It is not difficult to see how the wisdom of Tao could influence leadership, but I was pleasantly surprised by how thoughtful, insightful, and profound Karen’s analysis and understanding of the Tao is and how she applied it not only to being an influencer but even more to how to live a life filled with peace, joy, and personal fulfillment.
When I think of influencers today, I cannot help but often view them as self-obsessed and self-serving people who are driven by the goal of increasing their followers but without giving much of substance or duration in return. Yet what Karen manages to show us is that influencers that can look beyond themselves and who serve a worthy cause can become true and inspiring global leaders, while with the aid and support of their many followers, they could bring about a deep and lasting shift in our lives.
We can use the secrets of the Tao to get us to that point. Wisdom to me is more than knowledge. We can read books and spout the information and lines like an encyclopedia or a computer, and we can memorize and recite poetry, but it cannot move and inspire us and others - unless it also resonates and vibrates with the deepest cores and fibers of our being. We all know that love is important; we all talk about faith and peace, but not many of us feel it in our body or embody it in our lives. They exist as concepts that float in our heads, yet they are not connected or embedded with the rest of our bodies and much less with our daily lives. It is one thing to say we believe in God or the Divine, yet another to feel it within, and yet quite another to practice and live it.
Often, we see philosophers think, talk about, or even be obsessed with philosophy, but few of them actually live it in a more profound and changing way. Yet the greatest and most memorable leaders and thinkers were the ones that not only talked but also walked their own carved path, whether it be Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Jesus, Mother Teresa, or Mister Rogers, this is what they all had in common. I think of philosophy and psychology not so much as mental, logical, and linguistic acrobatics but more as a lifestyle, like poetry that moves us to tears and awakens our sleeping selves from its deep and drawn-out slumber.
This is where we can use the Tao to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world and one that is not driven by the various needs of our ego, including fear, trauma, and ignorance but rather be guided and directed by wisdom and clarity. And Karen’s book points us in the direction and gives us guidance on how to align the inner with the outer world to the betterment of everyone involved.
True influence is not about control nor the ego, it is not about gaining attention or standing on the podium or receiving millions of followers on Twitter or Instagram, but it is about leading by example and about providing and serving as a positive example to others. True leaders do not demand, nor do they need obedience; they are willingly followed as the world needs authentic people to be messengers and harbingers of peace and love.
Unfortunately, there are many influencers who are shallow, empty, and void themselves. They are corrupt and not trustworthy, and they tend to be the ones that are loud and spiritually bankrupt. They do not promote peace but violence; they do not want harmony but sow conflict and division, and they may seem to have conviction and a cause but, in the end, those are self-serving and do not last. The main reason for their void is because they are not genuine themselves in their words and actions and because they did not turn inwards to look for truth and insight. Only through introspection and self-examination can we bring about and effect profound change within us and then be able to project it and share it with the outside world.
The power that lasts and is genuine and authentic is rooted in what Karen terms our pure love-power, the love we are born with and that is fueled and led by the intuition we naturally carry within us. Think about it: every choice we make, every thought we have, every action we take can have profound effects and repercussions, not only on ourselves but also on our lives and that of others. Not unlike the Butterfly Effect, it can have results and consequences far beyond ourselves.
Nevertheless, that could also be amplified in the negative: if our power becomes distorted, it can lead to greed, corruption, manipulation, and deceit, especially when we are driven by a need for personal power and stature as well as selfish motives, gain, and profit. Yet the influence it produces will be only temporary as sooner or later people will see through the illusion and stop embracing and following a path that leads to nowhere, or worse to a dead end and cul-de-sac.
Power is only the first of four pillars, the others are presence, purpose and potential, and we shall take a brief look at them a bit later. Yet the problem with power is that it can be distorted, and Karen gives us an overview of different personality types that block us from accessing and tuning into our true nature and the love-power or Buddha-nature that we all have inside of us and that is more dormant than awake.
In essence, these patterns are our own default ways that we use to interact with the world. Depending on which power pattern has a hold on you, it can determine to a large degree your response and reaction to others while giving important clues about the personal relationship you have with yourself. Let us find out which type would best describe your current state of being, and it will include different ways of using and abusing social media.
One of the salient and most known types is the controller. This person’s fear of never being enough and of feeling unsafe in the universe leads to their need and compulsion to control others. They have rigid expectations of themselves and others, and they are almost always on the defensive. Their constant necessity of defending their opinions and their constant wanting to be right even when they are wrong will deplete their energy levels.
On the other hand, their micromanagement of all aspects of their lives and their lack of tolerance and acceptance of others will exasperate their loved ones, friends, and colleagues. The controller is on the lookout for anyone who violates rules of social media, while they are also suspicious of everyone and everything and fearful that their private information might be misused or abused.
Then there is the victim. They see and define themselves as not lovable, and they consider life unfair and the cards always stacked sky-high against them. Everything is taken personally, and they are sensitive to the words and actions of others. As they cannot control their inner world, they try their hand at the external world. Add to that, the fact that they are chronic complainers, always blame others, and never accept responsibility for their deeds and actions. Their favorite style of communication is passive-aggressive. Their social media trademark is sharing with everyone everything bad that has ever happened to them.
