I’ve spent the greater part of the past 30 years of my life working in the corporate world.
I’ve worked in high intensity, fast-paced start-up environments, shared great responsibility as a leader on executive teams, and ran my own agency where more often than not, I wore countless hats. I managed to juggle all aspects of operations from sales and marketing to production, accounting, team leadership, client relations, and more. I’ve held roles in a wide range of industries from print and digital media and publishing, to children’s electronic toys and games, Internet portals and social networks, B2B and B2C E-commerce, SAAS, FinTech, RegTech, and Outdoor Recreation, Health, Fitness, and Wellness products and services. I’ve served the branding and marketing needs of hundreds of clients in an even wider range of industries and markets.
Throughout the woven fabric of my career, I’ve been gifted the opportunity to lead and mentor teams, counsel corporate CEO’s, comfort investors, and inspire board members. Without hesitation, I can confidently report that only a handful of the individuals I interacted with demonstrated the inspirational character of a person who lived by an accord of whole life balance. In other words, more often than not, I found those I interacted with to be deeply immersed in the responsibility of their corporate work the majority of their lives. Family often fell second. Hobbies and personal interests rarely entered the conversation. The development of real personal friendships often stumbled along. And, though I know many held strong faith and strived for a more meaningful personal life, most seemed to push their deeper inspirational tendencies aside while in corporate environments.
I am driven to transform the world’s perception of work and help individuals formulate a new blend of daily experience.
I often listened to conversations and observed the body language of my colleagues and personally assessed what they might truly feel and think. Generally, it appeared individuals were seeking approval and respect, hoping to be heard—not just listened to. I couldn’t help but wonder if those I observed might have secretly doubted their abilities in the role they held or if they feared not being accepted, included, and respected if they expressed their true nature—boldly revealing their vulnerabilities, fears, hopes, and dreams.
The last company that employed me was a Financial Regulation Technology start-up. While there, I held the role as Vice President of Marketing and later as Chief Marketing Officer. As a leader, I felt compelled to demonstrate leadership from an inspirational perspective. I shed the fear of expressing from the vantage point of my true nature. To some, my techniques might have been considered bold or unusual. But, to me, I believe a leader must step outside the comfort zone to inspire their team to come together and execute from a place of meaning and purpose in order to achieve great things. I inspired a deeper sense of personal being encouraging people to drop artificial personas and be real. After all, what’s the sense in being employed—investing thousands of hours of your life into a job to make money—if not to bring your whole self into the experience? To look back on life with regret is the greatest travesty of our existence. Thus, to bring your whole true self into every experience—work or play—is to honor yourself and your employer. And, frankly, if an employer fails to see value in your true self, their environment wasn’t the right place to spend countless hours of your life anyway.
This is the methodology I’ve always used when interviewing potential candidates to join my teams. What do they bring of their whole self to the position they may be assigned? Are they masking their true self to impress me? It’s easy to hire a candidate for a particular role based on their skill set, education, and experience. It is much more intentional to hire a candidate that has the potential to grow into an inspirational leader. After all, as a leader, my job was to grow leaders. Having one of my team members eventually assume my corporate role was precisely my duty—to essentially put myself out of a job. That’s leadership success.
I didn’t always have the confidence in myself to lead in such a way. Early on in my career as a leader I suppressed the fear of being replaced. When I finally came to understand how important it was to conduct myself as my whole self without fear of being rejected or excluded, I discovered how much respect I garnered. Interestingly, respect became only a byproduct of expressing my true character. In fact, I became addicted to inspiring people and bringing joy into the experiences I shared with others. In so doing, I created a powerful energy among my team with tremendous respect for one another and as a result a strong desire for others to join our pursuit. As an exceptional unified force, we believed we could move mountains and sometimes we did.
A significant part of life is spent either sleeping or working. Much less time is spent doing the things that bring us the most joy like time with family, practicing and perfecting hobbies, making time for self-discovery, true self-expression, meaningful interaction with others, and spending time connecting with our natural surroundings.
Our tendency—brought on by sluggish and outdated hierarchical corporate culture—is to suppress our true nature and allow ourselves to be groomed to fit into a competitive corporate model for career advancement. Our driving purpose becomes more about demonstrating the capacity for increased responsibility in order to realize ever increasing income than to feel like we are making a real difference and contributing to the greater good of humankind.
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The recent pandemic has brought about personal insight and reflection among the workforce. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with several individuals who are in the midst of such reflection. It isn’t that they’d rather not work. It is more about finding meaning, inspiration, and purpose across all aspects of their lives.
I believe that individuals are longing to express their true nature at work and be embraced by their employer for doing so—in a sense, being real, shedding artificiality and finding true inspiration. The workforce is evolving. Individuals are now more deliberate in their goals and are seeking experiences where they can be a meaningful contributor to a united front for an honorable cause. As technology advances and human beings are replaced by automation in task-driven roles, I believe the role of the human workforce will become increasingly driven by profound purpose and inspiration. Thought leadership and collaboration will drive individuals to unite for a meaningful common cause more so than for financial sustenance.
We are reaching a tipping point in how society defines work and thus, we will likely one day soon trend toward a seamless experience between our work goals and our personal initiatives. As we are seeing today, corporations are more and more offering hybrid work-from-home employment opportunities. I believe, however, that corporations will come to understand that motivation is less about the desire to work from home and more about establishing and maintaining a balance between their work selves and their personal selves. The corporate experience must evolve to inspire and motivate individuals through a shared desire to make a difference and celebrate the individuality and character of each team member and how each enhances that team.
Several years ago, I decided it was time to build a life that allowed me to express my whole self every day in everything I do. I formulated my Life’s Mission and my Golden Mission. I then set out to honor that mission in everything I do and hold myself accountable to maintain integrity for that mission across my entire life experience. Such focus has allowed me a level of joy and peace I had not experienced in my past work life. I shed any artificiality I might have put between me and those I interact with and stepped forward without fear. I let go of the idea that expressing my true nature might go against the grain of typical corporate culture.
As it turned out, a great deal of love and kindness was reflected back to me by colleagues, clients, corporate investors, board members, my friends and family, and those who follow me on social media. Allowing myself to be driven by inspiration has been as much a gift to myself as it has been to those who I spend time with in all aspects of my life.
I have created a meaningful pathway to help others create a personal life map, define what kind of life they wish to live, determine what they truly wish to invest their time in, and commit to expressing themselves with honor and integrity for their own life’s mission. In so doing, I honor my mission thereby redefining and blurring the lines of my work and personal life. I am driven to transform the world’s perception of work and help individuals formulate a new blend of daily experience—an all-inclusive experience that has no borders between employment and the things that personally drive and inspire them.
My personal drive is to evolve humankind. My goal is to inspire more humans to venture out, reconnect with nature, reflect, encourage a pursuit to uncover their true selves, and live with honor and integrity for the life’s mission they formulate in the process.
Corporate culture must evolve with a greater appreciation for human kindness and connection. Companies must dedicate themselves to inspiring the people they employ and serve. It must happen just as fast as technology is replacing jobs. No more will human beings be trained to perform monotonous tasks. Rather, humans will have no other option than to find true meaning in whatever they do or evolve themselves out of existence.
I encourage every human to lead by example. Inspire others and in return find inspiration. Perform your day with honor and integrity and gift the world with your whole true self. Become a beacon of light for the expansion of human consciousness and the advancement of humankind. Be bold, shed fear, and discover your power to transform society, the meaning of work, and live your true life’s mission. Join me in this pursuit and together we will move mountains.
Article written by: Scott Leuthold
Images by: Scott Leuthold with contributions from Pexels.
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