"Leaders are those who are responsible for their worlds." I heard that statement again last week on a webinar with Henry and Karen Kimsey-House, and though I've been contemplating it for the last two years, its siren call is still compelling.
If you think about responsibility as the heavy weights of musts and shoulds that attack you and bring on the resistance monster, this is different.
Responsibility is about engaging fully with your world, from the core of your being, like the glassblower moulding orbs, the Zen gardener turning moist soil, the cook handling each crisp vegetable before dropping it into the pot.
In flow and at one with the experience, it is hardly an effort and comes from deep within. Time disappears and you are as close to contentment as you can get, present with your creativity.
To engage fully in that wholehearted, embodied way asks that you pay attention to what invites you, to what is part of the beat of your heart and as close to you as the breath of life.
Who would not want to lead one's life from that most alive, natural, soul-inspired and creative place?
And yet, the distractions that keep us from listening to that truth-telling inner voice are endless.
Think about this. You attend a social or business function and wonder if you are being true to your authentic self. Are you saying what you want to say in your way?
Are you wearing the clothes you want to wear, or those that will create less (imagined) controversy or judgment and hopefully more acceptance in the minds of others - as if you can ever control what people think.
At such an event this week, I heard that someone told a woman not to have her picture taken with a playful red boa, lest it get posted and mar her brand.
Do you wear the jean jacket or is it only Brené Brown who has earned the right to do what she wants?
Do you find ways to play it safe or to be yourself?
To listen to your inner beat, to make the impact that you want to make is a courageous act when generations' worth of conditioning has you almost deaf to your own distinctive song.
As leaders, when you read through the latest theories and practices, many of which were once fads and have since passed, how do you listen to what is true for you?
It's the same with building a business. As I look at what's available to teach me how to earn money at what I love, one expert tells me to work one-on-one with people, another advises me to leverage with group work, another insists I need a signature talk, and all of them tell me to develop an online program.
Distractions can be like stepping into a dormant field of mines. At any moment you might set off a bomb and it can destroy you. You are in a part of the country that hasn't known peace for long; you were not paying attention, had the wrong motives, and now military personnel will have to steer you carefully out of there - and you'd be stupid not to pray for a good outcome.
The seduction and confusion can throw you dangerously off track.
To find out what is resonant for you requires sitting still and listening within, walking in nature and asking the trees, putting the big questions out for the wind to inform you, dancing your dream images through your body or having a big, unedited dialogue in your journal.
You are seeking for what is in your heart and gut, so whatever method works for you at any time is your key.
This is the crucial work - looking inward, noticing, paying attention, being present and checking in with yourself many, many times a day.
If we are responsible for our worlds and for contributing in a way that is genuine for us, then playing to what is not sincere is a slippery slope.
If you're not listening to inner guidance through a conscious practice of aligning to it, you will be likely to fashion the molten glass into a blue sphere to please your instructor though you wanted red, or to create neat rows in the sand for your Zen garden though you longed for spirals.
And that vibrant vegetable soup? It might lose all semblance of its simple bouquet when you add chillies that you don't really enjoy for a guest you are trying to impress.
Rather, responsible for your world, you can dare to create from the sacred place of integrity and find your own, distinct and incomparable form.
Miriam Linderman works with soulful women who want to lead their lives and work powerfully, authentically and unapologetically. You can find her at www.miriamlinderman.com
The Gentleness Formula: A Soulful, Step-by Step Method for Women to Lead Powerfully in Work and Life is a transformational 12-week, customized one-on-one program guaranteed to change the way you lead and live. Click here to find out more.
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