Leadership was like a guiding star for me. I always paid close attention to my favorite teachers. In high school I first became conscious of the leaders around me. The way Mr. Gordon or Mr. Vasarkovy inspired the classes they taught, lit me on fire. I remember watching the way Jerry Sachsel coached our cross country running team or Mr. Reese our track team. What were the qualities that made them good leaders? How did they do what was best for the whole group? When were they on with their decisions, and when did they get lost in their egos and make bad decisions?
I studied their behaviors. I tracked what they did that worked well and I noticed what they did that was ineffective. Whenever they made a mistake, I would lead the class or the team, in my imagination, and I would take the alternative choice they missed. And I’d play out in my imagination how this choice would work out. I was heavily influenced by the choose your own adventure books of the 1980s and 90s. It was the first experience I had in reading where I got to decide where the adventure went. Later on Dungeons and Dragons helped me refine my leadership through a game that was entirely based on choosing our own adventure. I was always playing games to help my future leadership skills unfold. I didn’t even know I was playing these games for my future. It was synchronistically exactly what I needed to prepare me for my future.
Enough of the personal story, let’s get to the we’re all doomed part that I like to write about. We have a deep and utter failure in leadership in our current world. Our world is in complete disarray. Nationstates war with nationstates and compete for resources. Very few countries work for the good of the earth. In the United States, armed gunmen continue to walk into schools and gun down students and teachers. Every minute of every day on this planet people are being raped, murdered, and tortured. Discrimination and cruelty are pervasive in our world. We often shield ourselves from the ugly truth of what humanity has become – a narcissistic “savage child race” to quote Q from Star Trek the Next Generation, the television show, when he put the crew on trial for all humanities crimes in the first episode of the series.
Hope For Humanity
Have you ever stayed up all night? Did you notice how dark it gets just before dawn? As much as I feel the devastation and despair over what we have wrought in our unconsciousness, I feel deeply in my heart that there is still hope for humanity. I feel this hope in my blood. Even though the doomsday scenario of us destroying ourselves and the earth seems more likely to my mind, the hope that rises in my heart knows that miracles are possible and probable. I wouldn’t be alive today without a miracle. One night I skidded off the road along an embankment and was caught by mud. I was able to get out safely, and I knew someone or something was looking out for me. I believe that this same force is looking out for all of us.
The human soul is like a sunrise or a bright star. It is my sincere hope that we are just before the light of the morning sun. I believe we can shine brightly and cast off the evil we’ve been living from. What we need to face the challenges of our times is real leadership. Real leadership is loving and seeks to work for the good of all beings. This Article will highlight a few key points of effective leadership and show some simple practices to enhance your leadership skills.
Effective Leadership Is Sorely Missing
I like to turn from hope toward darkness, from faith toward hopelessness. In this way, I can bring light to the darkness. In many ways, growing up in this society has been a string of disappointments. I used to think my vote meant something and our political system could provide care for all humanity. I used to think liberals could help reform society. I discovered most politicians are not leaders; they are predominantly corrupt. I discovered our system is by and large devoid of all care for humanity. We have a tremendous failure of real leadership. We can only solve the tremendous problems of our time through the most gifted and profound leadership humanity has ever known. I remember knowing in college, clear as a bell, that real love is the answer to all the world’s problems. This was obvious in the 1960s, as well with Woodstock and what the hippies were discovering. Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mohammed, and many of the other great spiritual leaders and philosophers knew this as well. But, how do we spread this love when hatred rules our lost world? How do we bring this love into our hearts in any kind of meaningful way?
Effective Leaders have Gifted Vision
I have been blessed with a powerful vision to bring humanity together. This vision came to me in college after my heart opened. This vision rekindled during the winter solstice of 2020. My vision is simply to make a world that works for everyone. I know how to create groups that work for everyone and make companies that work for everyone. We use the principles of embracing all our feelings and not dividing against ourselves and each other to make it happen.
It’s going to take a huge and coordinated effort of love. But it’s going to happen extremely naturally. At the helm of this vision are great leaders. Effective heart-centered leaders have gifted vision that is inspired by the world beyond what our eyes can see. We nurture these visions by creating containers to hold them. When we have a structure to pour these visions into, they blossom even more fully and take root in the earth. Whatever our preferred art form or most natural medium of expression is, we use our creative outlets to create opportunities to nurture and cultivate these visions. We let them dance into us and spark divine creativity. We don’t take credit for these visions, we merely serve them so they may inhabit humanity more fully. For me, writing is an excellent way to catch the visions.
Open to Your Vision Game:
- Turn your awareness towards your greatest vision for your life.
- Open your mind so you can see all the possibilities. Think about what you want for your work, what you want for the world, what you want for yourself, your family, and friends.
- Keep opening up your vision and let yourself dream in whatever direction nurtures your heart and opens possibilities.
- Dream about all the possibilities, like you are dancing with your mind. Simply play with possibilities like you’re Einstein dreaming of light when he came up with the theory of special relativity.
