Lead by Your Heart

Lead by Your Heart


Lasse Wrennmark

Lasse Wrennmark

Leadership Companion Sweden

Lasse is a specialised consultant in culture change, leadership development, teambuilding and executive coaching. He has devised a number of transformation and culture change projects, strategy & refocusing workshops, coach the coach programmes. Lasse is an appreciated keynote speaker in the field of leadership and change. His ability to engage an audience with his authentic style and story-telling ability has led him to speak around the world including with and for the Mexican Government and top leaders in the Attorney General Office.

For the last 20 years, I have been pondering more deeply on my own purpose, and my  observation is that it is very simple and very deep. Simple in a way that it is not complicated,  thinking that my experience will help others find their purpose. Deep in the sense that my  understanding of my purpose has shifted over the years, but the purpose is the same. I believe we can search for our purpose for our whole life and just understand it more deeply. For me, it is a  spiritual dimension of being human, a source, a power, positive energy that in some way connects  us as humans. 

Unconsciously, my quest for meaning and purpose has been there since I was a child, and maybe  unconsciously, it is that way for most of us. We are all looking for meaning and, on that life journey, we sometimes forget what is important to us. Then a crisis shows up in our lives and we  become more aware of our purpose again, and We start asking the “why?” questions. How do I  find meaning in this turmoil? 

When I now reflect on my life and think of how purpose has been a driver, I can see that most of  my life has been driven by my heart. I have let my passion, or heart, be a guide for me, and every  time I have a misalignment with my purpose and values, the outcome is always inner disharmony.  I have learned that this is a good indicator if you are aligned with your purpose and values, or if  you are true to yourself. Do you have inner harmony or disharmony? 

All the great leaders I’ve met during the last 20 years have a common denominator. All of them  have been driven from the inside out. When I ask them about their purpose, they normally say  they don’t have a clue about what it is, but they have a deep knowing that they are making  choices from inside. There is some kind of internal compass or intuition that they are connecting  to, and that guides them in life. 

My purpose is to be a guide to new perspectives. When I observe my life, I can see that it has always been the same purpose, but my understanding of my purpose has shifted; how I have  expressed it has, of course, shifted too. 

With this story, I want to share with you how that purpose has evolved and manifested itself during different stages of my life. I believe our purpose and values are expressed every day in  small interactions; that is when you are your best self. I have learned that being more conscious  about the journey is key for a more fulfilled and happy life. 


Before I wrote this piece, I talked to my mother and asked her what her memory of me was when I  was a child. She reflected that I was a happy and quite odd kid, spending time with myself and not wanting to go out; instead, sitting in and reflecting. That worried Mom and Dad, so they bought me  pets and thought that would help. Well, it didn’t. Exploring my inner world started early for me, and still today I feel very comfortable spending time with myself. 

I have a memory of me starting to question my dad when I was around 9 or 10. During dinners, we  often got into an argument. My dad, with a left brain and an engineering mindset, was always  reasoning with me. I was much more emotionally driven, always went crazy, and I thought my dad  was to the right of Genghis Khan. That became a pattern in our relationship. When I grew up and  had my own family, every time we came to Gothenburg for a visit, the first day everything was all  fine. The second day, all fine, and then the third day, “HOW CAN YOU THINK LIKE THAT?” A few years back now, I was with my family for a visit and we had dinner together with my two brothers  and their families. After dinner, my Mom asked if anyone was up for an evening walk? My brothers  and I were not up for it, and my dad stood up and said, “I take you for a walk, Dear.” 

Fifteen minutes later, my mom came running into the kitchen with heavy breathing, screaming  that Dad had fallen. I and my brothers were out of the door in a second, and when we came  around a corner about 100 meters away, I saw my dad lying in the middle of the street. When I  came up closer, I saw a pool of blood coming out of Dad’s head. It was quite dramatic for me and  my brothers, but he was conscious. He couldn’t move at all and was almost paralyzed. I leaned  over him and asked, “Dad, how are you doing?” He slowly bent his head towards me and smiled  and said, “I am totally fine.” Well, he was not. We had to carry him home and get him to a doctor.  That started a deep process in me around my relationship with my father. This was the first time  that I had needed to help my father when he was helpless. He had always helped me in his gentle  way and now I realized that this had an ending. Even if your parents are old, you take them for  granted. 

My vision was clear, I wanted an adult-to-adult relationship with my father, not a parent-child  relationship. With my mother, it was like that since I was 18, but not with my father. I started to  reflect on my purpose and realized that I had always lived my purpose with my father. I was  always trying to give another perspective to my father. The question was, “How did I do it?” When I  reflected on my values, I knew that when I was at my best, I tapped into the quality of acceptance,  both for myself and others. I had never applied that value in my relationship with my father. Now, I  decided to do just that. The last five years, we spent a week at our summer place, where he grew  up, with some good food and good wine. No more agitated conversation and I dared to ask those  questions that I never asked before. When he passed away, it was both sad and beautiful; there  was a feeling of completion. 

It is very powerful when your purpose, values, and vision are aligned. It changes the world and  relationships for the better. 

