- Dec 1, 2017 The Elusive Feeling of Happiness
- Aug 30, 2017 The Gift of Presence
- Jun 29, 2017 Nine Core Needs Through the Lens of the Ego
- May 30, 2017 Confidence and Expectation – There’s a Difference!
- Apr 27, 2017 Leadership From Essence Versus Ego
- Apr 4, 2017 Creating the Life You Desire
- Feb 23, 2017 What You Can Learn About Life and Mindset From Tom Brady and the New England Patriots
- Feb 17, 2017 Choose Your Dreams Over Your Excuses
- Feb 17, 2017 Gratitude: The Antidote To Darkness
- Feb 15, 2017 How (And Why) To Start Your Morning Slow
- Feb 15, 2017 How To Prepare For A Life-Defining Moment
- Feb 15, 2017 15 Golf Lessons That Will Change Your Life
- Feb 15, 2017 The Relief of Oneness
- Feb 15, 2017 Should you be meditating?
- Feb 15, 2017 Resistance: An Opportunity
- Feb 15, 2017 Grow Your Comfort Zone, Prolong Your Youth
- Feb 15, 2017 The Empowerment Shift
- Feb 15, 2017 Why You Need Self Acceptance To Be Happy
- Feb 15, 2017 Lean In to the Mystery of Your Life
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.
The question I hear more often than anything else with the Enneagram is: “Do I need to know my Enneagram number to benefit from this system?”
Many teachers would say yes, but I’ve got a different perspective to offer…
If you have any interest in using this tool, check out this quick video.
I’ll be hosting a free introductory training on the Enneagram in a few weeks, and I’d love to know some of your questions in advance.
This system is helping everyone from spiritual seekers to top level CEOs achieve greater results in life, through understanding the deeper parts of yourself you probably FEEL but don’t always have access to.
Comment on this post and let me know what interests you about this tool and any questions you may have. That way I can incorporate some of it into the upcoming training.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.
In my last email, I opened up about my dissatisfaction with the “push, push, push” model of success.
I got a lot of feedback that it hit home in a pretty deep way.
After that email, I was speaking to a woman who asked me…
“You know how you felt a deeper soul calling to move from external success to following a deeper more fulfilling path?”
“So many people are terrified to leave behind the comfort of the known.”
Which is exactly what’s required to move from success to building a legacy. From success to soul.
But so many people who have tasted material success and external reward refuse this deeper call. It’s just how we’re wired! It’s natural to refuse our call before we’re ready to embrace it.
Resisting your calling can lead you into depression, anxiety and health challenges because going against your own soul, even when your soul’s call seems absolutely crazy to you because it seems crazy to the world, creates a lot of problems.
Then, she asked me, “I’m really curious how you did it! Weren’t you scared?”
“Of course I was scared!”
I was really scared to leave Italy to come to America. I was scared to leave behind 34 years of life. Scared to leave behind my family, my safety net, to jump into a new place where I barely knew anybody. I was scared about what was going to happen, what was going to be unfolding next.
Yet, there was something inside of me that was pulling me. So I found my courage.
You know, courage is from the Latin word COR - a little three letter word that tells us “the root is the heart!”
Despite the fear, I made a conscious choice. The choice was about trusting myself. I felt and thought into my next move. Instead of buying into the fear that would hold me back, I stepped out of my comfort zone into the unknown and stepped onto that plane.
“And then you found your destiny too!” She added, “You probably would have never discovered Spiritual Psychology - you may have stayed an Attorney or a Businessman, if you hadn’t followed that thread.”
“Yes, my destiny found me. If I had stayed in the comfort zone, who knows what would be happening for me today.”
If you’re still with me here reading this, then I know something about you.
You have a thread of destiny pulling you forward.
If that’s the case, you also have fear around it. How could you not?
It’s a normal, human state of mind. But it’s not who you really are.
Who you really are is trust, truth and faith. Even in the unknown leaps we are asked to take to move from a familiar life that’s starting to feel a little dry…
... into the mystery that propels us into authentic living.
So, my short video for you today is about “Living with Cor.”
Feeling the fear and making a choice anyway. And how wonderful it is on the other side, even if you’re afraid to take the first step.
Check it out - and please feel free to comment with your thoughts and feelings.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.
I’ve just returned from a 5-day Enneagram retreat led by my friend and mentor, Robert Holden.
It was so amazing to be reminded that life really loves us. Life is really “for” us, rather than “against” us. The purpose of life is to fulfill itself. When life is allowed to truly be lived, failure is never a possibility.
In fact, we are the origin of all that blocks the good things in life. There is nothing outside of us doing that.
But why? Why do we thwart our own happiness, success, and wellness? Why do we struggle with the illusion that there is something outside of ourselves that is working against us? Why do we still believe (in varying degrees) that we are incapable of influencing the direction our lives take?
