Freedom and Confidence – Gratitude

It seems providential that I began to structure this post on Thanksgiving day; a holiday of collective thankfulness. Our personal liberation flows through our commitment to one another, and to gather during these moments is to honor the commitment.

This is a rather personal post as I reflect on what gratitude means to my own value of freedom and strength of confidence.

For me, freedom is the release from judgmental bondage and an organic flow of voice. When voice flows freely, it is natural to applaud the sequential acts of experience. Allowing gratitude to flow in and through the moments of each day has brought freedom to the forefront of giving from the best of who I am. It is in this flow that my confidence is made ever stronger; as obligation meets with the desire to return thanks and glorify the source of good.

Gratitude makes me stronger. Freedom is nourished by the acknowledgement of specific blessings in my life. A litany of gratitude helps me remain aware of life as good things gather and unfold. And the confidence needed for traveling the path is increased by consciously consistent praise for every event and connection. As Father Green would say, “Blessing the wind and wave.”


Freedom and Confidence – Release

On November 1st we left for a destination known only to my guide Becky. She has done this on several of my birthdays. I love it. As we live only 30 miles from the Virginia border, and as she told me to go north, it was revealed to me that the undisclosed destination was somewhere in that beautiful state.

This birthday was an important one as I was leaving behind my 55th year; the mid-decade milestones have never been very enjoyable for me. Even though I am happy to enter year 56, I do not regret any part of the year left behind. It was there and then that I committed to a new level of personal freedom. It was in that part of my journey where I found a golden vein of release.

A few weeks before this two night stay in the New River Valley, Becky and I spent a week at the beach to unwind her psyche from her own professional busy season. It was on that trip when the roots of my commitment to freedom reached the treasure of liberation.

What has begun I pray will never end. The roots of my freedom have found a reservoir of resolve to let go of the need to judge; the need to judge anyone or anything. My own, unique brand of freedom – in concert with my voice – is honoring the expiration date on limiting judgment.

Trust and Authenticity (Authentic Trust)

Reading Marlo Morgan’s Mutant Message Down Under spread yet another layer of shielding as I continue to pound-away at the grip of judgment. As Marlo told her walkabout story with the Real People, I was impressed by the beauty of these individual spirits; spirits free of debilitating judgment.

For me personally, it is becoming more and more clear that all trust begins internally in each one of us. Any trust we experience collectively exists only because individuals have first given trust from the confident core of who they are.

With this fresh layer of protection, I have committed to a new level of intention in the effort of breaking the grip of judgment in my own experience. The breaking is not that of being judged; it is freeing my own mind and heart from the need to judge.

As I am tasting the growing flavor of this freedom, it becomes clearer that trust is authenticated in me. When authentic trust flows from each of us one to another, we only then experience the dynamic flow of collective, creative trust.

Your confidence is in your authenticity. Embrace each experience for its lasting treasure and let the rest go. This is a sure practice for breaking free of limiting judgment on self and others.

Trust and Dialogue (Dialogic Trust)

While I wish I knew who taught it to me, I will be satisfied that I learned it: the habit of coming out from behind my desk and sitting with the individual needing to talk with me. It was amazing how much more real and meaningful conversations became without the barrier.

It is not just physical barriers, but the metaphorical desks and tables, that separate us from each other and from real conversation together. The biggest internal barrier to true dialogue is judgment. As we believe we already know what the other person is going to say, or where the conversation will go, we effectually end the conversation before it begins. This is a trust killer.

Dialogic trust begins in me as I put aside the judgments – small and large – that block hearing another human being. Removing judgment allows one to not only hear what is being said by another, it also presents one with the privilege of learning about, and understanding, the other person. When someone is listened to by you, when someone senses your effort to understand, he/she offers you their trust.

Without this mutual gift of trust, there is no dialogue. In his book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together, William Isaacs defines dialogue as a conversation with a center, not sides. As we drop the barriers to honest connection and meaning with one another, trust begins to flow in the conversation.

The true blessing of dialogic trust is in discovering where the flow takes us.

Skill 6 – Part C: Create Alignment (Clarity)

Back in our years of working together, I came to know Mark well. I became accustomed to Mark’s intense presence – a way of being in a task that I learned to appreciate as part of who he is at the core. If one had asked me to briefly describe Mark’s management style, I might have used the word “impulsive” in my analysis.

