Intentional action is a pillar of conscious, authentic leadership. This pro shares how to do it.

Jules Shepard

September 29, 2016

2 Min Read
Tips and tools for conscious leadership

We are all leaders—leaders of employees, children and others in our lives for whom we are models of action. And since people naturally follow what others do—rather than what others say to do—it is doubly important in business to model the type of energy and prioritization that we consciously intend others to emulate. Energy attracts like energy.

That was the central premise of an interactive session at Natural Products Expo East led by self-proclaimed "recovering perfectionist" Valerie D’Ambrosio. It focused on tools for the busy and highly motivated to get the space they need to focus on intentional, rather than reactionary, actions.

D’Ambrosio drew a line to help attendees visualize the two types of energy we daily exhibit: one is “above the line” energy and one is “below the line” energy. Both are necessary and have value, but one may be more fit for a particular purpose than another.

Above the line energy is also called anabolic energy—energy that moves quickly and is geared to growth; it is “I can, I want, I choose” energy that asks why/how questions leading to constructive solutions. Below the line energy is catabolic energy—dense, heavy, slow moving, often anxious and judgmental, assigning blame and claiming victimization.

We are ruled by 90 percent of our subconscious mind, and 98 percent of our time is actually spent below the line—it’s about drama and water cooler conversations. If we make a conscious choice in any given situation to be aware of whether we are below the line or above the line, then decide whether we want to shift to the other side of the line, we are in control of our energy, she said. It is perfectly fine to stay on one side of the line or the other at any given time, so long as we decide to do so and accept where we are.

Related:Mindfulness matters in business

In a setting where we are working with others, D'Ambrosio said there should be no judgment or blame if one member of the team is exercising below the line thinking while the rest of the team is consciously above the line. The right approach is to authentically listen and appreciate them for where they are in the moment, and find the value in that perspective being brought to the table whenever possible.

She also recommended taking three deep breaths when feeling controlled by a decision or trying to accept where you are in the moment. Create time and space for yourself to “get downloads” and allow yourself to connect with your intuition, instead of being led by should-dos and external societal beliefs.

Exercising your intuitive muscle will help you make the right choice about the energy you bring to any problem or task: be aware of where you are, decide if you want to shift, and accept your decision. That approach will help anyone to become a conscious leader.


About the Author(s)

Jules Shepard

Jules Shepard is a regular contributor to many magazines, including Living Without’s Gluten Free & More (where she is also Associate Editor) and Gluten-Free Living, as well as She is the author of three highly-regarded published books and numerous e-books on gluten-free living and cooking. She is a featured “Celebrity Chef” in Living Without’s Best Gluten Free Cookbook and is a featured Contributor to Dr. Alessio Fasano’s 2014 book, Gluten Freedom.

Jules also hosts a popular weekly radio show, personally pens one of the community’s most active gluten-free blogs, oversees the annual Gluten-Free Cookie Swap, and moderates her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ presences.

In addition, she runs a gluten-free flour company and logs tens of thousands of miles a year speaking to, teaching and encouraging gluten-free consumers around the country. As an industry consultant, she helps companies in their transition to offering safe gluten- and allergen-free foods, and she has also spoken at numerous industry and retailer events, including Natural Products Expo East education seminars and Healthy Baking Seminars.

As a passionate gluten-free advocate, Jules has had an active role recently. When the FDA appeared stuck in neutral regarding long-overdue gluten-free food labeling regulations, Jules brought the gluten-free community together by co-founding and building an 11-foot-tall, one-ton gluten-free cake in Washington D.C. to get the FDA’s attention. The FDA not only attended the event, but promised to front-burner the regulations, which it did. It announced final labeling regulations in 2013 which will take effect in August of 2014.

Jules can be found at and @THEgfJules.


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