Conscious leadership

Transform into a more conscious leader with these 5 strategies.

Conscious leadership is so much more than tossing around buzzwords of the moment, adding another inspirational image to your Instagram, or tweeting a motivational quote.

The journey of conscious leadership can be thought of as a deep, continual process that ultimately brings the best of your inner self out into the world of form so that you can create the greatest impact as you inspire those around you.

Conscious leaders know that as we expand our understanding of who we are and what our unique purpose is, we’re better able to deepen our impact as our powerful authenticity unfolds, radiating from within out into our sphere of influence.

Tempted?

Here are 5 practical strategies to help you become a more conscious leader:

Conscious leadership
1. Write your purpose statement.

Knowing your personal “why” is key to your own development. You might be surprised at how many people go through the motions of each day (focusing on the “what”) without truly having an understanding of the “why” behind what they’re doing.

One of the most effective ways to get clear on your own “why” is to craft a personal purpose statement. This is just for you – there are no rules to follow, no specific guidelines you must meet – let your creativity flow and use this as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the visions you have for your future.

2. Cultivate a self-care practice.

Far from being selfish, self care allows you to reenergize you so you can bring your full presence into all that you do. After all, none of us can give from an empty cup.

When it comes to self-care, you don’t really have to “do” anything – there is no special practice to follow, no app to download, no seminar, workshop, or training to attend. Your self-care routine can involve anything that nurtures and soothes you – listen to your heart here and allow yourself to spoil the inner you.

This is the beginning of a virtuous circle around you:  the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you will likely be to others. The more they receive kindness, the more they can give it to themselves and others. And so on. Think about it: it all starts with you.

Conscious leadershipThink BOLDLY: Today, I encourage you to expand your concept of self-care by taking a few moments out to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished on your journey. And, contrary to what some of you may be thinking, this is not blah-blah. Even HBR has researched and written about how acknowledging our achievements is a form of self-care (“Acknowledging Your Achievements Is a Form of Self-Care”).

3. Focus on the “we” – not the “me.”

The most impactful organizations aren’t solely focused on employee perks. In an article on Inc.com, Glint CEO Jim Barnett takes the concept of conscious leadership a step further by reminding us how conscious leadership can create conscious organizations.

He explains, “The vision behind my conscious leadership style stems from wanting to bring awareness, authenticity and caring to my leadership role. This means I bring my whole, authentic self to work and try to lead from a place of trust, responsibility, curiosity, integrity and ease. I work hard to create an environment with no drama, a focus on “we” not “me,” and where we believe in creating “wins for all” vs. win-lose scenarios.

So, you see: self-care does indeed fit into the greater concept of a whole conscious organization. When we’re willing to take good care of ourselves first, we lay the foundation to bring our best, most authentic presence into all that we do. Thus, we lay the foundation necessary to inspire others to do the same, resulting in a cumulative positive effect.

4. Encourage feedback.

Many leaders find they’re more focused on giving feedback rather than receiving it. Truth be told, many leadership articles focus on how to effectively give employee feedback. And rightly so – constructive feedback fuels the growth of an organization by bringing attention to what needs to change while highlighting what’s already working. This same concept can deepen your capacity to lead with far greater ease.

Inviting others to share their honest feedback with you is a win-win situation – you gain valuable insight and perhaps the chance to better recognize your blind spots that could use attention. Plus, you enjoy the opportunity to cultivate trust and deepen your relationships.

One caveat here, though: remember to balance developmental feedback with feedback about what makes us great. All of us exhibit greatness. And, as humans, all of us – at all levels of the organization – need to be reminded of it and know others see it as well.

5. Be inspired every single day.

If you’re not fully grounded, it can sometimes be challenging to navigate the often turbulent waters of life. A quick visit to Facebook, Twitter, or any conventional news outlet often yields a whole lot of drama.

Conscious leadersLet this motivate you to find inspiration in everything. When you find that a situation seems discouraging or downright disturbing, ask:

  • What can be learned from this?
  • Is there a way I can positively contribute or serve others?
  • What might be happening beneath the waterline, that is, just below the surface of human perception?

It’s so important to know that conscious leadership is an ever-evolving process of growth and deeper understanding – not a once-and-you’re-done task.

Gain more practical tips and easy-to-implement strategies to help you transform into a more conscious leader…sign up for my free Weekly Bold Moves right here, delivered fresh to your inbox each week!

Set your intentions

Set Your Goals, Live Your Intentions

The New Year, infused with excitement and enthusiasm, inspires many to look brightly to the future. It’s a perfect time to give your dreams another chance – with a deadline!

Different areas of the globe observe their own unique festivities. For many, New Year’s resolutions are willfully pledged and hefty goals are resolved – with an imaginative intention and a belief that this year really will be different.

Ah, but the best goals oftentimes wither into nothingness, and the newly-born year quickly succumbs to the same frustrations of the past. Consider, for example, those who resolve to exercise more. Gyms are typically packed in January, but completely empty by March.

So, what happened to those bold goals and lofty intentions?

More importantly, are you aware of the distinction between a goal and an intention?

Set goalsGoals Have Their Purpose – Externally

Goals are aims we establish for ourselves – but they are outside of ourselves. Goals are often about a destination. Once set, goals are useful in that they provide a roadmap of where we want to drive our lives.

Setting goals is the first step into turning the invisible into the visible.

-Tony Robbins 

Keep it simple:  keep your goals specific and realistic. Don’t fill your plate with a smorgasbord of goals just because it’s a New Year and everybody’s doing it.

Goals are very heady, something outside of our inner self, and very much IQ driven. Goals are expressly about the “what” we want to achieve – our future state.

On your way to reaching a goal, it can be easy to fall into an “are we there yet?” mentality. After all, goals are most often associated with a destination – somewhere we haven’t attained yet. Once the initial gratification of achieving the goal has worn off, “what’s next?” is often the immediate response we ask ourselves.

Sometimes, that can cause us to feel uncomfortable with ourselves, as though somehow we’re inadequate as we are.

For the greatest chances of success, goals need to be authentic. When you decide on a goal to please someone else – and it’s not really representative of your core self – it’s doomed to failure.

Intentions, On the Other Hand, Have Their Purpose – Internally

Intentions involve the heart and are therefore more deeply rooted. Intentions are all about the process, your process – the “why” in your life, your way of living. When you focus on your intentions, you’re keeping true to yourself, your inner values, who you are. It’s all about being present now – unlike goals that are something in the future.

A good intention clothes itself with power.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Intentions keep you true to your Self and to your strongest yearnings. An Inc.com article by Maria Tabaka cited the importance of setting intentions:

  • Setting intentions takes your mind off problemsSet your intentions. You learn to pay attention to the path of your day. The result? You’ll find you’re grateful for so many things you might otherwise have overlooked.
  • Intentions can go beyond just “me” to a more expansive “we”. Intentions don’t have to focus on you specifically, but rather upon who you want to be and how you want that to impact the lives of others.
  • There’s no limit to intentions. A study demonstrated that water can be influenced by thought. Consider that for a minute – then imagine the positive changes that can take place within you and your world by setting intentions.

The power of your intentions has a greater impact on your life than your actions.

-Debasish Mridha

Fulfilling Intentions Creates Meaningful Transformations

A few years ago, I set out on a transformation process of my own. I followed my inner voice and stepped into who I really am.

This positive transformation is reflected in my new, updated website. (Check it out here: www.boldermoves.com.)

In my own transformation process, I realized the website I had been putting out to the world reflected a version of me that was not really who I am. So I sought help in coming up with a new design (a mix of Zen and bold) and language (a blend of business and mindfulness) that let the ‘authentic’ me shine through.

I haven’t lost track of my goals. They’re specific. They’re authentic. I want to help wake up the world.

And my intentions? They keep me grounded. They’re like little reminders to check in with myself, to make sure I’m being kind to myself and those in my life. They remind me that life is a journey, and that I’ll enjoy the ride by keeping true to myself. And, anyway, if I am not loving the Work, why should anyone follow me?

Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, your inner voice to guide you.

-Katori Hall

When you pair your goals with your intentions, it’s like linking your unique journey with the destination. And for those of us seeking greater wholeness, how much more inspiring and empowering could that be?

Get more practical tips and easy-to-implement strategies to help you identify your goals with greater ease (and set those intentions, too!)…sign up for my free Weekly Bold Moves right here, delivered fresh to your inbox each week.

courageous conversation

Want to be more confident? Transform Conflict into Courageous Conversations.

Conflict – constructive conflict – can present an outstanding leadership opportunity for positive growth and transformation, along with a deepened capacity for understanding ourselves and the world around us.

Transform Conflict into a Courageous Conversation

Transforming conflict into courageous conversations that achieve results can be thought of as an art form. First, it is helpful to recognize when we may be trying to dodge conflict altogether.

The reasons why we may wish to avoid conflict are many. Perhaps some of these statements sound familiar:

  • I want to be the person everyone likes, to fit in.
  • It’s better not to rock the apple cart.
  • I don’t want to get involved. What good would it do?
  • This is going nowhere. Why bother?
  • I might strain or erode the relationship.
  • I don’t know what to say or do.
  • What if I say something I later regret?
  • It would just feel too awkward.

Leadership conversations

To Authentic Leaders, Conflict = Opportunity

If you tend to see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs, I invite you to think of it in a fresh new way – as an opportunity to achieve greater levels of fulfillment. There’s no doubt: shifting unproductive conflict into a courageous conversation can have powerful results.

In truth, conflict in leadership and in life is unavoidable. Let’s focus on what you can do – as an authentic leader and as a human being – to transform that next conflicting situation into a courageous conversation.

5 Strategies for a Successful Courageous Conversation

1- Begin by listening loudly. Before you jump into the conversation, take time to listen – really listen – to what’s going on around you. What’s being said? Listening loudly doesn’t stop with your ears. Go below the waterline of what you can visually perceive to consider what might be happening just beneath the surface to influence behaviors.

2- Before you speak, pause. All leaders feel stressed from time to time. When we feel strained, we may say or do something that feels “out of character” or totally misaligned with our values. Instead of being pulled in by the heat of the moment and reacting instinctively, take a deep breath first to realign yourself before responding. And if that doesn’t work, then…

3- Press your internal “reset” button. Resetting allows us to come back to ourselves, to back up and punt when things are getting out of hand or feel overwhelming. Pausing, taking stock, breathing deeply, and then determining the “right” next move create the foundation you need to move forward most effectively. Whether it’s for a couple minutes or much longer, this is one restorative tactic you’ll want to employ again and again.

4- Change the way you view your world. What if there were no labels like “good” and “bad”? Imagine how much differently your perception might become if you viewed emotions as a gauge to help you understand when your needs are being met – and when they are not. You may find these resources from The Center for Non-Violent Communication on feelings and needs very helpful.

5- Clearly define your intentions. Even if this means scribbling down your thoughts on a piece of paper, it’s vitally important that you understand what your intentions are. Why? Because no matter what the situation, being able to articulate your intentions effectually increases your chances of achieving what you want.

BONUS Tip: Be mindful of body language. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, focusing on what’s being said verbally. Yet, over 90% of our communication with others is actually nonverbal. Therefore, make your nonverbal cues count – here are some body language strategies to know about.

Have courageous conversationFocus on the Benefits of Having That Courageous Conversation

I’ll leave you today with a powerful quote from Forbes author Margie Warrell:

“Issues that aren’t talked out get acted out in snide remarks and innuendoes, higher absenteeism and turnover, and lower productivity and engagement.

When you are discussing something sensitive, what is left unsaid is often what the conversation really needs to be about.”

Think about the positive implications of having that courageous conversation. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather bring up what needs to be discussed (even if it is a sensitive topic). When we break the chains of unproductive conflict, we discover the freedom we need to soar to new heights of fulfillment.

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Want to be a truly authentic leader? Lead with your values.

Authentic leaders go much deeper than their life story, what they have been through, or the issues they have. They embrace their true self and their ethical values along with their weaknesses and use their strengths to their advantage without worrying about what others think.

-Peter Economy, in 9 Powerful Ways Great Leaders Show Real Authenticity

You want to live – and lead – authentically.

This happens in a variety of ways depending on people and circumstances. For instance, you may wish to deepen your capacity to:

  • Be a leader your team can trust.
  • Influence others in positive ways.
  • Make a greater impact in your organization.

How can you achieve these lofty leadership visions? The answer might be simpler than you think.

Align with your values to lead with authenticity…

You can start building a firm foundation today to lead with authenticity by coming into greater alignment with your values. In fact, living your values is one of the five practices of authentic leaders.

According to Richard Barrett, living authentically in alignment with our values and beliefs is associated with the fourth level of personal consciousness, transformation. If you’re unfamiliar with the 7 Levels of Personal Consciousness, I encourage you to explore this topic at www.valuescentre.com.

At the transformation level, you get to know your authentic self and establish your own voice. Part of the journey involves a release of subliminal, fear-based beliefs around not being able to meet your most basic needs. These beliefs may have been holding you back from living your values and reaching higher levels of consciousness and of fulfillment.

In turn, this release allows you to begin the ascension process into the next three levels of consciousness:

  • Internal Cohesion
  • Making a Difference
  • Service

A word of caution here, though: only 30% of humans make the choice and exhibit the courage necessary to cross the bridge from the “me-me-me” mindset into that of the greater good. This gap in choice for levels of values shows that making the switch to higher values takes courage, practice and commitment.

3 Strategies to Live (and Lead) in Alignment With Your Values

To get there, here are three of my favorite tips to guide you to live in greater alignment with your values:

  1. Leave perfection behind. Instead, emphasize acceptance. Acceptance is not “giving in.” “Just accepting” a disagreeable situation is not what is called for here. Quite the opposite, conscious acceptance can support a creative approach to problem-solving – a win-win for you and your team!
  2. Express yourself. Truly authentic leaders express who they are. They don’t “fake it till they make it” or hide behind a false façade. They are rooted in who they truly are and have the courage to call it how it is, even going against the grain when the situation dictates.
  3. Stand your ground. Your values are uniquely your own. The desire to “be liked” – or outside circumstances and opinions – needn’t influence what is important to you. Of course, leaders can modify strategies or approaches to a problem. But, never alter your core beliefs and principles.

Over time, you’ll start to realize some appreciable benefits. As you’re able to bring the full range of your capacity to a situation, your presence will be more meaningful, powerful, and engaging.

You can’t force anyone to trust you. They’ll chose to when you are genuine and authentic, not an imitation of someone else.

Want effective tips on using your values to lead and live authentically? Sign up to receive my FREE Weekly Bold Moves, delivered fresh to your inbox each week!