‘Necessary investment in greatness’: Have the courage to be authentic

One of my golf hats has the word “Inspire” written across the front. The hat is a souvenir from the best leadership development seminar I ever attended – and I don’t need the hat to remind me of the session.

The presenter was Lance Secretan. I hope you have had the opportunity to hear him teach about inspired leadership. If not, sign up for one of his workshops, read one of his books, Google him online – whatever you can do to expose yourself to his principles. Better yet, bring him in to speak to your organization about conscious leadership and the power to transform your business.

Secretan’s teaching is organized into his six Castle Principles: Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love and Effectiveness. He describes these principles using no unfamiliar words, no ideas new to the planet, no requirement to walk on a bed of hot coals. Still, reframing ourselves, reinventing our brand of leadership and practicing the principles is far from easy. As Secretan says, this is “all part of the necessary investment in greatness. There is no other way.”

We need an enormous degree of courage to act on what we hear from our inner voices, to put our egos in a secondary role, to break through the fear of how we will be judged by others. We need courage to break out of the comfort zone of doing what we’ve always done. In order to experience the rewards of Secretan’s Higher Ground Leadership we have to rise above our fears and fears of others around us. Once we take steps along that path, though, courage becomes more and more a part of who we are.

Then, authenticity. You probably know how much courage it takes to be real – to share your fears, your truth and your vulnerabilities. We all yearn for authenticity and are drawn to people who are real. We trust them whether we agree with all their views or not. When you present yourself as a leader who is authentic, others want to follow you. Secretan says we become real when we “align our minds, our mouths, our hearts and our feet.” If authenticity becomes the norm in business – with its inherent rewards – maybe it could spread to other arenas, like politics. I’ll hold onto that hope.

Secretan puts out this criterion to organizations. Whatever you’re doing, does it “feed the soul as well as the pocketbook?” He talks about servant-leadership, embodying sharing, cooperation, consideration and consciousness. “The servant-leader is a loving leader,” he says.

Truthfulness is a vital part of the Castle Principles. Secretan says “We are suffering from truth decay.” He describes the myth that many of us are living by, the myth that strong relationships can be built on a “flimsy foundation of lies.” We must speak our truth to each other, to employees, suppliers, customers – well, to everyone. We need to take great care about secrets, which are usually out in the atmosphere anyway. Only the truth makes sense.

Love and inspiration go together. Secretan teaches that “all human communications are transmitted and received on a continuum ranging between negative and positive, between fear and love.” We all want more love in our lives, and this is not only true of our personal lives.

The sixth principle, effectiveness, is of course essential. We don’t want to be the head of a loving, authentic group of people and then watch the organization crumble away. Our attention must be on the need to achieve higher and higher levels of performance. Secretan believes that level of effectiveness comes from consistent and patient investment in the Castle Principles.

He has inspired many organizations to transform themselves using these principles. You can follow that trail.

Secretan asks, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Live the answer to this question every day.”

Jo Gorissen is a certified transition coach and a former Milwaukee resident. Her website is www.coachingconbrio.com and she can be reached at (414) 305-3459.

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