Through the experience of our own limitations our unhelpful habits become visible.
Regretfully we live in a cultural narrative that makes this ‘seeing’ difficult and in our blindness, we continue to strengthen the very things that weaken us.
Why? Well, there’s a payoff. That payoff can be early success driven by an agile mind and smart navigation. Early recognition as someone achieving great things. And such achievement attracts rewards. Status, success, promotion, recognition, opportunity. By default it also crafts a particular world around us. This becomes a kind of reality we exist within. Over time, we exist within it, blindly. Addicted to the payoff, we shape our inner world to deliver more of the same. To the outside world, this looks like success. It becomes the bubble we live in.
In this existence we move with, and towards forces that affirm our reality – those people that confirm our view of the world. We’re attracted to those who we perceive can contribute to our own expansion. We have unwittingly become addicted to ourselves, our world view and our success.
We pick through our outside influences with great care. At the same time as we collude with those that affirm our version of reality, we tend to diminish, block and be blind to those forces and characters that challenge our version of reality. We move to control or eliminate the things that challenge our sense of ‘how things should be’. Our choices build walls to protect the reality we have generated.
A question though?
Is it possible that in this very narrowing of our interpretation and experience of ‘reality’, we have accidentally cut ourselves off from the richness and diversity of the limitless other existences, points of view and opportunities?
Perhaps, and yet this is often not the experience. The fortress has become so strong that often it seems impenetrable – invisible – and it takes a kind of crisis to shift it. Not one we plan. As we mature, and in the exploration of ourselves in relation to leadership, special messages and messengers are sent to rock our version of reality – this can feel like that crisis – and we resist, struggling for control against something (or someone) that some part of us knows is no longer controllable.
For the leader – and often the most successful leaders – cracks first manifest as things missing ‘out there’ in the world. We’re convinced it is not us that’s the problem, it is the world (and others in it), that won’t conform with what we want and how we believe it should be.
We might feel frustration with self. Frustration at the limitations of others. Staunch commitment to certain ways things should be. Rejection of other points of view. Discounting of ideas. Singular focus on a result or goal. Certainty of the way to get there. Disbelief at how long it takes everyone else around us to arrive at the ‘obvious’. Resentment at how long it takes the system (team, organisation) to mobilise.
Our version of reality cracks for good reason. The very thing we once believed was a magical success formula …. turns out to be a prison. We have come to build our world as controllable, predictable, certain but we’re fighting a fluid, fast moving feast of change and disruption and we HAVE to see that to be able to navigate it.
At some stage the habitual thinking and habitual responses we act out start to undermine how we feel about ourselves, how we interact with others and the possibilities we create (and close down) as a leader acting from our limitation and our blindness. Our willingness and capacity to wake from this fog is the thing we want to explore. The ego is unlikely to surrender easily.