Shadow Strengths – Chapter Six (Focus)

Focus is greatly valued in the 21st Century. It is one of the most common things my clients talk about. While focus is highly valued, it’s not the answer. The answer is Authenticity. The Question?

What opens your portal to focus?

I was reminded of my mission one morning as I meditated on caring. I had been challenged in some recent study to reflect on who I am and what such authenticity was calling me yet to do. And I’ve not stated my mission to anyone in quite a long time: “To Love, Serve, & Understand.”

For some reason I focused on the aspect of caring. I believe others see me as caring, but then I wondered how such had evolved. Had caring moved to a point of being both external and internal? Then one of Patricia Ryan Madson’s tips for sharing control came to me; “If you see something that needs to be done, do it.”

Soon after reading, and seriously considering, Patricia’s tips, I was on my way to Oklahoma to work at a client location. I had to change planes in Atlanta (a usual process considering where I live). I exited the jet onto the jetway only to be halted by the human traffic jam. The gate-checked bags were being unloaded and an elderly couple was standing in the middle of it all waiting for their piece of luggage.

Realizing the jam of people, the husband suggested to his wife that she proceed forth to the top of the jetway and wait on him and the bag. Another piece of challenge was that he was also waiting on an airport wheelchair and attendant. The attendant and chair arrive, he gets seated, bag gets loaded, and everyone begins to hurry past as their movement clears the way up the incline toward the terminal.

As the very tiny attendant began to push the average-sized man, and as I gathered my own bag and start to pass, that long awaited piece of baggage slips right out from its shelf underneath the wheelchair. Seeing something that needed to be done, I called out, “I’ve got it” and snatched up the bag and proceeded to the top of the jetway.

I stopped next to the wife and asked if that gentleman approaching belonged to her. He did of course. I placed the bag beside her and moved on.

So, why do I tell you this story?

Your own good process for living moment-by-moment is your cycle of strengths applied to lead others, influence others, to serve others.

It seems as I was meditating on caring that this experience came to mind. And I was greatly surprised, as I relived it, that the service of this act was not about the wife, the husband, and not even getting baggage to the top of a jetway. The act was in service to a petite airport attendant.

When it comes to focus, the strength in the shadow is good process for living moment-by-moment. Thinking through this story helped me−brought back to consciousness−the process in my own mission.

Love opens me to see. In seeing I can serve. And at some point, often times much later, I understand.

BCL Blog 4

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Step into the Middle with Focus

Susan is all about supporting others when and where they need it. She holds a vision of true balance for others; a harmony of focus between the internal and the external.

From her commitment to true balance, Susan is intently focused on encouraging personal engagement:

I take interest in the work of others to encourage the interest that gives energy for the work and supports the confidence of the individual in the work.

Susan shows us what it looks like to step into the middle with focus. Her process is about deep, clear listening−required for a safe wade to the middle of the leadership stream. Susan is determined and focused by nature; her strengths of Active Clarity, Confidence, and Collaboration drive her forward with a silent, creative tension.

She has advanced into the middle of 21st Century impact with conscious focus−a confident, clear grasp on who she is and what is most important to her. Purpose drives how she supports; and in her brand of support she has become a purposeful teacher.

In the process of the support of others, Susan is learning to listen internally to hear better externally. She has consequently become more conscious of her own process of support. It is this process that has emerged and defined Susan’s very impact. This unique impact has long been present, she is now simply conscious of both presence and process.

Like Susan, do not make assumptions about the unknown. Instead, seek out information important to collective, focused direction.

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.

Step into the Middle of A New Confidence

The source of your confidence (confidence formed in the authentic self) is present long before the requirement of any situation. What is the source of this confidence? It is first of all grounded in your authenticity. Rooted in that fertile grounding is your purpose.

Purpose is made manifest in your story as you allow desire and intent to consciously join and flow toward impact−your purpose flowing out to others.

The Old
The 21st Century follower does not value an old confidence, a false narrative rooted in insubstantial expectations of being right−a win/lose position mistaken for leadership.

In this challenging 21st Century, full of distractions, purpose can keep you on a straight and narrow focus of what is best for you as a unique individual; and this is best for us.

