Gather to Give
A Transition into Generous Leadership

Generously, is how Trueness flows out into the world.

In the book Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr says that expectations are just resentments waiting to happen. And as I’ve painfully learned about myself (my false, selfish, limiting side), it is my quickly scripted expectations that cause the very distress I want to blame others for causing–as they miss the mark inked by my stupid expectations.

One who sees himself “in charge” –believing he ultimately has the answers–is going to struggle with actually becoming a leader. A haughty, in-charge, must-be-right individual has nothing to give, for nothing has been gathered through experience; her hands have been too full of herself.

You truly give externally only when you know how to give internally.

Trueness is not just to be acknowledged, it is to be known and cared after. And if there is a solid definition for Trueness, then it is probably generously wrapped in freedom from expectation. This is A New Confidence.

How does all this apply to leadership, or being a leader? If leadership is influence through presence, then we give through our intentional presence. The Trueness of a leader flows into the world only as it is freed from having to be right.

There were many experiences building one on another that began to shake these things from my hands. But such release was further facilitated as I learned and practiced with the knowledge of Carl Jung’s understanding about our personalities and preferences. Each time I gave to another from practicing with this knowledge, I let go of one restriction after another to my Trueness, and therefore my leadership.

Gather flows into giving as we step into the movement that is generosity of sprit.

Go back to Parker Palmer and Jennifer Rainey as they encourage our rhythm and help us set it right and fully experience Gather-Give-Grow:

  • Slow down. Practice disengagement.
  • Do more with less. Discipline yourself to see the patterns around you.
  • Pay attention to rhythm. Deliberately look for people with opposing viewpoints to engage in conversation.

Disengagement is not shutting down all functioning systems. Rather, it is about focusing the best of who you are in order to, as a leader, Gather.

Gathering places you in the middle with learning and consequent practice. This is where you see your Trueness in the patterns, and Give.

Trueness opens you to experience and you find yourself present with others. You gather for such presence. You give in such encounter. And as it is with life-giving rhythm, we all Grow.

A Leadership Poem: In the Middle Space



Listen to the Rhythm

 Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. –Maya Angelou

As I read the previous post from Jeff, I too was struck by the words he shared from Parker J. Palmer; especially,

“Pay attention to rhythm.”

This simple, yet powerful, statement reminded me of the clear messages shared by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in the book The Power of Full Engagement. Rhythm is all around us.  It’s in nature as we move from day, to night, to day again; as we move through the seasons, and the years. There’s rhythm in the universe around us. And there’s rhythm in the universe within us. Our heartbeat, our breathing, our sleeping, and as we move through our day, there’s a rhythm we “dance” to – sometimes like a puppet on strings.

But our natural rhythms have been overridden.  With the fast pace of life and Jennifer 2B-1advances in technology that is meant to keep us connected, we’re wired up, but we’re melting down.  We have laptops and tablets and smart phones. There’s a wifi hot spot in just about every coffee shop, restaurant, sports center. We get pop-up reminders, and text messages – all designed to help us manage our time, and our connections, better.

Our capacity to be fully engaged, to be our whole selves, our strong selves, depends on our ability to periodically disengage, slow down, and listen.  Listen to what the universe is trying to say to us.

Recently a good friend shared a story that has stayed with me. Maritza exemplifies what it means to truly listen. Like most of us, she was caught up in the hectic pace of the life and work she chose for herself. And like many of us, she was tired, stressed, and not fulfilled. Then she made a change. She quit one career and took a completely different path and found her calling, her purpose, by listening. Some may call it the universe or a guiding spirit. Maritza calls this her angel. Even though she has never seen him, Jennifer 2B-2she’s felt him, and listens to his “guiding voice”. Maritza’s interpretation of what she hears when she listens to her angel is her strength. Through her listening, she gathers what she needs to help others. And by sharing her strength, her calling, she can feel energized as well.