The answer is… because we are scared to be who we really are.
But who are we?
In truth, we are the individualization of Source itself. Contained within us is divine intelligence, divine purpose, unlimited abundance, infinite love, and unfailing light. Contained within us is pure Presence.
Yet, most of us, most of the time are – to varying degrees – not coming from Source. We are coming from Ego.
Ego is afraid. Ego is at the effect of life. Ego tries to pretend it’s God by imitating the qualities of the divine. For example, instead of the polarity of light and love, the Ego creates good and evil. Instead of infinite abundance and eternal “enoughness,” it creates consumerism and greed. Instead of essence, it creates personality.
Indeed, the Enneagram teaches us that we have nine different ways in which we fall out of Presence and we forget who we are, in an attempt to soothe our egos and play out our personalities in the world.
This wise and ancient model for self-awareness also invites us to examine where we get in our own way and become the biggest obstacle to all of that which we truly desire to experience.
What the Enneagram points out is that we try so hard to be good, we try so hard to be liked, we try so hard to shine and outshine the rest, we try so hard to be special and unique, to understand everything, we try so hard to be safe, we try so hard to find happiness, we try so hard to be in charge… and meanwhile, we try so hard to avoid conflicts at all costs.
Oh my, isn’t that exhausting?
So much trying, so much “efforting.” (And, by the way, we’ll never get there, wherever that place might be, that our minds tell us will FINALLY allow us to feel happy or safe or whatever we think we are missing.)
The path of the ego feels it is never enough. It procrastinates letting in love, and it constantly feels the need to improve the places it can’t accept. It judges relentlessly. No matter how hard it tries, things don’t work out for long until the next self-improvement project becomes imminent.
The way of Presence is to connect to our souls, to the essence of who really are, to our true nature. This is not a theoretical hypothesis; it’s an invitation to practice and experience living a different paradigm.
SO…what if we become willing to let go of all of that trying and searching and “efforting", and instead, relax into a state of allowing ourselves to be who we ARE, despite our strongest inner criticism?
What if we surrendered to this moment and lived as if we know life really loves us?
What if we simply practice these ideas, rather than preaching and “efforting” them in order to satisfy the constant need of the ego to demonstrate worthiness?
What if our worthiness is inherent, regardless of our achievements?
These ideas and principles truly work… IF we practice them and live in the questions, rather than satisfying the ego’s need to try to find all the answers.
Marianne Williamson once said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”
I believe that to be so true and so eye opening.
My friend, today I invite you to reflect on the self-inquiries I just shared and start looking deeply at all the ways you are blocking your success, your love, your happiness, your light.
And this is the commitment I would love for you to embrace:
“Today I commit to seeing that I have plenty of everything, that I am loved, and that my success, joy, and fulfillment is truly a matter of perspective.”
We can become our own best friends with the simple awareness of the ways we are not. This is the work of a lifetime, and it is the work that will set us free from suffering, and help others to set themselves free too.
And isn’t that truly the point of all of it?
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.
Many of you have asked me about the significance of the Enneagram. In today's video I shed light on this amazing tool of transformation. The Enneagram is actually much more than a tool; it's a map for self-discovery and self-understanding.
The word “Enneagram” has its roots in two Greek words: “ennea,” which means nine, and “gram” which means map. In fact, it maps nine different ways in which we experience the world, in which we see the world, in which we receive the world. It's been super helpful in my life and it's been absolutely transformational for my clients as well.
I understand that many of you feel resistance to yet another personality assessment; however, what the Enneagram offers is so much more than just an assessment. It gives us direction for deeper understanding, for the greater truth of who we really are.
The Enneagram is an amazing model for self-awareness that invites us to expand our self-observation and to really understand who we are at a much more authentic level. In truth, our personalities are just a stage upon which we have the role of playing ourselves. Yet, in no way are our personalities the entirety of who we are... our complexity is much more profound and more beautiful than that. The Enneagram points us in the direction of understanding that complexity so we can express more of our beauty.
This model is also wonderful for navigating our relationships, both personal and business. With this model, we are able to acknowledge why we do what we do, as well as understand why the “other” is doing what she/he is doing. When this understanding occurs, we are finally present enough to create harmony, improved communication, and, ultimately, better results in all our relationships.
So, my friends, now you understand how much I love the Enneagram. If what I've shared resonates for you, please watch this video so we can dive a little deeper together.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A.
The beginning of a new year is a wonderful time to get real with ourselves and recognize “what truly is.”
It’s also perfect for letting go of what’s no longer a match for our current state of being, and for releasing what is stale and no longer serves us.
And, of course, it’s the ideal time to welcome in new possibilities.
All three of those activities require trust, openness, and curiosity. We get to see where we are afraid of change, and of the unknown. We get to feel the raw energy of our desires. We have the opportunity to see where we are fostering our own creative powers and where we are shutting our creativity down and keeping our life force from entering it.
