In spring of 2018, I had the good fortune of participating in the Authentic Leadership program at Naropa University. I learned about the program through a Naturally Boulder education event and decided that, personally and professionally, I was ready to take my leadership “to the next level.” I signed up for the program and began a 16-week Authentic Leadership journey that changed my life for the better. The program deeply impacted how I see the world, how I am aware of myself in the world and helped me understand how my thoughts and actions impact others around me at work and at home. The program helped me “get in touch” with who I really am so that I can bring the best version of myself to every encounter, every day, and help positively influence the energy in a room, situations and outcomes, for the better.
Benefit No. 1: Mindful awareness
The first portion of the Authentic Leadership program focuses on mindfulness and becoming “aware” of thoughts, judgements, biases and stories that we tell ourselves, we say to others and that impact our ability to lead. Before we can set an example for others, we need to get in touch with our authentic, inner selves, and understand who we are (a consistent, ongoing practice through meditation and mindful awareness exercises).
Benefit No. 2: Inspired embodiment
It wasn’t until I experienced the embodiment exercises of the Authentic Leadership program that I realized how much body language, the way we hold ourselves and the position of our bodies can impact the energy of a room and interactions with individuals. Now, when I enter a room or am speaking with someone, I try to keep my shoulders back, maintain an open heart and hold a welcoming posture. Incorporating this small tweak has made a big impact on meetings and conversations.
Benefit No. 3: Vulnerability
One of the most important lessons I learned was when and how to be open and vulnerable with others. While vulnerability and transparency can lead to closer relationships, build trust and form strong interpersonal relationships, there is a time, a place and a method of “being vulnerable” while in a leadership position. The program helped me understand when and how to “open up” with teams, colleagues, friends and family.
While these are just three benefits I took away from the Authentic Leadership program, there are many, many more that I have incorporated into my life. I will continue to look back on the program as one of the greatest learning experiences I’ve had and know that it is a wonderful program for current leaders, aspiring leaders and anyone looking to build their “leadership EQ.”
Adriane Pilcher is the brand director for The Jackfruit Company and an alumna of the Authentic Leadership program at Naropa University.
Looking to take your leadership to the next level? An Authentic Leadership for Naturals workshop is coming up on June 27-28, 2019 at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.