Leadership is a way of life. It is an expression of our full nature and unique gifts. And it starts on the inside. The problem is that most of us are unaware of what is going on inside of us. We believe the external world is creating our inner experience when in fact the opposite is true. Our internal experience and perceptions create our reality. The good news about this is that we have way more control than we may have imagined.
As a leader, you are not only influencing others, you are impacting them. American editor and essayist William George Jordan, in his book, “The Majesty of Calmness,” said we cannot circumvent this responsibility by saying it is unconscious, because “every moment of life we are changing …the whole world.” We have the ability to uplift or dishearten others. It begins with mindset.
What is your mindset? “Mindset” means mental attitude, which in turn determines our behavior which in turn produces our results. As a leader, you want to maintain a true, empowering leadership mindset. If your mindset is filled with negativity or limiting thoughts, it will negatively impact others. However, if you have a leadership mindset, you have the ability to positively influence others.
Changing your behavior without changing your mindset is not sustainable. Changing your mindset, however, creates sustainable behavioral change.
What can happen if we as leaders take 100% responsibility for our thoughts and mindset? How big can the impact be?
Rosario Montenegro describes the story of Dr. Stanley Hew Len, who more than thirty years ago at the Hawaii State Hospital, arrived as a newly appointed clinical psychologist and changed the world, forever by changing his thoughts and mindset.
Dr. Len walked into a bleak hospital for people who had committed extremely serious crimes; murder, rape, kidnapping , etc. It was terrifying place for the patients and the staff who worked there, most of whom were constantly on sick leave. Imagine your worst nightmare of a facility. This was it.
Dr. Len would ask for the files of the inmates, but never visiting any of them personally. He just sat in an office and looked at their files. Little by little things started to change in the hospital. In the end, the atmosphere changed so much that the staff was not on sick leave any more. Actually, more people than needed wished now to work there. People started gradually to be released.
Dr. Hew Len worked there close to four years. In the end, there remained only a couple of inmates who were relocated somewhere else. Soon the clinic for the mentally insane criminals had to close.
What did Dr. Hew Len do to the patients? He didn’t do anything to them or with them, except looking at their files. He only tried to heal himself, applying an old, traditional community problem-solving system from Hawaii, called Ho’oponopono. In his own words: “I was simply healing the part of me that created them”.
Simply put, Ho’oponopono is based on the knowledge that anything that happens to you or that you perceive, is entirely your responsibility. One hundred percent, no exceptions.
Your boss is a tyrant? It’s your responsibility. Your children are not good students? It’s your responsibility. There are wars and you feel badly because you are a good person, a pacifist? The war is your responsibility. As Dr. Hew Len points out: didn’t you notice that whenever you experience a problem you are there?
It’s your responsibility, but not your fault. It means that you are responsible for healing yourself in order to heal whatever or whoever it is that appears to you as a problem. Look carefully and you will realize that whatever you call the world and perceive as the world, is the projection of your own mind.
How do you heal yourself with Ho’oponopono? Begin by taking deep inhalation and relaxing with a belly breath. As you relax and breathe deeply, focus on the following:
“I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank You.”
- Recognize that whatever comes to you is your creation, the outcome of bad memories buried in your mind
- Regret whatever errors of body, speech and mind caused those bad memories
- Request the release of those memories in order to set you free.
Then, of course, you say “thank you”.
Try it and see what happens. Discover that what lies within may be the most powerful leadership mindset shift of all.