Leading from the Seven Directions means who we are in business is no different from who we are in the universe.
The art of Seven Direction Leadership is to harmoniously integrate the inner and outer dimensions of our lives.
But how? The Native American image of "Seven Directions" provides a framework, a seven-point description of the way the world works that is both esoteric and eminently practical.
All indigenous cultures have some way of describing the basic elements of the Seven Directions and have very specific practices for living in harmony with creation. Using this imagery and translating it to the pace and needs of our modern culture could not be more timely. Innovative thinkers and practitioners in a variety of fields have been describing a clear movement out of the industrial age and into a new age--high touch, right brain, hyper-connected, meaning-based, spiritual and intuitive. Even the shifting paradigms of science are calling for a reintegration of spirit and form.
The Seven Directions are habits and tools for creating meaning-based business endeavors that meet real and concrete needs in the world.
Leading in the seven directions means realigning with an intelligent universe.
The Seven Directions
YOU. The Center. Anchored to the Present Moment.
Where the Invisible Wisdom Meets the Physical World
You are directly linked to the Universe. This direct link is accessed in the present moment--the place of Being. This direction acknowledges that deep wisdom ONLY shows up in the moment. It cannot be pre-fabricated or forced. The primary habit is the cultivation of an internal place of Stillness and deep relaxation, an openness to receive direct inspiration and then act on it--the crossover point between Above & Below. When this is in place, action occurs that truly changes the world and builds ways of working and living that are creative and life-giving.
EAST. Connection. Emotional Intelligence. Lover. Water.
Connect with People and Build Healthy Relationships
This direction teaches you to hear every voice; feel the emotional dynamics in any situation; enjoy the remarkable diversity and beauty of this world; stay connected to your own needs; remember how to play; and to create new things simply for the pleasure of doing so. Creating an environment that includes, engages and energizes yourself & those with whom you work is the core practice of this direction.
SOUTH. Commitment. Physical, grounded Action. Warrior. Earth.
Commit to Disciplined Action and Execution
This direction teaches you to make clear and concrete choices; take one practical step at a time towards goals and decisions; stay rooted in what is true for you; say No as often as Yes; and live at a pace that honors the physical capacity of your body. The key habits in this direction involve a dynamic process of complete commitment to a direction, continual honesty about the impact of an action, and ongoing course correction to stay true to goal.
WEST. Wisdom. Mental Agility and detachment. Sage. Air.
Open up Pathways for New Ideas and Uncommon Combinations
This direction teaches you to take the long view; detach from the emotions and simply see What IS; suspend any judgment--good or bad--about a situation; generate new and alternate points of view; and connect random ideas and images into new patterns and possibilities. Habits in this direction involve stepping back from action, noticing and naming what is occurring, becoming curious about new ways of understanding and taking risks to innovate.
NORTH. Inspiration (Destiny). Spiritual Purpose. Sovereign. Fire.
Wake up Inspired and Empower Others to Do the Same
This direction is embodied by the phrase, “where your deepest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” It teaches you that those activities that bring you joy, enthusiasm and a sense of meaning are the ones you are meant to pursue. Each person has unique gifts that correlate with specific work and contribution. Staying aligned with your gifts and seeing and cultivating the gifts of others is the primary teaching of this direction. When people are actively living those activities that bring them joy, purpose and meaning, they bring inspiration, motivation, and aliveness to their work and their communities.
BELOW. The Earth. Form/Visible.
A World of Form that Responds Directly to the Animating Force
Human beings live at the crossover point between the incoming, invisible intelligence and the world of visible, tangible form. This direction teaches us to notice all the nuanced and subtle ways that creativity can be expressed in form. The experience of synchronicity is an example of how what is Below rises up to join the flow from Above. A key habit in this direction is the precise and specific care of each aspect of your life that presents itself--there is no insignificant action--including what appears as non-action and simply witnessing what is.
ABOVE. Universal Intelligence. Spirit/Invisible.
A Continuously Animating Force
This direction is based on the premise that there is an underlying intelligence to the universe, one to which each person is hard wired--whether they are consciously aware of it or not. This fundamental intelligence goes by many names: the "unstruck sound" in Zen, the "spirit which always moves" in Sioux, "our father’s will" in the Christian tradition, the "Tao" in Chinese schools of philosophy. It teaches us to let go of our rational minds, fears and doubts and surrender to an experience of being carried by something larger than ourselves. The key habit in this direction is the cultivation of a deep and abiding trust that in every moment all that is needed is present and available for the most creative action to unfold.