It was not so long ago that I was revisiting my “Ideal Client Avatar” (which I recommend that you revisit and recalibrate periodically) while writing sales pages for my new signature programs. Then I saw, synchronistically, my soul sister Amber Sears of Epic Self (and Ultraspiritual JP Sear’s other half) post a Facebook update that was my Aha! moment.
Light Leaders! YES! That is exactly who I wish to serve.
Here’s what Amber wrote:
A person who is deeply dedicated to teaching, inspiring and empowering others to rise to their fullest expression.
A person who knows their mission in this life is to help raise the collective consciousness of this planet and usher in a new paradigm.
A person who leads and creates from their heart with courage, compassion, authenticity, humility and vulnerability.
A person who knows the power of bringing people together in community to grow, heal, awaken, and love more unconditionally.
A person who knows that doing fulfilling service based work, and making an abundant living, must go hand in hand if we hope to shift our current collective trajectory.
A person who is a humble student of life ever evolving, expanding and learning.
A person who knows how to laugh at themselves, play hard, and dare greatly.
This is what a light leader means to me…
And I’m BEYOND grateful I had the pleasure of spending last weekend with 30 incredible light leaders from all over Costa Rica, who are making massive positive impact on this world.
We came together to grow, transform, connect, play, and fill up our own cups as a community at the gorgeous Tabacon hot springs.
I am honored to be apart of this group and help produce this powerful and fun event. Through each other’s reflections we remember who we truly are and what our hearts beat for. I’m still riding the high vibes from this tribe.
Together we rise!
Yes, I vibe with everything on Amber’s list. But I also wanted to add a few core light leadership skills of my own, the qualities you need to cultivate if you truly wish to manifest a big vision. This is because I feel that while many people wholeheartedly endeavor to embody these qualities as spiritual beings, it takes some SIGNIFICANT GRIT t to go from open-hearted and inspiring person in your community, engaging in do-good, feel-good volunteer projects here and there, to truly igniting a global movement around a revenue generating business that leaves a lasting, positive, planetary legacy.
Because there will be many moments of pain, existential crisis, soul-searching, and obstacles that cost big money to solve, that so many spiritually inclined people do not want to experience… because it feels stressful, uncomfortable, and yes, even terrifying.
Light Leadership Skills that Ignite a Movement
To truly ignite a movement, one that attracts lightworkers like moths to a flame, and then transforms them into army of visionary change agents working towards a shared mission, you must have the courage to step into the public eye and inspire aligned fans to rally to your cause. Stepping up into leadership, however, doesn’t mean you need to be perfect or pretend to be somebody you are not. In fact, your imperfections are what makes you real and human to your tribe, and the transformation you share believable, attainable, and inspiring.
Here are some of the core skills that separate high-impact Light Leaders from light workers:
In the spiritual community, there is a whole lot of spiritual bypass, combined with shame, blame, and make wrong towards others who don’t do it their way, and believe their version of the truth. True Light Leaders need to vigilant about slipping into spiritual bypass, and have the self-awareness to always question their:
- Actions of body, speech, and mind
The powerful part of entrepreneurship as a path of spiritual awakening, is that there are so many feedback mechanisms that show you how you are doing. Feedback from customers. Feedback from strategic allies. Feedback for your team. There is plenty to be self-aware about, and every day big and small tests that challenge you to endeavor to show up as the highest version of yourself.
Authenticity involves being real and genuine, being true to who you are. Authenticity involves being transparent and truthful. It doesn’t mean that you need to walk around like an open book, but it does mean that you make a sincere attempt to close the gap between your words and your actions, to offer your honest opinion when asked, and to avoid misrepresenting your circumstances in order to achieve a particular outcome. Authenticity also involves recognizing that someone else’s truth might be different from your truth, and making a sincere effort to understand each other’s truths. Authenticity involves the recognition that nobody is perfect, that we are flawed human beings trying our best and stumbling towards enlightenment. Authentic people inspire trust.
I struggled with this one for a long time. And sometimes I still struggle some more. Most of us are brought up to believe that showing vulnerability is a weakness. And in many environments, such as corporate America, we are taught to always have a strategy of pitching, spinning or furthering your agenda, until you achieve your goals.
