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Posts Tagged ‘Impact’

As I write this, it was 15 years ago and we were preparing to leave the corporate life. We traveled to the region where we now live and purchased a house. I was leaving an organization where I had a good run, with 23 assignments in three states. Many good relationships were built that still nourish my work today.

We moved in December of that year. In January the company brought me back for my final day, and for a surprise going-away party. Being the reason for the party I decided to hang with it until the last person left. I had no idea that would be 1:00 a.m.  After he had too much truth serum, one of the few late attendees seemed upset and decided he needed to tell me something.

His telling was about what an executive had said to him, and how it had obviously disturbed him greatly. I write this as the 2016 presidential campaign season is days from being over. What he had heard was in no way as disgusting as what we have heard in this campaign, but to him it was nonetheless very upsetting. I’ll leave it at that as I’m simply trying to set up my story.

I will call the executive Carl. The division’s Christmas party was being planned, and the name of a recently departed executive came up as someone to put on the invite list. That’s when Carl made his reactive statement. Even though he only said it to the one person, it seems that one person couldn’t help but talk about it to others.

The next morning I traveled back to my new home. I was leaving the company with a signed contract to complete culture work that had been started by my team while employed there, and another contract waiting for approval to begin the leadership coaching part of my practice with nine individuals.

In the following days I could not get that story about Carl off my mind. I respected him enough to confront his reactivity. I called his administrative assistant and set up an appointment. On the day of the call, I found myself pacing in the yard outside my office asking myself how I was going to handle this.

When I got Carl on the phone, I said, I’m going to tell you a story, at any point if I get anything wrong, stop me. I told the story, and he never stopped me. He said that how I told it was how it had unfolded. He then said, “I was just being myself.”

I reminded him of the wonderful things he had led and done in the culture of that organization over the last few years. His presence and work had been part of setting up a needed transformation. I told him I was making this call because I didn’t want to see a simple comment take it all down. I then said to him, “You have a thousand people under your care now, you’ve lost the right to just be yourself.”

Therein lies the mystery of Authenticity. We confuse blatant honesty driven by emotion with real authentic presence. Whatever Carl’s feelings were about the departed executive had nothing to do with the person who had stood before him.

I’ve told this story many times to leader clients whom I felt needed to hear it, but writing it down is causing me to reflect on my own behavior as authentic, or not. It’s rather humbling when that spot is flicked on.

Leadership is about behavior.

It is only about behavior. We influence through behavior. Our behavior can stand in the way of powerful results or our behavior can encourage and empower others toward powerful outcomes.

An organization’s culture does not determine our behavior as a leader, but our behavior as leaders determines our culture. Frankly, I no longer care very much for conversations about culture. I much prefer to keep my energy focus on a body of work that builds confidence.

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)

At the end of the conversation Carl directly asked my advice about what he should do. I told him that he knew the one person that was present that he needed to talk to, and that he must go to him and ask for his forgiveness. Then, ask him who else he should talk to, and then go to each of them and do the same.

In the brightness of the authentic self (what I call Trueness) we clearly see our actions and can observe them factually, before any judgment. There is a narrow space in which such seeing occurs, and we must respond quickly leveling in on what drives us from the deepest place in our being.

Yes, as a leader in the 21st Century, Carl has grown beyond the emotional right to say whatever. However, he is completely free by his Trueness to speak from and with his authentic voice.

Bright Unknowing

Superfluous opinion, you’re not.
Yet trigger pulled, sending brightly
such divisive thinking into the air.

An opinion, only narcissism serves.
Egocentricity, and shallowness lightly,
simply wasting the burst of a flare.

Devastating challenge it was,
when such I realized,
of opinions, I must let go.

Wonderfully freeing it was,
truthful wound cauterized,
of presence, I can now know.

Inauthentic only, an opinion can be,
outwardly lashing,
misrepresentation externally told.

Authenticity, non-dualistic and free,
inwardly flashing,
oneness internally we can hold.

–J. Brunson

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The Mystery of Impact

When an individual is acting from Trueness, the path to impact is negotiated with the loving and mysterious movement of providence.

In too many organizations, of any kind, it doesn’t take long to observe behaviors of unhealthy competition, selfishness, and downright nastiness. We cannot focus properly on any larger, collective mission when such energy is being wasted internally. It is the same for us as individuals. We cannot develop externally what we are not developing internally.

