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Stepping into leadership roles, whether within our families or teams, involves taking on the responsibility for the impact we have on others and the world. However, in leadership we often overlook the crucial aspect of taking care of ourselves and our needs as leaders.

In this episode, we'll explore a new way of understanding leadership and unravel its true essence. We'll discuss the importance of seeking support and its role in empowering us as leaders. Additionally, we'll explore the transformative power of building communities to help us grow as leaders, foster personal development, and amplify our impact along the way.

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the responsibility of leadership roles within families and teams
  • The often-overlooked significance of self-care for effective leadership
  • Unraveling the true essence and qualities of impactful leadership
  • The pivotal role of seeking support in navigating the challenges of leadership
  • Exploring the transformative aspects of the Fearless Mastery program
  • Importance of communities in fostering leadership growth and personal development
  • Strategies for leveraging community support to amplify leadership impact and growth



Welcome to the Zen Habits podcast, where we dive into how to work with uncertainty, resistance, and fear around our meaningful work. This is for anyone who wants to create an impact in the world and cares deeply enough to do the work. I'm your host, Babauta, creator of the Zen Habits blog.


All right. I want to welcome you to the podcast. And I want to thank you if you've been playing along, if you've been listening and watching all the episodes, thank you. This really means a lot to me that you've been a part of this. I've gotten so much incredible feedback, and this is just rewarding to me, so I just wanted to say thank you.


Beyond that, I want to talk today about the power of being supported as a leader, and the power of community, and how important it is as leaders. Let me talk about leaders actually, first.


What does it mean to be a leader? Notice that this is something that I resisted, a word that I resisted for a long time. I don't want to be a leader, because being a leader means... like having power over others or authority or trying to tell other people what to do. And that's not something that I was comfortable with. I resisted that for a long time, so I worked on my own.


But leader for me means.... just being willing to take responsibility for how things go for the impact we're having on the world. Take responsibility for ourselves, taking care of our own lives and taking care of ourselves. So, if you're changing your habits, you're actually increasing your leadership in your own life.


And then we might think about our leadership in our family. And it doesn't have to be that there's some kind of hierarchical structure in our family. You imagine that the entire family is made up of leaders from kids to parents to whoever, grandparents, and that we're all working together for something for the common good of the family or the organization or the team.


You might be taking more responsibility in your family. If you're, for example, if you're a teenager. And your parents have been responsible for everything in your life for a long time. Now you start like 'I'm going to do my laundry. I'm going to make sure that I'm, not only is my room clean, but I'm cleaning in the kitchen and the bathroom as well. I'm going to start taking the trash out. I'm going to start...'.


As you start to do this, not because you're being forced to, but because you choose to take more and more responsibility, you're actually creating a new impact on your life. And then the same thing happens on a team. We might not be the manager or the CEO, but you might actually take leadership on how things go.


This has us feeling more empowered in our lives, feeling like we're actually making a difference, making an impact, and not just like pointing the finger like it's all their fault. Leadership is something we develop over time. And there's a lot of tools for developing that. Something that I talk about in my Fearless Mastery program.


Let's imagine that everyone who's listening to this as a leader, someone who wants to write a book, make a podcast, do a YouTube video, start an organization, change their habits. Change their relationships, be more mindful during the day, all of that. These are people who are leaders. So that's you that I'm talking to you right now.


And as we talk about leadership, one thing that's really important to notice is that leaders taking on more and more responsibility can feel sometimes like burden and feel like we're taking on a lot. Burden is one way to feel it's the kind of disempowered way, but even if you're feeling really empowered about everything you're taking on, we're still holding a lot for people.


So just check in with you in your life. If you're noticing like, ‘Oh, I feel really stretched to my capacity. I'm taking care of everybody else in my life or doing so much’. We're holding a lot and we can start to shift how much we're holding. But in general, the more we're taking on leadership, the more we're feeling like, 'Oh, this is a lot to hold'.


And there's nothing wrong with that. But what people will tend to do is decide, ‘Oh, I can't do all of that, and so I need to get rid of... maybe quit, maybe leave whatever I need to do to not have to hold all of that’. We can hopefully see that there's just like a real stretching of our capacity to the point where we start to feel burden and resentment, if we're not able to do something about it.


The thing that we can do about it is actually getting support. Getting support would be things like, can I get therapy, to like work through some of the things that are going on for me. Can I get a coach who might help me to see things from a different perspective or to take a look at what's showing up or to have me start to create what I want to create in my life? Can I be in a support group? A group that is doing something that you're doing. I have a friend who is in a grief group around. Taking care of people who are aging and sick.


So those can be really helpful to get that kind of support. The kind of support that I'm talking about though, is a support in being able to step up our level of leadership, while also taking care of ourselves, while also not having to feel like this is too much or closing down or beating ourselves up or all the things that we tend to do when this stuff gets really challenging.


So how do we work with all of that in a way that feels empowering? How do we actually create the business we want to create? for example, while not having to do everything. How do we create it while also having time for rest? How do we create the business we want while also feeling supported. That's something that's really rare in leadership is we take on leadership, but we feel alone, and we don't have that kind of support to like, take a look at stuff.


