The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking your potential for greatness

I’ve been listening to the CDs of Deepak’s latest book, The Soul of Leadership, whenever I’m in the car. It resonates with all that we do here at Witherdens Hall – whether with business clients or with people who are here for personal breakthough retreats. I’ve recommended it to a few of my Vector Business Group clients and they’ve found it truly inspirational – not only has it enabled them adjust what they think, do and say, but they’ve experienced immediate, positive tangible benefits.
It’s based upon the course that Deepak taught at Kellogg University to the MBA students and it’s wonderful, so I’ve imported an article he wrote about it – to give you a taster.  Enjoy!
Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness

by Deepak Chopra on 24 December, 2010

Everyone who has a soul, which by my definition includes us all, has the potential to be an inspired leader. When you change on the inside so that you draw on the unlimited wisdom of the soul, you become a leader without needing to seek followers. As you put your vision for a better world into tangible form, they will find you. It is my fondest hope that you will discover your greatness and act upon it. Wherever you do it, there is no doubt in my mind that leading from the soul is what the time demands. 

The Spiritual Side of Doing
The classic sign that a person is leading from the soul is that she stops struggling and lets life unfold. In Eastern spiritual traditions this approach is sometimes called ‘nondoing’, which is considered more powerful than doing. You can actually accomplish more with less when you practice nondoing. It is very far from doing nothing. It’s the most powerful way to lead, because you trust that your soul wants to bring the best possible outcome. Your role is to tune in and witness how perfectly life can organize itself when the soul is in charge.

The Eastern teaching about nondoing holds that just as you can step aside from controlling your body, you can step aside from controlling your life. Your life will still work very well if you don’t control it. It will flow, unfold, grow and evolve. By allowing, you become the witness to what your soul wants, and because you trust your soul, what it wants meshes perfectly with what you want. Letting your soul do the work is the most efficient way to lead as well as the most spiritual. In particular, four principles operate from the soul level:

Consciousness has organizing power
Consciousness makes quantum leaps of creativity
Consciousness moves naturally in the direction of growth
Consciousness creates order out of disorder

Now instead of using the word consciousness, substitute the word I. These four principles exist through you. You activate them. This is the true meaning of acting as the soul of the group. Allowing your soul to act through you opens a path so that the people you work with can activate their own souls. However, when you struggle, worry, and try to be in control, you block the soul’s influence. A successful visionary takes practical steps to ensure that that doesn’t happen. For each of the four principles here are definite do’s and don’ts.

Consciousness has organizing power
Do: Let events fall into place. When something gets stuck, first adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Act when you feel clear and centred. Allow other people to follow their own natural way of doing things. Tolerate diverse approaches. Trust that your soul has a plan, and even if you can’t see it completely, know that everything will unfold as it is meant to.

Don’t: Plan excessively. When you make a plan, leave room for changes. Don’t impose one right way of doing things. Don’t try to nail down every detail in advance. Don’t worry about the unknown – it contains the most creative solutions. Don’t take on the burden of knowing everything in advance. When in doubt, don’t overthink, and don’t rush in to control things.

Consciousness makes quantum leaps of creativity
Do: Expect the unexpected, and be comfortable with it. Ask yourself for new solutions, and then let go so they have time to gestate within you. Trust that there is always an answer. Look beyond the level of the problem: the solution is almost always at another level. Rely on your intuition. Follow hunches, and enjoy where they lead you – chance encounters are often the most productive. Keep in contact with people whose minds work very differently from yours, and pay attention to what they say from their unique viewpoint. Keep a journal of your brainstorms, and just as helpfully, let you imagination run wild in your journal.

Don’t: Keep repeating the same failed approach. Doing more of what didn’t work in the first place won’t take you where you want to go. Don’t talk only to those who already agree with you. Don’t be closed to crazy ideas and outlandish dreams – they might lead to unexpected breakthroughs. Don’t forget that you are the source of infinite creativity, waiting to be tapped.

Consciousness moves in the direction of growth
Do: Trust that growth is endless, since awareness has no limits. Treat life as a classroom where every day is the first day of school. If you have a choice, be last in the class ahead of you rather than first in the class behind you. Aim for the highest achievement, and be guided step by step from the core of your being. To activate growth, add some fertilizer in the form of energy, attention and passion.

