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.

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