21st Century Skill Paradox – Part 7

What is the power of Story?

To put it as simply as I know how, I will answer with one word; Why.

I remember being asked to lead a major project in my last 2 years of corporate experience. The work included staff reductions in three states. Rick, who enrolled me to lead the project, gave me 3 pillars around which to build: 1) Achieve the cost savings 2) Maintain and even improve the quality of the work we would be moving around, and 3) Do the right thing by the people.

He made no attempt to tell me how to do what I needed to do. In his 3 pillars I knew what to focus upon. And, even though it may not seem like it at first glance, I had the Why. For me, the 3 pillars became the Story that I, and my project team, had to tell.

What is for the mind. Why is for the heart. −Dave, Coaching Client

Why is the core of compelling narrative. And what and how hold powerful support data if we help others make the connection.

I’ve been booked for a day in Illinois where I will serve as a feedback facilitator. A selection of technical leaders are learning more about the consultative part of their individual roles. As part of this learning experience is practice and application of meeting with an executive, listening, gathering info, and then creating and delivering a compelling presentation to pitch solutions and create partnerships. Through experience these leaders will learn the power of story and storytelling in business.

Years ago I received some similar training. The trainer, Bobbie Lawrie, was an expert in helping executives and politicians speak to the media. While she gave us many tips, tools, and tactics, I came away with 3 simple steps to help me improve in the important task of forming a compelling message:Skill 7

  1. Consider my audience. What’s in it for them to hear from me?
  2. Develop my One Main Message point.
  3. Provide vivid support to this 1 point.

Considering your receivers opens you to the reality of what. Your main message is the heart of the matter−Why. And, as you provide vivid support, you tie how to the heart, making ever more clear the message.

Confusion can never compel; that takes clarity.

Storytelling is the 7th 21st Century Skill for the leader. Storytelling balances, or pulls together, the objective and subjective into a compelling and ongoing narrative.

Leading from the clarity of your Desire & Intent others are compelled by your purpose (your story). In such clarity, together we are transformed, driven by individual purpose and drawn into a collective vision.

For more on your Voice in the process, see post; Shadow Strengths – Chapter Seven (Love)

BCL Blog 4


Skillfully Generous (Free and Joyful Expression)

It’s okay to love your work, and in your work love. In the presence of your own Trueness you stand confidently in the work that, because of love, has chosen you.

Love begins, and story flows, from the inner to the outer as one finds Trueness−such generosity toward self is foundational to becoming more skillfully generous in the world.

Dan has opened his true self to a big project, a larger story; his One Million Acts of Generosity. In his very definition of Generosity, Dan captures the rhythm of a story of impact.

Generosity is the free and joyful expression of: What you care about most deeply: It is what you powerfully stand for in the world: It is the giving of your true self to another.

“The True Self does what it really loves and therefore loves whatever it does.” −Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

Storytelling is powerful because of love. Stories of impact have power only through the love of the one telling. This is precisely what my dear friend Dan intends with his big project; encouraging  us to tell stories where we have seen the impact of someone being skillfully generous.

Dan’s rhythmic wisdom points us to the tension of hold and release and guides us to the brightness where the true self breaks into a loving presence. A story of impact is so because it is first lived and then told; and so often the telling is the living!

Your generous leadership is freely and joyfully expressed because you are learning in real time to hold your Trueness, while letting go of distractions and thus releasing your true self into the flow.

A frenzied 21st Century cries out for your Trueness.


Our Outer Accountability – Living Love

Along my own work journey I’ve been told to tone down the passion. It seems there was something threatening to those uninvited advisors; maybe a lack of passion in their own work.

Fortunately things are changing as I hear leaders speak often about the need and place for passion in one’s work. This makes me happy for many reasons. At the top of the list is Love. For I believe when one allows passion to flow from the inner territory to the outer accountability, then this individual is living love.

For 30 years Bob has been leading change and growth projects and initiatives for this little town we now call home. The change and growth Bob leads doesn’t only impact his town; his efforts have consistently made the surrounding region better. He’s done more than his share to “put us on the map.”

I tell his story because he exemplifies the power of passion converted into living love. Bob’s passion for his work, and especially for his town, is powerful energy flowing out through each story he has to tell. And he loves to tell his stories about his Town of Jonesborough.

Storytelling is powerful because of love−living love. Stories of impact have power because of the love of the teller. Clearly, and obviously to my readers, I believe something deeply:

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

You know it, you feel it, when you hear a story from those like Bob. When, as a leader, you see the need for passion, trust your sense, then look for passion in others. It’s there. It simply needs your vision−and mostly your encouragement: a beautiful measure of your Living Love.

See companion truth – Our Inner Territory – A Path for Love

Know Thyself – Love in the 21st Century

Indeed I believe the most powerful force in 21st Century leadership is Love. I also know many are on the surface afraid of this word in our world of work. While I strayed from love’s beautiful force at times, I am thankful that love has been a steady lever throughout my work life−and especially grateful I am for a love presence in my journey as a leader, and now as coach, writer, and speaker.

