Leadership bloomsSpring opens us up to beauty. What was dormant turns to sprouts of growth. What was colorless becomes colorful. Possibility seems real again. Our eyes are opened to the beauty of what is ahead.

Also ahead are the storms. Ushered in with the new blooms are the rains. While rains nourish, the fierceness of some storms damage. Within the mix of growth and challenge, our spirits rise within to do the work of the seasons of change.

In leadership, we wish all was beautiful in what we do and what others do yet no one said what is worthwhile would be easy. Beauty comes through in what we do from within and from what we tap within others. Leadership is about blooming.

What makes something bloom?

Good soil helps. Keeping the weeds away clears a path upward. Watering in between the natural rains keeps growth alive. Smiling at what unfolds delivers a sense of deep satisfaction.

Good leadership is similar.

Good culture helps. Clearing obstructions frees a path forward. Nurturing and challenging keeps growth alive. Encouraging at what unfolds instills a sense of renewed action and purpose.

All these things make leadership bloom.

  • Empowering culture
  • Clearing paths
  • A balance of nurturing and challenging
  • Encouraging words… trust in what one is capable to do

Within this mix is our own sense of purpose. Within this mix is how we mentor others. At the heart of it, this is what Soul Sparks are about. Soul Sparks activate our own purpose while kindling the spirited purpose within others. (tweet to share)

The stories of Soul Sparks inspire us to take the next step.

As part of the Activate Leadership: Aspen Truths to Empower Millennial Leaders, various generations have joined in with their Soul Sparks, and their stories inspire, guide, and empower. Two more stories are added into the mix.

Deb Mills-Scofield, Mills-Scofield.com

What pops in Deb’s Soul Sparks is two-fold. First, she was “blessed” with bosses who cleared the paths for her to use her talents fully. Given this experience, Deb has passed on similar mentoring and leadership principles to the next generation.

Here is what Deb said about her own experience:

“I am blessed to have had bosses who saw soul sparks in me and gave me opportunities to develop and spread them. These bosses mentored and supported my soul sparks up to the highest levels of the company and made sure I succeeded. They viewed their job as lighting the fire and clearing the path for me. Because that was how I was managed and led from the start of my career, because that was really all I personally and gratefully knew, that was how I managed and led others; how could I know otherwise?”

What this has led to is Deb’s guiding presence with many Millennials as well as other generations (like me!). She shared two stories. The first is with Sidney Kusher of CCChampions, and the second is with Jayson Marwaha and Han Sheng Chia who started MED-International. Both are stories of inspiration and so much more. Highlighted below are two snippets:

“Soul sparks are contagious. I don’t know who benefits more – Sidney when I help him be the leader at 24 I wasn’t at 30 or me from his wisdom, honestly and authenticity.”

“As a board member, I should have pushed shutting the business down earlier, since there was no viable path to profitability. As a mentor, I knew they needed to come to that conclusion on their own, having tried all possibilities. In the end, they created an elegant, gracious and compassionate solution….”

Soul Sparks are usually mutually beneficial in their wisdom and lessons learned. Our first urge may be to direct others. When we hold this back, what blooms is more than just self-knowledge. What takes hold is the pursuit of the possible and the beauty of lessons learned.

Jennifer V. Miller, People Equation

“It happened while I was cleaning up the dinner dishes. While I stood at my kitchen sink, scrubbing pans, the thought formed, completely unbidden: I want to be a writer.”

So begins Jennifer’s story. In the midst of the most normal of activities, something strikes. We may have known it before but now it just surfaces into more than just a mere thought. Soul Sparks activate us to finally move forward.

Work is required. This is not about running off to pursue your passion. It is about doing the work necessary to realize your deeper purpose and responsibility within life and work. As Jennifer points out, work is required:

“Dig deeply. Be introspective. Look at uncomfortable facets of one’s life. Inventory one’s strengths. Call forth the gremlins into the daylight and vanquish them.”

Leadership blooms when we tap into our Soul Sparks and empower those within others.

Spring is an important season, just as the others are. However, spring reminds us to tend to our purpose. More than this, spring reminds us to guide the purpose in others. Rather than stomping on the garden of another’s soulful purpose, we need to guide, challenge, and provide the foundation to achieve, learn, and grow.

Soul Sparks remind us to clear the mess, see the possibility, and ignite the action. (tweet to share)

Using Soul Sparks will make leadership bloom in unexpected ways. Within the unexpected, many good works happen and the beauty of leadership is passed forward from season to season. More than this, the beauty of leadership springs up between generations and within each.

Thank you to Deb Mills-Scofield and Jennifer Miller for these reminders.

How are you enabling leaders to bloom?