As spring bursts forth, are you feeling how nature is coming alive? I watch the bright new leaves on the trees, hear the symphony of the birds chirping, feel the drizzle of the rain on my face. Within this aliveness there is a palpable energy of possibility, creativity, and growth. The aliveness in spring is the same aliveness I find in the most inspiring leaders. It’s the resonant energy we feel in organizations, cultures, and teams that are innovative, engaged, and pulse with possibility. It is the kind of aliveness I believe we all deserve to feel – a spring in our step. Ask yourself, how alive do I feel right now? How many of us feel this alive in our work? Judging from the employee engagement survey results, the number would be only 30%. Here are five steps to be a more inspired and resonant leader.
Connect with the aliveness within you. Most of us spend most of our time in our heads. When we feel alive, it’s usually the energy in our entire body. So stop, take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart. Feel the beat of it. Yes, I mean do that now. Feel the beat pulsate against your fingers. Yes, that is the “aliveness” within each of us. Feel how joyful it feels to just connect with that aliveness.
Connect with the aliveness in nature. I spend quiet time in nature to awaken the aliveness in me. I notice how that same aliveness that I feel in my heartbeat is the aliveness that makes the flowers blossom, is within the worm I notice crossing my path. I just practice being in each of my senses. The practice of noticing is an important leadership practice to focus our attention on what matters and become more mindful leaders. I ask myself:
- What am I smelling, feeling, seeing, or hearing now?
- How is this energy of aliveness I feel around me also within me right now?
- What is its impact on me now?
Connect with what makes you come alive. As we tune into our bodies and senses, they give us signals as to what makes us come alive. There are people we meet we naturally resonate with. Places. Situations. Start to pay attention to the signals your body is sending you. As a practice, scan your body right now. Ask yourself:
- What’s happening over here?
- What feels relaxed? What feels tense?
- What needs attention?
Follow your aliveness. As leaders our greatest success, happiness and fulfillment comes when we follow our own aliveness. Yet, many of us are stuck in situations where we are disengaged. Our aliveness is connected to our flow of creativity and fulfillment. Start to notice what people, situations, places help you come alive. Do an experiment. Give yourself permission for the next day to lead from your aliveness rather than your head. Throughout the day and with any key decisions you face ask yourself:
- How alive am I now? What’s happening here now?
- What can I let go of that no longer has resonance?
- What’s the return on energy here? Am I depleting more energy than creating?
Connect with what makes others come alive. If we want to lead and influence people, we need to pay close attention to what makes others come alive. When people pursue work, ideas, actions that have a lot of resonance for them, there is less effortful work for us and them. Creativity flows. Just as sunflowers turn toward the sun, people eventually move toward places where they feel alive. Greater aliveness is created in workplaces. As we tune into our own bodies and start to pay attention, we notice what’s resonant for others in their body language, how animated they become, their tone of voice. Use your practice of noticing to discover:
- Where does this person become excited or passionate? What deadens them?
- How alive are they now?
- How can I help to connect them with their own aliveness in this moment?
I look forward to hearing about what makes you come alive and how your experiments in aliveness are working for you. I’m learning about this just as much as you are. I believe our greatest job as leaders is to bring greater aliveness to where we are – so growth, creativity, engagement and abundance follow. I also believe the ability to inspire aliveness in others is the greatest source of our power.
A version of this post first appeared on my Forbes leadership blog.
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This article was written by Henna Inam, CEO of Transformational Leadership Inc. Her company works with organizations to help women realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. Her clients drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Novartis, J&J, and others who know female leadership talent is good for business. To accelerate your own growth connect with her here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.