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The New Leaders: From Appearances to Authenticity
Tom Heuerman, Ph.D.

New leadership comes from within. Potential leaders are confronted with a crucial life choice: to discover, trust, and listen to their inner wisdom and to move toward their deepest authenticity as human beings or to continue on with the mindless and mechanical conformity required to receive the approval and acceptance of others. If one is to lead today, a personal decision to live from integrity, whatever the cost, must be made.

A break from self-will and compliance, this decision separates people from the beliefs that create a false, externally driven identity and alienate them from nature, people, and their authentic selves. They bring their intentions in line with the natural dynamics of life and support authenticity in all its forms. Their choice of authenticity allows them to let go of their desire to control life. They tear down walls and develop their relationships with the natural world, with people, and with themselves. They bring forth their humanity for the world to see and become "a person in process," something that is not possible when one lives as a machine.

If we decide to listen to our inner voice, we need to become acquainted with it. This is the first step toward complete authenticity. A time of inner exploration is called for, and we ask ourselves what our purpose in life is. What do we want to accomplish and contribute and leave as our legacy? What are we here to do? What do we want for ourselves? We understand that our service to life is to find our reason for being here and living it to the best of our abilities. Once we have an idea of our purpose in life (we never finish asking the questions), we think of how we can live it out in a way that uses our unique talents and fits our circumstances.

We also explore the core values that guide and sustain us as we live our purpose and move toward our vision. We may find that our most deeply felt values are tarnished and buried under denial and self-deception. We might find that we espouse values for external appearances but do not live them. In reflecting on our values, we realize that the mechanistic and materialistic life is an artificial life designed to win approval and create a false self at the expense of a more true self.

Our introspection opens most of us to a side of ourselves long-neglected. Self-examination is frightening. We confront aspects of ourselves we don�t want to look at. We accept and incorporate all of who we are into our consciousness.

Our deepest essence comes forth. Our inner core is our spirit--our connection to a power greater than ourselves. Our essence is also what connects us to others and to the natural world. We are ready to live out who we are in our deepest authenticity. We listen to our inner stirrings and our long denied inner voice. We think for ourselves. We feel alive.

New leaders are artists. Their meaning, direction, and inspiration come from their powerful vision, deep ethical foundation, and profound sense of purpose energized by a fundamental anger at injustice. They identify with life itself and understand life�s natural creative processes. These leaders form a symbiotic relationship with others and evolve together to a higher consciousness and wisdom.

Their authenticity, however humble, will offend some and threaten more. They may pay a big price in a material sense for their integrity. But that will be forgotten by all in a short time. They and their God will remember their courage, or lack of it, for eternity.

New leaders who remain in formal leadership roles find their courage to take action in the power of their purpose and vision, and the strength of their values. They turn to their inner source of power often and ask for courage, wisdom, and the ability to help others.

What do leaders do if they lead from their authenticity? They take responsibility for themselves. They face themselves honestly and tell the truth--all the time. They accept their imperfections and make a commitment to come to terms with sides of themselves they would prefer not to get to know. They translate their core identity to all areas of their lives and live it, to the best of their ability. New leaders know who they are.

They learn from others and seek honest feedback from a variety of people. They are aware of and take responsibility for the effects of their actions on others and on nature. They take time to think and reflect in solitude. They give themselves credit for the good they do. They contribute their unique gifts to life itself. New leaders live a character-filled life.

But character is not enough. A new world view, new ways to think, and new skills are also required to lead today. Ignorance can be forgiven. Failure to act on knowledge that enhances life is unforgivable. New leaders seek out the vast knowledge that is available and they reformulate their inner landscape of beliefs, models, and assumptions. New leaders evolve themselves constantly.

They come to understand that the belief that they are separate and distinct from others is false--a belief at the root of many of their difficulties. Twentieth century science proved what many have known for thousands of years: all levels of life live in dynamic relationship and transform through the connections they make. People are part of nature, connected and intertwined with all of it in an alive and ever-changing way. They know they cannot exploit those they are connected to in a spiritual way. They learn how to be in relationship with others as they preserve their authenticity. They mentor others and surround themselves with diverse people. New leaders understand that relationships are the essence of life. New leaders realize that all lives are equal lives, worthy of equivalent respect.

Choosing to live our deepest authenticity is a risk with great rewards. Our problems come from our misguided beliefs and, sometimes, our abuse of power. When we bring our energy into alignment with life�s natural processes, things begin to change. This is a decision of free choice. Letting go and acting in accord with our deepest authenticity as a way of life is hard and requires faith and constant courage.

@2001 Tom Heuerman, Ph.D.

Excerpts above taken from Pamphlet 48. Reading the entire pamphlet and others in the "New Leadership" series is highly endorsed. Pamphlets are sent every 4-6 weeks in the spirit of sharing. Pamphlets are placed on http://www.amorenaturalway.com one month after direct distribution to readers. To subscribe send an email to Tom@amorenaturalway.com

@2001 Tom Heuerman, Ph.D.