Maria Gamb, Executive Coach, Mentor, Speaker, and Author, shared the selected honor with me last night of being asked by Inc. Magazine to attend an intimate gathering with Deepak Chopra. With Maria having captured the essence of the evening perfectly, I just add my hope for the future. And now Maria's thoughts on the evening:
On January 11th, 2011, I had the profound honor of being one of a small group of professionals invited to hear Deepak Chopra speak about his latest book The Soul of Leadership at the offices of Morgan Stanley in Times Square. When I walked into the room I observed that the set up was very small, probably only 100 chairs. By the time we began the room was jam-packed. Standing room was about 4-5 people deep, others flowed out into the hallway and still more were sitting on a lower floor watching via close circuit TV. The energy in the room was one of hope, optimism and a deeply moving desire to be better professionals, mothers, fathers and people in this world. It was a fascinating and profoundly hopeful place to be.
What we are experiencing is an awakening of consciousness; a redefining of who and what leaders are. This role is no longer restricted to a few, but, in fact held by many in a variety of ways. "The criteria for inspired leadership doesn't need to be shadowed in mystery. In fact, the formula is simple: great leaders are those who can respond to their own needs and the needs of others from the higher levels of spirit with vision, creativity, and a sense of unity with the people they lead". Deepak sighted his own mother and also those in business who are what he calls "pure leaders". He shared his seven important skills of any successful leader. The skills artfully spell out the word leader:
L - Look and Listen
E - Emotional bonding
A - Awareness
D - Doing
E - Empowerment
R - Responsibility
S - Synchronicity
I felt a sense of connectivity to Dr. Chopra when he pointed out to the group that we've forgotten the real meaning of business, which is to be of service to the people and communities around them. This explanation was met with a low-level chuckle as people uncomfortably became aware of their own motives. It's a simple and often forgotten function in our society.
What struck me as one of the most profound statements Chopra made was in reference to the question: Can people who are so set in their ways have their behaviors in how they lead truly change? How do we reach our leaders? He paused and said, "you must focus on the children." Even if not a parent yourself, the message was deeply felt. On an even deeper level, the work that we are all doing in the world must in part be about helping leaders recover their sense of happiness and fulfillment. For they influence the children. Happy fulfilled parents (or other leaders influential in a child's life) teach children core values, behaviors and the rules of engagement to create the same for themselves. Unhappy influencers teach children negative tendencies and fearful behaviors. Which as we have seen, have gotten us where we are today in a very predatory society.
I, too, was honored to be asked to attend this event last night, amazed at how we are all connected.
To "pay it forward" it is each of our responsibilities to actively share this wisdom and incorporate it visibly through the fabric of the lives we choose to lead. With Deepak's thoughts so simply expressed, yet so deeply held bringing this forward seems doable.
An honor such as this granted to so few, makes it incumbent upon each that was there or that gets to read The Soul of Leadership to multiply the light of Chopra's words to the very dark corners of the world that exists currently.
I also enjoyed the benefit of meeting and hearing Deepak at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Conference this past November in Palm Desert. You can never get enough of him. I suggest that you don't miss an opportunity to experience this clarity in any way you can.