Skill 1 Encouragement – Drawn by Purpose

Seasons transform the year; light and darkness transform the day. … There seems to be no other cauldron of growth and transformation. −Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs (2003)

There comes a time for each of us where we are given the opportunity to unlearn. Many turn down this contemplative occasion. Courageously entering introspection (contemplation as a leader) opens you to the process of tearing down and building up that is necessary for your transformation. You are transformed as you learn anew and find form for external sharing.

We are transformed into our purpose−it is the source for sustainable impact in this world, this arduous journey. Purpose must draw you out of the fray−while you paradoxically remain in the fray−in order for you to become the individual you were intended to be.

To support your continual transformation, I (thanks to Richard Rohr) encourage you in the following:
1) Let go. Freedom is in releasing the need to control.
2) Hold the tension. There will always be the rising and the falling.
3) Trust in the unfolding. Trust yourself−your impact unfolds through who you are at your core.

See companion post, Trust in the Unfolding

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You – A Source of Impact (A Personal Reflection)

2011 was both a frustrating and exhilarating year for me. On the one hand, I feel like the company for which I work was not a tangible return on investment for the time I spent in various assignments during the year. I spent a lot of time stopping and starting and stopping again, in transitioning, in acclimating and reacclimating, and in building and rebuilding. A long-term venture for which I was very passionate also came to an abrupt end with a major organizational realignment late in the year. In all the shuffling, I am left with little but my own internal reflection by which to gauge my success and failure, my impact, if you will.

However, that single fact has given me the most power I have felt over my work in a very, very long time. And nothing stands out to me more than the power of my failures.

Failing has been exceptionally empowering to me because it has highlighted for me those things on which I must focus my energy. Marcus Buckingham taught us that our weaknesses are relevant only to the extent that they are barriers to our success. Marcus would tell us that we should work on our weaknesses only enough to make them irrelevant. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it, “Just make sure your weaknesses don’t act as a counterbalance to your strengths.” In other words, don’t let the scales tip against you because your weaknesses have that much weight. I still have a lot of work to do to become the open, confident, and loving human being that I want to be. My failures this past year have made that abundantly clear.

Openness, confidence, and love are the keys to my happiness. My family needs this of me. My team needs this of me. My partners need this of me. My clients need this of me. All my goals for this year will need to honor these needs, honor my commitments to all the individuals impacted, and, probably most importantly, serve my commitment to myself.

Open.

Confident.

Loving.

The first requires practice. I have this quality. I have exercised it with great success in the past. I need to exercise this quality to make it more powerful.

The second requires discovery. Confidence lives in all of us. Like Mayan ruins poking through the forest canopy, we stumble upon our Confidence from time to time. How do we find it? When does it reveal itself? Figure it out, and there is no telling what you might expose. The tip of the temple has been uncovered. Time to clear away the overgrowth and explore the hidden wonders within!

The third requires rediscovery. There was a time when I loved openly in all aspects of my life. After all, I am the Woo Woo Leader! The question is: what was lost? The balance between mind and heart and soul needs to be regained. I need to find it and bring it back. Only then will love flow freely.

There is still so much to contribute. My story remains largely unwritten. The potential impact of my story on others requires conscious recalibration of my efforts and focus. I must reconnect with my desire and intent: to help others see the power of personal leadership, to guide others to do more than they would have otherwise thought possible, and to help others extend their influence as far as possible for their growth and the good of those around them. Delivering on my desire and intent for others is the true reflection of my impact.

How will you measure your impact?

Ric reads a lot.  Some of the time, he feels compelled to write.  Jeff invited Ric to write here, from time to time, and Ric accepted.

You – A Source of Impact

If there is a simple clue to personal and professional growth, it just may be that interest creates energy. And possibly the most pertinent experience of true growth and development is the journey itself. Sometimes we find purpose and sometimes purpose finds us. The connection to the energy of one’s purpose cannot become tangible without intention; a courageous interest for impact.

Relaxing into one’s purpose is not a step by step process one can learn and apply. It is a journey within the journey. The path is charged with peril, not the least of which comes from within our self. An interruption to the learning process as we move along is the need to control.

Even while earning a certain meritorious level of my own expertise, I was led to realize the need to release; to let up on myself and let go. It is a wonderful thing to observe the flowing expertise of another; and wonderful still when we observe our own flow.

How do we measure impact? The answer begins in your own unique Desire & Intent for those you lead, influence, and serve … those for whom your story has impact.

