August 1st, 2022
Why is the success of an organization dependent on the health – not just physical health, but also mental and spiritual health – of the leader? When the microculture of a team is set by leadership, how can business owners refocus the parts of their own brains to help cultivate their employees’ most forward-thinking and creative efforts?
Listen as our guest, Dr. Shannan Crawford, shares why some companies become plateaued due to leaders’ negative non-verbals having a trickle-down effect on their teams, how stressors can prevent leaders from being fully present at work or at home, how the “imposter syndrome” sabotages their confidence and balance, and how having a “Board Meeting with themselves” can help business owners achieve the self-cohesion necessary to be effective and exceptional leaders.
As CEO of Dr. Crawford & Associates in Keller, Texas, Shannan continues a family tradition of successful business owners and uses her skills and knowledge to help not only her patients in their personal lives through individual, couples, and family counseling, she also empowers entrepreneurs with her unique strategies to enhance the effectiveness of their leadership. She innovated the Restoring-Self-Cohesion model, which assists leaders in navigating common obstacles including self-sabotage, procrastination, self-limiting behaviors, and lack of work-life balance found in themselves and in those they lead. Shannan is also a national and international speaker, is an adjunct professor at The King’s University in Texas, hosts her own popular podcast, “Unlock U with Dr. Shannan Crawford,” and is an author working on a fictional trilogy. She has served on the boards of philanthropic organizations such as 4Word and Kingdom Business Leaders, as well as lead groups that foster faith, community, and service. Shannan earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. A California native, Shannan now lives in Keller, Texas.
By Jeff Holler
Having been raised in a family of entrepreneurs, it’s no wonder that Dr. Shannon Crawford has a focus on helping navigate and prevent the stress and burnout that often plagues business owners. The ripple effect of that stress is what shaped her desire to find and offer solutions.
Dr. Crawford grew up watching her parents participate in prayer groups of business owners and helping them deal with the stressors that plague leaders. “I saw them live a lifestyle of praying over their business, and sharing that burden with others, and so it gave me a passion to see that business owners, leaders, have healthy souls, because I knew what it took on the inside, that internal grit, to be able to weather so much pressure and pivots and demands coming to them at any one moment. So, if I build people, then they can create ecosystems around them that are really healthy, and that inspires me.”
One aspect of Dr. Crawford’s work is equipping owners with the tools to develop self-cohesion. This employs a technique that sees the mind as being made up of various inner parts or roles, much like a Board of Directors.
Rather than shut down or override parts that may seem counterproductive in the moment, Dr. Crawford believes that cohesion develops when we can recognize that our parts have good intent, if only we will engage with them to learn what it is. In making these parts feel heard and understood, they are less likely to sabotage or undermine our efforts.
Dr. Crawford’s Restoring Self-Cohesion model creates a larger frame for us to understand the body-soul-sprit connection, and that we’re supposed to have parts of self.
“There’s more functionality, beauty, and dimension when we’re more robust. But what we do is we hold painful life events, and there’s a literal part of the soul or spirit that’s holding and containing that until we’re ready. That’s running in the hard drive at an unconscious level going against what I’m trying to go toward at the conscious level. And so now I’m a house divided against myself.”
She says that human nature wants to willpower that behavior or thoughts away. “Instead of doing that, RSC creates an internal board meeting where you give voice and honor the parts of the soul that no longer need to stay repressed out of awareness, actually brought into conscious awareness, and you can resolve it at the root issue. So now I’m not fighting against myself. We resolve it, and then you’ll see, even at a body, cellular level, you’re restoring a mindful, peaceful state which then enables you to operate from your spirit again, versus the soul when it’s chatty and noisy, and you feel chaotic inside – that’s evidence that we are misaligned, we have symptoms. The whole goal is to have people do internal board meetings, resolve the root issues, so the soul can come back into right alignment, and we can lead from our true self again.”
Dr. Crawford says leaders often repress many things down in order to go after a goal and that they often take on the role of being the strong one for everyone around them. It can create a narrative that’s unhealthy, “much like when they train an elephant when they’re little. They tie a rope around its leg and put a stake in the ground, and the elephant learns that it can’t go anywhere. Except by the time they’re big, full-grown, mighty elephants, that silly little string is pathetic and puny next to how powerful [they’ve become]. If we don’t check the mindsets and continue to use them without upgrading our hard drive of beliefs that it’s weak to ask for help, that it’s vulnerable, sissy, some kind of failure to need help, then you’re much like that elephant tied to old beliefs that are limiting you and shrinking the quality of life, and the sphere of influence your life can have if you do that deep work.”
While we ran out of time in the interview to dive deeper into this topic, I wanted to share with you that Dr. Crawford is currently laying the foundation for a non-profit she calls 7M Culture. It is based on the Seven Mountains Mandate, seeking to influence and shape certain aspects of our culture:
The purpose of 7M, Dr. Crawford says, “is to be proactive and counter the conditioning that our modern brains receive that can lead people to live the rest of their lives in performance-based acceptance, perfectionism, pleasing others, narcissism, and even addiction.”
Although these behaviors have been around for a long time, she believes the increases we are seeing now correlate to the amount of screen time we engage in which “is limiting our ability to truly attend to our loved ones. This is especially crucial in the first year of infancy, when I’m deciding whether I can trust others to meet my needs, or will I need to live in a reactive/defensive posture like an emotional orphan who needs to rely solely on myself?”
When a baby has to compete for the attention of its parents, it can result in the abnormal behaviors mentioned above. “All these result from a parent-child attachment style that did not convey… I love you; I see you and I know you.”
Crawford has a vision for 7M to “deliver messages on the societal level with TV shows, podcasts and films, entertaining TV shows, and then we also want to help leaders who are adults now, and can’t go back to that early experience, start to get ahead of some of those unconscious wounds that are like little land mines that we don’t know are there until they get triggered. That’s where we see a leader all of a sudden act very out of character and they do these weird behaviors and throw their life away and have an affair and leave their home, family and their church.”
I invite you to listen to the full podcast and hear Dr. Crawford’s detailed view of how our mind works and the subconscious signals we send to those around us.