Follow it up with the savior. They tend to be great at problem-solving and take pride and relish in alleviating people’s problems. In fact, helping others motivates them by giving them a feeling of euphoria that they fail to find elsewhere or by any other means. Although their altruistic behavior is commendable, their motivations stem from proving their self-worth to themselves and others, and hence, they are less interested or guided by engaging in true love and compassion.
Who would make a great partner for them? The victim, of course. But at some point, they will realize that true love is not in their stars nor within reach and sight for neither one of them. Social media provides an excellent tool for the savior to look for people who need help and who would supposedly benefit from their grandiose acts while ensuring they are constantly being seen, acknowledged, and mentioned by others.
The martyr takes it all a step further. They think their love is selfless and enduring. In fact, they choose to forgo and “sacrifice” their own happiness to bring happiness to others. As they do not take time for themselves, they will also not experience joy. They deny themselves these pleasures as they see their role in life to suffer and endure. Just like the savior, the work is less about others but also about themselves and about feeding and satisfying their own ego. The martyr will use social media to rub in and harp on all the good that they are doing in the world and that we would be essentially lost without their existence.
Moreover, there is the blamer. They also like to have control or at least give a semblance of it to others. By externalizing events, they feel a sense of control and righteousness about life and people. The need to be right and righteous is the most important aspect of their lives because when you blame others, you evade and avoid accountability, and you are making judgments upon others. In fact, in their view, everyone else is wrong.
The blamer is terrified of making mistakes and will not be authentic or tell the truth, while all their actions are viewed as transactions: there is always a condition and a string attached to everything they do for others. The blamer will post and often publicly name on social media anyone and everyone who is at fault.
Related to the blamer is the judge. Yet the judge does not blame but sees themselves as the role of observer and assessor of human actions and interactions. Their feet are firmly grounded in a world of duality where everything is assessed rather than accepted. They like to keep themselves at a distance from others and from their true self. The judge is very active on social media as they look for any instance to disagree with a post or a tweet. Some of them seem to be permanently residing in that sphere.
A step higher is the chosen one. They outdo the judge, the martyr, and the savior in that they have a firm belief in personal entitlement, that the world owes them simply for existing on the earthly plane. They are selfish and vain, and they are not averse to breaking rules because they deem themselves beyond rules and obligations. They also do not believe in established doctrines and shun traditional systems and institutions but have nothing to replace them with.
This ingrained sense of entitlement makes their time more important than anyone else’s. They will not wait in line. Everything is instantaneous, and they should not have to wait or work for anything. On social media, whenever they feel it is worth their time, they will share their insight and wisdom with the masses believing that what they have done or what they are writing, no one has ever done before in the history of humanity.
Finally, there is the withdrawer. This person feels out of touch and out of control with their own life and destiny. They tend to keep quiet when they ought to speak up. They would rather follow than lead even if they are indeed much more capable than the appointed leader. They would rather not make waves or cause displeasure (what Karen would term “the disease to please”) as they prefer being a nice and quiet person that everyone likes and approves of. Yet this path of no personal commitment, lack of control, and accountability will often lead them to apathy and numbness.
They are the exact opposite of the chosen one as they are driven by the fear of not being worthy and not deserving to take their place and space on the planet, while they lack purpose, confidence, and initiative. Their lack of communication and connection and their tendency not to ask for help when needed or required puts them at risk for depression and suicidal thoughts. The withdrawer will threaten to remove friends who do not interact with them or who see their posts but do not like or share them enough. The withdrawer will also periodically announce that they are taking breaks from social media.
As we can see, power patterns may be combined and, in some cases, they overlap, whereas the narcissist would tick almost all the boxes. Yet it is important to identify the patterns and to start to deal with them and to reduce and eliminate their hold and grip on our daily lives. It is less a way of diagnosing and labeling a person but to give some relevant feedback on where the problems lie on the spectrum so that we can get to the root cause of them all.
The problem with these power patterns is that they block us from our true nature, the source of our radiance, individuality, and love. To gain access to ourselves, we would need to first strip away all that is not us. And most of our thoughts and actions are driven and propagated and intensified by fear and insecurity. Once we deal with the trauma and stress that is both apparent as well as hidden within our psyche, we can take the next steps forward.
As mentioned previously, power is merely the first of the four pillars. We also need to add our undivided, mindful, and loving presence. Presence is more than being in the moment or going with the flow. It is about being firmly situated and grounded in the present moment with no thought of the past or future and as free of doubts, fears, and illusions as possible. It takes an immense amount of practice, but it is worth doing so.
Purpose is more than our calling and vocation. It is our unique and individual purpose of our soul or essence to follow through with our mission in life and to inspire others to do the same, regardless of what you are aiming or striving for as long as it aligns with the divine purpose, that is, the main reason we are here and why we exist: love.
Finally, we need to find ways of unwrapping and developing our inherent potential. That is the true fabric of our essence coming into bloom. As an actualized leader, you do not need to push, cajole, pull, or destroy, but you will work in flow and harmony, in tandem with the mystical divine. Both your inner and outer world would fall into place and will align themselves perfectly, and you will shed your ego and start walking in the light of the Tao.