By Christopher J Walker
Another word for happiness is contentment.
When we speak about Self-Leadership we are not just talking about the outside world of time management and productivity in the simplest forms. We are also talking about your intent. That means the quality of your inner world experience.
Many people separate the two, this is a bad mistake.
Even if they can be separated, and with a dirty inner space we make lots of money – the quality of life that results is disturbed and uneven.
For most people the outer world dictates the inner world. If things are going well for them in a physical and material sense, they feel great inside.
This is the unquestioned simplicity that is youth. But there comes a level of life at which this model doesn’t work. When we rise to become parents, partners, leaders, performers, artists and entrepreneurs, the resilience we need in order to hold our inspiration and vision is far greater than this outside – in way of life can sustain.
Many people use substance, food and medication to sustain their outside in way of life but these are addictive and have huge side effects. Medications such as anti depressants have become common daily addiction for nearly 30% of the world’s business community.
Outside in thinking is vulnerable and therefore provides little depth of resilience for the individual who wants to make it on their own terms and have a nourishing, peaceful and enjoyable quality of life. One entrepreneur gave up his dreams because his emotional substance couldn’t sustain the intensity necessary to face resistance.
Too many great artists and performers have taken their life because they were outside-in people. They never learned the separation or techniques for inside-out Self-Leadership.
There was one man who loved his partner but he was so emotionally attached to her that she felt imprisoned in his presence. It was like he worshipped her. Really, he was applying outside-in life qualities and was reliant on her to keep his inner world boosted.
To allow the outer world to affect the inner world is the conventional practice for most people. They feel things because the outer world triggers them – both good and bad and from that input, they determine their happiness in life.
The aim with happiness is to become happy before you step into the world.
This is possible using many complex techniques.
Religion is the opposite to spirituality. In religious models there is a clear determination about what should or should not make you happy and so, as long as the outer world matches that criteria, you remain, religious. But if the outer world does no match that criteria, it is very common that people either reject or try to fix the environment to match their expectations.
One woman was obsessed with “Carbon Credits.” She ran her life by that code. When she saved credits she was happy, when she lost them she was sad. But her outside-in way of life extended further. If someone she knew used excess carbon she became angry and attacked them. This is the outside in way of life taken almost to the level of terrorism.
If you practice Outside-in thinking, and your happiness is therefore conditioned by the response the world feeds you, then you will struggle from morning to night. To hold a dream, a vision or inspiration as your inner most important commitment, you will need resilience that will not come from outside-in dependency. Only Inside-out Self-Leadership will prove sustainable.
My client took over control of his family business. He’d been prepared for the role, his father retired and it was time. Almost immediately, years of frustration sitting under his father’s watchful control exploded into a dazzling program of expansion.
The business grew, took more debt, and increased its profitability ten fold. To support the growth, my client persuaded his father and his wife to guarantee the debt with their life savings. There was a market downturn. The father lost his superannuation, the bank started process to foreclose on the homes, and then his father died from a sudden heart attack bought on by the stress of financial loss.
It was at this time my client contacted me for help. He needed more than business management advice, he needed to find his inner strength in order to stay committed to the journey. Deep down he wanted to check out.
Instead of working on his business strategy, I took him to the bush a two day retreat. In that time, just the two of us explored turning his outside in way of thinking into an Inside out process.
This was not easy for my client. He felt so bad, so hurt and so guilty and this torrent of pain was flooding his inner world.
We walked and talked and shared the journey of finding an authenticity that came from the inside to the outside and was independent of his life drama.
After two days, we were ready to face the challenges ahead. We did so with a quiet confidence, a deep self-respect. Each day with my client we spent up to three hours connecting him to this inner space, making sure he was grounded in his authenticity before we faced the barrage of tough decision makers and vindictive bankers.
He got through it and saved the homes. To this day he continues to spend time each day, connecting to his inside out personal space.