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

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

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.

Release Impact into Skill 1

My premise is that the impact of one person on others in a corporation is a function of his or her breadth of consciousness. −Charles E. Smith, The Merlin Factor (p. 71)

How beautiful was the moment. Leslie had responded to my message about growing my speaking presence. She is a brilliant, creative leader. As she had offered to assist in designing and marketing a special event, we were meeting to brainstorm.

As we talked about possible content, I shared a bit about personal purpose (brand)−one way to answer the question, “What do you do?” That is when Leslie said simply, “I’m a 40 year-old cheerleader.” That’s perfect was my response! More than anything I was deeply impressed with her confident stance in this simple statement.

Leslie left an environment not supportive of the release required of her unique impact. She found an environment that welcomed, and needed, this cheerleader. And because of the impact of her loving and accountable cheers, she has been asked to broaden impact on yet another division in her organization.

As I thought on this blessed time with Leslie, I was taken to a deeper understanding of the skill I call Personal/Professional Growth Management. As Leslie models, one must stand in a delicate, tight space of understanding. She knows that ‘one thing’ she cannot help but do−be a cheerleader holding me accountable to give the best of who I am. And it is around this stance around which all learning, unlearning, growth, and development is focused for authentic impact.

Thank you Leslie for your leadership.

See sister post, Letting Go into Impact

The Client Letters 2011 – Six (Joe)


“Hello Joe, what do you do?” Your response, “I Build the Foundation for Collaboration and Success.”

At this point, your Brand connects individually when you demonstrate how you build this foundation: You create an environment of care and value by pushing others to go further than they thought possible.

You are extremely valuable in the industry because of your vast experience, depth/breadth of knowledge, and the ability to thin-slice this experience and knowledge for credible application. Early in our coaching relationship, our first attempt at a personal brand produced an accurate, but not very meaningful, answer to What do you do. The best answer I could get you focused on was, “I keep the lights on.”

Yes, others depend on you at this basic level, but they Trust you for so much more. You have leveraged your own personal brand, combined it with the skill of Collective Facilitation, and become focused. In light of the wisdom of your Brand, I share with others here your 7 Steps for being presently strategic about the future:

  1. Consider the strategic timing of needed dialogue
  2. Consider direction for the issue in the light of the team and associated process
  3. Put time and attention into how you lead others in preparing a plan for dialogue
  4. Invite the right people into the focused discussions as you collectively build the plan
  5. Lead the team to focus on solving the issue at hand
  6. Assign follow-up actions to responsible parties
  7. Learn together from tracking and reporting activities; and make change as needed

My hope is that others, like you, will believe in their ability to collectively facilitate the future, the collective story, in our work today.

Thank you for the privilege of working with you,

Another Real Story

On my book blog, WadingtheStream.com, I am gathering Awareness Stories. The stories are very interesting. I am interviewing these individuals after a rough 2-3 years. I was reminded just how rough by this post on my Facebook wall:

…unemployed because in part (or mostly) due to following the leadership and coaching received from a leader whose “story” is posted here. Bitter, perhaps, but I was always aware there was a reality out there that I now find myself embroiled in…bottom line is the person that took my place when I was coached to try a new position is still employed at my former place of employment. I still look, apply, and hope that the phone rings every day.

Here was my response:
I am so glad to hear from you … of course I wish the reconnect was around much different circumstances. In the last 2 years, I’ve been very disappointed in how some have handled these challenging times (how some have behaved). You are in the grieving process, and I encourage you to allow this process to play out as part of the transition from what has ended to what will be a new beginning.

And−forgive my strong encouragement−please remember who you are as you actively discover what is next for you.

Your Personal Purpose/Brand is a core part of communicating who you are:
I Prepare & Guide Others to Fulfillment
(I coach the individual to focus on the  present challenge)

Your own present challenge is a tough one, no doubt. If a conversation might be of any assistance, please feel free to let me know and we will find a time to talk.

As you talk with prospective employers, be sure to tell the good story of how you do what you do (that Brand above). With the intention of assisting you in telling this story, I include your long brand that you and I composed:
I am a leader who is a committed teacher. Part of my teaching demeanor is sharing all feedback in a positive way leading to a better connection for the individual. Others trust me at my word – I honor the individual in how I keep my commitments. I give my time to support and serve others one by one.

All−and only−the best,


The Client Letters 2011 – Five (Deanna)


When we began our work together, you said, “I want to do some homework on what makes me feisty.” You explained that you become feisty when you cannot find a connection between what is being asked of you and your own understanding of purpose. What you and I learned together was how powerful your value of Purpose/Meaning was to your very presence.

You feel less of the collaboration you value when the disconnect between action and purpose distracts you from being in the moment; and thus, you become feisty. It was a thrill to work with you and see feisty simply become confidence. You confidently challenge others to look at things differently when you are in the moment with the business model of your brand of leadership. That model is Creative Purpose to Collaborative Challenge to Conscious Connection.

Your leadership business model is the power of your presence. It is how you give your gift in this world; creative purpose through challenge. Confidently being you, standing on a foundation of unique values, is a 21st Century style of giving.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your growth and development as a leader as you give through the flow of Purpose to Challenge to Connection. Continue to leverage that feistiness, and keep on being you.