People often ask me how they’ll know if they’re moving forward on the road to becoming a conscious leader. In addition to telling them that there’s no road and they’re already perfect just where they are, and that they’ll just know, I sometimes offer a few of the following indicators of growth:
In simple terms you’ll be asking yourself with more regularity, “Where am I?” This simple question interrupts the automaticity of your mind, your personality patterns, and your threat based reactivity. It allows you to step outside of the pattern to become aware of your context.
Other ways to ask include:
The key is not so much the specific question, but rather the intentional pause to check. The pause creates space for you to witness yourself rather than just being yourself. As you pause, breathe, get present, and watch yourself with a curious awareness, you’re more likely to experience metacognition and to see yourself more accurately.
People often begin the journey to conscious leadership at a conceptual level; they read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a video. They might find the concept interesting and want to know more. They might even give mental assent to the validity and value of leading consciously. But at some point, it moves from being a mental construct to evaluate to a practice you take on. One of the essential parts of the practice is asking, “Where am I?”
One of the results of practicing conscious leadership is that you’ll become a great listener. You’ll become more and more still internally, and this stillness will result in being able to be with people from presence. From presence you’ll easily, and without much efforting, be able to listen from all the centers of awareness. You’ll listen to people from your head for their content, from your heart for their feelings, and from your gut for their deep desire, what it is they most want.
As you listen to people so that they feel gotten and understood at a very deep level, you’ll see a reduction in drama in your relationships at work and at home. The less attached you are to your ego getting its way, the more space you have to really see others. When people feel seen, they are usually far less reactive.
Slowly but surely if you keep devoting yourself to the practices of conscious leadership your relationship to time and money will change. You’ll start to experience that there is enough time and money. You’ll feel less stressed, less hurried, and less pressured. Greed and compulsive acquisition will quiet. Gratitude and generosity will come more to the foreground, naturally, not through your trying. As your relationship to time changes, you’ll experience that more is getting done with much less effort, and with much greater impact and effectiveness. The stress that accompanies the experience of scarcity will begin to drop away and it will be replaced by more ease.
At some point, usually not right away, people around you will begin to notice changes. It won’t be uncommon for people to say that you’ve changed or that something just seems different about how you’re showing up. They won’t necessarily be able to put their finger on it, and they won’t always like it, but they’ll notice it. As real changes occur internally at the level of consciousness they will eventually produce shifts on the outside. If people aren’t noticing and commenting, there’s a good chance that the changes are more at the level of belief and thought than genuine shifts in consciousness that come from dedicated practice.
These are some of the most common signposts of genuine change along the road to transformation of consciousness. As you ponder what I’ve shared here, first, be gentle with yourself; transformation usually (though not always) takes time. Second, be honest with yourself: Are you doing practices and are changes occurring?