Each time I thought I suffered most, I came out of the experience knowing more of my self. More accurately, each incident shook me, pushing me beyond ego. It was the earthquake that shook-off another layer of who I thought I was.
Each incident so hard, so painful at the time, now has become a memory that still fills my eyes with tears. I’m not sure if the tears are for the love of the moment that squeezed my conditioned beliefs until it yielded a diamond of greater consciousness or if I’m experiencing echoes of healing continuing to taking place. Either way, the tears have turned from pain to joy.
I’ve come to shake off the notion of who “I thought” I was through each incident. Organizations and teams; like individuals will go through a similar coming to consciousness or greater understanding of group relationship dynamics, if they are to become a high functioning, high achieving team.
What began to occur more and more is that, I could “see” the separateness of my conditioning and who I really was. In other words it became increasingly clear that my life existence is just that, an experience that makes an impression on me. However, what I choose to carry with me from my experiences is that which I believe, “I am”. Specifically, if I continue to carry the burdens and beliefs of the past, I am operating from those burdens and beliefs. Yet, if I let go of the past, I am able to see the present moment through no filter of beliefs but, as it actually is. By removing the filter or lens of past conditioning I am free to make decisions and take actions on what exists not, what I believe to exist which is biased from my experiences. It comes down to better relationships and decision-making; two of the most critical factors in business success today!
When we recognize our lens of past beliefs and conditioned thought we then have an opportunity to evaluate why we believe as we do. Do our beliefs serve us and our connections to others? Or does it separate us and create a divide from others?
All things being the same, had I been born into another family, those experiences would no doubt be different, yet, they too would not be me, but my experiences. Again, it is only when we hold onto these experiences and operate from them that we are relegated to exist at the level of our experiences alone.
I am not a thought as you are not a thought. Yet, if we are to live beyond thought (conditioned beliefs), how does one reconcile this with modern life?
Meditation first and foremost by the very practice of it, enables one to rise above thought and truly see the interconnectedness of people.
Businesses, non-profits and even sports teams are taking advantage of the benefits of meditation for creative thinking, wellbeing, visioning and execution of highly focused tasks. What these groups have found through meditation is a higher level of cognitive functioning enabling better decision making due to a reduction of emotional influences which limit higher cognitive functioning. In other words, we are able to make decisions based on the collective highest good and not from fear and self-protectionism.
Experience and genetics are what separate us physically. We have been taught to limit our focus to the material and consequently we miss what’s in front of us. Our common humanity! Our common humanity must be the solid foundation from which organizations build their labor force, in order for the full capability of employees to be realized and experienced daily.
All too often, I see businesses that maintain an external focus, neglecting the people who do the work and support the business. Because many Executives are externally focused on sales and service to customers, they may not realize those they depend on to serve may not be well equipped or properly aligned to provide the best service possible. Therefore, companies begin to lose customers and market share due to poor service or incapable staff.
Let’s look at it this way, as it is consciousness expanding for individuals willing to reflect on beliefs and alignment of actions to achieve goals so, too is it true that teams and organizations benefit through self-reflection and examination.
Providing a safe space for employees and leaders to practice critical thought, challenge the status quo and engage in self reflection is a great start. Lunch and Learns or facilitated “tough conversations” can begin to provide the environment of practice and dialogue that lead to employees feeling safe to act from their personal authenticity.
The following saying is not just true for sales, but, in organizational engagement and leadership as well, “People don’t care what you have to say, until they know you care”.
Whether you’re interested in maximizing your own individual capabilities or you’re more focused on group achievement; providing permission, support and modeling are critical to make the shift to high performance leaders and teams.
By Ryan McShane
Ryan McShane, has been serving the Human Resources Profession for over 20 years and currently operates a consulting firm specializing in Human Resources Consulting, Leadership Development and Career Transition Services.
Prior, to that Ryan worked in the public, private, start-up and not-for-profit sectors, learning the various cultural norms, principles and practices of each sector and applying that learning to create High Performance Leaders and Organizations. Ryan is also the immediate past president for the largest Local SHRM Chapter in the state of Maryland, Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA).
Ryan’s professional affiliations include serving on the Board of Chesapeake Human Resource Association (CHRA), Board member and Membership Director of Hunt Valley Business Forum, a founding member of Conscious Capitalism- Central Maryland, a Member of York, PA’s local SHRM chapter, a Member of UMBC’s Instructional Systems Development (ISD) Advisory Board, and a former Member of the Boomer Council, an advisory council focusing on civic engagement and mature workforce strategies.
Ryan is passionate about creating and leveraging practices and systems to enable both, individuals and organizations to achieve their highest potential. By promoting greater self-awareness and a conscious approach to workforce management, Ryan seeks to enable a stakeholder orientation, giving rise to equal consideration of People, Planet and Profit.