In his bestselling book The Soul of Leadership, Dr. Deepak Chopra,™ Founder of The Chopra Foundation, a nonprofit entity for research on well-being, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, says at the deepest level, “a leader is the symbolic soul of a group.” During the recent YPO European Impact Summit, Chopra reminded business leaders from around the world to tap into the deeper dimensions of leadership, especially relevant in these uncertain times.
“I want to talk about the soul of leadership,” Chopra says. “I don’t necessarily mean anything religious but the core consciousness that represents the group identity or group vision, meaning a leader acting as catalyst for personal and social transformation to orchestrate dreams of what the group has.” He adds that the world is at a critical stage, moving into a new era with two polarized forces. One is divisive and isolationist; the other is a global movement for a better society and a more peaceful and joyful world.
“This (last) kind of vision requires a new story, or what is called emergence,” he says. “This happens when the old story, the old way of thinking, goes through almost a death, and there is a disruption. As in disruptive technology, disruption means we have new story — not a recycling of the old story but a new vision for a new transformed society.”
A global reset
For Chopra, this turbulent pandemic time offers new opportunities for entrepreneurs and visionaries seeking a better world by starting a new conversation around empowerment. He explains, “Emergence of a global zeitgeist happens when you have shared vision where everyone has complementing strengths, a vision to create that critical mass for a more just world. This is where YPO business leadership can come together and play a role.”
He adds, “Looking at the last 100 years, after World War I, we had the emergence of radio. After World War II, it was the emergence of TV. In the 1990s, after the global financial crisis, it was the internet, then more technology. We are now in the midst of a global transformation, and the pandemic has shown us that climate change is possibly reversable, that the ecological system is also capable of repairing itself. When we go back, we need to go back with less hubris, more humility and a shared vision so we can create a more peaceful, just and joyful world. This needs a collective vision, and emergence that goes beyond our ego identity, moving from me to we, to one to us.”
Deepak Chopra’s 7 principals of heightened-awareness leadership
Chopra provides seven principals on the future of leadership, each forming a part of the acronym LEADERS:
L – look and listen to the zeitgeist, with heart and mind. When you listen carefully, you create a vision. Make sure you share the vision with peers and get them to listen with maximum diversity.
E – emotional intelligence. Do not harbor any grievance. Have empathy, compassion and take action, or what I call ‘love in action.’ When you have empathy and compassion and exercise love in action, then you are practicing emotional and social intelligence.
A – expanding awareness. Our financial, social and economic well-being are very closely tied to each other. When we exercise social and emotional intelligence and expand our awareness beyond the ego, we transcend the fight-or-flight response. From there, we reach higher vision, creativity, an ability to love, have compassion and transcend fear.
D – dare to dream. Stretch more than you can reach while making SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals.
E – empowerment. Be immune to criticism, having true self-esteem and a willingness to take calculated risk. This includes not only increasing your own self-esteem but increasing self-esteem of everyone (around you).
S – synchronicity. Successful leaders are willing to change their mind and look at a new story. They are willing to find themselves at the right place and the right time, finding meaningful coincidence where opportunity meets preparedness.
When we go back (post COVID-19), we need to go back with less hubris, more humility and a shared vision so we can create a more peaceful, just and joyful world. This needs a collective vision, and emergence that goes beyond our ego identity, moving from me to we, to one to us. ”
— Dr. Deepak Chopra,™ Founder The Chopra Foundation share
Envisioning a better world
Asked how COVID-19 has impacted his personal life, Chopra says, “I am a physician, and I see people suffering all the time and going through grief. When people go through grief, they go through different stages of grief, but some find meaning and acceptance and creativity.”
Chopra has taken the pandemic as an opportunity to find meaning not only for himself, but to create a global movement for physical and mental well-being. He launched a new website, www.neveralone.love, and an AI chatbot that can engage with anyone in the world having mental challenges, befriend them and help alleviate their suffering.
“We are now in process of creating blockchain and cryptocurrency to help create a global movement of mental and physical well-being that will be sustained globally through collective transformation and not depend on any special interest groups,” says Chopra, who is optimistic about the use of technology with mind-body interventions, for personalized, preventive and participatory treatments.