Creative Tension – Part 3A of 7

Gather to Give
A Transition into Generous Leadership

Generously, is how Trueness flows out into the world.

In the book Immortal Diamond, Richard Rohr says that expectations are just resentments waiting to happen. And as I’ve painfully learned about myself (my false, selfish, limiting side), it is my quickly scripted expectations that cause the very distress I want to blame others for causing–as they miss the mark inked by my stupid expectations.

One who sees himself “in charge” –believing he ultimately has the answers–is going to struggle with actually becoming a leader. A haughty, in-charge, must-be-right individual has nothing to give, for nothing has been gathered through experience; her hands have been too full of herself.

You truly give externally only when you know how to give internally.

Trueness is not just to be acknowledged, it is to be known and cared after. And if there is a solid definition for Trueness, then it is probably generously wrapped in freedom from expectation. This is A New Confidence.

How does all this apply to leadership, or being a leader? If leadership is influence through presence, then we give through our intentional presence. The Trueness of a leader flows into the world only as it is freed from having to be right.

There were many experiences building one on another that began to shake these things from my hands. But such release was further facilitated as I learned and practiced with the knowledge of Carl Jung’s understanding about our personalities and preferences. Each time I gave to another from practicing with this knowledge, I let go of one restriction after another to my Trueness, and therefore my leadership.

Gather flows into giving as we step into the movement that is generosity of sprit.

Go back to Parker Palmer and Jennifer Rainey as they encourage our rhythm and help us set it right and fully experience Gather-Give-Grow:

  • Slow down. Practice disengagement.
  • Do more with less. Discipline yourself to see the patterns around you.
  • Pay attention to rhythm. Deliberately look for people with opposing viewpoints to engage in conversation.

Disengagement is not shutting down all functioning systems. Rather, it is about focusing the best of who you are in order to, as a leader, Gather.

Gathering places you in the middle with learning and consequent practice. This is where you see your Trueness in the patterns, and Give.

Trueness opens you to experience and you find yourself present with others. You gather for such presence. You give in such encounter. And as it is with life-giving rhythm, we all Grow.

A Leadership Poem: In the Middle Space

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Release A New Confidence into Skill 3

In the post about Impact and Skill 1, I wrote about Leslie. She and I have in common the spiritual gift of encouragement. We have each learned how exercising our gift places us square in the present.

The 21st Century leader is modeling for us a new confidence; a presence that is both selfless and powerful. Focusing her leadership in the present … ensures that we put our attention to the right priorities; thus building fulfillment in our present work and assuring the rewards of tomorrow. −Wading the Stream of Awareness (A New Confidence Chapter)

Leslie’s acts of encouragement are in the moment and become an engaging message about tomorrow−about what ought to be. The clarity of a message is a gift−a connection point found only in the present as we gather in the clarity. When a leader is truly clear, a collective future vision begins to become more individually organized in the present.

No vision is collectively good until we individually engage and connect. And we cannot achieve any vision without holding its story in the balance of the present; together. As with Leslie, leadership challenges us to find a confident stance in that delicate, tight space of understanding. If I cannot stand there as a leader, how can I expect others to stand with me and hold the tension of our future.

Any story worth our collective attention pulls us into the present as it flows from clarity to engagement to connection. It is leaders like Leslie who understand the importance of consistent messaging to keep us on an unfolding path as we live the story.

See sister post, Letting Go into A New Confidence

Others and You (A Personal Reflection on Reach)

Influence radiates from the core of who we are. For influence to extend as far as possible, confidence at the core is essential. Without confidence, you cannot expect to influence others.

Confidence without empathy, compassion, and love is called arrogance. Arrogance radiates from the core, as well, and it is the destructive antithesis of influence. Influence must be a positive force. To think of “negative influence” is to tarnish the essence of influence. Arrogance is a blackhole sucking good will out of the relationship. It hurts. It destroys. It repels. It saps energy. There can be little to no progress and growth within the event horizon of arrogance.

The beauty of influence is that it is an extension of the good will inside of one person directed at others. It is a nurturing force. It stimulates interaction. It promotes growth. It encourages collaboration. It heals. It bonds. It draws positive things together. It is one of the manifestations of love within the vast net of human connections.

The event horizon of arrogance has limits. It is the distance from the edge of the sphere of corruption to the corrupt center. The distance can be measured. The space beyond that is untouchable to arrogance. Influence, however, is passed on from the loving core of one human being to the loving core of another. In this way, influence is immeasurable. It’s playground is everything beyond the reach of the feeble sphere of arrogance.

