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Leadership, Peter Senge, and What Will Distinguish The Great Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

What will distinguish the great leaders of today?

It’s third generational leadership.

Learn more by watching this 5 minute video video of Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, Senior lecturer at MIT and Founder of the Society for Organizational Learning.

Whether you are part of a family, organizational team or business in a supply chain, systems thinking is a valuable approach to understanding the complexity of today’s world. Peter Senge shares his perspectives on leadership and systems thinking with IBM.

Take a look here.

Senge focuses on the problems that are most difficult to solve and the mental models today’s leaders need in order to build a smarter planet.

Leaders today must be able  to reassess their strategies, work across multiple groups to find solutions and have the vision to work through high leverage solutions over time.

Working smarter means working in ways that are collective and are based on collective intelligence across cities and supply chains to produce social, ecological and economic well being.

After you watch the video, please leave a comment and share your biggest takeaway.

WANT TO MAKE YOUR MEETINGS REALLY COUNT?

Why waste the time and energies of valuable colleagues by playing around the edges of an issue?

When you’re part of a group meeting and especially when you are leading it, the most effective way to make it worthwhile is to ask: What’s the elephant in the room? (Of course, be sure that everyone understands the phrase.)

Addressing the critical but denied issue effecting the outcome of whatever discussion is happening, cuts to the chase, brings air and light into the room – opens up a deeper, more productive ( though not easier) conversation and MOST IMPORTANTLY ALLOWS FOR POTENTIAL HEALING OR RESOLUTION.

elephant

Great Leadership: Don’t Tug on the Leaves

Trimming my basil plant today got me thinking about Leadership. (I like to keep some fresh herbs in the 13031640_skitchen to feed my passion for cooking.)

Great leadership takes time…like growing a healthy plant. No amount of tugging on the leaves or urging it to “hurry up” makes the least difference.

So what does?

A few years ago, a friend who led an educational organization was diagnosed with cancer. While undergoing treatment, he hired an interim assistant. It was a critical time for the organization as grant monies were to be distributed to various new projects while ongoing supervision and review of funded projects was happening simultaneously.

Needless to say, there was a lot going on.

My friend, let’s call him Daniel, had a great relationship with his interim assistant, Diana. who he knew from a previous position. But he neglected to help Diana understand the dynamics of the education team.

His sense of urgency, his eagerness to “take care of” the organization in his absence was translated by Diana as get things done NOW! To Daniel’s dismay, Diana fired an administrative assistant… and all hell broke loose.

A storm of distrust blew up. Team members began second guessing every decision Diana made. Disgruntled and confused, Diane led staff meetings that deteriorated into “complaint sessions.” Getting anything done felt like jogging in molasses.

By the time Daniel was well enough to return full time, there was such a big mess to deal with that it took him weeks to recreate the happy, healthy organization he had left.

But there was one BIG difference.

He now realized how important it was to cultivate autonomy among his capable team members.

That required slowing down, sharing what was up, allowing other’s ideas to become part of the  mix of “how to” skills and not pushing so hard to be the one who got “it” done. Daniel learned to tune into the situation, in all its complexity and include everyone involved.

For my basil, I have to tune into the needs of the plant – does it require more or less light, more or less frequent watering, nutrients in the soil, trimming off dead leaves?

When applied to people, in an organization or on a team, a willingness to ask questions like:

1. What’s your take?
2. How would you approach this situation?
3. What changes would you like to see?
4. How can we do better?

…distinguishes the great from the merely good or adequate leader.

Good and adequate leaders simply “urge growth”. They may talk a lot, offering educated opinions or point to past experience, thinking they are encouraging their team. Yet, without really tuning into the person in front of him, his good intentions may actually be turning the situation sour.

On the other hand, great leaders cultivate greatness by tuning into their teams or organization as a regular part of leading.

People

On any given team there may be the introspective member who needs solitude and quiet to do her best work, alongside someone who feeds on stimulation and encouragement . You may have a direct report who responds to processes as support while his peer sees them as restraints.

One member of an organization may like being the “guide on the side” while another requires the limelight. And while a team outwardly has a vested interest in achieving the same outcomes, how members coordinate their efforts, energies and actual work to get there is a complicated by the human factor. Each person contributes unique strengths (and challenges).

The great leader utilizes the complementary strengths to support her organization or team in reaching its goals.

How, you’re asking?

If you’re a leader, get curious, stay open and refrain from making assumptions – about your people or solutions. Before determining a course of action, ask lots of questions – direct questions from a place of openness and tolerance. Listen to the answers, really listen from a place of “not-knowing”.

