'I have lost myself,' people say to me, particularly in workplace coaching conversations. As they start to explore this and describe how it feels it becomes clear there is a disconnect - self from Self. The outer persona is out of synch with their inner being.
In yoga we talk about the Witness or the inner observer who is capable of making such a statement - 'I have lost myself' or 'I have lost my Self'. We can all 'see' from a more detached viewpoint and become aware that two parts of us are in conflict or missing a vital connection that hits at the heart.
Our wise inner being, our intelligent timeless Self, knows it has lost expression in our everyday lives. This is what we really mean when we say, 'I have lost myself.' There's actually nowhere to go looking, outwardly. It just means we are doing things that don't line up with who we know we are at our core. And we feel inauthentic.
Workplace cultures are great places to test this out - in fact, they contribute hugely to how connected we feel with all we are truly capable of offering. Some workplace cultures relish the potential of people and actively encourage its emergence, others want people to shape themselves tightly to the organisational agenda. You are a fit or you are not. Think job-hunting....
So how do you stay connected to your deeper Self, the soulful you who knows who you really are and your truth? Firstly, you must choose to do so. Then act accordingly. Here are 5 emotionally intelligent ways to forge a deeper sense of alignment with authentic expression:
Self-awareness exercises are essential, such as mapping out your values, listing what really matters and ordering them into a set of priorities that you use to choose where you spend time, energy and money. Apply this to your workday.
Reflect frequently on how you are feeling. If you are happy more than frustrated or even depressed, it is a good indication you are satisfying your own unique needs. Do more of what you enjoy and fulfils you (you are allowed).
Give to others what is you at your best. Set standards and assist people to the best of your ability. Don't compromise your standards. Hold others to account. Be prepared to ensure agreements are kept, especially when you have been involved, consciously or unconsciously in the 'contract'.
Find time to care for your self during the day. Enlightened workplaces allow for healthy working practices such as providing lifestyle allowances, flexible working, and time out of the office to just walk, go to the gym, or reflect in a different environment. Know what you need to refresh and rejuvenate your connection to your Self and work. Use your personality profiles to guide you if you are not sure. Introverts need time alone. Extraverts need to get moving and be amongst different people.
Meditate daily. Find time to focus inwardly, taking your attention within. Doing so will make you more aware of and anchor you to your inner power and its desires for expression. Life improves greatly and naturally when you are motivated from within rather than by the ego or others' expectations.
Emotions are useful indicators of your inner state of fulfilment. Learn to identify them and trust them as such. The more aware you are and the more you respect your Self by working accordingly the more emotionally intelligent you will be.
The workplace bonus from all of the above is you will:
have more energy for longer and bounce back faster
work much more efficiently and be able to innovate effectively
have more time to consider others' needs to align with their own potential and help them bring more of themselves to work
create a workplace culture that people engage with and are happy to support.
Indira is director of her own London-based leadership consultancy, using emotional and spiritual intelligence tools to create conscious leadership and high-performance workplaces.
Contact Indira here or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07946 319 516 or go to www.consciousleader.com.au for more information.