Let those who would remain closed and embrace arrogance maintain their myopic, short-sighted focus. The reach of your story is limited only by your capacity to open up to love. Look farther.

As influence grows, reach expands.

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.

Reflections for Your Awareness (It is Personal)

It’s hard to get anyone to truly hear your story until it’s personal. We have to make the story personal.
-From post 7/20/2011 by Ric Gonzalez, Woo Woo Leadership

Our Christmas 2011 was experienced in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. On the evening prior to returning home (Christmas evening), I went to the desk clerk to get some coffee as the housekeeping staff had been given the day off. Deanna retrieved my packets of coffee and we began to talk. Her son was departing to Afghanistan the very next morning. On the way in from dinner that evening, we stopped by the lobby as I saw a young man talking to Deanna. I was able to shake her son’s hand and wish him the best. It is a powerful thing to know someone’s story.

Love goes beyond expectation. It is accepted that a leader should be clear with his or her expectations. Too often however, many fail to understand what an expectation conveys in true form. Expectation must communicate desire, intent, and confidence.

Love flows from the confident leader who knows purpose. Purpose shines through a personal narrative that is told in each action as a leader; actions which are consistent expressions of one’s personal story. My friend Judie is free to love by choice and she is free to love differently and equally. She delights in your presence. I am certain Judie would have delighted to be in Deanna’s presence and to share personally in the story of her brave son.

There is a new confidence found in the connection that stories provide. As a storyteller you are present with your love and we have love in your presence. Love is the leader’s power to move us through fear and limitation. The why of love is anchored in one’s personal story. We trust the loving storyteller. So live a narrative that brings desire and intent to tangible reality for self and others.

Reflections for Your Awareness (Fixing Your Network)

Only after your network is fixed can you go be the linchpin, the Great Connector, that you are meant to be. Once you fix your network, you can serve it and its members better.  Once you fix your network, you will realize that yours is just a small part of a much bigger, much more powerful network and that we are all servants of the same human collective.
-From post 6/30/2011 by Ric Gonzalez, Woo Woo Leadership

Fixing a network might simply be in creating a new understanding for:
… Why you make your connections
… What you do in your network
… How you serve your connections.

Why
Your unique purpose as a leader forms a thread of meaning from one connection to another. One by one, connections of meaning form the power of a network. The artful act of connecting forms a creative bounty of connections.

What
It is meant for you to draw from this creativity in the collective. I believe part of what Ric is telling us is that our service finds voice in our network. Confidently exercising your own voice builds trust in your network and frees the flow of your gift.

How
The gift of your art flows freely through a confident voice. Your voice empowers the no so often needed to keep you on the path of service. Your network benefits greatly from your living, flowing purpose. Voice resonates in purpose.

My colleague Keith knows that part of fixing a network is the confidence to say no. And while voice gives power to the often required no, it also speaks a confident ‘yes’ to the service of our gift.

Reflections for Awareness (Magical Connection)

With the connections made and nurtured over time, the possibilities begin to multiply. What can one person accomplish with a healthy and robust network of personal connections? The simple answer is “anything.” But to get from here to there, the individuals have to align behind a compelling vision of what tomorrow can bring. The story we want to sell to the outside world is crafted within the safety of the network. This is how communication becomes a tool of great power. -From post 6/13/2011 by Ric Gonzalez, Woo Woo Leadership

The Magic of Alignment
My client Tammy creates the magic of alignment as she keeps others connected to reality. Both personally and professionally she remains present with each connection focused on momentary meaning. How she accomplishes this is best expressed in her words; “I focus on the big things at work and the small things at home.”

As a 21st Century leader, and like Tammy, you are not afraid of desire. You are not timid in how you act with purpose. A leader’s Desire & Intent is an authentic energy capable of strengthening the connection between leader and those being led, influenced, and served.

The Power of Connection
The strategic story is meant to bring us together. This can be difficult without the collectively crafted story energized by your purposeful leadership. Guided by purpose, you nurture your connections because you first trust yourself in these relationships. You then allow trust to create energy for others to confidently join in the story.

The energy for collective alignment is cultivated in the power of connection. You share energy to assist others in seeing the strategic meaning in day-to-day work while giving your attention to individual need in the home of one’s labor; the familiar space of individual effort.

BCL Blog 4