Each word is a paradox, meaning dependent upon the fully resonant intention of the spirit speaking. And speak the spirit does, and only in presence may the words be both spoken and heard in fullness.

Two sides to one word are often less about opposition and more about a necessary partnership working together for truth. The meaning of each chosen word enhanced by careful union with a successive word, demonstrates a loving connection through intentional presence, and fulfills one’s commitment to truth.

Presence can only speak in truth, a depth of trust freeing words to transport unique resonance into shared presence.

Voluminous Silence

Older I grow, and more I know
the power of words, lessoned.

From all I know,
from all experience,
realize I do, that words,
carefully selected, must be.

There was a time, I talked,
mostly to hear myself,
a self thinking, smarter
than reality.

It has a way, reality does,
of teaching lessons difficult,
and beyond the ego of it all.

Self, falsely founded, sinks
into an abyss of Trueness,
dark devastation it seems,
but bright and brilliant
in reality it is; light
so bright, Trueness
suddenly shining fully,
blinded we are, by an
original self.

And now a time, a presence
filled with less talk, less words,
trusting silence, imbued
by love, to speak volumes.

–J. Brunson


Your Rhythm in Leading – Part 3 of 7

Courageous Influence

Feel the Rhythm

In the 5th grade, or so, I wrote an essay entitled ‘The Therapy of Work.’ I suppose the commitment to do my part in influencing our places of work to be more animated with love, abundance, and freedom goes back a few years.

Many years later my Mom gave me a box packed with art work I had done through my growing years. In the box was this composition from my developmental years. Seeing it again made me think of those who, intentionally or not, influenced me.

To live from Trueness is to live A New Confidence−a way of being true to self, true to another, where gratitude flows free from expectation.

From the time I was a senior in high school until the very week I married, I worked off and on for a large department store chain. My first position was called porter, or carryout. Among other assorted duties, I took merchandise to customer’s automobiles: TVs, rugs, patio furniture, lawn mowers, (I’ve tied more than one boxed swing set to the top of VW bugs). The management of the store treated me well, but the one individual recollection I hold fast is that of Curtis Luckett.

Curtis was around 10 years my senior. He had a grateful way of being. In checking the shift schedule each week, I found myself actually praying I would have many of the same slots as Curtis. When it was just the two of us, I felt as if I’d hit a jackpot. Working a common shift, he was grateful to be in my presence, and I in his. He was kind, gentle, and in my eyes an incredibly strong leader.

Curtis may have not been my first experience with a sage, but one I shall never forget. It occurs to me all these years later that his courage was grounded in his consistency of being true.

Our unique strength preferences, when accepted at accurate face value, and held in the rhythm serving our Trueness, become a guide to us.

A compulsive need to be right, and anxiousness in looking good, gets in the way of standing firm in the present, especially in the face of relationship challenges. Such need to be right and look good, always at the cost of another, embezzles the storehouse of gratitude.

Courage is what love looks like when tested by the simple everyday necessities of being alive.” –David Whyte, Consolations

Forgiving Assumptions

Christie is practicing a new confidence as she becomes more practically conscious of her rhythm. In everything she does, she is committed to purpose, trust, and authenticity. She is specifically committed to clarity in each relationship, leading to purposeful connection, participative trust, and collaborative success.

Christie is a high-energy leader operating full tilt in her preferred extroverted space as she processes for self and with others. She has an ability to mentally gather information from her observation and rapidly assess it in her open, extroverted manner. Her processing has more than once caused me to smile so largely that I think she could actually hear through the phone the crinkling from my cheeks, mouth, and eyes.

It is Christie’s voice of positive, open intent that sets an example of the confidence we need to see in our leaders. Recently, she needed the guide of her own rhythm as she set her intention toward building a stronger relationship with her immediate boss. She put her voice to work and structured an approach to create a positive, open, and ongoing dialogue with her boss. First, she had to forgive her own assumptions about him in order to enter the conversation and work to bridge any relationship gap.

“It takes courage to allow your voice to have its place.”

