Orientation: Personal experience of the phenomenon of transcendence and a preliminary literature review indicates that the phenomenon of transcendence can be better integrated within the Personal, Interpersonal and Professional Leadership (PPL) framework as well as within other leadership theories. Research purpose: The aim of the study is to conceptualise transcendence within PPL and leadership in general using auto-ethnography research methodology. Motivation for the study: Current leadership literature within PPL does not include the integration of the phenomenon of transcendence as a model towards spirituality and leadership. This gap can contextualise spirituality and leadership through transcendence. Research design: The research approach within this study was based a postmodernist qualitative philosophy. Auto-ethnography was used as methodology and also included a life history of another person to verify the auto-ethnographic data. Main findings: The study yielded an auto-ethnographic story with a rich and varied description of how a person can experience transcendence within the personal leadership field. The analysis of the collected data has revealed themes that can possibly contribute towards spirituality and leadership. Practical implications: The findings of this study might bring insight into the human ability of transcendence despite difficulty or suffering, and that can contribute to spirituality and leadership. Anticipated contribution: The study provides some understanding of how a person can still develop into a leader despite difficulties or hardship. This understanding can contribute to leadership development interventions, which can also be explored further in future.