That’s a big shift.

Some “listening” looks more like, “Are you agreeing with my point of view?” And if you aren’t, I’m preparing my arguments for a particular position. This kind of listening doesn’t allow for hearing the other person. It gets in the way.

Listening from a place of “not knowing” includes open body language, open attention to the other (without an inner impatience to be heard). It includes humility – a quality worth cultivating.

A great leader wants to cultivate people with different competencies than herself. It strengthens the team, brings forward other perspectives, supports initiative and makes for powerful brainstorming. She learns as much as she can about her team and from their team. Asking for input from team members also builds their confidence (and loyalty) a big incentive in itself.

A leader armed with real data, perspectives and approaches and knowledgeable about any other constraints, can move forward and make sound decisions. One who is legitimately grateful for the input of her team, and also direct about the course of action, builds trust based on mutual respect.

It’s also important to stay away from psychoanalyzing your people. Instead observe closely and combine the observed behavior with answers to your questions to make grounded assessments. Build loyalty by encouraging people to be their best, though that may look different in different people.

And stay far away from the “one size fits all” way of leading – as much as is possible. Within the constraints of your projects, honor the differences in your team members. Take the time necessary to listen well, listen deeply and celebrate successes, even the little ones. Encouragement is part of the great leadership toolkit.

Instill self-confidence. It leads to boldness. Boldness fosters creative solutions. So praise, encourage, and challenge…but keep the challenges achievable and never take effort for granted.

And to encourage big ideas, great leaders avoid “knowing” everything.

Instead, they stay humble and open to others. By inviting opinions, they foster an atmosphere of creative problem solving and stay approachable.

So back to my basil plant. The connection? This way of leading takes time – like good gardening.

It requires a commitment to building a great workplace. It recognizes the importance of great teams. And while outwardly it may appear too slow, the gains in team confidence, contribution and loyalty go a long way towards high end productivity, viable solutions to problems that inevitably arise and real profits – personal and for the organization.

The Shadow of Great Leadership

7715632_sLeaders are the target of a lot of writing. Blogs, articles, courses. I know. I’m one of the perpetrators. Executives, coaches, consultants and entrepreneurs are leaders – of small to large teams and organizations. If you are one, the writing targets you.

Much of the advice is useful. Especially articles and blogs that focus on emotional intelligence and what we’re learning from neuroscience that directly impacts adult behavior change. More and more research shows that self-aware leaders move from being effective to being great. (See my discussion on LinkedIn.)

Understanding themselves well, leads these great leaders to understanding others – which is better than simply sympathizing. Why? Because understanding leads to compassion – and compassion is not hierarchical. Its holistic and egalitarian.

Where the stage goes dark (pun intended) is on the shadow-side of leadership. Very little is written about the shadow side of leadership – for good reason. Shadow work takes courage, takes time and is often difficult.

And there can be little self-awareness until some shadow work occurs. Uncovering for yourself what has been hidden surfaces what you project onto others. And  once you begin to see the projections, you can take responsibility for your part.

In addition to knowing yourself better, you grow the capacity to understand others – how they operate in the world, on your team in your organization. Wouldn’t that be useful going forward?

Its also true that shadow work is deep, scary and often avoided or sacrificed to more “skill based” development – like presentation skills or accounting. But because it is so fundamental, it cannot be overlooked when  a leader wants to make deep, lasting shifts.

So what is shadow work and what does working with it look like?

William Faulkner, the great American writer said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  

That’s a good way to begin thinking about your shadow. Its the part of you, arising from your past that lives on in your unconscious, but acts out in day to day behavior. It shows up is the judgments you hold about others and in your interpretations of their actions.

Why? The parts of you, as a child, that weren’t appreciated or accepted may have gone far underground, but you’re still carrying them. And when something triggers a strong reaction, you can be sure, your shadow is behind it.

Also, as David Richo, author, therapist and teacher explained, your projections onto others sheds light on your own material.When you look at the judgment you make of others, you can discern some things in yourself you avoid seeing.

Are you triggered by a controlling partner (in business or life)? Most likely there’s a controlling part of you that you’re denying, not willing to see. And the way to work with that is to begin to admit to yourself what lurks beneath consciousness.

You may shy away from the controlling parts of yourself from an experience (or belief) that controlling people are manipulative, demanding and worse, domineering. Whatever the reason, as a leader, until you surface and begin to shift your responses, your leadership suffers.

