There were nearly 30 people in the teleconference – the monthly open gathering of Transformational Presence graduates from around the world. Several weeks now into the New Year, we were exploring the callings in our hearts for 2018 as leaders, coaches, and people who want to make a difference. While it was not the intended theme of the session, the theme that emerged was “standing tall, being seen, and taking your work to the world.”
The context for our exploration was the idea that whatever we create – a company, a product, a book, a workshop, a family, or a relationship – will, in time, begin to create us. We looked back to 2017, reflecting first on where we had put our focus – what we had given large amounts of time and energy to, and what we had sacrificed other things for. And then we considered how those choices and efforts had shaped who we had become through the course of the year.
There were stories of becoming stronger and more confident by overcoming challenges and immense hardship. There were stories of grieving for things lost or dreams that never materialized. There were stories of great learning and growth, of immense joy and celebration, and of disappointment and sorrow. Through our reflections, we were recognizing connections between what we chose to create, the stories we chose to tell, and what we gave significant energy to, and who we became through the process.
What we create will, in time, create us. Understanding this fundamental truth, the most important question going forward is not “What will we create?” but rather “Who do we wish to become?” And perhaps even more powerful, “Who do we feel called to become?”
As we clarify our next frontiers in the evolution of our own “presence” and what we bring to the world – the qualities and characteristics within us that want to be further developed and refined – we can then design projects and creative pursuits from a higher level of awareness. We can consciously create initiatives that can be vehicles for the next iteration of our “becoming”.
Acknowledging our “becoming” journeys through 2017, we looked ahead into 2018. The questions on the table, in this order, were: Who do you feel called to become in 2018? What is the next evolution in your “presence”? What do you feel called to do, create, or initiate in order to live into your “becoming”?
The energy in our virtual space was palpable. People were sharing big discoveries and rich insights. Some were taking risks to show up in vulnerable yet deeply inspiring ways. It was a space of tangible awakening.
As participants shared insights and discoveries about their own “becoming,” two common threads stood out.
First, no one’s calling was small. Not one person was content to just “sit back and see what happens.” Everyone was feeling called forth in some particular way.
Second, many participants quietly, and sometimes reluctantly, expressed their fear or discomfort with being visible – being seen as who they are, as a message-bearer, as a person here to make a difference. The questions arose: Who am I to do this? Am I good enough? What if I fail?
As we kept talking, there was a tacit acknowledgment that “taking your work to the world” requires courage, strength, commitment, and, sometimes, just plain guts. People who feel called to big transformational work in the world are sometimes introverts by nature. Yet it is their deep reflective capacity that uncovers their compassion and restless desire to make a difference.
The more you go “out there” with your work and let yourself be seen, the fewer places there are to hide. You learn your lessons in front of an audience instead of in the privacy of your own space. You make mistakes, you face challenges, sometimes you experience great success, and occasionally you may even fall into moments of unanticipated joy and celebration.
You learn how to stand tall, to be seen, and to take your work to the world from a place of humble confidence, quiet courage, deep strength, profound awe, and never-ceasing wonder. This is Transformational Presence. It’s not always an easy path, yet it can be rewarding and fulfilling beyond measure.
Years ago on a hot summer afternoon in New York City, a friend took me to the African market in Harlem. I will never forget the vibrant energy, the bright colors, the sense of community, and the aliveness I felt there. It was a feast for the senses. While wandering from booth to booth, I came across a simple wooden statue of a proud female African warrior. In that moment, she struck me as strong, confident, and perhaps defiant. For me, she stood her ground, no matter what – never backing down from who she was, what she believed in, and what she was here to do. I couldn’t stop looking at her. She wouldn’t let me walk away from her.
She came home with me and has held a prominent place in my working spaces ever since. She reminds me to stand tall, to be seen, and to keep taking my work to the world, no matter what. She carries a torch for what she believes in, and reminds me that I must do the same.
As our graduate call drew to a close, her energy was so present with me and in our virtual space. I sensed that she was asking us very directly: Who are you called to become in 2018 as stewards for Transformational Presence in the world?
I believe we are called to keep becoming stronger through alignment with something bigger than we are – to become ever more confident in our abilities to sense the path ahead, and to navigate the challenges and opportunities coming our way. We are called to be humbly proud, quietly forthright, gently powerful beacons of light – to stand tall, to be seen, and to respond to the callings of our hearts and of the world soul.
And from this presence, we are called to take our work out to the places where it can make a difference.
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