My Way: Kristoffer Carter on Engaged Leadership

Kristoffer Carter (“KC”) is the CEO and founder of Epic Leadership, a coaching organization for conscious leadership, which has created a daily meditation practice for thousands. He is the author of the new book Permission to Glow: A Spiritual Guide to Epic Leadership, which guides his coaching of Fortune 100 executive leaders at Amazon, AT&T, eXp Realty, Edward Jones and many more. KC is also a professional songwriter, TEDx speaker and international retreat leader. He lives in Akron, Ohio, with his wife of 23 years and their three children.

The best leaders support their team’s happiness by…

providing a compelling vision, and unleashing the creativity of their teams to decide how to get there.

I define a great organizational culture as one that…

recognizes and rewards behaviors that are in the interest of the greater good, not just leadership or Wall Street. Everyone is encouraged to bring their full selves to work, and we all benefit from it.

One thing I try to do every day is…

meditate. Everything expands and improves when we can hear our soul speaking to us.

I describe my vibe as…

a few days on a silent meditation retreat, followed by the opening dance number of the 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobic Championship.

I feel most alive when…

performing at the farthest edges of my capabilities, when failure feels like a possibility. It forces me to expand the moment and hear everything that is said and unsaid.

A book that changed my life was…

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

My favorite quote is…

“Softer than the flower, where kindness is concerned; stronger than the thunder, where principles are at stake.” —Paramahansa Yogananda, describing his guru Sri Yukteswar

To avoid distractions, I…

disable any and all notifications. When I’m working on a book, I lock myself out of all social sites using [a Mac] app called SelfControl.

I handle negativity by…

[noticing it.] We lost the great monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh this year. His approach to anger has stuck with me. I notice the negativity. I give it a name. Acknowledge that it exists, because I’m human and I probably need to feel it. “Mock the Devil, and he will flee from thee!” —Edward di Bono

One thing that is difficult for me but I enjoy is…

giving a powerful client the most direct feedback. Often, they don’t have anyone around them willing to reflect back exactly what they see. It’s the coach’s No. 1 responsibility.

I want people to know me for…

being willing to go as deep as necessary to create positive, lasting change while making that process fun.

In 10 years I hope to…

have the follow-up series of four books to Permission to Glow out in the world, and we’re shaking loose all the old paradigms of command and control in organizations.

I define success as…

being awake in your big, honkin’ dream—already in progress. There’s a sense of reverence and wonder for the life you get to live. That’s the dragon I believe most of us are chasing.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2022 Issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photos by Shane Wynn.

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