My personal story published on Medium about leading from within.
Leading From Within
I was raised in a home where my father, a scientist, managed large institutions, and my mom, a spiritual woman, worked in education.
I always searched to blend these two aspects in my life; the material world, and the spiritual world. When I was a child we relocated to South Africa for a few years, this taught me how to adapt to change and increased my curiosity for people and cultures. In my youth I was active in the scouts, I loved the activities with from all my heart; the ability to lead and impact others.
I was raised in Israel, a country of contradictions, a country in survival mode, in conflicts with its neighbors alongside the fact that it’s a cosmopolitan country made up of various identities, as well as being known as the start-up nation for being in the cutting edge of the technology and innovation.
When I reached eighteen, I served in the army as part of my mandatory service to my country. I was a combat sniper instructor, a masculine role, this strengthened and nourished my leadership abilities and qualities, such as being tough, focused, determined, and structured. Later on, when I went to university, I decided to study to become an organizational consultant. Along my journey, I understood that I was meant to lead and accompany meaningful changes in organizations and within leaders. However, during my journey, I understood that now it is time to transform and connect to the other side within me, to my softer side that includes containment, empathy, compassion, and being vulnerable. I understood that I must evolve and engage in inner work, increasing my consciousness and my self-awareness to be a service to leaders who can evolve and develop their own organizations.
In my Ph.D., my leading question was how leaders can combine these two aspects: the material and the consciousness world. How can leaders lead financially successful organizations alongside motivating their employees from a place of intrinsic motivation, meaningfulness, and self-transcendence.
One of the crucial tensions I found in my research was what characterizes 21st leadership is the doing mode versus the being mode. What does this mean? It’s the ability to be in a doing mode, to promote and run forward, and at the same time to embrace the being mode, to be able to pause, to examine our path, and to fine-tune our direction and our strategy. The courage to stop the automatic running and to dare to listen to our inner feelings, to our confusions, is an uncommon practice. It requires us to let go, to be in the uncertain, and even to be able to let go of behavior that doesn’t serve us anymore, this can be complex and painful.
As part of our growing process, we are required to let go of patterns and assumptions that managed us and prevent us from becoming who we can be. Sometimes it means to let go of who we thought we were, sometimes it’s to let go of someone close to us who has been a partner for a part of our journey. We must take time to think and reflect even though we might experience confusion without aiming for a quick solution. It requires us to dare to be in the unknown and to allow for clarity to emerge. And when clarity appears to rethink our plans and to accept change.
I am writing this based on my academic background, but at the same time, from my personal experience. Once in a few years, I reach a phase in my life in which I feel excitement toward my next transformation and at the same time feel a bit of anxiety and fear of the unknown, from what might emerge, and from whom I will become. And each time I need to find the courage within myself to be able to go toward the next path in my journey. From excitement, expectation, and knowing that the transformation is already occurring while writing these lines.