There is a great deal of tension in our world right now. The election of the U.S. President and the decisions he is making have frankly shocked the world. We saw the repercussions in our country of Canada; ‘the Quebec massacre’ as it has been termed. This horrific act resounded around the world.
I have to say I am proud of our Prime Minister of Canada. I looked back in the archives and saw a quote from the fall of 2012. It was an article in the Globe and Mail about Justin Trudeau before he became PM titled, “Justin Trudeau grapples with his ‘authenticity’ as the race begins.” He is quoted as saying this, “Sometimes I’m impulsive about the things I say, I try to answer the questions that are asked. … It has to do with my authenticity. Has it got me in trouble? Yes. Will it get me in trouble? Yes”.
I suspect he is ‘in trouble’ for opening the arms of Canadians to welcome the people who were no longer welcome across the border from us. The point of my article this week is about authentic leadership, and what makes a great leader? I believe that:
‘A great leader is authentically calm in the midst of chaos.’
When we have the opportunity to witness a leader such as PM Justin Trudeau reflecting authenticity, it is a powerful opening for people to follow his lead. When we do our internal assessment of someone in a leadership role we are looking for signs that inspire our trust. Aren’t we frustrated with our leaders most of the time? We feel like we are being misled. We are straining to hear some grain of truth; anything to bring us hope. We hear promises and rarely experience the tangible proof of them.
Did you know that communication is up to 93% non-verbal?
We feel the truth more that we intellectualize it.
It is how we first learned to communicate as infants and toddlers. We didn’t have many words to use yet, so we felt our way around and mimicked others. Feeling is intrinsic to our way of being in the world. So when you witness someone speak, notice how you feel. Pay close attention to this.
Authenticity can get us into “trouble” and not everyone will like us: one person’s truth will not resonate with everyone. We can learn to be okay with the accolades and the criticisms (as long as we are being true to ourselves and not hurting anyone in the process).
I believe that when someone exhibits authenticity in their leadership it can provide us all with an opportunity to reflect on what authenticity really means to us. We may want to ask ourselves where in our lives we are reflecting our authenticity. Or where we might be wearing a mask instead? Where are we not saying what we would love to say, and need to say? Being authentic can feel vulnerable. What if someone criticizes us? What if we don’t fit in? What will the repercussions be?
A shining example of someone who also exemplified this was Mahatma Gandhi. He was a man who “protested“ with calm and peace. We may hear the phrase: ‘the best defense is a good offense’, however, the reverse is actually more accurate. A good offense is exactly the opposite of inner peace. Do we always need to defend?
Another wonderful example is in the movie Kung Fu Panda. His lesson is to learn that the body needs to be in a state of inner peace to then focus on outer attacks. When the Panda discovers inner peace he could then control the outer environment.
You see: violence begets violence. If you get angry and push me, I will push you back. It’s basic physics: force – counter force. When we respond to stress, attack or criticism from a peaceful and calm place our co-workers, our team and our family observe this and learn from it. And hopefully follow our lead in that way of being instead.
A great Yogi Paramahansa Yogananda (in his book Inner Peace) speaks about being calmly active and actively calm. One of his followers has this to share on the subject:
In a world that feels unsafe and chaotic right now, let us ride above the waves of anger, deceit and terrorism and embrace the words I shared as the title of this article. Let us learn to be actively calm and calmly active. Let us follow the examples of those who have truly exhibited authenticity. Our world can only get better!
I wish you an abundant 2017 filled with much love, passion and adventure. As always I am here to support you in this life journey – and welcome your feedback.