Cultivating Personal Spiritual Leadership

There is an old saying that you can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. It is therefore difficult, if not impossible, to implement organizational spiritual leadership without strong personal spiritual leadership.  As shown below, personal spiritual leadership requires  an inner life practice that is the source of hope/faith in a vision of service of others through personal values based on altruistic love. By committing to a vision of service to our key stakeholders, we discover a calling to make a difference in other peoples’ lives and, therefore, have a sense that our life has meaning and purpose. In living the values of altruistic love through the care, concern, and appreciation of both one’s self and others, we experience membership and a sense of belonging and being understood and appreciated. The combined experiences of calling and membership are the essence of spiritual well-being, which is the source of the individual outcomes of personal spiritual leadership – personal commitment and productivity, positive human health, psychological well-being, and life satisfaction.

The Personal Spiritual Leadership Model


Exploring Your Personal Spiritual Leadership

Chapters three and six in, Maximizing the Triple Bottom Line Through Spiritual Leadership, are dedicated to  exploring the essence of the spiritual journey and developing the qualities of personal spiritual leadership. Personal spiritual leadership is a developmental process that follow the process of the Personal Spiritual Leadership Model. This approach assumes that all people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. As such,cultivating personal spiritual leadership practice requires a discernment process of powerful questioning, co-creation, and visioning to deepen spirituality and connect that deepening to daily action in your organization.

Personal spiritual leadership  is a process built on specific practices and is also fluid and uniquely individual. It is a path of both spiritual deepening as you explore the meaning and practical daily application of both personal and organizational spiritual leadership. Personal spiritual leadership however is not a form of psychoanalysis, although it is a path to self discovery. It specifically focuses on the inner life and spiritual leadership components of the personal spiritual leadership model that, in combination, creates hope/faith in a transcendent vision of service to others through altruistic love.

Step One: Cultivating One’s Inner Life Through Mindfulness

Cultivating one’s inner life is a process of understanding and tapping into, a power greater than ourselves along with how to draw on that power to live a more satisfying and full outer life.  It speaks to the feelings individuals have about the fundamental meaning of who they are, what they are doing, and the contributions they are making. Inner life is the source of both Personal Spiritual Leadership  which includes individual practices (e.g., meditation, prayer, yoga, journaling, and walking in nature) and Organizational Spiritual Leadership which supports contexts (e.g., rooms for inner silence and reflection) that help individuals to be more mindful or self-aware and conscious from moment-to-moment.

In this phase of the personal spiritual leadership process you discover or reinforce your current inner life practice and its importance for the spiritual journey within the framework of the Personal Spiritual Leadership Model. This includes, as is covered in Maximizing the Triple bottom Line Through Spiritual leadership, exploring the spiritual journey as a pilgrimage through five Levels of Knowing and Being and the Three-fold Path of Spiritual Transformation. Essential to this journey is cultivating mindfulness and mindful awareness Mindful awareness is a process of waking up and becoming the “Watcher”; of being present in the now. This Watcher is your true Essence or Being. One cannot see clearly nor have an accurate view of reality if their emotional programs for happiness and cultural conditioning are clouding their awareness. Being mindfully aware is to discover new insights and possibilities, to awaken one’s capacity to live more wisely, more lovingly, and more fully. One way that is used to begin this journey is through the use of the Enneagram. To get a feel for how this works you may want to explore the Enneagram web site as well as take one of the free Enneagram self-assessments.

Step Two: The Personal Mission Statement: Spiritual Leadership in Daily Action

As we draw more and more strength from our inner life practice, we experience an inner resurrection that is manifested through the qualities of personal spiritual leadership. However, this manifestation cannot take place without a vision or destination and a compass (a set of values and moral principles). Mindful awareness as a result of our inner life practice gives us the hope/faith to re-script ourselves so the paradigms from which our attitudes and behavior flow are in harmony with our vision, purpose, and mission in life and congruent with our deepest values. The most effective way to begin this re-scripting process is through a personal mission statement, which provides both a foundation and guidance for developing the qualities of personal spiritual leadership.

An effective personal mission statement requires vision, purpose, mission and value statements that form the basis for our ethical system and the personal values based in altruistic love underlying it. It identifies our key stakeholders and their expectations, issues related to unmet stakeholder expectations, and a set of integrated goals and strategies to resolve these issues. Taken together, a spiritual program and personal mission statement provide a deep sense of peace and security from knowing that our vision and values are timeless, circumstance free, and do not change. They transcend people and circumstances encouraging us to validate them through the practice of personal and organizational spiritual leadership.

Example of worksheets that can be used as an aid in this process are given in chapter 6 of Maximizing The Triple Bottom Line Through Spiritual Leadership and are also available as part of our product/workshop offerings.