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What’s love got to do with it?

It was 22 years ago, and it still plays in my mind like it was yesterday. Cliff (her nickname) was at our house for a southern supper. She had family in Alabama and had told me how she missed southern BBQ.

At the time I was a manager of a field accounting team. Cliff was my staff specialist and the team’s technical support.

I was on the brick terrace just outside the kitchen tending to the grill and the main course for the southern delight we were about to share. Being a lovely Ohio evening the kitchen window was cranked open. Through that window I heard Cliff state to Becky how much the team liked working with me.

That’s when Becky said what has stayed with me all these years: “Cliff, Jeff loves each and every one of you.” Becky has always been a tremendous support of both who I am and what it is I really do. She knew then that all I did to lead, support, and develop the individuals in my care was done from a place of love.

In the brightness of your Trueness you are freed to lead and love. From the strength of your real self your work is brought into a powerful reality and presence. In the reality of such true work there is no higher priority than that of your love.

So again, What’s love got to do with it?

Everything!

It’s okay to love your work, and in your work … Love!

“If we devote ourselves to the effort to be real, the Universe in all its forms will find us, the way that wind finds leaves and waves find shore.” −Mark Nepo

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When leading from your authentic self you inspire others from balanced focus. After all these years in my work, I’m certain this is the only path to inspiring another.

What is focus?

I offer as an answer a balanced way of seeing through this portal. Internally, focus is the purpose through which your passion prepares to flow by your unique presence into the world. Externally, once flowing in the world, focus becomes an attraction to a common and collaborative center.

I’m writing this just days after returning from work at a client location. I was there to open a dialogue with John’s executive team around organizational transition and cultural transformation. While I had prepared an outline for the conversation, I knew that if I listened carefully enough, it would take on its own life. And indeed it did.

This team of leaders had been diligently working for the past year acting on specific behavioral commitments as a result of strategic dialogue focused on the story of the organization. John listened to his group of leaders. After this year of good work fueled by the clarity of a strategic story, he realized that each individual, through the cloud of busyness, had lost focus.

As is almost always the case−in the reality of the ‘J-Curve’ or the Dip−our movement toward the goal takes a turn down. This is when it is imperative to not lose focus on Why we are doing all we are doing.

It is only in the energy of why that we push through.

That’s when it happened; one of the most powerful pictures I’ve ever heard painted by the words of a leader. John sat back in his chair. As his words came forth he leaned into the presence of each individual in the room: “A chance to do what we have the opportunity to do with this organization comes along once, maybe twice, in an entire career.”

The renewed energy for focus was in John’s confident and open presence, where he drew individual energy to a collaborative center.

I only hope each person present felt what I felt. The doors of possibility flew open in my mind. Collaborative energy burned red and hot.

Impact was broadened through such focus!

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Jennifer is a valued colleague of mine and a contributing participant in this Work of Trueness. The spirit of connection is powerful. A mutual friend (Ric, who introduced me to Jennifer) recently asked when I had last seen her. I had to remind him that she and I had never met face-to-face.

In the case of the relationship and interactions Jennifer and I share, the spirit of presence is validated. While I look forward to an inevitable and desired face-to-face meeting, I treasure the realness in our virtual camaraderie.

You see, presence is more than physical. Physicality is a valued element in relationship. Take for instance Ric, about whom I write and who has written his flowing words for my blog. I greatly value the face-to-face time I get with him because we live over 700 miles apart. But our relationship began virtually and continued for quite some time before we ever met face-to-face. And here’s the cool part, I don’t even remember when that was!

Your Trueness is the impact of your presence.

Your impact as a leader has its only shot through your authentic self. Trueness practiced is active impact. And we are the beneficiaries of this impact in your presence. And your Presence stands on the solid base of who you are−regardless of the miles between us.

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In a world loaded to the brim with distraction both enticing and detestable, voice keeps you focused in the power of the present.

Voice is that one driver of all goodness in each interaction of life, living, and leading; that one thing that must be consistently present in order for interactions to honor the possibilities.

Trueness is reality−the truth of who you really are; true since the beginning. And it is your commitment to this truth and reality, for yourself and the other, that is The Work of Trueness.

In my own work of trueness I find the beautiful power of flow in the collision and respective tension of the desire that drives me and the intent that draws me out. In this creatively tense and middle space I stand in a clear and conscious presence of the experience.

