Bringing Leadership to Life
Are you in a quandary, unsure of what to do next?
Are you failing to get the results you want?
Are your lifestyle choices making you happy?
Your brain is continuously pushing you into the future by predicting your next experience. But is what you are experiencing now leading you to what you want? If not, do you know what to do about it?
You are always in a state of becoming. Most of the time you live in a mood of hope and expectation. If not, there could be serious implications for your mental and emotional health. Now is the time to notice how you balance your “way of being” with your “lifestyle”.
When you experience disconnections in the flow of your predictions your brain makes the wrong predictions and you can experience “breakdowns” in the psychological, emotional, physical and social domains of life. Understanding yourself a human being helps you deal with niggling concerns and avoid the pain of depression. There are many other advantages to be gained from knowing how the brain works that will make you more effective in life and as a leader.
Consequently, what you experience in-the-moment is your brain predicting how you will interpret and react to what you are observing. If it gets the prediction wrong this becomes another experience with its own predicted interpretations and reactions. This why in some situations you will get angry and in others remain calm.
So, to change your expected reaction you have to change the way you observe the event. You have to become a different “observer”. One way of doing this is to rewind the “movie” or story of what happened and identify what triggered your interpretation and response to it. Reflecting on what happened enables your “observer” to learn when and how to change your “way of being” next time. This reprogramming of your nervous system by changing your language, mood state, emotional response and body sensation, changes the action.
“Knowing is doing. Doing is knowing.” – Humberto Maturana. Cognitive Biologist.
For example, concerns are like “prediction errors” prompted by fear or failure. Your brain is sensing a threat to your identity and imagines unpleasantness based on previous experience. That’s why it’s important to practice adopting a positive mood and body state from which you can talk about and focus your actions on what really matters to you. Without this future focus in your “being”, you cannot visualise the actions needed to “become” the person you want to be.
“With every thought, action and feeling you are stepping into the future” – Chris Chittenden. Master Ontological Coach
This is a fundamental life and leadership skill. You are taking responsibility for what you say, how you listen, feel and act to serve your deepest intentions. How you expect to behave in the next moment predicts how you will behave. That’s you future happening now. Unless you make new predictions for what you want to “become”, your brain will assume that past assertions and habits, in a given context, are how you want it to be. This is how anger determines your actions and you get stuck in a resentful mood state.
“Fortune favours the prepared mind”– Louis Pasteur
Getting the prediction wrong is like failing a test. You can blame yourself or decide to learn from it and choose actions that will produce a better result next time. It’s time to observe what triggers your “breakdowns” and question if the values and beliefs producing them are still helpful. You can only change what you pay attention to, so explore more possibilities for action and embrace the uncertainties that are limiting your actions. If you get a result you don’t want, change your thinking and you will find better actions.
“Where you direct your mind you move your life” – Richard Newton ‘The Little Book of Big Thinking’
Observe with curiosity
As Marcus Aurelius reminds us, ” it is wiser to treat facts as opinions and truth as a perspective”. You are not always fully aware of how you deceive yourself with unquestioning behaviour and unnecessary fears.
This website helps you intervene and challenge your thoughts. This way you will develop your capacity to respect, accept, reflect and find new meaning in your observations. You will notice how your Way of Being is sabotaging your potential. It takes courage to accept your own fallibility, inconsistency, misunderstandings and internal dilemmas and turn them into opportunities for learning and change.
You must become more aware of your assessments and challenge their validity. Notice how quickly you blame others and defend your assessments without question. Take care to reflect on what you want and would benefit those you really care about. Your assessments need to be grounded in what makes sense for you and your situation. Over time, you will develop a strong sense what really matters to you.
You will feel the discomfort in your body and mind. Identify how changing your expectations will deliver a better outcome. You may not be altogether happy with yourself, but you will know where you stand and what you share with the people you care about.
“The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust
Practice with commitment
Great leaders are self-aware and open to improving how they create space for conversations to get at what is important. Unnecessary problems emerge from the way leaders and coaches fail to guide, support and facilitate the learning of others. Insights are not enough, transformation comes from developing human capacities for deeper listening and clarity of intention. These skills make it easier to fix breakdowns, generate goodwill, build trust and demand accountability.
“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – James Joyce
Speak with intention
In today’s “quick to judge” world it’s important to think before you speak. Mindfulness involves noticing how reality can be shaped by mistakes and novelty. Purposeful conversation is the language of leadership and coaching. It should clarify intentions, distinctions and interpretations. For example, mastering just six linguistic acts can make conversations more productive and actions more collaborative. When practised by a team, these skills will greatly enhance performance, simply because the focus is on what’s important to resolve shared concerns.
“Conversations provide contexts for learning and are the medium for change.” – Prof Alan Sieler
Listen with empathy
Your mood and body state can limit or enhance your ability to listen. Being relaxed, open and fully present enables you to be more aware and attentive. This enhances your ability to connect without and blend with any resistance and accommodate different worldviews. A commitment to accept and act on what people care about can transforms relationships and results. Trust requires you to demonstrate and listen for sincerity, reliability and consistency.
“You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you do not trust enough” Frank Crane
I encourage you to browse the site and find behaviours you can practice today to transform your leadership effectiveness as a learning leader and life coach.
Expectations drive what we perceive and what we pay attention to. The world is changing so fast that leaders need to expect more from their employees and clients. Life Leadership has, therefore, to be about becoming, and this means exploring the unknown to help others predict the future they want to see.
This means relying on the insights, predictions, specialist knowledge and talent of others. It’s the ability to build innate human capacities for imagining, creating and producing the moods that will generate better outcomes. Leaders in all walks of life need to become more effective collaborators, coaches and facilitators.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell
Being a leader involves deep listening, creating a calm and empathetic presence and remaining curious when facing uncertainty. It will be your capacity to coordinate conversations and support learning that will build the trust and commitment needed to cope with the ambiguity, paradox and complexity of daily life.
You are under increasing pressure to think and act in new ways. This website explains how. It takes courage to embrace new possibilities until they make sense to you. I have put together four new ways of helping leaders thrive in a more uncertain and complex world, where events happen contrary to what you would expect. There is a growing demand for leaders to:
- Produce a coherent story from multiple perspectives – using your energy producers
- Produce convincing new worlds to live in and lead from – using your life movie makers
- Create space to generate new insights and behaviours – using your reality creators
- Turn emotions into vehicles for creativity and curiosity – using your mood managers
“Every human has the built-in power to improve, to change for the better, to significantly restore and often to recover. Tomorrow, that person you see in the mirror can be a stronger, more capable, livelier, more powerfully centred, and a still-growing person.” – Dr Michael Merzenich ‘Soft-Wired’
What are you going to practice? If you need someone to help you see your blindspots then let’s have a confidential chat.
Master Coach & Learning Mentor