Shadow work takes skillful, ongoing support. You can’t do it alone. So, great leaders get that support, from coaches, therapists and skilled professional…and they do the work! They know that reaching their full potential requires it. And they demonstrate courage in taking on the challenge.

Unlike talking therapy, shadow-work requires action in the office, on the tennis court, at home. It includes specific practices, tailored to the individual after an in depth conversation and assessment, and its an ongoing process of discovery, awareness and action.

Your shadow doesn’t just hide the dark, often negative qualities we think of first – anger, jealousy, greed. It can also hide loyalty, generosity, brilliance, empathy.

The good news about this process is that once begun, uncovering the qualities liberates your energy – the energy you’ve burnt up in keeping the lid on – for creative pursuits. Innovation comes from that creativity as does balance – qualities that great leaders share.

While there are so many positive outcomes from doing this work, it comes with the warning that shadow-work is not for the feint of heart. It requires courage, open-mindedness, commitment and follow-through. Wow, aren’t those the qualities those myriad articles, blogs and lectures aimed at leadership underscore?

 

Annette is a former high school principal, a certified Integral Coach, an Accelerated Learning specialist and curriculum developer. She is an NLP trained executive coach and co-author of The Game of Truth: A Humorous Guide to Self-Discovery.Annette has taught Power Reading, Memory and Creativity courses around the globe. Her coaching and teaching has taken her to South Africa, Greece, Singapore and Moscow and she has presented workshops at Stanford, USC, Wellesley, Amherst, George Mason University and University of Arizona. Annette has facilitated Ropes Courses and led executive trainings at Anheiser Busch and Nikon. She counts among her clients leaders at NASA, Genentech, Twitter, Clorox, Intel, Cisco and SpaWars. Click here to receive to get your 5 Minute Planning Tool.

The Little Known Secret That Will Make You A Great Leader and 7 Ways To Manage It

11420529_sIf you want to be a great leader, you have on your team or will soon hire, benign subversives. These are desirable team employees but not for the usual reasons.

What is a benign subversive? Great question!

A benign subversive may be a naysayer or simply someone who sees things very differently. She (or he) stands out because she doesn’t subscribe to the “groupthink” of a solid enterprise. Moreover, she isn’t shy about sharing her thoughts, ideas or criticism. Sometimes “hard to take”, this person really has a lot to offer.

As a great leader, you can corral the worthwhile opinions, analysis or criticism without taking the “sting” that often attaches, personally. In fact, having the support of a benign subversive may be the magical formula to resolving serious, entrenched issues in your product, service, operations or strategy.

A benign subversive is a person working for the overall benefit of the organization but in unique, often not aligned with the protocol, ways.  In other words, doing her own thing while bringing about desirable results – often great results.

The benign subversive can have irregular work habits or irreverent meeting protocol. She may show up in strange dress or pontificate about  weird food fetishes, spout strong opinions about matters most people consider private.

Does it matter if her offerings are brilliant?

In the old days, these people were demoted or even fired. Keeping to a protocol was so highly valued that anyone playing a different game was out! And naysaying wasn’t allowed.

Today, we’re finding that especially astute great leaders hire and nurture these people. Though they work with fuzzier lines to their box, are a bit messier with their colors, benign subversives bring original thinking to their problem solving. They often think so far out of the box, they come up with innovative products or services. Or even question core values and force everyone else to do so!

Another appeal of these folks may be that they invite new customers or clients into the organizations – nontraditional ones,  more like themselves, opening up new income streams.

Gary R. Coulton writes:

History is littered with examples of leaders, organisations and even governments whose drive to uphold an increasingly untenable core vision mutates into self-fulfilling “groupthink.” The organisation ends up assuming the best of everything and never prepares for the worst.

Schlomo Ben Hur, Nikolas Kinley and Karsten Jonsen describe this destructive scenario wonderfully in their paper “Coaching Executive Teams to Reach Better Decisions.”

“Leaders can get stuck in groupthink because they’re really not listening, or they’re listening only to what they want to listen to, or they actually think they’re so right that they’re not interested in listening. And that leads to a lot of suboptimal solutions in the world.” ~Jacqueline Novogratz founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture capital fund

And if you’re sold on the desirability of these, you’ll still have to learn to nurture them ( and transcend your own discomfort). Dealing with these team members may not be easy – at first. What’s required is curiosity and a re-frame of your thinking. Here  are seven key steps:

1. Center yourself. If you are grounded, you’re less likely to be triggered by what you’ll hear.

2. Assume the benign subversive has the organization’s best interests at heart (that’s the re-frame required).

3. Get very curious about what she or he brings to the table. Ask lots of questions. Hear her out. Take notes. Thank her.

