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“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” ~ Buddha ~

Prior to my first course in Authentic Leadership at Naropa, I would freely admit to being completely and utterly ignorant of those who would describe themselves as “authentic leaders.” I would think, “What the hell does that mean?” Perhaps they were referring to some of my former bosses who were 100% authentically passive aggressive or authentically cruel.

Obviously, a different kind of authentic.

The summer before my first course in Authentic Leadership my world had been transformed as I had just started learning how to practice mindfulness and active listening. Turns out those two skills are the foundations of Authentic Leadership. Of course, it didn’t occur to me to integrate my new practices into the C-suite, much less around the watercooler; I was simply enjoying using them to navigate my personal life with a bit more ease and grace.


Later that same summer a colleague suggested that I might get a lot out of taking the Mindfulness at Work course that was being offered through our sister organization. Within a few short weeks, that initial course helped me activate mindfulness and active listening at work, as well as become much more aware of my role as a leader in the organization. I also gained a genuine understanding and acknowledgment of my weaknesses (gulp) and strengths. A self-awareness was born that allowed me to be open and able to relate to co-workers in ways that were more genuine and real. This in turn allowed my co-workers to feel more comfortable being open and honest with me and their life at work.

Fast forward to less than a year later; I was recently recommending Authentic Leadership training to a friend who owns a business. Her first question, “So, what’s the ROI on the Authentic Leadership?” Although there’s a lot that can’t be captured in this short post, I believe the core of this training is learning how to foster trust and well-being. Those two mighty pillars are the foundation for any relationship whether it be between a couple, within a family, among friends, or even among work associates. Authentic Leadership training provides real, tangible, and executable tools through experiential exercises, readings, writings, and talks to bring methods that make trust and well-being integral to the workday. And while it may be hard to measure ROI, what won’t be difficult to see is the transformation that can happen in a work environment. This will most certainly translate into less overall stress. So, if we need to quantify it for ROI purposes, less stress usually equates to greater levels of productivity. Side benefit: the happier we are at work, the more likely we’ll be happier at home, too.

Since 2012 Annie has been responsible for raising money for Rodale Institute primarily from foundations and corporations. Rodale Institute has been leading game-changing research, expertly training farmers, and educating the community to help heal broken agricultural systems via regenerative organic agricultural methods for over 70 years.

Annie Brown

Authentic Leadership for Naturals

June 27-28, 2019 | Boulder, CO

Drawing on principles and practices from ancient wisdom as well as contemporary approaches to leadership and organizational learning, we create a collaborative learning lab that fosters deep personal insights, enhances interpersonal skills, and increases overall leadership effectiveness.
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