Trueness honors the uniqueness of each individual as the power to make the collective whole.

I endured all 35 hours of the teams training that the organization purchased. I emerged from the mandatory course stating that it would never work. I did not like being a negative critic. I was still young enough however to be a bit proud when a few months later the whole process was abandoned.

A few years later, interest arose for my process for building a team. When speaking of the method, I made one thing immediately clear, the individuals on my team never heard me use the words team or teamwork. My method approached teamwork as an outcome and team as a title identifying a collective of committed individuals.

When knowing your Trueness, and doing work from the energy of your true self, you will have an impact on others. Your work will have meaning, for you and the other.

I am still learning to feel, hear, and see my own impact in this world. I only know such impact as I first feel in my own Trueness the voice that pushes me out into the world. In the continual flow of giving what the world needs from me, I have to let go of all in the way of listening. From another’s Trueness I then hear appreciation for our shared presence. From what is given back to me I can then begin to see what impact looks like in the reality of the other.

The mystery comes into play as I let go of control and expectation – a seemingly impossible task, but a necessity to knowing impact.

Trust the Mystery

The mystery of impact,
a paradox hard to hold,
being who I am
doing what I do,
to what end?

The answer held truly
by the one, herself
by the one, himself
read aloud in their own lives.

In the theater of my life,
I stand somewhere between
the second and final acts,
scenes replaying and lovingly teaching.

Youth now walks behind me,
but deserted me it has not.
Its diligence dutiful and due,
its design served adequately.

From the words of life & living,
a manuscript evolving,
my impact unfolding in the chapters,
written by others
finally by me being read.

And read I do
often and openly.
no longer hiding,
impact embracing,
the mystery holding,
the mystery holding me.

­– J. Brunson

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Shared Love

See the Impact

The more aware you become of your brand of love the more you see the alignment, the movement and order of things, that flows your love out into the world. The shared love of my friend Ric is the reason I now have a treasured relationship with Jen.

Jen’s desire, through the life of her work, is that others realize their potential. The intent drawing her forward is that those influenced by her work find the creative tension of comfort and challenge, as they live more consciously.

If I were employed once again in an organization, I would want Jen to be in charge of the learning experiences designed to make me more fulfilled and impactful from the core of my authenticity, ever evolving from my strengths.

Jen’s Change, and Influence

Like many others right now, Jen is between gigs, not currently employed in a typical job in an organization. Recently, she found herself empathetically identifying with the questions of a friend: “Who am I, really? Who do I want to be? I’m all these things to all these different people in my life, but I don’t know who I am for me.”

Several years ago, when in the Navy, she and friends were out for dinner. Jen’s fortune cookie strip said, “You are the warmth that illuminates those around you.” She said to me, “I’m not much of a luminary if I’m stumbling around in the dark.”

Her purpose type (see Imperative.com) is a Luminary, shining a light on others and what they need to see inside themselves. Jen is an instinctive connector; people to people. She is passionate about opening the other person’s vision toward impact of individual purpose, and being the provider of resources supportive of individual impact.

She may be in transition (between professional jobs), but she is not in-between; the way in which the world often thinks of it, in neutral, not in gear, not moving. The change upon Jen is really not so much change, per se. It is much more accurate to say that she is now, in what feels like transition, becoming more free in being who she really is.

The Rapids of Influence

Jen is asking herself “What does it look like to put more energy into being with my purpose?” Answering this question is at the heart of what it means to be a leader in this 21st Century. Taking the time for herself, to step back and look at her Trueness, Jen has become more conscious of what she values most, what she most wants from her life and work. Everything she needs in order to gain what is most desired and intended is already right there inside. Trusting her own Desire & Intent, she can now more freely experience the pulse of Feel, Hear, and See.

Feel the Rhythm. You get a feel of your own rhythm as you open to the gratitude that wells in your core. To forgive your own assumptions, about self and others, requires courage and frees the flow of your voice.

Hear the Middle Melody. To stand in the middle with any clarity requires you to listen to the leader within. From this firm stand in Trueness, you hear the voice of self, singing over the rocks in the streambed of experience.