We all have our own “angel” trying to speak to us when we are faced with a problem or puzzle or decision. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how to listen. We have a way that feels natural for us to renew our energy and maintain a natural rhythm. Whatever your preference, the point is to recognize when your rhythm is off and make the time to set it right. Some ways to do this are:

  • Practice “strategic disengagement”. Consciously and deliberately create new boundaries for yourself.  Disengagement doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to be intentional and conscious.
  • Discipline yourself to see the patterns around you. Then use what you see to help others.
  • Deliberately look for people with opposing viewpoints to engage in conversation. Look for evidence that contradicts what you believe. Doing this will help keep you from becoming complacent and keep your mind energized.

Even as we do this for ourselves, as leaders, we need to remember that others look to us for guidance. It may be our voice that speaks to them as their “angel”. So not only do we need to remember to disengage and renew our own energy, we need to be aware of the rhythm of those we lead and encourage them to do the same. In doing this we open ourselves to the rhythms around us and the creative tension that will help us to gather what we need to lead others.

So as you think about what you do and whom you lead, and I know you will, remember that you have a rhythm and the universe is speaking to you. Sometimes we just need to slow the rhythm, listen to our angel, and then get back in the dance.

Jennifer 2B-3

Photos courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Jennifer Rainey "Natural Information Curator"

Jennifer Rainey
“Natural Information Curator”

All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.


Sign up for her curation:
Through the Door of Possibility


In the previous post, Jennifer encourages in each of us a playfulness in learning that frees creativity in our encounters with one another. She also wrote to us about our responsibility in Creative Tension; how as individuals we must embrace our encounters for the development of our own uniqueness.

There are three keys to creating a schedule that welcomes the soul: slow down, do more with less, and pay attention to rhythm. –Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

When these words by Palmer found me, I was a few years into the process of the three keys. In the key of slowing down I began to jettison distractions to the work I am truly called to do. An intending connection to slowing down was the key of doing more with less—in business terminology, I suppose this is focus. And that brought me to key three, where I now find my attention consistently, my rhythm.

The rhythm to which I refer is both the three points of my Desire & Intent and the three strengths of my confidence cycle—a model around which I’ve built all my work, and truthfully, my life & living. The 3 strengths making my own cycle of confidence, and strengthening my presence within each encounter, are Gathering, Giving, and Growing.

At the middle point of each rhythmic blend is my own Creative Tension, where I interact in the world and where individuals experience both what I do and who I am.

My desire that you embrace the power of who you are drives the gathering. My intent for you to lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence draws me out in a commitment to growing; mine and yours. This desire and this intent collide in the middle creating tension relieved in the sheer act of giving. And for me, this giving is rooted in my need to simply encourage you.

Authentic presence is always grounded in authenticity. … At its best, leadership is influence through presence.”

–David G. Benner, Presence and Encounter

We frequently use the words expectation and desire interchangeably. They are not the same. Too often our expectation in any particular encounter limits what can truly be gathered in the experience, if we would but open to the opportunity. On the other hand, desire—what we cannot help but gather—frees us in the encounter.

Here again, Jennifer encourages us in the gathering through her own story and encounter: “My inspiration is often in what I read. What I’ve discovered about my reading is that there is often a purpose for what I’m drawn to depending on what is happening in my life at that time, personal and professional. And there is almost always a level of learning involved with the purpose of taking that learning and sharing with others.

Jennifer’s purpose immerses her in her own brand of gathering. It doesn’t matter at what point you engage your rhythm, it only matters that you respond in the encounter and allow your rhythm to engage you.

A Leadership Poem: Rhythmic Participation

Note: For another example of engagement in Creative Tension, and therefore the unique rhythm of Desire & Intent, listen to this Podcast where Ric talks about his journey into purpose.


