Finding Your Authentic Self
Revisiting Internal v. External Growth
Over the past few months, we’ve explored the intersection of spirituality and leadership, two disciplines that don’t often have common ground – at least not in mainstream executive circles. In fact, back in December 2018, I posed the what might be the foundational question of this entire exercise:
“How much time are you spending on your external growth vs. your internal growth?”
I believe 21st century leaders must look inward before they can find real outward success – for themselves or their businesses. In my experience, internal growth most times takes a back seat to external growth for the bottom line. But as I’ve said before, I’m merely talking about what I, specifically, have experienced.
This is my journey. My story. My truth. You have to find yours.
My goal has never been to provide a lock-step prescription to help you improve your life. These lessons I share are from the books I’ve read, the experts I’ve seen, and the steps I’ve taken to feel more fulfilled as a person.
As I’ve worked to become a better person holistically, I’ve been able to become a better, more effective leader. By sharing my story and my experiences, I want to help you examine your current path in hopes you can locate a better path for your life and career.
Who are you really? And are you ready to improve that person?
Over and over again in my consultation sessions with driven, Type-A business leaders, I come into contact with people who want to do more and better – for their companies, their worlds, and their lives. But no matter the situation or the person, my refrain remains the same:
“If you really want to become a better leader to your employees, a better member of your family, or a better person, all you need is the desire to change. What matters is that you want to improve your life.”
If you’re an executive or leader in any capacity, your internal growth should translate into how you show up for your people, your customers, and your business. But far too often, it takes a back seat to external growth for your bottom line, and this lack of self-awareness cripples most business leaders. Because if you don’t know who you are on the inside, you certainly can’t change the world on the outside.
Put another way, you need to pursue your Authentic Self. But this first means figuring out what your authentic self looks like, and that means learning how to listen inwardly.
From a chattering mind to self-awareness and beyond
Whenever I share my story, the most frequent comment I hear is, “I’ve read all those self-help books, but I haven’t changed.” My response is always the same:
“Reading is only the start. Have you put any lessons from those books into practice?”
Any journey worth taking requires constant, daily practice. I began mine under the direction of one simple principle: everything that happens in the world starts with a thought.
However, when I first started using that approach, I had lots of thoughts. Too many thoughts. My mind would start racing as soon as I woke up each morning. A million different things ran around in my mind, and they all had multiple conversations with each other about a wide variety of topics. And it often happened at the same time!
It wasn’t until I started living life in slow motion that I learned how to mold my thoughts into positive, peaceful directions. Reading books like The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer definitely helped, but only because I started putting the ideas and precepts into practice.
My curiosity and desire for a quieter mind provided a great starting place to give my mind focus. By first untethering the constant voice inside my head from who I am, I could then start down the path to inner freedom. And once I crossed that threshold, I realized that the true cause of the noise in my head was the everyday commotion the mind makes about life.
Getting into the true flow
This was also when I realized my life had been on autopilot. Unfortunately, my plane crash landed hard and fast when my wife died suddenly. Life hadn’t been unfolding as I would have liked, and I definitely wasn’t in control any longer.
I thought I’d find success for my life, my career, and my business by using anything and everything that could help me achieve my goals. But I was very mistaken, and her death revealed in dramatic fashion how my life was in the wrong jet stream.
Thankfully, I found a better way.
I began learning about the natural flow and order of the universe. We come from a source of energy of well-being, but we get distracted from this natural force by trying to influence outcomes. This new awareness created a fundamental shift in my journey. Not only is the existence made up of energy that can propel people forward, but when you tap into it, you can achieve the happiness you need and more.
There really ARE no easy answers – and that’s a good thing
Nothing about my journey to self-awareness was a quick fix. I failed often and brilliantly! But my eyes, mind, and heart are now open to a new way of being, and I am determined to continue down this path. Because of this work, I am more present to my family, my clients, my friends and to this overall human experience.
This is hard work, but it’s worth it. The good news is you don’t have to experience misfortune, mid-life crisis, or some type of “event” to begin your inner personal journey, as I did. By identifying and implementing your personal core values, you will find principles that instrumental in guiding your life, your success, and your business.
You can experience the same transformation in your life. You can become the person you want to be, but it takes work. It takes commitment. It takes you being willing to examine yourself every day. You have to see what you did well, admit what you did poorly, and take steps to do better the next day.
Ultimately, finding your Authentic Self doesn’t take time – it takes courage.
Are you ready to find your Authentic Self and become a better leader and person? Contact me today. I’m ready to help you take those first steps on your journey.