As we approach the conclusion of 2021 and prepare to welcome another 12 months in the form of 2022, I ponder what value leaders and followers are experiencing as they navigate the complexities of the ongoing challenges of the covid 19 pandemic. Personally, in early 2020 to decide to transform every single element of my life has been an improvement I had not expected to achieve so much benefit. I was becoming frustrated with the leadership and lies emanating from politicians in early 2020 and made the decision to move out of Melbourne to Koroit, near Port Fairy, in Western Victoria. And how did I lead myself to such a decision given my diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 2011? The last decade has been a revelation to me and I’m still appreciating the scale of this revelation. But why leadership and lies? Because I was lying to myself. So what you may ask? What’s the problem with the occasional lie? Well in my case, this lie almost killed me – and more than once did I risk my life through living a false reality. Since early childhood I have been a bit of a perfectionist and this includes finding out the facts. This has led me to an amazing life and career. But it has almost led me to the edge of death. Why? Because since early childhood I had been living a lie. So what’s the lie? Well the lie is that I had an imbalanced perception of my childhood and the role of my father and mother in my formative years. This imbalanced perception led to a need for control and a need to know. This need for control and a need to know led to my career at the UK National Audit Office and a career travelling the world. This need for control led me into some unexpected and truly enjoyable opportunities. But this need for control also resulted in low levels of depression, anxiety and nervous exhaustion. My 20s, 30s and 40s were periods of deep happiness and deep self-unease. Unyet I had no awareness of the gravity of what was happening within my inner being. I was aware my father had anger management issues and my mother has ongoing issues of depression and had experienced a nervous breakdown during my early teenage years. But I did not understand at the time that these behavioural traits are passed through our DNA and that these behavioural traits were within me, inherited from my ancestors. I do now. Since 2011, I have delved deeply into the science underpinning our inner design. To learn about our inner being is to realise that much of our instruction manual is inherited from our ancestors, combining their conscious and unconscious memories and experiences. On top of this are the conscious and unconscious memoirs of our childhood and teenage years. All these memories and experiences influence our choices of values, our behaviours, our energy, our beliefs and our pursuit of ethics, morals and truth. To understand the inter-relationship between the above is to understand that we are both simple human beings and highly complex human beings. To value our truth and the power we have over our thoughts, our feelings and our behaviours is to value the role we each have towards ourselves and toward others. To value our truth and the power we have over ourselves is to value the responsibility we have to achieve ethical, moral and human rights informed decisions aligned to leaving the planet in a better shape than it was when we were born. To appreciate our truth is to understand the wisdom that is available. We can reconfigure our brains and our thoughts. We can reconfigure our hearts and our feelings. We can reconfigure our courage and bravery whilst overcoming anxieties or fears whether real or perceived. Through understanding the source of much of our inner being and reflecting on what we truly value most, we can effect a wiser approach to being in the world and begin to effect a clearer vision of not only our own inner truth but also the outer truth that our reality is what we make it – however challenging that may seem. The biggest challenges for me have been accessing the truth, my truth. When I found the truth, my truth – I was shocked and amused. To use this truth to achieve a more aligned set of values in my daily life has been one of the most amazing experiences in my fifty-plus years. I am not the person I thought I was born to me. I am someone much calmer and much happier. To experience a career of some two decades in an audit organisation and then experience a mental health diagnosis and then realise that for much of my life, whilst enjoying senior leadership roles, I was also lying to myself which resulted in one of the most intense experiences of mental illness known to mankind has been the gift that gives. Leaders often are not aware they are lying to themselves. They are not often aware they are lying to others. Often this becomes the norm, where the lies outweigh the truth. This not only has implications for those surrounding the leader but also has implications for the individual themselves and their internal health and wellbeing. I know this to be my truth. The world of mental health and mental illness is evolving rapidly as we both understand more about our inner design and also hear more and more stories from those wise individuals courageously and compassionately sharing their experiences to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms to help others understand not only what is but also what could be – in terms of healing and recovery – but moreover in effecting a healthier way of life into the future through recalibrating our inner reality and truth. So whilst leadership and lies may be of value in some circumstances (not really) – it’s not really ethical and it’s not really moral to lie to oneself or others. The challenge is to understand that often the root cause of these lies may be inherited from generations back and unconsciously. It is maybe not our role to understand all that happened before us but I believe it is our role to ensure we minimise the risk of repeating the mistakes of those who have gone before us. That’s the role of humanity and each individual – personal growth contributes to global growth. Global growth to effect a more ecologically constructive, ethical, moral and human rights informed way of being in the world. The time for leadership and lies is over. Let 2022 be the beginning of a fresh start for each and every one of us.