Today’s leaders are engaged in managing unprecedented challenges. Our time is marked by volatility, complexity and global upheaval, all of which have awakened us to our collective dissatisfaction with the status quo. Our desire to succeed in reaching our goals and produce results can often result in sacrificing our own humanity and well-being along the way. We know we need to change, but how?
I believe we are in need of shifting to a more humanistic, holistic workplace with a renewed emphasis on people as much as profits. As such, leaders need to learn how to access the “inner switch” necessary to become an inspired leader—and person– who is powerful, wise, courageous, compassionate, and present.
Leaders need a transformational path towards integration so they can better manage previously unfixable external concerns, business management obstacles, stressful situations and setbacks. Ancient wisdom offers a time-tested system that helps us learn how to shift internally so we may continue creating, innovating, and initiating, despite pressure and setbacks. My approach reveals the secrets to accessing that which is already present within leaders, but often lays dormant.
Throughout history, the contrast between darkness and light has been prominently featured in art and literature as a symbolic struggle between evil and good in the human character. As westerners, we have concluded that darkness represents the absence of light—within us as well as in the sky. But from an Eastern, Vedic perspective, which emerged in written form from the region that is now India , the resting state is viewed as light, not darkness.
And on an individual level, the reason for doing practices like yoga is not to turn on a light that will penetrate and illuminate our inner darkness, but to remove the darkness that is preventing us from perceiving our natural inner light. That darkness is understood to be obscuring our light, lying over it like a blanket or filter—or to be polluting the ember of divine light that shines naturally through our being. Like the moon can eclipse the sun, the light of our being can be blocked from our sight.
In the Vedic terms that are inherent to yoga, love is an energy of light, while fear is an energy of darkness. Many practices from the Eastern world are designed to help us remove our own darkness—to liberate ourselves from it. Then our natural tendency to embody light can spontaneously express itself without effort.
Our collective task as leaders is to shift the paradigm in our workplaces and in broader society to become removers of darkness for ourselves and for others.
How is becoming a remover of darkness relevant to becoming an effective leader? Leaders’ true power comes from removing their own darkness and revealing their inner light. When they do, they can use their presence to connect with the people they lead and help them remove their own darkness and reveal their own inner light.
Decisions made out of fear degrade an entity. Fear when doing business leads to breakdowns in the relationships within and around the organization, and ultimately to its destruction.
By contrast, decisions made in the spirit of love and connection allow for spontaneous organization of people and ideas. Higher intelligence becomes accessible, and flowing creativity becomes possible.
Everyone is looking for connection, empathy, acceptance, and recognition. Unfortunately, many people do not accept themselves, based on past experiences that predispose them to interact as rejected and fearful beings.
An Inner Switch Leader knows how to access love within themselves and hold space for others so that they can remove their own darkness and experience the power of love and pure consciousness, too. When we are present, we can inspire others to do the same so that the solutions to attain our goals spontaneously appear. Moreover, this unleashed, energetic cocreativity improves the likelihood of a successful outcome, while ensuring a joyous journey all along the way.
Leaders who learn this will transform working relationships from conflict-creating, stress-inducing, goal-oriented, reactive struggles into harmonious, effective, and responsive collaborations. They will become confident that they are doing the right things for the right reasons in the right way at the right moment
The leader of today will benefit from learning to become non-reactive, and therefore present, clear, and connected within ourselves so that they can connect to others. When leaders learn the secret to transforming themselves, they will create positive change in their organizations and in their own lives.
Susan S. Freeman, MBA, PCC is the author of the new book for transformational leadership “Inner Switch: Ancient Wisdom Transforms Modern Leaders.” Visit her at www.susansfreeman.com
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