Virtues and Practices of Self Leadership
Written by Stephen Dynako
To grow as a conscious business leader, I invite you to a challenge that may make you squirm. However, working through some discomfort has exponential benefits for your own self-awareness, self-leadership, and personal evolution.
The challenge is this: Identify some times in your life or career when you fell short of showing up as benevolent, compassionate, or authentic. Then reflect on the inner work you’ve done to grow through those moments or what work might still remain. I offer two examples from my experience below.
1. “Meek” does not equal “weak”
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered about myself, it’s that I’m not a contentious person. We’ve all known people who’ve been insensitive, argumentative, even cruel in their exchanges with others. Such a person might claim to be a “straight shooter,” but his or her manner simply comes off as abrasive.
Whether such behavior is an inherent trait or a cover-up for some deep-seeded vulnerability, it is never pleasant for the one on the receiving end. Many years ago, I regressed briefly into this behavior when I assumed it would make me a better business professional. Having worked early in my career at a Fortune 500 corporation then later as a consultant in other large companies, I observed several such “type A” personalities.
When I later started my own company, I perceived it would be advantageous for me to become a “type A” personality, to demonstrate I could do business as ruthlessly “as the rest of ‘em.” In one instance, I berated a friend and colleague of mine for failing to successfully close a deal. Stunned at my rebuke, he paused then simply replied, “That was a low blow.” My discouraging words to him were equally discouraging to me. I instantly learned the lesson that no friendship is worth being sacrificed over trying to be someone you are not, nor can I expect to be trustworthy in business by faking it.
The more secure we are with our inner selves, the more successful we can be as compassionate people. Benevolence is a better indicator of a person’s true impact than a record of conquest. When I hire someone, I am just as interested in the person’s ability to positively relate to others as I am in the achievements on his or her resume.
To show a little humility – or meekness – is an indicator of a well-grounded and confident person and one who will endure and encourage others in good times and bad.
2. Consciousness is an inside job
Years ago, one of the saddest things I ever heard came from a co-worker about one of our colleagues. I don’t recall the context of the conversation, but she said to me, “If he (the colleague) is waiting for the good Lord to provide, he’ll never get anywhere.” I found this statement to be troubling and felt sorry that my co-worker judged the Divine to be so impotent. However, I also took it as verification that the depth of our faith is a conscious choice.
Nevertheless, the unbelief of others is discouraging. Nothing productive gets done when people are chronically skeptical. In large numbers, this affects the consciousness of cities, nations, and even the world. Having worked in banking and finance, this has been evident to me in observing the capital markets. For all of the economic theory behind explaining market movements, assets go up and down in value because of shifts in consciousness.
Whether it be a single company, a market segment, a geographic region, or the stock market at large, value is attributable to the consciousness of management, employees, customers, stockholders, suppliers, market analysts, citizens, governments, and other stakeholders in an entity’s material success. It may not yet be in-your-face evident, but as people increasingly seek to support benevolent, purpose-focused companies, we are seeing an expansion of consciousness taking form in – and transforming – the market.
At a personal level, I know that shifts in my own consciousness have determined my level of generativity versus stagnation. Reflecting on my career, I realize that my least generative times were those when I was overcome by worry and obsessively comparing myself to others. Conversely, my most generative times were those when I was expanding my consciousness, doing my inner work, being in integrity, and aiming to do my best in all situations.
In addition, I am grateful to be blessed with certain talents and it’s essential that I seek the counsel of a Higher Power (many call this “God” or “Spirit”) in challenging situations. If I accept that my ultimate source is a Higher Power, I cannot limit consciousness of it in my business. Day to day this practice can be difficult, given a multitude of distractions. However, with focused effort, I have been able to expand my consciousness to build a consistent faith and intuitively feel the omnipresence and omni-guidance of a Higher Power in my endeavors. When I lead from this foundation, making a generative impact is assured.
Many times, in our career, we may be placed into a situation that causes a level of discomfort making us feel vulnerable. As a business owner, it is important to learn yourself, acknowledge your fears or ego, and explore how you can best work to control these impulsive reactions.
Additionally, over the past year, we have learned just how impactful the environment around us can shape our mindset causing a tremendous amount of pressure and uncertainty.
If you are interested in learning how to grow your conscious business while also making a difference, we invite you to check out Shift/Co by attending one of our free upcoming events.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2020 edition of Conscious Business magazine.