Freedom-Centred Leader Interview
In April 2018, Emily was interviewed as an example of a "Freedom-Centred Leader".
How do you think your work process and inner freedom relate to leadership?
One of my guiding principles is, “A true Master is not the one with the most students but one who creates the most Masters.” Enlightened leadership isn’t about guiding others to depend on you — it’s about guiding them to discover their own power, freedom, and leadership to be who they are here to be and do what they are here to do, in service of a common purpose.
Being an effective, freedom-based leader begins within. We must be able to lead ourselves before we can effectively lead anyone else. Therefore, my work is healing leaders from the inside out by freeing them of their inner struggles (“exPowers”) through the Drawing Out Process®, and guiding them to honor their 3 inner powers (“emPowers”). The result for them is a deep sense of peace, wholeness, and freedom, which results in an enhanced ability to lead others with clarity, wisdom, and power.
What do you think about Freedom-Centred Leadership versus Fear-Based Leadership?
For millennia, our civilization has been dominated by fear-based leadership: superiority, control, manipulation, recklessness, exclusion, conflict, suppression, and other distorted concepts of power — primarily fuelled by leaders’ fears, wounds, insecurities, narcissism, and arrogance. Fear-based leaders see those they lead as merely tools to gain more power, and they use whatever means necessary to maintain their control. Fear-based leadership is about power over.
Freedom-based leadership is the opposite. It is characterized by acceptance, inclusion, cooperation, understanding, empathy, and trust. Freedom-based leaders invoke people’s higher values, sense of purpose, and ability to affect positive change in their own lives and in the lives of others. They honour people’s unique, individual powers and self-will and see them as equal partners in achieving higher goals. Freedom-based leadership is about power with.
Donald Trump is a prime example of a fear-based leader. He may seem confident and intent on achieving on a higher cause — proclaiming that his intention is to “Make America Great Again!” and attacking people who disagree with him. However, his actions betray that he is quite the opposite: deeply insecure, self-serving, greedy, reckless, corrupt, and incompetent. By declaring that “I am the only one who can fix this!”, he calls on his followers to see him as all-powerful — which, simultaneously, asserts their lack of power.
By contrast, Barack Obama is an example of a freedom-based leader. His campaign slogan, “Yes We Can!”, conveyed his inclusivity and faith in Americans, and he was well-known for his calm, thoughtful consideration of issues and others’ input before making decisions. He showed genuine compassion and concern for those he led and partnered with them to effect change in their communities.
What is the most challenging thing about Freedom-Centred Leadership?
My work has called me to be a leader in certain ways, and at first I shied away from it. After all, being a leader means attracting attention — both positive and negative — and I’m not always comfortable with the attention I receive.
On the positive side, many people perceive leaders as having the answers and the powers they seek. They treat them with awe and adulation. It used to really trigger me when people would see me this way. For one thing, I’m not perfect, and I don’t want people thinking I am! For another, this perception of leadership is against my core values as a leader. So, over time, I’ve learned to accept praise and recognition for what I do, while redirecting the admirer’s focus back onto themselves — helping them to honour their own wisdom and power.
On the negative side, sometimes people falsely accuse and slander me. Occasionally it’s because I’ve made a mistake, which I then seek to rectify, but often it’s because I’ve said or done something that has triggered an old wound within them, and they’ve projected that wound onto me. While I understand this intellectually, it still can hurt. So then it becomes a process of healing my own pain and triggers so that their wounds don’t wound me, too.
Also, I’ve had to learn that leadership comes in many forms and that, though, my form of leadership may not resemble others’, it is nevertheless empowering and authentic for me. For example, I used to pressure myself to do more than I could do, and it would really stress me out. It took years for me to accept that, if something isn’t in my “genius zone”, that’s okay. I can reach out for help. We all have different genius zones, and allowing myself to lead in my own way — which sometimes means saying “no” to people because I need to take care of me — was initially very challenging.
How have you personally had to grow in order to become a Freedom-Centred Leader?
I recognize now that the majority of my adulthood has been all about growing into a Freedom-Centred Leader: healing my inner struggles, owning my true power, honouring my purpose, living my Truth, and ultimately stepping into my role as a Leader Healer and leader of leaders. I’ve had to heal and grow on all levels: mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually.
A big area of growth has been around boundaries. As a healer whose purpose is to heal humanity, sometimes my desire to heal can be bigger than my capacity to heal! I want to help everyone, and I’ve been through periods of trying my best to do so. However, the results are dire: I end up sick, burned out, being taken advantage of, financially tapped out, making costly mistakes, and unable to help anyone. So I’ve learned the hard way the importance of setting clear, inviolable boundaries around my time, my energy, and my heart — balancing my love for others with my love for myself. Maintaining this balance has gotten easier over the years, but it’s taken a high level of self-awareness and years of self-work.
Another focus of growth has been around embodying what I teach. It’s one thing to spout great information — it’s another thing to live it. It irks me when I see leaders who aren’t congruent with what they profess to stand for. Therefore, a big area of growth has been around my own authenticity and congruence: ensuring that I am living in alignment with the concepts and values I teach.
How do you apply this principle in real life in office or group situation?
One example: I am on the board of Arizona Wellness Alliance (AWA), which consists of four women and no formal governance structure. Before joining the board, I was invited to visit one of their board meetings and immediately felt a lack of “spark” in the group. I asked them about it and ultimately agreed to guide them through a half-day retreat to help identify their individual and collective passions, desired roles on the board, and visions for the organization.
During that retreat, we discovered each person’s “genius zone”, the role each person desired to play (what “lit them up”), and a collective vision for AWA. Now, here we are almost a year later: our board is happy, passionate, and productive! We respect and honour what we each bring, we do what we each feel called to do, and there’s no resentment about doing the work that needs to be done. Plus, the impact on the organization is clear: our monthly dinners are more fun, AWA membership is growing, and our profits are increasing!
When we own the role(s) for which we are designed, we can all find peace and pleasure — and we play together much better!
Tell me about your own work and Freedom-Centred Leadership.
Up to now, our civilisation has been plagued by fear. Deeply wounded, insecure, sociopathic leaders have used fear to manipulate, oppress, and destroy masses of people, who are plagued by their own fears.
Therefore, in order to heal our human and planetary problems once and for all, the most vital work we all must do is self-development: to heal our inner struggles and honour our inner powers so we can live and lead with greater clarity, wholeness, and peace — and, thus, no longer succumb to those old methods of control and manipulation, those distorted concepts of power.
The greatest power is inner peace, and I believe the highest forms of leadership come from the deepest inner peace. When we live and lead from this deep freedom and peace, we radiate light, power, and wisdom in every situation. This changes how we respond to others, as well as how they respond to us. Thus, leadership becomes easier and more effortless. We inspire and empower others not just by what we do but by who we are.
My mission is to heal humanity from the inside out by healing our world’s leaders. Thus, in essence, my work is to create Freedom-Centred Leaders.