Conscious Leadership

with Diana Chapman

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Understanding versus doing

Diana Chapman

Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author

Lessons Learned

You may understand the principles of conscious leadership but real change only comes from practice.

You can choose to be swayed by the current or play in it.

If you are skeptical, stay curious. Practice a little bit and see if you uncover benefits.


Lesson: Conscious Leadership with Diana Chapman

Step #9 Building: Understanding versus doing

So the 15 Commitments is a map that we have created, Jim Dethmer, Kaley Klemp and myself. We wanted to really carefully map out what we saw was what presence looked like versus what unconsciousness looked like. What conscious versus unconscious looked like, and so we started to see, for example, when you're conscious, you speak with candor. You reveal rather than conceal. When you're unconscious, you control and are defensive, and then do that concealing, and so we wanted to map that out. So we have 15 of these nuanced out. We thought 15 is a lot. We got a lot of feedback, "Fifteen is a lot."

So we tried to eliminate some and we really found that we could take away maybe one that kind of blended into another, but outside of that, they really do all have these very distinctual ways we can define above and below the line. So we wanted to make sure that, if you really want to master presence, then you're going to want to know about all these unique ways to live above versus below the line. So that's where the 15 commitments came from. And each commitment has a conscious version.

So commitment number one is, "I commit to take radical responsibility for the circumstances of my life. I'm the co-creator of my life." Whereas below the line the commitment says, "I commit to living from a place of being at the affect of, by blaming and not feeling at all like it's mine to create. And so from that place, I'm living more like seaweed in an ocean that's just, this is happening and it's not mine to choose." Whereas from above the line I go, "Wait a minute. The current might be here but I get to be in relation to the current, how I want it to be."

So we wrote the book, "The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership," with one commitment being talked about per chapter. And we gave examples of either a leader or the leader's team, how they lived below the line and then how they were able to shift to above the line. Or what another group did above the line, they gave an example. And each of the chapters has practices, because one of the things that we see is, it's one thing to understand this mentally, this content, and I think actually a lot of people do mentally understand the difference. But being able to actually shift is a whole different ballgame. And that comes with practice. So what we say is, if you wanted to physically change your body, I could think about all the things I know could happen to change my body, but that's not going to make my body change. My body will change when I do the exercises. So we would say the same thing with consciousness. That your consciousness will change when you do the exercises.

So a big part of what our group does, the conscious leadership group, is we come in and we help implement practices. Exercises that you're going to do as an individual, that you'll do with a learning partner, that you'll do with a team. And that you'll have these practices that you'll do each month that are related to the commitment that you're working on so that the group gets to embody it so it becomes a way of life. It's not just a great idea. But it's incorporated, and you build your muscle, so to speak, for how to shift.

When we bring The 15 Commitments into organizations, we get a wide variety of reactions. So some people say, "Yeah, I've been learning about some of these things, this makes sense." But probably more so than not, people go, "Whoa, this is different, and in some cases this seems radically different." So we actually welcome the skepticism. We welcome all of the doubting that's part of the process. We think it's intelligent. We want to learn from it. And what we say is, stay curious, right? So stay above the line, stay curious. Don't do it because we say its the right thing to do. Try it on. Use it as an experience and then tell us what you got from the experience. And what happens pretty reliably is people go, "Wow, I liked that experience. That worked."

And so what was maybe something that seemed kind of new-agey or a little touchy-feely, now becomes something that is a practical tool that they're using that does create a different result that's one that's more preferable to them. So we're used to it now. We're used to the fact that we're going to get a decent amount of resistance, at least from a couple of people in the room, and it's just the territory now.

In fact, sometimes we'll even say, "Come on the drama triangle and tell us how stupid this stuff is." And we have this thing called the drama triangle where they can come and bitch and moan and complain for a minute and start to learn something about themselves in that drama triangle. I usually invite people to come up and, let's let it all out, all of our doubts in the room. And that usually lightens it up, makes people more available for curiosity then.

We did put the 15 commitments in order for a reason. So the idea being that you really needed to understand those first six. Those are the fundamental ones, and once you got those six down, the rest started to unfold more easefully. So sometimes, those latter commitments, if not brought in after the foundation ones, they're a little harder to drop into and fully comprehend.

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