Leadership

Bringing the Human Spirit Into Business: We Must Go Inward to Move Forward

Erin Coupe
·
October 25, 2021

Throughout my professional life I’ve been a natural business developer and mentor. Innate soft skills landed me in client focused, producer roles which served me well in getting to know thousands of people. Deep connection, way beyond surface level, has been a staple in my career mainly because I’m a good listener. I’ve also been told I have therapist type qualities so it’s no surprise that countless people confided in me over the years about deep issues and thoughts pertaining to their lives.

Before I started my company, Authentically EC, people rarely articulated to me that they were lacking awareness or connection to their authenticity, nor that they had neglected their inner, emotional Self. Rather, their issues were described as: 

  • stress, anxiety, frustration with home or work
  • distaste with leadership or lack thereof
  • concerns about business ethics and morals of co-workers
  • disbelief in themselves or their team
  • lack of purpose and meaning
  • blame on others for their own misfortunes
  • victimhood and identification with narratives from their past

Yet, I could always see a yearning for something more in their eyes. I could feel, as the super-empath that I am, that they wanted to find meaning and gratification, but they just didn’t have the words to articulate this in relation to their inner landscape. Instead they would share what they thought they felt about their external world, not really knowing they were using the mind (ego) to describe their feelings. Word to the wise - that doesn’t work.

The personality and the mind cannot fully know what you feel. What you feel is in your heart and the moment you decipher feelings through the mind they become distorted through your lens of perspective, experience, emotions, etc. This is why I’ve shared before that feeling is your superpower.

As I embarked on my journey inward it became obvious that people all desire a connection to their essence and what makes them unique. This recurring theme of pain, suffering and internal anguish is the human condition of disconnection from Spirit. Work by Daniel Helminiak and Bernard Lonergan state that “human spirit is considered to be the mental functions of awareness, insight, understanding, judgement and other reasoning powers. It is distinguished from the separate component of psyche which comprises the entities of emotion, images, memory and personality.” John Teske's view of human spirit is “a construct representing the qualities of purpose and meaning which transcend the individual human”.

The purpose of our human experience is to find contentment and freedom within through connection to our higher meaning in order to evolve as consciousness (awareness), not in the material world. 

Dissociation from Spirit leads you away from your inherent meaning. Contrary to what you’ve been taught, purpose and meaning do not have to pertain to the work you do in the world. Meaning is derived from how you view and treat yourself, your work, your relationships and ultimately the world and life itself. It’s about the connection within to your Spirit and above to your Soul. The very meaning of life is to learn enough lessons that you start to question then become aware of the meaning behind just being, breathing, and living. Life in and of itself IS meaning. 

So how do people find themselves in this disconnected, fragmented way of being? I should know, I lived this way most of my professional life until my awakening in 2017. It happens when we:

  • give up being for doing, reflection and rest for distraction and seeking, authenticity and self-respect for conformity and validation. 
  • trade in intuition and lightness of the body for mind games and density like stuff, processed food, drugs and alcohol. 
  • forget that there is more to being human and more to others than meets the eye. We see what’s going on in the physical world around us and attach our identity to that then disregard our emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of self. 
  • compare ourselves to friends, colleagues, influencers. 
  • crave and chase an external reality that looks good on paper and checks the boxes that society has constructed. 
  • replace play, creativity and joy in the small things with perceived control, power and attainment of material things. 
  • start to believe false narratives about ourselves and what life truly is only to wake up each day more limited than before. 

In time, we morph into an ego created by ignoring and even shunning our magnificence. All the while our Spirit hides, crouches and gets smaller as the wounded ego takes over in the form of limitation and false beliefs in the mind. The Spirit dims, settling into darkness and shadows as the person follows the crowd, not aware that they will eventually have a painful climb out of the darkness. 

