Does your message pass the “soul” test?

Does your message pass the “soul” test?

Over Arianna Huffington’s decades-long career in the public eye, we have mostly seen her as a bold, take-no-prisoners kind of leader with the grit and determination to rise to the top. You may not have connected with her personally, but you respect her gumption and commitment to success.

In Huffington’s latest bestseller, however, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, an entirely different side of the media mogul shines through.

In Thrive we are introduced to a soulful leader passionate about her mighty cause: Measuring success in more than just money and power. We hear her authentic voice as she shares deeply personal stories of her own skin in the game (like when she collapsed and hit her head from exhaustion and lack of sleep) and why it is so important for her to share this message (it was how her mother lived, for one).

In Thrive, Huffington embodies what I call Leading with Soul. By showing her values and her personal investment in her mighty cause, her noble calling, she is building trust and commitment to the ideas she espouses. And more than her already huge following and larger than life public persona, I believe it is Huffington’s “soul” that is driving the success of her new book.

The most frequently asked question I get from top-level leaders is “How can I inspire trust? I tell them it’s about Leading with Soul—meaning what you say and saying something meaningful.

Trust come from being transparent even if—especially if—it exposes your vulnerability. You may think people don’t care what you as a leader feels and that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. But you’re wrong. Passion and skin in the game are what inspires. If you are genuinely committed and personally invested in a cause, then it lowers the bar for the people you lead to get on board.

Does your message pass the “soul” test?

The next time you have to give a speech or a presentation in which you want to inspire your audience, make sure your words have the “soul” factor. Ask yourself:

  1. What is my vision?

  2. Am I connecting my vision to a mighty cause that resonates with my audience’s values and sense of purpose? (click here to read more about finding your mighty cause)

  3. Am I being transparent about my motives and intentions?

  4. Am I showing my willingness to make sacrifices to make it happen?

  5. Am I explaining how my audience will benefit from pursuing the vision?

Pro tip: Make sure to use the personal pronoun “I” whenever you want to inspire. Remember, soulful leadership is about meaning what you say. Using “I” opens a window into the soul and shows that you are owning your words and your message.  


Dr. Kathy Cramer has written seven best-selling books including Change The Way You See Everything, which started the ABT Global Movement. Her latest book, Lead Positive shows leaders how to increase their effectiveness through her revolutionary yet refreshing simple mindset management process, Asset-Based Thinking. Download her Speaker Kit here.

To read more of Kathy’s thought leadership, visit and Follow Kathy on Twitter at @drkathycramer. 

About the Author

Kathy Cramer, Ph.D.

Kathy Cramer, Ph.D. was the founder and managing partner of The Cramer Institute and the author of Lead Positive: What Highly Effective Leaders See, Say, and Do.

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