Yes, it does take courage to have influence, to be influential. A synonym for influence is encouragement. To have a lasting effect on something, you have to live your rhythm and honor the rhythm of the other. Thank you Curtis and Christie for your impact in this world.

A Leadership Poem: Intense Influence


A Soul Dance with Impact

The call of the wild is a call to the elemental levels of the soul, the places of intuition, kinship, swiftness, fluency and the consolation of the lonesome that is not lonely. Our fear of our own wildness derives in part from our fear of the formless; but the wild is not the formless−it holds immense refinement and, indeed, clarity. −John O’Donohue in Beauty

George is a leader with a serving presence. He does not overshadow others as he builds individual confidence leveraging integrity and clarity. As George is bringing to my consciousness, there is no impact without clarity.

Our impact in this world demands present attention and focused intention. The soul does not dance to commercially produced music. A soul dance is uninhibited art as it flows from our wild clarity. Impact comes into view only in the marriage of attention and intention. Care, however, is required in the purification toward clarity; do not continue to invest all your energy to only attention or to attention before intention.

Attention is about focus outwardly. Intention is authored in your purpose inwardly. The flow is from the internal to the external. It is in this order that we balance intention and attention toward impact; where we perfect the dance into a soul dance.

While George and I have just begun our work together, I look forward to the grace of discovery as he courageously journeys into the coherent territory of purpose and clarity.

For George, clarity is an abiding value given in the beginning. I am excited to see what he discovers in the clarity of his own wildness. This I know, we are benefactors as his intention gives rhythm to his attention and we are dignified in the impact of a soul dance.

Service with a Purpose (In Your Presence)

A lack of purpose, of meaning−is the precise suffering of suffering! … The soul can live without success, but it cannot live without meaning.
−Richard Rohr

If you desire to know purpose, then discover the gift you offer in the world. Your gift−entrusted into your being in the beginning−is a beacon directing you to purpose and meaning. If there is any rhythm, or order, to one’s purpose, it is in the freedom of authentic presence.

“Being with” is a phrase that has become a part of my consciousness−making me more attentive to flow and true freedom. To simply be with is by nature the purest act of connection from one to another. It is about being present in the presence of another.

In being present, I move not because of expectation, but in expectation. There is something to be gained in your presence; in the flow of your unique story. I delight in the expectation of what I may learn about you. In the enchantment of connection, we are joined together−affixed by individuality.

Honor your transition from the old confidence to the new confidence. It is a transition of intention and not many enter it. The transformative journey requires great courage and spiritual stamina. It is in this space between the old and the new where you bring to light authentic success−your gift and the essence of you.

Liberation (Delight in Your Presence)

To be special in this world,
to be uniquely who you are,
is rhythmic freedom and flow.

In the safety of friendship,
in the simplest form of love,
I like all of you I know.

In your presence I delight,
an engaging sequence of creation.
With distinctiveness in full right,
we share authentic liberation.

−J. Brunson

Being With
21st Century Skill: Giving
Book 1, Chapter Five: Presence

Confident Growth

But it wasn’t the format that made the act great. It was the fact that somehow while playing around with something new, suddenly they found they were able to put their entire selves into it. … Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. –Hugh MacLeod of gapingvoid.com in Ignore Everybody

When learning is an act of intention, we find freedom in something new; fresh knowledge, deeper awareness, or a new way of seeing something ancient.

Leaders are learners. An intentional search for newness is most likely to flow toward a tangible and observable application – an energetic employment of learning that builds a leader’s credibility. As a 21st Century leader, it is important for you to be skillful in deconstructing certain learning, constructing this learning in a new light, and sharing this freely and consistently. Learning is a gateway for sharing your gift in the world.

You don’t search for the confidence to share your gift in the world. You share your gift and providentially find yourself rewarded with the confidence of voice. Your gift is both source and summary of personal impact.

Commit to learning and those you lead, influence, and serve will grow in individual confidence and then give their gift to others as encouragement for them to do the same thing.

