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A Mindful Approach to Advanced Leadership

Jennifer Mulholland & Jeff Shuck
November 11, 2019

In late September we introduced an all-new curriculum for conscious leadership with Lantern II, an annual leadership retreat for Lantern graduates. Over the last four years we've facilitated ten classes of Lantern, Plenty's core leadership retreat. As our group of Lantern alumni has grown into the hundreds, we've heard increasing requests to provide a deeper experience. Our graduates want to explore the concepts of Lantern further – and want to connect with other conscious leaders like themselves while they do it. Lantern II was our next step in fulfilling that intention. 

It is difficult to put into words how inspired we were by the people who attended the inaugural session of Lantern II. They were engaged, inspiring, and present. They were authentic and excited to share. We are so grateful for the choices they made to take time to courageously explore themselves and to share that exploration with a group of likeminded leaders. Without a doubt Lantern II was one of the richest, most special, and most inspiring experiences we’ve had the privilege to facilitate.

Our four days together centered around a deeper dive into what we call the Four Lights of Leadership. These lights, which we introduce during the Lantern Leadership Retreat, outline a deeper way to consider leadership. Whereas most leadership curriculums consider what leaders should do, the Four Lights help conscious leaders reflect on how the could be. This subtle difference is the open invitation to reconsider not only what leadership is, but what life has on offer for us. 

Lantern_Icon_Blue_circle-1Light One: A leader is a light for others. We each have values and passions that are unique. These passions are clues that can lead us to the life we dream of. Many of us have experienced the internal tension that comes from doing something we don't like to do, or from saying something we don't believe to be true. That's not leadership. Leadership is about shining our light authentically. True leadership is about clarifying our passions in order to inspire the best in others and ourselves. To do that, we need to get clear on what we truly value, and then practice speaking and living our own truth rather than someone else's. In other words, we start by clarifying our own passions – the things we care about and why – and then sharing them with the world. When we follow our passions, we live a more authentic life. That authenticity increases our joy and fulfillment. It's that simple.

Lantern_Icon_Blue_circle-1 Light Two: Our light is always within us. Even in our darkest, most insecure and fearful moments, we still have everything we need to be leaders. What if every time we experienced worry or stress, those feelings were meant to be reminders to us about how powerful we are? What if every moment of doubt was meant to be a call for us to remember our best selves? Our light may feel dim at times, but it can never go out. Beyond a healthy humility, negative self-talk and harsh self-criticism don't serve us well. Leadership at its core starts with self-love. Are we ready to embrace the weakest parts of ourselves, knowing that they help the strongest parts of us grow?

Lantern_Icon_Blue_circle-1 Light Three: We only need to see what is right in front of us. The idea that we can control the world around us – with our words, plans, goals, or actions – is self-involved and presumptuous. It is a fiction that many of us hold onto for years, until an unforeseen crisis or random act of fate disrupts our carefully constructed worldview. In truth, nearly everything in our lives exists outside of our control. Leaders don’t need to know all the answers, and seldom do. Rather, leaders spend time learning to navigate the unknown, step by step, moment by moment, with presence and alignment to their beliefs, values, and purpose. In moments of uncertainty we can trust that we are fully prepared to "show up to what shows up." We only have to know the next step. Life will illuminate the right next step we need to take.

Lantern_Icon_Blue_circle-1 Light Four: There is a larger light guiding us. Leaders know that there’s a bigger plan. Some call it Fate; others God; others the Universe; others the Divine. Some may call it Science. Whatever you name it, leaders realize there are larger forces at work. The sun rises without us having to set an alarm in our cell phone. The seasons change without needing a calendar appointment to do it. There is a grand set of forces working all around us. Those forces sometimes communicate to us via insight, intuition, and synchronicity. Leaders polish their intellectual skills, but they are just as willing to follow their instincts, feelings, and heart as they walk in awareness.

The path of the authentic and conscious leader is illuminated when we practice each light in daily life, moment by moment, with attention and intention. At Lantern II, we took a deeper step together into that practice. It was an amazingly deep, authentic, and satisfying curriculum. Not to mention, incredibly fun! 

Adam Wester, creative director, and a graduate of our inaugural Lantern II class, said:

If you want to experience enlightened growth, heightened consciousness, and leadership skills in a completely open environment, this is it. Lantern II was a deeply transformative and meaningful experience."

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We offer Lantern II once time a year, over the week of the Autumn Equinox – intentionally chosen to help us compassionately explore the balance of the dark and the light within us. Next year, Lantern II will take place on September 22 through 25, 2020.

Lantern II is available exclusively for our Lantern graduates. So, if you're new to Lantern, check out our 2020 calendar. We're holding three sessions of Lantern next year, in April, June, and October. We'd love to see you there. Whatever the roles you play in life – executive, parent, entrepreneur, student, activist, dreamer, doer – you need to invest in yourself in order to grow. 

For more information and to register, visit and

Why not become your best self? The world needs your best – and you deserve it, too.







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