4. Don’t commit. Tell her you’ll reflect on what she brought.

5. Reflect – really think about the content of the message, rather than the method of delivery. (Often these aren’t diplomatic in their presentation. So what? Its the ideas you’re after.)

6. Try offering these ideas to other decision makers in your own language, with a positive spin to see what might be added, subtracted, altered or dismissed, then reflect some more.

7. Decide –  as the leader. Take action, even it is no change at all.

By nurturing the benign subversive you’ll guarantee fresh viewpoints, different insights, original processes and an end to “groupthink.” But even better, you’ll cultivate your own curiosity and flexibility as a leader – qualities that lead to greatness.

So begin your search now.

And for more great resources and insights like these, I invite you to listen to this strategy session. It offers tools, strategies, and mindsets for staying calm in chaos, choosing effective action, massive productivity (with minimal stress), and  the confidence to take the right, strategic leaps in your business so you can create success, faster.

Great Leaders Pay Attention

business people paying attentionYou’re a leader. And now, you want to move from good to great! What’s it going to take?

You’ve read, even studied the inner workings of emotional intelligence. You’re bringing it to light more and more in your daily routine. Now what’s all this about Focus?

What does Emotional Intelligence have to do with Focus? And why should you care?

Because you can’t reach your potential as a leader without it! Period!

The guru of emotional intelligence has written succinctly on both. There is a practical, meaningful link that will impact your leadership – whatever your style, wherever you are geographically and regardless of the type of organization you lead.

How has he answered the question about the connection between EQ (emotional intelligence) and Focus?

According to Goleman, emotional intelligence requires self-awareness—awareness of our own minds and emotions—as well as empathy, both of which can be cultivated by honing our skills of attention.

“When I set out to write this book, I knew I was going to explore the explosion of new important research about attention,” says Goleman. “But what I didn’t realize was that it was going to lead me back to emotional intelligence.”

Paying attention is critical. Goleman talks about focus on inner, other and outer.

Daniel Goleman: The fundamental thing to understand about inner focus is that we can be aware of our own awareness. There is such a thing as meta-awareness, meta-cognition, meta-emotion—the perspective we can take that allows us to monitor our inner world rather than just be swept away by it. That, in turn, gives us a point of leverage for handling that inner world better—without it, we’re lost.

For example, in Emotional Intelligence I looked at distressing emotions, which are generated by the brain’s amygdala and emotional threat. In order to manage the amygdala hijack, you have to be aware that it’s happening. Meta-awareness becomes the fulcrum from which you can handle emotions, handle your inner world, handle the thoughts which generate upsetting emotions or which help you, in a positive way, manage them for the better.

Great leaders pay attention – to people, strategy, arising situations. AND THEIR INNER WORLD. And they do so with focus.

So what about other focus?

Does that mean they don’t attach to the technological tools that often distract the rest of us? A resounding NO! is the answer.  Great leaders  are more strategic about their use of tools and time.

Goleman says that we are all “under siege” so concentrating on Focus is  particularly timely now.

And leaders lead other people – often in challenging situations.

He says: … “being able to focus on the other person rather than the text you just received has become the new fundamental requirement for having a relationship with that person. And I think this is another reason to develop a meta-awareness about where our attention has gone. I think we need to make more effort and cultivate more strength to detach [our attention] from that thing that is so tempting over there, and bring it back to the person in front of us.”

Finally , the third kind  of focus – is systems focus. Again Goleman says, “This is more elusive. We have dedicated [brain] circuitry for self-management, self-awareness. We have dedicated circuitry for empathy. The brain doesn’t have the equivalent of that dedicated circuitry for sensing, for instance, the ways in which humans systems of construction, energy, transportation, industry, and commerce are inexorably deteriorating global systems that support life. It’s too macro or too micro for sensory systems in the first place.”

We literally don’t perceive global warming directly in the way we see a person’s wince or wink, and register that immediately. We don’t have an alarm system for that like the way we hear a growl—a growl alerts the amygdala and springs the stress hormones into action. But when it comes to global warming, actually, the brain shrugs. It’s something we have to learn about and learn to care about and learn to detect indirectly, so it’s a bigger stretch. We care about the present far more than the distant future, which is invisible—we don’t notice it.

The neuroscience behind this?

