Ralph defines enlightenment as discovering “the light within.” And as he and Bill discuss, when we allow our own lights to shine and take time to find the light within all those we work with – to tap into their passion – we foster true team engagement and become a much more powerful leader. Listen and enlighten your leadership.
Bill Berthel: Welcome to the Get Emergent podcast. Our podcast is focused on individual, team, and organizational development and performance. We focus on topics such as leadership, human development, and raising the consciousness and awareness of leaders. We aim to provide creative concepts, new ideas, and pragmatic tips and practices for leaders in all walks of life.
I’m Bill Berthel.
Ralph Simone: And I’m Ralph Simone.
Bill Berthel: So Ralph, today we want to talk about the topic of enlightened leadership. Why enlightened leadership for our listeners?
Ralph Simone: Part of it is because I’ve been rereading all the books in my library. My wife has put a moratorium on new purchases, and one of the ones I reread was the Spiritual Path of the Ninja Warrior.
And they talk about enlightenment like as, as a place that you need to get to. And I think in my mind, in our mind, enlightenment literally means the light within. So I think enlightened leadership is leadership that discovers the light within themselves as well as that light in all of their people, because it’s their passion, and when we can tap into people’s passion. To their light. The light within there is no stopping us. There would be no issue around utilization, engagement, culture, because the enlightened leader fully understands that enlightenment is not a destination. It is a way of being. And when we can help uncover that light within all of the people that work for us.
Their commitment, their motivation, their engagement will be off the charts. So that’s why I think we should talk about the Enlightened Leader.
Bill Berthel: So this is about recognizing our own authentic light within, but as leaders, the unique relationship/responsibility we have in guiding others and helping others see theirs as well.
Ralph Simone: Absolutely. And not only see theirs, but to be willing to authentically shine their light. In any and all circumstances. I was thinking about all of the times, even still where I might censor myself. Hmm. Where I don’t share what is on my mind. Something that I think could be helpful because of the masks I’m wearing.
Right. I either wanna look good or I wanna be smart, or I wanna look under control or I wanna be accepted. And so I censor myself and so I, it’s like a dimmer switch and, and in effect I dim my light a little bit. And I think what happens is we have organizations full of people that are operating on dim lights, and I think the enlightened leader shines his or her light and creates the conditions where others shine theirs. You know, if you think about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Let’s create the opportunity where we bring diverse lights to the table. That we provide an opportunity for them to shine and all are included in that, just think about how bright that picture would look.
Bill Berthel: Well, I love that. I love the dimmer analogy because that really resonated strongly for me. I think we have our hands on our dimmers and sometimes either that social mirror or others. Ask us. So we’re almost demand us sometimes to dim our own lights. But I, I love the diversity piece, right? Light is in, in, in optics and light science.
It’s measured in temperature. And so having all different temperature lights there, right? The warm glow, the bright white light, the natural sunlight, right? We’ll see so much more. We’ll achieve so much more. We’ll get a fuller picture, but I’m hearing a fuller way of
Ralph Simone: being. Yeah, the enlightened leader is constantly unlayering him or herself.
Asking questions and providing the opportunity, right? Our beliefs, our biases, our experiences all serve to dim that light, all serve to mitigate how authentically we share who we really are and, you know, we need to reconnect to that light and that source of power ourselves. And we need to really enable and create conditions where people can tap into that passion as well.
I don’t think you find disengaged people when they have been allowed to let their light shine. Mm-hmm. I just don’t think it’s possible. I don’t think you find a lack of utilization or lack of commitment when people are allowed to share their passion. I think too often and, and I think my own leadership has been unenlightened for a long time because of how judgmental I’ve been and how quick I am to jump in on how quick I am to react to a unique perspective.
And so I think the work starts with self. Enlightened leader, but it is not somewhere to get to. It is really a way of being, and it literally means to allow your light to shine and then to create conditions for others to shine as well.
Bill Berthel: Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned it a little bit ago that we need to discard these masks, and you gave lots of great examples.
The activity of discarding those masks is part of it, but then reconnecting with our light. Reconnecting with our light. I know for me that’s often come from time with loved ones and deep conversation and time alone in nature. Talk about this reconnecting with light, with our own light.
Ralph Simone: So I think that process is most possible when we are still, that process is most possible when we’re surrounded.
By the natural habitat. When we’re looking at water, when we’re, when we’re seeing things because they are actually shining their light naturally as intended. Right, the thing that differentiates us from, from nature is we have this mind, this brain that can think in, which is a, a really incredibly powerful tool, but it also can limit us.
