The world today is going through turbulent times and in such times, there exist an opportunity – an opportunity to innovate and create new solutions for the most pressing issues. The question however is do we have what it takes to be the change maker?
Yes, we have! is my answer to the question. The reason for being inquisitive now than ever before is the realization that issues are same across the world. It is not the debate of DEVELOPED vs DEVELOPING countries or US vs THEM or GLOBAL MAJORITY vs RESOURCE HOLDERS; rather it’s a question of WILL and DRIVE. How much willing and driven are we as a nation and as an individual to bring about a change in the lives of fellow beings irrespective of the quantum, magnitude and divides.
With this introspection, I got a chance to attend a Leadership for Equity and Opportunity (LEO) training by Dr Monica Sharma where her entire focus was on self-awareness. She believes that knowing who we are as individual sets the tone for impact. She has orchestrated a framework based on her decades of experience in the social sector. It was an interesting revelation for me; how my values have always been embedded in my actions; not just work but in my entire being. This experience motivated me to share the process so that everyone can go through this self-awareness journey for strategic action and impact.
Our innate capacity for compassion and clarity is blurred due to man-made inequities and exploitation which is a reason enough for us to deep dive in ourselves to access our capacity as human being. True human potential can only be unleashed if we know the answer of ” Who am I” and source this inner power for transformation. It is easier to identify the inner power of our family and friends and correlate to them for transformation but a hard challenge to see the humanistic inner power in people we oppose, especially in the world of power imbalance. Everyone has an inner capacity; we just need to hit the right cords to unravel it and indeed it is awe-inspiring once harnessed. The six steps towards knowing one-self (self-awareness) are:
Discovering “Who Am I and What I Stand for” – Knowing our innate greatness
We all have inner power. Our social experiences and sometimes trauma episodes impede us from tapping into this robust space. There are many
management and leadership personality tests which are designed
to identify areas for improving productivity, efficiency, cost effectiveness and sometimes quality. We are conversant of our personality types as I know I am an ESTP-T; I am Pioneer & an Integrator as well as I am a shark, a bear and a fox at the same time. These tests told me who am I but the picture was incomplete as humanistic values were somehow missing from this picture. These tests somehow miss the mark when it is about capturing the societal and environmental impact that is pertinent for thriving organizations, communities, people and this planet. In the context of development world, exploring inner capacities and creating a connection with universal values for action is a doorway to our own happiness and simultaneously to the prosperity, productivity, cost effectiveness, quality and well-being of all people. Therefore, it is pertinent to discover who we are as an individual, what is our inner capacity and then ground our self in what we stand for as individual, in order to transform the situation and generate results. It is important to remember that we resonate with others from this inner space, the ground of our being.
Articulating “What I stand for” and Saying it
Speaking what we stand for is hard for many adults. Whatever the justifications are for our reluctance, but one thing we know that compassion that leads us to action requires us to be vulnerable and courageous. Children are courageous in explicitly articulating what they stand for and what they will do but as we grow-up, the society started playing a role in defining who we are and what we stand for. In this societal reforming, we somehow lose track of our originality and authenticity. Sourcing inner capacity is not related to specialized expertise; rather it is a way of being. It is important to keep reminding ourselves who we are and what we stand for and saying it out-loud so that our mind registers our values and transform it as our inner power in our very existence instead of just limiting it to our work.
Fears are intrinsic and we all have them. Fear is an unfriendly, hostile emotion that haunt us when we face a danger or threat. We move into action to protect ourselves. Our body is intelligent enough to transmit signals whenever we are being exposed to our fear and we have our own coping mechanisms. To achieve great results and powerful impacts, it is important to know our fears and instead of suppressing them, just name them and divert focus on inner capacities. Society shapes most our decisions and subconsciously we create a fear of acceptance and rejection which ultimately takes us away from our own true self. The fears that limits us needs to be transcended for powerful action.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is our ability to act despite our fear. Fear is natural; what is needed is to divert our attention to our inner power. It is human nature; whatever we give attention to grows and this is applicable to our fears, too. What we give attention to is our own choice. Transcending fears requires us to move from our habitual patterns that are created by our fears to a creative space sourced in our inner capacity and greatness. Our inner capacity and what we stand for is a place of our real strength and nothing can take that away from us. Obstacles may come and we may be down for a while but that doesn’t mean, we have lost the battle, or we are gone for good. Transcending fears means instead of being lost in the woods, we bounce back and bounce back hard as our inner strength is invincible.
Commitment through Action
Personal transformation is the source of generating results, the foundation of social transformation. As change leaders, we constantly ask ourselves how can we be significant and make a difference, not from our egos but from our oneness, our very being? Commitment is our innate aspect of our deepest self. Knowing our purpose is key which can be addressed through answering the questions like:
- Why am I here?
- What is the source of my action?
When we articulate our purpose based on our wisdom, we have energy to act. Contribution is what we do in the world based on our individual purpose, the change that we strive to make in the world. This clarity source our actions to go beyond our comfort zone – we follow our bliss – the Hero’s journey! (as said by Ms. Monica Sharma) Sometimes we commit to actions based on our wounds with aim to prevent other from going through the same sufferings, and in this we limit our space; our sufferings limit us to explore. They become a kind of fear and the entire aim is to transcend the fears for greater gains for ourselves and others.
As change makers, once we know who we are, what we stand for, what are our fears, and how to transcend them then and only then we head towards creating platform for others to source their inner capacities for actions and results. We must stand alone, but not go on the path alone. Realizing and believing in ones values is the key and then it create synergies and partnerships for greater impact. As we journey through life, each one of us brings a unique gift for humanity, and sometimes in this journey our values question the societal values and believes. In such times, we must have the courage to stand alone and be the push factor. We create our own agency and with persistence and believe, we eventually bring in people; we learn to journey together in resonance with other and generate synergistic results. Such platforms create spaces for transformative leadership; where we grow as leaders and support others to lead transformation. It is a difficult innovative path due to humans which are different in their believes, values, systems and practices. But creating a platform for others to source their inner capacities is key to impact humanity in totality.
Disclaimer: Images in this post have been taken from web and the post content is an excerpt of the LEO training program organized by Rise Together .