See the Impact. The more conscious you are of your own true rhythm the clearer you see, and your confidence crescendos with your brand of love that must be shared as you wade the confluence of Trueness, your true self and that of the other.

For Jen to feel is the inner part of her work of being human, and to know her unique interest to energy connection. To see is to embrace the impact of her work in the world, and to know further opportunity. And right in the middle of feel and see, she will hear what really is, brightly aware of the impact of her own rhythm.

Finally committing to the rhythm of your Trueness, you can now grasp the truth of your love. Our individual, unique brand of love has been given to us to share. What may feel like change and transition to Jen is more likely her own Trueness finding its place in our needy world, and in her Trueness finding the ways to share her love.

A Leadership Poem: Here’s the Thing

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Rhythm

See the Impact

I have always required a fair amount of alone time. As a child I spent hours with modeling clay as a playmate. I molded short stories and full movie scripts with the consequent figures. In my teen years, in the midst of much activity with a base of life-long friends to be, I often turned down the offer of an outing to continue working on some scale model, or other project–alone.

My first memory of feeling lonely was some time during my last two years at the university. In those days, because the university had a sprawling campus outside a small town, activity was often sparse on the weekend.

It was one of the few weekends I stayed on campus. My home was 140 miles away and I was not long with money, cooking in my room quite often in an electric skillet with ingredients brought from home, and living the remainder on about five dollars a week. I walked the campus for what I remember being hours. I was alone and walking into loneliness.

In the Middle of Alone and Lonely

I found myself outside a small chapel. Suddenly present inside, I quietly stood in the middle experience of alone and lonely. Such experience was a space asking me to be with what is, all that has been, all that will be–it’s all now.

Nearing 21 years of age, graduating with a degree in accounting, an impending job search, and our wedding, it was a beautiful, settling moment, a present grounding. Forty years later, I find myself in that small chapel, metaphorically, quite often as I coach individuals and write for you.

Surveying the years since that moment in the small campus chapel, I see how providence moved me, through experience, toward my own voice. Early on, my voice of Love, and its strength of Encouragement, struggled to find focus. Eventually, my voice became my focus as I translated voice into a personal/professional purpose and brand.

“The voice emerges literally from the body as a representation of our inner world. It carries our experience from the past, our hopes and fears for the future, and the emotional resonance of the moment.”

–David Whyte, The Heart Aroused

I truly believe that the more narrow your focus, the broader your impact. Narrowing focus is a disciplined practice supportive of the developing ability to let go.

The Middle Stand of Trueness

Trueness is the impact of your presence; a presence grounded in voice applied. The impact of your methodology of focus is faithfulness to a cycle of energy that has been diligently built on your Trueness throughout your journey. If I did not know voice, I could not know rhythm.

In a chapel of awareness, Kelly has embraced her voice of Respect and Dignity and is applying her rhythm of impact. Upon seeing in writing, her voice, and its strength of A Clear Voice at the Table, her boss said, “The better you listen the better you are at executing your personal brand.”

As Kelly has learned, and is now practicing, to focus at her best she must listen. She came to me, and our work together, at a beautiful, providentially timed moment. She was aware of key perceptions about who she was in her work, and she didn’t like what she saw. As with any perception, it is the one being perceived who makes the choice to do something about changing any specific perception.

Kelly came to me in light of her courageous commitment to change the perception, “Give it to Kelly, she’ll get it done.” While that may have the mask of a compliment in our work society, it is a very narrow view, limiting Kelly’s ability to apply her Trueness as well as the ability of anyone to observe such authentic rhythm in action.

Kelly felt alone, and thus lonely. She didn’t know what to do beyond what constantly bubbling emotions were saying loud and clear. Now, when her voice of Respect and Dignity is in the lead, she will consciously listen in each situation. As she will continue to discover, the more she listens, the more her voice will have its place with influence, inclusion, and impact.

Being true to self is not possible standing to one side or the other. Trueness is found only in the middle stand.

A Leadership Poem: Quiet and Clear

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Deep Impact

Feel, Hear, See


What is the deeper context to which this work has led me?

Somewhere in the four years of living this beautiful question the answer began to surface. The flawless answer was first a seed, predestined to sprout within a deep, inner and original conversation. Such conversation is born in Trueness.

