Opening Up Space Beyond Boundaries
Also in early 2020, I began an exercise to review all the insights, people, and books that had influenced my inner-leader journey, which I had documented over the years. This initiative resulted in the publication of a collection of more than 150 forward-thinking designs and images that accompany each concept or idea. The intention behind the designs is to make the invisible more visible and the immeasurable more tangible, thus making them more accessible, real, and actionable. The following six areas of growth are key:
- Forward-thinking. Forward-thinking involves thinking, planning, and actions that consider the future as well as the present. In today’s fast-changing world, the future is already here. That means we need to 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 the things that good leaders do. Traditional leadership is often thought of as the domain of a select few individuals with the“right stuff” at the top of the pyramid. We are now discovering that 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 truly is and how to use it, then your awareness is random. When we learn how to direct our awareness, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
- Inner–leader journey. The inner-leader journey is a personal journey where there is no path. However, there are guides to help us better understand the nature and challenges of the journey.
- Questions, listening, and dialogue. We can learn how to ask new questions that harness our more powerful intuition, helping us discover surprising new answers. A new understanding of how the mind works quiets the mind and opens us up to deeper and more effective levels of listening. In dialogue, we move beyond discussion and championing our point of view to learning how to suspend our opinions, listen more deeply, and then see what that all means 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 own thoughts, not our circumstances. This new understanding lifts us up beyond where we find ourselves and gets us in closer touch with our wisdom and deeper intelligence.
How important are these six themes? The survey asked responders to rank the list based on how important it was for team members to increase their understanding and competence in each area (see Table 5).
I found it very interesting to see that all themes were largely rated important to very important (see Table 6). I was expecting some topics might rate much lower in importance. For me, it was a signal that there is growing recognition of the need to “look inside” and develop our softer skills.