the darker side of light

Are you focused on the numbers in your business and just can't see why, those that should understand these fundamental characteristics of the business, just do not get it? It's quite possible that number are easy for you and like a foreign language for others. This frustration comes from a  misalignment of expectations ~ the actual capabilities versus expected competencies.

We have come across this misalignment in just about every assignment we serve, one could describe the phenomenon as ubiquitous! Unfortunately, the outcome of the misalignment is a self-fulfilling cancerous growth in the company, which, if not cauterised, will fester and kill the host! Apart from that dire prediction, it takes up energy, time and even covert activity sapping the ability of all involved to do the business. UBUNTU ~ "I am because we are" is a higher African concept, that, if we could implement in our business life, would influence employee dynamics demanded by the modern workplace for motivation & productivity.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ~ African Proverb

what drives us apart?

Carl Jung's idea that everyone presents a light side (what they know and do well ~ our mask) and a dark side (what they hide and do badly) has  always fascinated us. We built an example of the shadow side of the spirit which we employ in our every day life ~ by using it to evaluate those we coach and employ! So then, if you coupled this to the concept of chasing a CAUSE ~ being committed to a higher idea ~ then, wouldn't it be a great idea for us to motivate "our" extended team to emphasise their good while suppressing the inadequate? If we could succeed in doing that, would we be able to build a COMMON higher cause that everyone buys into ~ an all consuming higher ideal that would influence everything we do?

Carl Jung has a view ~ One does not become enlightened by imagining (only*) figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable and therefore not popular. Here he exposes the real truth of the matter ~ not to concentrate on building only the light ~ but ~ bringing the shadow to the conscious mind ~ then, we can do something about it! (*our emphasis and editing)

what is a "cause?"

A cause or vocation is the result of a conscious decision to choose to live in a world view that is greater than ourselves. Like UBUNTU. It is the difference in quality between having children and being parents, earning a living as a salesperson or a Business Development coach, and practicing "delivering value" embracing higher values rather than just chasing sales commission or billable hours! By seeing ourselves as part of a bigger whole, our response is to do our best to serve the common good of our common home. A valuable and self-sustaining characteristic of being a good team member ~ or, an excellent leader!

what to do?

From our first breath, our parents, teachers and peers frown on certain personality traits and behaviours we display. We are panel-beaten into their shape. Some of these "corrective inputs", form together to make up the dark side of our characters. They are suppressed, relegated to the sub-conscience. This is the luggage ~ the baggage ~ we bring to the work place. Today's millenniums display different challenges than employees of the past, therefore we need an all-inclusive approach.

The Shadow and the Hidden Power

Our own defence mechanisms, sometimes, look on the “dark” side of our being ~ as a positive characteristic. As an example, being focused on the minutiae of the numbers, may make us intolerant of others who do not respect that attribute. Your most valuable characteristic suddenly becomes a source of frustration for yourself ~ and others! This shadow is known by many names; "our despised self,"or "the dark twin," even the alter-ego "evil brother" in the Bible story. Further reading in this book ~ Meeting the Hidden Shadow may help you devise a program to identify and improve this destructive force in yourself and in members of your team.

When we come face to face with our shadow self, we use metaphors to explain and describe our struggle; "wrestling with our demons," "the devil made me do it," but mostly, we just blame the unpleasant outcome and negative reaction on others. After all, don't they realise that I'm the ultimate ~ no errors ~ perfectionist. Why can't they just be like me!

What is interesting to us in this work, is that the shadow does not only contain destructive and selfish aspects that can hurt relationships. But, potentially has creative and mutual uplifting power if brought to the self conscience and aligned in a  sensitive way. Unfortunately, identifying the shadow self and working to turn that to your advantage is probably a task best suited to your mentor ~ an unbiased observer! Someone who has a view of your frustrations and behaviours that are sure signposts to that destructive force. Fortunately, we have been there, often affectionately called ~ the Shadow Buster!

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Peter French

Business Coaching is not consulting, it's also not therapy. It's a unique profession that lives somewhere in between these two poles - structured to leave lasting life and business value!

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