Purpose Shared: Whole Person Leadership: Head, Heart, Body, Spirit

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"The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain." -Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine; Chair of Mayo Mind Body Initiative

The 9/27/18 blog post featured the work of Dr. Sood. He notes that our brains and senses are inundated with information and demands that seem to take priority for what to pay attention to and how to act. But as human beings, and more importantly, as leaders, there is much more to be expressed as our authentic selves.

The six components of Whole Person Leadership—Purpose, Integrity, Presence, Resilience, Impact and Thriving—are key ingredients to success and fulfillment. These correlate with the concepts of trust/trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, physical well-being, spiritual expression, and professional expertise.


Being a "whole" leader calls on every aspect of our selves. It calls us to find the courage to bring all of who we are into everything we do: the brilliant parts, the messy parts, the parts we hide and the traits we feel most proud of. It offers the opportunity to connect more deeply to our power of purpose and lead more authentically from a whole person perspective, calling on all our senses and sensibilities.

Whole Person Leadership is built on your own personal values and life experiences, as well as understanding your strengths and growth points, hopes and aspirations. A focus on discovery of purpose and how to share our purpose is a great place to begin. Purpose is always about being is service to something larger than yourself: what gets you up in the morning and sustains you through the day? the week? the tough times?

What comes to mind as you think of all of what you have to offer? What does your head say? your heart? your spirit? Is anything missing?

The faculty of Whole Person Leadership for Women is hosting 2 Zoominars on Whole Person Leadership. We’d love your input and ideas.

If you’d like to explore more about Whole Person Leadership, join us for an upcoming Zoominar on October 17 or November 2
[45-minute Zoom + 15 minute Q&A]

Click here to register or contact Patricia @ pneal@centerfpl.com

Purpose Moment

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Purpose Shared: Gratitude: How to quiet your brain


"The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain. ..."

We are repurposing this blog post from 2013. It is still pertinent today, possibly more than ever.


I loved this interview. Dr. Sood speaks to the power of gratitude.

Mayo Clinic stress expert Dr. Amit Sood joins The Daily Circuit to discuss the steps he recommends to lower stress and enjoy the holidays. Sood's upcoming book is "The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living."

• "The main challenge we are facing in the 21st century is a very busy brain. We're all overextended. I'm sure you have more than 20 passwords. You have perhaps a dozen or more bills to pay. Our ancestors didn't have that."

• "The three most important things in holidays are relationships, relationships and relationships. Binge on quality time with your loved ones.... Don't fall off the wellness and budget bandwagon. And do something to honor the tradition. This is a time of hope. This is a time of forgiveness. This is a time of gratitude. Be extra kind to yourself."

Purpose Shared: CPL Fall Presentations


Purposeful Leadership is purpose shared. We are sharing the Center for Purposeful Leadership message* at these great programs and conferences this fall.

*Our Vision: A Purposeful Leader in every organization creating thriving cultures of purpose, trust, respect and collaboration.

A Journey of Purpose, Renewal & Thriving for Women
October 2018-March 2019

Patricia Neal with Vivian Jenkins Nelsen, Kimberly Kristenson-Lee, Lynn Nelson, and Claudia Eisinger welcome women leaders from across the country to participate in this unique program.

Connecting and Strengthening Civic Innovators
November 2-4, 2018

At the upcoming NCDD Conference Craig Neal will be participating in the D&D Showcase focusing on Healing the Divide.

The Art of Purposeful Leadership: Trust and Leadership
December 4-6, 2018

On 12/4 Patricia Neal and Vivian Jenkins Nelsen will co-convene a potent afternoon workshop.

A Purposeful Gathering of Humanity
November 7-9, 2018

At the upcoming Fusion 2.0 Conference in Minneapolis, Craig Neal will convene a Learning Lab: The Art of Purposeful Leadership: The Future Leader.

Purpose Moment


To our colleagues, friends, and family observing Rosh Hashanah, we offer our wishes for a peace-filled New Year.


Purpose Shared: A Life's Purpose Realized: 1963-2013 to 2018


"I knew my life would be forever changed. I hadn't bargained on transformation in its very essence."


5 years ago, my letter was published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Today, more than ever, there is a need to call our purpose into action. May Dr. King's life be a powerful inspiration to express the purposeful leader in each of us. This day 55 years ago is a constant reminder of why I do what I do. 
Your reflections and comments are welcome.

