15. Leading from the heart, a spiritual journey with a backpack

Listen to this episode about searching for temporary answers to the big questions of human existence   (21:51)

First a quick introduction: I met Marie Reig Florensa when I gave the graduation speech for the executive MBA at the Berlin school of Creative Leadership where Marie was valedictorian.

Key ideas

  • Team building starts with your presence, your intentions.

  • We live in a society driven by fear, and lack of clarity gives way to fear.

  • Two ways to go against the status quo: the low and the high.

  • We all need to open our field of possibilities, inside and outside ourselves and our organizations.

  • The speed of change and innovation puts us into narrow funnels where we think, erroneously, that we are moving forward.

  • Seeing relationships, emotions, experiences, energies, thoughts, helps understand how much easier it is to listen to the other and respect the other.

What follows are  phrases from our conversation, edited, sometimes adapted, some direct quotes, but is not an actual transcript.


“I am a humanist and a communicator and I like to say I am in a quest into searching for temporary answers to the big questions of human existence.”

“I practice within the fields of leadership, creativity, and human values. And,  take learnings and understandings and apply them as an executive coach to help people to play at their best.”

Building teams in 5 seconds

Marie worked in live broadcasting, meaning  you are working with different teams almost every day.

You might have five seconds to build the team…It all starts with your presence. It all starts with your intention and that modulates the energy that you are broadcasting to the person that you might have.

The goals

  • Create an energetic space where people can better listen to each other
  • Trigger a sense of intangible openness
  • Welcome the other person with curiosity, with honest interest

“We live in a culture  where we have been educated to put people into categories all the time. And we live in a society that is mostly driven by fear.”

Fear and purpose

“When we have come all together as a team, what is the purpose? And whenever there is no clarity about that, then fear takes again this stage, because we don’t know what we’re doing.”

Going against the status quo in 2 ways

  • Breaking things for the sake of breaking them


  • Recognizing what needs to be changed and doing it in a meaningful way

What is the best way to move things forward and take into account what others might be thinking about it?

Outside and inside

You need to open the field of possibilities, widen ideas.

See  a broader perspective than what we normally see.

See what’s outside ourselves and outside the organization, as well as inside ourselves and inside the organization.

Speed creates tunnels that limit understanding

In our society nowadays we are driven by the speed of change and innovation.

This puts us back into these very thin and narrow funnels that give us the the sensation that we are moving forward.

But we are not making the most of the available possibilities.

Maybe we do not  understand the whole, but it’s happening.

What gives us meaning and fulfillment?

We have to be open to be changed by that purpose

Purpose is a spiritual journey with a backpack

Purpose is a way of living, a spiritual journey of transformation.

It is an additional dimension and layer  you need to take with you.

It’s like you’re going on a spiritual journey and you’re taking your backpack with you. You have to remember that you’re carrying that backpack. And from time to time, you need to check. Do I have to take something out?

It’s about knowing yourself, and it’s about better understanding who you are, what drives you.

What are your strengths? What are your areas of improvement?

How self-aware are you being, what are you noticing and what not?

The organization needs to do the same

The organization needs to do that through each and every one of the individuals.

How can I nourish my own garden, make my flowers grow?

What does it mean to lead from the heart? Because there’s lots of stereotypes around it, and there’s lots of assumptions around it now.

When we acknowledge that there is this exchange of relationships, emotions, experiences, energies, thoughts, then we understand how much easier it is to listen to the other and respect the other.

Episode published November 20, 2021

You can reach Marie on LinkedIn