Conscious Leadership: What is it? And Why I'm Interested.
Here's something I wrote a year ago, long before I conceived the idea for a blog. As I reread 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership for the third or fourth time, it's appropriate to reflect on how my deliberate journey into conscious leadership began.
As the body of literature surrounding mindful leadership grows, and as mindfulness continues to gain traction in the West, the proliferation of literature, trainings, and other media combining traditionally Eastern philosophical tenets and Western applications can be expected to continue. The above definition of conscious leadership – being open, curious, and committed to learning – is the most valuable in combining and aligning my own philosophical or spiritual beliefs and their practical application.
Ranger to Meditator
As a former infantry officer turned vegan meditator, I’ve had an intractable pull towards synthesizing best practices in leadership and personal growth. My journey into mindfulness began when I returned from a combat deployment to Afghanistan and was looking to make some major changes in my life. Amid an existential crisis, I called my father to seek advice. “Son, I know you’re going to think this is crazy, but you should commit to a month of daily ashtanga yoga practice and twenty minutes of daily seated meditation.” That was over five years ago and I’ve been a fervent meditator and yoga practitioner ever since, which I credit to providing nothing short of the existential solution I was seeking.
Conscious leadership is a practice, not a state of being. At its core, conscious leadership values being open, curious, and committed to learning as opposed to closed, defensive, and committed to being right.
Synthesizing East and West
Though I don’t claim to be a leadership savant, nor a spiritually mature person, I am an avid reader. And when I want to learn something, I turn to books. Over the past few years I’ve read dozens of books on leadership, strategy, and organizational psychology to improve my effectiveness as the leader of a small healthcare company. In addition to reading voraciously for work, I’ve also applied an academic approach to my own spiritual journey – reading dozens, if not hundreds, of books on philosophy, meditation, and Eastern spiritual traditions – to discover universal truths and to optimize my short time on earth. I noticed an intersection between my two reading tracks, and I committed to (one day) synthesizing Western business leadership and Eastern philosophy.
When I was introduced to The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, I realized it had already been done. While trying to develop a framework for mindful leadership that spoke equally to my understanding of leadership and my understanding of mindfulness practice, I found the framework provided by 15 Commitments resonated deeply. Now that I’ve embraced the term “conscious leadership,” I’m excited to dive deeper into the practice of aligning my life personally, professionally, and spiritually.
It's fun to look back and see where it all began. I'm really looking forward to sharing more about my journey into conscious leadership over the coming months and years.