Today’s companies are being tasked with the impossible: How can we make money for our shareholders, pay our employees well, and positively impact the environment and society as a whole? The purpose of a business used to be specifically to increase value for the shareholders. While this still clearly holds importance today, there is a growing pressure to expand this value to all stakeholders, and the perception of value is changing. Consumers and investors are demanding that value be created by more than just profit, that it be created by authenticity, transparency and trust. Companies are being challenged to figure out how to do this. Every single industry needs to redefine how it operates in order to make the impossible possible.
In order for business at large to change to a more authentic, transparent and trustworthy way of operating, the people that contribute to business need to change in a similar way. Emotionally intelligent people are known to provide greater value to a company and are becoming more and more sought after in the hiring process. Emotionally intelligent individuals emanate authenticity, having bridged the gap between the self that they portray to society and who they truly are. This level of self-awareness does not develop naturally; it must be learned and can be learned at any age if there is a willingness and, of course, opportunity. Luckily, there are a growing number of leadership and consciousness programs available to individuals to help them get to know their deeper passions, strengths, motivations and ability to develop their emotional intelligence.
Over the last six months, I undertook the Passion Institute’s Conscious Leadership course. This program encouraged me to get to know my strengths, weaknesses, insecurities and habitual tendencies on a deeper level. I was being asked questions that I could only answer after some quality time with myself without distractions. Here are some of my key takeaways from this course:
- How to exist as my best self. I have become more clear on what I need to do on a daily, monthly and annual basis to exist as my best self. I have also gained clarity on what habits get in the way of me existing as my best self.
- How to journal at a new level. In the past, my journaling consisted of about 80 percent goals and life occurrences, and roughly 20 percent emotional and physical feelings. Now, I have switched those percentages. When I write about life occurrences, I try to be aware of the emotions they brought up in order to understand my triggers and also the emotional blocks in the way of achieving my goals.
- Getting to know my triggers. I’ve developed a greater understanding of when I’m being triggered. This could be a family member, coworker or just a circumstance that brings up a familiar feeling. My awareness of this allows me to identify the situation as a trigger, rather than blame the external occurrence for making me feel this way.
- Finding purpose within. For a long time, I’ve been searching for purpose externally, mostly in my career (as I mentioned in a previous blog). I have come to realize that if I’m able to feel purpose internally, then everything externally will have purpose. Purpose is something that I can give myself; when I feel it, everything I touch and experience will exude purpose.
- Trusting in myself. This course really showed me how many of my insecurities are self-created. As I’ve become more aware of what triggers these insecurities, I have started to trust myself in how to handle them. I trust that I will use my future life challenges as a learning experience to further grow as a person.
- Being authentically myself in all situations. I’ve noticed that the more authentic I am, the more the people around me are authentic. I want to continue to provide a safe place for all the people in my life to be authentically who they are; in order to do that, I need to keep practicing all of the abilities mentioned above.
The Conscious Leadership course was very beneficial to me, personally, but I encourage everyone do their own research into what will work for them. The importance here is that all of the qualities listed above are significant for any individual looking to become more authentic in his/her life. None of these qualities or habits develop overnight. It will take time, determination and a bit of discipline, because spending time with ourselves without distractions is not always comfortable. However, once we put in the effort and gain a greater understanding of ourselves, we can offer our best self to society, to our careers and to business at large.
Business can’t successfully redefine itself until we individuals redefine ourselves. We all have a role to play in creating more authentic, transparent and trustworthy companies.