Powerful manifesters (those people who are able to bring their dreams into reality with ease and grace) understand that the world is not happening to them, but, rather, it’s happening through them, or even as them.
But what does this mean, exactly?
It begins with the acceptance that we are responsible for every aspect of our lives. Every relationship, every opportunity, and every loss we experience is an out-picturing of the marriage between our thoughts and feelings, our karma and our choices, and most of all, our perception.
How we perceive our experiences determines what happens after that, and what happens after that... Perception is the difference between a flower and a weed, an illness and a healing opportunity, a failure and a valuable lesson.
As you begin to craft your reality for 2018, ask yourself:
Am I seeing my life and everyone in it through the eyes of love?
What do I want to see this year?
What do I want to experience?
A powerful move toward manifesting the answers you give to these questions begins with a commitment to knowing that the opposite of whatever story you’re telling yourself about your life is as true or truer than your original story.
YOU are the source of the filter through which you interpret your life. YOU give meaning to what happens next. And whatever that next thing is, you get to decide if it’s moving you closer toward your dreams or not.
As the poet Teddy Macker says: “Blessings often arrive as trouble.”
When we let go of our commitment to being right about our stories, we open the door to letting go of all the old baggage we’ve been lugging around for years and no longer need. When we let go of our stories, we open the door to everything.
I wish you all that you desire and require this year to bring your light more fully into the world. I wish you the experience of being a vessel for Life to live you… wildly, beautifully, abundantly, brilliantly.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. - This article originally appeared on December 1, 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
Happiness is the thing we desire most.
The elusive feeling of happiness is what motivates everything we do (or don’t do). It drives our careers. It’s what we’re really hoping to procure any time we buy something. It’s why we get married, take vacations and why we hire therapists. It is at the root of our food choices, our philanthropic decisions, our spiritual paths.
There is nothing in this world that isn’t related to the desire to be happy.
And yet we delay our happiness all the time.
Typically, it goes something like this:
I’ll accept my body when I lose five pounds.
I’ll celebrate once we get through the next phase.
I’ll relax just as soon as this contract gets signed.
I’ll forgive them once they really understand where I’m coming from.
I’ll feel safe when there’s X amount of money in my bank account.
I’ll accept myself when I discover my purpose.
I’ll stop feeling lonely once I have a partner.
I’ll be present once I get these three things checked off my list.
Delaying happiness is a way of avoiding the present moment. Ironically, happiness is only accessible when we’re IN the present moment. It is because we typically spend so little time there that happiness can feel like a mysterious ever-changing mark on the map, rather than a fixed and reliable resting point.
In other words, what brought us happiness yesterday may not today. This is because the actual cause of happiness has little to do with having the thing we want; it is our ability to enjoy having the thing we want that makes us happy.
So, on a practical level, how can we stop delaying happiness?
Make Space for Integration Through Celebration
I have worked with many clients who set goals for themselves only to begin worrying about the next goal the minute they reach the first. They skip right over celebrating their accomplishments, and quickly move back into the energy they’re most comfortable with, which is striving and worrying.
During my time running an international shipping business I did something very similar: if we had a record-breaking financial year, I would immediately begin worrying that the following year would not surpass it. In my relentless pursuit of excellence, I skipped right over celebrating what I had already done.
This left no room for integration. Integration is important because it allows our entire being to “upgrade” to match our success. Integration raises the ceiling on our tolerance for positive feeling states and allows us to experience longer, more sustained periods of happiness.
Integration happens quickly when we allow ourselves to celebrate our accomplishment and truly relax into the ever-present “now” without fretting about all the forthcoming “nows” in our future.
A sign that integration is unfolding nicely is the ability to easily access gratitude, which is another key ingredient to embracing happiness.
Fluff Up Your Feelings
Let’s face it: if you’re worried or stressed, then you’re delaying happiness.
The trick to feeling happy is… to feel happy. Yet sometimes our feeling body gets bogged down with thoughts and negative feelings that keep us stuck in a pattern of delayed happiness.
The good news is that it is impossible to feel happiness-deferring feelings while practicing appreciation and gratitude. Taking time to appreciate -- yourself, your colleagues, your partner, the clean air you’re breathing, the roof over your head, the food in your pantry, the money in your bank account -- actually re-wires the brain for happiness. Gratitude keeps you in present time, and, as we discussed earlier, that is exactly where happiness lives.
Moving your physical body is also a great way to fluff up your feelings. Play a song you love and sing or dance to it. It is impossible to feel stressed and worried while this is going on.
Or take a walk and practice taking in the beauty of nature. Whatever it takes to get off the wheel of difficult feelings is time and energy well spent.
Do It Because It Feels Good
Desire is a wonderful thing… up to a point. How much of what you do is because it’s moving you toward a goal? How much of what you do is because you enjoy doing it?
