5 Lessons In Transformative Leadership: Yogi Style

5 lessons in transformative leadership yogi style

Almost ten years ago, while on a business related assignment, I was in Mumbai India, I had the occasion to attend a session on The Power of Transformative Leadership by none other than Jaggi Vasudev, a.k.a. Sadhguru. I had heard about him several times from a dear friend of mine, who is part of his Inner Circle for over 15 years back then. She had never been able to to rope me into his ashram in Coimbatore in southern India, even though she knew I had a curious mind and a spiritual quest, even as I was a corporate leader in a major Wall Street firm. This time, I had no excuse.

The man was coming into Mumbai, the audience was business leaders, several of whom I knew personally, and the topic was right up my alley and of my interest. To say I was quite blown away by a yogi, a mystic and a teacher to have such command of the language of leadership is putting it mildly. I found myself taking frantic notes (which is not so unusual for me, but this was particularly different). I happened to be going through those notes today, and wanted to share some insights.

1. Making things happen Sadhguru knows how to get to the heart of the matter. He said that transformative leaders are those that see what others do not see. They are able to balance and evaluate individual concerns with the concerns of the organization and humanity overall. If they don’t, they cannot make things happen. They are able to see things crystal clear: they are able to recognize the impact they have on other people’s lives and they think of that all the time! It is how they can manifest their vision.

2. How am I within? A transformative leader — not just any leader — knows how he/she is within. “You can only do what you are. You know the art of evolving yourself.” The idea is that you have to work on yourself first! How you are manifests itself immediately. For instance, if you walk into your corner office in the morning, after having had a crummy, unintentional morning at home (a tiff with your spouse, for instance), you can still choose how you show up for your work in your office. You choose your emotion, you choose how you want to be, with intention. If you carry the crummy energy of your home experience, it does not take long to manifest that energy into your day. Such leaders know how to transform lives or situations.

3. Fulfillment of human aspirations Businesses are created to fulfill a purpose we have. Businesses are designed to serve human beings and their needs. Only the scope of what they do may be varied. A small vendor may only serve a small population, while a food processing plant fills an intermediary need in the very large food market. Phone makers or TV manufacturers serve a human need on a different scale. Thus, businesses happen because of a necessity or a thought of creating something new. Transformative leadership is about knowing that the business that you lead is, after all about the human spirit and fulfilling aspirations! Such a leader has this sense fully assimilated in her psyche and she lives and breathes it all the time, it is part of her.

4. Joy and Exuberance: This is an inner game! These were words I had not heard from anyone in any leadership seminar before. He said that sensations of any kind you experience, are part of you. But when you are able to transcend that, and your able to experience sensation beyond yourself, you experience true joy! ‘Your system works at its best when it is most joyful and exuberant’. “Whatever you experience only happens within you. Nothing ever in your experience happens outside of you”. (For the many years now that I have been watching and listening to Sadhguru, he stays consistent with these themes!) Thus, when we all look at the moon or any object or a person, each of us sees something different. Why? Based on our own sensibility and whatever we see is because of how we feel about it internally. We can walk away from the same meeting or a seminar, but we all have different perceptions. Nothing new there, you might say, but truly think about what really happens outside you? Nothing! It is within you. It is because we only notice the outside a certain way, is what causes all sorts of problems. We must focus inward and on ourselves.


5. Inclusiveness “Make the dream happen the way you want it, dammit!” He said, laughingly. Inclusiveness is what makes people attracted to such leaders. When people do NOT feel the presence of the ‘boss’, that boss is the true leader. He went on to say this: “that is why we don’t feel the presence of our Creator. We notice nothing about the galaxies working in perfect harmony without accident. That’s leadership!” “The main problem is we are not experiencing the joy of self! If you’ve never had 24 hours the way you want to experience, that is truly sad for you.”. This is about intention. You have to be intend to be joyful! We are so used to complaining and comparing that we do not experience our inner joy! Leadership is about being in charge of yourself! If you are not in charge of yourself, what is the depth of the impact you’re likely to have on your people? Inclusiveness with integrity and honesty is about taking care of yourself first. In sum, Transformative Leaders understand themselves first. They don’t think too much /about/ life, they live it. Life just happens to most of us: we must be in charge of how we respond to what happens to us, not simply react to it. Leaders know the difference and make themselves the living example of it. We were left with these questions…. Are you a transformative leader? Is life just happening to you, or are you living it? Are you here to experience it or avoid it? Do you know clearly what you’re after and what you want to be (not just do)? PostScript To be a Transformative Leader and a beacon for others is to not need to think about one’s concerns or life as a separate entity as part of that role, because you are inclusive. No wonder I have kept up with this man’s teachings and his musings. He is certainly a transformative leader himself. He is remarkably consistent — and some say quite repetitive of the same examples (perhaps they are consuming too much of him!).

I do not agree with everything he propounds either. I learn from everyone and take what I can learn and apply. I want to live my life, not let it happen to me. I did pursue his program (www.innerengineering.com, part of www.isha.org), and it changed my life in many ways! Today I am on a mission to help people create alignment in their lives by having their actions and behaviors with their thoughts, beliefs and their heart’s desires, and how it reflects in your business as a leader. I invite you to a FREE 60 minute Strategy Session to help you become more aware and conscious as a leader, so you can gain greater influence in uncertain times or otherwise. Below is a link for an application to schedule your FREE 60 minute call with us. I hope you take advantage of this offer.

Raju Panjwani

Raju Panjwani

Raju has lived in the US for over 43 years. As a John Maxwell Certified Coach and Speaker, and a no-excuses focused coach, Raju is passionate about helping business owners tap into their vision and realize their potential. He has taught the Dale Carnegie course, curated and developed several hundreds of hours of training, participated in exclusive masterminds, and coached several leaders.

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