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.

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

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.”

It Begins with Commitment

The moment of change is when one commits.

It was a Friday when Robert was asked to assume the role of President on the following Monday. After meeting with him and having the privilege to talk for two hours, I feel certain Robert accepted the challenge without hesitation.

In that moment, this college in the mountains was changed. The faculty, staff, and students had been invited into the story of a bright future – a story unfolding.

While Robert possesses the passion and dedication of an engaging storyteller, he is committed to the listener as he vividly outlines the unfolding of the collective story and enrolls each individual in the telling. The collective telling is made rich as he leads them with clarity along the curve and abundantly shares success through the strengths of each person’s character in the narrative.

The commitment of the one connects with the commitments of the many to bring about the impact of collective reach. This is 21st Century leadership.