A sage leader is anyone who operates in life and work from a holistic perspective. My friends in education call this wholeness. My friends in business call this authentic or integral leadership. It is also what many soulful teachers call the ‘universal human.’

From philosophy, the term holistic is defined thusly: “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

In the field of medicine, the term holistic is defined as “treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.”

Although differing in their mastery or developmental stage, there are many modern-day sages among us! There have always been. I’m reminded of that tender reference Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) often shared about his mother in times of turmoil or crisis: “look for the helpers”, she said.

The ‘helpers’ are everywhere– they are the modern-day heroes you never hear about; the mothers, the grandmothers, the caregivers, the recovered, and the culturally-sensitive who look and operate beyond the socially-prescribed sanctions and weave love into the fabric of their life and work.

Think for a moment about a person you’ve known or currently know -whether in your family, a personal friend, someone in your neighborhood, or where you work that exudes optimism, understanding, and is moved to kindness or action in the face of human suffering. (This person may be you, by the way!!)

There are people among us who just feel like ‘old souls’, right? In my research and work, I’ve identified a number of qualities, including emotional intelligence, that can be observed in others and in ourselves– qualities that differentiate a “sage” or wise individual or leader, versus someone who is operating from a limited set of ideas and information.

Being or working towards becoming a ‘sage leader’, does not imply perfection or immunity from life– in fact, quite the opposite is true. As my friend Kristie says, “it’s about being and working in the messy middle” and our ability to ‘stomach’ (literally) all that life is. But it does imply a stance of equanimity, harmony, and mindful action– therefore increased vitality for the individual. Being a sage leader is about self-mastery, as well as the ‘letting go’ of the delusion that there is anything to master….(except your own mind, of course.)

The path of the sage leader, including the poets, the musicians, the empaths, the teachers, the healers, the mothers, the caregivers, the nurses, and millions of human beings from all walks of life is a noble one; one that makes the segregation and separation of anyone or anything, obsolete.

You are here. You are whole. There are no exceptions. Therefore, to be a sage leader is simply to know and to embody this truth.


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