The Call of Purpose and Personal Leadership #30 #cong21
We are confused about leadership in today’s world. We think to lead we must have power. What many global leaders have shown us is that you can have power and never lead. The multitude of problems in our world is calling on even those who never aspired to a leadership position to demonstrate great courage and lead in their own way.
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- Personal leadership will be the leadership of the future. Personal leadership begins when we understand how it intersects with a sense of purpose in our lives.
- There is little depth to the conversations on leadership and purpose today. Both are overused but underutilised terms. To truly lead in today’s world, we must remember the three qualities that are fundamental to both purpose and leadership.
- To lead and live with purpose, we should all ask ourselves 3 questionsWho do you want to be?What are you willing to risk?How will you inspire?
About Fiona English
Fiona is a keynote speaker, coach and thought leader who combines her extensive experience in global investment markets with a deep interest in human potential, culture and society.
Passionate about the areas of life that are innately human and finding ways to help us reconnect to ourselves, each other and our planet, the red thread that runs through all her work is narrative. She is particularly drawn to challenging existing narratives and paradigms in life, work and society and recognised as a contemporary thinker across areas such as leadership and meaning. In 2015, she was one of 50 women globally chosen to participate in the W50 Program in UCLA, California, aimed at building the next generation of global women leaders.
Through her MSc in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, Fiona undertook research into the lived experience of spirituality in the 21st Century. She continues to focus on her research areas of spirituality, meaning and purpose and authenticity through her speaking and thought leadership work. In 2019, she launched ‘Exploring Spirituality’, a series of projects aimed at creating open dialogue and conversations about spirituality in the 21st Century.
She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She loves to run and hike and spend time in nature where most of the creative inspiration for her work comes from. She practices yoga and meditation and is a certified mindfulness and meditation teacher
Contacting Fiona English
By Fiona English
‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.’
We are confused about leadership in today’s world. We think to lead we must have power. What many global leaders have shown us is that you can have power and never lead. Leadership is about impact. About using the resources available to you regardless of your position or wealth to have a lasting and positive impact on yourself, others and society. The multitude of problems in our world is calling on even those who never aspired to a leadership position to demonstrate great courage and lead in their own way.
The truth is we are all leaders. At every moment, every turn of the wheel of life; You are either trying to change THE world or trying to change YOUR world. I believe personal leadership will be the leadership of the future. Personal leadership begins when we understand how it intersects with a sense of purpose in our lives.
Yet, there is little depth to the conversations on leadership and purpose today. Both are overused but underutilised terms. To truly lead in today’s world, we must remember the three qualities that are fundamental to both purpose and leadership.
#1 Purpose and leadership are about who you are not what you do.
Like many things in modern life, purpose has been framed into something which we should ‘do’, an action we must take. The ever-popular mantra ‘Find Your Purpose’ implies action; something to be found outside of ourselves. Likewise, leadership has been framed as a position of power. The truth is purpose and leadership are rooted in who we are not what we do. Purpose and leadership are both disruptive forces. To really lead in a purposeful way, we must first be willing to disrupt ourselves. To change how we are currently showing up in the world.
There is a space where you meet the world. A space where your impact is felt. How you cultivate the authentic expression of your whole self defines this space. Each decision you make, each action you take represents the person you want to be in the world. In a world in which leadership is increasingly absent, making a commitment to know and express your whole self is an act of personal leadership. Do not underestimate the power of this. It is a radical act to choose to be your whole self.
#2 Purpose and leadership both require risk
There is little in life worth having that doesn’t carry some risk. Purpose and leadership are no different. While the financial risk of purpose and leadership are well documented, the big financial successes visibly celebrated, the real risk is emotional risk. Purpose and leadership require you to be seen. To be vulnerable. I have yet to meet someone living a life of deep purpose or leading in a clear way who is not taking ongoing emotional risk. Standing up for something important. Stepping outside of the status quo.
Our gifts are often the parts we are often unwilling to share. The famous mythologist Joseph Campbell said
“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure”.
There are places in each of us that we do not like, parts of who we are we don’t show. In my experience, the deeper sense of purpose you crave is there. Waiting for you to have the courage to face it. Waiting for you to take the risk to be a leader in that space.
#3 Purpose and Leadership are about inspiration.
Both purpose and leadership are ultimately about being of service to others. Collective outcomes mean we must be able to mobilise and inspire others. To be an inspiration to others, we must first be an inspiration to ourselves. To choose a life which inspires all of who we are. When we feel inspired ourselves, we naturally inspire others with our passion, zest for life and drive.
The power of inspiration is felt daily in the smallest of ways. We must live and lead with intention knowing that even when we can’t see it, we are impacting somehow or somewhere. Nothing we do is insignificant. Everything creates a ripple and impacts the world around us. People often say you can’t change the system. I fundamentally disagree with this. We are the system. The system is not outside us. For each individual who chooses to be inspired and through that inspire others; the system cannot but change.