It’s extraordinary what can happen when the heart is fully engaged. Last week, 28 people from eight countries on three continents gathered in a castle in the countryside outside of London for the five-day Transformational Presence for Leaders and Coaches (TPLC) course. It was our first time for this program in the U.K. As always, I was excited about meeting a new group and embarking on a new journey, yet I could not have imagined what would unfold during our days together. Simply put, we discovered (or re-discovered) the power of the heart in action.

Some years ago, I described the process of Transformational Presence as “unleash, focus, and align.” Reflecting on the experience of last week has taken my understanding of that process to a much deeper level. Some participants spoke of a heart awakening, others of a great expansion of awareness, and other of an enormous shift in their own presence in the world.

Though we didn’t name it as such last week, I realize now that we were deep in an “unleash, focus, and align” process. Our experience inspired me to return to that description of the Transformational Presence process and explore it further with you this week.

Unleash the Power of the Heart

Unleash. Focus. Align. It all begins with unleashing the power of the heart – the power of our full-on presence when we are willing to bring to the table all of who we are and the gifts that we have to share.

At first, unleashing the heart can feel messy and out of control. Sometimes it makes us feel vulnerable or exposed. We uncover the full spectrum of our own human experience and emotion. All of the parts of us come rushing to the surface – the parts that we love, as well as the parts that we aren’t so eager for others to see.

However, we get to choose what we share with others and what we keep to ourselves. We don’t have to reveal deep, dark secrets or share painful aspects of our past if we don’t want to. Yet we can acknowledge that we all have our own stories of the human experience. In varying degrees, we have all experienced joy, love, pain, sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, hurt, disappointment, and perhaps even devastation.

If we’re willing to unleash the full power of our hearts, we are much more likely to discover the pure, raw, uninhibited nature of Love in its unbridled potency, strength, and resilience. We touch the full spectrum of experience and emotion that has brought us to this moment in our lives.

Focus Intention

As we become more at ease with the full-on heart experience, we gain deeper insight, awareness, and clarity about our own potential. We stop shying away from our own capacities for leadership, creativity, action, and impact, and begin standing taller in the authentic power and strength of who we are.

From there, we can focus that energy in a particular direction. We can clarify our intention for who we are called to be and what we feel called to do. We may become aware of an even deeper calling than we had recognized before. Or we may discover that there is more to what we are being asked to do or to create than we had previously recognized or understood. We discover how to focus the power of the heart, streamline its energy, and aim it towards a particular vision, dream, or calling.

Align Presence and Action

The third phase is to align your life – your choices, decisions, and actions – with what you are discovering within yourself. As you fully inhabit and embody the power of your heart, and let it guide you towards its mission and vision, a greater alignment emerges between who you are and what you do. Presence and action come into full partnership. Increasingly, your clarity about who you are, and your focus on what you are here to do, become so strong that you forget to be afraid. You forget to doubt or to question your abilities. There is no time or energy for fear or doubt. You just go. You just keep taking your next step.

Your Powerful Heart Can Guide You

On the final morning of the TPLC, we bring together all of the learning from the first four days through the Potential-Based Approach. I invite a participant to join me for a demo coaching session. Last Friday, the participant who stepped forward brought a big vision as his topic for our coaching. You could feel his passion and sense of urgency as he began describing what he wanted to do for the people in his company, as well as his apprehension about going for it. Yet he knew that this could make a significant difference.

However, within a few minutes, his vision exploded into something much bigger – a project that could serve the good of all of humanity.

Initially, he was overwhelmed by what was happening. He kept saying, “I don’t like what’s happening inside. It feels too big.” Yet without prompting, he reminded himself of discoveries he had made during our previous days. Within seconds, he realized that his heart was actually both incredibly excited and quite calm. His heart wasn’t anxious at all. Only his “head” had doubts. As he breathed into the power of his heart, his fears of whether or not he could do this were quickly transformed into clarity and focus.  

Staying with that awareness, a little later in the coaching session he discovered that, although this was an enormous project, it was important not to get lost in how long it could take. That just didn’t matter. He realized that his job was to stay focused on the present moment – on what wanted to happen now towards the manifestation of his big vision.

He realized that if he stayed in touch with the wisdom of his heart, kept his focus, and took action in alignment with his bigger vision, he would find each next step. The project would show him the way. In his words, “Now. Just do it now. Take the next step that you can take now. That’s all that matters.”

Unleash. Focus. Align.

We are living in challenging times. Yet we can choose to make them extraordinary times.

As a society, we have barely begun to scratch the surface of what could be possible if we would unleash the power of the heart. We stand on a new frontier of human potential – of heart-based leadership that is supported and implemented by the power of focused intention and aligned action.

What could “unleash, focus, align” mean for you? What is waiting to be discovered in your heart?

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