I traveled to Vancouver last week to see my son Adil who lives there. He was my very first success story when I became an Aromatherapist when he was 5 years old. It was the first time I knew what being empowered feels like. Family is one of my top values. I love it that I get to incorporate family into business with my clients.

I seek out nature spaces wherever I travel to and Vancouver has an abundant amount of greenery. Although it has a heavy urban landscape the greenery, ocean, gentle people and laid back vibe add softness and beauty. I loved magnificent Stanley Park which ranks as the best park in the world on TripAdvisor. It has a West coast rain forest, gorgeous gardens and is surrounded almost entirely by the Pacific Ocean and the Seawall. The Seawall is the longest uninterrupted marine path in the world and is Vancouver’s major attraction. It is stunningly beautiful. The picture above is taken on the Seawall.

vancouver-art-galleryI had planned to go up to the mountains in Vancouver and woke up to a rainy day. Although a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery was not on my list I am glad that the Concierge highly recommended ‘The Forbidden City Exhibition’ they were currently hosting there.

The Forbidden City is the the largest ancient palatial structure in the world and housed the Ming and Qing Dynasties between 1368–1911. 24 Emperors have reigned from there. It was forbidden for ordinary citizens to enter the Forbidden City.

The exhibition had a dazzling display of artifacts from the Palace and many of them were being seen for the first time outside of China. I was of course intrigued by how every gesture revolves around the emperor. The objects were meant to display the massive wealth and power to all who bowed to the dragon throne.

I noticed that the emperors exhibited leadership traits that are just as relevant today and practiced by all successful leaders.

1. Think big

They really got this one down. The Forbidden City consisted of 980 buildings with over 8000 rooms and is the biggest palace in the world. Although you and I might not want to build a palace, as leaders the frequency of our thoughts will create the palace of possibilities that allows us to experience and contribute joy to those we are here to serve.

2. Rise early

The emperors met with their officials before dawn. They rose early to read and write. Successful leaders today do the same. They wake up early. The morning hours allow for the space of connectivity inwards while the routine of a regular day is outwards focused. Setting the tone in the morning influences the outcome of the day.

3. Express the divine

The emperors understood that they were a connection between Heaven and Earth. Whether it was in the names given to the buildings and gates, the objects that were created or the rituals that were performed, there was divine beauty and harmony radiating wealth and power.

The most beautiful things in the world come from this place of magnificence that is not just reserved for emperors but is within each one of us.

4. Power through the written word

Emperors did not have much to produce. Writing was an avenue that allowed them to showcase their literary skills and practice their calligraphy. Writing has been and is a powerful medium of expression to share our message with people and change the world. It also leaves a legacy for generations to come.

I always say that a journal is one of the most effective self-discovery tools. For a leader it is an absolute necessary practice to write, process and create through journaling.

5. Women carry half the sky

This expression is from a Chinese proverb. It is the one important part that was practiced in a way that did not serve the highest good. Women in the Forbidden City were empresses, concubines, consorts or servants with much competition amongst themselves. They were not allowed to leave the city once they entered. As women today we are still rewriting the rules as we are changing the paradigm of how women get to live their magnificence all over the world in a way that honors who they are and serves the greater good.

Which Leadership quality can you benefit the most from right now?