When we are in the energy of desire 100% of the time, then all we get is… more desire!
When we are in the energy of enjoyment, then we open to experiencing more enjoyment – and much more happiness.
If, for example, your fitness routine is all about your appearance but it doesn’t bring you any pleasure, you will likely never truly be satisfied with how you look.
If all of your business decisions are about the bottom line, you will never feel fulfilled in your work.
If you relentlessly pursue healing your body without taking into account your joy, you will never feel the wellness you’re after.
Striving is useful – it is how we get where we want to go. Yet, I promise, the authentic pleasure you allow yourself along the way will take you just as far as your discipline.
Don’t Look Back, That’s Not Where You’re Going
We can delay happiness by worrying about the future, but just as often we delay it by lingering in the past.
There’s a saying: “If you want to change the past, change the future. If you want to change the future, change the present.”
When we stop dragging the past into our present moment, we are free to create fresh experiences and new ways of being. We are free to be happy with no delays.
The magic of this is that our present-moment happiness lays tracks for a future that will soon enough become the past. When you allow yourself to be happy in the present moment, you are literally creating a happy life, past, present and future!
To be clear: there is nothing wrong with working toward a future goal. In fact, this is how we thrive, how we succeed, how we live the life of our dreams.
Yet it is important to remember that the reason we set the goal is because, underneath it all, we think it will make us happy once we’ve achieved it.
Allowing yourself to be happy now is planting seeds for the outcome you’re working toward. It might, in fact, be just as important as any other action step you take toward your dreams.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on August 31, 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
Can you remember the last time you were truly present? When you weren’t splitting your attention between the task at hand and your phone, the media, or thoughts unrelated to the moment?
Your full presence is a generous gift to the world.
Think about how your life would be enhanced if you gave each moment your full presence.
To converse with someone and really hear what they’re saying before you formulate your reply creates spaciousness and room for authentic intimacy.
To attend a meeting and bring yourself 100% into the room with no thoughts of to-do lists or the stack of emails waiting for you opens the door to fresh thought and inspiration and helps others be present as well.
To enjoy every bite of a meal without multitasking while you eat honors the elements, farmers, and the chef who all worked hard to nourish your body. (It also helps your body to digest and assimilate nutrition.)
To spend time with a friend, for the sake of pure enjoyment, without needing or wanting anything from them but the pleasure of their company, is a gift of true love.
Yet, as much as your full presence benefits the world, it benefits you even more. Presence opens the door to your intuition, heart knowledge, and essence. Here are some examples of how:
- Presence is Magnetic -- You are never more attractive than when you are fully present. People want to be near you because it just feels good. Money and opportunity flow in your direction because, by being in the moment, you’re not entertaining fearful and limiting thoughts of the future or past that might block it.
- Presence Increases Happiness -- Being fully present requires mindfulness, which is a well-documented antidote for anxiety, worry, fear, and sadness. Paying attention to the present moment without drifting into the future or past keeps you current with your actual experience, not what you fear might happen or wish had happened differently.
- Presence is Great for Performance -- When athletes talk about being in “the zone” they are actually talking about being fully present. Presence demands focus. Where your focus flows, so the energy goes. You energize what you want to experience by… being in your experience. When you feel restless and impatient, it’s a sign that it’s time to get back to the present moment.
- Presence Expands Productivity -- It’s paradoxical: when we are most rushed for time is when we are least inclined to be present. Yet full presence is exactly what’s required to meet the demands of a deadline. When you allow yourself to take a breath and focus on one thing at a time, you are less inclined to make mistakes. If you are present with the moment, you will be more inclined to get something done quickly and perfectly so you will be free to move onto the next thing.
Staying Present In A Manic Society
Of course, there are many obstacles to being present in our world. Stress and anxiety are two big feelings that can steer us away from the moment, and our essence.
One of my mentors, Dr. Robert Holden, calls ours a “manic society,” which is incapable of stopping, is obsessed with multitasking and is convinced that the faster we go, the closer we come to “winning” at life.
Indeed, most of the struggles I’ve seen in my clients are struggles of the “manic society” mindset. They get too far into the future and lose touch with their essence (which is only available in the present moment). The outcomes they reach in life are often accompanied by anticipation of the future without celebration and acknowledgment what they have accomplished so far.
I’ve noticed the same habit in my own life. After a particularly strong year in business, for example, rather than enjoying my success, I have felt anxiety about meeting or exceeding the same numbers the following year.
The antidote for all of this is, of course, to become present. Presence is a reset for the mind, and it gives space to create the future from the present rather than dragging the past (whether it’s good or bad) into the future with us.
Love is the Only Way to be Present
What has been taught over the ages by the saints and mystics of all religions has now finally widely recognized by our western world: you are either in fear, or you’re in love. These are the two conditions of our existence. And to be in love requires presence... so how do we get there? How do we disrupt patterns of fear and shift into love?
