Connecting to Your Full Power featuring Mike Green in Strive Magazine

Mike Green was featured in Strive Magazine’s Oct-Dec 2022 issue in the article “Connecting to Your Full Power“. Here is the reprinted article:

Why is living and leading from your “truths” so important? Well, because otherwise we never step into our full power. And because otherwise—no matter what it looks like on the outside—we flounder.

I wasn’t always connected to my own truths. But after three decades of traveling the world, working on every continent with diverse workforces, I’ve discovered the unique foundational truths I want to orient around as a human being and a leader. As a leadership coach, I help others do the same.

Personal Journeys

These truths often emerge in their fullest clarity when we find the space to really meet ourselves. When we let go of control. When we enter into the literal, or metaphorical wilderness.

One of my own such journeys into the wilderness happened about 23 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland. I had gotten a winter job as a lumberjack after hitch-hiking from London. Little did I know it would help me to discover a truth that was always within me.

The work was physically intense, always unsafe, painful, and I was constantly verbally assaulted by an aggressive coworker who was my ride back to town. We even came to fisticuffs several times. Mentally and physically, I was beat down each day. One night as I was dressing my wounds on my shins (I constantly slipped on the logs, hitting and cutting up my shins), I had a mental conversation with myself about quitting.

I had all the right reasons to leave and ticked off every single one in my head. The job was brutal and dangerous. The safety equipment we needed to stay alive was in disrepair. The wet chill I worked in for hours every day was miserable—and my hostile coworker didn’t make it any cozier. And on top of all this, I’d taken the job on a whim. I didn’t need to be doing it. I didn’t even need to be in Scotland. So why was I still around? Well, I had given my word to the owner of the company that I would work for him until the spring.

The Strengths Within

grew up in a fourth-generation railroad family in a small railroad town. My father raised me to work hard and always remember “your word is like the iron rails that our family has worked for four generations. Never ending, hard, and something you can count on.” Up to this point, I had always lived this personal value. I worked hard and when I gave my word, I followed through.

As I sat with this reality—that I had given my word I would stay through the spring—I brought the conversation out of my head. “Your word is your iron,” I stated in a firm, absolute tone. From that moment on, I knew I would have to make the situation better because I was not going to quit. And I did make it better. I didn’t quit, and I learned so much from the experience.

I had already known it was important to me to follow through. But this was a challenge I had never before faced. Life had never asked so much of me. When pushed to my limits, far beyond my comfort zone, I had to clarify exactly what that meant to me in order to not quit. I learned that it meant: no matter what. I would keep my word. This deep integrity was always within me, but bringing it forward as a foundational personal truth gave me razor-sharp guidance going forward. You see, I discovered that following through after giving my word was a truth. That truth I called integrity. Having defined that truth, the way it had manifested in me through how I was raised, came back to support me in that time of need. And that truth of integrity continued to serve me well through my life.

Staying True

I went on to have a number of transformative experiences that led me to clarify my truths, each time in a place that was unknown to me, or where I had to step to my edges and get uncomfortable. Each experience made me a better leader.

I learned that living and leading from those truths creates congruent actions which in turn create better outcomes. This is why I coach leaders to lead from their own truths.

First, of course, you have to discover these truths. We each have to ask, what is foundational for me? In my work as a coach, I help others discover this for themselves by walking them out of their comfort zones and asking them to turn inward.

I illustrate what this looks like in my book Wandermust: A Hero’s Journey to Seven Truths with a composite character named Ian, who is based on the sort of conversations I have with my coaching clients. Like many of the leaders I coach, Ian is driven, fast-moving, always striving to reach the next goal. Thinking that once he achieves this milestone, then things will change. The trouble is, this is a kind of treadmill that can keep people caught in a cycle of leading while just keeping their head above water or always feeling too busy to do what they really want. Leading from this treadmill creates the obvious—burnout, resentment, deteriorating relationships at work and at home—and one day the voice inside their head screams, “What am I doing?”

Finding Your Compass, Discovering Your Truths

Getting to the root of what’s out of alignment and what needs to serve as the compass going forward takes some inner work. I like to guide and/or coach my clients by asking questions, and then giving them plenty of space to reflect. Sometimes we do this under the stars in the Alaska wilderness with a bottle of good whiskey, and sometimes we do it in an office or on a zoom call. But wherever we are, it’s essential that they drop the distractions, let go of the need to control, and listen to the quiet voice inside them.

Ian is like many of my clients, each doing the best they know how in their work and personal lives and seeming to get by until they have a major negative event or just a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Until they ask, “There must be more than this?” Reaching that point is okay, a part of life, and normal. What is not okay is ignoring the call for something else, over and over, numbing the pain or trying not to think about it. The key is getting off this treadmill, taking inventory of what is not working and what is, and finding the center principles that should be guiding everything else. The key is discovering and harnessing your own personal leadership truths.

Employing a coach or finding a mentor can help you find those immovable truths within you that can bring your life into alignment. You can also make a commitment on your own to dive deep and seek them out. The journey is well worth it. When we live and lead from this place, we are congruent. Things feel right. We show up present, empathic, and open. We can give our greatest gifts, and work and life begin to have better outcomes. And guess what else? Things still go wrong sometimes, but when they do those around us experience us as more human. And that makes all the difference.

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