- Let your mind explore every possible direction your thinking can go.
- Open your vision to corridors you’ve never imagined.
- If you’re used to moving in a linear direction, go nonlinear; if you’re used to moving nonlinear go linear.
- If you only think about the center of your awareness, use the periphery. Keep catching ruts and make changes.
- Pour over any possibilities that emerge here and enjoy this visionary game.
- Live your vision! Ground this bigger vision in your life, by returning to it every day, writing about it and expanding upon.
Effective Leaders are able to Take Specific Actions Toward Executing the Vision Daily
We know that writing a book is just a series of words that we string together into sentences. The sentences become paragraphs, the paragraphs turn into pages, the pages become chapters, et voila. We have a book. We are able to take small actions and see the grand scale they can achieve. Every conversation, every word we write or speak, every act of listening to the words or reading the words of others is another step in the process of serving the grand vision. Every time we put energy into our dreams they are fed and come closer to manifesting in the world.
Turn Vision into Practice:
- Now that you have your bigger vision from the earlier exercise, find one thing you can do to ground your vision into a daily reality.
- What action(s) do you wish to do today to make your vision a reality?
- For example, I write everyday to keep the vision moving closer to reality. This article is an example of what happens when I simply write.
- Find one or two specific actions you can take each day to carry your vision forward. Ideally, find one or two things you can do right now and do them so that it grounds more fully.
Great Leaders Have Great Faith
I did not always have faith in myself. In fact, I deeply doubted myself and trusted in a mentor. This mentor turned out to be a horrible leader. His words were excellent and I learned so much from following him. But, his actual actions discouraged my faith in myself and encouraged my faith in him. Yet, through following him and having his leadership fall apart, I learned to have great faith in myself. I learned that I had sensed some of the dynamics from the early days of working with him. I just trusted his words over my feelings. As my faith in myself began to grow, my leadership skills really blossomed.
This is not meant to be a blind faith, but a faith grounded in experience. If you’re like me, you’ve also experienced enough failure to know we can bounce back from nearly anything. We realize when we truly commit, we become an unstoppable force for change. This faith has instilled in me the understanding that the causes we are working on will be carried forward by others when we die, so we do our best to carry what is ours to carry until we’re done.
We pour our hearts into everything we do and we let it go. We trust in the universe to unfold these dreams in ways we can’t possibly imagine. We have faith in our connection with the forces that serve life and love. We faithfully follow these forces wherever they lead us.
Find Your Faith Game:
- Ask yourself what do you live for?
- Take whatever answer you get and ask why. Keep asking yourself why and be ruthless in your pursuit of the actual truth.
- It’s okay if you’re scared underneath. Everyone is.
- Keep digging until you find what is rock solid.
- When you find it, notice how it feels to have found this.
Effective Leaders are Heart-Centered
This is the key on which my whole life turns. I always led with my heart at the center. I’ve always felt the feelings of others and been connected in a very profound way. When I was a child, and my mother and father were fighting, I could feel their pain and I knew how to help them. However, I was too young for them to hear me. When I chose friends and when I decided where to go to college, my heart was the guide and leader. This heart-centeredness has served me well. Until recently, I had no idea this was at all rare or a gift. I assumed everyone was this way.
Great leaders are centered in our heart and have a strong connection to what matters most– our core values. We are not perfect, but we are perfectly ourselves unfolding in the ways which work best for us. We are authentic to ourselves and don’t pressure ourselves to be any better than we are. We know we will grow naturally as all things do and we treat ourselves like a tree and allow ourselves to simply be.
Center in Your Heart Game:
- Tune into your body. Identify the center of your awareness. For most of us, our awareness is centered squarely in our head. That’s what our educational system and cultural conditioning teach us.
- As you place your hand on your heart and breathe, shift your focus to your heart. Feel the center of your awareness drop from your head into your heart. If your center is already in the heart, feel it drop more deeply into the heart. Keep touching your heart in order to more fully feel this transition.
- Notice what it is like when you center your awareness in your heart. What does your heart feel?
- Listen to your heart and hear what it has to say. When the heart speaks, it communicates through feelings. Sometimes feelings come in words, images, sounds, or in subtle perceptions of how things are. Pay attention to how your heart is speaking right now.
- Accept whatever you are feeling in your heart right now. This is a sacred act of choosing love.
- Keep centering your awareness in your heart. This sacred temple of heart is the home to many deep mysteries of existence.
- Feel the awe and wonder for your very own body’s heart, which sustains and nurtures all life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
- As you move throughout the day, tune back into your heart periodically to keep centering your awareness here.
Heart-centered leadership will save humanity from the darkness in its soul. When we connect with our hearts fully, we turn on our heartlights. Our hearts are meant to shine like stars in the soul of the human being and light up our world for each other. By living fully from our hearts as leaders, the whole society shall conform to the movements and tides of the heart.
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