When will you stop bringing your childhood to your business meetings?
Do you think you are strictly professional at work?
Experiences from childhood and our early adult lives have a far greater impact on our current ways of thinking and acting than we are aware of. Professional work roles are inevitably mixed with old and non-functional roles from childhood and youth.
As managers who have grown up to be capable and energetic adults, we believe that we make decisions based purely on rational arguments. To truly advance, however, we must dare to admit that our actions are influenced by irrational feelings and unjustified fears from the past. Avoiding activities that evoke anxious feelings or bad childhood memories can be a greater hindrance than we realize.
The qualities that we have been criticized for early in our lives never disappear. The psychiatrist CG Jung called these hidden and forgotten parts of ourselves our “shadow side.”
Leaders who understand the psychological mechanisms underpinning their shadow sides can begin to accept more parts of themselves. Leaders who dare to face their darker parts can find unexpected gifts in “bad” traits. Importantly, leaders who want others to adapt must also reinvent themselves to fully embrace adaptive change.
Next time you sit in a business meeting, pay attention to thoughts that originate from old roles in the past, preventing you from being here and now in the meeting.