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karen allen

Do you feel like you're constantly hitting a wall? Discover Your #1 Mindset Blocker!

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100% Human Leadership: How Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, and Neuroscience Fuel Authentic Leadership

Despite all the differences between the dozens of leadership models, I think there’s one universal connective thread:

Leadership is about how you relate to other people.

Think about it…

Democratic leaders weigh input from their teams to encourage new perspectives, creative solutions, and engagement.

Autocratic leaders create rigid structure and constant monitoring so that their teams are pushed to complete tasks efficiently and effectively.

Servant leaders focus on supporting and uplifting their teams to create empowered, connected teams.

Charismatic leaders inspire their teams to motivate them to achieve big goals and remain calm under pressure.

Transactional leaders leverage their teams’ self-interests by rewarding them for meeting goals.

Every single model starts with adopting a style with external results in mind. Leaders choose a model that resonates with them and their vision for success, and then they mold themselves and their decision-making based on that model.

I think it’s time to turn that whole belief system on its head.

Being a successful leader isn’t about mastering an external playbook. It’s not about finding the “right” model and then contorting yourself to fit it. That kind of mindset locks us into roleplaying what we think a good leader should look like. 

That’s a guaranteed recipe for burnout.

I want you to embrace a leadership style that encourages and inspires your team because it acknowledges that you are human too. I want you to have the freedom to flex and grow along with your team. I want you to nourish your own well-being while you nurture your team.

This world needs people who are leading from the inside out.

That vision for leadership is about more than just strategic planning and delegation. It requires a deep understanding of self, a commitment to continuous growth, and the ability to inspire and empower others through authentic presence. It lives at the power intersection of personal development and impactful leadership.

We’re growing into our own authentic leadership style by starting with personal development.

What does that look like? Let’s walk through it together, step by step!


Mindfulness: The Bedrock of Self-Awareness

The foundation for this kind of conscious human leadership is mindfulness.

Mindfulness allows us to practice observing our own thoughts and emotions without judgment so that we can choose which of those thoughts we want to engage and which ones we want to work to release.

At its heart, the practice of cultivating mindfulness lets us get a clear perspective on who we are, what we believe, and how we operate out in the world, and it gives us the power to choose how we want to show up as leaders—and as humans.

When you start with connecting to your authentic self, you’ll be empowered to:

  • Recognize biases and blind spots: Stepping outside your own narrative allows you to see situations from different angles, identifying unconscious biases that could cloud your judgment.

  • Regulate emotions and respond effectively: Understanding your triggers helps you avoid impulsive reactions and navigate challenges with greater composure.

  • Embrace vulnerability and authenticity: Mindfulness fosters self-acceptance, enabling you to show your vulnerabilities and connect with others on a deeper level.

The more you learn about yourself, and learn how to respond with intention, the better you’ll be at bringing your best self to the table for everyone around you.

Positive Psychology: Fueling Growth and Motivation

When you leverage the power of positive psychology, you open space to cultivate a growth mindset and capitalize on intrinsic motivation.

Positive psychology is really the science of human flourishing. It’s the study of what has allowed humans to thrive, persist, and grow so we can capitalize on those tools in our daily lives.

Leaders who understand and embrace positive psychology excel because they understand how to:

  • Focus on strengths: Identifying and using your unique strengths empowers you to inspire and motivate your team, creating a culture of appreciation and optimal performance.

  • Practice gratitude: Expressing gratitude for the good things, big and small, fosters optimism and resilience, allowing you to bounce back from setbacks with a positive outlook.

  • Foster well-being: Leaders who prioritize their own physical and mental well-being are better equipped to handle stress, make sound decisions, and create a healthy work environment for their team.

As you practice the tools of positive psychology, you’ll learn to give yourself grace, to embrace growth, and to prize resilience over perfection, and when you start to see yourself and the world from that perspective, it fundamentally reshapes the way you approach your team.

Neuroscience: Bridging the Gap Between Mind and Action

Neuroscience helps us better understand how personal development practices build successful leadership strategies. 

Here’s just one example of how understanding brain science can fundamentally reshape how you approach leadership: Positive psychology interventions, like gratitude exercises, have been shown to activate reward centers in the brain, leading to increased levels of dopamine and oxytocin, neurotransmitters associated with happiness, motivation, and social bonding.

Over time, those neurotransmitters help to rewire the brain, giving us a healthier, more growth-minded and resilient outlook.