For example, meditation is, from a cognitive science point of view, the retraining of attention—a bulking up of the neural circuitry that allows you to detach from where your mind has wandered, bring it back to the point of focus, and keep it there. That is the basic repetition of the mind in any kind of meditation. And that’s also what builds up the willpower to resist the pull of electronics and stay with the human world.

And meditation comes in many flavors. As a leader, you can choose anything from breathing exercises to martial arts, yoga to  mindfulness practice, Qigong to observing a candle flame and everything in between.

Again, Goleman – “From a neuroscience point of view, I think the standard way this has been approached is exactly the wrong way to get people to care and act about global warming. Mainly they either threaten us with destruction or guilt trip us. That activates centers in the brain for negativity, for distressing emotions. And when we feel distressing emotions, the brain wants us to turn them off—either tune them out or do one little thing [to make us feel better]. And I think that’s one of the main reasons why the environmental movement has had such a poor record of getting the general public to do much about the environmental crisis.”

There is a more clever way of getting people involved: Rather than looking at footprints, which is all the bad that we’re doing, look at hand prints, which is the sum total of all the good things we do to lower our footprint.

This is the brainchild of Gregory Norris, who is at the Harvard School of Public Health. The hand print approach means that you get points for every time you ride your bike to work or walk instead of ride, when you recycle, when you print on both sides of the paper, when you don’t print at all. All of those things that help can be counted, and the idea is to grow your hand print rather than your footprint. That is a goal we can work toward in small baby steps that are manageable and that we can feel good about. And that motivates the parts of the brain which keep us working toward our goals.

So great leaders need to MOTIVATE their peeps and do it in a way that leads their teams to care about, think about and work on systems ( the invisible  future) in the ways they care about the more immediate emotional and situational events arising now.

And while there is growing concern about young people’s ability to focus, Goleman is encouraging. He covers in the book, that focus is to a certain extent under our control—that it’s a skill we can build.

Goleman: … “we do have to work at building it. And for that reason I really advocate an intention-strengthening exercise as a kind of mental fitness that we practice daily, just as you might jog.”

Goleman, the former New York Times science journalist turned best-selling author, is perhaps still best known for his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence, which was followed by Social Intelligence more than a decade later. Like those earlier works, Focus synthesizes findings from years of research across the social, behavioral, and cognitive sciences—in this case, on the roots and importance of our attention skills.

So as a leader on the road to greatness, begin practicing focus – the art and science of paying attention. Like all practice, it requires a strong intention, and the self-compassion to overcome the inevitable hurdles that arise. Yet, paying attention pays off – big time. So what’s it going to be?  Choose a practice and get an accountability partner on your side. Hire a coach, join a Mastermind Group, but do something because its clear, great leaders pay attention!

What are some tips you use to focus?

5 SECRETS BRILLIANT WOMEN IN CHARGE NEED TO KNOW

Why are you floundering?

You are brilliant, insightful and have incredible ideas. I know because I keep meeting you – a brilliant woman with big ideas to contribute, important organizations and businesses to build, and provocative questions to ask.

But when we “get to it” you tell me that you’re not commanding power. And when we break it down even further, it comes to this: you equivocate, apologize – even look away as you speak.

I know this pattern. I used to do this too. And then I learned these secrets to powerful, authentic communication.

You can learn to stop undermining yourself.

Here are 5 secrets that have worked for me and hundreds of my amazing women clients.

1. Drop the “just:” “I’m just wondering…”
“I just think…”
“I just want to add…”
Just demeans what you have to say. “Just” shrinks your power. Get rid of  the “justs.”

2. Lose the “actually.” “I actually have a question…”
“I actually want to add something….”
“Actually” communicates a sense of surprise that you have something to say. Of course you have questions or value to add. There’s nothing surprising about it.

3. Don’t tell me that what you’re about to say is likely to be wrong. If you’re still starting sentences with, “I haven’t researched this but…”
“I’m just thinking off the top of my head but…” (notice the “just”?)
“You’ve clearly been working on this longer than I have, but…”
You aren’t standing behind what you’re saying for several reasons. Perhaps you’re not totally sure about what you’re going to say. Or you’re really afraid of being wrong so you’re buffering the sting of a critical response.

You’re indicating that you’re not committed to your words before anyone else has a chance to strongly disagree. This takes away the power of your voice! It’s time to change this habit and own what you say, even if you later change your mind.

4. Don’t tell us you’re “only going to take a minute” to say something. It sounds apologetic. How often in presentations do you hear women say, “I’m only going to take a minute to tell you about our service (product, company, etc.)”? Think how much more powerful is it to say, “I’d like to tell you about our company.” What you have to say is worthy of your audience’s time and attention. If you only want to take a moment, do it, but don’t use an apologetic phrase to belittle what you are saying.

