“Suffer the short term pain of discipline or the long term pain of regret.”
A personal stand is a useful first step in defining our worldview and values. The stand defines the ground we “stand on” and gives us a firm set of boundaries. These boundaries then define our lines of integrity – that is we will not cross them no matter what. Our stand defines our standards. Imagine a ladder sitting on the ground. If the ladder is sitting on soft sand, then it will not serve us much good, for as soon as we step onto the first rung it will shift and we may fall off. We would seek to set our ladder on terra firma, or better yet a foundation of solid concrete. Metaphorically this foundation is our stand. It is the set of beliefs we rest our ladder of life upon. The sides of the ladder can represent our principles, or values, which provide the boundaries of our journey up the ladder. The rungs are our stages of development and the top is self-mastery, the so-called destination which is never quite reached because there is always someplace higher to go.
Our stand is practical in that we must be able to practice what we preach. It must be reflected in all that we do. As Admiral Olson states it, our ‘standards,’ are reflected in ‘what we do’ and also ‘what we tolerate’. Let’s look at a few examples and see if they apply to you:
There is trash in our yard because there is trash in our neighbors’ yards. It sits there for days and we become desensitized to it and stop noticing. We wait for others to pick it up, maybe the “system” in the form of the sanitation department is supposed to do it. What does this say about our sense of personal responsibility? If we won’t keep our own house and neighborhood in order how can we possibly hope to keep our internal state in order? What does it say about our stand for service? What does it say about us as a model to our family and neighbors?
Colleagues talk about others in the office. Of course this is commonly called gossip. It feels wrong, but is so seductive to get sucked in and participate. Then we judge. Do we allow ourselves to participate, even if to be polite so as to not stand out? Do we stop to consider what others are saying about us behind our backs? This bad habit is very negative and can poison a team quickly. It has been said that wise people talk about great ideas, intelligent people talk about events, and common people talk about each other. What part do we play in the game? Are we loyal to our teammates? What responsibility do we have for our part in these games?
Trash and gossip have a lot in common right? How you deal with each says a lot about us as leaders. We can expand our definition of trash to include personal trash such as emotional baggage, poor thinking, energetic negativity and spiritual waste. I am sure if we look close enough we can all find this form of trash in varying amounts in our home, neighborhood and the workplace. We must ask ourselves daily how whether we are picking up our own trash or are we adding to the collective garbage heap of the world. Are we helping to create a space that engenders more care and compassion, problem solving, team building, self-mastery and vision? Or are we part of the problem?
Without a stand and solid set of guiding principles we are rudderless as we seek to navigate our way through the murky terrain of our lives. A stand and guiding principles are important in both our “I” and “We” spheres. They provide us guidance during difficult and challenging times.
LEAD IN 3 SPHERES
I have put together the “7-P Process” to help authentic leaders formulate a stand and guiding principles, then turn these into a plan of action.
You should be generally familiar with the 3 sphere model from lesson 4 as a valuable tool to help analyze situations from an integral perspective. The below graphic represents a leadership view of the model, reflecting how leadership show up in the “I” upper left quadrant as a set of personal habits, values, priorities and motivations. Leadership shows up in the “We” lower left quadrant as the team or organization’s culture, embodied by the collective values, priorities and motivations of its members. Leadership shows up in the “It” upper right as observed behaviors and performance outcomes of the individual and in the lower right as the systems and structure of the organization. You could walk into a bookstore and find leadership books that map to each of these spheres, which reflect the orientation or expertise of the author. As a leader we want to be aware of and understand the interactions that occur between each of these perspectives so that we can understand the “full picture” as it unfolds.
States of Consciousness
“Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”
There are two particular states that are beneficial to us as leaders. The first I will call the Focused State and the second the Relaxed State. These states correspond with thinking and analyzing a situation, and acting with little or no conscious thought (what we called unconscious competence in the SEALs).
Your optimal Performance Zone (P-Zone) is found when we shift into Relaxed State. This is when you are in the zone and your skills, capacities and self-sense are unified and you feel locked and loaded, owing with ease. As non-trained (in the sense of the inner skills) athletes, warriors and leaders the Relaxed State happens typically when we are exhausted and “let go” of trying to control the outcome or think our way through something. It can also occur as the result of a highly spirited team pulling us into a performance state, such as the US Olympic Hockey team in 1980. But we don’t want to leave this to a chance happening – rather to actively train for and anchor this state. As you have learned in UM we actively pursue mastery at all levels simultaneously – through proper diet, adequate rest and recovery, inner practices such as yoga, concentration, and mindfulness, through hard and soft development and through effective functional physical training. The sum total of this work will cause your P-Zone to be accessed more readily. When we access the state, we anchor it with a powerful imagery, verbal and physiological cues. We created a “seeing-feeling” anchor that we can come back to at will, which then triggers the Relaxed State and your Performance Zone.
A SEAL sniper will anchor this state during training. On a mission, when the sniper team gets to its hide site, both the sniper and spotter will go into a Focused State to plan the shot – such as get the windage and angles spot on. This state is characterized by higher beta wave brain activity and ability to focus. Then when they are satisfied with the critical “thinking” part of the mission, they will initiate calming techniques and access their Relaxed State. In this state, which is characterized by higher alpha brain wave activity, they will watch and wait, practicing breath control and calming techniques to maintain the Relaxed State. When the target appears (sometimes in seconds, other times days later), they will access their “game day” performance zone anchor (imagery and feelings) and take action with effortless perfection from within the Relaxed State.
A SEALFIT Kokoro trainee on the grinder with 3 instructors screaming conflicting instructions, water in the face and navigating an endless stream of burpees, push- ups and leg levers, can use this same process. They will focus in and analyze the problem: There is one primary instructor to listen to – learn his voice and focus in on that. I can get breath if I breathe through my nose and close my mouth. Eyes closed, listen! Ignore the chaos, and let the verbal haranguing flow off like water. That is the thinking mind figuring out a plan for this challenging situation. Then he relaxes into the moment, seeking the relaxed state. When called on to lead, his performance zone is there for him.
The Relaxed State is a semi-meditative, Alpha brain wave induced state of consciousness, where thinking is quieted, opening us up to intuitive and innate skills. This state also connects us (if we are sensitive enough to see and listen within) to the thread of universal intelligence. Not only is our performance at its peak in these states, but it is also when we experience those “aha” moments of insight. We touch the possibility of immense creativity through non-action. We seek to be able to manage psychology and physiology with a unique skill such that we can intentionally access the Relaxed State and corresponding P-Zone at will. Getting control of our psychology and physiology for optimum awareness, presence and performance is the first step for leading “I.” As we gain this control over aspects of “human being” that were once random or out of control, we can then add directionality fueled by intent. This process is grounded in a personal stand and world view.