Letter of the Day (Aug. 27, 2013): On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

I was a 17-year-old self-proclaimed “jock” from suburban New Jersey when a friend asked me to join her synagogue on a civil-rights march in Washington. With parental support, I ventured forth.

Our bus arrived early, so I walked along the reflecting pool to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I witnessed the preparations and eventually the speakers and singers, and ultimately saw the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the “I have a Dream” speech.

Separated from my group and hemmed into place by the crowd on the steps, I knew my life would be forever changed. I hadn’t bargained for transformation in its very essence.

As King spoke, I turned away to the watch the sea of people spreading across the mall and beyond, and I fixated on a man in a black suit, black tie and hat with a sign that I believe said “We Shall Overcome.”

My lasting impression was this man and others dressed in their elegant best, with tears streaming down their faces, smiling and saying “amen” after each phrase. I knew at that moment that my life’s work would be for the sake of service to a dream of a better world.

CRAIG NEAL, Minneapolis

The writer is cofounder of Heartland Inc., a social enterprise organization, and is a former publisher of Utne Reader magazine.

Purpose Moment

 This was the first Purpose Moment posted in June 2017. It still resonates. - photo by Craig Neal, 2017

This was the first Purpose Moment posted in June 2017. It still resonates. - photo by Craig Neal, 2017


Purpose Shared: Qualitative Research & Whole Person Leadership for Women

by Patricia Neal


Qualitative research plays a unique role in CPL’s Whole Person Leadership for Women program. Faculty member and Qualitative Research Specialist Claudia Eisinger of Fifth Element Associates has created powerful results integrating research into the program.

Core to Whole Person Leadership for Women (WPL) is the concept of “From Where You Lead”: Who are you as a leader? What are your leadership values and principles? What is your purpose and how do you share it?

     Whole person           leadership        for women

    Whole person   
       for women

The role of research in the WPL program is as a deep listening and reflecting tool to help you connect to and nurture what matters to you. When you are connected more fully to your purpose you are able to connect more genuinely with and bring out best in others, creating a wider, collective and culturally beneficial impact.

Through individual participant interviews and synthesis of each program session, Claudia identified patterns and trends of the individual and collective journey of the WPL cohort. A potent example of a research insight about the program is reflected below.


If you are a woman leader who wants to be more authentic and powerful in your various leadership roles: at home, at work and in your communities, we’d love to have you join us. The next cohort begins in October. Learn more here.

Purpose Moment

 This was the first Purpose Moment posted in June 2017. It still resonates. - photo by Craig Neal, 2017

This was the first Purpose Moment posted in June 2017. It still resonates. - photo by Craig Neal, 2017


Purpose Shared: Whole Person Leadership for Women

 Photo credit: Patricia Neal 2017

Photo credit: Patricia Neal 2017

by Patricia Neal

Tend & Befriend: Back in 2007 I read an article about a 2003 UCLA study where researchers identified a critical difference between the sexes…how we manage stress. I began to ask new questions about leadership and representation and wrote an article that led me to co-found a women's leadership retreat with Vonda Vaden Bates: When Women Lead

The questions that led me to create When Women Lead are still relevant today and led me to create Whole Person Leadership for Women in 2017. I invite you to read the article and consider joining us for the next Whole Person Leadership for Women cohort this Fall.

I wondered what is the expression that is needed to create leadership that brings wholeness? What is the world that we want to see for ourselves, women and men, and our children? And how do we get there?

I felt it was time for women to step forward in our real power, which is being who we truly are. Who we are as feminine leaders is that we are humans first; we come from and can act from wholeness that recognizes that.

In 2003 UCLA researchers identified a critical difference between the sexes…how we manage stress. Early baseline studies on stress and human behavior were conducted predominantly on men. This study established a new baseline: Females respond to stressful situations by protecting themselves (and their young) through nurturing behaviors (‘tending”), and by friendship, forming alliances with a larger social group (“befriending”). In other words, the traditional “fight-or-flight” explanation may be inaccurate when it comes to women. 

I began to challenge all assumptions as to how the world functions and how I can make a difference. I had spent my life overriding natural tendencies of behavior and leadership. I began to look for models and allies that could help me grow into the leadership that is naturally mine: leadership from the perspective of wholeness versus authority-over.

