As leaders, we often pride ourselves in our excellent ability to see the big picture. Let's face it, that's why we're in charge! What we leaders refer to with “the big picture,” however, is all too often a very narrow picture. Most leaders make "big picture" decisions every day with little or no awareness of how everything we do is a reflection of who we are. The “big picture” we have grown accustomed to is a one-way street in its “From the Top Down” structure and “Because I told you so” attitude.
On our one-way street, we think we are "rising above" when all it really means is that we have lost touch with what is real and what is truly important. We can’t remember the last time we felt relaxed but have no plans of slowing down or stop making stressful decisions for ourselves and others. We see the "hard decisions" as necessary evil but forget to invite our hearts.
For some reason, we have accepted the idea that the money-hunt matters the most, that as leaders we have no right to be happy at work and that, instead, we must work really really hard and sacrifice things that bring us joy. Because that’s what it takes to “make it”.
Sometimes we can get flashes of wanting to do things that truly matter and feel the desire to make genuine changes. But then we remember that other people are for the most part idiots and the world such an unfair place that there is no use to get started.
We have even diluted ourselves into thinking that we actually need to be frustrated and angry to get people to do what they should be doing. Intimidation tactics have given seemingly immediate results in many office setting. Being afraid of your boss and the quarterly report results is good, right, because how else will we perform our best? We are set to believe that somehow we should be equally miserable to the size of our compensation package.
We are convinced that providing for our families discounts spending time with them. Then we go on and teach our children that hard work and competition is the way of life and the sooner they buckle up to the harsh realities "out there," the better they'll do. Just like us!
But look at us! We’re not happy. We’re not healthy. We’re not as loving as we could be and would like to be. We don’t enjoy enough time with our families and friends, all the while most of us are not even close to the so-called “financial freedom” that we so desperately seek. There seems to be no end to the sacrificing and unhappiness - and no destination within reach.
So what on earth happened to us leaders? I thought we were the smart ones?
At some point we just have to stop and ask ourselves: Really? Is this really the way we want to continue shaping our lives and the world? How "big picture" are we thinking if we can't be a representative of the world we would like to leave for our children? How grand are our actions if people who work for us feel like shit?
I believe the point at which to stop is right now. That is why I share leadership methods from a BIGGER big picture: A perspective that sees farther, reaches deeper and feels way better. Where the inside of you resonates with what you accomplish in the world. This is an invitation to a bigger awareness, a greater attitude and a higher altitude – a BIGGER big picture that recognizes that the very essence of life and business is a two-way street where you are happy to know and lead yourself as the passenger on your own beautiful journey called life.
One place to start is right here, with a daily practice of mindfulness meditation for leaders.