Purposeful Leadership is a Marketing Stunt

Mory Fontanez

The hardest part about my job is doubt. My self-doubt and the doubt of others. Doubt about what I am capable of, about what others are capable of and about whether my insistence that purpose and humanity are the only way forward is actually true.

There is so much evidence to feed that doubt; so many leaders out there today succeeding wildly without an ounce of real purpose and having profoundly lost their own humanity.

And sometimes I even have leaders tell me I’m wrong.  That the narratives out there about purpose, authenticity, justice, and humanity are just good marketing stunts. That the CEOs and leaders in the world who embody that today are just saying what they need to say in order to please a restless, angry mass of people who are tired of being lied to and taken advantage of.

I don’t know about you, but when you’ve risked everything – down to your family’s wellbeing and financial security – on your purpose and you hear people tell you that you have it wrong – well, it rocks you.  It causes a mini, or major, earthquake inside of you.  “Who am I to know what’s right,” you think.  “Look at the world and who’s really winning,” you think.  “What the hell am I doing?” you think.

I think that is where a lot of us stop following our calling – right there where that doubt kicks in. The easier thing to do is to give into it. The easier thing to do is to see the world through that lens of lack and inadequacy, and to find all kinds of evidence that the doubt and the doubters are in fact right.

Until you realize one important thing – that perspective is about scarcity.  That doubt is about believing that there is only one right way, that there isn’t enough for everyone and that change is not possible.

Then you ask yourself – “Is that who I am, someone who believes in scarcity?”  The answer for me is resounding - No, it’s not.  I happen to believe in the opposite of scarcity. I happen to believe in abundance – in the endless number of possibilities, in enough success and prosperity to go around the world ten times.  And the thing is, I think the world is waking up to that same reality.

Now, waking up is a slow process. It does have a domino effect, but not with the same immediate payoff of watching all the dominoes fall in quick succession.  It’s microcellular, it’s small and incremental, it’s organic and happens about as quickly as planting a seed and watching it grow.

That is what’s happening around us.  People are waking up, one at a time, and looking around at what we have been told is the “right way”, what we’ve been told is the “only way” and thinking – “really?”  Their awareness around scarcity is growing and people are beginning to question why some can have it all and others must suffer with less than it takes to survive. I’m not just talking financially, by the way. Some people don’t feel they have enough security, confidence, creativity, power, control (the list goes on) to survive let alone thrive.  Not having enough while watching others roll in excess – well, I don’t have to tell you - entire revolutions came from this awakening.

So of course people with that sort of power will look at me – someone who sees it as their purpose to usher in this new awakening by preparing leaders to reconnect to their own humanity  – of course they will look at me and tell me I’m wrong.  For those types of leaders to be right, for them to continue to benefit from this scarcity, for abundance to be kept as a prize that belongs only to them – for that to happen, I have to be wrong.

Here is the secret people like that know, that you should know too – the best agent of this mission to keep you in a place of scarcity is your own fear and insecurities.  All they have to do is tell you you’re wrong and all of the experiences in your life that hurt you will do the rest of the dirty work. Those experiences – or triggers – are standing there waiting to chime in, to tell you to back down, to tell you to stop trying to be something greater.

But here’s the secret I know – people that want to bury you with your own limitations have their own darkness they are running from. Their success doesn’t fill their days and nights with the joy and peace of mind they thought it would because they are running from the darkness instead of diving headfirst into it.  Looking at what scares them, healing what causes them to be so divisive and having the courage to accept that their value as people has nothing to do with power, money or control.  

That is hard work – it’s heartbreaking work.  It is turning the flashlight on all the creatures that dwell inside that cave and finally looking each of them dead in the eye.  It is terrifying and liberating. Once we’ve done that – well then instead of a dark fearful voice you begin hearing the higher voice, the one that sees your very best self, the one that turns your glimmer into a full-on blaze.

This awakening is not stopping. The world, and as a result all of us, are transforming.  To go with this momentum is to choose our highest selves – the ones that come from awareness, purpose, humanity and abundance.  Not only because it’s the way the wind is blowing, not only because it will soon be the only way to be successful, but because everyone deserves to reunite with their true selves – to feel that abundance and to walk with a deep sense of fulfillment.

Trust me, I’ve bet my career on it and despite the doubt – I have never regretted it for a minute.