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



Purpose – Why it Matters

Susan is a leader with whom I worked, and subsequently wrote about, two years prior. Since our initial work she found her role expanding in a direction seemingly counter to her deeper purpose. She was thrown off-balance in her stand.

I am privileged to once again become engaged in Susan’s Work of Trueness. In a wise move she has consciously placed her leadership journey into transition. While we have only begun our work together in this transitional journey, I’m convinced of this: The important questions, and true answers, are right in the middle where Susan stands—in her Trueness.

Coach Judy (my Coach) calls it your Why it Matters. This energy is definitely the source of A New Confidence. What’s new about such confidence is its demand to hold together assurance and action; and to hold in a place, as Susan calls it, Being Genuine.

Then, as now, Susan has a deep commitment to her Trueness as a leader. And from this stand is the embedding of her commitment to the balance and harmony of those she leads, influences, and serves.

The root cause of her own imbalance was the feeling she could do nothing about the perceived imbalance of the individuals on her team.

So, why does balance/harmony matter to Susan?

Of course this is a question (one of many) she will have to answer for herself. And as my role is to assist her in doing so, I will speculate specifically.

I believe it matters because it first indeed does matter to her. Instead of pushing this belief in balance/harmony out on others, she has rather consciously decided it is more important to listen.

And why does listening matter to Susan?

It matters because she knows what listening can bring forth. Two years ago, as part of a development strategy, she said:

I take interest in the work of others to encourage the interest that gives energy for the work and supports the confidence of the individual in the work.

And this, my fellow Encourager, is A New Confidence.

A Poem for your own brand of A New Confidence


21st Century Skill Paradox – Part 4

Networking, in order to be effective, must leverage your Voice. If you are a regular reader of mine then you know I’m not referring to an audible voice. I’m referencing your authentic self−how who you really are shows up in your interactions.

The networks we need today are the ones based in mutual respect. They are built on the common understanding that comes from a genuine meeting of the minds. They are fueled by generosity and kindness. They are reciprocal because of a desire to help the other, not out of obligation. They are connections that allow gifts to be exchanged, not favors tallied up. −Ric Gonzalez

What is Networking in this 21st Century? I like what Tim Sanders says in Love is the Killer App. He calls networking Biz Love, and says your network exists for you to:

  1. Share your knowledge; and what you continue to learn
  2. Share your web of relationships; and experience
  3. Share compassion; your ability to reach out

It seems, over the last three years, that my network has, for the most part, frozen; causing me to question the fruits of networking. The freeze has two sources. There is the outside force of an attention-demanding 21st Century culture, and there’s the inside failure to apply my voice consistently and confidently.

And then I must ask what it would take to thaw it. For the longest time the answer has been stuck in the personal confusion of the slow freeze. But now I know the only thing I can know, and do: I must allow my voice, in more full engagement, to thaw the connections.

So how do we apply the fullness of sharing in our networks? It is by sharing our own brand of love in our own network. And that brand of love is resonate in your voice. (see post, Shadow Strengths – Chapter Four (Voice))Skill 4

The paradox one must face, and hold, with the skill of Networking is the external competing demands colliding with the internal focus needed to stay true.

As you stand firm and hold these two for a while, you may more easily see the warm application and need for your voice.

From this middle stand you hold what you do with how you do it, until your voice presence reminds you of why you do what you do.

And so in my own network and networking I must reengage with both my Voice and my original Why I do what I do.

I’ve got some fresh Networking to do!

BCL Blog 4

Skillfully Generous – A New Confidence (At Home with Self)

A New Confidence is a generous bearing−and your steady walk in purpose. A new confidence grows from the generative capacity of awareness.

The confluence of your desire and your intent flows your energy through a new confidence; a proliferating presence. When you as our leader openly, consciously, and consistently grow in the moments unfolding before us, we grow commensurately. This reality is yet further support for a principal factor in one’s own growth: the confident energy applied through centered discipline to grow and develop.

Are you at home with who you are and what you gladly give as a leader?

It is an intensely difficult proposition to engage in associated tasks of opening a door to true self for another when one’s own door is locked tight.

“Once your soul comes to its True Self, it can amazingly let go and be almost anything except selfish or separate. … It has already achieved its purpose in pure being more than in any specific doing of this or that.”
−Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

You cannot lead another home if you haven’t found home yourself. At the home of true self you found the foundation for A New Confidence; the confident energy of purpose.

The journey of leadership will often take you through rugged terrain. It is the practice of holding and releasing that keeps the real you moving along generously.

Know Thyself – A New Confidence in the 21st Century

Have you been pushed into the ground of who you really are?

Until you experience such compression you will not be informed by Trueness.

“Be informed” … my coach often asks me a question at very particular points: “How does that inform the future?” With the first few times of being asked, I thought she was only trying to get me to see a certain present action in terms of future impact; you know, visioning and such.

Judy, my coach, has been instrumental in how I now see my own Trueness−in a flowing, growing presence. Holding tight to such self-possession, I realized her deeper intent with her question. She was patiently working to get me to see what others do in this work I have been blessed to do; how their deeper self-possession, with which I assisted, led them in their impact and to a natural cycle−this informed (validated) my Trueness.

This is the powerful cycle of A New Confidence.

Personal purpose is firmly held in Trueness. Becoming fully aware (informed) funds A New Confidence. You are the message!

Inform the future in the presence of your own message.

A Soul Dance with A New Confidence

A New Confidence is simple consciousness.

We were talking about my coaching program and what she desired to get from the experience. After we had talked for a bit, she looked at me and simply stated, “I need you to tell me I’m not too old.” I felt a combined tension of heartbreak and excitement.

I was heartbroken for her and all whom she represents. I was excited for her as I know the process we will navigate together will open her to a new confidence−a confidence built on simple authenticity; who she has been since the beginning.

There is no dance when the movement is choreographed in the commerciality of a need to be right or look good; usually at the expense of another. As with any soul dance, it begins as you feel the union of rhythm and melody.

The consequential sway is impossible to resist.

Other than the pre-work assigned to my new coachee, the first order of business was for her to read Barbara Sher’s book, It’s Only Too Late if You Don’t Start Now. … A book that helped save my sanity at mid-life.

Will I show her many new things? No. What I will do is simply make her conscious of what has been building all along−now ready to be fully and consciously freed in the dance.

She will be introduced to her soul dance, and to dance in A New Confidence.

Skill 3: A Generational Alliance

The message is meaningless unless focused in the clarity of a shared vision−The Larger Story.

How very important to take accountability for your own growth and development, to make every effort to connect in each interaction, and to be clear and unconditional in our messaging. As we link such skills, a world of evolving experience unfolds for us.

Mentor as Teacher/Learner of Experience
(Skill 3: Messaging)

Among my generation I have found (sadly) many who have navigated an entire career unconscious of who they are at the core. More sad still is any system that rewards such unconsciousness.

In this stimulating 21st Century, I’m discovering a wonderful desire common among the generations; to make a difference in life and with work. This can only happen consciously as one holds the union of desire and intent. In this consciousness we discover the message in us, and that we are the message.

Mentee as Learner/Teacher in Experience
(Skill 3: Active Listening and Engagement)

It is likely that we view solutions to problems in radically different ways, using a variety of tools that are familiar to us, but that might not be so familiar to our mentors. Give us the opportunity to prove the value of considering new, innovative solutions to problems. Listen to what we have to offer and provide feedback that will challenge us to deploy our talent and creativity in ways that will best move everyone toward a common shared vision. −Jason Guinn

It is time for a focused generational collaborative formed for the larger story.