Leading from the head

Most of us are raised in societies that value the head over the heart, and so we place our head above our heart systematically when responding to our desires and needs. Our body vehemently disagrees and once in a while it steps in and gets in the way. It is usually a loud scream: STOP! Yet again we may listen and respond from the neck up, leaving our body with little or no say in the matter.

I long tried to understand how I got hit by a car; what had I done or not done that my body felt the urge to scream; and why was I feeling so grateful after this accident? My head was telling me that I was so lucky to be alive. It was going on telling myself how this had nothing to do with me; I was a pedestrian crossing where I was expected to, but the driver did not see me. Simple: he was at fault.

My heart, however, was whispering something else. I had become invisible. Even worse, I contributed to my own disappearance.

I understood how my head had kept me going, albeit feeling “stuck” in life, devising ways to cope, going around obstacles, creating circumstances preventing me from getting what I truly wanted, simply to fit in, shying away from rocking the boat, putting the needs of others first, finding excuses in my circumstances for fear of having to face my own inability to claim my success, confront others, and become visible again. I had organized to get in my own way, to dim my own light for the sake of others or simply for fear.

I realized that it takes real leadership – personal leadership – to find out. It takes leadership to want to investigate, to put yourself first, and to listen to that little voice, preferably before it becomes a scream from the heart.

When we start listening with our heart before our head, everything changes. Our brain has certainly kept us alive and ensured our survival on the planet, but it is our heart that will show us the way to well-being and thriving.

The driver had not seen me… I had become invisible. Leading from the heart rather than the head, with less thinking and more feeling, I came to a very different conclusion as to what had to be done.

As Marianne Williamson once wrote: “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.”

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