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Authentic Life™by Felipe Oliveira


Authentic Leadership requires a Courageous Self-Examination

Meaningful Reflections

These are meaningful questions , that, sadly, not many people stop to reflect upon in it. Do you know your ‘light’? Do you know your ‘dark side’ or shadow? If you do, how are you using? Does the job, carrier, life you are living is aligned to the energy you are sending to the world?

Out of many definitions of leadership I came across, the one that is resonating and repeating in my heart the most is the one by Parker Palmer. It leads me to questions like: what do I project onto the men who come to me? What is the ‘shadow’ part of myself I am sending to the people I care? What is the ‘light’ I am sending out there? What is the shadow and light of the leaders I am connected with? What are they sending to me? How can I discern their energy and integrate with mine personal leadership style?

Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for businessmen who are seeking to live an Authentic Life .

To read about Men's Midlife Crisis, click here .

To read about the Harmony between Professional and Personal Life, click here.

Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for business men seeking to live an Authentic Life. Click here to know more about his work . Or, please, continue reading this short article about Authentic Leadership.

Construct Yourself: False Self

On social media, books, and videos, I often hear things like: you must build yourself; you can become who you want to be; go to a quiet space and find out what you want to be remembered; reflect deeply to find out what is your legacy in the world; once you define, work harder to make you to happen. These advices and reflections are important to the first half of life - the part of the life where the ego needs to be build and become strong. Normally, one achieve that when he is promoted to a Senior Position, bought a new and worthier house, had kids and so on. This is the phase where success dictates who you are, how your relationship with the white male system is, and how you are perceived by the society . It is all about conform, comply, and succeed in the system we live in.

Congruence between Outer and Inner Life

The second half of life journey is not an easy one. It is hard because you realize people are in different stages, and it is impossible to be complacent and conform with most of the thing you were able in the past. It leads you to make conscious and authentic choices according to your True Self, or to your Authentic Self. You will have the chance to find ‘a deeper congruence between inner and outer life’… you will have the chance to find more than a job (Palmer, 2000, p. 37).

Photo by Steve Freeman - 2016 CFMA Retreat

Counselling for men seeking to grow together

'Questions' not 'Answers' becomes the Real Deal

As opposed to the first half, in the second half-life questions are more important than the answers. Questions that lead to meaningful reflections and to self-discovery. Questions that leaves you a good taste in your mouth. Questions like: do you know your shadow? Do you know what your ‘light’ looks like? What kind of energy are you sending to the people around you? Are your attitudes according to your core values, dreams, deep desires in life - meaning True Self?

Counselling for an Authentic Leadership.
Counselling for business man seeking to live an authentic life.

Discover Oneself: True Self

The first half of life is extremely important. The issue becomes when a man or leader starts to identify himself with the ‘grandiosity’ of his ideal self or false self. The idea of constructing oneself loses sense and becomes meaningless. The new set of questions has more to do with who a man or leader really is. Rather than striving in becoming someone, it is about to know oneself deeply and considerate. David Deida proclaims that “unless you know your mission and have aligned your life to it, your core will feel empty. Your presence in the world will be weakened” (2004, p.27). In my opinion, a deeper search, and inner examination, a journey of self-discovery is radically important if a man is serious about to discover his core as a leader.

The Power of Self-Discovery

Hence why it is important the inner work, a deeper examination of the heart, intentions, authentic desires and fantasies of oneself. It has the power to reveal who one really is, liberating the need to work harder to become. He is already and has always been. This is the work of the second half of life, which involves embracing your own suffering, humiliations, fears, anxiety, everything you have always run from and learn from it. It involves a higher dose of courage to be vulnerable to start seeing and be seen as you really are, without hiding yourself on an expensive suit and tie, on a Senior Position, on a fancy car or house.

I have been in a life journey myself, and I have seen one man leaving a secure job in a big organisation to start his life as a carpenter apprentice (detail, he started doing this when he was a grandfather - he realised he became Electronic Engineer to please his father); and the other, left a senior leadership position because the board of directors asked him to go back to the leader he was before. He couldn’t go back to be his ‘false self’ anymore. He resigned, and now lives a completely different life according to the one he has always been - he just hasn’t been awake to his True Self before.

Nature, solitude, courageous reflection

Palmer's Leadership Definition

A leader is someone with the power to project either shadow or light onto some part of the world and onto the lives of the people who dwell there

Parker Palmer.


Deida, D. (2004). The way of the superior man: A Spiritual guide to mastering the challenges of women, work, and sexual desire. Sounds True. Canada.

Palmer, P. 2000. Let your life speak: Listening for the voice of vocation.

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