What is leadership? What is Personal Leadership? How do you go about cultivating it? What does it mean to be a leader? There was a time in my life when I thought that being a leader meant being in a position of power to lead others. It wasn’t until I faced certain circumstances in my life that I experienced self-leadership – leading the self from within. Only then I truly experienced the true power of leadership. What follows is a description of the steps I went through in my metamorphosis which turned out to be so powerful that it changed my life even though nothing in the external world had changed.
The First Realization : What if I am wrong?
I was undergoing a training during which I saw the movie “The Shift” By Dr Wayne Dyer. In that movie, Dr Dyer speaks about Ivan Llyich (Leo Tolstoy’s – The Death of Ivan Llyich) in which the protagonist Ivan dies on his deathbed wondering – “What if my whole life has been wrong”?
I had grown up holding a certain thought which pained me even till the time I was watching the movie. After having watched this movie I was besieged by this question – What if I am wrong? What if this thought which pains me so much and which I have been keeping alive is wrong?
These questions plagued me for several days till one day I was driving from work to meet a friend and I experienced a transformation. I started realizing possibilities of what else could have been right – if indeed my thoughts were wrong. In doing so, I gained a new perspective about the world, one which not only liberated me from my pain – it also connected me to a new source of power – one which lies within. The power to transcend beyond what you hold to be so true and realize alternative truths, the power to see beyond the illusion of what you believe to be ‘The Reality”.
When you know what you know, you are totally blind to what you don’t know that you don’t know.
Can someone who has never seen red color in entire life – have any knowledge of what red looks like? Words can never describe it. Only experience can. So also with things we don’t know that we don’t know.
The Second Realization : What would I do if I had only 24 hours to live?
Prior to my transformation with the first question, a lot of my decisions and actions were based on the assumptions of what I had believed to be “The Truth”. The other important factor influencing my decisions were my expectations of what would happen in the future and the anxiety, nervousness and fear resulting from that.
But what happens when you experience more than one truth? What happens when you focus on what would you do if you only had 24 hours to live?
It shook the very foundation of my decisions & actions. My decisions used to be on the lines of “it was so in the past and hence..”. How aware was I of the present moment? How aware was I of what is required for the present? Was I truly acting out of the need of the present moment or was I acting out of fear of the future and expectations from the past?
Most of us claim to do our best. We work hard, sometimes exert beyond our physical capability and believe having put in our best, not realizing that half our energies are based on the past and half based on the worries & fears about the future.
This was my second transformation leading to the realization that every circumstance we face in the here and now is unique.
It may or may not be like what we faced earlier.
The learning from the past valuable as it may be, may or may not apply.
The expectations & fears about the future may or may not happen.
Yet the present moment is unique to itself and there is nothing like it that has been or will again. This is the moment of NOW!
The Third Realization : What i want does not matter.
All of us, function in a larger context where we interact with others. And in doing so, when we are colored with our preconceived notions and with prejudices of the past and projected future, we tend to take decisions and act on the basis of what we want for ourselves in that circumstance.
Stop for a moment now and think about it. Isn’t it true?
What happens when you experience a freedom from the past? What happens when the fears of future outcome no longer bother you? What happens when you experience the present moment in its purest essence, where you are connected with your surroundings and you are one with the people around you?
This was my third transformation. I was able to experience the insignificance of what I want versus the power unleashed by acting on the requirement of the NOW!!
Can you imagine a beautiful calmness from within, being less stressed and more relaxed? Can you imagine situations which used to incite some form of strong negative emotion no longer having the same effect on you? Can you imagine being able to achieve your desired results without the stress and with much more harmony with your surrounding in a way that everyone and everything supports you to achieve that result?
This is what I experienced as Leadership of Self, Leadership from Within.