I’m not safe enough.
I don’t have enough support.
I don’t have enough freedom.
These are familiar refrains right now. We feel we lack time, money, profits. We long for more collaboration and recognition, more appreciation and respect. We’d like to be healthier, yet we feel we don’t have enough energy or motivation to do the things that would deliver it. We lack confidence, and creativity. We’d like to have better ideas, more face-to-face conversations. More fun. Downtime, sex, nice clothes, space. We don’t feel enough love, and feel we don’t give enough love to others.
Sadly, most of us believe that we ourselves are not enough. We’re not good enough, or strong enough.
Whatever it is, we feel we don’t have enough. And when feel we don’t have enough, we want. Whatever it is, we want more. Leaders and all people WANT a lot. We also quickly feel ashamed for wanting when so many around us really do objectively lack what we already have in abundance.
But the voice we hear, the one that wants, the one we sometimes label as greedy, is worth listening to. This voice can help us see that, at a deeper level, we feel at risk, vulnerable or disconnected.
In conscious leadership, to want isn’t weakness. Rather, it stems from three fundamental human desires: security, approval and control. They are the things that kept us alive on the savannah, and they are the things that we need now, too.
Security is part of our survival instinct. We want to survive, so we continually seek safety, believing at some level that our very life depends upon it. Sometimes it does. More often, we seek more security even when we have “enough.” More financial security. More job security. More relationship security.
If we cannot feel secure, we’ll look for approval. It’s another way we seek safety. If you like me, respect me or love me, you’ll help me survive. Again, very human and adaptive.
And finally, if we cannot gain enough security though approval, we seek control. I’ll try to control myself, you and circumstances to make life go the way I want. Control (or the allusion of it) will help me feel secure.
There is nothing wrong with wanting security, approval and control. These are just normal human desires. The “problem,” if there is one, is how we position ourselves in relation to the things we want. Unconscious leaders believe that their security, approval and control is “out there.” Someone has it and they need to get it. This “out there ness” leads to “if only ness.”
- If only the government would speed up the vaccine roll out, I’d be safe. (Security)
- If only he’d hire me as his coach, I’d feel worthy. (Approval)
- If only my daughter would get ready on time, I would be composed to lead the Forum. (Control)
But what if we decided to think of ourselves and our wants in a different way?
The next time you feel you don’t have enough of something, ask yourself a few questions:
- What do I want (that I believe I lack)?
- What’s the core want underneath what I say I want? Security, approval or control?
- Can I accept myself for being human and wanting what I want?
- Am I willing to experience that I already have enough of it without changing a thing?
For example: Looking out the window and seeing these magnolia blooms I tell myself: In this moment, I have enough peace, freedom, beauty, connection, nature, etc…
Conscious leaders are amazed how easily they can experience sufficiency in the moment with this simple practice. They’re better able to accept the constant wanting they experience from their teams, their families and their friends too.
Afterall, that ambitious VP that just breathed down your neck about something that isn’t even due yet. Maybe he’s just scared?
 The ideas for this post come from what I have learned by practicing the 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership. The book was co-written by Diana Chapman, Jim Dethmer and Haley Warner Klemp.
 While you may not be a country fan, I found this song with a great message that lines up with this post.