What does this mean for leaders? Understanding the power of the human mind to grow, change, and adapt can help you better understand how to step into your role as a leader of people, not an administrator of processes.

For example, expressing sincere gratitude to your team not only helps your own mental well-being, it can translate to stronger team relationships, higher levels of trust, and ultimately, more engaged and productive teams.

Cultivating Continuous Personal Growth: A Practical Guide

So, how can you tap into this powerful intersection and embark on a journey of continuous growth?

It starts with gently rewiring your brain over time. 

Small hinges move big doors, my friend, so here are a few simple ways to start leveraging the power of personal growth to excel as a leader:

  • Embrace lifelong learning: Invest in personal development resources, seek out mentors, and attend workshops to keep your mind sharp and your knowledge base expanding.

  • Practice mindfulness daily: Integrate micro-practices like meditation, following your senses, and nature walks into your routine to cultivate inner peace and improve focus.

  • Focus on strengths and positive emotions: Identify and leverage your strengths, and practice gratitude exercises to cultivate optimism and well-being.

  • Seek feedback and engage in self-reflection: Actively solicit feedback from colleagues and mentors, and regularly reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and areas for growth.

  • Lead by example: Embody the values and behaviors you want to see in your team. Your authenticity will inspire others to follow suit. Want to help your team see mistakes as opportunities to grow? Be transparent about your own missteps and how you’ll learn from them. Want to normalize feedback? Ask for feedback from your team and truly listen to what they have to say.

Leading Beyond Yourself: Fostering Collective Growth

When you start leading from within, you’ll notice something pretty powerful:

Personal development reaches beyond the person. 

Cultivating continuous growth extends beyond self-improvement. When you ground your leadership in your own growth, you’ll create a culture of growth within your team, encouraging and supporting their development. 

When you commit to this kind of leadership, you’ll be better able to help your team tap into their own passion, purpose, and potential. Here are just a few examples of how conscious leaders pay that growth forward:

  • Investing in team development: Provide opportunities for personal and professional growth for your team members.

  • Fostering collaboration and open communication: Create a safe space for team members to share their ideas and perspectives.

  • Celebrating successes and learning from failures: Encourage team members to take risks and learn from their mistakes.

  • Empowering others to take ownership: Delegate tasks and responsibilities, providing guidance and support while allowing space for autonomy.

Remember, the journey of continuous growth is a lifelong commitment. By nurturing the fertile ground at the intersection of personal development and leadership, we can all blossom into effective, mindful, and impactful leaders, leaving a lasting legacy of inspiration and collective success.

The Power of 100% Human Leadership

Being a successful leader isn’t about playing a role or conforming to a certain model for what a leader “should” be. Leadership is a dynamic, human experience—one that embraces your own humanity and your unique journey. It’s about flexing and growing beside your team, nourishing your own well-being so that you can empower others.

Leadership is about creating a nurturing space for your team’s collective growth—a culture of growth that starts with each individual.

Let’s rewrite the narrative of how we approach leadership. Let's lead not just with strategies and processes but with authenticity, mindfulness, and a commitment to ongoing personal growth. In doing so, we not only transform ourselves but pave the way for a new era of leadership—one that inspires, empowers, and uplifts everyone on the journey. 

Here's to leading from the inside out!

Are you interested in digging deeper into making personal growth the foundation of your leadership development? Want to learn more proactive strategies for leading with intention and helping others become their best along the way?

Then join me in my two-day 100% Human Leadership workshop! You can learn more about the program and register here.

Let’s redefine leadership together and put humanity at its heart!


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If you still love a good read, welcome to my blog. My hope is that every article will give you at least one tid-bit to help you shape your life in the most beautiful way possible. 😊 WELCOME!

Hi, I'm Karen! 

Hi, I'm Karen.

I've made it my life's work to teach as many people as possible about synergistic trifecta of human potential and transformation: mindfulness, positive psychology, and neuroplasticity.


This fusion creates a holistic approach to personal growth, well-being, and resilience, empowering you to thrive, navigate life's complexities with grace, and tap into your fullest potential.

​​I've worked with companies such as Nissan, Golf Channel, Google, Universal Orlando Parks & Resorts, LG and many more. 

Whether I'm teaching from stage, in a conference room, or via Zoom, my #1 mission is to help as many people as possible tap into the power of their mindset and start living more fully. Because when you become better, you make the people around you better, and that's how you make the world a little better, too. 🌱 #BetterTogether

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