Inside-Out Leadership©

“Psychology says, ‘Let go.’ Spirituality says, ‘Wake up.’ In both cases, there is a withdrawal from the busyness of daily life (our dream state) and a waking up to the subconscious and spiritual depths of ourselves.” Rev. Alfred McBride

In a world filled with business talk, strategic think and tactics speak, leaders are inundated with different perspectives and theories on what it means to lead and how to do it. From the beginning of modern business theory, leadership has been at the forefront of debates, books, training and business education. Likewise, our personal lives are filled with self-help books, reality television shows, personal development workshops and spiritual growth resources, all speaking of ways to be happier and healthier. I recently read that the self-improvement industry is a $12 billion industry. Billions of dollars are spent every year on self-improvement books, but do people and things really change? Apparently not, because the vast majority of self-help books are never read. It seems people believe that merely buying the book will change their lives!

Call me judgmental, but it seems like people are more willing to talk about changing than they are to actually change anything. In fact, one business owner I spoke with recently mused: “I feel better talking about how I am off course or the actions that I want to change, but maybe talking about it makes me feel better so I do not actually have to change things or myself.” I also observe that we are predominantly dividing our world into two distinct zones: business and personal. In the one, we can work on our businesses, our strategies and our leadership. In the other, we can work on improving ourselves.

There are several problems with this mindset:

  1. With our very full schedules, it is difficult enough to work on and invest in one thing (business or personal), so working on both business and personal seems overwhelming.
  2. It suggests that we either have improvement opportunities at work OR at home, ignoring the likelihood that we have these opportunities in both realms.
  3. It implies that there are two different you’s – the work you and the personal you.

All of these ways of thinking are off-course and ignore the reality that there is only one you, and that one you shows up (largely the same way, gold and shadow) at work, in relationships and in the rest of your life. That is why I developed the following foundation belief:

We mistakenly believe that you bring your business into your life, but the opposite is true. You bring your life into your business, and your business will never be better than your life.

There is only one you, who is the leader of your business (or career) and of your life. The person you are in your professional life is the same person that you are in your personal life.

Conscious leadership is not a new term and is certainly not new-age, but it is not yet in the main stream of conversations on leadership training, growth and development. I hesitate even to include the word “training” with conscious leadership because, while traditional leadership can be trained for and includes skills that can be taught, the vast majority of conscious leadership is experiential and involves inside-out awareness, growth and transformation. It is a different way of thinking, being, acting and leading, for you and for others … What I call inside-out leadership.

If your goal is just to tweak your life or your business, then conscious self-leadership is not for you. This type of leadership involves profound shifts in the way you see and experience the world, as well as fundamental shifts in how you think, intuit, communicate, listen and interact with other people (whether formally or informally). It also involves shifts within yourself and the shifts in outcomes you will create as you activate your internal shifts.

The core of this inside-out leadership approach is full ownership, responsibility and accountability for your choices. It is not the easy road, but it is the transformational road for anyone willing to put away what you thought was true, put down your old stories and strap on the armor of the new conscious warrior.

You have the opportunity to choose to wake up and challenge your own stories. You also have the choice to stay asleep and to live, lead and experience life as you have before. The world we live in today (in business and in relationships) is not working. People are lost, businesses are just getting by and relationships are crumbling, and we need a change. Conscious leadership is part of that positive change, impacting you as a leader in your personal life as well as in your business, organization or community.

In the coming weeks, I will regularly share different perspectives on conscious leadership, along with an invitation to consider and then embrace this inside-out approach to leading your business and your life. Welcome to a new way of leading, where influence and impactful relationships are the outcome.


  1. Steve Martinek says:

    Re-stated…Fulfillment does not lie at the end of an easy read or an easy road!

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