So I think getting still pausing long enough to rediscover our unique gifts, our purpose for being and then having the courage and the opportunity to share. I think those are critically important, right? It’s difficult in the hustle and bustle pace to allow that light to be shining brightly. We do have to get still, we have to pause.
We have to really, where is there some angst, right? Where is there some misalignment? Where is that dimmer switch causing us to feel dampened? And as soon as we can find that and let it go, we are in a position to just to shine so brightly. I’ve had glimpses of this where I have just shared what I absolutely was authentically thinking, and it has never led me astray.
But it’s not enough. And so I think enlightened leadership is finding and shining your light first and then finding methods by which we enable others to find and shine their light as well.
Bill Berthel: So can we talk about those two spaces a little separately? What would you recommend or suggest for our listeners as leaders themselves to either reconnect with or find their own light? What can they do?
Ralph Simone: I think one thing is, you know, go back to a list of activities, regardless if they’re in the workplace or not, that really you found energizing over your life. I’ve been looking at as I’m in the twilight of my career, new hobbies, and I’ve been thinking about, we talked about this the other day, about I’m gonna put a basketball hoop and backboard in my driveway. 65 years old because of being outside. Shooting baskets and really not with the intention of getting better in basketball as evidence of my short-lived career was just really to kind of be, and to have fun and to just be, you know, and, and, and to just kind of retap in.
So kind of really reflecting on those activities that are energy-gaining for you. Absolutely. The behaviors, right? Because that’s an insight to your gifts, that’s an insight to your light. And so I think that’s one of the things I would encourage people, but to build in that time. Absolutely. To take walks into nature, to take a, you know, I’ll take a walk this afternoon along the lake and you know, my wife won’t go with me because I walk too slow because I’m not trying to get anywhere.
You know, this is just like my steps. I don’t track my steps. I’m not trying to get to 10,000 steps. I’m trying to be in this step, and as I said at the beginning, enlightenment is not a destination. It is a way of being. And so building in that time just to be and to see what comes up. Because what comes up naturally is really your unique gifts, your light, and that’s what we wanna encourage people to share more of.
Bill Berthel: And there seems to be a real key in either stillness or at least a slowing down during this time of reconnecting with light.
Ralph Simone: So, as you know, I’m in the process of publishing a book, which is titled Slow Down to Go Faster. And we just had a number of people who I hold in high regard, read it. And a couple of them said, I don’t even think this, this should be the title, because I don’t think people really wanna slow down.
And I think it’s absolutely necessary that we build this slowing down into our lives so that we can go faster. Because we go faster when our path is illuminated more brightly. We go faster when we’re not afraid to share who we really are in what we really think and we go faster when we hold that same space for other people.
I think, what’s the African proverb?
Bill Berthel: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go farther, go together.
Ralph Simone: And so we combine those two and, so I think we not only need to find that light for ourselves, but we need to hold that space for others to find that light within. I, I don’t know anybody that’s ever performed poorly that was passionate about what they were doing.
Bill Berthel: Yeah, I know when that path is illuminated, well, you not only go faster, you, you crash less, you wind up in the ditch a little less too. Right?
Ralph Simone: Let’s work the high beams on. Yeah, yeah, exactly. I think we have too many people driving in our organizations at night with the lights off.
Bill Berthel: With the lights off or low beams, or low or dim.
Ralph Simone: Let’s park the high beams on in London. Let’s see where we can go.
Bill Berthel: So let’s, let’s, let’s segue to that. How do, how do we as leaders, guide, assist? What’s facilitate, what’s the word for folks to get their lights on, to get the high beams on?
Ralph Simone: Well, I think it’s Leader as Coach that we’ve talked about in previous podcasts.
I think it’s leadership is relationship, right? We tie those together. I mean, I heard something on a recent podcast that I listened to that said, you know, I think we do that by encouraging people to have a solid foundation, but porous boundaries. And, and so don’t, I think it’s loosening up how we do things around here.
Maybe how we do things around here is too limiting. Doesn’t allow people to shine their brightest. And so I think it might be even loosening some of the cultural norms and, and kind of looking at it from a fresh perspective. So these are a couple of ideas. I mean, I’m excited about this because I look at where my light is not shining as brightly as it could, and most of it is self-imposed. But some of it is environmental. We first work with ourselves and then we work on the environment by which our people engage.
Bill Berthel: And you can listen right here to a new podcast two times a month, where we bring you contemporary leadership topics and ideas backed with better practices so you can apply them to your leadership.