21st Century Skill Paradox – Part 4

Networking, in order to be effective, must leverage your Voice. If you are a regular reader of mine then you know I’m not referring to an audible voice. I’m referencing your authentic self−how who you really are shows up in your interactions.

The networks we need today are the ones based in mutual respect. They are built on the common understanding that comes from a genuine meeting of the minds. They are fueled by generosity and kindness. They are reciprocal because of a desire to help the other, not out of obligation. They are connections that allow gifts to be exchanged, not favors tallied up. −Ric Gonzalez

What is Networking in this 21st Century? I like what Tim Sanders says in Love is the Killer App. He calls networking Biz Love, and says your network exists for you to:

  1. Share your knowledge; and what you continue to learn
  2. Share your web of relationships; and experience
  3. Share compassion; your ability to reach out

It seems, over the last three years, that my network has, for the most part, frozen; causing me to question the fruits of networking. The freeze has two sources. There is the outside force of an attention-demanding 21st Century culture, and there’s the inside failure to apply my voice consistently and confidently.

And then I must ask what it would take to thaw it. For the longest time the answer has been stuck in the personal confusion of the slow freeze. But now I know the only thing I can know, and do: I must allow my voice, in more full engagement, to thaw the connections.

So how do we apply the fullness of sharing in our networks? It is by sharing our own brand of love in our own network. And that brand of love is resonate in your voice. (see post, Shadow Strengths – Chapter Four (Voice))Skill 4

The paradox one must face, and hold, with the skill of Networking is the external competing demands colliding with the internal focus needed to stay true.

As you stand firm and hold these two for a while, you may more easily see the warm application and need for your voice.

From this middle stand you hold what you do with how you do it, until your voice presence reminds you of why you do what you do.

And so in my own network and networking I must reengage with both my Voice and my original Why I do what I do.

I’ve got some fresh Networking to do!

BCL Blog 4

Skillfully Generous – Voice (Freed from Within)

I write about generosity in order to become more internally aware of the core source of such action in the world around me. As I compose my inner thoughts into outer articulation I find myself more skillfully and simply paying attention.

“I love to tell people that the opposite of contemplation is not action−it is reaction. Early and quick reaction is almost always egocentric and self-referential.” −Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

When confused over precisely what generosity might be needed in any situation, take note of a suggestion from Patricia Ryan Madson. In her book, Improv Wisdom, she shares a learned principle of active awareness: If you see something that needs to be done and you are able to do it, then take action.

The generosity needed in a desperate 21st Century cries out for your Trueness in the flow.

Voice resonates only in the flow of love. Not every voice is identified by the word love, but every voice identified from the true self is an individual’s unique flow of love into this world.

It is not presumptuous to assume the world needs your voice. In fact, your voice fully resonant in the flow is fundamental to any and all hope of collaborating in a 21st Century filled with distraction.

Voice named and freed is your foundation for skillfully directed generosity. From this internally based freedom you courageously pay attention to what unfolds in the territory of outer accountability.

In full voice, conscious and active, you live a true life in the stand you have chosen; a work and love that have chosen you!

Our Outer Accountability – Living Voice

If your brand of leadership love is art (and it is), then your voice provides each creative stroke.

Paula did more in the workshop than just attend. First of all, she brought members of her team with her to this experience.

Blessed I have been to discover life-long relationships in my work. I was so thrilled by Paula’s presence at the gathering upon my arrival and deeply honored by her participation in the workshop I had traveled to deliver.

We had just paired off to work on Personal Purpose/Brand. As I was floating around to the dyads I noticed that a group had formed around Paula. I sat down to watch.

Voice can only thrive in the flow of love.

Paula went right round to each individual and stated succinctly and expertly what she knows as their brand. These statements were not opinion but a pure account of her beautiful ability to pay attention.

Throughout the essence of her being, Paula loves her work, and in her work, loves!

All bias aside−I’ve known and loved this young women for the majority of her life−Paula is a present being. She lives this presence in all she does, and most importantly with each individual with whom she feels privilege to share space.

After Paula made the round asserting each person’s Purpose/Brand, and as I observed the powerful impact that had on each one, I had to make a statement of my own; “The 21st Century belongs to the Aware, Focused, and Loving Leader.” I then asked those in the small group to embrace the love that had just been demonstrated.

Paula, your voice in this world flows freely and lives loudly in your presence. Thank You!

See companion truth – Our Inner Territory – The Flow of Voice

Know Thyself – Voice in the 21st Century

Judy (my Coach) and I were talking about upcoming appointments for each of us; opportunities for us to further awareness toward the full value of Coaching. Also, we’ve been collaborating to become even better at the listening that is so key to this worthy work we do.