The New
When we are receiving what we need from you, we find your confident stance in the middle of your designed impact. This path of purpose will direct your managing energy toward things and your leading energy toward us.

The Now
From the middle of A New Confidence, and an ever-evolving presence, you lead purposefully. Purposeful presence is a guide to others.

This is what others need from you, a focus on them founded and grounded in your authentic, powerful purpose.

Letting Go into Focus

If you have ever had to focus intently on something (and you have), you achieved focus only because you simultaneously let go of other things. Think about driving. Many accidents are caused by a lack of focus on the practice of driving. Things like texting, eating, putting on makeup, and reading are examples of what must be let go in order to focus on driving respectfully, responsibly, and safely.

In light of a larger story, focus is defined as choosing direction−with its corresponding activities and strategies−supportive of your purpose and commitment to life with meaning. −Wading the Stream of Awareness (Focus Chapter)

I had been working with Vicki for a few months. In one of our sessions I began by telling her how much fun it was to work with her. She doesn’t just call and wait for the coach to tell her what’s next. She seems to always have a story to tell about something she is applying.

Vicki is mastering the art and power of focus. As she has become more presently conscious of the values and strengths already flowing in who she is as a leader, she is creating opportunity to practice. And from this practice she lives out the coolest stories.

As a 21st Century leader … you have learned to leverage the power of commitment, to lead selflessly as you strengthen self for external impact, and to harness the power of focus as you direct voice and purpose. (Focus Chapter)

Vicki has always had purpose. As she said in that session, she has simply become more conscious of such power. Yes, our purpose is power. No matter the work you put your hand to doing, it can be done with purpose−and the impact of your work is amplified through the clear focus of purpose.

See sister post, Release Focus into Skill 6

Letting Go into Presence

I have known Joe for 45 years as of this writing.

Your relevance finds its birth in who you are. … finds life in the minds and hearts of others who are impacted by your presence. Your presence is a guide to others because you are clear on purpose−your motive, your method, and your meaning. −Wading the Stream of Awareness (Presence Chapter)

An experience is made sacred only as I am present with it and in it. In reality each experience is sacred in and of itself. It is one’s lack of presence (which is a choice) that steals away the sacredness of a particular experience. I am only now feeling the handle on the phrase, “It is what it is.” This phrase reminds me that I am in an experience−no good, no bad, just some moment to experience.

Joe is without a doubt in the top 10 of most loving spirits I’ve had the privilege to know. You could meet this friend of mine for the first time and I guarantee you the experience of instantaneously feeling the love I’ve known all these years.

Being clear on purpose means you also trust your purpose. Motive is the core of desire. Meaning is in your outcome of intent. And Desire & Intent meet in the tension of the middle as your method becomes impact.

Joe has been clear on purpose for a long time. I know this as I was present in some of those formative moments. His purpose? To love. Joe’s love is a commitment to presence−a being with that keeps him vibrantly conscious of opportunity.

No matter your purpose, know it. Trust it. Follow its clarity as you allow the merger of motive and meaning to flow through your sacred method.

See sister post, Release Presence into Skill 5

Letting Go into A New Confidence

Letting go may be one of the most difficult things you will ever learn. The old confidence holds on as it wants to control.

An old confidence cannot feel the pull of desire or hear the voice of a larger purpose … becoming conscious brings you into the present with what is so important to you.
−Wading the Stream of Awareness
(An New Confidence Chapter)

An old confidence cannot feel the pull of desire because desire is buried under the shoulds and opinions of the world around us. This old confidence cannot hear the voice of a larger purpose as it keeps one imprisoned in past regret and future fear. Living in a new confidence you are fully aware of the futility in all attempts to control. We fool ourselves as we assign effective credit to ineffective belief and action.

A New Confidence is simple consciousness.

You are aware of who you really are and you embrace this reality. In this stream of awareness you begin to see your actions and behavior, your choices and decisions, in the simple light of what is good and right for you. You learn to do what is good and right and let go.

Doing anything in the spirit of a new confidence releases authentic energy into the flow. You let it go downstream to where intended while simply trusting any return to the ordained flow of it all.

Be you−the real you−and let go.

See sister post, Release A New Confidence into Skill 3