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Leading Above the Line

 

Conscious leaders respond mindfully to situations in ways that generate desired outcomes, often leading from above the line rather than below the line. You may already be familiar with the success formula advocated by Jack Canfield, author of the Success Principles: E + O = R or Event plus Response equals Outcome. How do you respond to situations and events, particularly those situations that in the past may have resulted in undesirable outcomes? Success is not determined by the event or the outcome; success is always determined by how you respond to the situation. If you don’t like your outcomes, stop blaming the situation and change your response.

A common response to a problematic situation is to look for someone or something to blame. Our response is: Why is this happening to me? Someone should fix this problem but it is not up to me. Shifting our response to How can I fix this? and What can I learn from this situation? is a step in the right direction. This response can deliver a desired outcome but may also be perceived by others as a self-serving response. Although appreciated, the long-term effectiveness of the solution may be limited. These below-the-line responses are often seen as impulsive, defensive, or reactionary.

Above-the-line responses are more intentional, inspired by a higher purpose, and focused on serving the greater good. Rather than a response based on the perspective of life happening to me or by me, life begins to happen through me. Responses shift to How can I be of service? Who can help? and What wants to emerge in and through me? These responses may deliver outcomes that make a lasting difference with greater cooperation and collaboration. Leading from above the line is not easy but is an important practice for the aspiring conscious leader.

Developing a more conscious response, focusing on the R-Factor, requires us to consider the event or situation faced, the desired outcome, and the options for an above the line response, even though it may be uncomfortable. Our external response is a result of three internal steps:

  1. Notice what is going on, be mindfully aware of the situation – slow down, clarify the situation, pause long enough to think through the desired outcome, and ask What does this situation require of me?
  2. Set your intention for how you wish to show up, how you wish to respond, given the situation you have and the outcome you want; commit to the above the line action that will deliver the desired outcome.
  3. Act responsibly for the greater good, do what is called for – choose the uncomfortable and necessary rather than the comfortable and convenient but potentially ineffective response?

You can blame the situation or the event (E) for your lack of results (O). Alternatively, you can change your responses (R) to the events (E) until you get the outcomes (O) you want. If you don’t like your outcomes, change your responses. Practice conscious leadership: lead consciously above the line!

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