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Leadership is Consciousness

I recently taught at the Future Leaders Program for the Mortgage Bankers Association in DC. Although this is my sixth year teaching the program, something clicked more deeply this time. From some new understandings, I shared deeper ideas of what leadership truly means: deeper levels of consciousness. This ties into my 15-year spiritual journey, which has profoundly changed me. I'll share more vulnerably about this journey over the summer in these Mindful Moments newsletters. 

So, what do I mean by leadership is consciousness? Here's an example:

During the session on Crucial Conversations—a powerful tool for leaders and one of my all-time favorite topics to teach—the students were very engaged. They openly shared personal experiences of conversations gone wrong, a situation we’ve all faced when we don't show up as our best selves. Effective communication is a significant part of leadership. We need to be excellent communicators, personally and professionally, to convey our ideas and inspire others. Leadership is about influence, and we must influence correctly to achieve our desired results. This means checking if we're pushing an agenda or genuinely listening to others and being honest with ourselves and them. Most importantly…

We need to Communicate from our HEART.

This requires greater self-awareness. It's about showing up for our lives and ourselves if we want to grow. Looking in the “honesty” mirror is sometimes painful, but it's our best teacher.

While teaching, I vulnerably shared my personal stories, and one in particular was where I royally  F*%# ed up a conversation just last week with my daughter! I went unconscious and blurted out things that were not kind and certainly were not going to move the needle forward. It's a practice that is just like my daily meditation practice. 

We return to our center, get quiet inside, listen, and SLOW DOWN. 

We must choose repeatedly when we make a mistake, and over time, it happens more quickly, and we clean things up. 

As I was preparing for the final day of teaching and wrapping up all that we had learned from the week, a phrase came to mind that summed it up perfectly:

Leadership is being consciously aware of our actions and habits. 

I left the class knowing these students were eager to practice these principles and behave differently at work and home. They were confident and excited, and I was proud of them.

I'm not saying you have to sit on a meditation cushion daily to become a better leader (though I HIGHLY recommend it!). But I want to emphasize the importance of slowing down, self-reflecting on how you show up today, and deciding how you want to BE going forward.


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