Learn to connect your soul with your role.
The achievements, consumer evolution, and commercial productivity of our industrial world are remarkable. Yet, this productivity has also yielded very real costs in the forms of alcoholism, domestic violence, suicide, drug abuse and addiction, depression, and ever-expanding economic inequality. Driving these costs is the notion that we are living machines that can be optimized for productivity and must separate our work from our personal life — separate our soul from our role.
I invite you to train yourself as a conscious leader by awakening your wisdom, love, and power.
And as such, determine whether you are committed to leading from an old model of ego-myopic leadership grounded in fear and insufficiency or an evolutionary, life-affirming, and personally fulfilling conscious leadership mode. The point of this mode is to have an impact, have fun, and drive results while living an authentic life.
Scaled industrialization promised democratized pleasure for the masses, new wealth, and easy access to material goods and comfort. To pull this off, we bought into a mechanical, competitive, never- ending demand to be productive. The leaders of the Industrial Revolution couldn’t have predicted that the price of separating our soul from our role would culminate in workplace epidemics of stress, burnout, and pervasive disengagement. But separating our soul (purpose, personal values, and connections) from our role (productivity, competition, and authority) has been a brazen disregard of the universal fact that everything is interconnected.
Our life is only possible within a network much vaster than our individual self.
The air we breathe and food we eat depend on our connection to Earth and the atmosphere. Our precious opinions are echoes of influences from family, culture, and tradition. Even our bodies are made of elements that came to Earth from ancient stars and supernovas millions of light-years away; we are physically connected to the galaxies.
We exist within a network of material, chemical, energetic, and spiritual connections. But ego-myopic, self-centered thinking ignores the interconnection of all things and orients you toward leadership breakdowns. Whether you are a plumber, electrical engineer, or Fortune 500 CEO — you are a human being. Regardless of where you go, what you do, or who you do it with, you are always a human being.
Human beings are connected to community and spirit.
We are soulful beings who source our purpose, passion, and love from community and spirit. But when you separate your soul from your role and become wholly oriented to production and performance, you also orient toward depression, discontent, and burnout.
However, when you re-engage with your soulful aspect and decide to become a conscious leader, you lock back into the interconnectedness of all of life. You regain access to the wisdom and power that exist all around you, but are shut out by ignoring them. Being a conscious leader is a choice. It’s a decision that you make: remain ego-myopic or become a conscious leader.
Being an ego-myopic leader generates leadership breakdowns on a personal level of unrealized potential, interpersonal level of soured relationships, organizational level of struggle and missed goals, or global level of social and environmental demise.
In our lifetime, church and government leaders are losing their moral and social authority, while business leaders are absorbing that authority.
Business executives effectively combine the roles that kings, queens, priests, and priestesses once held. While you didn’t volunteer for this, it’s imperative to ask yourself whether you will continue to play the 250-year-old ego-myopic game or accept your seat at the table of history and show up as a conscious leader.
Gratefully, the Industrial-Age legacy of separateness is falling away. Life and work are becoming integrated and our well-being requires that we reconnect our soul with our role. As we become integrated, we can’t help but look at the world from an expanded perspective: no longer temporary visitors who gobble up whatever they can, but stewards of this interconnected bounty. We are the descendants of a thousand generations before us, and we are the progenitors of the thousand generations ahead of us.
Being a conscious leader stops breakdowns at work, accelerates meaningful results, and is deeply engaging to your people.
Training yourself to be a conscious leader is an empowering path toward more productive and more meaningful days. Now is the time to awaken as a conscious leader. This isn’t a call for a future plan; it’s an urgent call for awakening now. This is the moment to be bold in your efforts because your leadership is powerful medicine for your organization, community, and planet.
Eric Kaufmann is the author of Leadership Breakdown, a speaker and facilitator who focuses on conscious leadership, and a thought leader at Harvard’s Institute of Coaching.