I did an interview a few days ago where I was asked about the importance of introverts and extroverts understanding each other in business. My response included something along the lines of, “Business is all about relationships. We create products, services, and companies by working with other people to bring these things to life. Along the way we share ideas, we negotiate, we brainstorm, we listen, and unfortunately sometimes we misunderstand each other. The more we work to better understand each other, the easier it is to reach our goals together.”
I believe this premise wholeheartedly – that relationships are the foundation of business, not just between introverts and extroverts – which is why I never understood some people’s belief that emotions should never be part of business. Emotions are part of who we are as humans, we cannot deny them. They affect how we work with our boss, colleagues, negotiation partners, suppliers, and everyone we come into contact with, regardless of whether we try to hide them from others or not.
Thus, the more we understand ourselves and our emotions, and the source of our emotions, the better we will understand why we interact with others the way we do, and the more successful we will be in business and life.
But understanding ourselves and our emotions is not easy. It requires being honest with ourselves about past hurts, old belief systems, and doing the arduous work of forgiving ourselves and others, and of releasing the emotions -and their source- that no longer serve our higher good. Let’s be honest, it’s so much easier to just complain than to do the work to make positive change in ourselves.
So, I was thrilled to see the article about “conscious uncoupling” by Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami that became mainstream last week, accompanying the announcement of the uncoupling of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. While many people are focusing on the “uncoupling” aspect of the article, I particularly appreciated its anthropological look at our emotional support structures and how they impact our relationships. While the article was examining intimate relationships, the lessons applied to all relationships including those we create in business:
“Life is a spiritual exercise in evolving from an exoskeleton for support and survival to an endoskeleton. Think about it. When we get our emotional support and well-being from outside ourselves, everything someone says or does can set us off and ruin our day. Since we can’t control or predict what another person does, our moods are at the mercy of our environment…Everything is then perceived as a personal attack and attempt to upset us. Up goes our armor and it’s all-out war.
With an internal support structure, we can stand strong because our stability doesn’t depend on anything outside ourselves. We can be vulnerable and pay attention to what’s happening around us, knowing that whatever comes, we have the flexibility to adapt to the situation. There’s a reason we call cowards spineless: It takes great courage to drop your armor, expose your soft inside, and come to terms with the reality of what’s happening around you. It’s a powerful thing to then realize that you can survive it…When we learn to find our emotional and spiritual support from inside ourselves, nothing that changes our environment or relationships can unsettle us.”
Think about how what Drs. Sadeghi and Sami say applies to leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who have chaos swirling about them at all times. Those who are able to do the work to allow their emotional and spiritual support to come from within themselves will be most adaptable. They will survive, and they will thrive. They will be the ones who rise to success in all aspects of their life.
It’s time to stop denying the importance of self-awareness and actualization in the business world. And while it may be ahead of it’s time, I believe the real leaders of the future will be those who understand this and begin the work of self-discovery that leads to the courage to drop your armor in order to survive, thrive and rise.
My business partner, an award winning and brilliant businesswoman in addition to a divine intuitive energy healer, has named this work, “WorQ,” with the Q symbolizing the soul’s journey of self-discovery that we are all on. She defines worQ as the work you take on to work on yourself, to reconnect to your Higher Self, your Soul:
“We all have our own tree of life, rooted through our soul’s path and connected to our divine light, our source. The WorQ awakens more of this path for you lighting up the areas of your life that need to be “pruned” for a stronger, more fruitful you. Along our journeys we all grow, evolve and experience life through our own perceived understanding. As we grow and evolve and branch out into our lives, we recognize that we have changed along the way. This change opens our hearts to more. Through the WorQ many wonderful changes will happen as you take special care of healing your heart’s truest emotions to uncover your heart’s true desire.”
Some will call this “woo-woo.” Others will recognize it as very powerful ancient wisdom. Ancient, but ahead of its time, and no less powerful than it was in past millennia. ~~~
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*Photo is Time Waits for No Man by Nicole on Flickr.