Episode 26: How to Lead in a Divided World

October 4, 2021


One of the most common questions that I’ve been getting lately has been: How am I to navigate my business in such a polarized world?

It’s a bit of a bummer that we have to have this conversation, but that’s just the nature of the world right now. But it excites me too, because I have the joy of leading people with a myriad of different political opinions, personal values, visions for their future, religious beliefs – and although sometimes it can be challenging, there are actual ways that you can show up in congruence with who you are and with truth. You can do it from a place of integrity and leadership, not taking full responsibility for everybody else’s emotions and make a positive impact in the world, despite the chaos happening around us. 

My hope is that this conversation can encourage you to level up to what’s possible in leadership.


[3:11] You Need Your True North 

In today’s world everybody’s a critic.

That’s why it’s so important to be convicted in your values and your understanding of how you can live those values, despite the fact that some of the people you may be serving or showing up for might not have the exact same list of values. 

So, the first and most critical thing you need is to have your True North. You need to understand who you are, what you stand for, what your business stands for and how you intend to run your business. We have a True North exercise, that is designed in a way where you can do it with your family or by yourself and is extremely beneficial. 

So head over to luminaryleadershipco.com/truenorth to download this free workbook and get started discovering your True North!

[5:13] Being in Alignment  

Businesses have a tendency to set a lot of markers, visions and goals, but how you get to the goals is going to be unique to you based on who you are, what you stand for and what you value. You have to make sure that that journey is in alignment with those things otherwise it’s always gonna feel out of whack. 

The other thing is, because business owners spend so much time setting the goals, they’re often not focused on the intangible things that are even more critical than those goals, like how they show up in the world, how they serve and their level of integrity. So make sure that you have a clear understanding of what makes up your backbone because if you don’t have that, the culture will try to sway you – and it will sway you.

[7:00] Don’t Bend to Those That Scream The Loudest

Some businesses take the stance that they will bow down to those that yell the loudest. When you’re navigating a divided culture, if that is your rule of thumb for survival, you will not last. Eventually, you will lose. That is going to make you just go wherever the wind blows you and you don’t have control of the wind. You can only bend so many times before you break.

[9:25] They’ll Never Change the World

Then there are some entrepreneurs, small business owners who try to stay neutral. They don’t like confrontation, they don’t take a stand, they don’t share their values. Instead they adopt their greatest value of neutrality, thinking that will keep them safe. 

Sure, maybe they won’t be under attack, but guess what? It’s because nobody notices them. They won’t survive either. They might get a client here or there, but they’ll never change the world and people lose respect for their inability to stand for something.

[10:17] This is Not Leadership

There are companies that take such a hard stance and they make it known. They want the world to know who they voted for, who they hate, who they love, who they represent, even though that doesn’t have anything to do with their product. They make their stance really aggressively known, but they also attack anyone that doesn’t agree. 

This is not leadership. 

They’ll attract a bunch of people who feel really aggressive and strongly about whatever it is they have opinions on, because they are technically standing in their convictions, but they are not standing in leadership, they are not standing in what we define as luminary leadership.

[12:02] An Option That is Rooted in Faith and Not Fear

There’s another option that a lot of people are not trying, and it doesn’t involve bowing down to the angry mob or canceling people when they say something that you don’t agree with. An option that is rooted in faith and not fear. That is embodied through integrity, not just saying what other people want to hear and knowing that that can come at an expense, that can come at a sacrifice, but it will also ensure that those values and who you are called to be are intact at the end of the day.

It requires you to know who you are, to know the right path to get to your goals and not try and follow anyone else’s path. It requires you to lead with love and compassion. It requires you to live by faith, to respect others without caving to everybody, to know your boundaries and your standards and to live by those.

[13:31] It’s Not About Being Right, It’s About Diversity of Thought

One really tough part of embodying all of this in leadership is doing what’s right, but not always having to have the last word to show that you’re right. If you have clients that come at you from an attacking place and try to put their value system or their thought processes on you and they set the expectation that you’re going to bend to whatever they want, there are ways you can have a respectful conversation about how you intend to fully support them in whatever it is that they invested in with you – and you also fully intend to continue to show up and lead from the example that you know to be who you are and what you stand for. And it’s not about trying to change their mind, and it’s not about trying to be right. 

This is why there’s so much division, because everybody’s trying to be right. Everybody’s trying to prove that their opinion or their side is the right side and the other side is the dreadfully wrong side, and it’s creating this hyper polarization throughout the globe. We have an opportunity, as leaders, to show up differently than how 95% of entrepreneurs are showing up right now; we have an opportunity to create a revolution.

[16:45] The Challenge Ahead

The challenge ahead of you in entrepreneurship, the revolution you have an opportunity to become a part of is to stand for your beliefs from a place of respect and to have the strength in your backbone, because it will come under attack because of the nature of the world. 

But in the end, the cream is gonna rise to the top. The leaders are going to emerge in a time like this. The ones that can see beyond their nose, that can see beyond the division, that can see the greater picture of humanity and entrepreneurship, possibility, and service, they are going to be the ones that shine the most brightly.

[19:23] You are Not Responsible for Their Emotional Response

Another key piece is remembering that you are responsible for what you put out in the world, you’re responsible for what you say but no matter how lovingly you share it, someone’s going to come at you, because they just have a different opinion and they don’t know how to handle their emotions. 

You are not responsible for their emotional response and if you bend every time you get an emotional response from somebody, I hope you’re flexible, because otherwise you will snap eventually. As long as you’re sharing your values from a place of love and respect, you’re not responsible for the response of those other people who haven’t elevated leadership enough to have a higher emotional IQ. 

This is your time to shine so you can lead in this divided world!


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