I was having a conversation about an upcoming three-day leadership development training and during the conversation, I was reminded that the executives are human just like the rest of us. In another conversation with the owner of a company, he affirmed the importance of everyone being of equal value in the organizational culture no matter what their position.
Both of these conversations reminded me of the value of remembering not only do we all work the same way, but we also come from the same source. There is no hierarchy when it comes to our humanness. The ordinariness of our commonality takes the pressure off. The need to prove ourselves through being special or better than no longer makes sense when we are all equal. And rather than this leading to despondency and lack of motivation, it takes the pressure off so we can thrive.
It may seem paradoxical, but as we let go of the pressure to be special or better than, we perform our best. It is when we are being ourselves, when we are relaxed in our own skin, that we experience optimal performance. Why? Because we aren’t taking up mental bandwidth worrying about ourselves.
I was in another meeting this week and realized as I was sitting there I was feeling tense and pressured to say something of value and importance. I hadn’t noticed it until that point, but my body was tight, and I wasn’t sitting naturally. In this state of mind, nothing was occurring to me to share. I took a restroom break and came back and got comfortable. I relaxed. I didn’t do this as a technique, I genuinely knew that my mind would work better if I was just me and not trying to be smart. And sure enough, as soon as I relaxed, I was naturally able to join the conversation. I had questions I didn’t realize I had. I saw where I was putting dots together through assumptions and was able to clear that up. And through the clarification process was able to be additive and generative to the conversation.
All that happened was I stopped thinking about myself. I no longer existed in that moment. When I was wearing my leadership consultant hat, I had nothing. When I forgot about me, all of a sudden I had common sense and saw things they were not seeing.
Freedom of mind is the most important variable when it comes to effectiveness and performance. The more freedom of mind we have the clearer we see things and the more we are open to the creative thought that is beyond our logical mind.
What it takes to have more freedom of mind is to get us off our mind. The more I think about myself and wonder how I am doing, the less freedom of mind I have. The more I am present to what is and not thinking about me, the more freedom of mind I have. This plays out very obviously in my life.
What do you notice when you reflect on your own life? Are the moments when you experience the most inner freedom when you were not thinking about yourself, and how do you see this relating to your performance?
Even though I have got much better I still have me on my mind more than I would like. The how am I doing, how did I do, how did I sound, did I do well, how did I come across questions. They can be a litany.
The blessing of having some understanding of the nature of thought and how it works is that I recognize the litany of my self-conscious thinking is nothing to worry about. It isn’t wrong or harmful. Nor does it need to be paid attention to. And no matter how gripped I get, I know it will always eventually settle down. This allows me to be with my insecurity in a more relaxed way when it occurs. This is invaluable because when I am less reactive to it, it has less power over me. And I get the benefit of it being a signal to let me know when I am not thinking straight because I am caught up in me.
What I want you to know is, you are enough exactly as you are! You don’t need to worry about you and put pressure on yourself. This is just beating yourself up!
You being you is all that is ever needed. Your natural state is your most effective state because you have a free mind.
Do you recognize when your mind is free? It is when you feel relaxed, content, peacefully, happy. Do you recognize when your mind is not free? It is when you feel stressed, insecure, tense. Do you know what creates the difference between the two?
Do you control your thought? No.
But how you relate to your thoughts makes a huge difference. If you understand you have thoughts but they are not you, it is easier to take them more lightly. If you understand when you are gripped by negative thoughts that you have simply lost your bearings and will naturally regain them because that is how you are designed it is easier to be comfortable in the discomfort as you ride it out. If you look to the source of thought and see beyond the content of your thinking to the power you have to think, you open yourself to experiencing the formless essence of who you are, of who we all are.
The experience of greater inner freedom comes from understanding not controlling or changing thought.
The understanding points to your wholeness, your completeness, your innate value, your goodness. As the Human League wrote, You are only human and born to make mistakes, but this does not take away the essence of who you are that cannot be damaged or tarnished in any way.
Seeing just a glimpse of this, having just a taste of this, feeling a moment is enough to to take you off your mind more so you can be in your life with more freedom and enjoyment. Optimum performance flows from there.
Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free ebook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.