Spiritual Wellness for Executives

Spiritual wellness for senior and mid-level executives is overlooked.  Scholars rarely write about it and business leaders are hesitant to acknowledge the need.  Psychics, astrologers, or tarot card readers are used by many high level professionals.  It’s not something they talk about or admit to, if at all, outside a very close circle.

Executives have spiritual needs unaddressed by organized faith due to distrust, jadedness, and because worship services seem pointlessly mundane.  Some executives only attend traditional worship services because there are community expectations due to status in the community.

King Saul sought advice from the witch of Endor.  First Lady Nancy Reagan used an astrologer.  Celebrities also call on them.  In some cases, law enforcement use psychics to find missing persons.  Carl Jung, one of the world’s most esteemed psychiatrists, thought tarot cards had some merit.  Although he didn’t think anyone could predict the future, Jung did believe that their images and symbols could tap into an individual’s intuition or subconscious to find answers or craft the right questions to issues in a person’s life.

Executives, professionals, and public servants who use alternative spiritual advisers are looking for a confidential counselor where they can decompress and be professionally vulnerable.  It’s a safe zone to discuss personal and professional issues.  The gamesmanship needed to stay ahead in an organization negatively impacts spiritual health.  Sometimes bringing home office politics will only upset a spouse, especially one not inclined to stay calm.

Spiritual wellness need not have anything to do with religion.  It has everything to do with wholeness in a compartmentalized world.  The executive is expected to be strong, confident, and at times invulnerable.  He or she must meet very different expectations at home or in a social setting.  Wholeness is lost.

Very distinct from psychics, astrologers, and tarot card readers is the growing use of corporate chaplains.  They confidentially support and nurture spiritual health tailored to the individual.  This can have a direct impact on an organization.  It may keep some executives from ethical lapses.  Corporate chaplains are individuals usually with an extensive background in government or the private sector with an understanding for spiritual wellness in a professional environment.  Corporate chaplains are spiritual, but not always religious.

In an environment that praises power, is fueled by success, and has little empathy or compassion for weakness it shouldn’t be surprising that executives have issues involving wholeness and spiritual wellness.  Add the dynamics, pressures, and complexities of family or personal relationships and spiritual health becomes a central factor.  Greater discussion and careful study of executive spiritual health is long overdue.

Paul Jesep is Founder of Corporate Chaplaincy.

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