The Foundations of Leadership Development




  • Introduction
  • Healing
  • Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism
  • Why Intellectually Understanding The Problem Is Not Enough • Performance
  • The Three Dimensional Chess of Leadership
  • Enlightened Leadership
  • References


Everything is changing. The only question left to ask is – are we? Are we doing what is necessary to upgrade ourselves to keep up with the times?

The Foundation is a training that I have been offering to clients for more than a decade and is not merely a process of accumulating new information. I am not simply providing you with more data. It is not just another “App”. It is rather, an upgrade of the way in which you process information and experience reality.

To put it another way, if information could be seen as the furniture with which you fill the home of your mind, this would not be a process of accumulating more furniture as much as it would add several new floors to your home.

This involves healing areas of your life that prevent you from living free from past conditioning. It assists you in accessing an internal wisdom that has the ability to know what your next step is even when you don’t. And it will illuminate a path to your own higher development that is drawn from established fields that include, but are not limited to: Leadership Development and Integral Theory1.

For those who have lost sight of their path in life the Lionheart Upgrade will also go to the very core of the questions – who am I, and what is my purpose? – in a way that provides unequivocal clarity to your higher calling.

1 Integral Theory is a philosophy that seeks to synthesize the best of pre-modern, modern, and post-modern reality in an attempt to integrate a number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching. It has been applied by scholar-practitioners in 35 distinct academic and professional domains as varied as organizational development, art, and feminism.

The three specific phases of this upgrade are :

1. Healing: illuminating and resolving traumas from the past that continue to influence your behavior in the present.

2. Performance: identifying and learning to practically use the very distinct and differentiated wisdom of your mental, emotional, heart based and inspirational faculties to effectively serve your highest intentions2.

3. Leadership: developing the ability to live and work with peace of mind, and strength of heart, regardless of the external circumstances that tend to destabilize you.



The healing element begins with the illumination of the ways in which we are operating unconsciously. This is the first element because it addresses one of the most challenging areas of development itself – uncovering the most deeply held beliefs that are influencing the way we live and work, that we are unaware we have.

2 The Foundation makes a clear distinction between the multiple intelligence systems available to us at any one time. These systems can be generally differentiated as: 1. The Mind, or the various voices in the head. 2. The Emotions, or the spectrum of feelings within the body. 3. The Heart, or the inner wisdom that can be developed by focusing awareness upon it, and 4. Inspiration, or the unexpected, spontaneous arrival of insight that comes from a source beyond all of the above, that can also be accessed through the heart.

It should be noted however, that “intuition” another term that is often confused and conflated for any one of the previous systems simply refers to a means of understanding that is non-rational. Therefore the act of intuiting can include any one of the previous systems with the exception of the mind, or voices in the head, which by definition are “rational” or “cognitive”. It should also be noted that “instinct”, another system of intelligence that is etymologically referred to as an “animal faculty” or “reactive faculty” is also, like inspiration, non-rational. The key difference between inspiration and instinct therefore, is that while they are both “non-rational”, instinct is “pre- rational” and inspiration is “post-rational”. To put it another way – instinct is beneath rationality and inspiration is beyond it. Knowing how to differentiate between the two, particularly in times of crisis, can be the difference between a disempowering “knee-jerk” reaction and a response that exhibits wisdom and poise.

We begin doing this by first examining how we make decisions, because many of the most important decisions in our lives are not made logically. On the contrary, they are made unconsciously. Examples include who we marry, our career choices, even where we live. The reason we do this is because many of our most important decisions in life cannot be solved rationally. There simply is not sufficient data with which to arrive at a rational conclusion. The sheer complexity of life just doesn’t allow it.

As a result, when we reach the limits of the rational mind, we have no choice but to turn to our other faculties for assistance, which for many of us, are all bundled together in an indistinguishable clump. Our instincts, emotions, the mystery of inspiration, our heart, and even our “gut” are often all seen as one and the same. Many of us will not only use these names liberally and interchangeably, we will regularly conflate them because we have not been trained to distinguish between them.

Learning that all of these “faculties of knowing” are indeed different is the first step. Understanding how to distinguish and correctly interpret them from one another is the second. Applying them practically in our daily lives is the third. The Foundation takes you through all three.

Benefiting from the input that each of these systems provides us with can often be the difference between making the right decision with clarity and confidence, repeating a counterproductive pattern from the past, or simply going with a hunch.