Like my friend Tara, let your impact flow through a unique knowledge of love in the world−a world in need of your brand of leadership love.

Desire & Intent
The journey of love as a leader has pushed me into the ground of my Trueness. The commitment to my Desire & Intent reminds me constantly that there’s no getting out of it, only getting into it!

A New Confidence
As awareness informs a new confidence, trueness tenaciously holds personal purpose.

As inner voice speaks through our being and doing we more clearly see, and embrace, our service in this world.

Even before clarity, purpose is present; has been since the beginning. Service through your purpose is here now. In true presence share with us through your purpose.

Grounded in the pure energy of who you are, and focused on the living methodology written in your Desire & Intent, you have found a place to stand in the leverage of your brand of love as a leader.

The love of which I speak, write, and coach is a personally organic way of being and doing, thinking and feeling, of standing in the tension of one’s own internal and external focus−and standing firm and confidently with the lever of love in hand.

A Soul Dance with Love

What is the impact of your love?

This is the last in the series of 7 on A Soul Dance. As I bring you to A Soul Dance with Love, here is a review of the previous 6:

  • Impact ~ Your flow asks you to balance intention and attention.
  • Desire & Intent ~ You discover original rhythm in the tension of this balance.
  • A New Confidence ~ Soul moves to an arrangement specifically scored for your flow.
  • Voice ~ Being with the unfolding you consciously hear your core and truly learn to see.
  • Presence ~ In seeing you ground purpose in present service.
  • Focus ~ With poise your soul now dances with present significance for self and for others.

And now … Love.

In the development journey it is good to have a traveling partner. My friend (and spiritual brother) Dan is one such credible partner. Together we are testing and validating intention and attention as we do the work to which we are each called.

I am learning to more consciously apply love internally to open me to what’s next in my external application of my brand of love. Dan is learning to more consciously apply love externally to open himself to what’s next in his internal application of his brand of love.

The more aware we become of our brand of leadership love the more we see the alignment, the movement and order of things, that flows our love out into the world.

When you make a commitment, an alignment appears to provide a flow in which to keep the specific commitment. Together, Dan and I will discover new steps in our individual dance with soul. Native rhythm and learned choreography come together forming a unique brand of love for you, and … A Soul Dance.

Skill 7: A Generational Alliance

It is most likely impossible to help one younger see how their story is developing if not embracing the tension to understand the unfoldment of our own story.

As one from an older generation, I have embraced my opportunity to flow into, and with, the second-half of life and living. With this comes great accountability to those younger.

Mentor as Teacher/Learner of Experience
(Skill 7: Storytelling)

There are individual stories, but there are no separate stories; and the larger, collective story is not divided into chapters of age. In every chapter we swirl in collaborative experience. If we miss the experience it is because we simply choose to not partake. The experience is there whether recognized or not.

At the core of individual story is a gift; unique to who you are. It is in the convergence of gifts that we find the larger story rich and full.

Mentee as Learner/Teacher in Experience
(Skill 7: Writing a Better Story)

The world is changing at a blindingly fast pace. To remain relevant, we must embrace change. We look for new and exciting challenges, seeking out environments that provide new insight, offer the ability to build new networks, and the chance to positively impact a wide range of people that we lead and serve with. Evolve with us. Offer us opportunities to take on dramatically new challenges. More than anything else, we desire to make our lives very interesting stories. Cultivate an inspiring environment that allows us to live a richer, more colorful story. −Jason Guinn

Join the unfolding story in the power and reality of this generational alliance. To do so is to participate (teach and learn/learn and teach) in a full conversation.

Regardless of generational providence, be present with your gift and allow us the gift of your presence.

Release Love into Skill 7

What is your story of leadership? Is it a love story; a story unfolding in work you love and how you love in your work? Do not be afraid of making this so.

There is a narrative of meaning that is ever-present. We must learn to consciously embrace this narrative. This present narrative is there to assist you in understanding the what, why, and how of being you. … You are applying love in work you love. −Wading the Stream of Awareness (Love Chapter)

Love flows through you, but not until doing its work in you. Building a story with me is your love applied. I boldly write and speak about love in work because I have seen love produce more than all other tactics combined. From much study, it is my belief that any tactic researched was seen as effective because of who was studied−a loving leader.

The 21st Century belongs to the aware, focused, and loving leader. A sequential unfolding of why, what, and how is important in order to lead others in the flow of the collective story: Clarity to Engagement to Connection. Think on how dependent this flow is to the internal flow of a confident leader; an aware, focused, and loving individual.

We love purely when we release other people to be who they are. −Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love

As an aware leader, your inner clarity more easily translates externally for the clarity we need as we latch onto the collective story. As a focused leader, you confidently hold the tension between your desire and intent for us; this is engaging. And as a loving leader, you release each of us to authentically connect as we flow in the larger story that is our work together.

See sister post, Letting Go into Love