One of the reasons I decided to keep a blog is to bring ideas that are working for me or my clients to even more people. Today, we are going to ask ourselves a tough question that I believe is a powerful step towards conscious action which helps us step into our authentic leadership. It is also one of the most challenging for me when I am most triggered by others.
So, think about the biggest challenge you're facing right now. What's keeping you awake at night? What's sapping your energy even when you're not thinking about it on purpose? What's making you dread opening your email or running into someone at work?
Now, still thinking of that challenge, take out a piece of paper and write the question,
"How am I getting in my own way?"
In addition to answering the question, there are two more things I suggest you consider in this exercise:
1. What are your thoughts as you consider this question?
Did you just shout, "I'm not getting in my own way - it's their fault!" in your head? It may be true that other people are the cause of your suffering. But it may be truer that it is your thinking about those people or their actions that is truly causing your pain. How could you reframe "it's all their fault" to a more open-minded and curious question? "How am I getting in my own way?" or "How have I contributed to this problem?" is one way to start this habit of conscious leadership.
2. What are the feelings that arise as you consider this question?
Is there resistance? Is there sadness or regret, maybe a touch of petulance? It's important to feel whatever emotions you feel when you ask yourself this question. Is there discomfort? Where is the discomfort in your body? Pay attention to these cues, and learn to just notice your physical response without judgement (this practice is a cornerstone of our authentic leadership as we gain greater self awareness and emotional maturity).
What did you come up with in response to the question? Your list needn't be long, but write whatever pops into your mind. Take the rest of the day to ponder it and reflect on the accompanying emotions. Review your list before you leave the office or before you go to bed. I'd love to hear what you come up with or any thoughts you have on the process you went through to make your list.