Many years passed between the time we worked together in operations and the time Mark enlisted me as his coach. I was not surprised, and greatly pleased, when he shared one particular outcome he desired from the coaching relationship; reduce the impulses. While intensely present in those earlier years, Mark was not always attentive to what was being heard in the moment. It is a conscious observation, being open to what is occurring in the moment, that leads to understanding.

Entering into an experience conscious of our own purpose increases our ability to respect the potential of another. Understanding releases the tension in subsequent action. Freed from any debilitating self-judgment, we more easily facilitate the flood of information of any given moment into a flow that moves the distracted many into a focused whole. Facilitating the importance of what, you align all behind the right approach to how; releasing the tension in subsequent action. As a facilitator, you possess an understanding of self that gives you control over your own behavior to best influence the behavior of others – moving us toward our desired collective story.

As much as anyone I have known, Mark is committed to the collective story. As he learns more about himself as a leader and facilitator, he will continue to leverage personal commitment to create the collective commitment. He understands that collective commitment is prerequisite to collective focus.

Clarity empowers the individual to focus on the most productive personal strengths to honor the collective commitment. Intent fires commitment; and focus makes the commitment real to the individual and in the collective.

Focused on purpose – both yours and that of the whole – you facilitate clarity and freedom. People need freedom to see purpose as the door to individual and collective focus. Purpose frees us to confidently focus, without apology, on what is most important.

Leading and facilitating in a purposeful, focused manner is not about consensus. Based on the control factors of time, ownership, and involvement, consensus is simply one of many choices in the decision-making process. Leading and facilitating through purpose and focus is about creating alignment. Consensus is about agreement inside a controlled, narrow situation. Alignment is about unity around a dynamic path toward the collective story.

Alignment quickens the intent of the many into a collective whole. Alignment purifies the water in which our collective vision flows. You facilitate this alignment and then you lead us through the natural dip and distractions. As a leader, you keep us individually and collectively focused on our desire in both the final vision and in the intensity of the moment.

For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills

Skill 5 – Part B: Giving to Individuals

“As you value the lives of others, yours achieves value.”
-Bernard Malamud, quoted in Breakthrough Business Development

We care for self to care in the world. Directing our energy is a gift to self and others. Giving this energy is most effective to the recipient when done by a spirit freed from limiting expectation. Free from any limitations, my colleague Anne-Marie (from the skill of Networking) gave me a powerful gift of encouragement.

Be present with the person in whose presence you are blessed to be. This presence assures that giving is authentic. Giving authentically means you impart time and energy in light of the impact you desire and intend.

There is no more present act than listening to another human being. Each act of giving – as in listening – is a unique representation of your personal purpose/brand. One by one, each act of giving unfolds the path to where we long to be; and in the process makes us a guide for others. One cannot focus on everything and be effective. Your individual compass is constructed with important components; your values, your strengths, and your purpose/brand is the needle on the face.

Listening is a commitment; a commitment that opens to providential movement as information is shared between individuals. Be grateful for your journey of self-discovery as a leader; a leader who authentically cares. You are someone who confidently gives to others because you know how to freely give to self.

Trust in being at the right place in the right moment. We can only be led to a common story through a focused present. As a 21st Century leader, you focus your leadership in the present to ensure that we put our individual attention to the right priorities, thus building fulfillment in our present work and assuring the rewards of the future.

Honor the story of another as you lead others to a common story. A confident leader does not lead us away from something. A confident leader points us toward something; a better future.

For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills

Skill 3 – Part B: Desire & Intent

Confidence that is only about assertiveness and control is the old confidence. The old confidence cannot feel the pull of desire or hear the voice of a larger purpose. An old confidence too easily attached to regret from the past and fear of the future.

The voice of a larger purpose speaks to you through your core where your deepest values reside. Conscious of these purpose-giving values, you hear the call to a new confidence. It is in this new confidence where desire and intent join and create the power of presence for your leadership.

Desire & Intent acknowledged is a commitment of clarity to those you lead, influence, and serve. Leading from clarity means you have a level of self-understanding that no longer produces limiting judgment of self or others. You lead with a new confidence. You are not limited, and through this freedom others find their confidence. In the presence of your leadership – in the clarity of  your Desire & Intent – we envision a better future.

You unfold your unique impact in the 21st Century as you are guided into action by Desire & Intent. Your desire is good. As you honor desire, you validate intent into the charge of others’ individual confidence. You build your credibility as you set apart specific action as it relates to specific intent.

Your purpose is your message. Your unique message sets the rhythm for each communication; making it harmonize with Desire & Intent.

For more like this and the developing series around the 7 skills, see: 21st Century Leadership Skills