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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

The New Era of Leadership: A Call to the Leader in Each of Us

Oct 26, 2012 10:17PM ● By Rhonda R. Hess


We live in exciting times, complex and wonderful. Never before have we had such knowledge, amazing technology and opportunities to connect with others, literally at our fingertips. While we may feel blessed with abundant choices about how to live, we also must consider who will lead us in these exciting times, and how they will lead.

In the 21st century, leadership can no longer be compartmentalized by title, status or paycheck; we are all leaders. We need to bring to life each day, the fullest expression that we are—to our relationships, families, friends and communities. That is only possible if we are fully fit to lead, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Coaching is one tool for integrating the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional domains of humanity into everyday life. It provides anyone a process to learn and grow, open and recognize blind spots and be held with positive regard throughout it all. Coaches listen deeply and focus through a lens of love, compassion, understanding and accountability. Whether individuals are confronted with leadership challenges in their personal realms, workplaces or communities, purposeful coaching can transform and uplift the human spirit.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve… You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” This wisdom applies to leadership, as well, which is not a title or position. It is a way to live, to choose and to be in the world, and it requires our full expression.

Mental Fitness

Mental fitness refers to the language of creativity and possibility. Leaders search for what is possible to create solutions; they don’t seek to blame others or find fault. When faced with challenges, the leader asks, “In what ways might I…?” instead of, “I can’t because…” Leaders are seekers of what is possible. We all have this gift; it is called imagination.

Physical Fitness

Time is elusive. Many of us wish for more. The physical aspect of leadership fitness is to learn how to manage energy, taking stock of where it goes in a day. A coach guides that check-in process to help us identify where we are spending our precious energy and how to align it to what matters most.

Emotional Fitness

Coaches help us connect the feelings, emotions and thoughts that form the basis of our belief systems. Our beliefs guide the choices we make in our lives, relationships and communities. Symbolically, we know this as our heart; information passes through our hearts before it is relayed to our brains for logical interpretation. When we get those tiny nudges that tell us to listen to our hearts, we are wise to pay attention.

Spiritual Fitness

Spirit is the final element of leadership fitness. It comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning “breath”. What is the breath of life we bring to our home, family, relationships and work each day? The leader within must be clear and congruent on what matters most and check in with those values daily to keep on track. For this important issue, coaching is most beneficial. To live and lead fully, in these times, the coaching process is all about cultivating spirit.

We are all leaders. Anyone can lead, because everyone can lead. Each of us can participate in this new era of leadership.

Rhonda R. Hess is president and chief executive officer of Rhonda Hess Associates and founder and owner of Fully Fit to Lead, in Dauphin County. A certified professional leadership coach and transformational change management specialist, she was named one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business in 2008. For more information, call 717-991-2334, email [email protected] or visit

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