Three Reasons Why It's Important For Leaders To Find Inner Peace
If you were to ask ten different leaders to name the most important quality a leader can possess, you’d get at least ten different answers.
Leadership is a fluid concept that is highly dependent on personality, timing, and circumstance.
There are, however, a few timeless qualities that I believe are essential to good leadership. In my experience, the most universally applicable and important of these is inner peace.
Finding your spiritual core
I’ve written about the value of mindfulness in the past, but this is different. In my opinion, Mindfulness is a means to an end; a tool that can be utilized in difficult scenarios.
Mindfulness draws upon your existing spiritual foundation, nurturing and fortifying it against the challenges of the world.
However, if you don’t have a solid foundation upon which to build, mindfulness can feel like an empty exercise.
On some level, leaders must have faith in something greater than themselves. This faith could be religious in nature, but it doesn’t have to be. The important thing is that leaders have an ideal that they can hold onto and work towards.
Believing in something greater than yourself, and by extension greater than the issue you’re facing at any given moment, helps to put things into perspective and is the foundation of inner peace.
When you find peace, suddenly pressing matters seem less pressing, and it becomes possible to see the previously hidden connections between people, places, and ideas.
The art of casual detachment
Life seems more extreme in the absence of inner peace. The highs we experience become more sublime, and the inevitable lows we experience feel almost unbearable.
These ups and downs cause problems, both personally and professionally.
On a personal level, this volatility often leads to a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction; constantly searching for the next bigger, better thing to fill the hole in your life.
When it comes to your professional life, however, the impact is even more damaging.
Emotional leaders tend to make rash decisions, change course rapidly, and cause unforced errors. Instead, leaders must learn the art of casual detachment to not only survive, but thrive.
This is not to say that leaders should strive to be checked out from their business, but rather, they should maintain a bit of a buffer through which information is processed.
This buffer enables you to digest information, analyze it in context, and make thoughtful decisions. Without it, your life and business are quickly held hostage by the whims of those around you.
A steady hand
Leaders who possess inner peace, or at least strive to achieve it, offer a steady hand in uncertain times. Sure, things can and often do change rapidly in business, but calm, collected leadership can make those changes more palatable for everyone involved.
I recently had a situation where I was forced to manage a situation that had some tricky moving parts. It forced me to try and juggle the interests of the business, clients, investors, and external partners in a scenario where nothing was cut and dry.
The process was emotionally draining, and there were many times where I simply wanted to walk away from the deal. However, I challenged myself to take a different, more thoughtful approach.
Rather than acting emotionally, I drew on my spiritual center to find the patience to let the situation play out. Ultimately, it was this steady hand that enabled all of the parties to step back, cool off, and move forward together.
Giving yourself room to succeed
As leaders, we are almost always our own worst enemies. We sabotage our chances for success by giving in to the whims of our emotions.
Situations become personal, and we react not as mindful adults but rather as petulant children.
Without a strong sense of inner peace, a leader cannot offer a steady hand in difficult situations, and without that source of stability, organizations cannot survive.
It may sound cliche to talk about inner peace, but you can’t escape it. The connection to the “other”—something bigger than yourself—is central to the human experience and leadership in general.