Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.

“Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck, your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

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Spiritual Intelligence

Spiritual Intelligence is the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, values, purposes and higher motivations. It is the intelligence with which we exercise goodness, truth, beauty and compassion in our lives. It helps us to discover our own personal higher purposes in our work and our lives. Conscious leaders have ability to help align their organizations with their higher purposes.

Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, serves as a great example of high spiritual intelligence. Starbucks went through difficult time in 2008 when its business declined. It had 600 underperforming stores, having to eliminate 12 000 jobs and take a $340 million asset write-off for the closed stores. Schultz believed that Starbucks had moved away from its higher purpose and had gotten off track by just chasing after growth and financial returns. This happened over several years after he had stepped down as the CEO. He decided to return to Starbucks as the CEO to reconnect the company to its core purpose. “It was time to return to the intimacy of communicating directly with our people.” After Schultz returned and recommitted Starbucks to its core purpose and its sense of authenticity, the company experienced an extreme increase in turnaround; same-store sales accelerated from negative to 6% in fiscal 2009 to positive 8% in 2011, net profits more than tripled and the value of the stock increased from about $7 to more than $50 over three years. Note: After brief glimpse to Starbuck’s stock price in NASDAQ, I see that the company indeed has been steadily increasing it’s share price during the past 5 years despite the challenging economic times.




Danah Zohar defined 12 principles underlying spiritual intelligence:

  • Self-awareness: Knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me
  • Spontaneity: Living in and being responsive to the moment
  • Being vision- and value-led: Acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly
  • Holism: Seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging
  • Compassion: Having the quality of “feeling-with” and deep empathy
  • Celebration of diversity: Valuing other people for their differences, not despite them
  • Field independence: Standing against the crowd and having one’s own convictions
  • Humility: Having the sense of being a player in a larger drama, of one’s true place in the world
  • Tendency to ask fundamental “Why?” questions: Needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them
  • Ability to reframe: Standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture or wider context
  • Positive use of adversity: Learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering
  • Sense of vocation: Feeling called upon to serve, to give something back

Personally, I couldn’t agree more with these spiritual leadership gurus John Mackey and Danah Zohar. A leader is able to live by and align his/her personal values and higher purpose with the organization’s higher purpose and values for effective leadership.  We humans have so much creativity and passion if we just take the time to listen to our inner guide. Once we discover our purpose, life becomes meaningful on a new level. Once we start fulfilling our higher purpose, our days suddenly become filled with passion, joy excitement and constant flow of discovering more about the beautiful world and other creatures in it.



Conscious Capitalism, John Mackey & Raj Sisodia

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