As you probably know, many women have gathered, in our communities and organizations, all over the world, forming alliances for social change, doing business together. This still-emergent movement is quietly, persistently changing the world as we learn to author our lives.

Purpose Moment

 A trip into the Colorado Mountains brought us this church wisdom in Jamestown. 3 purposeful questions to take to heart.

A trip into the Colorado Mountains brought us this church wisdom in Jamestown. 3 purposeful questions to take to heart.


Purpose Shared: People on the Move @ CPL

 Photo credit: Craig Neal 2017

Photo credit: Craig Neal 2017

by Patricia and Craig Neal

In Spring of 2017, Rachel Harris, MAOL, a trusted Heartland colleague since 2012, left to run for City of St. Louis Park City Council. In November 2017, SHE WON and is now the Ward 3 Council person!! Lucky them! Even though it's been over a year, it is never too late to give a proper send-off and honor her. Joel Hodroff of Scryp.io and DualCurrency recommended Rachel to us — was he spot on! Rachel was a joy to work with for five years. We learned so much from her as a Systemic Change Facilitator, Policy wonk, and Strategic thinker, but also as one who holds a big vision for kindness, equity, collaboration and all boats rising in our organizations and communities.

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We say goodbye, and a big thank you, to Sarah Flores, our trusty marketing and social media intern for 1-1/2 years. Sarah helped build and grow a structure for our marketing outreach as we rebranded from Heartland Inc. to Center for Purposeful Leadership a year and half ago. Sarah graduated from the University of Iowa in May and recently moved to Denver for exciting new work with Insight Global.


We welcome Anna Patterson, our new marketing and social media intern. Anna has helped expand our social media game, while keeping an eye on on our marketing program. Anna is a Senior at UW Madison, completing her degree in Strategic Communication and Political Science next May.


Many thanks to Daniel Scotton, a most excellent summer CPL intern, who has guided the visual design and technical buildout of our new blog. His creative leadership and willingness to work hand and hand with us allowed the blog rebuild to be completed in record time. Daniel is completing his degree in Philosophy and International Business at Hamline University. We are grateful for his willingness to dive in to grow his expertise and teach us a lot of new tricks!

Purpose Shared: Introducing Our New Blog!

 Photo Credit: Craig Neal | 2013 |  Bde Maka Ska

Photo Credit: Craig Neal | 2013 | Bde Maka Ska

Introducing our beautiful new blog!

Each week we'll share all things purposeful: Purpose Moments, Purpose Shared postings, convening as purpose-in-action, and more.

What you can count on is attention to why purpose matters, and why purpose-shared is the ultimate leadership expression for yourself and on behalf of others.  We will continue to post interviews with and essays from thought leaders in the realm of purposeful leadership. (see Archives in the right column) 

You can participate, too! Send us your stories of sharing your purpose. How has sharing your purpose made a difference in your life, organization or family? We are collecting interviews and stories as an inspiration for others. Email Patricia with your ideas.

Many thanks to Daniel Scotten, a most excellent summer CPL intern, who has guided the design and technical buildout of the blog. 

Purpose Moment

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Purpose Shared: My Purpose & Richard Leider

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by Patricia Neal

 Richard Leider

Richard Leider

Last week Craig and I met with Richard Leider. We reviewed the binder of materials covered in the recent Whole Person Leadership for Women. We are actualizing purpose work in innovative ways such as via the Napkin Test (Richard's), WPL Leadership Blueprint & Challenge, Purpose Statement and Purpose Plan.

Living your purpose is visceral for Richard. He had a challenge for us to consider: If purpose is about growing and giving, how are we using our Purpose Statements to grow and give every day.? How does my Purpose Statement help me organize my day? What are the benchmarks? At the end of the day, what is the measure of expression.

He is a believer of first thing in the am, before anything else, to take a moment and focus on purpose. Last thing at night, review the day.

For instance, my purpose statement is: “Bringing people together for positive impact for all boats to rise.” At the grocery store, at work, wherever I am.

He asked: in the morning, upon awakening do I imagine who I will be connecting?
In the evening, can I recall my impact? Or how many boats have risen?

Oh boy! That conversation has helped be narrow my focus to more fully express my purpose.