‘Where is the life we have lost in living’, asked TSElliot in The Rock. It is extraordinary how the frenetic pace of life seems to leave so little room for thinking. Leadership, both at work and as a parent, can seem an endless cycle of tasks to be completed and things to be done. Doing has become synonymous with living; and doing – being seen to be busy – is often more important than achieving. But when we do stop the voices of the ego seem to urge us back onto the hamster wheel, relentless in its pursuit of self-identification with the tasks that one does. It is as if it is saying ‘I am busy, therefore I must be important’. This is why so many people find it so difficult to look into their mirror and see the person behind what it says on their business card.
If you do stop, then the real luxury is not about having the chance to think: it is about having the chance to not think. Thinking is often directed by the ego, and its obsession with the here and now and our status within in it. By feeling and not thinking we allow our intuition to percolate through our being. It is here that we start to find our true selves and our real purpose.
I have had the luxury of being able to spend time feeling, listening to my intuition. By no means am I anything more than a work in progress, but what I am sure about is that my true purpose is to help leaders to be true to themselves and thus to be more effective. Command and control doesn’t work. We’re seeing it daily as despotic regimes struggle with the implications of changing societal mores and the democratisation of content that social media represents. But letting go can seem counter-intuitive to leaders brought up in hierarchical regimes. Leaders need guidance and help to give them the confidence to listen to their true selves, to find their own authenticity and purpose. This is the role for change agents: to help leaders have the confidence they need to create the climate for true and lasting change in their organisations. This is my purpose.