What do you bring consciously to the world?

Who are you? What do you believe to be true? What do you bring consciously to the world? And even more interesting, what do you bring unconsciously to your work, to your organization, to your relationships? How does that which you have either denied about yourself or feel uncomfortable about shape your life positively or negatively? What lies in this unseen space and why is it important for you to explore? This real life example shows up in just about everything we do at Unshackled Leadership. From the way we engage our clients, to how we’ve shaped our peer groups, to the kinds of conversations we hold in these forums.

I recently had the privilege of being the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the Portable Sanitation Association International, held at the incredible and beautiful Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The subject of my talk was a shortened version of my classic Roadmap to Success program. I love to do this program because it literally gives people the owner’s manual they should have received when they arrived here in the first place.

When I got off the stage, after everyone had left, and headed to the exit door, there waiting for me was the owner of a construction company. Without much hesitation, he said that he wanted to hire me because he really felt I could help him with his company. In a subsequent phone conversation, he explained that while very successful in terms of getting good projects, the company was not being profitable. To make matters worse, he was frustrated and burnt out and ready to pack it all in.

Fortunately I convinced him not to do that and he agreed and hired me. We just spent two days together and his attitude has made a 180 turn for the better. Like so many business owners, a couple of things were working against this gentleman and his company. First, his ownership of the company came after many many disappointing and frustrating years of family involvement in the company. Moving family owned businesses from one generation to another is always tricky business. In this case, he was left with a lot of unexpressed negative emotions.

What people generally don’t understand is that when you are burdened by unexpressed negative emotions, it’s like trying to climb a mountain with a sack of rocks on your back. It wears you down and robs you of your aliveness and joy. This is what happened to him. I taught him how to release those emotions and we actually started the process of doing just that. While we did not get it all done, he left clear about the work that needed to be done and promised to get it done.

Secondly, he had lost sight of his vision for his company and a company without a vision is like a boat adrift at sea without a rudder. I took him through the Designing the Future process laid out in Chapter 19 of my book, Unshackled Leadership, and while this process took several hours, he ended up with a clearly articulated vision, strategic objective, and a set of key objectives to be achieved by July 31, 2015. The fulfillment of these key objectives will clearly launch his company in the direction of a highly successful and profitable year.

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