Notes from the last offsite

Last week I went to a leadership and strategy offsite in Paris.

It was a wonderful experience and what stroke me the most out of the series of presentations and workshops I had, is the speech of a psychologist who opened my eyes on the way we project our emotions to others.

Here I’ve summarized the main aspects of it, I hope you find it useful as I did:

  1. It’s more important to look at what we have in common rather than the differences:
    • We can look at our size, gender, color, nationality, the language we use, and the more we look at that, the more we see differences.
    • Be conscious that despite our disparate personalities each one of us has its own way to walk in life.
  2. There is one thing we all have in common:
    • We have a thinking machine in our head.
    • Our brain is the channel, the engine that directs everything that we do, it’s the supercomputer that produces thoughts all the time.
    • We are thinkers, and thanks to our brain we can create, innovate, and do all the work.
  3. Our brain is also the source of our suffering:
    • We can feel depress, sad or angry sometimes.
    • People can create wars out of the thinking they have in their head, and they also think that doing the war will solve all the problems.
  4. We have a choice:
    • If we focus on the content of our thoughts, we can be destructive or think in a way that is helpful.
    • All our thoughts come and go, and we don’t have to take all of them very seriously.
    • We have to decide to not stick to one thought, especially if it is a negative thought.
    • Our thoughts can be clouds, and we can decide to look at the clouds or focus on the sky, because the blue sky is always there.
  5. We attach our thinking to the world outside:
    • If we are angry, sad, feel hurt is because of someone else, but that’s wrong.
    • We have a feeling inside us, we don’t know where to go with this feeling, and we find a person responsible for this feeling.
    • Nobody is responsible for our feeling, nobody can get into our head and create a feeling for us.
    • In a way, we create our own discouragement, suffering, sadness.
  6. Keep the joy:
    • Keep the happiness, the joy, all the positive vibes. And if at some point we think that it’s because of our spouse or children, keep the thought anyway, but let’s remember that even in that case we are happy not because of them but because of us, because we are happy.
    • Other people are just the projection of our happiness, but the happiness come from us, from the inside.
    • That appiness is linked to our thoughts we create in our head.
    • The same apply to any thought.
  7. Each of us react to the world out there in different ways:
    • We have created mental patterns associated to the outside world.
    • As a leader we have to take responsibility of the feelings and thoughts and most important over the chain of reactions we create in our own head,
    • We have to be careful of the type of thoughts we want to push and feed in our own head because that have an impact on our own wellbeing and in the way we see the world.
  8. The heart of the work of a leader is to deal with others human beings:
    • Our teams sometimes create anger, fear, misunderstanding out of their own chain of thoughts.
    • The interesting thing is that when we are aware of all the inner world, and how to get back to grounding can regulate our own thought system we can push our teams to do the same.
    • Only if we get back to grounding, we will be able to help our team to regulate their own thought system.
    • Because we must stop judging who is scared. We can just think: “ok this person has scared thoughts, let’s work closer”,
    • We don’t take it personally, or say “(s)he is always like this”, no! because it’s just a moment of clouds.
    • And as a leader if we are in contact with our own clouds, we are more present and we have more understanding, and we have more compassion and patience for someone who is going through a thought storm aka a tough moment.
    • Let’s be all aware of our own inner world and question:
      • “is it true what I am thinking?”
      • “How do I react when I feel that?”, or “how do I react when I have that thought?”
      • “Who I would be without this thought?”
      • “Can I be present without this thought? Do I need this thought to be present?”
      • This process is called: “thought regulation”.
  9. Who we are as human beings:
    • Since we are kids, we receive feedback on how we are as a person: “you are more like this or that”, and we also take personality tests, but this is just the surface, descriptions and ideas about who we are.
    • We compare ourselves in the way we show up with other people but this is just a wave in the sea, it’s not the depth of who we are.
    • But sometimes we don’t know that and we spend the whole life with an image of who we are simply because something happened to us.
    • We identify with the experiences we have, but the experiences don’t do something about us, they do something in the way we perceive ourselves.
    • Beneath the idea we have about ourselves there is another layer. That is not touched by your past, by the feedback we get.
    • Who we are is a source of creativity and renewal, it’s not the image we or others attach to ourself.
    • The ego it’s just a construct, that we think we have to project, the ego is an an idea of our identity, the idea of who we are or who we should be. It’s just the surface.
    • Who you are is in the depth and it is untouched by the ideas that we have, who we are is beneath, beyond the thoughts the noise we create in our head.
    • The more we get in contact with the depth of who we are, the more we will shine in a very natural way, without forcing it.

Bottom line:

When we lead teams that are insecure or too much in their head, and if we know that there is another level of them, beneath, beyond the world of clouds and thoughts they are projecting, we will be able to bring them back to their deeper grounding.

Because when we are grounded, we can bring others to grounding. Hence, we have to be really grounded, not from an ego, not from a thought and insecurities (that we are trying to hide or that we fake of not having them) perspective.

Let’s just remember that there is a place inside us that is safe and untouched. And if it is inside us, it is also inside the team that we lead.

And every time we get lost in our head, when we lose our presence, the ego erase, and we create waves around us and we are confusing everybody.

This is why we have to reconnect to our true self, getting back to our grounding, because this peaceful, solid place in our depth it’s always there.

Our job is (and we won’t find this in any job description) to be grounded and present and solid from a deeper level, is from this grounding that we can impact others in a clear, healthy, kind, and productive way.

And we can live any principle and value in a beautiful and authentic way.

This is the basic, the ground of what we do as a leader.