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Mindful Leadership: Being the Leader We Know We Can Be

Apr 12, 2013 | Updated Oct 19, 2013
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This post is part of a series on Cultivating Leadership Presence through Mindfulness. The series will culminate in a four-day mindful leadership retreat in New York in October 2013. For more information, visit http://www.mindfulleadership.com/.

I was recently doing some research for my mindful leadership book (yes, I finally agreed to try to write one so 'Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership' will be published by Bloomsbury Press in January), and came across a wonderful quote that I wanted to share with all of you.

Indira Ghandi once said, 'You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."

What a wonderful sentiment! It underscores the very essence of mindful leadership.

Our journey to develop the qualities of mindful leadership calls us to be present in this moment, to be 'still in the midst of activity'. Or, more accurately in today's world, in the midst of the chaos that often typifies our lives. As we begin to cultivate a practice to develop the qualities of mindful leadership, we begin to recognize the folly of believing that if we could just move faster, we would eventually catch up. If we could just find a way to attend all those meetings and calls that are double-booked and triple-booked on our calendars, it would all be fine. Really?

And even if we could do so, is that what is needed? Or, have we discovered that what is called for is the ability to take a purposeful pause and, in the space of those moments, make more conscious choices about what is noticed and what is needed? Isn't that what we always envisioned our leadership would be? We want to make clear, creative, compassionate choices on a consistent basis. Deep down we know we are capable of doing so, and yet, we also know that we fall short of the mark more often than we expect. It is easy to do when we are over-tired, over-booked and living our days in an auto-pilot haze.

We need to make a change. We want to be the kind of leader we know we can be. And so we practice, a little each day. We learn to stop, to be still, and to choose. And in the process, we learn about this innate, miraculous capacity 'to be vibrantly alive in repose'.
Enjoy the journey and pass along your insights!!

@JaniceMarturano
Janice@InstituteforMindfulLeadership.org