Disseminating the New Business Paradigm
This is the fifth in an 8-part series examining the new style of business leadership being championed by Uplift Consulting and shared by spiritual/professional thought-leaders worldwide.
Last week, we touched on changing our perspective from an ego-based “what’s in it for me?” to one of “how may I serve?” and how that simple shift can alter our experiences in both our personal lives and in our businesses. In this post, I would like to extend the idea of “how may I serve?” into a fundamental way of being, a way of ‘showing up’ in the world. We’ll look at how opening to change and embracing transition can have a driving force not only on your internal state but on how you approach and explore your day-to-day lives. This directly leads to mindful positive growth.
What I mean by ‘showing up’ is not simply arriving at work on time. What I mean is, are you consciously aware and fully present to what is arising, open to receiving what’s before you? Are you connected at the core?
Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation practices teach us to stay connected to an unwavering place; they keep us grounded. Deepak Chopra mentions how critical it is for leaders to develop these skills in a recent post. It’s needed more than ever before. Especially in light of the world’s tragic events, we all have a part to play.
By showing up from a grounded, heartfelt place, staying centred at our core and ‘bringing down the walls’ (or our own personal protective barriers), we allow ourselves to give and receive with openness. On the contrary, when we are closed off, disconnected, rigid, and protective, it leads to anxiety, stress and an unstable mind and body. By being fully embodied in the present moment, we experience freely what lies before us, moment by moment, breath by breath, accepting things just as they are. As conscious breath expands within our body and with it a relaxed sense of being, it creates space for curiosity and inquiry. Each beloved breath is a unique experience; each moment is a gift. Being open to this fluidity of giving and receiving of life prepares us for the little unexpected moments—the moments where the ordinary becomes the extraordinary—and allows us to embrace change with gratitude and grace.
Here’s the caveat with change. You see, rarely do things pan out the way you imagine. Often times, our grand designs are even foiled by ‘set-backs’, leaving us flustered and wanting. Here’s what I believe: there are no set-backs in life…ever. Every situation we are dealt is an opportunity to grow; every circumstance has the potential to become, in us, Deep Wisdom. No longer are we living with the ‘should, would, could’ or the blaming stories we so frequently tell ourselves because we are in the present moment.
I’ve come to a place, both in my personal life and in business, where I can see the interconnectedness—a beautifully woven tapestry where my intention is to experience everything as it arises. At least, this is what I practice. The good, and also the uncomfortable, moments have allowed me to discover a dynamic ground within me, a connection to a larger life, a healthy mature ego, and above all the ability to move with courage and ‘the wisdom to let go’. I didn’t coin this phrase but have been inspired daily by one of my yoga teachers.
‘May we all have the courage to continue on our path and the Wisdom to Let Go.’
On Being Open, Leaning In, and Letting Go.
Sheryl Sandberg recently released a new book entitled, ‘Lean In‘. What caught my eye was the title of the book, followed by the media response. For me, to lean into a work life is to be ready, grounded and open to embrace the unexpected. From what I’ve seen in the media, Lean In has rattled more than a few minds, but I am quite taken with the comments arising from the Huffington Post:
“Lean In has unleashed multiple conversations. For me, the most interesting is the one about the nature of the world women are leaning into. This is a great moment for all of us—women and men—to acknowledge that the current male-dominated model of success isn’t working for women, and it’s not working for men, either.
For everybody, stress has gone up—in the last 30 years, self-reported stress has gone up 25% for men and 18% for women. And we’re surrounded by stressed-out leaders—in politics, in business, in media—making terrible decisions. What they lack is not smarts but wisdom. And it’s much harder to tap into your wisdom, recognizing the icebergs before they hit the Titanic—a big part of leadership—when you’re running on empty.”
~ Arianna Huffington
If you, or anyone, is seeking a less stressful way to work and live, you need to develop an inner wisdom before you ‘hit the Titanic’. We need to lead and work from a place where we first:
STOP . PAUSE . BREATHE
We need to ask ourselves how we got to this place and what we as individuals can do to move ahead in a mindful, positive way. We need to ask ourselves:
What Am I doing? Why Am I doing it?
Here’s how to find the answer: Stop your ‘scheduled busyness’, limit the stuff that creates the hectic feeling, and avoid the distractions. This is a frightening proposition for many. Some have equated the busyness and materialism of our culture as a measure of self importance. I invite you to open up to a different idea and get curious with yourself. Go inside, lean into your body by way of the breath, and truly listen.
“The tasks we face in pursuing a work life more often have to do with intangibles, with what cannot yet be touched or spoken, and very often with the great intangibles of our unhappiness. In a good work day you are more often than not trying to make other people happy; in a good work life you are trying to make yourself happy. In a work life we must treat the intangibles as seriously and as practically as we treat the touchable, doable tasks of a given day. To do this we must use a different language and a different imagination from what we might use at a desk or a workbench; we must locate a form of current different from the one that powers our laptops or our power tools, an internal current inside the imagination, inside the body that is determined to flow out around all external obstacles and find its way home.”
