“Moore’s Law tells us technology is capable of doubling its capacity every few years. We, too, are increasing our capacity, especially the most achievement driven among us who tend to land in lives of leadership. We are working faster, more efficiently, longer and harder. All of which is reaching a boiling point evident in measures of workplace stress…”
–Ginny Whitelaw, PhD Biophysicist, former leader at NASA, Zen Master, Author of The Zen Leader
Many face this dilemma. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you are in an official position of leadership or not.
Yet is there a way to achieve success and satisfaction AND reduce the patterns of life and work that are escalating our stress levels?
The key might just be simpler than you think. In fact the way you think, in and of itself – your beliefs and mindset – is actually the key.
In my own journey of personal growth I continue to seek access to my beliefs and mindset that could be in the way of achieving the next level of success and satisfaction in my work and life. It is a never ending process of discovery. From the first few pages of The Zen Leader, 10 Ways to Go from Barely Managing to Leading Fearlessly I could tell this book would be my companion for some time to come.
You can of course be a leader in any moment by committing an act of leadership – speaking up, stepping up, and/or standing up to make a difference in something you care about. If you have read this blog before you will not be surprised I believe taking action – mindful, purposeful action – is essential to developing yourself as a leader. It is through the courage to commit these acts to make a difference that you can discover who you really are and embrace the power you have to provide leadership regardless of your position.
However, if you want to develop yourself to be an effective leader of others, one who consistently and reliably commits acts of leadership over time that make a difference in who and what you care most about, you must learn to think like a leader.
The Zen Leader offers 10 critical shifts to make in your thinking, many of which may challenge the status quo of what you were taught to believe, consciously or not. These distinctions have the power to propel you on a path of self-discovery and transformation by giving you a clear access to your mindset: FROM what it is that could be keeping you stuck TO what you can choose it to be to empower yourself and others.
Being aware of your context, especially your beliefs and commitments, is essential to mindfully choosing your actions, just as taking action is essential to integrating new thinking and learning. It is through the dance between taking action, and observing/shifting our thinking that we grow in our ability to use the best of ourselves to make the biggest possible difference.
I applaud Ginny Whitelaw for the simplicity, clarity, insight and pragmatism she brings to illuminating the shifts in context every one of us can make to elevate our leadership; not so we can do more, but rather so we can be more effective and satisfied in the face of the “seemingly unsolvable tension to do more”.
Disclosure: Other than receiving a free copy of this book I received no compensation for this review. This article reflects my personal viewpoint having read the book. However, please note the links included are affiliate links.