Are You Above the Line

Are you living your life above the line?
My wife is. In fact, she has been since I have known her, and it has paid off. It is the reason she was just hired for an administrative assistant position at a university that is within walking distance from our house.
Among other reasons why she was chosen for the position is that the interview team could see that she lives above the line. As it turns out, the team has recently been going through the book, the 15 Commitments of a Conscious Leader by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman and Kaley Klemp. They describe their model for leadership this way,
The model is a simple black line. At any moment, a leader is either above the line or below the line. When we are above the line, we are open, curious and committed to learning. When we’re below the line, we’re closed, defensive and committed to being right. What we suggest is that the first fundamental building block of conscious leadership is the ability to accurately locate yourself at any moment, asking, “Am I above or below the line?”
This sounds rather simple, but it actually requires a high degree of self-awareness. Many leaders spend most of their time below the line. In fact, it is the normal state. Asking them if they’re below the line would be like asking a fish if it’s wet. When leaders begin the journey to conscious leadership, they develop a greater and greater capacity to locate themselves accurately in any given moment.
Many leaders spend most of their time below the line because we go there when we are threatened or when we are in a fight or flight reactivity and the goal is survival. Our brains are hardwired to do this. This is normal. It is human. The issue is that this reactive pattern occurs whether the threat is real or perceived, and when the perceived threat is to the survival of the ego, we go below the line to protect it. Many ego-driven leaders experience a fairly constant threat to their ego. Thus they live and lead from below the line.
When leaders are below the line, they are in a low-learning state and create cultures of fear and threat. This results in lower creativity, innovation, collaboration and connection. When they’re above the line, they are in a state of trust, and the result is a higher level of effectiveness.
So the first key of conscious leaders is to accurately locate themselves either above or below the line. If they’re below the line, the second key to conscious leadership is to shift back above the line. Leaders master reliable shift moves that take them back above the line.
While we enjoy a celebration at our house, I thought it would also be a great time for some self-examination. Am I living above the line? Am I living above the line as a conscious leader of my life, or below it as an unconscious leader?
Why not take the time to consider this for yourself? Go get the 15 Commitments PDF in the Resource tab.
Warmly,
Rick Burris

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