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Time to Lead by Example

Currently, we suffer a shortage of gifted leaders. There is a lack of skillful gatekeepers who both provide us with future direction and motivate us by their example. Many in leadership positions lack the courage to tackle today's tough issues. This because they are unable to be emotionally present and act from a source of fear rather than love. Both governance and democracy are in question. This crisis forces us to each of us to lead by example. We, the people, must respond to our current crisis of despair by each one us acting mindfully. Also we must deeply explore how we feel. This process can awaken us to make more compassionate selfless choices becoming both more gentle and kind with all things. I believe that once I respect all things I find a form of grace and psychic well being. Also becoming apart of my community gives me both insights that helping others helps me. Making greater connections allows me to become a more engaged leader.

In 1989, in "Seven Habits of Effective People," Stephen Covey defined proactively as how we focus our energy so as to influence and/or change our surroundings. Yet at the same time real change only happens within. It begins as a self-awareness process through which we come to understand our wider circle; our wider range of concerns-family, health, work, environmental issues. These are the things in our lives that make up our Circle of Concern. Accepting our world as it is does not mean we have to become detached from it.

Within the larger world is a smaller one which is our individual selves. Such an inward awakening defines those things we can exercise our true liberation. Those things we can enjoy our personal freedom are called the Circle of Influence. This concept depicts three areas of control: direct control of our own behavior; indirect control regarding other people's behavior; no control of past or situational realities.

The optimal solution is to proactively interact with these three kinds of control within our Circle of Influence. This means to be smart, value driven, and interpret reality in order to best deal with the given situation.

By concentrating on efforts in the Circle of Influence, individuals positively magnify what they can do something about; this, in turn, widens this Circle of Influence. What distinguishes these two circles from one another is that the Circle of Concern includes actions with "have" as their motor (If only I had more money; if only I had not said that; if only I can have this job…) while the Circle of Influence is about being (I can be wiser; I can be kinder; I can be happier…).

When we believe that a problem is 'outside ourselves,' we mistake this to mean that it is out of our control. By changing our perspective, we can change ourselves instead of trying to effect change on what is external to us.

Covey further clarifies that in the Circle of Concern what we are free to choose are actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. He refers to this as picking up the other end of the stick. We make the choice, yet the resulting consequences may not be to our liking. So we may either learn from our mistakes and correct our actions or rationalize and deceive ourselves. The latter will cause deeper self injury. How we respond to our mistakes affects whether we empower or defeat ourselves.

To be proactive, we must awaken to our areas of weakness, improvement and strengths. Next, we must act on this awareness to control our lives by either making a promise or setting a goal. By achieving inner commitments we develop the basic habits of effectiveness and personal integrity while building greater self-honor.

Developing these skills requires daily practice to be mindful of how we respond to all things. For example, when you see something happening attempt not judge it, however, observe it. Instead of telling someone what to do, it may be more skillful to act as a role model. Empathize and look at the faults of others with compassion. This will also allow us greater kindness in our own self- examination.

Developing greater insights so that our thoughts may determine our response is critical to changing our mental frame of reference. By becoming more aware of what is happening in the moment instead of what we think is happening, we become more proactive. The key is to develop a mind-set that allows us to respond and identify how we normally react. The key is to not be controlled by reactive responses. When we become "RESPONSE-ABLE," we become more responsible and effective. Now, all of us can benefit when we each lead by example. Let's not become of a society of followers like a dog who chases his own tail. This is a critical time for every individual to explore within what freedom and happiness is all about. Otherwise we suffer a form imprisonment. Also such indifference is a form defeat. Such complacency with the status quo threatens our prosperity and the future of liberty. Let's take a risk and show action by example in a peaceful and productive way. Leading is liberating once we understand we all matter.

Copyright Rob Arner - All Rights Reserved.
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