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Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’

Surprising it may seem
and so surprising it is;
but deceitful it cannot be.

−verse 5 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

Trust has to begin within.

Sitting down to write, I often find myself in the sludge of thoughts, wanting to write, but not knowing where to start. The one thing that always seems to calm the whirling thinking and open me to the pen and page is one particular song, which I select on my phone and play through the ear buds, often over and over as the words start to come: Love is the Answer, by Todd Rundgren.

With love being my voice, the lyrics and music open me to trust the flow, and the moment with what needs to be written. It is almost always a wonderful surprise.

A Story
My desire to write goes back quite far, at least to the time when I wrote the essay on work when in elementary school. I didn’t know why I wanted to write. Once I was in high school, there were more assignments requiring one to write.

I remember high school English, getting many writing assignments, and seeing the less than average score on most of them when the teacher handed them back, always in an impersonal fashion. I didn’t know if I just couldn’t write, she just didn’t like my writing, or some combination thereof. Consequently, when I got to college, found myself in American Literature, I dreaded the first writing assignment.

The time, of course, came. Sandra Boyd was her name. I shall never forget her, my teacher. She graded that first assignment and the time came to hand them back to us. She went to the first seat in each row and handed the graded essays to the first person to pass back, except on my row.

She brought my paper to me directly, placed it in front of me (I saw the A at the top), and said, “I can’t wait to read what you write next.”

It was many more years before I made the commitment to not only write regularly, but to become diligent in the process to become better at the craft. To help in the matter, I was blessed to find Pam and Susan and we formed our own writing group for practice.

One day, several years into our time together, we were doing our normal thing; writing a piece from an impromptu assignment and then reading to each other what had been written. They shared something with me that became a gift of energy leading me to find focus in my writing.

I had just read my piece, where I had shared a story. They said, “We like it when you tell us a story. Write more stories for us.”

I hope I’ve done a good job since then to keep my commitment to Pam and Susan to write more stories.

A poem for your work: Encouragement is Love

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And the deepest of reality,
an original endowment,
is the intricate truth
of who one really is.

−verse 4 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

How freeing it was for me to learn how to be a neutral facilitator. At first, such learning was about being more skilled. Then, I heard a rule opening me to the learning, and subsequently teaching me to pay attention: It’s not about me; it’s all about them.

This guiding rule of facilitation also helped open me to my cardinal rule:

That the individual be encouraged.

It was the Thanksgiving week, and my wife and I flew to her parent’s home so we could then drive them to Texas to visit family. I had not been to my father-in-law’s home place in over a quarter of a century. So, since the last time I had seen Keith, he had unfolded a full career and was 500 days from his qualified, official retirement.

I was able to spend quality time with the family members there as several of them worked together on improvements around the farm. Throughout the weekend, I was amazed at Keith’s ability to pay attention to every detail of a conversation and bring tidbits of information from songs, movies, and television to enliven the narrative.

On the last evening before we drove back, Keith and I were standing outside with two other cousins in conversation. I told him what I had observed and I then offered up a challenge for him to think about how he could use his ability to pay attention for what was next in his life and living once those 500 days were up.

The most loving thing I know how to do is to encourage another human spirit. Encouragement is a gift that was given to me. I suppose it was encoded in my DNA. My acts of encouragement are undergirded by my life mission to love, serve, and understand.

It is important to be aware of strengths and the accompanying pitfalls in the shadow of each.

Pitfalls, and a Living Methodology
In my life mission, I’ve been well served by becoming conscious of these specific traps:

Love: When I focus on whether or not love is being shown back to me.

Serve: When I give and falsely expect something (anything) in return.

Understand: When this becomes a ‘need to understand’ focused on me versus an action given and released.

Judy (my coach) has been an integral part of my evolution and ever-unfolding journey. At a time when I was feeling another transition in the work, and further pain in continuing transformation, she challenged me to focus on changing my perception at my wonderful stage of life’s journey.

After quite a bit of contemplation, here was my commitment in light of my gather-give-grow methodology:

Gather: I will more consciously work to live more simply. I will work harder to care for my wife and myself first, so we can better care for others. I will ease up on what I expect from others. I will continue to keep my commitment to encourage no matter what.

Give: I will become presently conscious of what I can do, do that, and release the action into the flow.

Grow: I will participate more in conscious being. This one I will gladly figure out as I go.