However, before any of this can be accomplished we must begin by removing any unconscious mental biases and emotional conditioning that may be covering our faculties to begin with. This involves identifying any filters distorting the ways in which we are seeing and feeling reality in a given situation. This process of identification and differentiation is essential because biases and “conditioned filters” are easily mistaken for authentic signals themselves. As a result, identifying these biases is the first step of the Foundation. Because without identifying them you will always be playing a game of life that appears to be somewhat “rigged” against you.

Another way of looking at this conundrum is to use the metaphor of the archer. Because in a way we are all archers. We all want to hit the bulls-eye. This is true in work, in love, with our family and our children. We are all focused on the center circle. We all want our aim to be true. Unexamined emotional beliefs, however, can act like cross winds that invisibly and imperceptibly push us off course regardless of how accurate our aim is. The Foundation technically refers to this phenomenon as Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism, or emotions that are literally determining the direction of our lives that we are unaware we have.

Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism


Most of us experience a number of traumas in our young lives that our unconscious never forgets, so that if it meets a similar threat in the future, it will recognize it and swiftly engage defense mechanisms to protect us3. The most rudimentary of these is the “fight or flight” response.

Neuroscience has shown that the way we remember trauma is often neither accurate nor context specific4. As a result, the psyche will often re-engage a defense mechanism even when a threat is not present, simply because it has similar characteristics common to it. What this means is that we are often triggered into taking actions as a result of emotions that may feel very powerful and authentic, even when they are simply the vestiges of an emotional defense mechanism from our past that no longer have any value.

One of the most important elements concerning this phenomenon is when an individual is asked “why?” they have acted in such a way. Clinical studies have shown that when an individual is asked to explain why they have a psycho- emotional response that they have no way of accounting for, they will invariably generate a response, even if they have to make one up5. What this illustrates is that we would much rather rationalize a disempowering pattern (or story) that has taken possession over us, rather than acknowledge that we do not know why it is taking place at all.

This shows just how subtle and confounding Unconscious Emotional Pre- Determination can be. And “pre-determination” is the key word. Because these unconscious emotional defense mechanisms are often pre-determining our lives in a multitude of ways that we are completely unaware of. Ways that we often simply end up explaining to ourselves as “the way I am”, or “the way things are”, when in fact, they are emphatically not the way “things” or “you” are at all.

Why Intellectually Understanding The Problem Is Not Enough

A number of people know full well why they behave the way they do. They have clearly seen the link between the past and the present. They have a concise intellectual understanding of the very roots of their disempowering patterns. And yet they still cannot break free of them. Why?

When I first began this work I too believed that an intellectual understanding of the roots of unconscious patterns was enough. What I have since discovered is that an intellectual understanding of the pattern is just the first step in the process of change. In a way it is the “skeleton”, or the “empty root” of the problem, that needs the muscle of emotion to fill it, precisely because it is often emotion that is the invisible, driving force that compels us to feel that one way rather than another is right6. It is what makes the feeling that you simply cannot do otherwise so overwhelming. This above all things, is the very power of emotion. And in order to address and disengage our Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism, we must address and engage it there, within the memory of the emotional body.

Common effects of Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism can be having a short and even uncontrollable temper, the inability to find a partner, or maintain a stable relationship. It can be an on-going incapacity to appropriately charge for your services, to fully accept your own potential, or the petrifying fear of opening up to someone you love. Unconscious Emotional Pre-Determinism can be easily identified as any area in your life that you know you want to change, but that you feel an overwhelmingly strong emotional impulse that tells you, not only that you cannot, but in some cases, even that you must not.

Another way to look at these powerful but redundant defense mechanisms is to see them as soldiers from the Cold War who were never told that the conflict is now over and that the world has changed. As a result, these well intentioned but highly simplistic defenders of our well-being will simply continue to remain on high alert without any idea that they can now put down their arms, and begin using the energy they once spent on a misguided defense system for the fulfillment of their life’s higher purpose.

So, to return to the original question: how do we know that we can trust our emotional signals? Only when we have made sure that they are authentically giving us information about the present and not simply repeating a program from the past because it has been “triggered” by the present.


Once the process of illuminating and resolving our Unconscious Emotional Pre-Deterministic Programs has taken place, we can begin to use our mental, heart based wisdom and inspirational systems for the very first time, in the present, without fear that they are being distorted by the past.

