Archive for the ‘authenticity’ Category

I’m Skin Prickingly Back!

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

November 6th blog post… I wrote, “Be back soon’.  In the great scheme of things, almost 8 months later is truly an inconsequential spit in the ocean. Well. a spit as far as transformational journeying goes.

Not unsurprising…

Like a harvested field, I’ve been burning off arrogance, omnipotence and other dark side smack side hell side personality crap!   I hear me judging myself for swearing in public…   But crap doesn’t get used as a fertiliser for no good reason.  It’s fecund with possibilities and creation.  And, it’s my experience that always, but always, when I work with my crap what’s even more challenging emerges… something of the best and most noble in me.

Whatever you do, don’t give me what’s best and noble in me!!!  Haven’t I done enough, Universe?  How the hell am I going to serve and live up to this one?

If you’re a traveller of  journeys yourself, these sentiments will not be unknown to you.  I/they burn with a passion of profound inverse humility!  How dare I think I’m not up to the job when it’s been assigned to me in the certain knowledge that I am?

I’m crying profusely now… vulnerable and red skin raw.  My offerings feel like my very blood and guts… these  things I was born to do… and I struggle without adequate vocabulary to describe them.   And I struggle with putting my head above the parapet.  Yet I’m aflame with visions.

Pictures of how you and I and the whole of humanity could live in I/thou relationship.  Images of how our everyday lives at work and at home could be fantastically transformed with qualities of love and grace.  How you and I could truly operate from not my will but thy will be done… and, paradoxically, the immense and joyful freedom that brings.

If I was passionate before… I now carry my own personal incinerator in which I become consumed and rise again.  Purpose, passion and power has nothing on this!  It’s beyond beyond.

And, through this process, I’ve been inspired to create ‘Unlocking The Power Of YOU!’ teleseminars and programme … This is where I re-begin, where I start anew offering of myself all that I understand and experience to be profoundly true.  All that burns unquenchingly in my heart and soul.

And… having put my head above the parapet… when will you?

 

 

 

‘Authentic’ leadership is a load of rubbish!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Pleeeeeez!… If it’s genuine why headline it?  It will speak for itself.  You don’t have to do or be certain things to be ‘authentic’.  You just are!  So, with sceptical mind, I went to a conference workshop this week  entitled ‘Developing Authentic Leadership’.

To be honest, I think I went for a fight. I think I went anticipating the same old same old ideas and formulae that I could challenge and kick at.

Ian Roberts from The Thinking Partnership started with a declaration his piece wasn’t in traditional workshop style.  People were free to make comments and ask questions (so could learn from each other anyway) but he wasn’t into a traditional workshop… Or, it transpired, a traditional anything else!

Instead, he launched into several stories which showed how fake most of which goes by the name of authenticity is in our culture.  And how it’s often seen in self leadership as finding your ‘essence’ in a narcissistic way, abandoning relationships, home, work, whatever and looking for some magical fit some mystery somewhere else.

I loved it!  He was talking stuff  in my upcoming book, albeit with a different approach and a different language.  There were a few minor points where I disagreed but, hey, at core, he and I are absolutely on the same wave length,

Some other ‘coaches’ in the large audience most certainly didn’t love it!

They expressed disappointment his ‘workshop’ wasn’t in the traditional formula.  They said they were confused… always a good sign indicating old ideas are breaking down and new ones in the process of forming.

They commented on how his manner had created a negative emotional reaction in them (so much for response-ability!).  They expressed feelings mostly of anger or frustration, some of feeling insulted by his approach.  And some verged on being personally attacking.

Never mind their palpable high levels of anxiety on having their expectations of the workshop and their beliefs about authentic leadership challenged big time!

And, if they didn’t comment, a large number of them just got up and left.

These were coaches!  These were people to whom other people entrust their precious selves for growth.  Yet they couldn’t sit with their own discomfort, dislike, diagreement, inner conflict or whatever else was going on for them.  So, how on earth are they going to be able to sit with that of their clients when at a growing edge???

Found a great quotation from Einstein.  ‘If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.’