~ David Whyte, The Three Marriages
This idea of leaning into a new world of business is part of the new business paradigm I’ve been writing about in this series, a focus on grounded, wise, and centred ways, the creation of foundations that empower, inspire, and engage people. This is about showing up to life and bringing your whole Self to work. We are placing more awareness on a heart-mind mindset so that we can embrace transformational change from a dynamic ground—creating a world that’s a better place to live in by working on ourselves first, a world where we make discerning choices that support our wellbeing. We can’t enter these new times or solve these challenges with the same mindset that created them.
Support is needed; we’re undergoing a period of intense transformation. According to Conscious Media, 55% of Americans (Canada is not far behind) are undergoing a major life transition and are open to the idea of personal transformation. Personal transformation must be part of the change and it must be supported by innovative personal growth programs pioneered by progressive leaders. It requires courage and openness and much more. Being open to the greater conversation of self-inquiry is what leads us to appreciate the unexpected and subsequently, the natures of each other. As you can imagine, this conversation isn’t frequently attended in the boardrooms…yet.
So as we lean in/let go/open up, we naturally create space for the new to emerge and with it, if we continue to explore and practice, Wisdom, Compassion, Insight, Strength, Resilience, and Vitality. We learn to open up and breakdown barriers, extend our limitations, and see things differently—with a kinder, compassionate lens. Only from this refreshed, renewed perspective, we can move into and beyond our limitations.
The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.
~ Pema Chodron
Expecting the Unexpected.
Michael Washburn, Transpersonal Psychologist, coined the term ‘Dynamic Ground’ – I think many of us are searching for this ‘grounding’. As discussed in this audio talk with another revered Yoga Teacher, Donna Farhi, we are all looking for the ability to stay connected to the Source. This connection is essential to the times we live in. The idea of ‘Dynamic Ground’ can be compared to the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharishi. He says, “going to the cinema, sitting in a theater, screen is blank, fire appears, but the screen doesn’t get burned. Ocean appears, but the screen doesn’t get wet. Dynamic Ground is the screen.” It is steadfast, open, and able to stay true regardless of its surrounding circumstances.
So how do we find the Dynamic Ground in each of us? How do we connect and stay open to what lies before us, to receive the gifts with grace?
“Living in this dynamic ground of being, we become more, not less, of who we are. We do not become watered-down versions of our former self, a bland monotone. Rather, this radical process called Yoga asks us to live without solidifying our viewpoint or fixing our point of reference. ” ~ Donna Farhi, Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living
What I have come to realize is no matter what is presented on my path, after having time in silence or time to digest, I am able see it as all quite good, even if things didn’t play out as I thought they might. I find the more I practice, the more I see the dynamic ground beneath me and I feel fully and naturally supported.
By remaining open, I understand that things are happening for ‘good reason’ and my life is unfolding perfectly, just as it should. I truly believe when we allow and invite ourselves to lean into our lives this way, we open ourselves up to a level of wisdom and insight perhaps not available to us before. But first it requires letting go…letting go of control, letting go of expectations, and letting go of how things ‘should be’.
A client recently shared this inspirational poem in one of our meetings, on letting go.
To let go does not mean to stop caring. It means I can’t do it for someone else.
To let go is not to put myself off. It is the realization I can’t control another.
To let go is not enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To let go is not to try to change or blame another. It is to make the most of myself.
To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To let go is not to be in the middle, arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To let go is not to be protective. It is to permit another to face reality.
To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
To let go is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.
To let go is to fear less and love more.
~ Author Unknown
Imagine, if we all took moments to ‘let go’…
Finding Your Own Ground.
In order to open and receive wholeheartedly, we must clear the space around us, both externally through distractions and internally by letting go of expectations and attachments. When we let go, we create a natural pathway to our own Dynamic Ground. As we reflect on what we receive with grace and gratitude, it also opens the pathway to giving wholeheartedly (How May I Serve)—so it becomes a constant flow of giving and receiving that impacts our overall wellbeing. Experience it for yourself and begin with this practice:
As you prepare to let go, find a quiet space in your home, clear the floor, and make space to lie on your back comfortably. Prepare for Relaxation (Savasana)—a personal paradise.
Close your eyes, feet splayed out to the sides and legs apart, arms away from your sides, palms facing up, pillow underneath your head to support your neck aligned with your spine, a bolster or stacked blanket underneath your knees. Allow your entire body to surrender to the weight of gravity, inviting every single cell and muscle fibre, all tension to relax and melt away into the Earth.
Now repeat to yourself, “With an open mind, I direct my attention inward, ready for what is yet to unfold. I am letting go of my expectations and remaining open and present to the gifts that lie before me”. Then rest in silence or surround yourself in meditative music, listening to the natural rhythm of your breath and whisperings of the soul for the next 20 minutes.
I leave you with much gratitude and admiration for those who are choosing to lead and live with courage. May you have wisdom to Open, Let Go and Lean In! Celebrate the beauty.
Over the remaining posts, we’ll take a better look at this fresh approach to business and how it’s taking shape. I’ll also continue to share some resources I find inspiring and show you how Uplift is helping to lead the way.
Love and light,