Step into the Middle of Desire & Intent

The river … From source to sea it is one flow; nowhere does it pile up. … From source to sea, it is one unbroken song of flow−ever changing yet always one. … If only our lives could achieve, or indeed allow, such grace and elegance. −John O’Donohue, Beauty

Think of your leadership Desire & Intent as a flow−a nourishing river for you and others. As a leader you have the flow you need. It is the rhythmic power of 3 that is your answer to the desire and intent question.

Compelled from the foundation of desire, pulled into action by intent, you find yourself in the middle with the accountability of your impact.

If we could but find a rhythm of being which could balance a contemplative grace, a poetry of motion and an accompanying stillness and silence, our pilgrimage through this world would flow in beauty through the most ragged and forsaken heartlands of confusion and dishevelment. −John O’Donohue

Those who follow your loving lead depend on the frequency that is intrinsically felt in the rhythm of your Desire & Intent.

As a leader, it is in this river of practice where you catch all the rich content that is so masterfully blended in the creative tension of the middle; a unique union of your desire and intent … a song of flow.


Letting Go into Desire & Intent

Lisa and I worked together the first time shortly after she joined the organization as assistant to the development director. She is one of the most talented people I know. Her strength of process is a wonderful thing to observe.

When we met at the coffee shop, she had just moved into the vacated position of development director. We were meeting to talk about board development. I began our time together by stating that all we were about to do related to that topic, although it would probably not seem like such for a bit.

In my observation of Lisa at work, I saw something unique I could not quite describe. So, the first thing I did in our meeting was ask her to complete a personality profile. Bingo, there was the unique pattern I had observed. Before I could thoroughly explain this, Lisa asked, “Do you think I’m a good fit for this position?” Hell yes, was my immediate response−and I spent the next hour showing her why I felt so strongly in the affirmative.

You see, Lisa “had” this position; no question. It was a no-brainer. However, she had gone to the Executive Director and compelled an interview where she presented her 3-5 year plan. I asked Lisa the Desire & Intent question. She shared her answers. I then had her look at them while I asked if she could sort the detail of her 3-5 year plan under the points. She immediately said she could. “Then go and do that,” I said. “Because that is the guide for board development.”

Lisa’s plan is simply the active unfolding of her Desire & Intent. The unfolding is about seeing all things as purposeful as she moves along. Desire speaks only truth from her core. Intent grows from a need greater than herself.

Desire gives us voice to sing a song of purpose−a song with soul cleansing properties. We become like the elevated stream that is simply more consistent with its melody.
Wading the Stream of Awareness

(Desire & Intent Chapter)

See sister post, Release Desire & Intent into Skill 2

Encouragement for Your Desire & Intent (A Place to Stand)

What gives your intent uniqueness in a larger purpose is, for you, the essence of desire. This is what my friend Judy might call significance. At her core−of all that is important to her−is the desire to give her energy in enterprises where she both adds value and knows that same value is respected.

A narrow focus, guided by desire, broadens your impact. A place to stand−a focused individual has a method. Albeit often unconscious, she has worked hard to develop, through trial and error, her unique methodology.

But finally you will have both your lever and your place to stand−and from there, you can move your bit of the world, because you are being moved yourself inside a much larger Flow. −Richard Rohr, A Lever and a Place to Stand (2011)

Step through the narrow opening that is your expertise−your place to stand−and find the bounty of broad impact.

Step into the Flow:
1) The Flow demands commitment.
2) The Flow distributes providence.
3) The Flow deposits bounty.

See companion post, Invite Others into the Flow

You, The Stream, and Desire & Intent

I love the concept, the experience, of flow. When in flow, my voice active, I tumble, break, and turn; and where I can, slow into a pool—an ordained location and time to gather consciousness of the journey and full experience before moving once again. -The Stream and Flow, Desire & Intent Chapter, page 56

I began this post just before slowing into a 13 day pool. I was definitely in need of time to gather myself for the next stage of the journey.

Had something dampened desire?

Did I lose focus?

Was it time for a change?

If so, to what would I turn?

Then I was reminded that the turning is after the tumbles and breaks. Let me tell you, the tumbling and breaking is painful at a deep, personal level. As Richard Rohr calls it in his book, Falling Upward, “A necessary suffering.”

Until we are led to the limits of our present game plan, and find it to be insufficient, we will not search out or find the real source, the deep well, or the constantly flowing stream. −Richard Rohr

In times of significant change in my life, commitment was followed by the beautiful flow of providence. I know that my desire and intent have joined internally to create the dance toward the impact of my voice.

In this pool−which may go beyond the 13 days−I’ve been lovingly reminded of another authentic fact: The core of my voice is authentic encouragement of the individual.

Present Passion (From Love to Vision)

What others see as risk, you see as reality.
Passion allows vision;
It is in the crosshairs of your present.

What others fear losing, you claim for energy.
Energy funds passion;
It is the source of art in your work.

What others desperately desire, you gladly share.
Love is energy;
It is an advocate for their confident passion.

−J. Brunson

Leadership Poem 2 – From Ken’s Story and the influence of my loving friend, Kathryn Tucker Windham

The Vehicle for Voice

The principle of commitment is a power intended for your good. From a standpoint of personal impact, it is a power of leadership, influence, and service in this world; powerful impact flowing to others through you. In a conscious new confidence, you unfold this impact moment by moment – one commitment built on another – as you allow the guidance given in your unique Desire & Intent.

Allan and I have only just begun to work together. Already I am excited to see where his own Desire & Intent will take him. The last two years have taken their toll on the headcount in his organization, the flow of business in his territory, and on Allan’s confidence. It will be a personal joy to me to hear Allan express his Desire & Intent, become conscious of his own voice, and experience the connection of the two. Allan will discover Desire & Intent as a vehicle for his voice.

For each of us, the core of our purpose is to flow. That flow is productive as we free desire and own intent; freeing both in our behavior and connecting behavior to results of impact. Owning intent is a mark of balanced maturity; an ability to leverage the power of connective, unfolding commitments.

Desire and Content

I love fly fishing, and I love wading the clear mountain stream. Sometimes the wade is slow and deliberate as I seek a sporting connection with a wary trout. Other times it is like hiking in water as I move along enjoying scene after scene as viewed through the heart lens of a photographer.

Regardless of the approach, I am always halted by the varying pools in the character of the stream. Knowing exactly what may be in each pool is not important. For me, it is more about being present with the pool and allowing it to show me what it will.

In my own journey, as I learned to attach intent to desire, structure began to form and build my skill for searching each pool for content. Finding content is not always about taking it. More times than not, it is simply about reading what I see in that pool, and then trusting it to settle where it wishes.

Here is what I have found: The meaning of any content, and the providential timing of its expression, is realized by me because of conscious commitment to my gift of desire.