“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.” —W. Arthur Porter

Too often we get wrapped up in the here and now, the day-to-day, and we don’t take the time to take a step back and look at who we are and who we have become. We often overlook the messages that are telling us to get out of our rut and try something different, even uncomfortable. Or maybe we just need to get back to who we really are. Exploring these messages is where we can find inspiration that often leads to the creative tension that becomes our pivot point of innovation. That chance to actively make a change.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

This pivot point is what happened when I was asked by Jeff to collaborate for this series. The discomfort was in the sharp reminder that I had traveled away from my own desire to inspire others to grow through what I have learned and experienced. To leverage my strengths to help others embrace theirs. So here I am at my pivot point.

My inspiration is often what I read. What I’ve discovered about my reading is that there is often a purpose for what I’m drawn to depending on what is happening in my life at that time, personal and professional. And there is almost always a level of learning involved with the purpose of taking that learning and sharing with others. As a friend and colleague told me some time back, I’m a natural information curator. So as I was thinking about creative tension and the connection of this to how we can each embrace this tension for the development of our own unique talents, I was reminded of an article I read several years ago.

This article, Why we need to let kids be creative, encourages letting children “play” and experience their world in their way (with guidance) to creatively solve the problems they encounter. The problem the toddler solves in figuring out how to get to the cookies on the counter, or the coveted toy from a playmate, develops the capability that could lead to the next technology, or social media innovation 20 years later. As the parent, and leader, responsible for that “child”, it’s our responsibility to nurture the creativity that leads to capability – even for ourselves.   What we, as leaders today, should encourage is:

  • Engage in divergent thinking – a key to problem solving and a foundation of creativity – understanding what is, and then imagining the possibilities of what could be.
  • Play with others – this teaches us how to negotiate group dynamics and cultivate creative-thinking skills.
  • Take time for free play – when you take a break from gathering data, you allow your brain to loosely explore and reconfigure information.

Over the course of this series I will engage in some divergent thinking and take time to play with others (Thanks, Jeff!). And I will encourage you to do the same. The beauty of this journey is that even though we may not have a map, our world will be richer and the potential for innovation will be greater because we each bring our own unique strengths and perspective as we explore this together. To help guide us, I’ll be pulling from my learning, and library, of strength-based development, such as Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut books. In these books, we are introduced to an assessment that is an “innovation delivery system” designed to help reveal our edge. While invention is an idea, even a novel idea, innovation is “novelty that can be applied.” Innovation is what keeps us relevant.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Image courtesy of pixabay.com


And so like the wild flowers I used to pick as a young girl, I’ll pick and share some ideas and practical tips to help us be relevant, even beautiful, as we discover our edge and explore together what it means for us to…

Gather ~ Give ~ Grow.


Jennifer Rainey "Natural Information Curator"

Jennifer Rainey

All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.

Sign up for her curation:
Through the Door of Possibility

Driven by the Impact I desire to have and drawn to the Impact I intend to have, I have for many years been a person who studies.

On the day I began my part of this composition, Judy (my coach, colleague, and friend) and I were talking about a shift in our motivation for reading and studying. We have each come to a place where we no longer study for study-sake. It is now more important to be in study driven by what it is we know we must now learn. And what we now study is in direct support of what we desire and intend to impact.

Modern education is training for autonomy, and in that context, it is almost impossible to admit that knowledge itself is a gift.

–Parker J. Palmer, The Promise of Paradox

In the quest for learning, Judy and I are being challenged to go beyond acquiring for mere practicality and now see our learning for application that is pure.

Please understand, study has served up value and purpose in my life and work. This place where I now stand in life & living requires the shift from a need to study to a need to learn. It is time to bring fullness into the rhythm.

Study is to gather information on the one hand. On the other hand is the need to grow something with what has been gathered. In the sense of application and practice, as I use the term in my coaching, is a true knowing–learning that occurs when the hand of Gather joins the hand of Grow and we then know how to truly Give.

And there lies, with Give, the stand in Creative Tension. Difficult it is to be creative without the tension between what we desire to be real and the possibility we intend.

Impossible it is for me to learn and give of that learning if I do not first receive it as a gift. When received as a gift I find myself soaked in gratitude, and I know then my responsibility is to dry out in the air of giving.

