I received a card the other day from my dear friend Wendy. It was a simple quote attributed to Rumi which read, “Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.” Now Wendy didn’t know that I have recently been faced with major difficulties which had caused me to lose my center, but what she sent – that simple quote – was divinely timed to bring me back into alignment. It got me out of a scarcity mindset and moved me into a more neutral, calm state with improved clarity… my center.
I decided to dig deeper into Rumi’s words: What does “being the soul of that place” really mean? For leaders, whether you are in celebration of a team win like revenue goals met, or grappling with an unfortunate situation such as layoffs, it’s our ability to be true witnesses and observers to what is happening in us and around us that can make all the difference in how we feel and how others feel.
When coaching leaders, getting back to center is almost always on the agenda. They are dealing with such unpredictability, confusion, even chaos, and can lose sight of the tools they know that help. Only from center can you fully understand that there is joy, productivity and cohesiveness in our work and lives.
So how should leaders get back to center?
- Firstly, become aware of your unbalance. Have a consistent commitment to reflect on how you are showing up for your team and in your life. You’ll know when things are off… you can feel it in your gut. Maybe everything seems gloomy. Maybe everything is more difficult than it was previously. Maybe your health is deteriorating without cause. Acknowledging is the initial step in the journey back to center. Recognize and reflect on the triggers that are causing the skew so that you can navigate them more appropriately in the future. And remember…..where you focus is what you get.
- Secondly, get back to center through breath. Breath is the first and last thing we do in this life, and holds everything together in between. Allow your breath to guide you back to the sacred nature of who you are. Breathe first, and allow that breath to commit you to be in service to others through witness. Allow your breath to calm you enough to really see yourself and others, often in their most vulnerable states. Nothing centers more and gets us out of ego more quickly than being in service. The path there is through breath.
- Lastly, be aware of your reaction to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), or what I have noticed is the real issue… FOLO (Fear of Being Left Out or Left Behind). When we live based on the conversations, decisions, outings, etc. in which we are not involved or included, we are living an outside-in life, and that will always throw off our center. The one place that we can confidently belong is to ourselves anchored in our purpose and values, leveraging our strengths for the greatest contribution.
I am grateful to Wendy and Rumi for helping me get back to center. Sometimes it’s something small that can have a huge impact. If you have ever had a similar experience, I’d love to hear about it!