For the very first time, both the rational and non-rational wisdom of these systems will be fully liberated to provide us with a deeper and more perceptive understanding of what is going on in the here and now. The advantages of this new found freedom are innumerable, ranging from being more perceptive in a business negotiation, to anticipating when staff members might be on their way out, to connecting more deeply than ever before with family and loved ones, to accessing inspiration more easily and working in the “flow-state” on a more regular basis. Enhancing your performance is not simply about improving the way you work, but the way you live.

In this part of the process we begin by stepping back from, and observing, our own awareness. The same awareness that is running over these words as you read them. The same awareness that you can use to focus in laser-like, right now, on your left big toe. The same awareness that you can expand into a field to cover your chest as it rises and falls as you breathe, or to check in with your current emotional state and the signals that they are providing you with. In this moment, you might even take a minute to focus in on your heart and simply ask the question – is this work right for me? And rather than listen to the voices inside your head, you can wait to perceive an even softer, quieter voice, or non-verbal response, emerging from within your heart.

Why this is important is simple. Our heart based and inspirational wisdom is very different from our mental system. Not only do they process information and deliver it to us differently, they have dominion over an entirely different dimension of our life. Rely solely on the mental system, and it is literally as if you are attempting to perform well in a game of three-dimensional chess by only acknowledging a single board.

The Three Dimensional Chess of Leadership

If your “inner being” could be likened to a company it would have at least three distinct systems that work independently, and in symphony, to manage the whole organization intelligently. The rational system, the emotional system, and the system of the heart.7

The rational system can be likened to the operational level, or the words and the deeds that take place in the organization. This is the level of labor, mechanical efficiency and productivity. The level of the General Manager in which you in which you “put out fires,” and “get things done.”

The emotional system is responsible for, and most expertly equipped to manage, the area of Human Resources, or the “feeling” of the company. It cares for the emotional well-being and energetic morale.

The heart based system is primarily designed for and concerned with, managing the areas in your life that require deeper purpose and vision. It is the voice of the individual and organizationals mission, and should be respected as such.

However, it should come as no surprise that most of society only employs one of these systems to manage all three areas: the rational, cognitive, linear system. The system of the mind. Attempting to function this way is as risky as expecting a General Manager to have the skills to tackle every area of a company single handedly.

The Foundation trains an individual to feel and hear these internal guidance systems as clearly as you would listen to members of your executive team in a staff meeting. This experience often has such dramatic effects on an individual’s life that they find it hard to believe they ever lived without them.

Enlightened Leadership

The third and final element of the Foundation involves a word and a concept that has for a long time been considered special, taboo, even ridiculous. Regardless of what you may have heard of the concept of Enlightenment, I would like to take a moment to dispel a few myths about it.

Enlightenment is real in as much as the process of awareness training can, and does, alleviate the existential suffering inherent to life. However, the idea that it is in any way a final stage that somehow miraculously occurs like a light switch being turned on, is somewhat misleading. The same can be said for Leadership. It is not a final destination, nor a role restricted to a limited few, but a continuum available to everyone, with clear and noticeable plateaus along the way.

Enlightened Leadership is not simply having a greater ability to make wise decisions with increased inner calm and outward poise in times of stress. Although these are two of its most obvious effects, they are really only the ground upon which other, far more dramatic and life enhancing properties stand.

The development of your awareness, arguably the most fundamental element of Enlightened Leadership allows us, first and foremost, to tap into the very same interconnected consciousness that is fundamental to all life. As our understanding of this develops from a mere intellectual, conceptual belief into a literally felt-experience that we simply cannot deny, our ability to empathize and intuit the motivations and needs of others is enhanced dramatically. In a way, we become no longer “separate” from those around us because we have become experientially aware of that which unites us. Above all, this recognition allows us to experience more connection and love in our lives due to the fact that we are now able to feel more deeply than we have ever done before. This has radical effects on our ability not only to manage, lead and inspire multiple groups of individuals at work, but also in life.

A second emergent property of Enlightened Leadership is the ability to increasingly break the reactive, often unconscious cycle of cause and effect. There is an expression “to be in the world but not of it” that points to this. It specifically refers to the ability of an individual to see the ways in which they are being conditioned by their culture, family, partners and past, so that they can truly act with free will, perhaps even, for the very first time.

A third emergent property that comes with stepping into Enlightened Leadership is the transition from merely gratifying one’s own needs to a life in which those very needs are synergistically met through the act of contributing to the needs of others, and ultimately a cause that is greater than your own.

These emergent abilities in particular, perhaps above all others, allow individuals to live and work more effectively than ever before because they have gained an internal sovereignty that not only liberates themselves, but heals and inspires those around them.