Trueness is your authentic self, from the beginning, with colors and hues on the original palette, simply waiting to be stroked into beautiful, present being by the dance and dialogue of artist and canvas.

“Part of being present has everything to do with being true to yourself. If you are true to your passion and your purpose … then, they align with presence.” –Dan Roller, Acris Consulting

Trueness, it seems, was my one-word answer to the question of deeper context. I had been brought to the middle of my own Trueness, and I became more dedicated than ever to support the shift toward Trueness in others.

A Story of Impact

This work I’ve been given to do allows me the opportunity to journey at length with special individuals. One such privilege is my colleague Ric Gonzalez. I’ve known Ric long enough, and have been close enough over the years, to observe his evolution and transformation into the realm of his Trueness. Ric, through his life and work, is making an impact.

Writing about Ric brings to mind a project I learned about when working a gig with the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and the International Storytelling Center. The JPL project was called Deep Impact. I interviewed one of the project team members and heard what it was all about. A probe was launched with the intention of colliding with a nearby comet.

The probe was described to me as a solid mass about the size of a coffee table, with no damaging ordnances aboard. Once it would meet the targeted comet, it would make a deep impact and send out debris that could then be studied, resulting in a better understanding of the comet’s makeup and origin.

Why would I compare Ric to a solid mass meeting a target? Ric intends no harm in the work he has chosen, and that has selected him. However, his intention has drawn him forward to make a deep impact. He then pays attention to what swirls in the space between what he desires and what he intends–being present in the creative and tense space of the work he does. In such space, Ric becomes more aware of his own Trueness while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of those he leads, influences, and serves. This is Ric’s deep impact.

Feel, Hear, See

In and with Trueness, I had my why and what. This left me with the question of how. The answer to how was tucked away in my authentic self. In one word, my how is Rhythm.

The answer of Rhythm opened yet further conversation as I found myself asking, What is it about rhythm I so desire to teach?

Writing this series on Your Rhythm in Leading is part of the journey toward an answer. As I’ve learned to live the questions, I’m finding I must many times live into the answers–it is an unfolding.

The methodology I’ve found to illustrate one’s rhythm with passion, purpose, and presence has sub-rhythms within. One such pulse contained within is associated with the outcomes one values. I know this pulse as feel, hear, see.

As for Ric, and the reality of his impact, he has taken accountability for why he feels, what he hears, and how he sees. He listens in the flow, and in the process honors his rhythm.

We desire and intend the same for you!

“What would it be like to take a professional approach to the longings of our soul for fulfillment in the world?” –David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

And thus, thanks Mr. Whyte, answering this question has been my journey for the last 20 years!

A Leadership Poem: Soul to Soul

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Creative Tension – Part 6B of 7

Illuminating Purpose

In his previous post, Jeff asked the question, “What opens your portal to focus?” And again, the irony sets in. There seems to be a never-ending road of “things to do” that are constantly calling for my attention. About the time I get one thing completed, there are five more to fill the space. While many of these “things” are simply the stuff of life, others are bigger, more impactful, sometimes emergency-level. About the time I’m able to identify what I need to focus on, it changes. Without going into detail, let’s just say my family has demanded a LOT of unplanned attention lately. So finding the focus to write this has been rather difficult to say the least. So I thought it was a good time to take a step back and think.

Something I always look for to inspire what I write is a compelling story. The story may be something I’ve read, from a friend, or most often, involving my family. And while there have been some pretty compelling stories in the recent weeks, the inspiration didn’t come. I considered focusing on several different stories that would certainly be appropriate for leaders and the Work of Trueness, such as when I made my teenage daughter read How Full Is Your Bucket after she said something particularly nasty to her younger sister. (She actually enjoyed the book and sisters are back to loving each other again…most of the time!)

Even as I considered this, I kept getting pulled back to a familiar topic, and one I’ve been exploring a lot lately – Purpose. Then I thought that maybe it was a good time to share some of my story.

Change is something that has almost always been “forced” on me. While I had many choices, the need to make a choice was often out of necessity, not a personal desire. My first major transition was joining the U.S. Navy out of college. Then after 10 ½ years, I left the Navy and found myself working in “corporate America”. In 2013, after nearly 13 years, I was one of many impacted from a “reduction in force” (RIF). I was blessed to find my way to my most recent position where I met some great new friends, built strong network connections, and added value in many ways. Then last Fall I was again one of many impacted by a RIF.