These are some of the practices I use and recommend to my clients:
- Practice mindfulness. – Despite the many books and workshops on this topic, there’s no greater trick to mindfulness than to simply pay attention. When we are mindful, we are snapped out of the trance of autopilot and into the ever-present Now.
- Catch yourself when you find that you are drifting into the past or future. When this happens, come back to your breath, the sounds around you, the quality of light in the room, the sensations in your body.
- Pay attention to your breath. – Breath connects your body with your essence. By focusing your attention on your breath, you are opening the path to your essence.
- Distract yourself less. – Getting bad news, sitting in traffic, waiting in line when you’re already late, and feeling discomfort in the body are some of the un-pleasantries of life that cause us to seek distraction. See if next time something uncomfortable arises, you can be with it… without reaching for your phone! Breathe into the discomfort with your full presence and notice what happens.
- Embrace the feelings. – Every moment has the potential to bring up emotions and feelings, and sometimes we might impulsively want to run away from them because of the thought “They are too much, and I can’t handle this.” What if instead you allow yourself to feel them all the way to completion? What if the moment requires you to actually embrace them and being fully present with them?
- Start the day with breathing and meditation. – Take at least five minutes before the demands of the world come rushing in, to close your eyes to still your mind and breathe. This habit creates a momentum of presence for the rest of your day, month, life.
- Set an intention for the day to be present and return to that intention throughout the day. An affirmation I like to use for this is: “My mind, my body, and my heart are right here.”
The power of full presence to change your life is within your grasp. What practices will you implement to bring your focus back to the moment at hand? What steps will you take to take to ensure you’re enjoying your experiences to the fullest?
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on June 30, 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
“We see the world not as it is but as we are conditioned to see it.”
– Stephen R. Covey
The Enneagram is a rich, deep and insightful tool for determining personality types – and it plays a big role in my coaching work. The more I dive into the study and understanding of this powerful system, the more inspiration and self-awareness I uncover, both for myself and my clients.
As a student of the Enneagram, I’ve had the humbling opportunity to see my personality – the good, the bad and the ugly – in action. At one level, the Enneagram is a dissertation on the ego. Yet, it’s also a roadmap out of the ego, because it points us to the growth that is available when we cultivate qualities inherent to our true nature.
A great place to begin learning about the Enneagram is by studying the nine ways we experience our core needs. You can also think of this as nine different approaches to life when we come from a place of unconscious need.
If you tune into the vibration of the word “need,” you will feel how it is very different from that of “want,” which is rooted in desire.
“I need to be liked,” comes from a very different place than, “I desire connection.” Need comes from scarcity and fear; desire comes from conscious creation.
Let’s look at the nine essential needs, according to the Enneagram. (To be clear, each of us lives out some aspect of all of the nine needs, but on our life journey we gravitate toward and operate from one core need.)
Which of these best describes your core need?
1. The Need to be Perfect
This person follows all the rules down to the letter. However, the need to be perfect all the time is extremely exhausting. If your attention is always on figuring out how to be good, how can you ever make room for the trial and error that comes with being truly great?
2. The Need to be Liked
The need for everyone’s approval can translate into a cycle of toxic and co-dependent relationships. In extreme cases, someone who has a compulsion to be liked may find themself embroiled in relationships that are emotionally dependent, and they may lose their sense of internal balance and integrity.
3. The Need to Win at All Costs
The need to “outshine the rest” is a drive to be at the top of your game, all the time in everything you do. This can cause a person to over-achieve and engage in meaningless busy-ness. Each of us must find time to relax and be present with ourselves and the moment, otherwise we lack discernment about where to focus our energy and what our true priorities are in life.
4. The Need to be Special and Unique
Making sure you are original and authentic all the time can be very tiresome! The tendency of this person is to remain constantly aware of what others are doing (for better and for worse) and compare oneself accordingly. The challenge here is to stay out of judgment and purely appreciate all the wonderful diversity of life.
5. The Need to Understand Everything
It’s impossible to understand everything – some mysteries are divinely guided. When our identity is hitched to knowing everything right away, we miss the bigger picture: the Universe unfolds and reveals itself with timing that is in perfect alignment with what we actually need for growth – not the timing our ego tells us is correct. Needing to understand everything is an excruciating way to live (for ourselves and the people around us too!).
6. The Need to be Safe
Of course, we all need safety on basic levels, but always looking for a threat can paradoxically lead us into danger. This is because where our attention goes, the energy flows. Just as one cannot truly prepare for peace by building an arsenal of weapons, it is also difficult to experience safety when all one sees is the potential for harm.
7. The Need to Experience it All
It is beautiful to give ourselves new and peak experiences, but if we’re constantly jumping from one thing to another, we create a separation between our self and the present moment. A constant need to “do” and “experience” can often be used as a method to avoid painful emotions. Ironically, by trying to avoid pain, we create even more suffering.