Now, I don’t believe there’s one essential truth… Ian was outlining ‘the’ truth from his perspective.  And he wasn’t elegant.  He gave it straight from the shoulder.  He responded to comments and questions, however uncomfortable, very much in the moment, present, standing in his own ground, saying it how it was for him…

He was modelling authentic leadership, what I call Inner Leadership!… Being aware of the other person’s position and feelings, being aware of his own reactions, which he later used as teaching points, and choosing neither to be defiant or compliant about the criticism but to respond honestly in the moment as best he could.

What a fabulous, fabulous opportunity for learning!

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Leadership Gossip – What’s it hiding?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

When you have nothing to say… say nothing!

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m a little jaded with over a month of more than usual socialising and networking. From listening to buckets of small talk which has, at times, seemed very small to me.

Not that I need the lofty heights of academia or to debate the latest leadership theories at every opportunity but, pleeeeeez, … how can anyone in their right mind think the menu of their lavish dinner or latest challenging Atlantic flight are of any interest to me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that many people keep themself busy with gossip and lacklustre minutae as a distraction from focusing on things which really matter. What they lack in wit they make up for in volumous, stultifying garbage. And while they do…

They don’t have to face their lack of inner leadership, the personal or business relationship that’s falling apart, the difficulty they’re experiencing with their role, the lack of meaning and purpose they experience or that they’re as bored with themselves as I am with their conversation.

I wanted to yell, WAKE UP!  I was falling asleep too, being hypnotised into a coma where we could all pretend everything was alright when it wasn’t. Oh for some honesty, some transparency and authentic communication.

And, if I had yelled WAKE UP!, would I have been acting with integrity, just been downright rude or have defined myself socially as a lunatic?

Insanity here I come.

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Three Essential Steps To Fierce Leadership

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Fierce is a word which gets bad press.  Look it up in any dictionary and you’ll get meanings like violently aggressive or frightening, unpleasantly strong or intense.

Yet ‘fierce’ is the heart of passion and, without fierce leadership, inner or outer, you cannot do the not do-able, you cannot speak the unspeakable… and that’s no leadership at all.

Correction!  Without fierceness, I cannot do the not do-able.  I cannot speak the unspeakable.

And my heart screeches to break free.  I’m a maverick for god’s sake!  I always have been… yet there are times when I truss myself up for fear of not being acceptable, of being ‘too much’.  And so might you.

In leadership, being ‘too much’ is exactly what’s required sometimes.  What would the human race have missed through the absence of Galileo, Einstein, Edith Sitwell and Rosa Parks.  And if you don’t know who those women were, go look them up.  They also carried fierceness in their breasts… as do you and I.

At other times in leadership, being ‘too much’ could be inappropriate and destuctive… but you and I betray ourselves if we use that  fear to gag and disempower our self.  There is a truth in it so far as anything can be used for good or evil… but it’s not the truth.

Sometimes, I get told it is the truth, that I am ‘too much’, by people who don’t want to hear my challenges.  No surprise… because I’m not here to be quiet.  I’m not here to let you get away with the small version of you with which you can fool yourself.  Just as I’m not willing to accept my own self-deception.

To pay you the respect you deserve, I first have to do that for myself!

So,  if you don’t want to work deeply and at a pace, don’t work with me.  Find a different kind of facilitator because…

I’m fierce!

Both in the gentleness of support and love in which I’ll hold you and in my unwillingness to collude with your small self… my unwillingness to collude with the internal gremlins which trick you, the trances into which you fall asleep and the stories you weave to keep yourself there.  All of which is but a loving echo of my unwillingness to collude with my own.

Tears are flowing through my eyes now as I type BE FIERCE!… I’m passionate for you to be a fierce leader for yourself and others!  To be that kind of a leader in a world needing you and I to step up, speak out and take action.

Three essential steps…

1.   Absolutely take on board that you have the potential to do harm as well as good with fierce leadership.

2.   Sharpen the senses and skills of your discernment so as to be able to distinguish the quality of your action for good rather than harm.

3.   Regularly sit in that ‘dynamo of silence‘ I wrote of in my last ezine.  That dynamo of silence which fuels and inspires your discernment and your leadership.

Then, go be a fierce leader.  Go do fierce leadership.  And embody it boisterously or gently… however  you choose!


Leadership in Retreat?

