— Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
Life has changed so quickly and dramatically over the past several years I often don't realize how much has changed until something jolts me into a new realization and understanding. Such was the case early this morning when I commented on a post on LinkedIn.
Here in Estonia, the sun rises around 4 AM this time of year, so sunrise has become a natural alarm clock for me. I love starting the morning sitting by the burning wood-firing oven with a cup of coffee and my computer. It's become the most creative and productive time of my day. Even though much of Europe is hotter than ever, it remains cool and more fall-like here.
This whole scenario puts me in the mood for writing or creating something. But as usual these days, I had no idea about anything I'd like to write about.
Then it happened. While scanning my feed on LinkedIn, I encountered this post that caught my attention, The Greatest Block to Transformation by Marcia Reynolds.
In the article, Coach Reynolds discusses how our identities are largely based on past experiences, resulting in patterns of avoidance that hinder personal transformation. She suggests that if we really want to transform, we need to explore our current self-perception and potential future selves proactively. I couldn't agree more.
However, I realized in her article how dramatically my self-perception has changed over the past few years and the huge impact it has had on what I do and create. And it also made me more aware of how many people are still unaware of this illusion that has held humanity back for maybe eons.
I'll explain what I mean by sharing the comment below that I left on her post:
"Thanks for this post on an important topic. I'd like to offer another perspective on what blocks our transformation based on my own journey. I'd offer that what is crucial here is not just making a shift in our identity but developing the underlying understanding and realization that we are not our roles or labels.
We are the consciousness that underlies them. This is the essence of self-leadership—it's about realizing that any identity or role does not bind your true nature, whether it's a 'value consumer' or a 'value creator' or 'who we could become.' However, reaching this realization is a journey for most people, and it takes time to integrate this understanding.
In this space of conscious awareness, we are free to create and contribute without getting attached to activities or their outcomes. We can fully engage with life while knowing our true worth is intrinsic and unchanging.
This is the state from which genuine value creation can flow, not as a means to validate your worth or identity but as a natural expression of your conscious, present-moment awareness. This is what I call living in the space beyond boundaries."
You will avoid negative things that threaten your identity like possible failure or rejection. You may also avoid positive things like claiming your power or success.
So what must we do to better understand our true nature as consciousness and not our perceived roles?
Of course, this is all easier said than done. It takes real work and commitment to break through.
One of the first steps is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions as they arise, without judgment or resistance. By watching your thoughts and emotions, you can start to see that they are not who you are; they are like clouds in the sky passing through your awareness.
Secondly, be more present. This means fully engaging with whatever you are doing in the moment without getting lost in thoughts about the past or future. It's about being here and now, whether you are washing dishes, having a conversation, or simply breathing.
Another powerful practice is cultivating stillness in the outer world and within yourself. Spend time in silence. Be comfortable with solitude. Discover the peace when you stop filling every moment with activities and distractions. Living in the countryside can help a lot. They say it doesn't make a difference where you live, but my experience is that it sure makes it easier.
Acceptance of the present moment, exactly as it is, can bring a deep sense of peace and get in touch with your true nature. Allow life and work to flow through you. When you stop fighting against reality, you can become more aware of the consciousness that you truly are.
Remember that this is a journey, and it may take time to fully realize and integrate this understanding. Be patient and kind to yourself along the way. Every day I'm falling short, but the continued focus changes everything over time.
And in closing, to highlight the great quote from Ralph Ellison in his deeply moving novel Invisible Man, "When I discover who I am, I'll be free."
— BillBill Fox, founder at LeaderONE, SpaceB, and Forward Thinking Workplaces
P. S. Thank you for reading this far. I had already sent one newsletter earlier this week, so I debated whether to send this. However, this seemed like an important message, so I sent it along. We'll explore this illusion and more at our upcoming August 9, 2023 webinar. I hope you can join us. Learn more and sign up here.