In search of the authentic leader in you
When was the last time you asked yourself the reason you do what you do? Are you very successful by our culture’s standards but feeling empty nevertheless? Do you find it difficult to inspire yourself and others? Outwardly you make the right decisions, you create profit for your company, and you seem to do everything “right” yet you feel incomplete. You are just beginning to notice a discomfort or uneasiness but you cannot define it. You have forgotten why it is you do what you do and you have just realized that you no longer have an answer to this question.
Perhaps you are now faced with the next chapter of your life. Some call this retirement but it appears that no one is retiring in the traditional sense. The firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas has now tracked 692 CEO changes in 2012, 2.5 percent lower than the 710 CEO departures recorded during the same period in 2011. Thirty CEOs cited resignation as the reason for their departures last month, and this continues to be the most cited reason for leaving; 205 CEOs have resigned during the first seven months of 2012, according to Challenger data. Retirement is the next highest cited reason for leaving, with Challenger noting 143 retirements in 2012, only six of which came in July. To date, 114 chief executives, including 15 in July, stepped down, usually staying with the company as a board member or other C-level executive.
What does this mean for you? You may have been on a path, more like a treadmill, for so long without reflecting on what you really want beyond the title CEO. What you may not realize is this is the beginning of a transition. This is what Joseph Campbell calls The Hero’s Journey.
It is an archetypal journey where the Hero or Heroine is called upon to take some bold action.
They may well be reluctant yet they are guided by something powerful to take the journey.
This journey is one to reclaim one’s authentic self. To do so the Hero/ine must venture into the dark underworld where he/she must learn something or obtain something of great value. Here they experience trials and meet with demons and allies that help reveal to them gifts that they may not have acknowledged or embraced. At one point they are confronted with an ordeal that dissolves their identity, a virtual death that leads to an expanded consciousness of who they are. This wisdom gained allows them to return to the world with new knowledge about themselves and how they can serve their community.