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Leveraging Non-Ordinary States Experiences To Elevate Your Ordinary States Leadership

Cherie is a change maker bringing an innovative style of leadership development to women in influential roles. As an innovative professional at the intersection of leadership development and psychology, with over two decades of experience, she has masterfully integrated her clinical & leadership acumen creating a unique integrative approach that fosters amplified growth and sustainable change for individuals and organisations alike.

Executive Contributor Cherie Dorotich

“Non-ordinary states” or “altered states” are often associated with the realm of reckless ‘tripping’ with illicit drugs just for the kicks of the experience! So why am I talking about this in the context of leadership development?

Woman taking a deep breath.

For those leaders most dedicated to their continued development, the most profound steps in growth are often taken beyond the familiar rhythm of our everyday consciousness. Non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSCs) offer a unique melody, one that resonates with deeper understanding, creativity, and transformation. As leaders, tapping into these states can dramatically elevate our ordinary state leadership, enabling us to flow in our relational space with others with enhanced insight and empathy.


Understanding non-ordinary states


Non-ordinary States of Consciousness (NOSCs) refer to altered states of awareness distinct from our everyday waking consciousness. Characterised by unique perceptions, thoughts, and emotions, NOSCs can lead to profound and transformative experiences, offering spiritual insights, enhanced creativity, and promoting healing. In a corporate rebel’s playbook, the chapter on non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSCs) is not just a footnote; it's a game changer.


Let's get one thing straight: NOSCs aren't just about tripping on psychedelics in some mystical quest for enlightenment. Far from it. They're about unlocking the full potential of the human mind through a myriad of practices meditation, breathwork, exercise, and even travel. These are states where the ordinary gives way to the non-ordinary, where insights and creativity aren't just enhanced; they're supercharged.


To only associate NOSCs with psychedelic experiences is to limit yourself from the potential for some rich and valuable experiences, because psychedelics are only one modality to experiencing NOSCs. It should also be prefaced here that psychedelic substances do come with both legal and health contraindications, and for this reason this article is about states of consciousness and not about encouraging use of such substances.


Other modalities such as meditation for instance, can transport you to a state of profound tranquility and heightened awareness. It's not just sitting cross-legged and chanting "Om." It's an exploration of the inner self, a journey to the core of your being. Breathing approaches such as Holotropic Breathwork or Wim Hoff Breathwork, can alter your state of consciousness, which may lead to a sense of unity and interconnectedness, and can breathe new life into the stale air of your corporate identity.


Then there's the physical exertion route – pushing the body to its limits through exercise or extreme sports. Ever heard of the runner's high? It's not a myth. It’s a state where pain gives way to euphoria, where the fatigue of the body unlocks the resilience of the mind. And let's not forget about travel – the ultimate mind expander. Immersing yourself in new cultures and environments is more than a getaway; it’s a way to rewire the brain, to see the world, and consequently, leadership challenges, from a fresh, expansive perspective.


My personal journey with non-ordinary states


My exploration into non-ordinary states began as a quest for deeper self-awareness and understanding, which immersed me in training in Psychedelic Assisted Therapies. In addition to learning about the potential of psychedelic medicines and integrative therapies, practices like meditation and controlled breathwork allow me to venture into a wider landscape of my own consciousness, encountering profound insights and emotions.


This journey has begun to reshape (or expand) my meta-cognitive operating system, influencing my leadership style and how others experience me as a leader. It has underscored my power of self-awareness and emotional intelligence, amplifying the effectiveness of my leadership style.


Emotional and cognitive growth through journeying


Research highlights the significant impact of NOSCs on emotional and cognitive growth. These states can improve mental health, enhance creativity, and foster a deeper sense of interconnectedness, as indicated by studies using techniques like fMRI and EEG. For leaders, this can translate into improved decision-making, enhanced problem-solving skills, and a heightened ability to connect with and inspire teams.


The journey through non-ordinary states is a gateway to personal well-being for many. These experiences offer improvements in mental health and overall quality of life. They enable leaders to break free from routine thinking patterns, fostering resilience, empathy, and heightened

self-awareness – essential qualities for transformative leadership.


NOSCs are like accessing a hidden room in the vast mansion of the mind. In these states, individuals experience perceptions, thoughts, and emotions that are usually out of reach. It's like flipping the switch on the everyday consciousness and illuminating a world of profound insights and spiritual depth. This isn’t woo-woo stuff; it's about tapping into the unexplored territories of the mind to conjure up transformative change.


