5 Ways to Lead from Your Heart and Build a Soulful Brand that Soars (all without losing your head)


You've already decided to do things differently.

You know you have a life/soul purpose, even if it's not 100% clear yet. You feel the need to make change and do good work that makes a positive impact on the world. But when it comes to actually doing it — making your purpose a reality and finding the courage to do what you feel in business — it can be hard to stay true to your intuition. To your heart.

5 ways to lead from your heart and build a soulful brand that sours (all without losing your mind)

As a forty-something businesswoman who has ridden the crest of the digital wave for over 22 years, I can now look back over my career so far and see how I have compromised my purpose because others (mainly men)  around me told me, "That's not how you do it; that's not how it works."

Today, I see much of this conditioning for what it is: a fear-based need to control outcomes.

The good news is, I know from breaking through those stories that much of the resistance you may come up against on your journey is actually nothing to do with being right or wrong. It's because the normal paradigm is very hard to break free from, especially when things are uncertain. It's taken me those 22 years to be brave enough to break through myself, and I’ve definitely learned some lessons along the way. Here are five of them:

1. Know your truth, no matter what /

I've always wanted to do things differently — with impact. Since my first job in marketing, I knew businesses could solve bigger problems than their own bottom line, and that actually, business could be the solution in solving humanity's biggest problems.

So, I went at it — preaching my vision to the male-only boardrooms of the places I worked in — with varying reactions, from mild amusement, to utter rejection. To be told (in a negative way) I was a "marketing maverick", which then, with no support, put me back quickly in my box.

The truth is, I was and still am a Marketing Maverick. Today, I embrace that title because I know that's what the world needs. It's a long way of saying it, but...

I bet your truth is the thing you’re most scared to show, and the one you feel the most charged about.

Don't wait until the penny drops or until people get it and love your ideas like I did. Forget the naysayers; own it and life will quickly get on side with you.

2. Adopt a triple bottom-line /

It doesn't matter whether you're a one-gal-band or a gang of go-getters, one thing that can really confuse us is the focus on profit in business.

For generations, we've been conditioned to measure success with profit.

You know the saying: "Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity?" It's all bulls#*t without a purpose. Boardroom after boardroom you hear the same story: business only cares about its own survival and only talks in the language of the bottom line. But this jars with women entrepreneurs like you and me. The ones who believe in making money AND doing good.

I first heard about triple bottom line via B-Corporation, which is a wonderful tribe of corporations around the world dedicated to being the change. You can (and should) look seriously at B-Corps, but you can adopt the triple bottom line mindset today, right this second.

What is Triple Bottom Line?

People, Planet, Profit.

The triad of measures that make up the triple bottom line. These are the things that you as an entrepreneur need to think about how if your brand or business will succeed and create a positive impact. Measure these three areas. It keeps us thinking beyond the profit as entrepreneurs and can be very useful with strategy and decision making.

3. Take your body to the boardroom /

As well as being in business for the past 22 years, I've also done yoga and a somatic meditation practice. During this practice, I've come to the realization that most people go to work with their heads, not their bodies. We have learned to ignore that churning in the gut, the tightening in the throat, the anxiety that creeps in when we get to work, because it's probably trying to tell us to do things differently. To compromise.

It's time to listen to those uncomfortable signals when we're talking to our next client or partner, or discussing our strategic actions. I believe if all leaders and entrepreneurs listened to their body’s wisdom, we'd have more wonderful, giving, impactful businesses in the world. It can be as simple as being mindful of your body’s sensations during your meetings. If you're interested, try this 10 points practice from my teacher Reggie Ray.

4. Get utterly obsessed with giving value /

When I strip everything back in a Bare Brand Story Workshop, I'm really focusing on two things: what you care about (your truth), and how it overlays with what your audience cares about.

The bit in the middle — your service or offering — is a vehicle for value.

So many entrepreneurs get caught in their product or service or mission, without thinking about the others they’re in a relationship with. This creates a kind of co-dependent dynamic (i.e. brands telling people why they need them), rather than a customer’s decision being straightforward, natural and obvious. It can feel counter-intuitive, but this is where our purpose can really show up and come alive.

When we're focussed on giving, so much more happens and emerges than if we create things to manipulate people.

5. Walk as you work /

This is a weird one, but it's a practice I’ve built into my work-week and even workshops (called Walkshops).

I've found that when we walk in nature we get better ideas. We find it easier to think outside the box and have more meaningful conversations. So, pick an agenda, assemble your team and get outside for a walk. The rhythm and the process of walking helps cognition and creativity and encourages better thinking because your body is engaged and surrounded by our biggest inspiration: nature.

I'd love to hear how you’ve overcome the resistance and vulnerability of being a woman — one who wants to lead with the heart and grow a meaningful, creative business in a world that tells us it isn't possible. Let's support each other and keep strong in telling stories that matter.

Jo Cruickshanks has been described as a 'marketing maverick' ever since she entered the corporate retail world 20-something years ago. A true digital native who was at the forefront of the first dot com boom, she has helped some of the most iconic lifestyle brands in the world enter into the digital world. Today she combines her professional skills of strategy and innovation in her unique creative agency Bare Collective. Her own yoga practice and somatic meditation with Dharma Ocean has led to deep transformation and a mission to unleash the 'soul'  and body in other people's businesses. To help others make what they do for work: 'a work of art' and to bring this alive across their whole brand.