This election is very puzzling, to say the least. I have a bald spot forming because I keep scratching my head wondering where all these angry and frustrated people are coming from. On the far left it feels a lot like socialism, while on the far right the word nationalism keeps being repeated. Let there be no misunderstanding—both sides come with a lot of dangerous and unsettling baggage. But where does this kind of extremism in the general population come from? It wasn’t until I read an article from Deepak Chopra about our shadow side that I understood part of the reason why Donald Trump has gained this much popularity.
Chopra points out, “…in reality Trump isn’t bizarre or anomalous. He stands for something universal, something right before our eyes. It’s an aspect of the human psyche that we feel embarrassed and ashamed of, which makes it our collective secret. Going back a century in the field of depth psychology, the secret side of human nature acquired a special name: the shadow.”
The fight between good and evil is as old as human history. Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac for mankind. To be in charge and to rule; to have people do what you tell them; to be appreciated, respected, even feared; to be rich enough to live like a king—many of us want Trump’s life. And that is where the internal struggle with our shadow side begins.
How far will you go?
There are many ways to reach a goal. We can tell the truth, we can be humble, or we can exaggerate. We can lie about our past and our experiences when it works in our favor. We craft a strategic play to outsmart others and make them believe everything we say. In the end, our conscience is the only judge of whether a strategy that gets us what we want is “good” or “bad.”
What can you justify?
It’s easy to identify the people in our circles who pray to the God of Power and Money. Just to be clear neither is a leadership attribute! Through my own observations and experiences I find these people can be ruthless. They justify their behaviors by spinning the story in any way necessary to put themselves in the right light. The ultimate goal is power and the end always justifies the means.
We know who they are and we may even be amused by their erratic and nonsensical behaviors. “He can’t help himself. He’s a narcissist, what do you expect?” It seems harmless enough when we come across this type of person only once in a while. We tend to ignore them or be mildly amused by them.
Problems arise when the mob mentality kicks in. “Yeah, what he said.” More and more people come out of the shadows, including some of our friends. We think they are level-headed and smart until we catch them repeating the irrational chant of the crowd. How many friendships have been lost during this election? Tolerance is NOT the answer.
The anger, fear, and extreme viewpoints of superiority pop to the surface, and that’s when a movement begins. History shows these types of movements are associated with volatility and strong division within a population, which leads to violence. Have you watched the news lately? Again this is not good leadership.
On the flipside, there are people who understand the discord cannot last. Once crazy runs its course we realize the outcome of the movement is no better than what we had before. In many cases, it’s worse.
Luckily there are those who raise their voices and build their own counter-movement. They ask like-minded individuals to collectively speak up against the shadow and push it back to where it belongs. Drag them back into the light!
Here is how Deepak Chopra muses about the outcome: “If the shadow refuses to go back underground, which is always the case, what outcomes can we anticipate over the next six months? The present situation finds us trapped between denial and disaster. Denial is when you ignore the shadow; disaster is when you totally surrender to it. Without being at either extreme, right now many Americans feel the unsettling symptom of being out of control. Trump glorifies being out of control, and until this outbreak runs its course–which no one can predict–he will remain immune to all the normal constraints.”
What does it mean for us?
If you do consider yourself a leader please do not follow but LEAD. I am asking you to carefully examine if you are controlled by your shadow. Are your beliefs based on denial or disaster? Or do you want to be part of the light?
I truly believe that good will ultimately prevail. As the founder of The Women’s Code, a movement that is dedicated to improving leadership balance, I cannot sit back silently while my peers ask a shadow man to drag us into darkness.
Because as a leader I prefer to focus on creating a better future.
At her lowest point, Beate Chelette was $135,000 in debt, a single mother, and forced to leave her home. Only 18 months later, she sold her image licensing business to Bill Gates in a multimillion dollar deal. Chelette is a nationally known ‘gender decoder’ who has appeared in over 60 radio shows, respected speaker, career coach, consummate creative entrepreneur, and author of Happy Woman Happy World. Beate is also the founder of The Women’s Code, a unique guide to women leadership and personal and career success that offers a new code of conduct for today’s business, private, and digital worlds. Determined to build a community of women supporting each other, she took her life-changing formula documented it all in a book Brian Tracy calls “an amazing handbook for every woman who wants health, happiness, love and success!”
Through her corporate initiative “Why Acting Like a Girl Is Good For Business” she helps companies with gender diversification training, and to develop and retain women.
If you’d like to book Beate as a speaker on New Leadership Balance or Creative Entrepreneurship for your next event please connect with me.