8. The Need to be in Control
Controlling life is an illusion of the ego. Yes, science can predict the weather, but no one can truly predict the future. All we can do is live intentionally and choose to be open to possibility... but trying to control the outcome of everything sucks the joy out of our experiences.
9. The Need to Keep Balance
This person cannot relax until everyone else around them is ok. The compulsion is to maintain balance and peace with everything and everybody, and as beautiful as this desire is, it can quickly lead to self-abandonment. This person with this need tends to forego the safety and relaxation that is available to them in the present moment by worrying about every one else’s present moment instead.
When we see these needs arise within ourselves, we can choose to approach them mindfully, rather than reactively. In doing so, there is the possibility of letting go of the needs. We give ourselves permission to unattach from the circumstance that is bringing the need into focus and create more spaciousness to experience it (and ourselves) differently.
Bring Your Awareness to the Nine Needs in Real Life
Whether you’re operating in business, sports, or relationship, pay attention to when your core need shows up. Notice when you become fixated on getting your need met.
When you come from a place of fixation, you are not coming from an aligned, centered and grounded place. You’re moving away from your essential nature and your connection to true power and resourcefulness.
To be clear: there is nothing wrong with the nine needs I listed above. It’s when we take action out of the fear that our needs won’t be met that we create suffering and pain for ourselves and others.
Next time you find yourself entranced by one of these fears, it’s a great idea to ask yourself a corresponding question, like:
What will happen if I don’t show up perfectly in this circumstance?
Am I taking this action so that others will like me at the expense of my own integrity?
Is this really the best place to put my energy at this time? Or am I acting out of an old need to be the best at everything?
Am I comparing myself to others right now?
Is it really true that I don’t have all the information I require in this moment?
Am I actually unsafe? For example, do I have air to breathe, food to eat, water to drink and shelter?
Is this just the next shiny thing I’m going after so I can avoid the present moment?
What freedom is possible if I let go of trying to control the outcome of this situation?
Am I trying to make sure everyone else is ok and forgetting myself in the process?
When you are able to manage your needs from a place of awareness, you come into your essential nature, and that benefits yourself and everyone else around you.
Yet, the fact is, the eye cannot see itself. Would you like support pinpointing your core need on the Enneagram and learning more about how to break the spell it has on everything you do? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a complimentary appointment to chat one-on-one.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on May 30 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
Reflect if you will on your associations with the word “confidence.” What images or concepts arise? Is the phrase “expectation of success” tied up in your personal definition of confidence?
If so, you’re certainly not alone. Often the two – confidence and expectation – are interwoven, but as a Leadership Coach, I feel it’s important to understand and distinguish between the them, as they come from very different states of mind.
For the purpose of this conversation, let’s define “success” as your desired state of being. To me confidence is trusting yourself to stay focused on the Process Goals (tangible steps within your grasp that you know you can accomplish) that you must take to move toward success.
This is very different than the expectation of success, for when we start to focus too much on the outcome, we lose sight of the process. Process goals keep us on track; they keep us evolving and raise our confidence. Once we have that, we have the ability to continue to grow our sense of confidence – and at the end of the day, unshakeable confidence is much more valuable than achieving a temporal goal.
What’s tricky is that sometimes expectation can cleverly disguise itself as confidence. And more often than not, it overshadows confidence. Let’s take a closer look at what true confidence is, and how to identify it in yourself.
When a person is confident, he trusts his ability to thrive no matter what, and as a result has a trustworthy presence that others can feel. This presence is fully immersed in the present moment and very mindful. Real confidence is about trusting that our source of power comes from an unwavering place within, and not from the outside world where things rise and fall, succeed and fail. The Conscious Leadership Group speaks into this with one of their tenets: I commit to being the source of my security, control and approval vs. I commit to living from the belief that my control, security and approval comes from the outside: people, circumstances and conditions.
A confident person has sharp focus of attention and the courage to do, be, and live, despite any fear. He has the courage to really trust in himself without limitations, because he is sourcing his own sense of value and has proven to himself repeatedly that he is trustable to do what he says he will do. Naturally, this air of confidence is noticeable and attractive to others.
Confidence is a state of mind and a state of gain. It sees the outcome as clearly as if it were right in front of its eyes. It merges action and awareness and can relax into the clarity of its goal. A confident person lives as if their goal has already occurred.
To further clarify, it’s important to notice that there is a difference between this authentic confidence – which is based on integrity and capability as a ways of being in the world – rather than false confidence that is based on an inflated self-image. This starts to look a lot like arrogance. It’s not real confidence because it is actually insecurity that wants to stay hidden underneath a confident mask. In truth, the more confidence you have in yourself, the more you’re tapped in to who you are and the more others will feel your trustworthiness and respond accordingly.