Therapeutic integration of non-ordinary states


Integrating insights from NOSCs into everyday life is crucial. Professional guidance ensures that these profound experiences are effectively woven into one's personal and professional life. This therapeutic integration is key to translating these experiences into tangible leadership skills and personal growth. When we talk about non-ordinary states of consciousness (NOSCs) in leadership development, it's not just about experiencing these transformative states; it’s about integrating them into our everyday lives.

Imagine this: emerging from a journey through NOSCs with an upgraded ability to read the patterns of your own psyche, a skill akin to understanding a complex, ever-changing puzzle. This is about schemata – the mental frameworks that shape our understanding of the world. Thanks to thinkers like Young, DiMaggio, and Piaget, we know that these aren't just fanciful concepts, but real tools for understanding our internal worlds. Through therapeutic integration, individuals can gain profound insights into the genesis of their emotions, sensations, symptoms, and even diagnoses. It's like being handed a map to navigate the previously uncharted territories of your mind.


Integration means learning to read your body's responses with newfound clarity. It's like finally understanding a foreign language that your body has been speaking all along. This enhanced self-awareness can profoundly impact how you interact with others, both personally and professionally. By understanding your deeply set patterns, you can lead with more empathy, precision, and effectiveness.


Integrating these experiences from NOSCs means you don't just return to your day-to-day with a few neat insights. Instead, you come back equipped with a deeper understanding of yourself, armed with the tools to transform your leadership style. It's about taking the profound

self-discovery from your NOSCs journey and weaving it into the fabric of your daily leadership practice.


The key to successful integration lies in professional guidance. It’s like having a skilled navigator by your side as you sail through uncharted waters. A trained therapist can help you make sense of your experiences, ensuring that your journey through NOSCs translates into tangible changes in your leadership and life. This process is not just about processing and understanding your experiences; it's about actively applying them to reshape your leadership paradigm.


Harm minimization and responsible practice


Approaching NOSCs responsibly, especially when involving substances like psychedelics, is imperative. I advocate for engaging in these practices within a therapeutic setting. This article does not condone the use of illicit substances but acknowledges the potential of responsibly approached NOSCs to enrich leadership and personal growth.


Here’s the deal: diving into NOSCs isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s not about reckless experimentation but about a conscious, intentional exploration of the mind. Yes, these states can be profound and transformative, leading to enhanced creativity, deeper emotional insights, and even healing. But they should be approached with respect, intention, and, where applicable, professional guidance.


As a corporate rebel, I’m not edifying a free-for-all plunge into the depths of the mind. Instead, I’m championing responsible exploration of NOSCs. It’s about using these states not as an escape but as a tool for personal and professional transformation. In the hands of a conscious leader, NOSCs are not just about personal enlightenment; they’re about lighting a fire in the corporate world, one that burns away the mediocrity and ignites a new era of leadership – one that’s rooted in depth, empathy, and unshakable resilience.


In closing, let's remember: while NOSCs offer a profound path to personal transformation and self-discovery, they are not standalone solutions. They are part of a larger journey, requiring responsible use, guided exploration, and thoughtful integration. It's about turning those moments of enlightenment into a sustained glow, illuminating your path as a leader and as an individual.


Non-ordinary states of consciousness offer a profound path to personal transformation and enhanced leadership. By embracing these experiences responsibly and with professional guidance, leaders can unlock new levels of self-awareness, creativity, and empathy, paving the way for a more compassionate and effective approach to leadership.


You can spark your inner corporate rebel right now by downloading a free copy of the latest eWORKbook “The Corporate Rebel: Leading with Power & Grace” using the code BRAINZ100.



Cherie Dorotich, Clinical & Organisational Integrative Therapist

Cherie is a change maker bringing an innovative style of leadership development to women in influential roles. As an innovative professional at the intersection of leadership development and psychology, with over two decades of experience, she has masterfully integrated her clinical & leadership acumen creating a unique integrative approach that fosters amplified growth and sustainable change for individuals and organisations alike. Cherie's mission is to inspire individuals to transcend their boundaries, viewing themselves as dynamic agents of change with the capability to innovate, influence, and transform. She is unwavering in her commitment to ethically enhance the professional & personal lives of others.



  • Bathje Geoff J. , Majeski Eric , Kudowor Mesphina (2022). Psychedelic integration: An analysis of the concept and its practice, Frontiers in Psychology, 13, http://doi:0.3389/fpsyg.2022.824077

  • Grof, S., Grof, C. (2010). Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy. United States: State University of New York Press.

  • Silvia J. Franco Corso, Kate Y. O'Malley, Saleena Subaiya, Danielle Mayall, Elias Dakwar, (2023). The role of non-ordinary states of consciousness occasioned by mind-body practices in mental health illness, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 335, Pages 166-176,



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