The holidays are always a time for increased consciousness. Marked by gratitude, appreciation, attempts at giving back, we all seem to be more conscious of, not only others, but of our selves as well. Our New Year’s resolutions reflect our attempts to acknowledge personal shortcoming and areas for improvement and to set a path toward reaching that improved place. Our increased philanthropic efforts in December indicate our awareness that others live life in such greater need. When it comes to leadership, and to life, for that matter, we need to raise our level of consciousness if we want to truly achieve a breakthrough.
Einstein probably said it best: “The significant problems we face cannot be solved from the same level of consciousness that created them.” This quote has leadership written all over it, as leadership is about addressing those “significant problems,” making a change, making a difference. But we can’t maintain the same level of consciousness and hope to make a difference—in our own lives, or in anyone else’s life.
How often does your New Year’s Resolution fade? Step into any exercise gym or health club in January, and the place is packed. Come in February, not as many people. Come in March, even less, and by April, the gym is back to the same old, same old…the people who have exercise and health embedded in their lifestyle routine. This phenomenon—the resolution crash factor—occurs because people, year after year, haven’t shifted their level of consciousness. People are facing their problems—personally and professionally—from the same place they did last year, and the year before that. Ask yourself: have you developed and improved your self in any way over the last year? Most people find themselves answering “no,” because doing so requires the deep, hard work of tapping into the inner aspects of our selves and understanding those aspects in a fuller and more dynamic way.
But this deep, hard work is exactly what we need, what our organizations need, what our government needs, what education needs. We are all in need of a raised level of consciousness—a better understanding of our own tendencies and actions, more emotional intelligence, authentic self-expression, and owning the dark parts of our self that prevents us from reaching our fullest potential.
So, forget the lose-weight resolution in 2012, and resolve to increase your level of consciousness, and as a result, increase your capacity for leadership—for making a lasting positive change on both yourself and others.