5. Don’t make your sentences into questions. Women often raise their pitch at the end of a sentence making them sound like questions. Listen to your own language and that of other women and you’ll see the prevalence this speech habit. Speaking a statement like a question diminishes its power. Make statements sound like statements; drop into a lower tone at the end.

No need to become harsh or domineering.

Women’s unique way of communicating tends to be collaborative, consensus-building and inviting – much needed attributes in  conscious leadership. There’s no need to change who you are or take on a style that’s inauthentic. But it is time to put away the self-diminishing ways of speaking that stem from being afraid of your own power or from believing what your harsh inner critic has to say. Its time to stop offering up your brilliance in tentative, self-deprecating ways.

So how to begin? Start moving into authentic communication by being mindful.

First, increasing your awareness of the unhelpful speech patterns you currently use by simply listening to yourself.

Then set an intention to work on your unhelpful habits one-by-one.

Pick one that stands out and spend a week or two changing it. Then go on to another.

(This works especially well when you ask a trusted friend or colleague for support. That support can look like a non-verbal signal to remind you to stay on track.)

For more support on stepping fully into your power while being authentically yourself, check out my brand new 21 day From Timid to Awesome: Living Into My Brilliance workshop.

You’ll learn and practice effective communication skills, learn strategic presentation strategies, and build your confidence, clarity and connection.

The world is waiting for your ideas. It’s time to start sharing them boldly, fully and loudly, without diminishment or apology.

Brilliant Women:  Support is on the way! Yes, you can take charge! Learn more in an upcoming webinar.  It will be recorded if you can’t be on the live call.  Details to follow.

DANCING FROM DARK TO LIGHT

‎”Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness.” – Dan Millman
What’s this mean?
Dealing with the darkness means being with the pain, the shame, the discomfort, the suffering or other difficult emotions.
It DOESN’T mean avoiding, making smaller, denying or escaping – the usual suspects (and for good reason – who wants to stay with hurt?).
Of course, having loving support for your process, a witness to your “dealing” is helpful and in the case of trauma, essential.
Only by dealing with our darkness, our shadow, can we claim the energy that we burn up in repressing, hiding, avoiding, forgetting – going to sleep.
And that energy, once released, bursts forth in creativity – light, to live more fully, more potently, more consciously whether we build great relationships or great buildings, write great poetry or letters of condolence.
Let’s be like water, receptive, flowing, powerful, dynamic (the vessel of life itself)…claiming our space in the universe fully, completely, uniquely. Then let’s shine our light wherever we go.

 

Presence: An Invitation to Courage

We speak lightly of Presence so often – in working with ourselves, in working with our clients. Yet, we don’t often think of it as the key to developing courage!

This morning as this quote came across my screen, I began to ponder it more deeply.
First the quote:

There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work, whether of the head or hand. ~Thoreau

When our strongest intuitions arise in technicolor, they come from dropping deeply into the moment. And what does “the moment” provide when entered into fully?

The Truth – yes with a capital “T”.

If we are able to be with the Truth of whatever is arising – no deflection, no avoidance, no belittling, no judging – no resistance of any kind something profound occurs. We begin to become more permeable, less stiff, less rigid, allowing more spaciousness. And in that space, courage blossoms as we notice that we’re actually okay!

A little known aspect of being Present – not planning or manipulating or dreaming or wistfully longing is that our Presence ultimately transcends our anxieties and fear. By entering into what is up for us – pleasant or unpleasant and exploring it fully, it begins to move, to breathe in and out… and with practice, staying tuned in rather than tuning out – we transcend our fears, our anxieties by noticing that we’re actually okay – the roof isn’t collapsing, the arresting officer isn’t at the door. We have clothes to wear, food to eat, shelter from the storm. More than most people on the planet can say!

And what is most amazing? When we are Present with this moment and the next and the one after that, our capacity to stay Present grows. And moreover, our Presence invites others to courageously move into Presence as well.

So not only we developing more courage to meet Life as it arrives, but we also invites others into this action. As we stay grounded in Presence, they too, find ground beneath their feet to be with Life – and their experience of it. As so much of wisdom, this is simple but not easy. Yet, what precious quality is easily developed? Most require commitment. As we commit ourselves, we begin to engage more fully with others, ourselves and Life unfolding.

So, let’s pause in the endless cycle of “Next,” and not sacrifice the bloom of the present moment!