Conscious leadership is not an academic pursuit for me. I’m wholly invested in it for personal reasons.
I’ve written before about my 23-year-old son Austin, who is on the autism spectrum. Austin depends on others for all of his daily life activities and he always will. He possesses many abilities and has attracted a host of wonderful people who help take care of him, yet because he cannot speak, write, or understand most of what is said to him, he is particularly vulnerable. I have fears about what will happen to him after I’m gone.
Several years ago, a friend asked me a question, “what would make your heart rest about Austin?” It was a wonderful question that I took the time to consider. When my answer came to me, it was this: my heart would rest if the people who were in charge of Austin’s life after I am gone were conscious leaders.
That answer means something very specific to me.
By conscious leadership, I refer to specific life-changing principles of leadership I’ve studied and personally relied on since 2007. I’ve written about these principles in another blog. These principles have altered the way I operate in the world such that I’m much happier and able to meet challenges with more ease and creativity.
Conscious leaders choose to lead their lives by design and with purpose. They are self-aware, emotionally mature, take healthy responsibility for what they create in the world, operate with integrity, and cultivate inner wisdom. They put purpose over personal enrichment. I’m not saying I’m close to embodying these aspects, nor is anyone I know, but I am on the path and dedicated to developing these aspects. With others I know who are also dedicated to conscious leadership, there’s an ease and deep trust in our interactions unlike any I’ve ever had anywhere else in my life. We share a common framework for working through even the most difficult issues that is both functional and relational.
So when I realized that what I most longed for in Austin’s future wellbeing had to do with the kind of leaders who cared for him, my life’s higher purpose took hold. I had a vision and a means to fulfill it. All the study and practice I’d done to develop my own leadership could be channeled productively into training others in conscious leadership.
In 2016, I started hosting free community trainings in Fort Collins, CO to spread conscious leadership into the world. I didn’t know how it would turn out, if anyone would come, or if any of the tools and concepts would resonate. I was nervous, but I knew I had a purpose that mattered. Those monthly trainings took hold and evolved into a business and Crafted Leadership was born. My co-founder Julianna Christie is equally invested in spreading conscious leadership into the world and fiercely dedicated to my higher purpose. We’re going strong after five years and have trained hundreds in conscious leadership practices. We know we’re on the right path because clients tell us how their workplace culture is changing and how they personally are changing.
I’m so happy that people are using the tools of conscious leadership in the workplace. This will help ease suffering in the workplace. But most satisfying to me is the work we do with leaders in the developmental disability field. All of our work there is pro bono or discounted and includes IDD leaders scholarships for our Lead by Design leadership courses. My dream to proactively and positively affect Austin’s future - and others like him - is coming to fruition. This alone sometimes brings me to happy tears.
If anyone reading this blog is familiar with the exceptional challenges of the developmental disability world and wonders if conscious leadership might be of benefit, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.