one may be dreaming and discerning while the other may be fulfilling the actions needed to express the shared vision. It truly needs to be a collaboration. We both believe our clients could be served by urban and entrepreneurial leadership retreats to encourage more mindful and innovative mindsets. This was our calling that was ready to be crystallized. We only arrived here as we SLOW DOWNED, and utilized a combination of our strengths! Now we can go forward with mindful, focused action!
I felt resistant at one point after several obstacles, but after completing a quiet and meditative retreat with a past client, a sense of sacred oneness with all those who will be a part of our vision developed. Trusting the process fully and gifting myself the same love, faith and hope I often give to my clients and family was key! I created the prototype after opening my mind, heart and will to what wanted to emerge. I still struggled with the voice of cynicism and the fear that was threatening to bubble up. We all have a thousand reasons why we should listen to our mind chatter and put our most soul based projects on hold, I have many! We often move slowly forward, perseverating on the same excuse or worse toeing the line of the status quo, stuck in our stories without letting our full leadership purpose emerge. How often do we have a stroke of insight or an amazing idea yet shuffle it aside, or write it down with the promise we will come back to this later, and never do? How do we not talk ourselves out of our brilliance once we leave that zone of clarity?
After the mini retreat, my husband Stephen came home. Before he had a chance to say anything, with great passion, I explained we would be spending the weekend on this future we had imagined and I was confident of the first step! At that moment, comfortable in our vulnerability like two small children on an adventure, we designed and deepened our dream. Together we designed our prototype of a space for future leaders to strengthen their purpose, expression, or have a place to breathe energy back into their vision.
That day, we both said “Yes” to this vision and our prototype meditation space was born! I knew that modelling the way would encourage and free my clients to do the same! The room was filled with sacred objects that held meaning and purpose toward our journey. Each day, we remained grateful for this room and the feeling it evoked. Yes, it was just a room, but for us it was our 3D vision board. See my article From WOOWOO to Bold Goals.
We took action to go toward this dream, a small step, but a step! I am blessed with my left brained husband who has respect for my right brain techniques and creativity. Together we formed our integrated leadership venture! We always knew that this search for our integrated work and life space was not going to be easy but we trusted that the future was waiting for us to arrive and bring others into our collaboration. We had a wonderful real-estate agent who listened to our vision(s) and another who thought out of the box, proposing that their seller buy our home since it met their needs. Some may see this as luck. We view it as validation we are on the right path. This only came from slowing the #$*! BLEEP down to speed up. It is in this space we can develop the vision, focus, stamina and strength to continue our often tumultuous leadership journey! It’s only as we examine our authentic inner callings that we are often able to find clarity to keep going. Having a deep understanding of who you are and where you’re going provides the context for where and how you lead.
“Until you truly know yourself, strengths and weaknesses, know what you want to do and why you want to do it, you cannot succeed in any but the most superficial sense of the word” – James Kouzes, Barry Posner, Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It
When we do manifest parts of our vision we are reminded that we need to continue to build our resiliency and stamina as leaders if we are going to continue to model the way. We become expressions of our personal leadership brands by being our authentic selves. It begins with radical self- awareness!
No man is free who is not master of himself”– Epictetus
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