Don’t: Think you’ve reached the end. There’s always another step of evolution waiting for you. Don’t assume that you know the whole story – there’s always another page to turn. Don’t set your sights low. Don’t settle for good enough.

Consciousness creates order out of disorder
Do: Trust that everything has a reason. Look for that reason rather than focusing on the chaos. Keep your mind open to the bigger picture that is emerging. Keep in touch with the meaning and purpose of your work. Remind yourself of the greater good behind every day’s effort. As new levels of success unfold, aim even higher. There is infinite orderliness in Nature, therefore any order of complexity can be effortlessly arranged.

Don’t: Struggle against disorder. Creation uses disorder to bring about new answers. Don’t impose an arbitrary or rigid kind of organization. The order imposed by the mind is ugly compared to the beautiful order that Nature unfolds. Don’t add to the stress of the situation. Don’t put up resistance to change just because you feel uncomfortable: be open to the new order that wants to emerge.

If you adopt these principles, you will discover that allowing has tremendous power. Instead of trying to figure out every step of your personal journey, you can let your soul reveal what is needed next. What is needed next cannot be predicted. Do you know the day and hour of your next brilliant idea? Again, this isn’t the same as doing nothing. Your soul may tell you to jump into action; it may tell you to wait and see, or anything in between. The point is that consciousness flows where it is needed. The soul sends the message that suits the moment.
Behind the mystery of nondoing lies a simple, profound truth: your soul wants to take care of you completely. All true leaders embody this truth, because in their heart of hearts leaders want to serve. Their greatest fulfillment lies in bringing fulfillment to others. Therefore doing and nondoing, although they sound like opposites, actually merge. Nondoing brings you close to your soul. From that level, everything you do serves the highest purpose of life, the well-being of the group, and your own personal mission.

From The Soul of Leadership, ©2011 by Deepak Chopra, published by Rider.

From Armchair to Action – Sue Stockdale inspires us again!

I was talking with motivational speaker, business coach and Arctic adventuress, Sue Stockdale about the significance of enabling my business clients to set their Vector rather than just their direction,  when defining their business strategy.

So she wrote a blog about her expedition to the North Pole and how it has inspired her and, more importantly, her business coaching clients to set their direction, overcome obstacles, sustain change and savour the results.

Learn more about Sue at: http://www.suestockdale.com

or read her blog at http://missionpossible.typepad.com/

Getting to your North Pole

In 1996, I became the first British woman to ski to the Magnetic North Pole. Prior to this, I had never travelled further north than Scotland, been cross country skiing or worn the same clothes for a month. But I overcame these challenges and achieved my goal.

Explorer Sue Stockdale

Of course, everyone may not have the desire to go to the extremes of the earth like I did, but we all have passions and dreams of things we would like to achieve at work and in our lives.  So how do you make them happen?

This is the sort of issue that some of my coaching clients have addressed. They are generally all very successful, savvy executives but when it comes to applying what they do best in business to their own lives they struggle.   Maybe they can create a brilliant business strategy, or manage multi-million pound projects, but if they try to set a goal for themselves personally that’s another story!

How do you get to your North Pole?

First of all, you need to know where it is.  If you are so busy at work, doing long hours and making lots of money, but have no time to step back and work out what your true purpose is, then life can pass you by.  You miss seeing the family grow up, or have no opportunity to spend all your hard earned cash on things you enjoy.

Set the Direction

I did not always know that I wanted to go on an expedition to the North Pole, but I did always know that I wanted to do something adventurous.  Once you have found the general direction, then experimentation and reflection can help you to hone in on your true purpose.   When we began our North Pole expedition (and we knew where it was!) the route was not always direct, because there were many obstacles to overcome.   Giant blocks of ice, crevasses, and polar bears all threatened to take us off course, so we had to be very clear about the end goal and keep focused on that.  So think about what you want to achieve and how it would give you satisfaction.

What’s really going on?

Then you also have to be honest with yourself and ask – what’s really stopping me?  Sometimes the answer is a reason that you are consciously aware of.  It may be you don’t want to make the commitment of time and energy that is needed to accomplish your goal.  Or you would prefer to focus on your family at this stage in your life rather than a personal goal.  But sometimes there are unconscious patterns of behaviour or beliefs that we have that stop us from moving forwards.  We can talk the talk, but somehow are unable to accomplish what we want to.