As we were saying goodbye to family members one by one at the farm, Keith approached me. With a bit of emotion showing forth in his eyes and voice, he said, “Thank you for the encouragement.”

A poem for your work: It’s Why I’m Here

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The Stream (Stillness/Flow)

Stillness/Flow is the creative tension in the paradox of Hold & Release.

In part 2 we stepped into the stream. There we continue to understand its particular paradox of power. In this part we consider the reality of tension that is in-between two seemingly opposite truths. The tension is creative because standing still in such movement is the only way we begin to see.

As I am being taught, when I am attempting control it is on some external issue or some internal matter that I just want to be other than what it really is.

Reality: The tension is always there.
Reality: The tension is creatively free only as we no longer have a need to label.

“The world is afraid of reconciliation. We prefer to live in a world of black and white where we create and maintain enemies, because that keeps our own group together. … Our human nature has trapped us in certain positions that have a degree of culture-forming logic to them but overall are simply untrue.” –Richard Rohr

This from Rohr is a reminder to me; to be deeply thankful and presently grateful for the fading need within to label and set apart what is naturally one.

The Creative Tension (Stillness/Flow)

It occurs to me that George was firmly focused on the flow. Our call was eight months after the business case/simulation of which I was privileged to be a part. This was one component in an effort to train and equip technical experts with consultative skills.

I asked him how this was going all these months later. “Aggravating” was his response. It seems the recipients of George’s good intentions were not progressing as he had envisioned, or hoped. As I listened, and asked further questions, he began to dig a little deeper into what he might yet do. His questions of me were about tools or resources he might leverage.

As I’ve learned wading the stream, I must be very aware of the flow without giving it my entire focus. In order to remain sure of foot in the current, and find a place to stand, I must focus on the bottom.

Finally, I knew it was time to give George a bit of encouragement. I set it up by stating that he didn’t need another’s program, and hopefully brought it to stillness by saying, “George, you can do this.”

Attempts at control throw us out-of-balance, causing us to see stillness and flow as a contradiction (either/or). The only control I, in reality, possess is my now experiential knowledge that I have no control–and more importantly that I do not want such (at least not any more). This stills me in the flow.

I am not part of the flow by being swept away. The flow is experiential as I find my place to stand in the middle and cast for what is important–and real.

The only way to love the flow, and in the flow love, is to stand still.

The Stream–a necessary note in the rhythm–is a place to fully be. It is a moving reminder, flowing around your stillness, that you are part of something larger.

It includes you–Your Trueness.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com: The Reality of Experience

On the Creeper Trail

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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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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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Rob,

About your love, my brief response was, “It’s not the words, it’s the action.”

This is the Rob so many know; a man who acts on what he believes and knows in his core. I have the privilege of being your Coach and of knowing you long before the coaching relationship. This is the last of my letters to select clients for 2011; a series corresponding to each of the seven chapters of my book. Chapter seven is Love. While some have praised me for writing about love in leadership, I write this to thank you for living it in how you lead, influence, and serve.

I heard a story about two old farmers, Joe and his neighbor. Both had lost their wives and only had each other to talk to so far out in the countryside. One day a dispute over a calf broke the relationship. They did not speak for months. Old Joe hired a carpenter to build a high fence so he would not have to look across the creek at his neighbor. Old Joe came back from town the day the fence was to be built, cleared the last hill, and saw no fence. Instead, the carpenter had built a bridge. Before old Joe could give the carpenter the what for, the neighbor crossed the bridge, embraced old Joe, and asked for his forgiveness in the argument over the calf, stating that Joe was the bigger man for providing the bridge.

Rob, you are the carpenter. We need men of courage in this 21st Century. You are a man of practical faith; the source of your down-to-earth consistency in all matters.

About Your Love
You care about, and for, people one-by-one. You take time to encourage. When you are in someone’s presence, you are present with them.

About Your Storytelling
You weave a good story. You tell for a purpose. You tell for the love of the hearer.

Thank you again for being a courageous carpenter,
Jeff

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You have a Story.

You are a story. With all its good and bad times and all its positive and negative components, your story is good. It is what it is. All those times and components have been important acts in the play that is your life – your story.

Embrace it. Be encouraged in it. Do not compare your story to any other. Accept it as the unique narrative it is.

It is a Story of You.

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