Flow Passion and Purpose: The Keys to Inspired Leadership

Last spring, I was honored to have been selected by the students of the Yale School of Music to speak at Inspiring Yale, a one-day campus-wide event showcasing the work of thought leaders from the 13 graduate and professional schools at Yale. While my work at Yale centers on launching the brilliant and talented musicians and arts leaders at the Yale School of Music, I have also worked with leaders from other fields and have found that what inspires my students also resonates beyond the music and arts space.  With this in mind and with the opportunity at Inspiring Yale to address the leaders of tomorrow from so many different fields, I chose to speak about The 3 Keys of Inspired Leadership:  Flow, Passion and Purpose.

No matter what field you are in, if you want to be a leader, you must first look inside yourself to discover what inspires you!  Here are the three elements that can inspire you to inspire others through your leadership

  1. Find Your Flow

Students and arts leaders alike love the concept of Flow, the experience of intense and energized concentration and joy that you derive from doing something that challenges and fulfills you and keeps you in the moment, without regard to the passage of time.

Flow is the brainchild of psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, whose project was to discover the roots of happiness.  Csikszentmihaly was fascinated by the people who were devoted to making their lives worthwhile and meaningful.  He researched the conditions that led people to perform at their optimal best and came up with the concept of Flow.

The great thing about Flow is that it can be experienced by anyone in many different ways, as was evident from the reaction that I had from the Inspiring Yale audience.

Moreover, Flow sums up your best talents so people at Flow perform flawlessly and passionately!  

And, when you maximize Flow, you are more motivated and productive, more fulfilled, confident and ultimately happier.

Here are some tips on how you can find your Flow and start the journey to inspired leadership.

  1. Tap Into Your Passions

Passion is an inherent part of you and comes from a deep place.  It’s your energy, drive, enthusiasm and sheer love for what you do.

Passion is incredibly fulfilling. Many musicians I know feel that music is what they are meant to be doing with their lives.   And that passion can inspire you to take that journey towards success and inspire others to join you on that journey.

Some people say that they cannot find passion.  That may be because they are defining passion too narrowly. To me, passion can be not only the subject matter that you love or the hobbies that you pursue in your spare time but also

  • Your sense of mission and what you want to do to save the world;
  • Your way of thinking or problem-solving or for using a particular process, be that scientific, creative, artistic or intuitive.
  • People and the way you interact with them.

So think expansively and tap into your passions so that you can feel inspired to lead!

  1. Live Your Purpose

What is purpose?

Your Purpose is the intersection of:

  1. your talents
  2. your passions
  3. your way of serving needs of others to engage in fulfilling work, without regard to how much money you make or the bells and whistles of a fancy career—in order to create a more perfect world.

Knowing your purpose can be your roadmap for navigating the future. A life purpose statement is a great way to provide clarity around what you want to achieve, a sense of direction in where to start and the motivation to make it happen.

So follow my 4-step process to find your life purpose and embark upon your road to fulfillment and inspiration!

I hope that with these three ideas of Flow, Passion and Purpose, you now feel clearer about and more empowered to work towards your 5-year vision of yourself as an inspired leader in your field.