Vulnerability is not necessarily a sign of weakness, it in fact can be your greatest strength. It takes a person of great emotional strength and courage to show their authentic selves in a way that exposes their vulnerability… which can be terrifying in a high-stakes environment. It involves being radically honest when you don’t have an answer, but also trusting yourself that you are capable of making the best decision possible for the occasion.
Vulnerability is an act of courage because, instead of erecting barriers that shield you from feeling difficult emotions fully, or hiding behind a paper-thin veneer of feigned invincibility, you embrace the richness of your experience with the radical honesty that you have no control over the outcome. And because of this courageous, radical honesty, people are drawn to you, feel that they can trust you, follow you, help you or hire you.
When you are in a leadership position, you must get comfortable with making quick decisions.
This is because you are running a business, the market has momentum, and if you are not able to keep pace with this momentum, it will cost you time, money and opportunities.
Your decisions will affect the finances of your company and the lives of your employees. If you waver in indecision, you will not be able to move towards your goals, you will be stuck in the same place for weeks, months or even years. Indecisiveness erodes trust within your team and repels strategic partners, because they will doubt your ability to follow through on important actions.
For a great many people, indecisiveness is triggered by fear of failure. As a leader, you need to get comfortable with fear, so that it no longer triggers or immobilizes you.
Overcoming fear of failure involves choosing to be OK with making the wrong choice. If the choice leads to failure, you must be willing to fail quickly and embrace the priceless lessons that failure teaches you.
Big visions and big audacious goals are difficult to accomplish. If big, ambitious, world-changing and culture-hacking endeavors were easy, there would be more people doing them. But most people with the means, education and time necessary to make an positive impact still choose to live lives of mediocrity. And even more people in the world struggle to meet their basic needs.
So when you have a big vision, in order to manifest this vision, you must have unwavering commitment to it. What that commitment looks like is action taken every day to make that vision a reality. Even when you don’t feel like it. It involves discipline and delayed gratification. Working on a Sunday when all your friends are out enjoying barbecues. Working on your side hustle after your day job is over, when your coworkers are out enjoying their social lives, or watching Netflix.
It means committing to your vision, even if it’s not making you any money yet. And recommitting if things fall apart and the shit hits the fan.
And that brings us to resilience. Resilience refers to the ability to recover quickly from difficulties, and the elasticity to rebound from challenges. Resilience means the Internet trolls and hate mail no longer get to you (it means you are succeeding!). Resilience means you no longer let fear of losing money terrify you. Business is risky, and if an investment doesn’t pan out, if a launch flops, if a web developer leaves you with a half-baked website, it no longer fazes you, you deal with it and move on.
Resilience means you give yourself a few hours to have a total melt down, then you pick yourself up off the ground, wipe the snot of your face, make yourself a cup of tea, and go to bed. Then the next day, you make yourself a big cup of coffee and you reflect on what happened, what went wrong, what you learned from it. Then you roll up your sleeves and get back to work.
Is it Your Leadership Skills or Is it Them?
At a certain point in one’s entrepreneurial journey, it becomes even more imperative that in order to grow, you MUST rely on the help of other people (employees, partners, mentors, consultants), and thus you MUST develop leadership skills that motivate people to do their best work and partners to deliver, otherwise you’ll be left with a bunch of abandoned, unfinished jobs. I speak from experience.
And it’s also up to you as a leader to discern whether or not you even have the right people working for you or with you. Because it’s really hard to motivate someone to perform beyond their capacity. And so you have to make the choice as to whether to continue on with them, or cut them loose… because the gap between delivery and expectations can become a swamp of toxicity. I’m a big believer that mental sanity is priceless, so cutting someone loose who isn’t performing up to par, and being left with an unfinished job, is so much better than the pain of micromanaging them to reasonable delivery.
Light Leaders Commit to Walking their Talk
Finally, in addition to cultivating these core leadership attributes, Light Leaders must commit to walking their talk and leading with integrity. The business and political world is full of corrupt, morally bankrupt leaders plundering the planet’s resources in pursuit of profit at all costs; the world does not need more of this. If we truly wish to uplevel the operating system of our culture so that co-create an environmentally-sustainable, spiritually-fulfilling human presence on this planet, we need to be willing to courageously walk our talk, even when it costs us time, money, and energy to do so.
Here’s what Light Leadership looks like in action.