OF BEING WHOLE
There is a metaphor I love, attributed to Carl Jung. He said we are all born into a mansion, but as we grow up we put the parts of ourselves we don’t like into the different rooms and lock the door. Until we find ourselves living in a studio flat.
Being whole and living authentically means opening up those rooms and reconnecting with our true self. It requires developing what I call ‘wholeself-awareness’, awareness of ourselves as a whole: our thoughts but also our emotional life and the life of our body.
Listening to our mind is easier for most of us. It uses language to talk to us - and it does it all the time! We also tend to identify with our thinking self because we live in a society that values rational thinking above all else and encourages us, from an early age, to develop our conceptual minds.
But nobody teaches us to feel. Actually, as we grow up we often learn to see our feeling self as something to ignore, hide, or be ashamed of. And we we lose touch with who we truly are, deep inside.
HOW WE CHANGE:
THE ROLE OF THE BODY
Change is the reason why people look for a coach. They have a goal but they are stuck, most often because of habitual, unconscious behaviours.
We all develop survival strategies throughout life to adapt to our environment, for example our family or our society. Think of the little girl who learns to keep her voice quiet.
When we adapt, we shape ourselves to fit in, hiding our authentic selves and ignoring how we truly feel. The way we suppress our emotions is by contracting physically around them. We do it over and over and at some point our brain puts this repetitive behaviour on autopilot and it becomes unconscious.
Years later, when we look for change, it is very hard to do it by only working on our thinking. We need to also disrupt the stubborn neuro-muscular patterns that keep us stuck. Real transformation happens when we change how we feel and sense too. It is our whole state of being that needs to shift.
WHY BEING WHOLE
MATTERS FOR LEADERS
The latest research in neuroscience and biology tells us that we have 3 brains: a thinking brain in our head, a brain in our heart, and an instinctive brain in our gut. To access our broadest intelligence we need to learn to listen to the messages coming from our whole organism.
Developing wholeself-awareness and learning to manage your inner world, versus the outside world, is really important for leaders.
Wholeself-awareness is the foundation of social and emotional intelligence and it is considered one of the key characteristics of a great leader.
Wholeself-aware leaders are less reactive and able to stay calm in stressful situations. Research shows that they make better decisions, find it easier to learn and change, and are more powerful communicators.
Their ability to feel themselves also impacts their relationship with others. When we can’t feel ourselves we cannot feel others: we lose our capacity for empathy, connection and compassion.
Wholeself-aware leaders are more successful and compelling as they lead with a sense of purpose, authenticity, openness and trust. They are grounded in their values and everything they do, from what they say to their actions and intentions, is aligned with those values.
People who work with and for them are more committed, motivated, productive, and loyal. So wholeself-aware leaders make their companies more successful and compelling too.