How to find courage in our convoluted business environment?
The number one issue every single one of my customers came up with this month was: lack of Self-Confidence. Everyone labeled their feeling that way! It showed up in different ways in their lives. Some of their phrases were,
- I keep asking myself if I am ready for this (corporate/business change)
- Do I have the courage to do it?
- I am not ready!
- I need to show the organization that I know what is all about
Last month clients are 80% men and 20% women. All of them are high fliers between 38 and 52! Every one of them is running important parts of their companies: owners, directors of big names, consultants… They are by no means weak nor incapable. They are just like you!
They are all in different stages in their own road towards personal mastery. Some of them I recon are still engaged in the Rat Race Trap and starting to hear the call to do something bigger with their talents. Some of them have moved beyond this race and are interested in becoming transformational business leaders. No matter, wherever we are in the road of personal transformation and mastery, we are NOW in the perfect circumstance to support our development. The specific challenges that my customers are facing are uniquely designed for their own personal journey. This sense of perfection in the convoluted business environment could bring you/them peace; you just need to take a tiny step back to observe it.
As you know, part of my heritage comes from my Aztec roots. The way my elders thought me the Aztec philosophy was always very practical. They asked me: how would the Aztecs have thought and talked about this? A great deal of the understanding of any culture comes from the understanding of their language.
You know, the Aztecs didn’t have a word for “problem”. Problem is a concept foreign to the Aztec view of the universe. Possibly this is what made them fearless warriors. The closest translation of problem in Nahuatl (the Aztec language) is “Ome Yolotl”, in English Two Hearts. For the Aztecs, the heart symbolizes life, emotion, personality and even the arts.
Can you imagine having two hearts? It would be like having two lives, experiencing two contradictory emotions or having split personally! That is a problem! We cannot have our heart in TWO places. Sadly enough this is exactly what happens when we are in fear. We disconnect from our power and get divided into different tangents.
The antidote to all fear is courage. Funnily enough, courage comes from the Latin word “cor”, which means “heart”. Coincidence? How can we have courage now? How can we stop having two hearts? How can we align our two hearts into just one? Is it possible?
The good news is: it is possible!
Better news: this will bring you to the path of personal mastery!
Numerous theories have called the two hearts in different ways. One has been named the Ego, the Conscious, the I, the Persona, etc. The other has been called the Subconscious, the Unconscious, the Shadow, the Self, etc. Books and books have been written about the contrast between them. They both help us in our road of personal mastery. My humble and extremely short summary of them is:
- The Self is there for you to grow and develop: to become who you are meant to be. To follow his calling is risky!
- The Ego is there for you to remain safe, having your needs met and having a healthy sense of identity. The Ego doesn’t like change or risk.
The Self is never afraid. It’s the holder of wisdom and innovation. Talking to the Self is a rather challenging matter, as we have been trained not to do so. This will be the subject of other texts! I promise!
The way the Ego sees life is very different from how the Self sees it. This contrast is the source of all our fears. We need to talk to the Ego and get permission from him to take the risks we want to take. The good news is that to talk to our Ego is way easier than to talk to our Self!
The first step to establish communication with the Ego is to Listen. The voice of the Ego shows up in our inner chatter as our Risk Manager, our Image Consultant, our mother, our inner child and many other characters whose only interest is our well being. I like to see them as our Protectors.
The best way to handle the concerns of our Ego / of our Protectors is to listen to them. Embrace what they have to say. Listen to those voices we usually try to suppress. Establish communication with your protectors, understand their concerns, exchange views, negotiate with them and ACT according to your agreements! If you ignore an agreement you made with your protectors, the misalignment between your “Two Hearts” will resurface! And your protectors will continue to sabotage your projects.
The last time my very own Inner Critic harassed me with: what you’re doing is not good enough, fast enough, they are better than you, you haven’t done anything and more of those. I didn’t want to hear those voices and at first ignored them. But at some point, I told myself to drink my own medicine: embrace the chatter. I sat down and wrote down a conversation with my most vocal protector, my Inner Critic. She shed light on all my failures and weaknesses. I told her she was not seeing the full picture. There were successes and achievements to count. I asked her what I could do for her to have a healthier involvement in my personal growth. She asked me to show her my achievements weekly. Since I decided to do this, she has been more supportive than disruptive. My own sense of self-confidence has grown!
Embrace the chatter in your head! It’s the voice of wisdom of your Protectors! Embracing their voice will give you the needed perspective to appreciate the opportunities in the apparently confusing season. Courage will appear and fear will vanish in thin air.