Look Listen Within

Today’s always-on and fast-paced world drowns out our inner voice. How do we turn off the noise, so we begin to listen and access our own greater wisdom?

An inside-out journey

When I left my corporate job in 2009, intending to discover better ways of introducing change to improve organizations, I didn’t realize what it would set in motion. In hindsight, I realized I had started on a path many call an “inner-leader journey.”

One of the first things I did was interview leading experts and practitioners. I started every interview with this opening question: “What is your best improvement strategy that has worked really well for you or your clients?” Their surprising and unexpected answers were published in the book 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success.

Their responses were illuminating, but this initiative reinforced the power of asking questions. Asking questions activates powerful forces that attract the right conditions, people, and events to lead you forward. Questions may be one of the most powerful forces we can set in motion.

In Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski, we learn that people and organizations can pass through a journey of inner transformation that enables them to shape the future instead of simply responding to events and circumstances. 

In effect, leaders can learn how to create the conditions for “predictable miracles” or synchronicity. Furthermore, anyone can choose to be a leader through new capacities brought forward when we begin the inner journey. 

The key to creating the conditions for predictable miracles is the ability to perceive reality as it is, but most of us are not very good at this. Rather, we relate to internal remembrances of our history evoked by whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. 

When we open ourselves up to begin an inner transformation, we see things as they truly are. We allow something new to show up when we see what is true. We begin to think and act in new ways and interact differently with others. 

The result: change happens naturally as a consequence and flows through us to our outer experience.

We begin the inner-leader journey by exploring new ways to look within ourselves. Six key themes were foundational to my growth as an inner leader and journey to higher consciousness:

• Forward thinking. Forward-thinking involves thinking, planning, and actions that consider the future and the present. In today’s fast-changing world, the future is already here. We must look beyond traditional ways of living and working based on Industrial Age thinking and practices.

• Conscious/self-leadership. Traditional forms of leadership are grounded in command and control and in doing what good leaders do. Insight for leadership resides not only in the “other” but is accessible to everyone through newly honed sensibilities of looking and listening within.

• Inner awareness and intuition. By enhancing our ability to look and listen within, we access greater awareness and creative power to shape our world and be a force for good. If you don’t know what awareness is and how to use it, then awareness is random. When directed, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

• Inner-leader journey. The inner-leader journey is a personal journey where there is no path. It’s impossible to write about the inner leader’s journey without mentioning your own story. By sharing my journey, I hope to inspire more people to travel the path I believe we all must travel in the 21st century. 

• Questions, listening, and dialogue. We can learn how to ask new questions that harness our more powerful intuition, helping us discover surprising new answers. In dialogue, we move beyond discussion and championing our point of view to listening more deeply for breakthrough vision and action.

• Understanding how the mind works. A new understanding of how the mind works from the inside out is based on the principles of mind, consciousness, and thought. With this new understanding, we realize our experiences and feelings are created by our thoughts, not our circumstances.

Developing our inner capacities in all six areas creates a new understanding, and elevated state of being that lifts us beyond where we find ourselves. We get in closer touch with our deeper wisdom and intelligence and allow it to lead us.