Leadership Means Crossing a Threshold

The Indo-European root of the word lead and leadership (leith) means to go forth, to cross the threshold or to die.

The challenges we face in the world right now – the big world or our own smaller worlds – are pressuring us to see differently, to sharpen and deepen our attention and to cultivate  our capacity to shift the inner place from which we operate – the place of presencing in Otto Scharmer’s U Theory.

So, why is it that so many of us – leaders in our organizations and our communities – protest the investment of a few days completely away to engage in stillness or reflective practices that enable and build the capacity to see and then cross the inner threshold that shifts the shape of individuals, organizations and communities? And, why are those of us who see the need and know the benefit reluctant to specifically request or recommend this to other leaders we know?

Have we fallen into the trap of limiting beliefs – believing it is not possible to invest this time, that people won’t make the investment or commit the time or that it truly is impossible for leaders to turn off the electronics and their accessibility even for a few days?

Is this a blind spot we need to illuminate?  Is this a reflection of the inner landscape that needs to shift in order to be available to the future that is wanting to happen?

Our awareness and our consciousness determines the qualities of our actions and results.  In Theory U,  Scharmer asks: How can we renew our culture so that every human being is considered a carrier of a sacred project: the journey of becoming one’s authentic self?

As long as we aren’t ready to face and confront the inner abyss, we will stay stuck in the patterns of thinking, behaviour and action that have generated our current results, results that many agree do not support the sustainability of the earth or our current lifestyle – on an individual and collective basis.

If we could truly see the value of shifting the shape of our inner world, knowing it would allow us to cross the threshold into a more integrated way of being with a more responsive capacity to work successfully with the institutional and systemic crises we are faced with, wouldn’t even a significant amount of time – not just days but weeks or months, on an annual basis – become a worthwhile investment?

What is the renewal of hope and inspiration needed to compel us into this pursuit of the sacred project – the journey of becoming one’s authentic self – to understand that as our inner self shifts  we build the capacity, individually and collectively, to tune into, more frequently and in greater numbers, the future that wants to live through us, more becomes possible and maybe our very future depends on it.

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The Power of Story

Story.  Story telling.  It defines us.  It defines our culture – home, work, community, other.  Through the stories we tell we point to where our focus is and we get more of what we focus on.  Much of our story telling is unconscious – we tell our stories without thinking about them or their impact – on us, on others.

What if we told every story from a place of consciousness and intentionality, understanding the power of story and how it shapes our experience, our relationships and our world?  What stories would you choose to tell with intentionality?  What stories would you stop telling?  How would some of your stories shift and change as a result?

We make sense of ourselves, our journey, our relationships, events that happen to us, the places we work, through story.  We cannot move on from our experience until we have integrated it through story and, most often we need to be witnessed – which is why we verbalize our story to others.

Story is the basis of sustaining relationship.  We cannot know another person until we know their story and often, once we do know their story, everything shifts – from interacting with “those” people to interacting with living, breathing human beings where soul, the sacred and magic can enter.

Every story counts.  Every story serves to put positive or negative energy into your interpersonal field.

Your stories define you.  Sometimes we are attached to certain stories we tell – especially the ones we tell over and over again.  Are you attached to a story in your life?  Does it serve you in being the best you can be?  In living an inspired life?  If not, how can you shift the story you carry to shape a more powerful experience and build capacity – for you and for those around you?