WAKE UP! Leading with an Open Heart
In the broadest sense, we are all leaders.
When I was asked recently to be, my entire life passed before my eyes, beginning with my childhood when I spent most of my time organizing the play of my playmates. I designated myself as the leader of our pretend play, taking on the roles of doctor, dentist, minister, teacher, restaurant owner, and funeral director. To my chagrin, funerals I had been conducting for dead wild animals ended abruptly one day when the mother of one of my playmates stormed down our street and into our house, yelling to my mother, “Do you know Susan is having funerals? I want you to stop her from doing that, right now!”
Beginning in junior high and extending throughout my life, I was often asked to organize and lead a wide variety of activities. Because I had no training other than observing and reading about leaders, I learned about leadership by being “in the trenches.” Later, in my professional life, I became overwhelmed with the complexities of leadership, the multiple skills it required, the level of inner strength and understanding it demanded, and the wisdom needed when handling what seemed like constant problems, challenges, and relationship issues in the workplace.
Listen to an interview with Susan Trout on
"The Awakened Leader:
Leadership as a Classroom of the Soul"
on Two Modern Mystics' blog talk radio
(original broadcast April 8, 2015, 7:30 pm EST)
One morning, I awoke particularly weary and on edge. For months the solution of a challenging work situation had eluded me. I did not know what to say or do to move the problem toward resolution. I thought there must be a how-to-lead book I had not yet read that contained the magic key to flawless leadership. I assumed that when I found it, I would no longer experience discouragement and self-doubt.
At some point during the same day, a curious thought calmed my agitated state and I had a glimpse of the meaning of awakened leadership. Leadership is what it is: a form of service, a role that can be inspiring and creative, challenging and even dangerous. I realized that, if I assumed my leadership was the perfect stage for my soul’s learning, then I could discover what qualities and competencies each challenge was offering to me. Leadership, I decided, required going to school – not at a university but in the classroom of my life as a leader.
I was finally ready by 1997 to share what I had learned about service by writing Born to Serve, which became the first book of The Soul and Service Trilogy. Born to Serve is a guide to deepen the relationship between our motives for serving and the quality of our service. The second book, The Awakened Leader, envisions a new era of conscious leaders, those whose leadership is a classroom for their soul. The third book, The Clarion Call, emerged when I saw that we have an unprecedented opportunity to manifest a new model of leadership and group life as humanity experiences a cosmic shift into a new way of being. “The clarion call” is a call to life and a call to action. We are called to make a choice at the midpoint between the Piscean and Aquarian eras, to choose between the old and new, between what was and what will be. Basically, we are called to practice cooperation and to live as one global family.
In the broadest sense, we are all leaders. We lead our own lives, deciding what we believe, where we live, what work we do, how we allocate our time, and so on. We also have opportunities for leadership that involve others when we engage in activities like preparing the family for a vacation, arranging for the care of an elderly parent, organizing a community event, seeing a problem and taking action to solve it, mentoring a student, heading a project – in fact, anytime we see a problem and take action to solve it. Leadership, regardless of its context, provides unique opportunities for personal growth and development and for serving others with our gifts of knowledge, experience, values, loving presence, and wisdom.
Leaders in today’s world are rushed, stressed, and unhappy. I offer my interview to support leaders who feel they are in a vicious cycle of being overburdened by long work hours, being constantly connected via smartphone, ipad, laptop, and emails, and being so bogged down by management issues or with the problems of those they lead that they don’t have time to identify and devote energy to “what really matters.” In a nutshell, what really matters is that we, as leaders, welcome the wisdom, peace, and inner strength that emerges when we experience leadership as a classroom of our soul. In this way, we serve the highest good by giving the right thing, in the right amount, for the right reason, and at the right time.
Identify three significant learnings you have gleaned from your soul's leadership classroom.
What has been the "ripple effect" of these learnings in your relationships with group members?
THE AWAKENED LEADER:
Leadership as a Classroom of the Soul
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