Everybody’s a leader somewhere. You might be the head honcho in the office, having taken on the responsibility of guiding a team or the whole organization. Even if you’re on the bottom of the ladder at work, you might be a leader in your community, a parent or guardian at home, or the voice of sanity in your family. Maybe you’re leading by example as an aunt or uncle, or you’re the neighbor who’s happy to lend a hand with yardwork or who looks out for the block. This week, we talked a little bit about a big topic: mindfulness and business, and the ways you can identify a mindful leader in your midst. This weekend, your mindfulness challenge is to identify a place in which that leader is you, and to consider how you can put your mindfulness skills to work. It’s a summer Friday, but you’re in luck because mindfulness never needs a day off.
This challenge is more about using your skills than building new ones. But, in some ways, when you realize you can use a skill you have in a new way, it’s almost like building a new one, right? Sometimes, we just go about our daily lives without fully realizing the spaces in which we have become a leader in the best possible way – by quiet, even unspoken, nomination of the people looking up to us. Even if you’re formally in charge, you’re not really “leading” unless people believe in your vision and your intention. Managers get their power from the top; leaders get their power from below, and in the case of mindfulness, from within.
This weekend, recognize a space where you either are, or have the untapped potential to be, a leader. Think about the qualities you are cultivating through mindfulness: clarity, patience, compassion, gratitude. Does this describe you in that role? If not, consider why. Are you worried about being vulnerable, or just afraid of bringing too much of yourself to task of being in charge? Remember, then, that mindfulness isn’t about weakness, it’s about power. Not tyrannical, self-serving power, but the power that comes from really understanding what’s happening and having clarity about how to respond. Hiding behind a certain “leadership identity” or hesitation to fully embrace a leadership role isn’t strength because it leaves many of your gifts out of the equation.
This weekend’s challenge gives you a chance to pause, reflect, and move forward. Sounds like a familiar pattern, yes? Catch your breath, and create the space to unleash your potential.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.” — Brené Brown
Photo credit: Andrea Enríquez Cousiño