founder of naked leader
Naked Leader Week – 78 – Monday 8 November 2004
Leadership from a different perspective – Christo Norden Powers
You referred to a subject in Chapter 42 of the naked leader book that is one of the great secrets of success in life and, in particular, in business, when you wrote:
“You have strengths that are quite literally extraordinary, and when these are unleashed the results will astound you.”
In those words there is great truth. You have touched here on the key to extraordinary performance that is available to everyone and neglected by most organisations.
Richard Byrd, the explorer, said something similar:
“Few people during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling within them. There are great wells of strength that are never used.”
I spent the first 10 years of my working life figuring out how to consistently tap this extraordinary power that we have within us, and the last 20 years since then working with individuals and companies to create the skills and environment in which they could do it.
The irony is that this power is free, unlimited, and very easy to tap into, yet companies waste millions upon millions of pounds, dollars and energy on implementing initiatives that do little to take advantage of what is in fact our natural state, and in many cases implement initiatives that unwittingly stifle the ability of their people to be all that they can be.
The company that stifles the power of just one of its people stifles part of itself, and fails to achieve its own potential.
Some perspectives on the power within us:
I first became conscious of these ‘great wells of strength’ during my career as a criminal lawyer. I experienced numerous occasions when, in the midst of the courtroom dramas, I entered into a state of awareness that was quite different from my ‘normal’ state. It certainly wasn’t something that we learned at law school.
The great wells of strength
This other state was like an effortless flow of awareness in which I felt a connectedness with everything and everyone around me. I was able to make intuitive connections between events, ask left-field questions that opened up the truth, and find answers and evidence that had previously seemed impossible to find. Above all, at those times, I felt a tremendous certainty and a strength or power within me that sustained me physically, mentally and emotionally during some very difficult courtroom trials. I found later that these states are what Abraham Maslow called ‘peak’ states.
I had learned some powerful meditation processes early in my legal career and I noticed that the states that I experienced in meditation were in many ways similar to those extraordinary states that I experienced in court.
One day the penny dropped, and I realised that my meditative states were expanding to encompass other parts of my life. I wasn’t complaining – it made my life much more balanced and successful.
And that was when my current work began to take shape.
Peak performance states
One day in late 1983 I was talking to a friend about these experiences and how they seemed to be related to higher states of consciousness arising from meditation. He had connections to a sports club. We’d both heard how athletes report similar ‘peak’ experiences during their best performances. By a series of seemingly fortuitous events, I found myself a couple of months later with the opportunity to train some Olympic track and field athletes in peak performance states. It sounded like a good opportunity to do something interesting, so I put together what was to become the predecessor to subsequent corporate training programs.
What the athletes sought most of all was to be able to consistently enter a state during which they would effortlessly go beyond their ‘normal’ performance. They’d been there before, more or less by accident, and wanted to be able to go there more often. But they had no models or processes for doing that.
In the peak state their experience was of effortlessness, flow, timelessness and power. In tennis, Arthur Ashe had referred to it as ‘the zone’. Billy Jean King described herself as being transported to another world during those ‘peak states’ while playing in a stadium before thousands of people. You only need watch a film of Jimmy Connors when he won at Wimbledon – the tremendous speed at which he covered the court was breathtaking, yet for Connors, time slowed down, the ball seemed to be the size of a basketball and impossible to miss, and he felt that he was moving in slow motion.
‘Whacko’ stuff to some, but nevertheless very, very real.
With great love to you, your family and to everyone reading this, everywhere in the world
Spandah Pty Ltd PO Box 796 St Ives NSW 2075 Australia
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