By Alexa Salari, Vitalien Adoukonou, and Namgay Zam
Chapter Six in Kevin Cashman’s book, Leadership from the Inside Out, urges readers to get in touch with our inner selves to fully realize our potential in order to be effective leaders. The chapter titled, “Leading with Presence,” drives home the point that one needs to find time to draw on one’s inner strength to lead, and that can happen only when there is time for quiet.
Cashman does encourage meditation. However, meditation is also explained to be more than a just a religious pursuit. It is compared to activities like swimming, walking, gardening and so on- all moments of quiet. Moments when the mind is “loose, relaxed, settled, and able to comprehend the parts and the whole at the same time.” The author says such a frame of mind bolsters “innovative ideas and creative solutions.” He quotes from a CNNMoney.com article (March 2006, Anne Fisher) to further corroborate his assertion: “What scientists have only recently begun to realize is that people may do their best thinking when they are not concentrating on work at all.”
MEDITATION IS REFLECTION:
The chapter pre-empts questions that would come from skeptics by using examples of leaders who have benefitted from introspection and meditation. “With no silence, there is no reflection. With no reflection, there is no vision. With no vision, there is no leadership. As counterintuitive as it may seem, silence and reflection are actually performance pathways to more expanded vision and more effective, innovative leadership,” shares Cashman. He draws examples from his own life and experiences as well as from those of other successful people to impress upon the reader that leadership requires looking within, that good leadership cannot happen in the absence of a connection with the self.
WAYS TO CONNECT TO INNER SELF:
The chapter ends with practical approaches to Being or connecting with your inner self. These include meditating, enjoying nature, listening to music, and reading inspirational books. Our specific group enjoys listening to music so it is only fitting then that we end with a link to a song that helps us better connect to our inner selves. This works for us. What works for you?