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

I read a lot about leaders needing to be proactive, set the vision, support and develop their ‘followers’.  Sometimes the literature makes the leader sound like a benevolent version of the old patriarchal order, though ‘serving’ rather than sounding off.

However, the wise leader knows when to retreat.  She knows when to let those she holds get on with things without her intervention.  She knows when she’s screwed up and that ‘fessing up is the ethical and ecological thing to do… a very wise retreat!

She also knows when to withdraw to nourish her body, feelings, mind and creative energy.

This leader’s taking her own advice, leaving for 7 days withdrawal from my normal world.  Ostensibly it’s to complete the first edit of my upcoming book.  But it’s also for woodland, lake, quietness and warm company, palpable history which touches my soul… and great food!

When’s the last time you served yourself with a leadership ‘retreat’?

Speak the Unspeakable in 2010!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

Leaders are loved, hated, praised, villified, applauded or condemned by some people some of the time.  Most likely all of the time in different measure.

As a leader, you won’t get to hear the negative stuff spoken behind closed doors or lurking silently on other people’s agendas.  Apart  from the critical missives from brave souls who’ve got the balls or don’t care what you think of them.

Yet it’s absolutely critical you do get to hear the ‘unspeakable’ about yourself.  It guards against grandiosity.  It guards against  complacency.  It guards against it all being about yourself.  So welcome the next constructive criticism or dung throwing as a pre-emptive strike for your professional and personal growth.  It’s world class fodder for developing your Inner Leadership.

And, as a leader, it’s critical YOU speak the unspeakable!  It’s critical for evolution and creative change.  It’s critical for your own credibility.

I’m sick of  UK governmental leaders for their grisly, sickly smiles and political shitck.   Say we screwed up and we’re sorry.  Say our party’s got nothing new to offer and we’re just making it look as if it has.  Where’s their courage to challenge worn out ideas?

I’m sick of the captains of industry, business and banking who pay lip service to social and ecological responsibility.  Say we’re only doing this to look good in the share-holders’ and customers’ eyes… but we don’t give a toss really.  Where’s their heart, soul and common humanity for others, our world and themselves?

Where are the Galileos, the Ghandis, the Darwins?  Where are the Emily Pankhursts, the Edith Sitwells, the Simone de Beauvoirs?  Leaders who in their time and their field spoke the unspeakable whatever the cost.

Where am I in all of this?  And where are you?

Let’s hear it for untrustworthy leaders!

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

The deepest essence of  leadership is Inner Leadership.  Logic tells me that no Inner Leadership means no followers.  But I’ve known some seriously untrustworthy leaders with generous followings.  So, how on earth do they do that?

Suddenly, thinking of Inner Leadership, I realised naive superb me had been seeing through her idealistic glasses again!  It was obvious why untrustworthy leaders can have generous followings.

Firstly, ‘presence’ is the stuff of leaders while charisma is the stuff of ‘gurus’ and ‘superstars’… who also have followers.

No surprises then that the untrustworthy leaders of whom I’m aware absolutely excel at doing charisma.  They’re very, very, very affable.  They’re so good at consciously creating high levels of rapport that they’re almost ‘snake oil salesmen’… convincing to the point of ludicrousness.

Secondly, I’ve followed untrustworthy leaders myself  in the past, one over many years.  And, guess what?  I did so for my learning!

I found out exactly how it felt to be on the receiving end of untrustworthy leadership.  When reality dawned, it wasn’t a pleasant experience or one I wanted to ever inflict on anyone else.

Plus those untrustworthy leaders mirrored back to me my own untrustworthiness, my own ability for ‘snake oil’ salesmanship.  I discovered my own superifical ‘guru/superstar’ and the part of me who could shaft other people  in the name of self-preservation and success.

Happily, being aware of your personality ‘parts’ can bring you freedom from them.  Only when you can identify with a part can you then learn to dis-identify from it; to have mastery/mistressy over it rather than it being in charge of and running you.

So I feel much gratitude for the untrustworthy leaders I followed.  I am thankful for their pivotal role in my growth as a human being as well as a leader; for their contribution to my own Inner Leadership.

And, as well as learning from trustworthy leaders, here’s a big ‘Yayyyy’ for their opposites, the untrustworthy ones and all they can teach us… however challenging that might be.