Waking Up as a Leader©

In a famous scene in the movie Field of Dreams (1989), Ray Kinsella’s (Kevin Costner) brother-in-law Mark (Timothy Busfield) finally sees the “ghost” ballplayers after Ray’s daughter is saved from choking by one of them. After this emotional and frightening experience, Mark says, “When did these ballplayers get here?” But Ray Kinsella, his wife, his daughter, and Terrence Mann (the movie characters) had seen the ballplayers from the beginning, while Mark had seen only an empty baseball field. Mark was blinded by his old stories of what could be true and real, so he could not see the ballplayers … the miracle. Yet when he experienced the near death of Ray’s daughter, Mark had a new and different experience – he woke up and saw things that he had never seen before.

Waking up in your life is much the same. You have a view or vision of your world and your life (whether it is created on purpose, by accident or by default), but when you wake up everything changes. Your awakened self sees the truth of yourself and your life (or at least parts thereof). The only remaining question is whether your awakening will stick and become a life permanently awake and lived on purpose.

Too often and usually without knowing it, we are asleep in our lives. We see things and ourselves the way we want to see them, not as they actually are. We create a false reality that allows us to believe what we want to believe about business, about life and about ourselves. This false reality typically is the easiest and safest way to avoid having to change, or even explore the possible need to change, who you are and how you are showing up in your life. Your false reality is typically designed (nearly always subconsciously) to protect you in some way. In other words, being asleep not only allows you to avoid changing, but it also keeps you from even examining yourself or your situation. For most of us, it is much easier to see ourselves and our business as doing “okay,” and little or nothing changes (especially people) when things are okay. The state of being okay is rarely enough motivation to change anything or even begin to take a look at yourself, even though the underlying reality is likely that your situation or status is worse than okay. No matter the source of the false reality or your motivations for creating it, its existence is very real and has a profound impact on who you are, how you lead and how you live.

Whether consciously or unconsciously created, the false realities you create about yourself and your leadership become a “story” that you adopt as your truth. Everything you do, believe and decide is driven to a significant (if not complete) degree by this false reality. These false realities are your own creations and leaders who wake up (and build and expand their awareness) can make conscious and purposeful decisions about what they believe and how they choose to live and lead. By becoming more aware, you can experience one of the greatest gifts that any of us can ever hope to receive – waking up and becoming aware of where you are in life, thus empowering yourself with the ability to create internal change and external influence.

When we look in the mirror every morning, we all ask ourselves (consciously or unconsciously) one question: Are we where we want to be? But do we tell the truth? Do we even know the truth? When we are asleep in our lives, it is often difficult or impossible to know what is true. So many years of telling “stories” and creating deeply ingrained false truths makes it difficult to even recognize the truth. Too many of us falsely answer this mirror question either through affirmations (that we often do not really believe) or by falling back on the ultimate safety net of mediocrity. We tell ourselves that we are doing “okay,” “getting by,” “surviving,” “managing” or “could be worse.” These settling statements allow us to stay where we are in our lives, for the moment that we acknowledge we are off track or not where (or who) we want to be, we must take action to change things. It is difficult bordering on  impossible to look in the mirror every day, see a person and a life that is not what we desire and do nothing. Change happens when we take different actions, but change rarely happens until we wake up.

Are you awake? Are you looking in the mirror? Are you telling the truth? And most important, are you taking action to change your outcomes?

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