Beauty as a Way of Life: Changing Leadership with Every Action

by | Jun 27, 2023 | Blog, Stress Management

Our culture idealizes beauty, shoving it happily into a static, over-simplified box with singular definitions of what it is and what it’s not. I’m sure you are as tired of it as I am – and as caught in it. 

So how do we break out of the box? How do we take back ownership of beauty for ourselves so that it becomes the empowering, meaningful celebration it was meant to be?

For the spiritual mystics, beauty has a sacred role. It is meant to wake us up – to literally stop us in our tracks. Think of a beautiful sunset, a joy filled evening campfire with friends, or an arresting painting – they each transport us, even momentarily, from the daily minutiae that has us trapped running from thing to thing. Those things break the chains so that we have a moment’s freedom, freedom from the habitual, ingrained patterns that run our lives. Freedom to connect and breathe deeply of life. Freedom to just be. 

Somehow that particular lesson got skipped in my schooling. It might have in yours, too. Yet, I feel it in those moments, I feel the deep connection, the gratitude, the awe and the wonder of life. I know that this is where true meaning lies and recently, I’ve been intentionally choosing it on a daily basis.

Making that shift – from beauty being something defined by ‘them’ (ad agencies, entire industries, family, friends, etc.) and put upon me, to beauty being something I choose in everyday moments so that I live more and more in a state of awe and wonder; this one choice has radically changed me as a person, and as a leader. 

Beauty stopped being something to attain, a ‘perfection’. I stopped making judgements about something’s, or someone’s, beauty (good or bad, right or wrong, beautiful or not beautiful). Instead, I started asking different questions, questions like, “How is this beautiful?” “What is beautiful about this?” “Who might find this beautiful?” “Who would I need to be to experience this as beautiful?” Or even, “How might I make this (more) beautiful?”

As high rational achievers it is so easy to get swept up in the tasks, the to do’s, and the goals. When we’re running from thing to thing, we not only don’t ‘stop to smell the roses’, we don’t stop to question how beauty has been defined for us. We accept it as a given and keep pushing through our lives.

You are questioning it now, and that, the mystics would say, is a beautiful thing (it’s literally waking you up!)

What if we allowed beauty to do the job the great beings say it’s meant to do – what if we allowed it to stop us from our busyness, and connect us, and deepen our meaning? I wonder what a different world we would live in.

Take a moment now and consider what does beauty mean to you? If you shifted how you think about beauty, how might that change your business, your relationships, how you lead? 

One way to start to shift your internal dialog with beauty is to think of it as a choice in any given moment, instead of a result. Let’s look at it through the lens of business.

Business and Beauty – A Thought Experiment

In business, we’re taught to focus on the end result, the achievement. The fastest, most economical route, the expedient path. The end justifies the means.

There’s a cost to this way of doing business, a cost that’s become acceptable. The cost is you, your health (mental and physical), your relationships, the environment in which you live and even your spiritual evolution. We’ve dug ourselves into a material, outward focused quagmire. It’s not an accident that our planet is in crisis, we created this.

There’s good news.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for – to change it. 

Shifting our relationship with beauty is one of the levers we have to shift away from the ‘business as usual’ downward spiral to a new paradigm creating a positive impact in the world.

So how do we bring beauty to the (business) table?

Let me count the ways! Opening that door leads to, literally, endless options. It’s a magical road on which you’ll want to keep walking. Let’s take one example from my own life to get the ball rolling.

When I focus too long on the outer result I most often find myself in overwhelm. 

I’m very visual and I see full pictures in my head: everything my end goal ‘could be’ (plus all the tangent possibilities). Ah, it’s so beautiful in my head. When I start to make my plan, I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume it will take to make it all a reality. Before long, I find myself stuck in the beautiful big picture, taking no action because I forgot the vital truth: beauty is not the end result to either achieve or not,  it’s a choice I make each moment. I choose to move in my business in beautiful ways, to do things beautifully, to shift my perspective, to see the beauty in the situations and people around me.

Before I started down this path of choosing beauty, I’d be stuck trying to create the beautiful end result that I saw in my head. I knew that getting there was a process, but I wasn’t able to put it into practice. The pressure to create a beautiful (read – perfect) result had me paralyzed.

I started asking myself a question, “how is where I am right now already beautiful?” That single question made space and took the pressure off. I’m good where I am. I’m already living in (working in, etc) beauty so the vision in my head is just a bonus, there’s no ‘have to’. That gave me the space to not only chunk down the goal differently, but more importantly to make choices to create beauty, find beauty, be in beauty, throughout the whole process.

If we continue to peel back the layers of this, most often, we’ll find that fixating on the external result really stems from a desire to control. Anyone else have control issues? LOL! The truth is, when we’re trying to control something, we are not present to it. Without presence, we have no meaning, we lose ourselves and our why. We become cogs in the very machine that wants to define beauty in a flat and diminishing way so that it can keep things running status quo.

When we include beauty, we stop trying to control the future, trying endlessly to make it look like we think it should look. We start listening instead. This creates the space to become aware of what wants to happen, a complete game changer. When you are present to what wants to happen you are prepared when others aren’t; you find yourself in the right place at the right time, with the right people; you create more impact with less stress and and you let go of the  the push- strive-force because you’ve stepped into the flow of life. 

When we include beauty, we stop trying to control the people in our teams, or our customers, and start listening. This creates connection, trust and authentic relationships resulting in team and client retention, higher productivity and interest levels, less stress, etc.

Imagine those as business models.

We’re at a tipping point. We can choose the old way of doing business: command and control,  which has cost us our humanity and caused breakdowns in communication, in production, in development and yes, especially in people.

Or we can approach life and leadership like an art, an opportunity to choose beauty in each brush stroke we make. We can choose to ‘create beauty everyday’ as my friend Deanne Fitzpatrick says. Those who chose that path are the leaders who will change the world, build true greatness and leave the most amazing legacies.

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In case this is the first time we’re meeting, I’m Maren, an executive life coach, speaker, dancer, and serial entrepreneur empowering you to step into your purpose and live your most fulfilled life. To learn more about how we can work together one-on-one to uncover your unique gifts and get you Dancing with Life, click here. For corporate trainings or inquiries regarding speaking engagements, please complete this form.

In case this is the first time we’re meeting, I’m Maren, an executive life coach, speaker, dancer, and serial entrepreneur empowering you to step into your purpose and live your most fulfilled life.

When you’re ready, here are a few ways I can help regardless of where you are on your journey to self discovery:

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