We are all leaders. If we want to be a leader in the area of social change, we need to appreciate that learning leadership skills alone will not be enough to make a positive impact. If you want to be a leader of change that has a positive social impact, pause and put the books down, clear the busy diary and make space to look first of all at your ‘Soul Compass’.
It is likely your intuition is telling you that leading with your soul would feel a whole lot easier. However, your rational logical brain will want some good reasons for doing something different. Here are a few responses to the logical brain that could be helpful...
- If we are guided by our memory of being an expert problem solver, we may lead and drive ahead a solution that has worked in the past, only to discover that it is too simplistic and disconnected to make a difference.
- If we are guided only by others’ beliefs and their ‘soul’ purpose, we won’t have the energy required to personally take action. We will lose commitment, focus and drive.
- If we are guided by our emotional reactions alone, we may panic ourselves and frantically start more than we can contain and will burnout.
- If we are guided by our ego, we may commit to winning others over to our own idea being the best and only way, and become blinkered and rigid, ignored or at worst win a battle only to find it has caused more problems.
We can reach all kinds of blockages when we use our leadership without a reliable and sustainable guide. The guidance we need to seek out needs to speak to us from a different level of consciousness. As Einstein taught us “no problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it”. We, therefore, need to develop our consciousness awareness at our soul level, and anchor our leadership in this more stable and sustainable core. Without our Soul Compass to guide us there is a big risk that we will give up, burn out, be fighting the wrong battles or winning those that add to the problems we face.
So how can we reconnect with our Soul Compass?
“To Know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” Socrates. To reconnect with our soul, we need to truly know our self. We need to internally inquire about who we are, what we are passionate about, how we want to be in this world. In Otto Scharmer’s Theory U model this is described as “‘presencing’ - connecting to the deepest source of your self and will”. The big question for many is how do we reconnect to this? There will be many different suggestions and guidance on this question dependent on who you ask, however at Create Seven, based on evidence of psychological growth and leadership development, we guide leaders from all walks of society to listen and tune in to their soul through three key practices.
Silent Individual Being: A great place to start is to commit to discovering and allowing a space for silence and simply sitting and being. You can follow meditation guidance or simply silent contemplation. This is a space, not for analysis but for quietening the busy thinking mind and being with the self, listening to the self. On our modules we practice guided mindfulness and provide silent time for personal reflection and contemplation of our experience.
Collective Unfolding: Being with others in real dialogue, in a safely held space for allowing the collective consciousness to unfold, provides us with an opportunity to drop our own ego so we can listen to and speak for the group. Dropping our ego allows us to witness how the content of the dialogue resonates with our soul. In the process, we not only enable something new to emerge from the group but we also learn more about ourselves. On our modules we practice Bohm Dialogue on a topic of choice that connects with everyone’s purpose.
Being as Nature: In the wonder, beauty and magnificence of nature it is virtually impossible to maintain a big and noisy ego. As our ego quietens, we start to hear the voice of our soul. At a rational level we all know we are part of nature. We are also totally interconnected with nature. Nature is within us. We are nature. So when we are listening to our soul, we are listening to the wisdom of nature. This doesn’t happen in the classroom or boardroom, this experience unsurprisingly is out in nature. John Milton, ecologist, meditator and educator says “When you encounter Nature with your heart truly fully wide open, you will be amazed by what she will give back to you.” On our modules we tune into our soul through practicing biomimicry and connecting with nature as a group and on our own.
Each time we reconnect with our Soul Compass through practices like these, we find that we bring more of who we really are to our leadership with other people. As Otto Scharmer says, we leave them each time being a tiny bit more the person who we really are.
Clearly social change is needed and one person alone, however intelligent, cannot solve the complexity of issues surrounding us in areas such as climate change impact, our global mental health crisis, unprecedented levels of displacement and migration, and massive economic inequality. Within a collective purpose, shared values and intentions, our soul compass allows us to authentically collaborate in finding solutions to these complex issues. In doing so we sustain ourselves, each other and move with focus and agility to keep on the path that they all deeply believe they should be on. However, one person guided by their soul compass, alongside others guided by theirs, has a chance to understand and change the systems that are creating and sustaining the problems we are facing right now. Could that person be you?
If you would like to reconnect with your soul and connect with others in order to find sustainable paths forwards, you can join us and other leaders on our next Discovering New Leadership Module at The Centre for Alternative Technology 18th to 20th November. This is a cost plus ‘pay as you can’ event.
Leadership Development Psychologist
17th October 2018