A Lesson in Noetic Leadership from the Creator of Monty Python?

April 4, 2018
Claire Lachance, IONS CEO

Have you ever noticed that some of life’s best insights come from completely unexpected places? This happened to me last week as I was having lunch with John Cleese, the legendary comedian and actor best known for Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and A Fish Called Wanda. A passionate supporter of IONS’ work to advance the frontier edge of consciousness research, John graciously donated his time and talent at a special IONS event also featuring our Chief Scientist, Dean Radin.

I was happily surprised to have a few minutes alone with John and decided to ask him whether he believes that his comedic inspirations come from a deeper “source” beyond his material self. John lit up and said “yes!”—and then proceeded to tell me more. He explained his personal process, which immediately struck me as aligning beautifully with the Inner Knowing component of Noetic Leadership!

To give a little more context, Inner Knowing is one of the three foundational “I’s” of the Noetic Leadership model along with Interconnection and Integrity. A noetic leader uses one’s subjective inner-knowing in constructive harmony with objective management tools to produce high-impact, sustainable results for one’s organization and the world.

What John Cleese shared with me—and then later with the whole audience—was a practical process to activate one’s inner knowing in a systematic way, such that one can “call in” insights and inspiration on a more regular basis. Here is John’s method, with my own framing added to make this a step-by-step process:

  1. Quiet down. Find your special place to slow down your racing mind and allow time to settle your mind. That place can be pretty much anywhere—a sacred space in nature, your office, a busy café—wherever you can be quiet.
  2. Invite the inspiration. Be still within your special place and invite in the flow of insights and inspiration. The invitation can occur in many ways—a simple silent intention, a verbal request, a prayer, etc.
  3. Avoid the temptation to edit. Let the insights and inspiration flow! Do not judge what you are receiving or self-edit if you’re taking notes.
  4. Embrace confusion! Sorry but you have no choice—what flows in might seem like an unstructured bombardment. Keep your sense of humor as it will be confusing—allow that confusion as it’s a healthy part of the process! (This was probably my favorite take-away from what John shared, as it’s easy for confusion to be perceived as negative.)
  5. Know that not all ideas are awesome. Some might actually be pretty bad. But the good ones will stick! That is why the Noetic Leadership model calls for balancing our inner knowing with classical business and management tools—they help to vet and test insights and new ideas.
  6. Let it flow and repeat as needed! The whole point is to make our use of inner-knowing a systematic part of our leadership life. Have fun with this and make it a regular part of your daily routine if you can.

I am thrilled by the new insights learned from John Cleese in last week’s lunchtime discussion! How fantastic that the same process used to birth masterful comedies can improve our own ability to become “noetic leaders.”

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