To be or not to be

Hamlet, deciding whether to be or not to be

At the core of Inner Leadership is an idea that runs invisibly through almost every aspect of our culture. It shapes our advertising and the products and services we buy. It determines the careers we select, the work we do, and the people we choose to be our friends, lovers, and life-partners.

This hidden pattern gave Shakespeare his most famous line: “To be, or not to be.” It shaped the defining mantra of the most powerful nation on Earth: “You can become anything you want to.” And it forms the universal structure of the Hero’s Journey, which runs through almost every spellbinding, bestselling story ever told, from Casablanca to Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Breaking Bad. This is the idea that we might one day grow to fulfil our destiny, our identity.

Who we think we are determines the clothes we wear, the way we vote (Left, Right, or Centre? British or European?), and the cars we drive (or don’t). It shapes the actions that we choose to take and whether we follow the well-worn path or the road less travelled.

Hamlet struggled with answering just one question: whether or not to avenge his father’s death. So when so much change is happening all around us, it’s no surprise if we sometimes feel a little stressed.

But different changes affect different people.

So having so much change happening all at once is actually an opportunity for us. Because it forces us to choose what we care about most. And it forces us to decide what to let go.

The choices we make in living through a time of change will show us who we truly are. So if we do the self-development in advance, to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, then we will become able to navigate these changes much more easily.

Inner Leadership is a framework and a set of tools for centring, grounding, and connecting more deeply with ourselves — then finding more options to move forward, choosing the one that suits us best, and inspiring ourselves and other people to long to make that happen. It is a framework and a set of tools for becoming who we most want to be.

When facing significant change, how easily do you decide what and who to be what and who not to be?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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