Wakeful Leadership

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Leadership does not merely entail a relationship with followers or a situation, but first and foremost a relationship with yourself. We stressed how important it is to be an effective self-leader, aware of your own motivators and goals so that you can discover the rewards of your practices.

The term “sleepwalking” is not the sense of walking around with your eyes closed, but rather of repeatedly engaging in unquestioned behavior. Many people sleepwalk because they don’t realize that there is an alternative to how they go through life. Sleepwalking is the opposite of being awake. People who sleepwalk move through their personal and professional lives without questioning whether what they do still makes sense and still fulfill them.

A way to lead wakefully is to reflect. This is another simple thing to do, but in our busyness, we often forget to do it. If you reflect, you will be able to keep track of the bigger picture of your life and the reason why you do the things you do. Some of these convictions are simply culturally embedded phenomena that have gone unquestioned by you as well as other members of your community. In your reflections, you should consider

  • your relationship with yourself
  • your relationships with others
  • your relationship with your profession.

How you perceive the world is based on your mental models. It is important to understand this, because doing so can help you understand that there are multiple ways of considering “the truth.”

Knowing that you are constantly changing can make you comfortable with that notion, helping you embrace your changed self when you discover a shift in how you perceive reality. Self-renewal helps you obtain a fresh perspective on your life, infusing you with zest to be your best. You can engage in self-renewal through both proactive and reactive ways.

Focus – Focusing on the task right in front of you not only is a way of ensuring that you pay full attention, but also will be appreciated by those around you. Do everything as if it is the only thing in the world at that moment. It will positively influence the quality of your participation, your understanding of the issue at hand, and the perception of your counterparts about your devotion. When you focus on the task at hand, you pay full attention, and the time seems to go by faster.

Open Mind – Open-mindedness is a word we like to use when we describe ourselves, but it requires a large dosage of adaptability, creative and critical thinking, boldness to deviate from long-held beliefs, and courage to face and weather the unexpected. Open-mindedness is encouraged when you keep yourself involved, ask questions, read a lot, and dare to face ambiguity, because these factors broaden your view and deepen your understanding.

Care – It is so easy to be so absorbed in our activities that we forget to show our care for others. Care for yourself, for others and the world.

Understand – Your perceptions about the things that happen to you can be a blessing or a curse. When something does not go as planned, you may get upset and decide you’ve wasted your time. However, as stated at several points in this book, nothing happens without a reason. If you choose to believe this, you will be less frustrated about seeming setbacks.

Serenity – Serenity may be the hardest to achieve if you believe that your happiness is dependent upon achieving your goals. Unfortunately, many people do so. Like so many others, you may have been taught that your happiness is linked to realizing your goals, but you may have also found out by now that achieving one goal soon leads to setting the another one.


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