The Trap of Expectation
Expectation is based on the idea of perfection, which is often rooted in fear; it focuses on the outcome of a situation so intently, that as a result, the person will feel unhealthy pressure to create a specific outcome and be inclined to bypass being present for the journey of getting there.
When someone has an expectation, his attention is drawn away from the present moment and sucked into a rigid picture of the future. Expectation is judgmental (“If I don’t win this award, it means I’m _______!”) as opposed to the trusting, self-accepting nature of confidence.
Expectation is very supportive of comfort zones. To paraphrase one of my teachers: “Expectation can really suck the life out of confidence.”
It is true that expectation increases as we become more successful, because we start to demand more of ourselves... yet when our expectations become unrealistically high, we can damage our confidence.
For example, a confident athlete does not judge the quality of his performance based on prior expectation or outcome. Imagine a professional golfer who has previously won championships. Suppose that because he won last year, he expects that he will win this year, even though he is healing from a wrist injury. When he doesn’t perform as well as he expects himself to, his confidence – and future ability – may be damaged. Unless he can release the expectations, it will hurt his performance.
Confidence vs. Expectations in the Working World
So, how does this differentiation between confidence and expectation translate into your professional life?
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, you must lead and perform with a high level of confidence if you wish to find fulfillment in your work.
In the workplace, confidence comes before execution and result. It’s not judgmental. It thrives on momentum and good performance, and it’s focused on the present moment. This means that you’re able to observe and adjust as needed. You’re flexible. You believe in yourself and your ability to move closer to the goal.
On the other hand, expectation in the workplace focuses on the results, which is very toxic. It can lead to drama, and it can ruin professional relationships.
Imagine a group of professionals working as a team on an important project. Each individual has different expectations of himself or herself and of the group, but those expectations may never be discussed. The group has never truly agreed about anything, which can be poisonous to the working relationship.
A confident team leader will ask for an agreement. Together, the group will negotiate their agreement so they’re all on the same page, and as time goes by, they can renegotiate the agreement if need be.
Put most simply, the sense of trust and presence that accompanies confidence happens when you’re tapped into yourself. It’s only when you’re truly connected to yourself, your emotional state, and your self-awareness that you are confident. It’s rooted in the soul, in who you really are, and it is felt by others.
Confidence is also directly related to your ability to keep your agreements and live in integrity with your goals, your process goals and your agreements with others. This is valuable because expectations in the workplace are ubiquitous, often difficult to uncover and can be the genesis of fierce conflict.
Real confidence doesn’t question its own value and worth. On a soul level, a confident person feels whole and complete, and the specific outcome of a certain situation doesn’t determine whether he or she is “good enough.” A person imbued with confidence is simply an unbounded, unconditioned, exuberant being having a physical experience.
You Are More Than Your Performance
Ultimately, pinpointing the difference between confidence and expectation is about recognizing that you are more than just the performance you give or the accomplishments you achieve. You are more than those results, whether they are money, clients and awards... or a golf championship.
Differentiating between the two is a reminder to know your goal while still being present and connected to current time. It is an invitation to be in the Eternal Now rather than projecting yourself or others into the future.
This week, begin to notice where you may be more focused on the outcome of your actions rather than the beautiful experience of the process. When you uncover expectation, you have the opportunity to shift over into a place of confidence and enjoy the ride.
By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on April 25 2017 on huffingtonpost.com
In leadership we can come from our essential nature, where we are open, curious and trusting. This is a stance of enoughness, sufficiency, and abundance.
We can also come from our ego, which is a place of defensiveness, fear and the feeling that we are “at the affect of life.” This is a stance of scarcity, fear and struggle.
Identifying when we are leading from ego can be tricky. This is because the ego has an incredible talent for hiding in plain sight and mimicking qualities of divine impulse, or essence.
Think of the ego as the conditioned part of human consciousness. Ego is the one that gets beat up by the world. Ego reacts to the appearances of life and thinks it has to control its outer circumstances in order to be safe.
Essence, on the other hand, is the part of our consciousness that is unconditioned and unfettered by vagaries of life. It is connected directly to Source, and is informed by intuition and a knowing that is fueled by the unification of the heart and mind.
A defining aspect of the essential self is that it has the power to create reality, whereas the ego thinks reality exists only outside of itself.
Ego thinks that its power comes from controlling what it perceives.
Essence conceives of ideas and impulses through its connection to Source and creates worlds.
When essence is at the helm, it is informed by an inner wisdom telling it where life wants to flow. Doors magically open. Resources avail themselves. More inspiration follows.
When ego is running the show, it does so through strife and difficulty.
The more we work on ourselves spiritually, the trickier the ego gets at masquerading as essence. A perfect example of this is a story about a client I once coached who had a brilliant idea for an app with the potential to change the way we communicate.
Things didn’t unfold the way he wanted them to at first. His approach was very dedicated, his vision was clear, but there was a quality of attachment to his energy that created a lot of stress when things didn’t happen the way he thought they “should.”
