How are you expressing yourself and interacting in the world?
Is it consonant with the values you hold? Do you communicate in a way that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach?
Over the past few months we’ve been looking at a 7 Level model similar to the Chakras that we can use as a way to potentiate our creative career or business at all possible levels. So far we have seen that:
Now, as we enter the top three levels (5-7), we start to explore what it means to function at a ‘higher’ level in our career or business - both how we reach up to higher levels of achievement, but also how we integrate higher values and calling into our daily work.
In this post we will look at the first of these higher levels - Level 5.
Self-expression - the communication gateway
At its heart, Level 5 is about communication. In Yoga it corresponds to the Throat Chakra and, as such, it is about voice: How we use self-expression as a gateway between our inner world and the outer. Only through self-expression does the outer world get know what’s inside of us.
At the second level we opened to let the world in through our senses. At the 5th level, we allow our inner self to get out into the world.
(In fact all the top three levels are focussed not only on refining our inner development, but connecting this inner development with the outside world.)
Why am I here? The search for meaning and purpose in our life
In terms of our creative career or business, Level 5 goes beyond whether or not we feel satisfied with how we’ve expressed ourselves in our creative work. It builds on the heart-centred direction we identified at Level 4, to encompass how we express the values that will attract our tribe to us, and how we will make our work meaningful for them. As such it speaks to our ‘core values’ and mission.
“When we live according to our core values, we feel content with our life. Work is pleasurable, even when it’s challenging. Our relationships are mostly harmonious. We can look ourselves in the mirror and fully stand in our integrity.”
It is also at the 5th level that our creativity manifests as the desire to make a personal contribution to the world and we begin to teach, coach or mentor others. We begin to share all we’ve learned so that others may benefit.
Communication - a two way street
Of course, if we’re going to talk about communication then we can’t ignore the need for dialogue.
Communication is only such when there is a balance between listening and responding, speaking and being heard. At a business level, this is how we form deep connection with our audience. How we bring them into our world and receive permission to enter theirs.
So Level 5 not only represents our ability to communicate our heart’s truth and inner self to the minds of others, so we can be seen and understood, but to create a channel through which the communication can flow the other way.
Rock stars understand the importance of spending time amongst their fans signing autographs. It allows their fans to get up close and personal with them for just a moment. But you don’t have to be a rock star to realise the value of direct communication channels. ‘Permission marketer’ Seth Godin answers his emails personally. He may only write one line but he hits the reply button with his own digit! The father of creativity coaching, Eric Maisel does the same.
Projecting our voice - Telling meaningful stories
At Levels 3 and 4 we developed the elements of our unique creative voice and learned to embrace even our shortcomings as a vital part of our individuality. At Level 5 the development of our creative voice becomes more subtle: we’re refining our message and using it to reach out into the world - both through collaboration and teaching or mentoring others.
This is where all the hard work and mundane daily practice pay off and we get to sing!
We learn how to:
At Level 5 we have greater freedom to be creative now that we have left behind the constrictions of conforming that the lower levels require. In fact, we actually feel a greater need to be creative because we’ve broken free of established patterns.
Meaning versus Money
At this level, we may be challenged to find ways to reconcile our desire for meaning versus our need for money. We may feel scared or uncomfortable embarking on a direction that brings more meaning to our lives, but which may - at least at first - not seem an obvious way to pay the rent.
Manifesting what we want in the world
Level 5 is about manifestation. We make our world. This is another way it functions as a gateway through which the unconscious becomes conscious.
“…say you want to write a book. You first start by actually making that choice, “I am going to write this book.” Sometimes we have an idea and it goes around and around but we don’t commit to it and make a choice. The process begins when we actually use our voice to speak that truth…and as we become more clear and alive and impassioned about wanting to write this book we take action. We start to manifest it on the paper. Next we have to go out and find a publisher and tell them “I’m writing this unbelievable book, it’s going to be amazing!” and we manifest that picture in their minds.”
If Level 5 is blocked, our physical, outward impulses -. the things we want to achieve in the physical world - cannot be manifested. We have impulses but no strategies to make them real.
A block at Level 5 also means that we cannot express the knowledge and insight from the top two levels and we cannot manifest this knowledge in action.
Balance at Level 5
When we achieve balance at Level 5, we have good communication skills - both in expressing ourselves and listening to others. We are able to communicate the truth of our experience, whilst also making space for others to communicate their truth to us.
Balance at this level also releases us from being bound by the accepted way of doing things - or ‘Shoulds’.
We’re clear what our values are, what we stand for, what we will and won’t tolerate and, by and large, we use these as a yardstick by which to make important decisions in our creative career or business.
Imbalance at Level 5: Dissonance
“Like the guitar string, it is our nature to express what impacts us. When that expression is restricted (by whatever inhibitions we’ve been forced to accept), we lose our resonance and no longer vibrate in the chorus of creation. We become less fully alive, out of step and dissonant.”
When the 5th Level is not functioning well, we are afraid of owning - and owning up to - who we really are, and voicing what we really want.
As a result, we either don’t talk at all or we talk loudly and too much, controlling the conversation, interrupting, or not listening to others.
How imbalance at Level 5 shows up in our professional lives
Imbalance at Level 5 manifests in our professional lives as not taking the time to listen to the needs of our clients and preaching rather than engaging. Telling, rather than showing.
Because - as I mentioned - Level 5 mirrors the throat chakra, imbalance here also shows up as being incapable of expressing ourselves. Literally being unable ‘to speak’ with our unique creative voice.
To protect our vulnerable interior from exposure and possible harm, our Inner Critic blocks us from expressing our real feelings and, instead, only lets us say what we think people want to hear. As a consequence we can’t get our ideas out into the world in a meaningful way.
Closing ourselves down this way stops the flow of energy, and we feel tired and uninspired.
If the Inner Critic is still causing us problems at Level 5, we’ll need to work more deeply at Level 3 to clear the underlying blocks.
Uncovering your core values to create meaningful dialogue
To create harmony at Level 5 we need to constantly make sure the way we’re expressing ourselves and interacting in the world is consonant with the values we hold.
We need to trust that if we let our true voice speak, we can reach people in a way that we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
We also need to remember that communication is not a unidirectional thing. We need to learn how to listen. In this way our work can have meaningful impact in the world.
Level 5 Healthcheck
These are some of the kinds of questions you might want to ask yourself - or journal around - in order to find insights into ways of creating harmony at Level 5.
I'm working on ways to improve my own communication. Give some thought to yours and share what you find in the comments.
Read the next post about Level 6: See the Big Picture: How to Use Emotional, Social and Business Intelligence.