Consciousness, Ego & Authenticity
Past blogs have begun to lay out some understandings about what Consciousness, Leadership, and Conscious Leadership are, and why they are important topics in our world of work today. Being a more conscious, self-aware person will enhance your ability to get along with others and be a more effective leader. Self-awareness is the gateway into our own authenticity, our own unique selves, whereby we show up in our relationships reflecting our own highest truth.
In order to get to our own truth, introspection, reflection, deep questioning, and honest evaluation are required. Tapping in to your “inner voice” will reveal your own truths to you. To reach a higher level of honest self-awareness, we also must take into account that there are “multiple voices” inside our head, and often vying for the alpha position in our minds.
We have many beliefs, stories, values, mores, and fears that have been passed to us from so many sources. Parents, grand-parents, relatives, siblings, teachers, clergy, books, TV, heroes, villains, and more have shared their beliefs, stories, values mores and fears with us, intentionally and unintentionally. By the time we become adults we have taken on so much of other peoples’ stuff that we become a mirror of what we have been exposed to without even consciously thinking about it anymore. At the same time that inner voice that is and has always been there gets drowned out more and more by the noise of what others think we should think, do and say.
Consider for a moment that we have three levels of awareness available to us: two halves of Ego (the Healthy and the Negative), and an Authentic Self. The ego is our default, hard wired survival program. Ego looks out for our survival, our sustenance, and our ability to get around. It sees the world as two centers, one as itself and the other is everything outside it. Being apart and needing to live, succeed, and progress, it seeks to keep us safe, free from danger, and able to thrive.
The unhealthy aspects of ego keep us mired in some form of fear-based thinking. Whether experiencing sadness, anger, depression, blaming, regret, despair, unworthiness, disappointment or hate from things in the past – or worry, anxiety, pessimism, frustration, doubt, insecurity, overwhelm, insecurity or powerlessness from things not yet manifested in the future, unhealthy ego keeps our consciousness below the level of active self-awareness. When we are focused on the past or the future we have no room to be present. These are the “other voices” we listen to, and they often scream so loud and kick up our emotional states in such a tizzy that we don’t allow our higher self much room to show-up and offer its wisdom.
A healthy aspect of ego is the in-between state of the unhealthy and our authentic selves. This blossoms when we mature and see that living from unhealthy ego has its limits, creates too much pain, and doesn’t provide the better things in life most of us seek. As we learn to grow and develop the healthy aspects of ego, life takes on more positive flavors, and improved relationships and results are realized. This takes a good deal of effort, and is accomplished through some form of personal or professional development, over time, and also just by being more open to the life-lessons that constantly come to us.
We will talk more about the authentic self in upcoming blogs; I wanted to include it here for you to see a wider field of awareness can be sought, developed and lived. Each of us experience some level of our authentic selves, we call these “peak’ moments, during our days, yet get pulled back into ego consciousness far too often. In these peak moments is where our higher self is most active; it allows a more dynamic level of awareness to look at people, issues, and life in ways most of us deeply desire.
The chart below may help visualize these three levels of awareness, how they reveal where our awareness typically resides, and of how we bounce between states, often automatically without any conscious thinking. See which words and states speak to you, reflect back to you, and see where your awareness spends its time. You’ll have bouts of time in each section, and only you get to determine what’s real and true for you, and what you’d like to see improved.
Aspects of Three Levels of Consciousness and Leadership
Conditional Self Awakening Self Authentic Self
Unconscious Healthy Ego Emerging Aware
Unhealthy Ego Strengthening Ego Authentic-self
Doer Thinker Perceiver
Focused by conditioning Focus on inner guidance Connected to Higher Self
Fear Love Connection
Reactive Receptive Attentive
Automatic Patterns/Monkey-mind Mindfulness Awareness
Outer-focused Inner-focused Inclusive
Insecure Safe Trust-worthy
I Own – “mine” We Share – “ours” Steward – “us”
Unfeeling Empathy Compassion
Politics prevail Truth-telling prevails Wisdom-prevails
Strong Persona, Image Humble Genuine
Protects Own Image Seeks to Understand Serves Others
Selfish Self & Us awareness Benevolence
Narrow Inclusive Comprehensive
Stuck Grow Evolve
Physical / Mental Emotional Spiritual
Force Power Presence
Scarcity Abundance Prosperity
Survival Reformation Transformation
Success Significance Meaningfulness
Building on the themes above, leadership can be separated into its own levels of consciousness/ awareness as follows:
Unhealthy Ego Awakening Ego Conscious
Leadership Leadership Leadership
Autocratic / Authoritarian Achiever / Collaborator Integral / Holistic
Dictatorial Democratic Self-leading teams
Directive Empowering Inspirational
Domination Collaboration Mastery
Obedience Trust Align & Engage
Self-esteem Self-actualization Service
Individual Team Stakeholder Community
Direct Coach Entrust
Push Attract Resonance / Congruence
Reject Recognize Rejoice
Contractual Covenant Trust
This is such a huge subject, and we are only scratching the surface here. I just want to share what I have learned, and am still learning about consciousness and my own levels of awareness. We will refer to ego and authentic self as we dialog about consciousness and conscious leadership over time, so this gives us a context for future conversations.
It’s up to each of us to be open to adding and expanding our own awareness. Let me know your thoughts on this, and let’s help each other learn, grow and evolve to be the highest and best people and leaders possible!