“Only through our Trueness do we find congruency with our purpose and the outcomes of our focus.” ~ Jeff Brunson

Purpose. Focus. Trueness. Three very strong components of my current state eloquently brought together in one sentence. In the recent months, as a result of my current situation, I have taken a deeper, more intentional look at identifying and understanding my purpose. Along the way I was reminded that of the 3 Ps of the Work of Trueness – Passion, Presence, Purpose – the one that resonates with me most is Purpose. Through purpose I find passion and can be present with those I engage. However, without a clearly defined purpose, my focus has been a bit … out of focus.

As Jeff said, “Growth is a journey.” Along that journey we GATHER resources to help us navigate. Occasionally we GIVE these resources to others to help them on their journey. And in the giving we help others, and ourselves, GROW.

The resource I share today is one that was shared by Ric Gonzalez. Imperative is an organization “empowering purpose-oriented workers and the organizations that embrace them.” Being the “assessment junkie” that I am, I jumped right in and discovered that my Purpose Type is The Luminary. I provide the tools and resources that help people thrive with the goal of creating a more humane, just and inclusive society. This purpose is the embodiment of my strenghts. This is my imperative. My imperative IS the Work of Trueness!

So with this in mind, I leave you with this….Jennifer 6B

As leaders, we may not always know what, or who, is around the next bend along our journey. And we may not know why certain things happen that may rock our boat. But when we know our strengths and get curious about what the Universe is saying, then take the time to truly listen, the answer will be revealed. Like an optical illusion, this is where we encounter creative tension. Sometimes we need to NOT FOCUS in order to SEE the picture.

In the spirit of providing a bit of illumination on our journey, I share this…

  • GATHER – Take a few minutes to explore what your purpose type is by taking the Imperative assessment.
  • GIVE – Pay it forward. Share with others what you’ve learned and encourage them to do the same.
  • GROW – Embrace your purpose – TRUST yourself!

As a good friend recently reminded me, I am where I am right now for a reason. In that I will discover my purpose. It may be that I need to be present right now as both of my daughters are in the midst of significant transition. And in helping them grow, so will I. After all, I am The Luminary.

“My most meaningful moments take place when my in-depth expertise or latest discovery has a direct impact on an individual’s life.”

ESPECIALLY those I care about and love!

 

Jennifer Rainey  "Strengths Expert"

Jennifer Rainey
“Strengths Expert”

All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.

Sign up for her curation:
Through the Door of Possibility

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Driven by the Impact I desire to have and drawn to the Impact I intend to have, I have for many years been a person who studies.

On the day I began my part of this composition, Judy (my coach, colleague, and friend) and I were talking about a shift in our motivation for reading and studying. We have each come to a place where we no longer study for study-sake. It is now more important to be in study driven by what it is we know we must now learn. And what we now study is in direct support of what we desire and intend to impact.

Modern education is training for autonomy, and in that context, it is almost impossible to admit that knowledge itself is a gift.

–Parker J. Palmer, The Promise of Paradox

In the quest for learning, Judy and I are being challenged to go beyond acquiring for mere practicality and now see our learning for application that is pure.

Please understand, study has served up value and purpose in my life and work. This place where I now stand in life & living requires the shift from a need to study to a need to learn. It is time to bring fullness into the rhythm.

Study is to gather information on the one hand. On the other hand is the need to grow something with what has been gathered. In the sense of application and practice, as I use the term in my coaching, is a true knowing–learning that occurs when the hand of Gather joins the hand of Grow and we then know how to truly Give.

And there lies, with Give, the stand in Creative Tension. Difficult it is to be creative without the tension between what we desire to be real and the possibility we intend.

Impossible it is for me to learn and give of that learning if I do not first receive it as a gift. When received as a gift I find myself soaked in gratitude, and I know then my responsibility is to dry out in the air of giving.

And hence, we have the gift of leadership. A leader holds such tension; holds it long enough to understand what it looks like to give in the present, allowing us to come together and make real the larger story we desire to tell.

A Leadership Poem: You Are Someone

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