Being a leader is rewarding, challenging, humbling, and inspiring. As a leader, you are constantly holding space for others to transform and grow, while transforming and growing yourself. It can be extremely taxing energetically, while simultaneously rejuvenating. You do not have to possess a position of power to be a truly mindful and impactful leader. Leaders bloom at home, work, friendships, school, hobbies, you name it! The more mindful and aware that we are, the better leaders we will have. Think of one person in your life that truly inspires and impacts you. Do they lead from a place of mindfulness, connection, intention, and vulnerability?
You may have heard the question, is the glass half full or is it half empty? There is a story/theory where a psychologist walked around a classroom learning about stress management, and asked this very question determining optimism vs. pessimism. He then proceeded to ask "How heavy is the glass?" The tricky answer is; the weight might not matter. If you hold it for a minute, you may feel fine. As time goes on, that glass starts to feel pretty heavy. There is the potential that it will fall.
Inspired and mindful leadership is about spiritually exercising your ability to hold that glass of water for yourself and for others. It is a constant practice that will ebb and flow.
Here are some opportunities to practice more mindfulness, strength, and awareness in your leadership:
Avoid contamination in your space! Be aware of the emotions, stories, and thoughts that you are bringing with you into your interactions. Each day think about your environment as a zen clean space. Whether it be with a coworker, your own home office, or a big meeting, take note and inventory of all of the things that could potentially create a toxic environment. Your energy is transferrable and it is apparent to those around you. Knowing what you are working with before you set off into your day will allow you to do the internal work beforehand and redirect focus if needed maintaining neutral and zen territory. This will leave space for solution-based results, exceeding professional and personal goals, and developing people you work with to do the same.
Get Grounded. Know your Values.
Work from your core values. If you were to live by your own code-of-ethics, what words, values, or themes are non-negotiable? Think of your values like the basement of a house. You have to start from the foundation before you get to the roof. Whether it is a work meeting, new business adventure, challenging conversation with an employee, get grounded in your values before you act. This will aid in setting the tone for your endeavors.
Put your oxygen mask on!
As an inspiring leader you ask others to be the best version of themselves. You offer personal development, conversations about feedback, and consistent support. You give your all in order to support their growth in order to succeed in your own personal or professional goals. You may have heard the guidance on an airplane for Mom to put the oxygen mask on before the child. Lead by example and practice self care. Do your own work with your personal goals, intentions, purpose, or personal manifesto. When you are inspired by your own work, others will follow suit. Put your mask on first!
Utilize your Strengths
We take so much time as humans to be the best versions of ourselves that sometimes we focus so much on the things that we want to change, that we forget all the things that make us strong, confident, and inspired in our leadership and presence. When you are aligned in your own personal strengths, you are able to assess what motivates you when working toward a common goal. Can you also find the strengths in the people around you? Rather than focusing on all the things that your employee, friend, coworker is not doing, utilize their strengths and apply them toward actionable solutions to support their areas of growth.
The Dalai Lama said, "“When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” Listen without an agenda. Observe, take words, thoughts, and your environment in before reacting. Notice if you tend to take up conversations or cut people off. Are you consistently thinking about what you are going to say next when someone speaks instead of actually taking in what they are saying? We have teachers and leaders all around us. When we take the time to listen, we hear, learn and grow. Active listening is an art and a dedicated practice. An inspired leader can listen, get grounded, and ask intentional questions in response to what they hear. Explore this the next time you have a conversation.