In a world where motivating others is just one inspirational Instagram meme away, it can be easy to skirt the surface of what it really takes to embody true leadership, or conscious leadership.
Conscious leadership is about more than being seen by others; it’s about seeing yourself. When an entrepreneur sets out to make a difference in the world through leadership, the motivation often stems from a desire to be of service to others, which is an undeniably powerful intention to have. But, in order to embody conscious leadership, you must start by looking at how you can be of service to your own growth, your own expansion, and your own willingness to step outside of your comfort zone over and over again.
As a conscious leader, your job isn’t to run around trying to save the world. Your job is to go within, do the inner work that allows you to show up as your most powerful, authentic self — which will in turn inspire others to do the same. Conscious leadership requires you to identify, plan for, and move through the patterns that come up every time you’re about to step out of your comfort zone. These patterns can be self-sabotage, procrastination, fear of success, fear of failure, ego trips, comparison overload, and any other number of ways that you’ve learned to “play it safe” throughout your life.
Here are four steps for developing your conscious leadership skills:
Step 1: Know Where You Stand, Right Now
It’s tempting to skip over the “stuff” in your personal life or career that you’d rather not look at so you can hurry up and grow already. You know that you’ve picked up some patterns over the years that don’t serve you (procrastination, worry, planning for the worst, self-deprecating thoughts, self-sabotage, etc.), but what’s the point of spending time with the stuff that holds you back?
Think about it this way: The most detailed roadmap in the world is useless if it’s not marked with a “YOU ARE HERE.”
So, if you want to be able to draw out your roadmap for success, you’ve got to be willing to start right where you are.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools And Create Safety
Once you’ve identified where you are, it’s important to give yourself the tools that can support the kind of growth you want to experience. So often we pick up tools throughout our lives that are designed to numb out the “bad stuff” and eliminate fear or pain. Drinking, gossiping, avoiding responsibilities, and playing it safe are a few ways we do this that come to mind. But your fear and your pain aren’t the enemy. They are shining a light on the parts of yourself that are genuinely scared of growth. It’s called a “comfort zone” for a reason, and your fear will do everything it can to keep you there.
Safety actually plays a significant role in how quickly and consistently you will experience growth. The problem is, somewhere along the way you learned that “playing it safe” also means “playing it small,” but that doesn’t have to be your only option.
Implementing the kinds of tools that allow you to be with the “stuff” you’d rather not look at is where the rubber hits the road for the conscious leader.
Instead of using tools that numb your fear and pain, begin gathering the tools that help you get to know more about yourself and the patterns that continue to emerge in your life and career. Working with a coach, finding a good therapist and surrounding yourself with other people who practice this type of radical responsibility are all wonderful places to start.
When you’ve got the right tools in your tool belt, you’re unstoppable.
Step 3: Stay In Your Own Lane
Authenticity is your x-factor — that thing that no one can recreate or even put their finger on. It’s that thing that makes people say, “I don’t know what it is, but I like her.”
This is the kind of energy, the kind of permission, that is embodied by someone who fully accepts themselves for everything they are. All sides. The “good” and the “bad.” The person who has danced with their shadows and still knows how unconditionally worthy she is. This is what attracts people to you, your self-proclaimed permission.
Everyone is running around asking for permission to dream, to build, to start —and yet, we’re the only ones who hold the power to give it to ourselves.
So, as a conscious leader, while it’s impossible for you to grant someone else permission to be themselves, it’s your duty to show someone what that looks like, that it’s safe to shine, that being different is something worth celebrating. To be a walking invitation for others to grant themselves permission to step into their own version of greatness.
Step 4: It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It
Your audience, followers, fans and clients are inspired by how you show up in the world. When you commit to being seen, when you commit to showing up for yourself, when you commit to self-care and inner growth, you become the embodiment of conscious leadership. You become a mirror of what’s possible for others.
Every time you grow, you invite your audience to do the same.
Throughout each transformation that you experience in your life and career (and there will be many), you will be confronted with uncertainty, doubt, fear, ego-trips, and thoughts that are overwhelming enough to make you never want to get out of bed. And yet, with your tools in hand, you will get up.
You will move through each step once more, inviting even more growth and evolution into your life, because it’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it. With trust. With conviction. With purpose. With intuition.
• Own it.
• Train it.
• Be it.
• Share it.
That is how you develop conscious leadership.
By Jenn Lederer
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