Earlier in my career I had the work persona, and the at home persona. Even a DISC assessment revealed this duality. My natural state is someone who drives things forward and who uses encouragement, or influence to bolster support. My adaptive state is someone who plays by the rules, complies, and is a boring corporate suit.
I discovered over the years that my adaptive state was a proactive way for me to play smaller, so that my bosses could feel less threatened from someone who naturally becomes influential in the organization.
However, my natural state eventually emerges and that’s when conflict with the command-and-control bosses start. At least that is what I told myself based on the level of self-awareness at the time.
Later I came to realize the role relationships can have in everything we do in life.
Some work environments really suck, and there are some awful bosses out there. The question is why would anyone manifest such a work environment to begin with? Why do we stay in such an environment?
I don’t miss working in those environments. As a matter of fact, the reason I became a founding member of RadicalPurpose.org is because I am pretty sure most of you reading this, don’t like controls, and being dominated, or marginalized either.
It’s easy to point fingers and say that the system is setup to be command and control, and we are essentially all forced to comply, but the reason such systems like patriarchy or matriarch (both command and control paradigms) exist is because we allow it. Not only do we allow it, but we also create it in our state of consciousness.
Integrate or Suffer
Most people do not integrate their work with their life, as a result many despise their work life, they cannot wait for the weekend, and they dread the arrival of Monday.
Because of this lack of integration, a lot of people today get their sense of self-esteem, self-worth, and identity from what they do in their spare time versus what they do in their career while producing values.
This sad and unfortunate limitation encourages dishonesty, and in some cases the duality is so bad that it makes people turn to escapes like alcohol, drug use, and other addictions that end up causing neurosis.
When people turn to external sources such as alcohol, drugs, happy hour, parties, spectator sports, and hobbies to get short “one-shot” blasts of self-esteem, self-worth, pleasure, and happiness, it creates a void inside our state of being.
I don’t have anything against having a good time, if it’s not a need to escape.
When you escape, you only get a momentary boost, and then you are worse off than when you started.
Everything with the right consciousness and self-awareness can have amazing merit, however one-shot blasts are un-integrated, so they do not last. Escapes do not contribute to one’s net long-term happiness — one’s happiness bank account.
Still, to feel “good”, or to feel “happy”, people are driven to continually seek one-shot blasts. This usually leads to a life of wasted superfluous activities and dishonesty.
How much genuine pride and self-esteem can be earned by being the world’s best sports fan? Or by being the best television watcher? Or by being the best drinker? Or being super popular on Instagram and having lots of followers.
One need only take these activities to its maximum achievement-capacity conclusion to see the honest value of them. It then becomes obvious, for example, that being the best at watching television, or the best sports fan, or the best drinker is of little or no value to long term self-development.
However, being the best in one’s career will lead to great values for yourself, and society. All genuine happiness can be derived through the creation of values, as discussed in a previous blog, and by being your authentic self.
When we begin to integrate who we are in all we do, we begin to grow in self-confidence, in self-respect, and begin to live fully self-aware.
Self-Awareness is Key
The sad thing about the command-and-control paradigm we’ve been under for millenniums is that it causes people to think they are victims. If you are not in charge, then you are not responsible right?
This is the biggest problem of allowing the command-and-control paradigm to continue. The problem is that it does not foster self-awareness. Without self-awareness one cannot achieve fulfillment. This makes people turn to one shot blast of happiness.
From a societal point of view, we start to focus more on pointing fingers at what’s wrong with others, instead of identifying our own growth opportunities. We get energy from blaming people, from anger… it’s amazing energy. The problem is, just like the one-shot blasts we discussed, that energy doesn’t last. It’s not sustainable.
For us to achieve a sustainable sense of fulfillment, we must take 100% full responsibility for ourselves, and we must begin to be authentic in all our relationships.
The Person in the Mirror
Instead of thinking about our lives in compartments, my work life, my family life, my leisure life, my secret life. What if we simply focused on our relationships?
When you begin to focus on relationships, you start with yourself. You can start by asking yourself:
Who am I? What do I stand for? What do I believe? What is my truth? Do I love myself? Do I have gratitude for my life? Do I believe in myself? Do I respect myself? Do I value who I am? Am I fulfilled? Do I accept myself as I am?
The answers will reveal to you your most important relationship. The relationship with yourself. Then we can begin to relate with others in a more genuine and authentic way.
If you don’t love yourself so much, you won’t be able to love other’s either. If you don’t have gratitude for your life, you won’t respect other people’s lives either. If you don’t accept yourself as imperfect, you won’t be able to extend the same courtesy to others.
Any disconnect we have with the relationship we have with ourselves, will cause a disconnect with the relationship we have with others.
For years I used to think that my separation of work life, personal life, family life, spiritual life and so on, was justified. The DISC assessment validated my desire to fit in, so that I would survive. That wasn’t living fully present my friends.
Eventually I had to come to grip with the importance of having a better relationship with myself, and how that would extend to all those areas in my life that simply became my complete life.
Today, I have the pleasure of not having to separate anything. I work at Nearsoft (now Encora), where being yourself is encouraged. I get to just be fully me all the time.
The more we work and focus on relationships, the less power we will give external command and controls. Start with the person in the mirror.
A lot of people make affirmations about themselves on a regular basis that they love themselves. There is a way to validate if you are being honest with yourself or not.
How often do the actions of other people upset you? Do you find yourself blaming other people for who they are? Do you find yourself getting angry at situations, or people in your life?
If you find yourself blaming, cursing, angry, disgusted, uneasy by things and people outside yourself, chances are you still maintain judgement and unease feelings about the most important relationship in your life. The person in the mirror. You.
Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself? The world will be a better place for it if we all started with simply giving ourselves a break for being human. How about we give each other a break, and practice more self-awareness?
Originally published at tulliosiragusa.com.
Tullio Siragusa is a pioneer of disruptive technologies, an emotional intelligence (EQ) thought leader, futurist, speaker, author, and coach. For the past 32 years, Tullio has built world class leadership teams in technology companies and startups. Tullio currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer at Nearsoft (now Encora) where he co-produces and hosts dojo.live a platform that gives voice to emerging technology luminaries. As an advisory board member to the University of California, Riverside, Design Thinking Executive Program, he advises on how to promote a human-centered approach to innovation. He also hosts Rant & Grow, an entertaining and heart-centered reality podcast where each episode explores people’s personal blockages and how to powerfully move forward with careers, relationships, and self-realization by developing healthy habits. As a founding member of Radical Purpose, Tullio is a strong supporter of human-dignity in all aspects of life, including freedom in the workplace.
Image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.