Take Your Soul To Work: Part 2 – A Lesson from Obadiah & Elijah
(Excerpts from “Take Your Soul To Work” by Dr. Erica Brown)
Take Your Soul To Work
As Believers and workplace professionals, we are constantly in transition from who we are, to who we are becoming. There is no coincidence that our spiritual lives will eventually intersect our professional lives.
“John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, once defined effective leadership this way: ‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, then you are a leader.'”
“How do you lead spiritually, from a place of abundance, where goodness spills over into all realms of your life – even in the workplace?”
“In order to lead spiritually, we need personal discipline to bring greater depth and humanity to our leadership. We need reminders, especially in the darkest hours, to help us remember what leadership is ultimately about: the capacity to stretch ourselves and others, to envision something larger, brighter and bigger than ourselves, to transcend the ordinary and achieve deep meaning and purpose, and even, on a really good day, to touch eternity.”
“Leaders also need a plan. Many leaders have no plan when it comes to soul-building at work. It is not for lack of heart or compassion that leaders don’t make one. As leaders, we let go of reflection or sometimes default on integrity loans because we have no time—or make no time—to cultivate our spiritual lives.”
“This is not helped when our peers and subordinates expect very little of us in the realm of virtue. When so little is expected, we may deliver even less and betray ourselves. Often we become short on moral, spiritual and ethical language in the corporate sector.
‘Take Your Soul to Work’ is essentially a prayer book for leaders. Prayer and meditation are not only for religious people with a particular faith commitment and tradition. A meditation is a spiritual pause, an act of reflection, and a chance to renew our emotional and intellectual commitments, blending the house of worship with the corner office. When we ask for a little daily grace, we can make every space just a little bit sacred because of the way we lead.
‘Take Your Soul to Work’ offers one brief meditation a day on leadership, followed by a personal challenge in the form of a question or assignment. It’s a short daily read because (1) leaders who are working at their peak can rarely afford the time to immerse themselves in books but need many more opportunities for self-reflection, evaluation, and challenge. Leaders need to build spiritual capacity daily… (2) We become better by making goodness a habit.
The spiritual life calls us to lead and serve others with tenderness and generosity. In a world where self often comes first, spiritual leadership acknowledges both the presence of others and also our profound need to live in greater harmony. At the same time, growing a healthy spiritual practice requires us to spend time alone, integrating what we know about good leadership with who we are.
If our leadership is a service, then we must serve others as best we can: from a place of strength, authenticity, integrity and wholeness. Spiritual leadership thrives on attentive listening, compassion, optimism and hope. It requires an understanding that humility is more important than ego.”
“You are a leader! You can inspire people to dream more and be more when you lead from the heart. When you truly lead from the heart, you won’t ultimately become just a better leader. You’ll also become a better person.”
“When we feel strong, inspired and well-supported, we can transcend the politics and pettiness of organizational life and realize the best in ourselves and others. We can lead with more grace and greater competency, forgiveness, and love.
Make no mistake. This is difficult work. We have to work at it every day. With each page ahead, let us embrace discomfort. Let it stretch us to places we’ve not been before. Let’s try, for a few minutes a day, to live our most important questions. Every meditation on the pages ahead offers a promise of reflection and prayer because a tender moment of prayer can be generative and inspiring. Prayer is a reminder of all that is important to us. It puts us in a posture of gratitude to receive wisdom for the day and its blessings and challenges. It steadies us and readies us to be our best selves every day. Try to read only one page a day, ideally at the start of your day, to carry the day’s charge with you.”
To continue this wonderful journey to transformational leadership, please purchase “Take Your Soul To Work, by Dr. Erica Brown “ please CLICK HERE to purchase.
About Dr. Erica Brown
“I am very honored to feature Dr. Erica Brown on TheGodBlog.org. Dr. Brown is one of the most inspirational mentors I have had the privilege to encounter.”
Dr. Erica Brown is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum at The George Washington University. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her forthcoming commentary is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren/OU).
She has been published in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Tablet and The Jewish Review of Books and has written a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweets on one page of Talmud study a day at Dr Erica Brown.
Dr. Brown has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York.
Dr. Brown is also the author of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership, and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing.
Dr. Brown’s previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, Confronting Scandal and co-authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (All Jewish Lights). She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (All OU/Koren).