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ZenLeader Series: 5 Tips to Start Leading with Your Zen

by Jodi Ashbrook

Many organizations struggle to justify an investment in corporate wellness programs without a proven return to the bottom line. Leaders are eager to connect wellness with talent development in a way that they can actually measure.

It’s more important than ever before to develop a robust and holistic wellness program that meets the mental, emotional and physical needs of your staff by connecting the wellness investment with content that improves day-to-day business operations like essential skills, leadership principles and data analytics.

Finding and leading with your zen begins with calming the chaos inside of you, first. This chaos can show up in your everyday work life—in your thoughts about people you work with, your thoughts about your own self-worth, and uncertainty of the value you bring to the table in your professional role.

Keep in mind, we are all leaders of our own personal journey. As a leader in business and in life, my mission is to inspire professionals to live by the philosophy, “Be the leader you would follow.”

However, Leadership has evolved into an attainment of title, a salary level and another label to carry to validate our personal self. On the contrary, Leadership is ultimately a representation of your character.

So what’s the problem? Today, we’re facing a massive gap between leadership development and corporate wellness programs, including:

  • Little to no quantitative impact to the front line business
  • Lack of structured direction to develop staff
  • Lack of awareness or aptitude to develop customized development that is meaningful and relevant to both the employee and the business at all levels
  • Little to no visibility from high level senior leaders in their personal growth and development

Thus, here are some best practices to start leading with your zen today that can help improve your mood, increase your productivity, and elevate company morale overall.



Ever get that feeling like you’re stuck in the middle of a raging tornado? I get it. I spent much of my career managing in the corporate realm—the email marathons, back to back meetings, pressing deadlines, the list goes on and on of external stressors that can weigh so heavily on us in a holistic way. When you start to feel anxious and overwhelmed, I encourage you to listen to your body and shut it down to reset, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes. Take long deep breaths in through the nose and out of your mouth, repeating inhale/exhale while you do so to re-focus your attention to your breathing only. When you do this, you’re not just taking a break—you’re literally resetting your central nervous system so you can perform at a higher level.



Test out and implement different strategies and tools that work best for you, to help you manage your own stress and anxiety so you can help others on your team do the same. In order for you to lead with your zen, you have to feel grounded, first. Guided meditations, inspirational video content, fueling your body with healthy foods, regulating your sleep pattern, and staying active with a reasonable exercise regimen are just a few easy, affordable ways to get inspired and shift your intention to lead from a place of calm and relaxation, rather than anxiety. Your thoughts can be your best friend, or your own worst enemy, gain awareness of your mind and body, and manage them closely.



In order to lead with your zen, you must first accept that you are not in control of everything and everyone. You are only in full control of your own mindset and behavior. Thus, when you find yourself in a place of uncertainty or frustration as a business leader, understand that you do have a choice in how you respond to every situation. Rather than drowning in self-doubt or lashing out in anger, remind yourself of the things you’re most grateful for—literally write them down if need be for the visual. This will immediately change your perspective and help you process what is happening in that moment with a positive attitude. From there, accept that the universe is on your side, and you are exactly where you’re meant to be in that very moment, even if it may be challenging you to your core. Sometimes, if we just relinquish some of that innate control we as human beings tend to hold on to, the lights come on, new doors open and situations lead us down a new, unexpected path where the answers reside.



The old adage still rings true—actions speak louder than words. If you want your team to respect you, you must deliver the same positive energy and demonstrate that you value your team on a daily basis with a positive attitude. If you’re looking to amp up productivity, inspire your team with your own passion to accomplish your corporate goals, reminding them that their hard work is a means to a rewarding ending. If you want to improve company morale, help your employees connect more deeply to the individual value that they’re bringing to the table, and offer to develop them further to accomplish their goals. Your energy is your brand as a leader, and you must give first to get in return.

Corporate Culture is a determining factor for company success & top talent retention. Empower your employees to “Find their Zen” amidst their own personal & business chaos.

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