The genesis of all awareness is your voice. If your voice is not engaged and clear in a conscious presence, then it is near impossible to give and gain from the particular experience. Your unique voice is a dynamic contribution into a collective, transforming awareness.

The freeing of individual Trueness is indeed a collective, collaborative effort. With such a cloud of connection voice continually clears. Your voice is authentic articulation intended to flow into and through all you do.

Voice has been with you since the beginning!

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It it is not uncommon in working one-on-one with an individual leader to hear a forlorn claim of lost purpose. We only lose sight of purpose by losing consciousness of our purpose; individually and/or collectively.

Call me a fool if you must, but I know purpose has been with you since the beginning. Purpose is never really lost. Yes, one may find self seemingly lost in a fog. But know this, and find encouragement, your purpose is still here.

I was sitting in my office trying to see through the fog into the day ahead of me when Bill tapped on the door frame. He sat down and seriously stated, “We are worried about you.” I asked, Who is we? He replied, “All of us.” He was speaking of my team of managers and the eighty plus who reported to them.

It’s not important why I was in that particular fog; and I’d been in it for about two weeks. What is important is that those I led noticed … and cared. They cared enough to talk of it and send an emissary to inquire.

As my mind whirled in the wind of Bill’s question, the cause of their collective concern hit me. Each day I was not traveling I would stop by each person’s desk and speak, at least recognizing we were here together in the day before us. I had not done this in two weeks.

They were comfortable and confident in checking on me because they knew, and followed, my Trueness!

It is only part and parcel that we at times lose sight in the fog of life and living. As our leader, we aren’t upset with you in times of fog and confusion, not when you’ve proven your authenticity to us in how you have guided us to the present. And we know the fog settles on us all.

We know that your light of purpose is still there.

We walk together in the steadiness of A New Confidence brought about by a collective purpose empowered by individual purpose. This is The Work of Trueness; your consistently conscious commitment to living & leading from your authentic self.

… and yes, sometimes we might need to remind you!

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Your Desire & Intent is a melody of flow.

It is the energy of desire and the vision of intent that cooperate to release Trueness into this 21st Century age of consciousness and awareness.

How do you consciously root a bit deeper into the soul of your Trueness?

Driven down into desire, our distorted self is confronted by our true self. Drawn out toward intent, Trueness builds through what seems, at first, a contradiction.

Your Trueness is the impact of your presence.

And the reality is that your impact is in the melding of desire and intent. In the desire that drives you, control never appears in the cross-hair of impact. But when you add the intent that draws you out, control enters the frame−or more specifically, what you cannot control is now suddenly brought into awareness. Such suddenness can leave you vulnerable and exposed to the elements of reality.

Desire speaks truth from the core of who you are; a selfless presence. Intent expands desire from a need greater than any selfish ego.

As you think on all this, keep in mind that your Trueness is reality.

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Being brought to this work I have the privilege of doing was no accident. It is work built on a foundation of being: an authenticity present since the beginning.

In 2000, I had LASIK surgery to correct severe astigmatism and significant nearsightedness. Until that option I had no memory of seeing without the assistance of an optical device.

Years before when a junior in high school, I began to wear contacts. At the time I was hanging out with my best friend, his girlfriend, and her sister. Each time Joe and I went to visit, Carol would pull the glasses from my face and state that my eyes were too pretty to hide. I tell you this for the symbolism in the rest of the story.

After being examined and fitted for contacts, I was given the choice of tinting to enhance (change) the color of my eyes. Vainly altering the color of my eyes seem disingenuous to me. I chose clear. Did Carol have something to do with going to contacts? Yes. What about the tinting/alteration? Even then I had a deep need−and dedication−to the Trueness of the Individual. And yes, to my own Trueness.

My Desire & Intent is that you lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence as you embrace the power of who you are and act on this Trueness!

And now I’ve dedicated my energy to The Work of Trueness.

My Desire & Intent formed the vision that pushed me into this work full time. And from this vision I’m asking you to be a participant in The Work of Trueness. I invite you to be a part of a collective of individuals committed to living and leading from their authentic self.

The Impact needed in this world must come from individuals who have learned to be then do.

To join us, you simply commit to receiving encouragement and giving encouragement to others.

Your Impact is your Trueness practiced.

Join in The Work of Trueness!

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