Today is the big day. We “do” our first activity. And we discover how most of the sites and blogs on corporate training fool you into thinking that there is a lot about yourself you need to ‘fix’, while the truth is simply discovering yourself setting you free to live your ‘ideal’.
Before we begin, if you haven’t read the previous post where we look at the qualities of an ideal leader, I want you to stop reading, and first go back there. What you discover there is the foundation of what you will be doing now.
I want you to carefully look at what you have written about yourself as a leader. Read it, as though you are reading something someone else wrote. This person is the leader you have always admired. And its true. You can recognize those qualities, because they exist in you. A dancer may not fully understand the intricacies of sculpture. It is because it exists in you, that you can see it. Believe this fully.
So what do you do?
- Read that comment, or note, or diary entry or however it is that you have shared your vision of the qualities of a leader. Read it as though you are reading something someone else has written. Someone you respect, admire.
- Take a moment to go back to your old self to see if there are any changes you want to make – whatever they may be.
- Now, I want you to create two lists – one is “I am” and the other is “I am not” based on what you wrote (and the ‘impressions’ you get from it).
- Now, take these lists and read them out aloud as complete sentences each time. For example, “I am talented. I am shy. I am a good listener…” etc and “I am not judgmental, I am not confident, I am not superstitious…” etc.
- Now comes the tricky part. Read it aloud again, but this time around, read the exact opposite of everything you wrote. For example, our earlier example becomes “I am not talented. I am not shy. I am not a good listener…” etc and “I am judgmental. I am confident. I am superstitious…” etc.
- No really, I mean it. Go right back and READ ALOUD BOTH LISTS BOTH TIMES AS COMPLETE SENTENCES.
- What are you feeling?
The objective of this activity is to really look at the “scales” we use to measure people, and the image we have of ourselves with regard to them.
Those scales are real – they are what we operate from. For example, honesty or dishonesty is something I use to measure a person. These scales influence the kind of leading (or indeed living) we do.
On the other hand, the ‘image’ we create is largely how we wish ourselves to be seen. If I wish to see myself as shy, I don’t register times I am bold. If I don’t like seeing myself as judgmental, I will refuse to accept that I am judgmental at times. These ‘presentations of ourself’ that we create become our prison. As long as we are ruled by how we are seen, it is difficult to truly be what we are, and operate from our full potential.
Simply saying out loud the opposite of our presented image helps us to see aspects of ourselves that also exist. For example, it is the rare person who will acknowledge that he is unjust, yet, can we honestly say that we are unfailingly just? That presentation image becomes our belief of reality, and we become unable to see beyond it. We become rigid. If we are to create change…. we need to be malleable, open to discovering things about ourselves, and thus discovering our new capacity that unfolds because of them.
Now, if you have simply read through this passively, it may or may not make sense to you. But if you are fantasizing that simply reading this activity will create any change at all in you, it is not so. To experience the freeing that happens, you will have to go through the doing. Hot is an idea until it scalds you – your fantasy reaction to hot will not be the same in actuality or intensity to the reality. It takes doing, experiencing, to create change on a personal level. So I urge you to go right to the top of that list (and perhaps the earlier post if you haven’t done that) and really DO it.
As always, comment here to share your experience, or your ideas. Perhaps you did things or experienced things that show you something else from this activity. I don’t imagine I know all there is on this subject, but I suspect that together, we can gain far more insight.