When I first began my journey as an entrepreneur, I saw so many of my colleagues who had great talent and ideas just never get their business off the ground. I wondered what was I doing that was different which led to my success and I found an important key in a book from the wisdom traditions of the East called, "The Bhagavad Gita."
According to this ancient philosophy, we all have three qualities of being - Passion ("Rajas"), Grounded ("Tamas"), and Clarity ("Sattva"). When I balanced these qualities, I was able to lead my business to great success. I never let myself get discouraged very long during slow times, nor did I push too hard for too long without a break that would lead to burn-out. I always found ways to keep my mind clear and focused on my vision without getting emotionally caught up in the ups and downs of the sales cycle. I was able to harness the forces of all three qualities to reach my goals faster and with less stress.
Leading a company, small or large, is more than just making smart decisions. The leader directs the emotional energy of the company that can create momentum or bring the business to a halt. If you want to be an effective leader, like a conductor in a symphony, you must be aware of these three qualities of emotional energy you are using to lead.
For most people, passion is the most common emotional quality leaders bring to the company. They are motivated for success, they are passionate about their vision and they are willing to work long hours, leave their families and face the stress of creating something great to make their company survive. Everyone knows though that you cannot stay passionate for a long period of time without burning out.
The downside of too much passion is that you can be so driven that your actions can be rushed. You are lost in the emotion of passion that you make mistakes, take too many risks and not think things through when making decisions. Passion can also be driven by your ego which wants to succeed, wants to beat the competition and is terrified of failure. When you mix the positive and negative of passion you can see that this emotion alone is not sustainable for the long-term. Passion can turn into anger, aggression and hurting others to gain power.
2. Staying Grounded
As a business owner, the thought of a slow sales cycle or market shift that causes economic problems can create fear and uncertainty. Each business goes through ebbs and flows and making friends with the times of inertia by remaining grounded can keep you from getting caught up in the loss and discouraged. After the initial spurt of excitement of starting your business, inertia will set in and sometimes it is a well-earned break from the rushed energy of passion. This quality brings you back down to earth and allows you to reassess your business for the next level of growth.
When inertia drives your emotional state you can stay stuck there. You can get paranoid and worry about the company's future and that affects your team. Your depressed emotional state will influence their mind, and everyone will start to give up hope along with you. You see this happen in a sports game when the losing team starts to lose momentum and the they blow the game.
As a leader, it is important to know how to manage your emotions during times of inertia and not panic. One suggestion is to see this time as temporary and start taking small steps to get back into passion again. Remember why you started your company to give you the motivation to keep going.
3. Clarity and Peace
The highest form of emotional energy available to a leader is clarity which arises from a peaceful mind. You are not in a rush, overly driven by passion and you are not in fear of losing everything feeling stuck. You are able to see things clearly, believe in what you are creating and not let the day-to-day activities of the business drag you up or down. Your mind is centered and more intuitive. Your team will benefit and follow your lead feeling comfort in knowing their leader is steady and certain.
To attain the clarity and peace more often, I recommend spending at least 15 minutes or more in the morning before you open your emails and before you check your phone, to just be with yourself and your mind. Watch the thoughts that arise as the observer and practice not getting hooked into the thoughts. Be a witness to them like passing birds in the sky. This simple technique will train your mind to be clear and peaceful so you do not get caught up in the emotional rollercoaster of the daily grind of entrepreneurship.
Don't let your attachment to be in clarity making the two other qualities wrong. The key is to remember that all of these qualities are needed. Ultimately, the more you can hold clarity as the predominating energy, your business will grow faster, your team will be happier, and you will enjoy being a leader in your business and your life.