Real leadership is about having the courage to inspire change and engage the heart of others to take action. Not just action for the sake of action; there also needs to be clarity of ‘why’ you are choosing a given course of action. What are you as a leader doing that is different than you did two years ago to be more effective? The environment has changed in two years. Have you course corrected? Or is your rational mind stuck in the past? Perhaps your left-brain needs to collaborate with your right-brain to create a new vision in your mind’s eye and heart – then engage to lead others toward it. As the adage goes, ‘Vision without actions is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare’.

Most people are living a nightmare. And, apparently, the worse part of it begins as they wake up in the morning and head to work. Supposedly, the highest rate of heart attacks happen at 9:00am on Monday mornings. In case you are wondering why, that is the first day back to work. Activity is at an all time high. Productivity apparently is dropping if 80% of the workforce is disengaged. What are we afraid of? Why must human beings keep acting with insanity, as Einstein is to have defined it, ‘Doing the same things over and over and expecting different results’.

Autocratic leadership doesn’t work. Even if you can intimidate people into conformity, it is such a near-sighted tactic that resources – profits – are impacted by it through low energy, poor attitude, and a caustic work environment. Can’t leaders see that for lack of vision people are ‘perishing’? The old school said that vulnerability meant weakness, compassion was for the wimpy, and intuition was airy-fairy or ‘a woman’s’.

Yet, even in the face of validation from science about the power and reality of these very powerful human attributes to engage people, many leaders still aggressively or passive-aggressively oppose embracing the conversation for EQ and personal development. Why? Lack of courage. It takes courage to embrace change and have tough conversations.

Let me be clear; courage is not the same as intimidation. Intimidation, the bully-boss, and the poorly communicative culture are a result of lack of courage of those in leadership. I say have compassion for yourself if you feel overwhelmed by the rapid change and just know that contrary to popular myth, having a high IQ doesn’t mean you know everything.

We have more insight about our brain than we’ve had in recorded human history, and it would be courageous of you as a leader to start paying attention to how you can begin to retrain your brain to change your perception about compassion, vulnerability, and empathy. Intuition is an ingredient for real innovation. Disrespecting it because it’s traditionally been that way is to keep living your past in the present – even when it no longer works.

Vulnerability requires less fear, courage. Empathy requires presence and connection – something people are craving. Some traditions need to pass away; it’s called evolution. Where should you begin?

1. Make — not wait — for extra time and space to reflect on what kind of leader you want to be. What benefit will that bring you, the people around you, and the greater society? What kind of leader do you admire and would you love to become? Why? Keep digging for a list of benefits while asking ‘why’ at each point. The more meaning you muster up, the more you are on the right track. Reflecting on meaning can give your mind and heart the fuel and lift to break your stuck trajectory.

2. What does this look like in your mind’s eye? How will you walk, talk, act, and speak? What will you do? Who are you doing it with? How are you feeling about yourself and others, and how are you engaging with others? This is called ‘Mental Rehearsal’. The mind will find clear and compelling visions. Get some fire stirring in your heart. It can move mountains.

Until you make time to explore what you really want and engage your heart also, the likelihood of being inspired to learn how to retrain your brain in the first place is diminished. Think a new thought today. Recognizing the need for personal growth doesn’t mean you are defective or broken; it just means you are wise and willing to grow. You have the foresight to lead those around you into understanding that it is time to let go of our limited mindset that equates growth and change as something to be ashamed of or feared. As Marshall Goldsmith said, ‘What got you here, won’t get you there’.

Stop derailing yourself and stay on track by taking back the steering wheel of your mind and building your courage, your mind muscle. Be a leader and lead. Retrain your brain.

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at