We seem to agree on one main purpose and value in a coaching relationship:

Helping an individual get out of her/his own way.

I know this; Judy has certainly helped me step out of my own way−thus allowing all to flow in my behalf and for the benefit of those I lead, influence, and serve.

So … when we clear the way, what is it that flows?

I contend that what flows forth, and through all, is one’s Voice.

What is that one thing you hold so close, that if it is not present (and flowing) in each interaction, then you know things will not be as they ought?

Your answer … has identified your Voice.

Identifying, knowing, and freeing your voice is crucial to the process of Knowing Thyself.

Until you have a baseline of knowing, you will continue to detrimentally step in your own way.

Your voice identified−succinct as it may be as you intuitively answered the question above−clearly describes your foundation for service in this world. Voice speaks your story and encourages your role in the larger story.

A Soul Dance with Voice

In a work life we must treat the intangibles as seriously and as practically as we treat the touchable, doable tasks of a given day.
David Whyte, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship

Our friendship took root in early conversation about impact and our individual Desire & Intent. Keith had been communicating with me for months it seems about getting together. With each message I received I would respond with options to meet, only to see the silence between us resume. Those who know me well know of a sometimes debilitating pet peeve I own; someone not following through. However, in the case of my friend I knew better.

Voice does not dance alone; its artful stirring made credible by your consciousness to be with the unfolding.

Again from David Whyte, “[How] easy it is to swap the rich struggling particularity of our given life for an abstract, too easy inheritance that would lead to our not seeing, to our not participating and to our refusal to care.” It is in being with that we truly learn to see.

Working in my office on the cold January day I was suddenly present with Keith in my core. I picked up the phone and called. The sudden presence was simple consciousness with my own voice. As the dialogue unfolded I realized Keith’s own need to be reminded of the ‘one thing’ so important to him in all life interaction−his voice.

As so easily happens with any one of us, Keith had become lost in a cloud bank while climbing to high levels of what he should do−a list not his own. The best action supports the sustainability of your energy. This action does this because it simply dances in the resonance of your voice.

Skill 4: A Generational Alliance

True community is not produced; it is invoked and awakened. True community is an ideal where the full identities of awakened and realized individuals challenge and complement each other. In this sense both individuality and originality enrich self and others. −John O’Donohue, Beauty

Mentor as Teacher/Learner of Experience
(Skill 4: Networking)

From my generational experience, I−and many like me−have learned volumes about networking. A lot of the learning contains what not to do and what has actually never worked. So why do so many of my generation still tell those younger to do that same old ineffective crap? Are we demanding they pay some stupid due? This is not very helpful.

Building a network is probably the single-most important thing any worker in the 21st Century can do. Throw out the idea of the cocktail party schmoozer. Throw out the idea of the business-card-pushing conference enthusiast who can only waste precisely 240 seconds of their time on you because somebody much more important than you just walked in the door. −Ric Gonzalez

Mentee as Learner/Teacher in Experience
(Skill 4: Intentional Networking)

We thrive on sharing our world with others. Help us focus our efforts to build communities and participate in social networks in order to grow both personally and professionally. Also allow us opportunities to provide innovative new media to help you build your networks. Together, we have the tools and knowledge to further flatten the world and share our story with others that need to be included. −Jason Guinn

True community is formed by the collective of confident individuals−those who’ve been encouraged in their own voice and who encourage others from that voice.

Release Voice into Skill 4

Others need you to be you.

Those you lead, influence, and serve need the empowered you. As you trust your voice and act on the commitment of leveraging your voice, you bring yourself into the accountability of impact.

Voice clears the flow of our individual character allowing others safety in the experience of who we really are. −Wading the Stream of Awareness
(Voice Chapter)

Your unique impact is realized one individual at a time. Others are impacted by your presence and in your presence because you’ve committed to applying voice freely. You have become good at being you.

Why do others need you to simply be who you are? It is because we each desire safety in each interaction. To be safe includes acceptance as we are. Feeling this acceptance is unfortunately rare. This is too often true not because others do not accept us, but because we haven’t fully embraced ourselves as we are.

[The stream] is purposeful and authentic as it leverages voice to draw in those served by its presence. The steam is understanding and practical as it skillfully performs its role, alert to unfolding purpose. (Voice Chapter)

The flow of who you are at your core is filtered by voice. Your network is a true space for the service of your voice. I align voice with the skill of Networking to assist you in becoming more aware of how your voice serves others and acknowledges their authenticity in your presence.

Conscious application of voice opens you to another person and frees you into you−the real you resonant in each experience.

See sister post, Letting Go into Voice