Finally, after many months of stress, effort and the feeling of banging his head against a wall, he surrendered. This doesn’t mean he abandoned the project; in fact, he kept working on it just like always, but the quality he brought to his work was different. In his surrender, he was more in his essence than ego. He no longer led with a need to “make it happen.” Rather his was the energy of allowing, which made room for the Universe to enter and work its miracles in its own timing, unfettered by “shoulds.” Ultimately the project was funded and launched.
So how can you tell the difference between when you’re coming from ego and when you’re coming from essence?
Identifying Your Authentic Self
Have you ever found yourself in a creative process -- such as painting, playing music, writing or dancing -- when you lost track (even for a moment) of time and space? When you forgot about the pain and injury you carry from your human experience? When you were moved by something bigger than your need to eat, sleep and be loved?
This is because you were connected to your essence. You were being moved by the part of yourself that is connected to the infinite. When you are coming from your essence, you recognize that while you are having a human experience, there is much, much more to who you are than a body that is born and then dies in approximately 80 years. You are a divine, eternal being having a human experience on a planet called Earth, and you have more power to create than anyone has ever taught you.
That awareness is the main differentiating factor between taking action from ego versus taking action essence.
And yet, while this explanation might seem utterly simple, identifying “What’s What” takes practice. Living from you essence is truly something that each person must experience before they can discern the difference.
Awareness within the body is a wonderful place to begin cultivating discernment of impulses that are ego or essence driven. This is because the body, unlike the ego-driven mind, is incapable of subterfuge.
A pleasurable way to begin this process is with food. Ask your essential self to give you messages about what your body most requires to function optimally. Notice the sensations and messages you receive from your body when you touch or even think of certain foods. Notice how you feel when you follow those messages, either way. This will give you a visceral and immediate sense of what it’s like to live through essence versus ego.
The Nine Personalities of the Enneagram
One my favorite tools for learning to lead from essence is the Enneagram. It offers a wonderful personality mapping system with nine ways of functioning in the world. In a way, the Enneagram is a dissertation about the way the unchecked, unconscious ego manifests. Understanding the nine Enneagram personality types is helpful for navigating your own ego and the egos of those you’re interacting with, and it also gives the antidote for shifting out of the ego and into essence.
Within the Enneagram system, each personality number has its own “vice” or “passion” considered to its the main driving quality. Common egoic qualities, such as pride, envy, gluttony, lust, avarice, wrath, and sloth coincide with a balancing quality, such as humility, equanimity, non-attachment, courage, serenity, consistency. By understanding this system, we get instruction as to how to recognize the former and embody the latter.
One of the most profound gifts for leaders working with the Enneagram is that by understanding the way our egos act out through our personalities, we are given an opportunity to bring awareness to what’s happening. We are able to observe more and react less.
This shift from reaction to witnessing allows us to become more present with our self and others. Presence alone will immediately shift us into our essence. Self-destructive, and self-defeating actions have the opportunity to dissipate when we are willing to show up for our lives all the way and become aware of why we’re doing what we do.
When we get distance from egoic patterns and make room for more essence to emerge, authenticity has a seat at the table. True impulse, divine inspiration and right action are all strong possibilities. And when we operate from a place of essence-fueled authenticity, we have the ability to lift ourselves and those around us to a higher place.
The Altruism Myth
Leading from essence means creating healthy boundaries, even if you appear selfish. Honoring yourself means knowing when you’ve been pulled into situations that don’t feel good or right on some level. In other words, another way the ego can masquerade as essence is by making you look better by saying “yes” than by saying “no.”
There’s a saying that goes something like “If you expect something in return, it ain’t love; it’s a business transaction.”
When the act of giving comes from a heart-based impulse to bring more joy and ease and grace to the world, it is an offering of devotion to life itself.
When it comes from approval-seeking, importance-hunting, or the status-hunger, it might still look good, but it’s actually quite ego-based. And if it’s ego-based giving and you’re not aware of it, chances are, your “generosity” will backfire.
To identify where your act of service is coming from is to make way for the possibility of giving freely without an expectation of receiving anything in return. Conversely, it’s an opportunity to say no to what does not align with your essential self, because if you’re giving from a place of ego and do not realize it, you will feel drained and depleted rather than energized and empowered.
Walking the Line between Ego and Essence
Some days you’re going to teeter into ego’s territory; others, you will stride freely in the authentic self’s domain. Living from your essence doesn’t happen all at once, and it’s not supposed to.
The secret to effective transformation -- to life itself, really -- is to bring awareness to what’s happening. That’s why we’re here: to cast our light upon the shadows.
Honoring yourself and others means looking at the holistic picture and making room for it all. Understanding how you create and express is a wonderful exercise in deepening your leadership abilities, and will allow you to engage more fully in this beautiful life that you have been given.