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Posts Tagged ‘Trueness’

Your authentic self (Trueness) is your energy within the space of creative tension – your stand in the middle – the respectful space where being (internal) and doing (external) find flow, and conscious resonance through your original voice (the focus of your integrity).

One of the questions I’m asked is about the most common concern among the leaders with whom I work. For the first few years of my practice (the very first few years of this still young 21st Century) my answer was focus. Now, 15 years in, the answer has changed. Whirling change, economic instability, political immaturity, and so on, have seemingly redirected our attention. While the topic of focus often remains part of the coaching dialogue, it seems the perceived need to focus has settled into the varying value systems of those with whom I work.

It seems many leaders have tuned-in to both the power of being focused and the influence of consistently doing all they do in light of a deeper motivation. Why this is happening is the reason my answer to the most common concern of leaders has shifted from focus to integrity, and the corresponding mystery.

The mystery is created, I believe, by the imbalance of measures. While we may know the source of integrity must come from within, it becomes too easy to judge our integrity by external measures. Integrity, in my experience with the individual’s Trueness, seems to be a value that stands alone while infiltrating and influencing all the other values that an individual holds.

I have often said that the 21st-century belongs to the aware, focused, and loving leader. I believe it is the intrinsic value of integrity that actually pulls these three value-driven behaviors together, and into a powerful rhythm.

Let’s consider Cathy and Priya. They are each mature souls with different levels of experience in what we label as management on corporate organizational charts.

Cathy and I had only just begun to work together at the time of this writing. In our very first session our individual integrity met soul-to-soul. Cathy immediately told me about a relationship where collaboration needed to improve, and she was taking full responsibility for such improvement. Whether she consciously realized it or not, her inner integrity was in full force.

Cathy’s value of integrity is labeled, ‘Doing What’s Right.’ She is naturally focused on getting things done, getting them done in the right manner, and for the right reasons, a deeper motivation. Being delivery focused, she recognizes the importance of leading everyone to pull together, in the right direction. She knows such collaboration is foundational to success.

Richard Rohr says, “How we look at anything is how we look at everything.” As I write this, I am also aware that how I see integrity (in others and myself) is probably based considerably on what I’m looking for. I do want to believe there is a trend in the making when it comes to integrity in our behavior.

Priya is not questioning her integrity. However, I want to be sure that integrity isn’t under question, based on possible misunderstanding on her part. Albeit unconscious, Priya’s integrity is questioning whether she should be in the role of management. While both management and leadership are important, I reminded her that management and leadership are not synonymous. You manage processes, and you lead people; an individual does not want to be managed, he wants to be led.

The situations causing Priya to question her desires, abilities, assets, are related to managing difficult processes with people. From a leadership perspective, her desire, ability, assets, are fully intact from what I can see, all rooted in her integrity. For Priya, integrity and purpose are partners in meaning as she operates with an honest way of being in the presence of another, and being present with them. Priya’s stand in the middle is a tangible experience for others as she provides empowering clarity for the sake of opening individuals to the resources supportive of performance and execution.

Authenticity is who one truly is, since the beginning.

We must come to know this mystery of authentic integrity, not as something to be solved, but as something to be held, observed, and released into the flow of our Trueness. Now flowing, in authentic rhythm, integrity becomes the way your Trueness shows in the world. It takes great love to nurture and honor this internal to external flow.

The ability to hold mystery, observe its workings, and release its power into our leadership, is our unique brand of love.

The Word

Saying it, the word
often we may not
but unfolding, the essence
often we must.

Something to be feigned, it is not
fingers placed quickly to lips
demanding never again to lie.

For another can patiently be
observing, as time together goes
trusting, the essence to manifest
accepting the word when spoken.

The word itself
used precisely, or not
just the same, felt
by giver
by receiver
when from truth it flows.

To make one’s mark
to leave an impression
to know you’ve made
an impact
this is the stuff
of treasure, true gold
found in the self
the self you are
founded on the reality
of who you are.

The word
yes, the essence
originates in, with
and from, this reality.

–J. Brunson

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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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As our dialogue moves in the flow from purpose to presence, consider that your purpose serves your Trueness only in the present.

“Presence knows, but with a wide-angle lens and no filters.” —Richard Rhor

In this 21st Century, presence can be hard to grasp. More specifically, being present can become extremely challenging to understand, and do.

Living purposefully informs my presence.

Anytime I think deeply about presence, I am reminded of the power of listening and the clarifying force of paying attention. Listening—true hearing—is a present moment activity. Paying attention is freedom to be in the moment with what is. And freedom is in expecting good, not defining it.

“How tragically precise we can be at creating well-intended, misguided expectations that ultimately limit us in actually holding what might really be possible.” —from post, Know Thyself – Presence in the 21st Century

A bullheaded attachment to a predetermined outcome distracts from the relationship necessary to get there. Don’t get distracted in the process of setting expectations to a depth where you then miss all the opportunities to listen and simply pay attention. With your voice fully engaged in presence, others hear loud and clear. As a leader, our stories converge in your presence with us. Your Trueness encourages mine.

How do you stay balanced in your Trueness?

I suspect, however you might answer this, it is when you are truly present with another and with what is; a reality seen with a clear, wide-angle lens and no filters. The impact you desire is an intentional, conscious, and directed energy. Such impact is unfolded moment by moment; not what might happen, but what is happening. A Poem for Your Clear Presence IMG_0664

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Being brought to this work I have the privilege of doing was no accident. It is work built on a foundation of being: an authenticity present since the beginning.

In 2000, I had LASIK surgery to correct severe astigmatism and significant nearsightedness. Until that option I had no memory of seeing without the assistance of an optical device.

Years before when a junior in high school, I began to wear contacts. At the time I was hanging out with my best friend, his girlfriend, and her sister. Each time Joe and I went to visit, Carol would pull the glasses from my face and state that my eyes were too pretty to hide. I tell you this for the symbolism in the rest of the story.

After being examined and fitted for contacts, I was given the choice of tinting to enhance (change) the color of my eyes. Vainly altering the color of my eyes seem disingenuous to me. I chose clear. Did Carol have something to do with going to contacts? Yes. What about the tinting/alteration? Even then I had a deep need−and dedication−to the Trueness of the Individual. And yes, to my own Trueness.

My Desire & Intent is that you lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence as you embrace the power of who you are and act on this Trueness!

And now I’ve dedicated my energy to The Work of Trueness.

My Desire & Intent formed the vision that pushed me into this work full time. And from this vision I’m asking you to be a participant in The Work of Trueness. I invite you to be a part of a collective of individuals committed to living and leading from their authentic self.

The Impact needed in this world must come from individuals who have learned to be then do.

To join us, you simply commit to receiving encouragement and giving encouragement to others.

Your Impact is your Trueness practiced.

Join in The Work of Trueness!

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