Eureka moments and personal growth can come from anywhere, if you let it. Life doesn't stop gently and lovingly teaching you, if you slow down long enough. The inspiration for this blog post came from Tamzin Muir's post (thank you) sharing a conference on "Mindfulness in Organizations" in Amsterdam.
If you know my history, or you've read my anthology chapter, you'll see just what can happen to a sensitive, perfection-driven, introvert not equipped to thrive authentically in 'tough' society. You'll see that, today, all I offer and share is hyper-focused on taking responsibility for creating the environment that allows you to slow down to a pace that allows you to hear yourself (not gurus, parents or everyone else), one that allows you to be mindful.
I studied organizational design during my MBA, as part of my push to help organizations be an easier space to thrive in - to create profit and inspire people - but I also did entrepreneurial strategy, as I love the autonomy and, to eventually escape corporate spaces. As an introspective person by nature, after a few health scares, I made slowing down my goal in 2013. It's truly awakening. Like I said, though, life teaches you when you slow down to a mindful pace. Since then,
- I've had a few corporate clients I ordinarily wouldn't take on, even as I began to get firmer on who I will and will not work with.
- My partner is very corporate minded, in ways we can't agree on.
- This organizational conference post hit me for no reason other than it's time for me to wake up to this lesson.
While some people were born in this time and space to truly thrive in, benefit from and enjoy today's ever-shifting sometimes-too-rigid corporate culture, there are many who feel paralyzed there. From entry level to executive team members, many are so stuck in "supposed to", that they can't even breathe. I speak a lot on "going where you thrive", focused on those feeling trapped there when it's not a good fit for them or the business. My wake up call, however, those bulleted experiences and more, have shown me that some people are also actually designed to thrive better within corporations, and will, if they're willing to be themselves fully in that space.
No. I being yourself isn't tantrums, sabotage and rebellion. My talk "The Disruption of Authenticity" is an invitation to be who you are without rebellion and resentment, because I invite you to:
- Go within. Where there's no audience for you to go after, that's your safe space to get all your thoughts and feelings out without societal 'consequences' (Carol Schulte calls these exercises a 'brain dump'), so you have more energy and brain space for clearer decisions.
- Take stock. Differentiate between the values you're taught and those that you truly believe. Release further any resentment that may arise as you wonder why you let others' values hold you back. This is key. Here, take ownership of your values and boundaries. Anger is born of violated boundaries (real or imagined).
- Acknowledge your true values and boundaries. You should feel happy and empowered here. Here, subconsciously or not, you realize that you are responsible for your own emotions, and others for theirs. This is only for you, about you. Relish this feeling. This is what keeps you resilient.
- Stand firmly, gently and freely, as you introduce your true self to everyone. You'll need to be resilient for this to stick. This is why you're invited to spend so much time in introspection before you even say a word to anyone. You'll need to be resilient as everyone will (intentionally or not) try to undo the change you'll inevitably create in your relationship with them.
I've shared this as a talk, in conversation, and in a million ways, through my blogs and vlog content, with entrepreneurs. I'd never reached out to anyone corporate with this because I've always felt that "they really have no choice, no control over their time and energy". I was wrong. We all have control, even in the tightest squeeze, over our minds. And in today's corporate space, there's a lot more breathing room than we realize.
Still, executives can be just as tight-lipped and tightly wound and those they're charged with leading, because there are very real consequences for their every move. It's easy to stand up and say, "be vulnerable and your team will follow". They know that if they wind up in prison for something a subordinate knowingly or unwittingly did, those offering that advice won't be beside them in that cell.
No judgement to those offering that advice - I often do it too - but not lately. Be gentle with yourself if you're waking up to the same thing I am. As you do, you'll have that same gentle grace for those who can't just take one giant leap into full authenticity. Now, you'll see what a great leap it may be for, for example, an introvert CEO to feel free to close his door in an 'open door policy' environment. That small action may be the lever that allows him to have enough energy and brain space to truly listen to, and mindfully be there for, his team.
What works for you?
Whoever you are, wherever you know you're meant to be, there's room for the true you. Incrementally or in one giant leap, I'm happy to help you start. Be it a talk or a one on one confidential conversation. Reach out. Let's stop repressing emotions and hiding who we are. The world is best when we're fully who we are.
A quick reminder
Not the best video, but if this helps one person, I'm happy.
About the Author
Crystal-Marie Sealy, MBA, is a keynote speaker and entrepreneurial strategy consultant focused on sustainable business models for established entrepreneurs and professionals transitioning to entrepreneurship. President and founder of Successiory and her signature "Your E.A.S.Y. Affluence Business Model™ by Successiory", Crystal-Marie works with professionals who want to build sustainable (livable) business models around their lifestyles and create sustainable client community on social media. She also speaks and delivers workshops at business and motivational conferences on entrepreneurial strategy for pricing, process, feasible schedules and client social media community. Connect with her and subscribe at www.successiory.ca