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“A mental model is an explanation of someone’s thought process about how something works in the real world. It is a representation of the surrounding world, the relationships between its various parts and a person’s intuitive perception about his or her own acts and their consequences” – Wikipedia Definition

All of us have mental models for the things in our lives.

We’ve created them for everything from what success is, to what love should look like; and it’s these mental models that help us make sense of the world and in our minds keep things “in order”.

The issue comes into play when our mental models are limiting when they hold us back from being the fullest most expressed version of ourselves.

So I’m going to ask, what’s your mental model for leadership?

When do you think about the word “leader” who comes to mind first?

Was it a world leader?

Was it someone that you have worked for?

Was it a spiritual leader?

We all have different mental models for what leadership is. In fact, if you look up leadership on Amazon.ca there are over 150,000 titles on leadership; which points to not many of us being able to agree on a mental model for leadership!

Meeting with team

I wonder how many of you thought of yourselves when you thought about a leader? How many of you even consider yourselves a leader? The idea that leadership is tied to a title or a position of power is certainly one mental model of leadership but what if there was another?

What if we looked at leadership as innate. Something that all of us possess and engage in on a daily basis. This is the central concept of the “Whole Life Leadership” model.

Whole Life Leadership works from the mental model that we are all leaders in all areas of our lives, title or not.

In this model, we take the position that at work, in our communities, and in our families, we have the ability to lead authentically and powerfully only when we are clear on our vision, our purpose and our values.

Getting clear on these three elements is the key to unleashing the authentic leader that is within all of us.

  • Our Vision acts as our North Star. It guides us and answers the question of, “what am I out to accomplish?”
  • Our purpose or mission is our driver and our motivation. It answers the key question, “why do I want to do this?”
  • Our values are like our compass and they help us answer the questions like, “Is this aligned with what is important to me?”

So why does any of this matter?

Well, imagine for a moment the impact of truly being a leader in every area of your life. If you were leading from your values.If there were no hard lines between work, play, and home, just integration where you were able to be authentically you at all times.

Where you were operating from your authentic leadership purpose rather than a mental model of what you believe leadership to be; how would your world be different?

More and more people and organizations are adopting this Whole Life Leadership philosophy. Looking less for work-life balance and more for work-life integration- Whole Life Leadership. It’s only here that we begin to look at ourselves as a whole rather than someone who is one way at work and another at home or with friends.

There are alignment and synergy between life areas as opposed to tension, and we can show up as a leader in all areas of our lives. Organizations are adopting this mental model as a people development philosophy not because it is an attractive concept but because it is effective and it produces results.

Whole Life Leadership is the future of leadership and I can’t wait to see what’s possible when we have a world filled with purpose-driven organizations and leaders.

It all begins with a shift.

A shift in what we believe about ourselves as leaders in our own lives.


To find out more about Kristin Constable and the Whole Life Leadership Program or Individual Whole Life Leadership Coaching visit www.winningcoaching.ca

Written By
Kristin Constable is a professional leadership and business coach and Founder of Winning Defined by You, a coaching, consulting, and leadership development company. Kristin is passionate about unlocking the full potential in organizations, teams, and leaders so that they can disrupt their industries and win at what they do. Check out her Youtube Video or join her at The Winning Academy for more resources on being The Architect of Your Life.

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