A Flow to Simplicity through Purpose

Purpose is animated into flow only in the energy of presence.

Allow me to offer a caution: Purpose is not the result of a smartly crafted strategy; a set of brilliant hows and actions. All strategy is ultimately empty without the clarity of purpose. Subsequent strategy finds buoyancy in the flow because of individual resilient purpose.

Faith, as I am learning, is less about what I desire to be at some future point and much more about who I am now−and in the wonderful flow. If I am too busy looking elsewhere I will most certainly miss what is right before me.

In the light of present faith I had a startling realization. The desire I was claiming had been craftily mitered and matted in a future frame always hanging on a wall in a place yet my own. This is not real desire but ugly judgment in a friendly mask turning my own face from the power of purposeful presence.

While the story of living purposefully is ever-unfolding−and yes, contains complexity−it is a story with you since the beginning.

Purpose is not a product. Purpose is a gift.

And from this individualized, loving gift you find your call for giving in this world.

Each act of giving is then a simple act of purpose in the present, leaving us further enriched by your faithful presence.

Step into the Middle with Presence

Purpose finds life in the present and flows through your presence to others. There is spirited validation in being with what is happening in the moments that unfold before us.

Donnie loves golf. He values the engagement and camaraderie associated in the playing. We had documented his one goal and had moved our focus to the first of three strategies of balanced action. At this point I made my observation; “Donnie, I bet when playing a round with someone less experienced, you cannot help but to coach with a few helpful tips.”

Just prior to our session, Donnie had his performance review with his boss, Steve. Steve and Donnie had also recently played a round of golf with a client−a man who seemed a bit self-conscious of his quality of play. In the performance review, Steve recounted Donnie’s observation of what was unfolding with this client, and how Donnie stopped, placed attention on the man, shared a few tips in his focused way of interacting, moved back, and watched as the client relaxed into the flow of the collective game.

Steve had observed an unfolding which, in the sharing of the story, helped Donnie see his Brand in action; and that this very method was valuable to Donnie’s employees.

From this story, Donnie and I documented this strategy:
Acting on my desire for others to understand why something is important, I then coach for a level of empowering understanding by:
1) First helping the individual see the obvious barriers to a better  understanding and good process
2) Creating a dialogue that opens a space for teaching & learning in a collaborative, interactive manner–connecting the “how” of the situation to the vision
3) Empowering the individual to commit and act on what has been learned while creating the accountability and expectations to support success

As I pointed out to Donnie, this strategy of focused interaction was not new. Like with Steve’s story, we simply brought it to a conscious level−to now be used intentionally and consistently.

In the balance of Desire & Intent, others feel care in focused interaction. This is service with purpose.

You, The Stream, and Presence

The stream was formed for a specific purpose within a larger story. The stream is confidently content in this purpose and flows through its course respectively. Its voice amplifies the joy of living purposefully and as a visitor it implores me to listen. In listening, in being in its presence, my heart is captured. -The Stream as Restoring, Presence Chapter, page 160

We give from our best self only when fully present. In full presence we listen fully.

I believe that there are two necessary paths enabling us to move toward wisdom: a radical journey inward and a radical journey outward.”Richard Rohr, Simplicity

Our outward hearing is strengthened by the internal ear; the ability to listen in the flow of individual, unique story. In the flow, aware and listening, my heart is captured and encouraged by the broad spectrum of life. In true presence, I am no longer surprised by the movement of providence; but I am continually amazed.

The structural principle of authenticity: Whatever you desire to do for others, you must be able to do for yourself. This principle is not about perfection. It is about childlike charity in the present. We have become too rigid in accepting and receiving in ourselves. As children, we were open to parental charity−a charity that was obligation for the adult and a bright expectation on the part of the child.

There comes a time to be free again in the larger story; to receive in order to give, and to have your heart captured by what is carefully heard in the flow.

Liberation (Delight in Your Presence)

To be special in this world,
to be uniquely who you are,
is rhythmic freedom and flow.

In the safety of friendship,
in the simplest form of love,
I like all of you I know.

In your presence I delight,
an engaging sequence of creation.
With distinctiveness in full right,
we share authentic liberation.

−J. Brunson

Leadership Poem 4 – From Judie’s Story and the privilege of my own relational experience

The Legacy of Presence

In her presence, simply no one questioned her purpose. She was, and will always be in our hearts, Kathryn Tucker Windham – Storyteller, Selma, AL … and she told stories; beautiful, rich, true stories.

