Transformation and Authentic Tension

It’s the “chicken or the egg” thing I suppose; but does transformation flow from the individual to the collective, or from the collective to the individual?

I say Yes, both … and, very often we do not know where the flow began.

Lake a good daddy for his collective family, the family experience transforms him while his own deep reaching tension transforms the family. The most intense space where such tension (passion) exists is in our individual, authentic core. Are you conscious of such balanced authentic tension? This is your middle … your stand.

I write profusely about your stand as a leader−holding the tension of the middle−simply because I believe this to be the practice we most need in the 21st Century.

“Being authentic opens us. There is no getting around this. When being authentic, we often come close to what matters, even hold it in our hand, and just as often put it down. This is not because we are dense, though sometimes we are, but because it is hard to sustain our presence.”
−Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Your Desire & Intent is a unique, patterned composite of your Impact in this world. In the impact of who you are the world is blessed from your stand in the middle. Your middle is found in the tension where your internal desire meets your external intent.

It takes tremendous courage to stand there.

This tension can be confusing as we too easily assign negativity to the word. The tension to which I refer is the space where polar opposites are held−and both hold truth.

In the leadership journey you become exposed to many philosophies and fads; most trying to sell you an outcome. Not the least of which in the 21st Century are those telling you to be a better communicator and how you will not be successful without connections.

So, here’s what I ask you to process: Learn to hold all things in your middle−your Authentic Tension. The intersection of your desire and your intent is your Impact named. Hold this. Stand there. And then ask yourself:

  • How does this authentic tension inform my communication as a leader?
  • What does this say to me about the connections in which I invest my energy?

Individual impact on the collective is the result of Trueness in practice. From your stand in between your internal desire and your external intent your practice becomes more about being, which clearly guides all consequent doing. The purest communication and the deepest connection will naturally come to you as you live in that union created by the desire that drives you and the intent that draws you.

We are all leaders in some respect. It is time for each to step into the flow of unique, personalized leadership−Trueness.

BCL Blog 4


Transformation and Yes

Because of his skill and love for facilitating dialogue, I suggested that Todd read Patricia Ryan Madson’s book, Improv Wisdom. The next time I saw Todd was during our Strategic Story work in Oklahoma. He had efficiently read Madson’s book and surprised me with his action review. It seems the imprint from the reading was effectively personal. He told me about how conscious he had become of how often he was saying “No” to his children. Todd began to look for ways to say “Yes” to them. While he found it difficult to express, it was clear this practice of ‘yes’ was having a meaningful Impact−on both the children and on Todd.

In his book, Hope Against Darkness, Richard Rohr calls us to a collective transformation. Like Richard I believe this possible only as we “rebuild” ourselves−as we allow our own transformation.

It’s the deep yeses that carry you through. It’s that deeper something you are strongly for that allows you to wait it out. −Rohr

As a dad, Todd is most definitely for his children. This deeper something makes it easy for him to open to his own transformation.

The legacy of true leadership is built by the influential presence of an attentive and active individual.

Yes, because of my own movement toward contemplative practice, I believe effective leadership flows only when an individual has balanced personal attentiveness (contemplation) and action.

We know so much “no” because of how easy it is to begin there. But why is it easy? It is unfortunately so because of reactive betrayal. We betray our true self when we immediately serve unconscious patterns of judgmental reaction.

The leadership life−yes, and all of life and living−is about effortlessly holding ambiguity; the mystery in our own Trueness. The first holding, and balance, must be for self. This is a commitment to one’s own Personal/Professional Growth. It is such obligation that sustains balance in a seemingly out-of-balance world. By holding I mean a relaxed position with reality. This is what “yes” does; opens us to see what is before us clearly−through a lens unclouded. We are continually learning to put aside all need for judgment and assessment.

Let me be clear, it is not about only yes. It is more about being open−beginning with yes, and from such beginning learning to consistently balance yes and no.

As I have delightfully discovered, it is easier to say “Yes” to others when we are becoming more secure in our own yes. Our Impact in this world demands present attention and focused intention.

Yes is transforming simply because it invites you into the present and purifies intent … right where you stand.

BCL Blog 4

Skill 1 Encouragement – Drawn by Purpose

Seasons transform the year; light and darkness transform the day. … There seems to be no other cauldron of growth and transformation. −Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs (2003)

There comes a time for each of us where we are given the opportunity to unlearn. Many turn down this contemplative occasion. Courageously entering introspection (contemplation as a leader) opens you to the process of tearing down and building up that is necessary for your transformation. You are transformed as you learn anew and find form for external sharing.

We are transformed into our purpose−it is the source for sustainable impact in this world, this arduous journey. Purpose must draw you out of the fray−while you paradoxically remain in the fray−in order for you to become the individual you were intended to be.

To support your continual transformation, I (thanks to Richard Rohr) encourage you in the following:
1) Let go. Freedom is in releasing the need to control.
2) Hold the tension. There will always be the rising and the falling.
3) Trust in the unfolding. Trust yourself−your impact unfolds through who you are at your core.

See companion post, Trust in the Unfolding