Ultimately all leadership is self-leadership. The challenge is it sometimes appears not to be.
My intention in this article is to explain a tricky concept using a clunky but hopefully helpful analogy.
When we really get this, we can end the striving and not only enjoy a complete shift in results, we can enjoy them from a state of flow too.
It’s a long post with some deliberate repetition but I hope it’s valuable for you.
Let’s start with a definition of Self-Leadership. What is it?
The definition I use is “it’s the allowing of our innate ability to effortlessly realise our heart’s desires and to recognise happiness, fulfilment and freedom are our very nature.”
Self-Leadership and goal achieving are not about doership.
How many times have we tried to align our actions and behaviour with our goals and intentions?
How many times have we tried to align our thoughts and feelings too?
Which is another form of ‘doing’ that can be crazily difficult.
How many years have we strived and tried and wanted and believed only to end up with another year similar to the one before?
Self-Leadership and goal achieving are about allowing and the automatic directing of our consciousness, actions and behaviour.
Based upon who we are aware of being.
Our results are expressed in direct relationship to this. Always.
Which is not to say we don’t ever have to do anything.
I’m simply saying doing and results are always an expression of who we are being. They are outcomes and effects.
Many of us have heard it said…. and I used to say this to myself a lot!…
“I just need to get out of my own way.”
And if I need to get out of my way, then who is the I that I am in the way of?
I appear to be at war with myself!
How interesting! (And frustrating!)
It’s the understanding of this which is the key.
Here’s one way of attempting to explain it.
Did you ever make shadow puppets as a kid?
With the light behind you, your hands in front of the light and the shadow of your hands projecting onto the wall?
Did you ever consider that the shadow on the wall was nothing to do with your hands?
That it was completely separate and independent?
An unrelated coincidence appearing on the wall?
Did you ever go to the wall or ask someone to go to the wall to manipulate or change the shadow?
I’m assuming you didn’t.
The shadow on the wall was a projection based on the shape of your hands.
Your hands didn’t even look like a rabbit to show what looked like a rabbit.
Change how your hands were configured and the shadow changed by default.
We knew this then as kids. We know it now.
But do we know this is precisely how our reality works too?
We may refuse to believe it of course and why would we believe it?
We’re taught to believe we must manipulate the shadow to change it.
We’re taught hard work and effort and strategy and doing are requirements.
We’re taught that the world is separate and so it’s us and the outside world.
So how can that outcome over there or that person’s decision or behaviour or the result be on account of or a reflection of me?
It’s an alien concept which makes no sense.
So we therefore continue to address secondary causes and strategies and wonder why it’s so hard to really shift the needle.
We wonder why the patterns continue despite our best efforts.
The answer is nobody taught us that if I am really to get out of my own way, I firstly have to understand and accept who I am in the way of.
When we think of it this way, it’s SELF-evident. I am in I’s way. I is always first party.
I am standing in front of my light, aware of being who and what I don’t want and yet I am expecting all my effort from this state of being to show me the opposite of who I am being!
It’s obvious and yet we continue to overlook it partly because it’s alien and partly because nobody teaches us how to address what’s primary..
How do I get out of my own way?
The first step is to learn we are not who we think we are.
We have a mind and a body. The one we refer to as I.
The belief that this is all that we are is the ego.
But our mind and body are only a tiny part of who we are.
Ego is the belief that mind and body is all that we are but it’s this belief that can be so problematic.
Enter our true self. (Sometimes, albeit incorrectly, referred to as our higher self).
Our true self is consciousness. Whole and complete and this consciousness is what gives life to our mind and body.
Our true self is the awareness and intelligence that animates our body, beats our heart, pumps our blood and which is efortlessly breathing you now.
It’s our life-force or spirit.
Our true self is pure, unconditioned consciousness.
Our body and mind are not separate.
They’re all one but I’ll spare the detail on this for another day!
Our true nature is unconditioned consciousness or spirit which expresses itself in form in relation to how we shape it with our imagination and our present moment awareness of being.
So, returning to the shadow puppet analogy, our true self is the light.
We never need concern ourself with the light. It’s always on, eternal, unchanging. 100% dependable and consistent.
Then there’s our mind and body.
Mind is what enables the light to have experience of facets of itself.
We might say mind is the filter which distorts and shapes the light (consciousness) so that the light can get to express and experience aspects of itself on the wall.
Without the distortion of the light, there would just be light. No thing. No appearances on the wall.
If we didn’t put our hand in front of the light, there would be no shadow on the wall.
The light itself is impersonal.
It doesn’t discriminate. It respects whatever is put in front of it. It simply shines.
So, what we put in front of it, based upon what we’re holding in our mind through our awareness of being, is what’s projected out into form.
We then experience the appearances of this with our senses on the screen of our life.
Which extends to wanting too!
When our mind is filled with wanting, we experience evidence of our wanting.
Wanting and having are very different finger puppets!
But here’s what’s liberating.
Our body is within the mind.
It’s not the other way around.
So, when we ’embody’ or take on an internal state of being, we get to see the evidence of this showing up.
It’s showing up so we can become more Self-Aware.
More aware of our true self.
So we can become more adept at Self-Leadership (aka shaping the light to throw the shadows we want to see!)
The projections may show up in the form of sales, money, people in our team, our clients, our relationship with time, with others, etc., etc.
And the appearances may appear to be independent and completely separate.
And our ego belief means we very often believe them to be separate.
But they’re not.
They’re pointers back to what we’re holding in front of the light.
Pointers back to who I am aware of being.
The appearances on the screen are bringing light – literally – to what I am or have been conscious or unconscious of.
Helping me become more conscious…. or Self-Aware.
So I can, metaphorically speaking, change the shape of my hands by ’embodying’ a state of being which is aligned with what I wish to see expressed.
So, for example, if I want to see wealth in the bank, I must firstly embody being wealthy.
I’ve got to be it first in order to see it.
Because we can no more experience the opposite of who we are aware of being than we can project a horse onto the wall with our hands configured as a rabbit!
The order of play is always:
True Self >> Mental and Emotional Self > Physical Expression of Self.
It simply cannot and does not work any other way.
Just like you can’t step out of an airplane and go up.
Physical expression also includes our doing.
And all our doing is inspired by who we are in the state of being and it can’t ever produce results beyond who we are being.
So, in summary…..
The more we recognise that our so-called outside world is a reflection of our inner Self, the more we’re able to consciously create and shape our experience versus unconsciously creating it.
The more we identify with our true nature and not with our ego, the more we realise our true self is the one seeking expression of all of our heart’s desires and that they can’t be experienced until we drop the resistance to them.
Or in other words until we stop resisting the light.
Crazy and simple as it seems, we do this by learning to be fully present and by then bringing more light to our desires in the portal of now.
Only then can we see them on the screen.
So it’s not about personal development or striving or hard work or denial or changing or creating new beliefs.
Beliefs are new in every moment based on who we are being.
What it’s about is Self-realisation.
Which is the polar opposite of hard work and striving; it’s easy and joyful.
The challenge we have is the belief that all we are is our ego.
It’s this that we need to see through.
Because otherwise we’re right back to being back in our own way.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool. Richard P. Feynman.