I actually work with people who are like CEOs heading their own business with maybe a small team or medium tea. Sometimes leaders of nonprofit organizations, leaders of communities online or offline. And these people often will feel alone. Like 'I don't have anyone to talk to about these problems'. And what I stand for is for leaders to get support.


I'm going to talk about my Fearless Mastery program where I do that. And also, my one-on-one coaching in a little bit, but that's something that I stand for is getting support. So, if you're someone like that I'm talking to, and you can relate to a lot of this stuff, I really stand for you to get support. It doesn't have to be from me or my programs, but I really stand for you to get that somewhere.


Support is one, and then the other is the power of community. Community is a group of people, maybe a group of leaders who are doing something similar to you. They might not be in the exact same field or the exact same position, but they are developing their own leadership, maybe developing other people's leadership as well.


They're standing. In the world in a way that says, 'I care about something' and they're also struggling with all of that. They're struggling with avoidance and resistance and procrastination, but also, narratives that we have about ourselves, fears that we might have about, imposter syndrome or being authentic or people thinking that we're greedy or whatever it is that we're worried about.


We might struggle with our relationship to finances, struggle with our relationship to our family members, our spouses, we struggle with our relationship to our team members or our clients or customers. All of this stuff can feel like we're alone, but if we can have a community of people around us who work with us. Who are on a similar journey as us, who we can talk to and get support from. This is a powerful thing. When we find it, what we realize is we've been missing it all along.


People who come into my Fearless Mastery program, for example, this is a mastermind of about 15 to 20 people who are in this together. They find a connection here and they find a community. And this is like 'Ah, this is my people'. And then what they realize is 'Oh, this is something I've needed all along and I just have not realized I needed it, or taking responsibility for getting that'. If you're in need of that, I would really encourage you to look for community.


Community is a group of people who are in this together, who can share with each other. There’re all kinds of community people. I used to be a part of a men's group, for example. There’re courses where people are working together. I'm a part of a Zen group where we meet regularly, or we did for a while. We haven't recently.


These are communities. In Zen, we call it, or in Buddhism, we call it a Sangha, a group of people who are practicing together, who are in community. And there's something else about that. This is where there's, it's supportive and you don't feel so alone, but you also get changed while in community.


I've heard it talked about as like a sack full of pebbles. And the pebbles rub up against each other, start to smooth each other out. So there's something that happens when you're in community that we it's hard to describe, but we actually get changed by being in community as we start to rub up against each other, we might rub each other the wrong way, but then we can get coached and work through all of our differences and actually create greater degree of intimacy and connection.


We crave connection as human beings, and yet we cut ourselves off from it for a lot of reasons. Fear would be a big one and not having enough time, but that's actually fear. 'I don't know if I'm going to fit in. I don't know if I belong', these are our fears. And so we cut that off, cut ourselves off from the possibility of creating connection. And I think it's so important. I'm here to stand for support and stand for connection and community.


So let me talk for a minute about Fearless Mastery. As I'm recording this, I'm starting to open up enrollment for Fearless Mastery. I'm not here to pitch you on it, but just to share a little bit about how it works. First of all, it's a group of people, again, 15 to 20 people. And they are going through something together. And we're actually extending it to nine months in 2024.


And what that means is that we'll start in January and we're going to really be working together for the course of nine months where we'll have a weekly call and a number of other ways of getting supported, but what it'll have focus sessions and work together. And workshops once a month and a bunch of other things. A retreat and one-on-one coaching as well.


And so there's a lot of support, and this is something that leaders need. And we provide it here, a lot of support, but also a lot of community. You get together into small teams so you can have some people who you meet with regularly, but also a bigger community, a bigger circle of people who are holding each other's intentions and best intentions, but also challenges and struggles and really feeling like I'm in this with them.


So that's what happens in Fearless Mastery. Again, not only is there a weekly 90-minute call, but there's an Office Hours that you can come to every week. There's you get one-on-one coaching call, calls actually with me and other coaches. You get teachings, you get focus sessions practically every day where you can come and do some work with other people. Monthly workshop, a retreat, that's quite magical. There's a lot of support and a lot of community.


If you're interested, come and talk to me. We're opening it up soon. I think as I record this, it's opening soon. By the time you hear this, it'll already be out. So come and talk and see if this is a good fit for you. This is something that I really believe in. I absolutely love the people in Fearless Mastery. I work really closely with them and I'm in awe of the transformation that they go through as they go through this mastermind program.


Okay. That's what I've got, community and support is necessary for leaders. Absolutely necessary. So please, wherever you get it, please get it. And if you want it from me, please come and talk. Thank you.


If you haven't already, please subscribe to this podcast in your favorite podcast app. If you found this episode useful, please share this podcast with someone you know, who cares deeply. That would be really meaningful to me. And, if you'd like to dive deeper with me into this work, please check out the blog at or get in touch at [email protected].


Thanks for listening. And I hope you'll join me every Wednesday for more episodes of the Zen Habits podcast.

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Music composition: Salem Beladonna & Robrecht Dumarey

Editor: Justin Cruz

Post-production: Diana C. Guzmán Caro & Amanda Goddard