To explore what it is to be an authentic leader I would like to start with a contrast: a leader without authenticity does not follow the primordial - his own inner calling.
Authentic leadership emerges from within us, where our call to launch into a venture also comes from. To lead, you must first know how to see and hear that inner call. That which motivates us, moves us, drives us to "see" and take a certain course is the source of the authenticity that lives within us.
The leader with integrity and authenticity invites others to see in the same direction and join forces to take a path together. Following and leading are complementary. We all have the ability to be leaders and we all have access to the wisdom that guides us. That authentic center is our root, our most solid foundation.
There’s a lot of material (and growing) focusing on what leadership is, looks like, is used for, etc. But it seems like these thousands of approaches to “get it” don’t discuss where leadership, and more specifically, leading with authenticity, comes from. That’s what I’d like to explore here.
Where does authenticity come from?
Understanding the three fundamental principles that make up our experience of life allows us to see in depth how the human mind works and its infinite potential.
Experiencing the three basic principles, which without exception, govern how we perceive our reality gives us the ability to see that our life experience is performed 100% (without exception) from the inside out. Observing this fact that applies to every human being puts us in touch with our true values, gives us the natural motivation to share our mission and passion with others, and facilitates us to communicate clearly and effectively.
How does understanding the Three Principles put me in touch with authenticity?
A frequent question coaches, trainers and teachers of the Three Principles get: “This sounds great. How do I do these principles?” And the answer is always a version of: you’re already doing them, there’s nothing to do. This is usually received with disappointment and it’s a natural response in a world where we’re used and expectant to receiving a list of steps to follow to improve ourselves.
Understanding our minds, where inspiration, creativity and our core values come from is what shifts and transforms us at a deep level. Seeing the Three Principles in action and the deepening of this understanding grounds us to be in touch with the space where “ahas” come from.
Think for a minute about a moment of true understanding that had an impact on you... I’m going to bet it most likely did not come following a step on a list of recommendations by an expert. It was a moment that sparked seemingly out of nowhere; that came as a flash and shifted your perception and even your foundation. These moments are what we’re looking for. Insights into our true nature - our authentic self.
Hearing advice on leadership is great, powerful and even fun. But there is nothing that beats seeing something for ourselves about leading in our own lives. There is a lot of value in learning from others, but it only becomes truly valuable when we see for ourselves what wise leaders have shared with us.
Huna is a Hawaiian word meaning "secret" and refers to the esoteric wisdom of Polynesia. This spiritual wisdom encapsulated in Huna is not secret because it’s hidden. It’s called a “secret” because it cannot be shared - wisdom is personal. We all have to see it for ourselves for it to be true wisdom and not simple knowledge. Knowledge has value, but wisdom is priceless.
When I begin a coaching session, I sometimes remind the person in front of me that the session is for them and for them to see their own wisdom. A coaching session is not a place for me to give answers - if I give them my answers or anyone else’s answers and they run with them they might help. Applying someone else's advice may help us momentarily. We may even be able to become successful as a great copy of another successful leader - but it won’t lead us to authenticity.
See for yourself what’s true. What’s true for you? Who are you and how have you experienced leadership? What do you most value? Leading starts with following the primordial. Following the primordial we become authentic - be one with what’s true. What's true for us is what's true for all.