Punk rocker 

During my time in school, I drove my teachers nuts by always asking the why question. All  teachers that I had from second grade to high school called my mom and complained that I was  disturbing the class with my questions. Today, I can see that it was a way for me to understand  and create meaning for me. Rarely, could the teachers answer those why questions and I built a  resistance to school. When I moved to a small town in mid- Sweden during the late ‘70s, the punk  rock movement came. I became the only punk rocker in town, and despite the big risk of getting  beaten up, I walked around with my earring, spiky hair and jeans with big holes in them, feeling  great. The energy, the creativity and the freedom to start a band, playing without perfection,  triggered a deep sense of meaning in me. I think these are different ways that your purpose can  be expressed, and these moments of bliss, a deep sense of meaning, happiness, inner harmony,  are when you are aligned with your purpose. 

Look for these moments in your life and see if you can find any common denominators. It will  inform you of your own purpose. 

A young man with his purpose 

After my military service, I moved to Stockholm and started work at H&M. Selling suits, not my cup  of tea. Not that cool to sell suits as a former punk rocker. For me, it was a wonderful time, especially when someone came in and said, “I am going to a party and don’t know what to wear.” I  was always so engaged and my purpose to give a new perspective was activated. A few years  later, I became a tour and ski guide. Every week, new guests arrived, and for me, it was a new  opportunity to show a new perspective. I got feedback from guests: “How I could be so engaged 

week after week?” The answer, “New week, new guests that haven’t seen the slopes or the tours.”  Having a leading role and the opportunity to show people what they hadn’t seen before became a  deep motivation for me. After a few years as a guide, I moved back home and start working at the  office for the travel agency. In that environment, it was really difficult for me to live my purpose,  and I entered a period of disharmony. That period of disharmony started a new chapter for me; I  started my first company. Taking people out in the forest, doing survival courses, climbing and  sleeping in tents. I became very interested in group dynamics and leadership and a couple of  years later, I meet my mentor, PeÅ Schörling. He was head of the leadership department at the  National Defense School. At that time, it was one of the best places to study leadership and group  dynamics. 

This was a moment when I met someone who had theories, thought-through ideas around  something that I only had felt, and it was cutting-edge knowledge. My purpose was activated  again. Peå also introduced me to Brian Bacon. This was 1999, and for the second time, I met a  person that was able to articulate something that resonated deeply within me. That meeting became the first time in my life when I started to reflect on my purpose and values. A sense of  purpose is much more important than a statement of purpose; at the same time, I think it is rare to  meet leaders who can articulate what their purpose is and how it manifests in all their relationships. 

The meeting with Brian put me into a new direction in my life and a deeper quest for purpose and  how to help leaders to find that source of power that we all possess. For almost 20 years, that has  now been my livelihood. 


When reflecting on my life, I truly believe purpose is about finding a deeper sense of meaning that  operates from love and giving, not from fear and control. I am now 57 and I have two adult  children. One way of expressing my purpose with them is that we do learning journeys together.  We go and experience a new thing that we haven’t done before so we learn something new and  build that adult-to-adult relationship that I wanted to have with my father. Your purpose can be  expressed in so many ways. The question is: How does your purpose manifest in all your relationships? 

I also have been married to Eva for almost 30 years. Mostly good times and some hardship. I can  see that both good times and bad times have forged our relationship into a deep loving bond with a lot of support, compassion, freedom, and acceptance. Eva is one of the most value-driven  persons I know, and I think the key to a long-lasting relationship is when you can be your authentic self and “mostly” operate from your purpose and values. 


I think the paradox of being unique yet one with all is one of life’s deep truths. We are all unique in  how we express our purpose or truth, and when we stand up for our truth, we also stand up for  some truth of others. This is why Greta Thunberg can create a movement so fast. She is only  following her truth but it also connects to many other people’s truths. It is the same with leaders all  over the world. If they start operating more from their own purpose/truth instead of operating out  of expectations of others, we will see a lot of positive things happen in the world. Here are some  examples. 

  • A higher level of engagement 
  • A higher level of ethics
  • Less stress and more relaxed 
  • Easier to making good choices faster 
  • Coping with change better 
  • More compassionate 
  • More energized 
  • More focused 
  • A deeper sense of meaning 
  • A sense of direction, even if there is a lot of uncertainty 
  • Building resilience 
  • Building stronger and more authentic relationships 


Humanity is standing in crossroads, and I don’t think that purpose is the solution for everything, but I think it should be the starting point for everything. A higher level of consciousness and more  purpose-driven humans is key for building a better future for all life. 

Maybe my way of expressing my purpose today is shifting to be a guide to meaning and  consciousness. That is a bald purpose statement that drives me to develop myself first. At the age  of 57, I can say that I have never been so curious about my own and others’ inner worlds. I try out  new things. I have my own highly conscious coach, go on silent retreats, meditate every morning,  explore what a shaman can bring to my development, and, of course, take learning journeys with  my kids. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been key to my development, and that is  something I strongly would recommend to all. Meet and have a conversation with a shaman, a  nun or someone that sees life differently than you. Engage yourself in conversation with people  who have walked longer on their life path than you. That will benefit your growth, and the more  you grow the more you can give. 

Today we have built so many things in the outer world that have served us well. Now I believe it is  high time to start developing and building the inner world. I think this is where the solution lies for  humanity going forward. When we become more driven from inside, the outcome of that will be  better for humans, nature, and animals. When we connect deeply to ourselves, we also connect to  others. Sadhguru expresses it beautifully. “The only way out is in.” We are just at the beginning of  building a more purpose-driven world, and that is very encouraging. 

My question now is, “How can we increase the level of consciousness and purpose in humanity so  more can access that source, power, and positive energy field, and transform this world for good?”