Guest post from Steven Mundahl, with contributing writer Sharon Massoth:
Not a day goes by that we don’t see a headline where some public leader is “outed.” Rising stars in sports, business, religion, entertainment or government all fill the headlines. A fallen leader may cause us to scan our own lives for similar issues. Perhaps we have small secrets that are not headline material but we would rather not have them revealed: We are a perfectionist. We have impulsive anger that can get triggered in certain rare situations. Other times, the secrets are bigger: We are an alcoholic. We have serial affairs and consider it one of the perks of our position. We secretly carry a compulsive sexual addiction from a childhood abuse imprinting. We have a shopping or gambling addiction leading us to siphon off extra “perks” from the company.
Authentic Living: It’s Easier!It’s easier, simpler and certainly more peaceful to live an authentic life free from dishonest deeds. We are aware of the past domino effect of one bad decision leading to another. We know the importance of healing our self-worth, changing our stressful lifestyles and making stronger spiritual connections. Once we are aware that we need to change a behavior we amazingly find that help is all around us.
Here are some questions to help you assess:
· What would your headline be?
· What is your greatest reward in continuing this behavior?
· What is your greatest fear in giving up this behavior?
· How would my spouse, my children, my Board, my staff react to this headline?”
The Path to Healing: The Shifting Sands Reveal All
Imagine yourself standing on the sands of a desert. You know there is gold down below. You have to dig for it. Where do you start? With your x-ray vision you can see 4 basic layers:
The Genetic first layer: We have genetics which predispose us to psychological tendencies or addictions. Every family has biologically-based tendencies: OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) ADHD, alcoholism or depression to name a few. Whatever biological hand we have been dealt, we need to take our so-called “lemon” genetics and turn them into lemonade.
The “Fault-Line” Layer: None of us escaped getting some family dysfunction along with the good stuff. This resulted in hidden yet volatile fractures below the surface. Our stressful lives are like living in an earthquake prone area. Our book is about the personal journey of leadership with review of all areas of your life. You need to know where the fault lines are (negative triggers and beliefs) and ways to heal them. An example is the negative belief that reveals itself with road rage: “I am not respected. I don’t count.”
The Crust Layer: We have a brain which tries to hold it all together. It is like having our own inner APP whose purpose is to protect us, reward us for new territories/inventions and arouse us toward attractive sex partners to ensure survival of the species. To keep the fault-lines from shifting beneath your crust, you need a good stress reduction routine (sleep, exercise, nutrition, self-regulation etc.) Without one, your brain is subject to an “amygdala hijack” (Daniel Goleman, Ph.D.) or impulsive, ill-thought out decisions.
The Gold layer: This is the authentic harmonious self you attain through becoming a master of your own life. Rachel Naomi Remen, MD states “Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you—all of the expectations, all of the beliefs—and becoming who you are.”
As leaders, we need feedback on our strengths and weaknesses. More important, we need to see that transforming our weaknesses is the journey to become an authentic leader. Rumi said it best: “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”
Steven Mundahl is a leadership scholar and professor, and president and CEO of Goodwill Industries in Western Massachusetts.Sharon Massoth, LCSW, contributing author, is a psychotherapist, business coach and a gifted intuitive. She consults nationally in areas of stress management and intuition for success.
Their new book is The Alchemy of Authentic Leadership (2013). Journey with the author through his own challenges and triumphs in becoming an authentic leader and building a strong leadership platform. Learn how to heal into wholeness using evidence-based therapies as well as holistic and intuitive tools. Transform negative corporate cultures using innovative ideas, and finally, learn the author's alchemical principles, called the Seven Tenets of Leadership. Learn more at www.alchemyofauthenticleadership.com.