Her stories vividly illustrated the balance she learned from her father and that was experienced in her presence: Listen … Learn … Laugh … Love

While her physical presence was terribly missed at the National Storytelling Festival, she was there. Those who knew of our special relationship (I was her handler at Festival; a title she gave me), were so kind with their words as they knew how much I was missing her. That seat beside me in our special cart was never empty. Whether it was another Teller or a participating Listener, I was receiving constant pulses of her love through them.

The thing I missed the most? Leaving her presence, even for a moment, and hearing her say, “I love you.”

The Building of Confidence – Tammy’s Story

One third of the way into my career, the garbage collector (one of whom I wanted to be at five years old; because my mother took them popsicles) became a waste management professional, the janitor became a maintenance engineer, and the personnel department became human resources.

If dignity and respect are increased for the individual in such shifts, I am all for it. In most cases like these, the work performed did not change much with the change of title. In most cases this is fine. In the case of human resources, not so much. There is still work associated with policy, procedure, and law. However, with this shift, it was intended to rebrand toward a balance to include the resources of our humanness. In the latter two-thirds of my career, I have seen too many human resource professionals behaving like 20th Century personnel employees. Then there are unique exceptions; like Tammy.

Tammy is a process visionary; balancing purpose with the desire of others. She leads each person to engage in a manner that brings value to the whole while consistently validating the individual. Guided by purpose, she becomes focused in leading others to understand the challenge, interactively learn, and create purposeful, present action.

In addition to being a focused professional of resourcing humanness, Tammy is a wife, mother, and teacher. She is always teaching, even beyond her adjunct position at a private college. When Tammy and I were working on her personal purpose/brand, we pulled in a peer and an employee to assist. Tammy found it hard to focus on herself so intensely for this exercise. Marcie told me that Tammy kept them all connected to reality. Melanie said that Tammy created the magic of alignment. What an honor and a privilege to be connected to others in such a powerful manner.

Does Tammy know how blessed she is? Probably so. Does she know the beautiful impact she has on others? Probably not. The thing she does know however is precisely (she is precise) how to focus on what is important. I was taken to a deep place in myself when she said, “I focus on the big things at work and the small things at home.”

It was no surprise that her personal purpose/brand became; “I Teach Others to be Presently Strategic” … the big things at work. But what grabbed my heart was when she painted the picture of the small things at home. She said, “If I’m washing dishes and my daughter is talking to me, I stop what I’m doing and look at her.”

If you are a VP/Director of Human Resources, find yourself a Tammy!

Tammy O’Hare is a focused leader of human potential.

The Building of Confidence – Doug’s Story

Our global economic struggle has exacted a toll on organizations. It seems to me however there is not a substantial concern for individuals who are
survivors in this time of virulent insecurity. Then there is Doug.

Decide to Leave or Decide to Stay… Don’t Feel Trapped!
Doug is more concerned about the individual than anything else at the moment. By focusing on what is right for the individual, he believes he’ll accomplish what is best for the company.  Doug sees two ways to address those “left behind” during challenging times. The first is to educate people on the “new reality”, a sobering conversation which can foster negativity and cause people to become demoralized. The better choice is to encourage others to explore their options.
Tell them to go shop their value in the market! In so doing, each individual can develop his/her own perspective about where they are. In Doug’s premise, exploring options can only be good – either there’s something better out there for someone (yay for them!) or they develop a new appreciation for their current role and begin to see what is good around them.

Learning – Leveraging – Leading
Doug is driven to learn. When his learning is leveraged in his brand of leadership, Doug is energized. In an atmosphere of fear, people are doing their job, but there is no fulfillment. Doug believes in making work fun!  He is motivated by helping others find enjoyment and value in their work. He has combined the quantitative and qualitative sides of thinking critically to engage the individual in seeking what is right for them, the situation, and the collective.

Doug finds his hope in being present with his own brand “Leading others to think critically to succeed.” By focusing on others in these unsure times, he is helping them one by one do what is right for them. He is personalizing his faith in his own brand. Others need his brand. They need this critical thinking.

Doug has adapted a brand−developed for an ideal situation−to be effective in a challenging, fearful environment. He is helping the individual think critically for their own good; what is right for them … Now!

Don’t protect me from failing. Help me succeed!
-Doug Burton, 21st Century Leader

Doug Burton is a confident, creative leader for a large financial services company.