Zen Leader Blog

Leadership Advice: How To Expand Your Peripheral Vision

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Feb 17, 2013 5:59:00 AM

sphere of influenceHow many followers are in your camp? How many people do you influence? Have you ever stopped to think about the number? Probably not. It's more staggering than you could possibly imagine.

When we talk of leadership, we're usually referring to our direct reports and other employees within our company. We can also apply it to our customers and vendors. If we think about it, we might extend our view of leadership to our family, friends or even our community. But our leadership doesn't stop there. If we think of leadership broadly as authentically adding value, it can be active in every interaction we have, every day of our lives. There is no OFF switch when it comes to leadership… and no limit to whom we may influence, or how even the most remote individual may influence any given situation. Expanding our peripheral vision to include all these players is key. It will improve our imagination and promote better decision making.

This reminded me of a "flip" from The Zen Leader, from Local Self to Whole Self. Even when we think we are looking at the big picture, are we really seeing all of it? Here is an exercise that you can do from that chapter to show you just how wide your sphere of influence is in any given situation. When we change our field of view to see ALL the players and listen closely to their individual voices, we become aware of crucial perspectives that affect the whole. Our imagination has ground in which to operate and our actions become more tuned to the whole context. As Albert Einstein once said, " Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions." Care to see a glimpse?

I invite you to take this challenge:

Choose one issue that surrounds you and do this exercise, From Local Self to Whole Self. Don't be overwhelmed in the enormity of all the players in your situation, but relax into it and "let intuition operate with your good intentions," as Ginny Whitelaw suggests in The Zen Leader." Through this process of flipping to our whole self, our local self is changed. We are changed in what we notice, what we think, and how we act. Because we are changed, a new reality is possible in the Now. As we flip from local self to whole self, we manifest a whole new picture. And eventually, we don't have to imagine what if we were the whole picture. We can say with clarity, 'I am that'." As you explore these connections and imagine "what if…" see how your own interconnectivity provides boundless possibility.

In this spinning, face-paced world, our influence is more like a galaxy than a single solar system. We never know whom we may influence, or who may play an important role in future events.

It's also important to remember that one does not "become" a leader. It is a privilege given to us by others - and we have no control over its breadth.


Topics: leadership advice, the zen leader, Ginny Whitelaw, whole leadership

A Little Help From My Zen

Posted by Anthony Attan

Oct 11, 2012 9:30:00 AM

IZL log med

Topics: zen leader, the zen leader book, zen, leadership, Ginny Whitelaw, whole leadership, whole self, zen leadership

Ginny Whitelaw on the Stu Taylor Show

Posted by Anthony Attan

May 4, 2012 10:00:00 AM

Ginny Whitelaw is interviewed on the Stu Taylor radio show (www.stutaylor.com) about her new book, The Zen Leader: 10 Ways to go From Barely Managing to Leading Fearlessly.  Listen to the full interview below.


Topics: zen leader, managing change, the zen leader book, zen, the zen leader, leadership, leadership development, whole leadership development, whole leadership, managing energy, managing stress, zen leadership

3 Common Myths about Zen and Why Zen Helps Leaders

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Apr 10, 2012 4:12:00 PM

I’ve heard these myths many times, but today I found all 3 of them in the same article.  So here goes…

whitefaces vase

Topics: zen leader, the zen leader book, zen, meditation, the zen leader, flips, leadership, leadership development, whole leadership, zen leadership

Is Zen Leadership Really Possible?

Posted by Diane Chencharick

Feb 27, 2012 11:13:00 AM

To answer this question, we first need to have an understanding of what zen brings to the leadership equation. In the simplest terms, zen is a state of being fully connected. Terms like "whole self" and "whole leadership" have been used to describe zen, which makes it seem that the path (and the payoff) to zen leadership is a bigger and more enlightened self, allowing us to lead fearlessly with all the tools of the universe at our disposal. This is absolutely true. But the paradox lies here: in order for us to let our zen leader emerge we must first get out of our own way. That means letting go of one of our most valuable possessions -- one that we have nurtured continually through our leadership climb -- our ego.


Topics: zen leader, whole leadership, zen leadership

Zen Leadership = Really Whole Leadership, but What's the ROI?

Posted by Ginny Whitelaw

Jan 23, 2012 11:01:00 AM

Last week I was at an intensive Zen training and did the opposite of what I normally do.  Normally I bring Zen meditation and physical elements into leadership programs to accelerate “walking the talk” of learning. Last week I was asked to bring leadership skills to Zen trainees. What a wonderful experience! It showed me again why Zen and leadership belong together: not only does Zen take leadership to a new level, but leadership brings Zen into the world where it can do some good. It also showed me how the skill side of whole leadership – e.g., being strategic yet operational, results focused yet engaging people – paradoxical as it is, is still the easy part. The hard part is getting out of our own way, and that’s where Zen comes in.


Topics: zen, leadership, leadership development, whole leadership development, whole leadership, zen leadership

Welcome to the Zen Leader Blog

A blog that transforms:

This blog is dedicated to the concepts described in the book The Zen Leader by Ginny Whitelaw.  In this blog we discuss how these concepts are applied to a variety of current situations and applications, helping us all unleash the Zen Leader within us!

Also visit the FEBI Learning Lounge: The official FEBI blog


Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all