The impact you most desire unfolds and is accomplished through what you already possess: Your own authenticity in your own Story. Trust yourself.

Trust Yourself (Expertise)

In the agitation of intentional transition
a threat to confidence I consciously allowed.

Soul asks, “Do you know what you can do?”
and reminds me of a casual style avowed.

A loving voice not my own exhorts, “Trust yourself”
melting the icy texture of fear into knowledge matured.

With casual trust I float in creative flow
exiting a bubble of limitation with confidence assured.

−J. Brunson

Interest
21st Century Skill: Personal/Professional Growth Management
Book 1, Chapter One: Impact
Ric’s Reflection

Regarding Personal/Professional Growth Management Skills: by Ricardo González

If there’s a secret to be discovered regarding personal and professional growth, I’ve yet to uncover it. What I do know is this: complacency leads to stagnation. Don’t become complacent when it comes to your own development.

The last twelve months of my life have taught me that I own my career. That ownership extends to all aspects of my work life. I once believed  that accountability for my development belonged to “the company.” I used to think that the company owed me a training plan.  I used to think that the company owed me a career path. I used to think that the company had the responsibility to mold me into the kind of employee that it needed me to be, and that the process for molding should be laid out in black and white and customized for little ol’ me.

I realized that the company did have a plan for every employee. All I needed to do was conform. All I needed to do was squeeze myself into the mold, and everything would be OK. I lived that life for a number of years, quickly finding myself in the management mold. It suited me. I kept on trying to fit the mold.

But there’s a problem with the mold. The mold, you see, is based on somebody else’s ideal for the job you are to fill. There’s nothing inherently wrong with understanding what your role means to the larger organization.  In fact, that understanding is crucial to your success in the organization. The problem with fitting into the mold is that…well…you just can’t. You can’t expect someone to become the company prototype of a manager or the prototype of a great employee without losing some of what makes that individual most potent as a human being. Conformity is  compromise.  In small doses, it’s reasonable.  As a wholesale approach to management, compromise demotivates, suppresses innovation, and dulls the keenest intellects. When an individual compromises to that extent, their individuality is more than likely lost, and, as a result, their greatest potential to impact the organization is also lost.

Uniqueness is not insubordination. Uniqueness is not a path to anarchy. Uniqueness is not a desire to rebel against the system, rage against the machine, or undermine the corporate structure. Uniqueness is wealth. Uniqueness is empowerment. Uniqueness is a desire to raise the stakes, to improve the collective “game,” and to give the most the individual has to the organization. The notion of separation of our work and personal lives is becoming obsolete.  It is an archaic way of looking at the individual within the world of work. It is a relic of the industrial age. Living dual lives takes energy, and the energy spent takes its toll.  It weakens the individual, lowers their ability to succeed, and adversely affects performance.

That could be you. Maybe in ten years. Maybe now.

For the individual to be most powerful, they must be whole. The whole individual is the worker for the 21st Century. Whether within the hierarchy of a multi-national, Fortune 100 company or as a freelance consultant, the ultimate accountability for the development of the individual resides with the individual themselves. A corporation can outline the skills needed to fulfill the basic requirements of the job, their 20th Century responsibility, but only the individual can choose to explore and discover the wider world for those development opportunities that will help them achieve their life goals. There is no need to promote a separation between the person you are at work and the person you are at home. You can modify behavior to fit the appropriate social situation, sure, but the core of who you are is critical to your success, critical to your happiness, and must be honored at all times.

This leads to the most important question you can ask yourself: what is your intention for your life?

Professional life? Personal life? Nope. Remember: the need to separate the two no longer exists. It is an artificial construct that is meant to promote conformance. Reject the idea. Embrace the notion that you can be respectful of boundaries while revealing and fulfilling your full potential.

What is your intention for your life?

Here are three more questions that you can ask yourself every morning before letting your day get ahead of you:

What do you want to accomplish today?

What do you want to accomplish this year?

How does what you want to accomplish today relate to what you want to accomplish this week?

I know. This sounds like a rip off. I promise you, though, that there is nothing cheap about focusing on your intention for your day. After all, it’s just an extension of your intention for your life. The first step in freeing yourself from the idea that somebody else owns your development is understanding your intention for you life. Once you give yourself that gift, you will be able to take full and total control of your development as a human being. It’s a human being we want. It’s a human being we need. And if you find yourself working in a place that doesn’t value you as a human being, I’ve got one more question for you:

What’s your exit plan?

