Blisscrafters: vibrant souls inside-and-out, living their core values everyday and making their mark on the world – one intention and action at a time.
This week meet Sarah Kaler, co-founder of SoulPowered, a leadership development, coaching and culture change company on a mission to generate a movement of conscious, purpose-driven leaders and organizations that improve lives and empower change in the world.
What rocks your bliss?
The growth and elevation of human beings. My beautiful family. My 3 year-old Jackson. My clients. Mindful movement. My Vitamix. Experiencing the world. Architecture. Beautiful, intelligent design. Communities that serve. Knowing your why.
And, a chai tea latte with almond milk. Please and thank you.
Describe your perfect day.
Waking up naturally, no alarm clocks needed. Spending the day with my husband, Gareth and Jackson. Cooking breakfast and going on an adventure; getting outside, the 3 of us, being tourists in our own city. We love our hometown and love to experience it together.
Share a huge goal you are rocking.
Writing a game-changing book on conscious leadership & cultures.
How do you celebrate you?
Being a mom and an entrepreneur this is crucial! Call me crazy, but I calendar everything. I calendar “me” time; I block it off so I make sure it happens. I commit to celebrating what’s working and what’s not working. The structure creates more freedom. Then, I do whatever I want during that time – I set myself free ☺
What inspires you?
People creating change, living and leading through their unique strengths, contributing in ways that energize them and the world. This level of intentional action creates monumental shifts.
Business is too often about fear: fear of the bottom-line, fear of competition, fear of being enough. But, as Maya Angelou said: “Have enough courage to love.” As we see it, love trumps fear. It’s time for us to bring love out of the corporate closet.
Love is no longer an idealistic, soft, useless concept in the business world. Science and experience tells us that love is, by nature, among our strongest capabilities as human beings. It therefore belongs among our most powerful leadership tools. As leaders, every moment presents us with a choice: to lead from fear or to lead from love. The betterment of our world and our welfare hinges on how we lead from love.
Love is what unites people. According to Barbara Fredrickson, love grows in micro-moments of connection in which two people’s minds and emotions become momentarily attuned. We are hard-wired with this capacity to connect—with strangers, with our spouses, with our children, with our employees—though we often choose to shut it down. When we don’t shut it down, love is the connection that builds families, communities and organizations. When love is present, we lead confidently and courageously because we are fueled by a purpose bigger than our ego. It’s the force that drives ideas forward into action, creating new possibilities and innovation.
Sarah Kaler is part of the dynamic and bliss filled duo that makes up SoulPowered - a leadership development and coaching company on a purpose path driven by love.
She shares with us how she started her mindfulness and meditation practice and how that drives her life and business.
Q: When did you first experience meditation/mindfulness?
I had been practicing yoga for about a decade and studying alternative medicine and healing practices for a few years when I had the opportunity to seeJon Kabat-Zinn speak.
He taught about mindfulness practice as day-to-day living; as the solution to healing our emotional, mental and energetic turmoil and the definitive methodology to heal our physical pain.
It moved me to take action. Or should I say it moved me to practice stillness and commit—in a way that I had never committed before—to being still and present mentally and physically.
Q: What impact did that first encounter have on you?
I realized the profound impact a mindfulness practice had in my life beyond my sitting meditation.
Mindfulness had me experience freedom in my body and created a greater awareness of myself, my communication, the people around me and the impact of my choices and decisions. This was so profound for me because I was always in a leadership role surrounded by people counting on me to show up.
My corporate career was incredible. It was an adventure. It was brilliant. I was promoted. I had opportunities to learn and grow, to work with the best of the best. I learned to build a coveted international billion-dollar company by leading through passionate people, purpose and giving. I loved my life. I loved my work. I loved the people I worked with and had the opportunity to serve.
All of that is true - but it's not the whole story.
The whole story is that amongst all the brilliance, things were gradually fraying around the edges.
Following a few key transitions and major life events -- supposedly celebrations -- I found myself waking up on the floor in my home, in my parent's home, in public spaces, in the back of random ambulances and ERs from being unconscious. I was having grand mal seizures, brought on by stress and exhaustion. After diagnosis of epilepsy. I found myself asking 'Why is this happening to me?' I was a 'success.'
Why was I falling apart? Why was I so exhausted?
"Why?" wasn't the correct question to ask. In hindsight, the correct question was "What is needed now?" At the time, I didn't know how out of touch I was. I didn't know that I wasn't listening to what my body was telling me. And I didn't know that my success was built on half-listening.
On not listening to the strain my body and my mind were under. Or rather on turning up the sound of 'success' so loud I couldn't hear the strain. My family and close friends loudly begged me to rest. My inner circle at work became increasingly more concerned and worried. Some people tipped toed around me as if I was a time bomb waiting to go off. But I couldn't hear any of them at the time; I only knew success one way. I only knew myself as a leader one way. I only knew how to live life one way. I would not give up. I would not fail. I was winning and I had the results -- so I thought.
Until the day I woke up to the truth: that my life wasn't working, nor was my system. I awoke to the fact that by leading from my head and from the context of how I thought things are 'supposed to be,' from proving I can produce results versus tuning into my body and listening to what's really needed, I was operating on a shaky and inauthentic foundation.
The cost of my 'looking good' success system was big in my case. It affected my health immensely, my family, my relationships and my team. Striving for perfection is often a way of hiding behind competency. It's a false-sense of safety. Behind the false-sense of safety is fear of failure or not being enough. The fear is that failure or break down equates to a dead end instead of accepting the gift that failure brings -- which is exponential growth. If we continue to operate from fear of failure and lead from 'shoulds' and the energy of proving, it's a road headed straight for burnout and disengagement for ourselves and the people we impact directly.
The energy of proving lacks a key component that extraordinary leaders must embody and that is authenticity and attunement.
We spend over half of our waking hours each week working. While the dream is to be on fire and fully inspired every minute, the reality is that for many of us those 40+ hours are an unfortunately draining experience. Not feeling inspired or engaged while you are at work—a place meant to be about contribution, creativity and collaboration—can be a lead indicator that some serious shifts need to take place.
According to the Gallup Research Institute, “Only 22% of U.S. employees are engaged and thriving…70% of American workers are not engaged or actively disengaged.” That’s a grim reality.
Here’s the good news: shifting your work experience from being disengaged to lit up with inspiration is in your hands.
The key shift we’re offering is simple: become the owner of your role, your career and your life, not a passenger on the bus to Boredville. By tuning into your experience, seeing where your goals lie, and then stepping into your voice, your expertise, and your leadership, you can be the catalyst for a completely different experience. You can become the CEO of your own life.
Disclaimer: we’re not saying it’s time to write ‘the memo to end all memos’ or throw down the world’s most epic departure speech (although for some of you, it might be time to pull a Jerry Macguire – you know who you are). What we’re advocating is even more powerful than throwing everything out the window. It’s to take back your future and empower yourself with choice.
Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group and author of Thrive, writes, “We need to redefine success and create a life of well-being.” It’s time we start choosing this for ourselves instead of waiting for someone else to create change. Arianna says she hires her team for their “judgment not their stamina.” In other words, choose yourself by being smart and selective, not by working yourself into the ground.
Here are three concrete steps to move towards radical ownership — being the CEO of your whole life, including your productivity, your health and your happiness — and igniting a culture of ownership in the environments that surround you: