“Awakened Leadership – Beyond Self-Mastery”
Author: Alan E. Shelton
Alan opens by relating a short story, the answer behind ‘why write this book.’ At a conference of leadership consultants, he was asked onstage to lead a one-one-one session with a fellow participant. His approach was so unique, so impactful, he was besieged with questions about his style, his methodology.
He was unable to give them the answer they so eagerly sought. To understand was to appreciate the essence of who, or what, Alan was. He needed to write a book.
In reading Awakened Leadership, I felt as though a good friend had welcomed me into his home. Handing me my favorite beverage, he gestured for me to sit in a favored chair, and proceeded to tell me his life’s story.
The journey begins by describing how a little boy named Alan came into being, walking us through his key points of development, until we see the Alan we know of today. He shares the strength of his bond with his grandfather, his parents and in particular his mother, and the lessons learned traveling abroad.
Alan does not just provide a litany of narrated points…he picks only the formative ones needed…bringing us along the journey with him. Setting your own ego aside, it is easy to feel as though you are riding on his shoulders as you live the story along with him.
From a practical standpoint, the book is perhaps 5 parts autobiography, 3 parts practical application.
If you have read other autobiographies, you will notice something interesting as you read Awakened Leadership. In short, there is no display of ego. Readers are not pre-judged and the author does not assume a holier-than-thou stance. The result is a relaxed feeling of inclusion, of talking with a mentor (or perhaps your favorite grandparent), alluding to the ‘in a friend’s’ home comments I made earlier.
Awakened Leadership, as with the ‘best’ business books, uses stories to deliver it’s lessons. (Eliyahu Goldratt was a master at doing this.) The stories in the front of AL lay the groundwork for the practical applications delivered later on.
Some of the overarching topics include:
– Misidentification – how do you define who ‘you’ are? What is I?
– Self-Ego – ‘I’ is an artificially created construct. As with Ying and Yang, there are two parts to the whole. To emphasize one, perhaps a ‘favored’ part of one’s self, is to create tension when suppressing or denying the other.
– Seekers – Each of us seeks something. It may be a way out of our individual rat races; a way out of our personal live’s holes; seeking whatever the way out, the ‘truth,’ may be.
– Corporate & Personal Realities – The eventual understanding and open appreciation that these are not separate personas to be changed like clothing at the end of the day. Like Ying and Yang above, together, they are one, and our lives are easier once we recognize this.
Boiling it down as it applies to leadership, the core essence is that until we truly understand ourselves, we cannot get out of our own way, delivering the level of performance today’s world requires. Until we can truly understand our ego, the impact it has on each of us and those in our lives, we cannot set it aside. Until our egos are set aside, until we can look at the world as it is, our ability to truly serve others and deliver the value we have within us is limited.
You should consider reading Awakened Leadership, if you:
- Are looking to improve the quality of your own leadership;
- Leadership performance has plateaued, you feel stuck, and don’t know why;
- Wonder why your progress seems disproportionately slow relative to how hard you struggle;
- Have heard others consider you narcissistic <g>.
Awakened Leadership is my favorite business book thus far this year. It has been unique enough that it has been hard for me to relate to you, my readers. If you’re struggling with seeking out ‘the answer’ you’re after, the big picture, or the meaning of life (Alan answers the question, but you’ve got to read the book), I really recommend reading it. It is truly a great book, enjoyable, enlightening, and thought provoking.
In light of full disclosure, Alan’s publisher provided me a copy of the book in the hope I may provide a review. No monetary or other interests exist. That said, my review copy has been handed to a friend already and I have downloaded another copy ($$) for myself. I liked it that much.