In February of this year, Deepak Chopra and I led a live course in New York City called Corporate Wellbeing and the Soul of Leadership (now available online).
We created this course because we felt like something was missing in the world of “wellness in business”. It had become saturated with talk about gym memberships, yoga at lunch time, and employees wearing fit bits. We felt like there was so much more to it than this.
From our perspective, wellbeing and/or wellness is NOT a program or a short lived fad. It’s a perspective, it’s a mindset, and a way of doing business that is built into the heart and soul of the organization. And it’s a strategy that must come from the leadership of the organization.
The leadership must be of the mindset that his or her organization is “the” place for people’s lives to change. That the organization is THE place for people to fulfill on their passions, and their purpose. The leader needs to feel an innate responsibility to take care of the wellbeing, or the lives, of their people.
In turn, the leader and the organization benefits from the unleashed potential that usually lies dormant in most organizations. And that leader gets to walk into work every day knowing that he or she is making a difference.
Business people always want to know HOW to do it. Managers and leaders are too quick to ask for the roadmap, the game plan, the checklist and/or the strategy. And while we provide that information, the focus of our course is to first change the overall way of thinking of the leader. When there is a mindset shift, an individual begins to develop strategies and new solutions naturally - new possibilities become apparent that didn’t already exist. Priorities and meeting topics begin to to change without notice.
So, first we begin with the soul…. meaning, we have everyone in the room think deeply about their core motivations as an individual and as a leader. We get into an inquiry about what it means to be human, what we are all driving at, what we see as success, and what the legacy is we want to leave behind. And eventually we all come to the realization that we’re all just trying to live happy, fulfilled, regret-less lives… and that one of the best ways to do this, as a leader, is to build an organization of people who are thriving, and an organization that is making a difference in the world.
Once we’ve tapped into the essence of our soul, we look to see if there is alignment in how we are living our personal lives. So in the second session we discuss the fundamental elements of living a high-quality, or thriving life. So we address wellbeing as it relates to ones purpose, their social life, physical health, financial security and community involvement - leveraging the best research in the world conducted by Gallup. By honing in on the areas of life that we must master, it is easier to be our best selves for the people around us and for those we lead. A leader, CEO or manager cannot begin to make any organizational changes until he or she is clear on what it takes to optimize their own life.
After we’ve mastered the “self” we can move into the organizational domain. And as long as we know that the leader now fully understands wellbeing for his or herself and is consciously working to improve his or her own life, they can then direct their focus to the organization. And every organization is a system for change. So in our third session, we walk through the 7 Key Focus Areas that accelerate the wellbeing of employees.
And finally, in order to be a leader who will truly leave a lasting legacy on the world, one must master the 7 Spiritual Skills of Leadership. So Deepak walks through each of these. And it’s important to note that these are not tactics, and you won’t learn them in the form of a to-do list…. because these are skills of “being” and NOT “doing.” These skills can only be fully embraced when the leader is committed to a greater purpose and the continual transformation of oneself.
So in summary, our goal is to create a world of leaders who are conscious of their ripple effect. We want to find the entrepreneurs, the executives, the CEOs, the managers and the agents of change who “get it”… the ones who know that a focus on wellbeing is the only REAL sustainable business strategy… and who want to use their influence to make the greatest positive difference in the world. When one leader shifts, the impact of his or her ripples are felt like waves.
We know that when we build a movement, or a critical mass of these leaders in the world, people will walk into work every day feeling fully alive. They will develop products and solutions to global problems - leaving customers more happy and satisfied. They will create ideas that spur job creation. And the happiness, and sense of purpose that they gain from their jobs will bring joy back into their families and communities.