What if?

You are different from me.
Such observation begins within.
Thought often turns into statement.
And if behind the statement, fear,
the consequence on the other,
judgment.

In such judgment
is tragedy twofold:
Violence, in the direction
of the other, projected.
Violence, in the direction
of one’s self, absorbed.

Allowing such violence,
projected and absorbed,
one spreads yet another layer
over the blindness
continuing to separate us
one from another.

But, what if …

We are different; Yes!
In such exclamation,
might our eyes open
to see,
not so much, difference,
but the uniqueness
yours
mine
and the fresh oneness
created
each time
we choose to see?

–J. Brunson

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Step into the Middle of Impact

Living and leading from the middle does not have to be limited to a person of age. Sure, navigating the flow of years I have moved into the center of the stream. While I have waded cautiously to this stance, I am now able to cast for the bounty available from all directions.

Living dual lives takes energy, and the energy spent takes its toll. It weakens the individual, lowers their ability to succeed, and adversely affects performance. −Ric Gonzalez

In the years of working with young leaders, I am continually amazed at the ability of many to embrace, at least temporarily, the view from the middle. I say at least temporarily because if we don’t watch after them carefully, they will be pulled to one side or another. And no matter the side, the obstinate position of each is to ‘be right’ and judge this young leader into submission.

Silence is the only language spacious enough to include everything and to keep us from slipping back into dualistic judgments and divisive words. −Richard Rohr, Falling Upward

I have learned the multiple levels of power in silence; whether it is time to be quiet and rejuvenate or keep quiet and slip into the clear heights above mere divisive opinion.

Open yourself to the power of the unconditional stance.

Carefully move to your place in the creative tension of leadership.

Position yourself into the middle of your Impact.

Focused Love

Getting in state … involves focusing your whole being on your intent to achieve your purpose. This state is vital to the art of the tell because your intention is actually what signals listeners to pay attention to you.
-Peter Guber in Tell to Win

I trust the loving storyteller. And there is no teller of stories more worthy of trust than Kathryn Tucker Windham. How providential it feels that this post was planned for this week; the week Kathryn, after 93 love-driven years, was allowed to rest – taken up into the rest of the story.

Kathryn listened, learned, laughed, and loved her way through life. Her father’s teaching of the Four L’s was taken seriously and she lived accordingly. And we were all blessed. As a storyteller – whether writing them for us or telling them to us – Kathryn lived a narrative that brought her intention to tangible reality. Her intention was pure love uninhibited by any form of debilitating judgment. This brand of love gets your attention and makes you listen.

As an aware, focused, and loving leader who listens, you see present need. You trust the teller in you for the appropriate story to fill the need. Driven by your love for the listener, you tell effectively. You are present with your love and we have love in your presence.

Photo: Gift from Tom Raymond, Fresh Air Photo

Kathryn loved stories and she loved her listeners. As she would encourage, “Go, tell your stories.”

The Impact of Your Love

Far too often I meet an individual who – whether they confess openly or not – believes they must be someone else to be a good leader. This is sad. It breaks my heart.

We are a proud, free people in this society. Why then do we allow this form of individual bondage to exist in our collective presence? Individual impact is freed when one breaks through the barrier of judgment and pride.

Brent’s personal brand is “I Challenge People to Succeed.” Brent is a knowledgeable, talented Chief Financial Officer. So, you may find that brand a bit surprising. Let me tell you how it looks.

Her manager was on vacation. She depended on her manager when these sort of technical problems arose. Her manager always knew what to do. This problem was a big one in Lisa’s eyes. She had no choice. She had to take it to her manager’s boss; Brent.

Lisa explained the problem to Brent and asked if he knew how to fix it. He said, “No.” However, he expressed faith in her ability to figure it out if she would just sit down, think it through, and come back with her thoughts. And that she did.

Brent told me about how Lisa came back with the solution – the solution she found on her own. This was a confidence-building success for her. She had met a challenge. I looked at Brent and asked, “You never told her you knew the solution did you?” He responded, “No. That’s not what’s important.”

Please hear me; this is the impact of Brent’s brand as a leader. This story illustrates Brent’s brand of love. The more aware you become of your brand of love as a leader, the more things work together in pushing that love out into the world. Brent is comfortable – yes, confident – in being who he is as he lives according to his brand. He is okay with who he is at his core.

Free from judgment, free from pride, he confidently acts in the guiding light of his brand. This is the impact of Brent’s love.

Freedom of Your Presence

Just before heading out to my favorite place to write, I received the following text from a long-time friend:
“A melancholy day … despite being aware of great blessings, can’t seem to shake a focus on recent failures …”

My suspicion – just because I know his story – is that he has taken a trip to the past. Regret in the past and fear in the future pull us away from all that is good. And all that is good is here in our now.

Absent of purpose, one launches on these sudden trips out of the present. This descent from presence exposes one to the terribleness of the mother of the thing one fears – the deadliness of self-judgment.

Self-judgment is self-indulgence. It was not a pleasant realization when I discovered this about myself, but at the same time it was very freeing. While declaring independence from self-judgment, I still remain attentive to the necessary battles that must be fought to remain independent – to remain in the power of the present.

I must fight for the right to be present in order to fulfill the accountability of my presence.