Spiritual Awareness: A Leadership Lesson

Standing in a line at store behind a very large man buying sacks of potato chips, pot pies, candy and other junk food. All I had was some tomatoes and milk. I noticed the random thoughts going through my head….”he needs to be more healthy…wow what a lot of junk food. Why can’t the employees at the store see that I only have two items and just open another cash register?” It’s all I could do not to go ahead and leave.

I KNOW I’m supposed to be learning patience right now, so I looked down and said a silent prayer, “thank you for allowing me to practice patience.” Right when I looked up, the cashier (still checking out the man’s order) told me that the large man had just paid for my milk and tomatoes, and I could take the items and go.

My heart hurt a little. Was it a sign from the Universe that my efforts were noticed and I am indeed on the path to practicing patience? Was it a reminder to see the good in others and to stop judging? Is there a business lesson here?

The Leadership Lesson
In No-Drama Leadership one of the concepts is called “The Eyes to See.” The idea is that if we want to become more enlightened as leaders we have to see beyond the physical. In the above example, it means seeing another human being beyond the limitations we perceive, or beyond the judgments that keeps us feeling separate and superior. If as a leader you are on a journey of self improvement,  you realize every day how much work there is for all of us to do. Thankfully we get those opportunities every day if we have the eyes to see them.

What gives us those eyes are what I call spiritual awareness. (Yes, we need spiritual awareness even in the world of business.) The reality is that we human beings are meaning making machines. We can make up any meaning we want  about why something happens. It was meant to be. It’s a lesson from the Universe. It was a coincidence.

The meaning we give to circumstances and events usually have very little in common with the plain old facts of a situation. We place our desires, interpretations, judgments and feelings on the facts to such an extent that our interpretations blind us.

The key to increasing spiritual awareness is to notice the meaning we give to an event, and how that meaning either builds a barrier or builds a bridge. If the meaning we give to an event separates us further from peace, harmony or relationship with others then we have built a barrier. If the meaning we make helps us to course correct or to align with our values; puts us more in tune with others, makes us more compassionate and more connected then we have built a bridge with our thinking and awareness.

The key to building greater spiritual awareness is to use our mind energy to build bridges, not barriers.

Image above courtesy of Pixabay

Marlene-Blk4Marlene Chism is an executive educator, consultant, and author of Stop Workplace Drama, (Wiley 2011) and No-Drama Leadership (Bibliomotion 2015). She works with executives, and high-performing leaders who want to transform culture in the workplace. To explore opportunities please email marlene@marlenechism.com