Wakefulness: the new dynamic of leadership
"The man of compassion is not unintelligent but he is non-intellectual”.
……. Sri Shivam
There is a huge difference between unintelligence and being non-intellectual. A man may be tremendously intelligent as his whole being is actually an embodiment of intelligence. He radiates that purity. What is the point of thinking when you know?
When you know; that becomes part of the very nature of your whole being. Hence thinking becomes a poor substitute when you can understand. When you can know and see what bothers you then who bothers to think. Just awareness is enough!
Wakefulness can bridge this gap between knowing and doing and thereby not only create a more wakeful individual but a more wakeful society.
Wakefulness is a daily recurring brain state and state of consciousness in which an individual is conscious and engages in coherent cognitive and behavioural responses to the external world.
Wakefulness is an important tool to see our thoughts, feelings and emotions crystal clear in order to develop a new sense of Self Awareness.
In the context of knowing we use IQ. That being a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person. In the context of awareness, we use EQ. That being an individual’s ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. Emotional intelligence is most often defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. Research shows that successful leaders and superior performers have well developed emotional intelligence skills. This makes it possible for them to work well with a wide variety of people and to respond effectively to the rapidly changing conditions in the business world. In fact, a person’s emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of performance success than cognitive intelligence.
"The emotionally intelligent man is very warm and at the same time doesn't lose his cool "
This seems very paradoxical because he is warm, loving and compassionate and at the same time he doesn't get provoked by external criticism and is not driven by emotions, hence doesn't lose his cool!
Society has always conditioned the human mind to be either emotional or intelligent. The modern man needs to be emotional as well as intelligent. This is where the concept of Wakefulness assumes importance. When the person is aware and emotionally intelligent due to wakefulness; he is very watchful of his emotions which leads to appropriate actions and responses.
Here’s an example. In a top corporate the boss selected 2 senior leaders and handed over the same project to both of them. One was Mary who was a very happy and emotionally balanced person. Her response to any problem would be very thoughtful and mindful. She was a cheerful and high-spirited person, very life affirmative, flexible and adaptive to new ideas and environment. She had good communication skills and she could express her feelings with others. She used to remain calm in stressful situations by being able to monitor her emotions by being more wakeful. The other was Sam. He always used to be in a stress mode, full of tension and worries. He was a perfectionist. He used to plan everything and tried to control everything. He was cautious while dealing with others but he was moderately motivated. He needed support at work, failed to find the right words to express his emotions.
Who do you think would have cracked the project, Mary or Sam?
Benefits of being Wakeful
- Empathy: emotional intelligence helps the person to be more empathetic and compassionate towards oneself and others.
- Collaborative: The person moves from being self-centred to being more inclusive and collaborative. He influences the circle around him and shares his thoughts and ideas which inspires and motivates others.
- Resolving conflicts inside out: Emotional intelligence when added with wakefulness, one is able to resolve the conflicts and manage his emotions.
- Acceptance is the key : Any situation which has created pain, hurt, grief or stress in our life, is to accept it first. Till the time we try to run away or escape our negative situations or emotions, we will just be suffering endlessly. Wakefulness helps us in accepting and acknowledging a given situation, to understand it more deeply and clearly. Once we experience it mindfully, new ways open up to deal with it and we can understand what can be done to make the situation better and find effective and right solutions.
- Living in the moment: Because of increased awareness due to wakefulness the person is able to be in the moment without unnecessary worry and anxiety for the future and stress from the past.
- Focus and Productivity: All the leaders across the globe who have witnessed and learnt this quality in life and who have incorporated this philosophy and concept, have become more focused and productive in their workspace.
- Unleashing creativity: By being more emotionally intelligent and wakeful, one is able to be more creative and think out of the box and hence it leads to original ideas and new concepts.
- Transformational leadership: The circle of influence increases around him and people around him listen to him and understand him and hence it leads to a transformation in the leadership. It is experienced by being in the present moment. Awakening leadership consciousness is an outcome of an awakened leader who is more mindful and wakeful. Leaders have led their organization to exponential growth, but that has always been preceded by their own exponential growth.
- Connection with mind body emotion and spirits Leads to motivation and inspiration.
- Holistic Well-Being: As per scientific evidence, being more wakeful improves our health, helps in several psychological issues, regulates the autonomic nervous system. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body which helps us to become a better leader.
Tools and techniques for being Wakeful
- Take a pause: Taking a pause does not mean to be passive but it's a great start.
- First take a pause,sit in a calm posture and reflect on the given situation and ask yourself questions regarding what you are doing, what are the problem areas, how it can be solved,etc and listen to your inner voice. And finally breathe out all your stress, worries and anxieties releasing all the negative emotions and toxins.As we relax and alter our breathing pattern,our mind and body will automatically calm down, which will be a rejuvenating experience.Use your monitoring system of wakefulness accurately to develop this elevated state of consciousness.
- Being Okay with not being Okay: Society has always conditioned us to resist our negative emotions, be it fear, guilt, anxiety and stress and hence we just try to suppress our hidden emotions. But in reality, the emotions don't go anywhere but they stay inside us and just pile up. So if you're not feeling okay, it’s better to observe your emotions and tell yourself that it's okay to not be okay. It's a way to uncover the hidden feelings, to watch and experience one-self properly.
- Lost vs rediscover: Any routine, if followed for 21 days, becomes a habit, and if done further becomes our very nature. If you are feeling lost, it's time to press the rediscover button! Wakefulness helps you to do that. Practice meditation, observe silence, spend time alone, reflect and introspect. These practices will refresh your whole system, give clarity, declutter the unwanted thoughts and emotions, clear the mental blockages and eventually help you rediscover your true self.
- Welcome criticism: When somebody criticizes you, stay quiet and observe what is happening at the emotional level. Ask yourself few reflective questions:
- What the other said to you is true or not.
Always welcome the positive criticism. Reflect upon your weaknesses which will help you improve.
- If it is not true then also it is okay
If you're aware or awake you will not react impulsively, will just observe and watch.
You will transform as a leader not only for the organization but also be able to lead yourself in a better way. Don't let your emotions lead you, rather you lead your emotions by being more wakeful and alert. Imagine you are sitting in a roller coaster but alas, without a seat belt. The fate would be fatal! Same is the situation in real life. When the emotions which are like a roller coaster make you go through lots of ups and downs, mood swings, panic and depression in different situations in life, you need a seat belt.
So, fasten your seat belt of wakefulness and enjoy the roller coaster with the control button in your hands!