(see Skill 1 for 21st Century Leadership)

Default Setting

In his new book Drive, Dan Pink has created yet another ‘must-read’ for anyone who aspires to 21st Century Leadership.

As Dan says on page 92 of this well researched and written work, “This era doesn’t call for better management. It calls for a renaissance of self-direction.”

My Client Ric, like me, is a fan of Dan Pink. We were in a conversation recently where I referred to Dan’s language of a “default setting.” Ric and I were talking about a new approach to leadership development in his organization. His entire leadership team had recently participated in a two-day experience that was designed around a very not-so-normal outcome.

Because of the non-traditional, creative approach in this experience, some people are struggling with an outcome focused on behavioral commitment. Traditionally, a strategic retreat ends with ‘next-steps’ and ‘action plans’ with assignments. In other words, these strategic planning retreats end in a manner that lets the majority of the participants off-the-hook to actually do anything – to be accountable for any change.

Forming a team to address such-and-such issue is simply a dodge to making a personal commitment. In this particular two-day experience, it was clearly stated up front that the intended outcome was a single and focused collective commitment and accountability … a behavioral commitment. This was achieved.

Action planning and next step type outcomes are externally focused. A behavioral commitment – intended individually and collectively – is internally focused. And there lies the rub.

Externally focused outcomes do not manifest in any real change when not driven by internal commitment – behavior that yields the desired results. A focus only on the external is the default setting.

It’s like my laptop – if someone were to take it from me and restore it to the default settings, I would not want it back. If I must once again make it my own, then I would prefer to have a brand-new one. It was both effective and productive because I was free to make it my own. It was a product of self-direction.

The 21st Century calls loudly for an authentic flow from the internal to the external – a flow of individual commitment that organically unfolds into a productive, collective accountability.


Attention that is firmly directed in the present is a result of conscious intent. Intent is conviction and precedes commitment. Intent is also a predecessor to purpose in that it can tell one much about who they are at the core.

Intent begins as a need.

I will never forget my experience with writing my personal mission statement at the age of forty-one. I was carefully studying Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I took three months to work my way through Covey’s book and firmly directed my attention on the section about creating a personal mission statement.

This mission statement exercise was a difficult one requiring me to mentally traverse back through the years. I was astounded by how much of my attention was placed on the person I was at age seventeen. As I remembered that seventeen year old, I saw a young man for whom a lot had come together. There was a level of confidence that had not been exhibited to that point. There was a sense of self that was present with this young man. He was happy with who he was. As part of the mission statement exercise I set a goal to be more like that seventeen year old.

Three things stood out about this seventeen year old work-in-progress. One was that I seemed to be present with what was occurring in my life. Next, I was positive about the future, and finally, I had begun to honor intrinsic need. This young man began to become conscious of how much he needed love and understanding. At the same time he desperately desired to find his place of service in this life.

I sat there at my desk with the completed mission statement typed and framed. I held in my hands the tangible product of some exhausting, introspective work.  As I sat there and read my completed mission manuscript, the pride slowly turned to a bit of panic as I seemed to realize for the first time how many times I used the word ‘Listen.’

Being alone in my office didn’t stop me from blurting out, “I suck at listening.” At that moment intent was formed because of need. An obligation was created by my need to make the act of listening a cornerstone of my conscious mission.

Right then I dedicated all my study for growth and development in the direction of becoming a great listener. In this specific instance I didn’t just want to be a listener, I had the desire to be a great listener. The desire was formed as I authentically spoke my personal mission.

Intent is conviction and precedes commitment. How far we are able to reach out into the world is in direct proportion to how deeply we are able to reach within ourselves. Intent is our internal reach and commitment is our external reach.

While other individuals and specific events may inspire us, we are each solely accountable for our motivation. As an individual, you must open to intrinsic need – where your desire to address this need is not dependent on external circumstances or on others approval.

Open to your own intent so you may have will enough to act; to free desire in finding a form in which it can be spoken authentically.

Awareness is encouraged by acts of intent. As you open to the internal reach of intent you are now free to learn powerful and positive things about yourself. You have opened to the flow. You have stepped into the stream.