The period where I was disconnected from my Spirit caused years of emotional turbulence, self-sabotage, and egoic anguish. On the outside I was successful because I figured out how to play the game without my Soul involved (without feeling) and could still do what I loved which was to relate to people. But that didn’t mean I was fulfilled or happy on the inside. Life felt difficult and my ability to manage anxiety and stress was not very effective, and those closest to me got the brunt of it. I was basically in survival mode just trying to get through each day, seeking the next thing to bring me any ounce of joy, but joy filled moments in that dissociated state never lasted very long.

As Abraham Hicks put it, “the reason you want every single thing you want is because you think you will feel really good when you get there. But, if you don’t feel really good on your way there, you can’t get there. You have to be satisfied with what is while you’re reaching for more.”

Functioning in life disconnected from your Spirit is just that - functioning. It’s not living, rather disheartening, bleak, unsettling. Quite literally your perspectives are more black and white and your view of the world is darker and more pessimistic. Everything and everyone seems so separate, judgment of self and others grows and so does conflict. Self-hatred gains a lot of momentum in this disconnected state and it shows up in how you show up. It comes out to your family, friends and co-workers as anger, frustration, emotional outbursts. Space within for positivity, freedom, hope and optimism contracts and in walks negativity, fear, and numbness.

Sound familiar? It’s likely this is you, or you see this in people closest to you and your colleagues. 

This recurring theme of pain, suffering and internal anguish is the human condition of disconnection from Spirit. ”

I do not know exactly where this notion to ditch your Soul to get ahead began in history. Who am I kidding, I have many thoughts on that! More importantly, I know it’s a very outdated paradigm. For too long we’ve made it acceptable in society and even set the expectation that people operate without incorporating their human Spirit. People have been showing up in business for decades as a fragmented version of themselves. They put themselves through the emotional pain and suffering caused by living an inauthentic life, deny themselves and de-prioritize their own happiness…and companies wonder why so many people burnout, why they wind up failing, or why teams have communication issues? 

Here’s your answer. Until we encourage and empower people to be authentic and show up holistically, as whole and connected selves, this will not change. There’s no personality test, new process, pill or book that’s going to change that. You want to improve morale, motivation, overall company success? You can’t go at fixing people problems with the same level of thinking that created them. Old “solutions” were never really solutions - they were band aids to attempt to get people to like their jobs, co-workers and company they worked for - essentially to get them to produce more. But they don’t work! 

In today’s world, leaders of organizations HAVE to be innovative, different, creative to get people to listen. You have to catch their attention, inspire and intrigue them. Make them curious to learn more about themselves. Get them ready for their own journey and guide them on a path. Invest in their growth not with the old, mundane tactics. Be brave, be bold, be progressive. With what we just lived through, it is not just necessary, it's a necessity. By helping people connect with their Spirit you remove a lot of their anxiety that happiness lies in a new job, more money, or a certain title. 

Some will say this is too soft or weak or doesn’t matter in business success, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We must repair the loss of compassion for the human condition. It takes a great deal of courage to swim against the tide of the droves of humanity; it’s so much easier to stay in the lane. Yet the deep question to ponder is, where does that lane lead you, your company and your people? Exactly. The talent attraction and retention tool of the future is to touch the core of your people and show that you really care by being vulnerable enough to be different. They’ll have far more respect for the company and be more fulfilled, empowered leaders.

Once awake and connected to your Spirit, the world becomes more colorful, you notice more in the simple things like beauty in nature and kindness in others. Situations get more manageable not because negativity or adversity go away but because the way you approach them changes. You become more content from the inside out and attract more of what you want, more quickly than ever imagined because you’re no longer playing victim or living from a place of lack. You learn to feel and be present with your emotions rather than project them on others and give in to the mind with its obsessions, habits and addictions. You become more authentic and compassionate in alignment with your Soul.

 So, are you ready to be the change you want to see in the world?, your company?, your relationships? Are you ready to support and lead your people in doing the same? Or is status quo and the old ways of being going to cut it for you? 

In the words of Napoleon Hill, “The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their other selves.” Are you going to wait for another crisis or something to happen to change? Or will you take responsibility?


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