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Embracing All Of Ourselves – The Leadership Edge

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

In my leadership & career coaching business, I often support people who feel the weight of the world on their shoulders. To some extent, I play the role as a 'business priest'. That's the name some of them have given me. ;)

I hear about and support them through some tough personal leadership situations and also career transitions. The most frequent challenges I hear about are the stresses they experience from a constant fear of failure, strained relationships with their colleagues, and a search for deeper meaning & purpose. Here's some common sentiments:

  • "This leadership role I'm in is super intense. I don't know how to calm my mind down and find some peace in my day. I've traditionally been a high achiever but can't keep up the pace and am concerned about my future performance here."

  • "I get along with many of my team members but don't know how to relate to a couple of them who are very different than me. We always seem to be at odds with each other. I'm frustrated and confused and at a loss of what to do."

  • "I'm losing a sense of who I am and what I'm meant to be doing. How do I know if this is the right job, or even career, for me? What are my true gifts & talents? I feel like I'm in a fog but know there's something more for me."

To me these are all signs that a portal of opportunity is opening for someone to take a bigger step in their personal growth. We all go through it, particularly in business. And it's a positive sign for our growth (personally & professionally), if we choose to see it as an invitation to step into our higher potential vs. seeing it a threat to our livelihood.

A few months ago, I spoke at a spiritual retreat in San Rafael, CA on the theme: 'Spiritual Muscles, Spiritual Growth.' I wanted people to see that we all go through these 'dark', or challenging, times in our lives and that there are ways through them. If we're honest with ourselves.

In the presentation, I spoke about a number of themes in one of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh's books, 'No Mud. No Lotus'. Hence, the photo at the top of a lotus flower.

This is one of my favorite passages from his book:

"Everyone knows we need to have mud for lotuses to grow. The mud doesn't smell so good, but the lotus smells very good. If you don't have mud, the lotus won't manifest. You can't grow lotus flowers on marble. Without mud, there can be no lotus."

In other words, we must accept & embrace all of who we are (both the light & the dark aspects of ourselves), in order to experience more peace in our minds and be of greater service to those around us.

It's generally not easy to face the painful aspects of our lives head on –– the cacophony of inner voices in our minds, the past choices we've made that we regret, and the difficult emotions that can accompany all of this (anger, judgment, sadness, fear, etc...). But, when we develop an ongoing practice of simply being aware of our thoughts & emotions and sharing our pain and concerns in a safe space with others, over time we can start to experience more lightness in our mind & heart and feel more empowered to bring out our most inspired and resilient selves.

In a sense, this inner work becomes fertile ground from which wise and compassionate leadership is born.

In my own experience, when I am deeply honest with myself about what I'm actually experiencing inside and share that with someone I trust, I open up to possibilities for healing & transformation which lie beyond what my egoic mind can imagine.

This is true for everyone.

Some of the deepest transformations I witness in my clients, at retreats, and in my own life occurs when we begin to experience a greater compassion within ourselves (& for ourselves), no matter what our outer circumstances may look like at the time.

When we cultivate the practice of kindness, compassion, & forgiveness (which starts with an energy of love that lies within our own heart), a world of possibilities can open up for us (for our jobs, finances, health, relationships, & communities) and our very presence can start to become a space of transformation for those around us as well.

I've seen this transformation occur many times with clients of mine who've made the choice to look more deeply within. These are some examples of what they're doing now in their businesses & communities, as a result of committing to their own growth, moving through their fears, and stepping more fully into their purpose.

Now, more than ever, is a time to free ourselves up of the old luggage we've been carrying around for so long (outdated beliefs, unexpressed emotions, and unhealthy behaviors) and get the healing we need, so we can bring to life our true purpose and gifts at work, and beyond.

We need it. And the world can certainly use it.

As Thich Nhat Hanh said, 'Let yourself blossom like a lotus or whatever unique flower you are, shining in the world, offering tiny seeds of love amidst it all.'

Blessings on your journey

Ryan Rigoli

Spiritual Guidance | Executive & Life Coaching | Healing Music


p.s. In my next article, I share about the energy of the heart and the role it plays for inner and outer transformation, particularly in the work setting.


Ryan's Bio

As a Spiritual Guide and Executive & Life Coach, I help business leaders, entrepreneurs, & truth seekers access their intuitive guidance & follow their purpose, at work & beyond. I am also a Meditation Teacher, Improvisational Classical Pianist, & a Professed Monk and use my business, creative, and spiritual backgrounds to support people in living with greater purpose, presence, and peace.

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