A Guest Post by Cassandra Goodman – Employee & Customer Experience Innovator
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Bronnie’s blog became so popular she wrote a book “The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying”. The most common regret she encountered from those she cared for was the regret of not having had the courage to live a life that felt true to themselves, having lived the life others had expected of them.
So, what does it mean to live a life true to yourself?
For me, being true to myself means embodying and a way of “being” in the world that is fully aligned to my most cherished values and my greatest gifts. By embodying this way of “being”, I feel inspired and loving. I allow my light to shine brightly.
I love how Deepak Chopra describes the power and freedom that comes from being true to yourself;
“You must learn to get in touch with the most innermost essence of your being. This true essence is beyond the ego. It is fearless, it is free, it is immune to criticism, it does not fear any challenge. “
It is my strong belief that inspired, compassionate, thriving leaders are the nucleus of thriving organisations. Leaders who have done the work to cultivate strong self-awareness, self-compassion and self-leadership create an enormous ripple effect. When leaders thrive, employees thrive, customers thrive …and families and communities thrive.
As a leader, my capacity to remain in touch with a way of being that reflects my essence is fundamental to my ability to thrive and feel inspired. In the wonderful words of Dr Wayne Dyer;
“Being inspired necessitates the willingness to suspend ego and enter a space where I want to share who I am”.
As part of my portfolio of work, I am a Facilitator and Executive Coach with an organisation I have long admired – Thrive Global. I have taken many leaders through the Thrive Global experience and there is one key concept that really stands out to me as the foundational capability of a thriving leader. This is the ability (and the willingness) to do from an intentional way of being.
Doing from an intentional way of being is quite a foreign concept for many people.
We have been conditioned from a very young age to believe that what we do is what is most important and valuable. We focus most of our attention on doing (or having), rather than on being.
The first question we often ask when we meet someone is “what do you do?”. I was reminded of the extent of our conditioning around the importance of doing (versus being) while reading my son the Robert Lopshire book “Put Me In The Zoo”.
Why should they put you in the zoo?
What good are you?
What can you do?
We often don’t even have the language to describe the essence of a person or a state of “being-ness”.
Leaders who experience true transformation (whether through a Thrive Global experience, coaching or through other investments in their development) are the leaders who do the work to answer the question “Who do I want to be as a leader?”. Whether they choose to embody “Calm Confidence”, “Graceful Strength”, “Compassionate Directness” or “Playful Creativity” – they are very clear on an intention to anchor their leadership in this powerful and state of being.
The leaders who are clear on who they want to be are then able to anchor behavioural changes on this rock-solid foundation. Leaders who focus only on behavioural change without finding the courage to do this deeper work may be building on quicksand.
For example, a leader who decides to meditate for 10 mins every morning but is controlled by a belief (possibly subconsciously) that their value as a leader is tethered to “always being right” may fall short of their goal of thriving and inspiring others. If that leader did the work to recognise impact and limitations created by this belief and to commit to becoming a leader who embodied a different way of being, such as “trusting, empowering and enabling others”, they are far more likely to experience a shift in their leadership.
If you choose to embark on this important quest of self-discovery, reading Margaret J. Wheatley’s powerful book “Who Do We Choose To Be?: Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity” is a fantastic place to start:
“This book is born of my desire to summon us to be leaders for this time as things fall apart, to reclaim leadership as a noble profession that creates possibility and humanness in the midst of increasing fear and turmoil. I know it is possible for leaders to use their power and influence, their insight and compassion, to lead people back to an understanding of who we are as human beings, to create conditions for our basic human qualities of generosity, contribution, community and love to be evoked no matter what. (…) I can’t imagine a more important task than to consciously choose who we want to be as a leader for this time. We must understand the time we’re in, focus our energy on what is possible, and willingly step forward to serve the human spirit”.
If we have any hope of truly transforming the organisations we are part of, we must find the courage to transform our own leadership. I urge you to reflect on the very simple, yet very important question:
Who do you choose to be as a leader?
About the author
Cassandra is a mindful leader driven by a strong sense of purpose and a deep commitment to the creation of inspiring, human-centric workplaces where people and performance thrive.
Cassandra has enjoyed a 20-year career as a thriving high-performer and has held a range of senior executive roles in Australia and overseas, including Global Director of Employee Engagement & Wellbeing at Bupa where she had the honour of contributing to the health and happiness of 86,000 employees globally.
Today Cassandra’s work spans a portfolio of consulting, coaching, writing and speaking. In addition to her own private practice, Cassandra coaches and facilitates for Thrive Global. Thrive Global was founded and is led by Arianna Huffington with a mission to end the global epidemic of stress and burn-out.
You can learn more about Cassandra here: www.cassandragoodman.com
The author of this blog, Cassandra Goodman, will be facilitating a 3-hour Thrive Global Workshop at The Thriving Workplace Event in Sydney on 26th August 2019!
This Workshop is a snapshot of the work Thrive Global co-created with Harvard, Stanford and Wharton which will help you move from knowing what to do to actually doing it. One of the fundamental pillars we’ll cover is to learn about the power of ‘Doing’ and ‘Having’ from a way of ‘Being’ that supports your desire to thrive.