Ricardo González is an IT manager for a Fortune 100 company who strives to inspire freedom to innovate, teach the value of personal leadership, and influence others to exceed their limits.

I am privileged to call him Friend.

Read more from Ric at woowooleadership.com

 

For more on this 21st Century Leadership Skill … Skill 1

The Client Letters – One (Jimmy Neil)

Jimmy Neil,

Because of your impact in this world, I chose to write to you first in this series of Client Letters. I love the camaraderie we share as students of great 21st Century thought leaders. We don’t just read their writing, we study. You are diligent in your learning to support your brand as The Architect of Experience.

Although we have not worked together in the Coaching relationship for several years, I want you to know how meaningful that time was for me. While I trust  benefit was achieved on the part of the Client, be assured the Coach found treasure in the experience. It was my pleasure to be in the presence of the leader who has done so much in the conscious cause of Story and Storytelling.

Since going public with your organization’s challenges, I have not followed through on my intention to schedule one of our meaningful dinners. For that I am deeply sorry. We will remedy that. It is the reality of the challenges, and the awareness of your impact, that made me choose you for the first of my letters.

The Architect of Experience. In building this brand, you committed to not only telling your own story, you have lovingly shared with us how to tell our own. My work – my art – was forever impacted by your challenge to narrow my focus and providentially broaden my own impact.

From our work:
Jimmy Neil is committed to the architecture of experience … experiences that are designed to discover the hidden power and potential in our lives and communities. Jimmy Neil is a visionary and is not afraid to dream of things others see as impossible. He learns … he loves … he lives. Life is short – live it fully. He’ll leave this world better than he found it.

Thank you my friend,
Jeff

Skill 1 – Part C: Story of Impact

David often allowed  me the privilege of being his coach. David is a learner. He was one of my few role models in my career. David would apply himself to learn each and every process that was performed by the people who were supported by his team. By the time I reported to David directly, he had become accountable for an even more broad representation of financial processes. It was not possible to now know “everything.” That didn’t stop David from trying.

David’s effort to learn it all began to create significant stress for him. Part of my coaching effort was to assist him in seeing how his learning accountability had moved upward with his position accountability. David had always taken care of people the best he could through being involved with the processes they performed. Now he had to question his approach and determine if he must now serve the processes through the people he now led.

Like David, there comes a time for every leader when one must face what it means to un-learn. The call to un-learn some process, approach, or way of thinking can be a source of significant stress for the individual leader. The ever-evolving 21st Century information landscape requires the leader to become skilled at deconstructing certain learning in order to see knowledge in a new light. Individual accountability then expands to include the task of reconstructing knowledge to move forward those being led, influenced, and served.

“Pick your own measures that have meaning, and recognize that results may not be the point of it all. The integrity and whole-heartedness of your actions may be the final measure. What we call ‘results’ may simply be moving outcomes that pass in front of us.”  –Peter Block

Society’s opinion toward results and outcomes is evolving in the 21st Century to an approach that calls on a balance of the internal and the external – a call to use all the creativity at one’s disposal based on who we are as an individual.

As a present, 21st Century leader, you allow transformation in your belief system. With present engagement, the power of your attention is focused on the real target and what is most important in reaching that target. The impact of your leadership is evidence of who you are. Your work has taken on an artistic flow as you have allowed your work to become a sustainable expression of self.

Leaders anticipate impact. Imagine standing with your feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart as you stretch your arms out on each side, fingers extended as far as you can reach. This is your impact illustrated from the internal to the external.

This is the story of your impact, your reach as intent flows up from your core through your extended limbs fueled by commitment.

For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills

Skill 1 – Part B: Confident Introspection

As a leader, you must experiment with what you learn. This is a critical component to credible practice.

“Realize that it is not how you feel that determines how you act; rather it is how you act that determines how you feel. –William James (1842-1910)

Study and application build credibility into your practice as a leader. And through the act of practice you build your confidence. Courageously entering introspection opens your learning to find a form in which to be shared externally. As you share – practice openly – you create energy for others. As you continue to study, you begin to do so to reenergize internally.

To be diligent means to study. To study intently and purposefully requires commitment.

“Concerning all acts of initiative … there is one elementary truth … that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Study enhances practice and practice enhances you. There is a bounty available through commitment. This bounty is both internal and external. The external destination is reached via the internal route. Credibility is achieved only by this route.

We need your confident leadership.

For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills