Each one of us has come to this world with a definite purpose
Inspired leaders have the awareness that leadership is not about leading others. It is about leading your own body, mind and intellect and being led by the life giving force- the Self, with the capital “S”.
Leadership of the body involves healthy habits. It is eating the right food, breathing the right way and keeping the body in the right shape by exercising in the right way.
Food has a big impact on our behavior and our lives. Some foods make us lethargic, irritable and dull. Some make us energetic and action oriented. Others make us reflective and creative. When babies are in their mother’s wombs, they breathe in the right natural way. As they come into the world and grow older, they forget the right way of breathing- inhaling causing the stomach to go out and exhaling resulting in the abdomen going in. Regular exercise of the right kind keeps the physical equipments of the body in the right shape and ready to support our aims and vision.
Leadership of the body combined with the ways we use our minds, intellects and are led by our “Souls” also involves leadership of the five senses and the process of perception. Leadership of the “eyes”is about the power of observation. Do we see what is seen by most or do we also observe the “unseen” that most people ignore or miss? Leadership of “ears” is about listening with attention. Many of us hear but do not listen to what is being said or implied. Great leaders are skillful listeners. Leadership of the skin is to learn how to use our power of touch to build trust, to heal and to demonstrate affection. It is not just the touch of “pleasure” but the touch of “joy”that is used by leaders who are leaders.
Leadership of the nose is about learning how to smell in the right way to prepare the mind and intellect to suit our intentions. For example, when we are preparing ourselves for quiet contemplation and reflection smelling the fragrance of flowers and incense calms us. This also helps us to choose the right foods and beverages to eat and drink. Leadership of the tongue is about making the right choices for food and drink and learning to “eat and drink” in a way that makes us derive the full nutritional value from our culinary habits.
Leadership of the mind is about leading our emotional intelligence in the right way. When we learn to listen deeply, appreciate people, demonstrate our love for others and empathize by learning “how to get out our own shoes” before “stepping into others’ shoes”, we lead our minds and emotions in appropriate ways.
Leadership of the mind is also about learning to deal with negative emotions. Anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, vanity etc are all negative emotions that take us away from our right to live joyful lives. “Disappointments” when others do not meet our expectations (especially if these are people we deeply care about) cause hurt and sadness. We tend to carry all these negative emotions deep in our hearts long after the events causing these have happened. Leadership of the mind involves regular “cleaning” of our negative emotions by sharing these with genuine friends or mentors and not keeping them hidden.
Leadership of the intellect is about leading our thinking process in the right way. It is about making the right choices and decisions. What are the most important questions that we should be asking? Do we have the right quality and amount of information to make important decisions? Have we created several alternatives before choosing one? Are we clear of the criteria for evaluating different choices? Do we knowingly make “trade- offs” and understand the impact of each? Have we built commitment in ourselves and others to implement our decisions?
Leadership of the intellect is also about taking responsibility for the ways in which we learn and use our multiple intelligences. Some of us learn by reading, others through dialogue, some learn by documenting and writing, others by hearing themselves talk and many others learn only by doing “something”.
When we use our thinking ability to realize the ways we learn, we use appropriate methods to learn and develop. Linked closely to this subject is the aspect of multiple intelligences. IQ (as measured through tests of reasoning), verbal intelligence, spatial intelligence, musical intelligence and intra personal and spiritual intelligence are all different gifts that we are born with and acquire. When we know our gifts and learn how to leverage them, we demonstrate the leadership of the intellect and learn how to learn. We can also develop some of these intelligences with conscious efforts.
The essence of all these facets of inspired leadership is being led by the “Self” or consciousness or the life giving force – the ultimate truth. What is the purpose of my life? Why have I taken human birth? What are my gifts? How can I lead my life in a way that leverages by gifts to realize my purpose? How is my work and the way I am leading my life enabling me to movre towards my purpose? What changes do I bring about in the way I am leading my life to move towards my purpose? What competencies do I need to develop to enable these to happen? How do I lead my body and the process of perception to make this happen? How do I lead my mind and my emotions? How do I lead my intellect? What do I need to learn to make progress? How can I use my preferred learning style to learn this?
These questions come to me if I learn to introspect, reflect and contemplate and make these habits a regular part of my living. These help me to become fully aware and make changes in the ways I live to become a true leader. The ultimate gift of this form of leadership that we can give ourselves is to learn to live in the present and make every moment special. Instead of worrying about the future and having regrets about the past, it is about acting with complete awareness. While eating, we are fully present, while playing, we are fully present, when working on a task, we are fully present. This is what we call as “mindfulness” or the ultimate form of self awareness. This causes complete “wellness” and makes every moment of life worthwhile and joyful.