And hence, we have the gift of leadership. A leader holds such tension; holds it long enough to understand what it looks like to give in the present, allowing us to come together and make real the larger story we desire to tell.

A Leadership Poem: You Are Someone


The Trust View (Attachment/Detachment)

This part 7 is about the tension (tense holding) that is an opportunity to release some beautiful creativity into the flow of it all. This is about that space between attachment and detachment.

In the midst of this very composition, B.J. and I find ourselves in such an opportune space. For us this space isn’t only about selling a property and moving to a new place; it is about a significant step in how life & living will now look. It is a chance to catch a lot and a time that requires much hold & release.

The early birdsongs were saying it all works together for good, if we but let it. It all works out even if I don’t seem to let it (let go). But if I don’t let it, such becomes a refusal to participate and I miss out on seeing it all unfold. I do not want to miss that, ever!

The Creative Tension (Attachment/Detachment)

When our simplification transition began I realized a difficult tension. In our entire individual and partnered lives neither B.J. or I have lived in any one place as long as we’ve lived here. This is significant. We are not talking just a change, we are talking transition–Major!

This move more than any other from our past has me truly in a space between. I find my mind and heart in a middle, holding past and future. I suppose this middle is the present.

Work among all its abstracts, is actually intimacy, the place where self meets the world. –David Whyte, Consolations

Whyte says so much so briefly about why I write what I write and the way I write to you as a leader. In this 21st Century we need–must have–leaders who lead from the core of self: Trueness.

The need for leadership reminds me of the vision and desire that pulled me into starting this practice: I desire, through the leaders I coach and teach, to influence the space of work in becoming one of abundance and love.

I am attached to all that has gone on before to bring me to this stand, but I cannot hold it in a way keeping me from walking on. Yes, I am drawn forward into a future I cannot control. So I must detach from any expectation too specific to a predetermined outcome; this is always limiting.

To forgive everything is to live the beautiful poetry we each are. Knowing everything belongs is to be open to all that stirs our souls–to be one with it all. Then to see the unfolding becomes a nourished way of being and walking in this world.

Be aware, focused, and loving in your steady walk as a leader.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com There are Birds There Too


The Trust View – Desire & Intent

In The Stream I talk of the flow and of the need to stand still in it. In The Path I speak of the steady walk.

The Trust View holds both movement and stillness.

The Trust View is a place you go internally to make balanced-sense of all external experience. This view is metaphorically real when B.J. and I go into the heights nearby and hike a trail leading to a summit; a high point that balances ascent and descent.

At such summit we pause and consciously open to all that can be seen. Without words we find encouragement for the journey to continue.

To see the unfolding is to trust. Put another way, if we don’t trust we will not see. The  Trust View is a place to see, a place to be in the moment of totality. The Trust View is the third note in the rhythm of journey.

The Paradox of Desire & Intent

I am blessed deeply at a refreshing level by those with whom I have the opportunity to commune through this work I’ve been given. I am rich beyond any measure with which I previously dreamed. Such fills me with a clear and flowing sensation known as gratitude.

I was led to this work of encouraging leaders over a lifetime of experience. Each experience of what I loved to do was accompanied by one I didn’t so much love. This is the paradox of experience.

At each point of desire–that something I cannot help but want through my work–I am driven to act by that which seems to wonderfully control me. At each point of intent–what I want for the other through our experience together–I am drawn to persistently encourage in spite of the reality that I cannot control the outcome. This is the paradox of Desire & Intent; the binding-together of passion and purpose.

Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. –David Whyte, Consolations

In this 21st Century it is important that we experience leaders who desire to live into passion, and intend action with purpose; and find fulfillment in presence–while leading others to the same participation.

To see the unfolding is to stand in the place where observation and participation meet and swirl together, creating the joy of experience, a beautiful blend of being and doing.

Stand first in the presence of your own Desire & Intent, then presently lead us to focus on the story that binds us together, influenced by presence within and presence without.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com Presence Within & Without



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