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Eye of the Hurricane

Imagine two distinct leadership styles: the first leader remains steady and composed, balancing passion for specific topics and an unwavering calm, even amidst emotionally charged situations. This leader embodies reliability, consistently reacting with propriety and level-headedness. The second, conversely, exudes passion indiscriminately, a trait that oscillates between inspiring and overwhelming. This unpredictability fosters an environment where employees tread lightly, wary of unpredictable reactions to fluctuations in the workplace.

The archetype of leadership excellence is undoubtedly embodied by the former. Distinguished leaders across various fields maintain serenity amidst chaos, ensuring decisions are made with reflection and poise. This tranquility, I assert, stems from a profound, introspective understanding and connection with one’s own emotions—a mastery developed through persistent mindfulness, self-discovery, and the deliberate unraveling of one's emotional core.

George Mumford, a revered author and authority on mindfulness, illustrates how legendary athletes like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant harnessed tranquility in the vortex of high-stakes moments. Their ability to anchor their minds in tumultuous environments—be it a roaring arena at the apex of a game or when a title hung in the balance—demonstrates the formidable power of mindfulness. This technique enabled them to exude focus and serenity, significantly influencing their performance and, by extension, their teams.

In the book Golden, Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz discuss the value of finding quiet in the age of constant distractions. Throughout the book, they share anecdotes of when people feel "silence," in many instances, this quiet comes from a time when they are in the zone or flow state no matter the situation. Leaders must create their flow state to harness their full capabilities and positively impact their team, no matter the size or scope.

Integral to cultivating such steadiness is emotional intelligence (EI). As defined by Mental Health America, EI encapsulates the capacity to manage one’s emotions and recognize and empathize with the emotions of others. The core components of EI—self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills—are indispensable for leaders. Those with heightened EI navigate their emotional landscapes without succumbing to unproductive narratives, ultimately responding in constructive, mindful manners. This skill often correlates with mindfulness, aiding leaders in discerning the root causes of their emotions beyond superficial reactions.

Mindfulness, a versatile practice, can manifest in various forms—whether through contemplative walks, a method favored by Steve Jobs, or quiet meditation, as practiced by icons like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan. Engaging with one's emotions and questioning their origins and implications is pivotal. By confronting and resolving personal tribulations, leaders can become the steadfast beacon for their teams or families, exemplifying the calm within the storm.

Thank you for reading.

Ian Galbraith

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