Shadow Strengths – Chapter Four (Voice)

Your voice is the purest identification of your love as a leader.

In early 2011, I wrote this Poem for Voice:

The Layers of Life

From the inside out one lives
A living energized by the act of being.
From the core of self one gives
A giving energized in the act of seeing.

In seeing need, the voice moves
In authentic expression, the voice proves
What soul has to say
In midst of the fray
That love heals and the voice soothes.

Do you know how to identify your voice? Answer this simple question: “What is the one thing you hold so close in your core, that if it is not present in each interaction, then you know things will not be as they ought?” Don’t overthink this. Go with your intuitive impression. Whatever the word or phrase you used to answer, this is your Voice.

It is this one thing that is so easily hidden in the shadow. Why does voice become exiled to shadow? It is because the ego gets in the way of resonance. The ego is only concerned with what is on the outside−how we look in the world and to others. And the longer I live, the funnier this is to me; as I see how insecure many individuals unfortunately are, and that anyone would hold themselves in a negative, or positive, comparative light. And I’m most guilty!

Who you are at your core−where voice originates−is who you are, and this authenticity is just as it ought to be. But you see, I have to “voice” that, for my Voice is Love & Encouragement.

Beyond ego, into the depth of your Trueness, is your Voice. While ego is only concerned with how one looks on the outside, Voice guides us from the inside out.

So, how do we bring our unique voice out of our shadow? The first step is to answer the one thing question and become vividly aware of your voice. The next step is to allow such awareness flow and order into present consciousness. This simply means you become consistently committed to consciously bringing forth your voice in each interaction.

Such conscious application is indeed difficult; for the shadow desperately wants to reclaim your voice into ego-driven silence.

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. −Gil Bailie

Your Voice, focused through A New Confidence, is a strength drawn from the shadow.

For more on what drives my voice into the world: The Manifesto of My Art

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Shadow Strengths – Chapter Three (A New Confidence)

“The light of personal purpose illuminates a confidence we need to see in you, our leader.”

Awakening from a typically strange−and way-too-complicated dream−I found my mind applying possible interpretation to this writing I planned to begin the same morning.

I formulate a story from this dream experience to encourage you into A New Confidence; your steady walk in purpose. The details of the dream are not important. Thank goodness I cannot remember them! What I do remember is about a series of doorways that seemed to always present great difficulty in order to pass through. In the dream I faced the uncomfortable entry and indeed passed through. It seems I had a good friend with me and the pass-through was made easier as I explained to him the steps for entry.

Inside, all the wacky dream-stuff occurred. But when it came time to exit with my friend, the doors were all wide-open and the light streaming from the outer space beckoned us to simply step through. And maybe that is where the deepest application was discovered.

I began to confidently pass through sure I knew what was in that beckoning light, and just as certain why I should hurry right on through. But my friend was not by my side as he had stopped at the first exit threshold, staring back at the flurry of stuff inside, now darkened in the shadows created by the streaming brightness of the outer space.

Yes, with light comes shadow.

It seems the brighter the stream of light the easier it is to lose from individual view certain things in the shadows. For the sake of my point here I refer back to the wacky space inside once my friend and I had passed through the doorways. This space is symbolic of how easy it can be to get one’s Self lost in the fray of busyness.

The serious danger of busyness occurs when we mistake such for purpose.

A New Confidence flows forth through conscious Purpose.

It is an impossible task of opening something for someone else when the same something becomes closed to us by the repetitive difficulty of passing through.

In our organizational life it is too often true that the strength in the shadow is Purpose (individually and collectively). The strength of purpose is not something you find only after you walk through the clutter of busyness. Quite the opposite is true. The diversions of busyness begin to move out of your way in the streaming light of purpose. Now you confidently move through, around, over any remaining difficulty. You are walking in A New Confidence.

We must walk in this steadiness individually and together.

Let’s commit to personal purpose, strengthen a focus on collective purpose, and make a difference in all we do in this world.

This is the blessing of A New Confidence.

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Shadow Strengths – Chapter One (Impact)

In my last assignment before leaving Chicago, I had on my team a brilliant, vibrant young woman. At the time, Pam was 30, married, had a young son, worked fulltime, and was studying for a degree in her evenings. I admired her very much.

Occasionally, like any normal human, Pam would get in a bit of a funk. One particularly funky day she came into my office to talk about the future. It was soon clear it was not the future that had her feeling insecure; it was the comparison she was making between her ostensible progress by 30 with a female executive of the same age.

It is impossible to experience your own Trueness when entangled by unequal comparative perception.

Out of touch with our own Trueness we darken our shadow. Yes, when we think about the shadow we automatically think about the dark part of ourselves. Such thinking can lead us to avoid the shadow at all costs. This is dangerous.

It is important that we cease all attempts to hide from our shadow. For in that seeming darkness are treasures to abundantly fund our Trueness.

Jimmy is a dear friend building yet another adventure at 68. In preparation for a meeting we were to have about this direction of his work, he sent me the transcript of the TEDx talk he had just delivered.

I have known Jimmy for 12 years and ‘succinct’ is not a word I would use to describe him in his work. “Precise” yes, but not succinct. However, in the transcript of his talk, he was incredibly succinct and focused with a brief and compelling story.

For Jimmy the shadow is darkened by the overuse of his skill of preciseness. The TEDx talk clearly revealed the treasure of a key strength he needs at this time in his journey. “Structure” is his Strength that was hidden in the shadow.

Jimmy must hold his strength of structure in his light as he moves forward. Those impacted by his work need the application of his structure strength−delivering for Jimmy the ultimate preciseness so deeply encoded in his core.

“People are as frightened of their capacity for nobility as of their darkest sides.” −Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow

As Pam stood against the temptation to compare herself to another, she was better able to own her own shadow; and there courageously face and embrace her own treasures. Hidden with such treasure so often is a key strength that needs your light.

I encourage you to hold together your light and shadow. Hold them long enough to see the natural and beautiful contrast that is within. And as you do, we will better experience the balanced you−Your Impact!

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