That’s where a coach can help.  What I do is work with clients to observe what’s really going on.   How does their non verbal communication match with their words, what patterns am I noticing in their language, or behaviour that could be a clue?  Once we work out whats happening and they trust me enough to face up to what we uncover, I can help them find new ways to move forward.  It can be transformational!

In the Arctic, there were some days where no matter how much I tried to ski, it felt like hard work. There was no lightness of movement, no smoothness.  And when I analyzed things during the endless hours of skiing in nothing but white all around me, I realized it was not what I was doing, but how I was thinking.   Changing the thoughts changed the behaviours.

Sustaining the change

So, once the transformation has taken place, (reframing thoughts, choose a new behaviour pattern or whatever it is) there is the need to sustain the change, otherwise its too easy to slip back into the old way of behaving.  Create many different activities to sustain the change.   Get others to encourage you, use positive self talk, reward yourself, think of the consequences of not doing it etc.  The important thing is to keep at it.   What I did in the Arctic was to make sure that every day I improved on what I had done the day before.   It helped me focus on what was not working, and what needed to be changed.

Savour it

Once you get to your end goal, then make sure you enjoy it.  When we arrived after a month of skiing at the North Pole, after we hugged one another and took lots of photos, we all just had a moment of quiet to think about what we had accomplished.  Let it soak in, enjoy the moment and realise that all the effort you put in got you there.  I recently heard a story about an Olympic athlete who was a sprinter, who said he had trained for years only to perform at his best for a few seconds of his life.   Yet it took years of effort to achieve that.  So stop, sit back and enjoy the moment and realise that it can be worth all the hard work to achieve your North Pole.

So even at Harvard Business School they are starting to get it!

I always enjoy reading Harvard Business Review but I was especially heartened by this article (http://hbr.org/2010/07/how-will-you-measure-your-life/ar/1) by Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen – he teaches aspiring MBAs how to apply management and innovation theories to build stronger companies.

But he also believes that these models can help people lead better lives.

In this article, he explains how, exploring questions everyone needs to ask:

How can I be happy in my career?

How can I be sure that my relationship with my family is an enduring source of happiness?

And how can I live my life with integrity?

The answer to the first question comes from Frederick Herzberg’s assertion that the most powerful motivator isn’t money; it’s the opportunity to learn, grow in responsibilities, contribute, and be recognized. That’s why management, if practiced well, can be the noblest of occupations; no others offer as many ways to help people find those opportunities. It isn’t about buying, selling, and investing in companies, as many think. The principles of resource allocation can help people attain happiness at home. If not managed masterfully, what emerges from a firm’s resource allocation process can be very different from the strategy management intended to follow.

That’s true in life too:

If you’re not guided by a clear sense of purpose, you’re likely to fritter away your time and energy on obtaining the most tangible, short-term signs of achievement, not what’s really important to you.

And just as a focus on marginal costs can cause bad corporate decisions, it can lead people astray. The marginal cost of doing something wrong “just this once” always seems alluringly low. You don’t see the end result to which that path leads. The key is to define what you stand for and draw the line in a safe place.

Sound advice from Energy Therapy founder, Jaime Tanna

‘Do not continue to play the outdated roles that others have chosen for you! You are the director & also the actor upon the stage of your own show. You can choose whatever roles you wish to play. Make them exciting ones!’

Jaime posted this wisdom while running his SRT course here at Witherdens Hall last weekend.

What he says about his courses:

Make the decision to change your life today! Life changing energy healing courses are currently being held at Witherdens Hall, from beginner level all the way up to advanced (teacher) level. Relax, rejuvenate and reconnect… this is a unique opportunity to lift the veil of self-limitation. Freedom is your essence and your birthright. Are you willing to take the necessary steps to discover that sense of freedom again?

For further info check out http://www.energytherapy.biz

What’s Your Purpose?

If you go through life with out knowing and living your Purpose, then you have missed the point.

Don’t miss the point.

Read Richard Jacob’s book ‘What’s Your Purpose?’, answer the 7 questions to find your answer and your life will never be the same again.

And that’s a good thing!

Hello world!

Welcome to the blog for Witherdens Hall. We aim to use this site as a way of signposting readers to some wonderful wisdom that we come across. And sometimes we might have something of our own to say which needs more space than on Twitter – we call them Witters  (as a term we are not sure it will catch on – but it works for us!)