Last week, I spent two days with a group of 20 CEOs and their deputies from seven European countries. I had been invited to introduce Transformational Presence Leadership and to offer them tools and approaches for navigating the ongoing rapid change and disruption in the arena of global business. As we explored together, it became clear that everything we were talking about actually applies everywhere, from our personal lives and families to the largest companies and organizations – even to government and public policy. Transformational Presence is a way of life – a way of leading, coaching, and serving.
After an opening exercise that took us straight away into the energy of Transformational Presence, the participants introduced themselves by sharing a burning question that was in front of them at that moment in their leadership. One of the leaders observed that from every level of her organization, people were asking for clarity and simplicity. Her burning question was how to offer clarity and simplicity to them when she was longing for the same thing!
Right away, many of the other leaders were nodding their heads in agreement. Their people were seeking the same things. And as I consider the many conversations I have every day with people from all over the world who serve in different leadership and support capacities, these two words capture their longings as well.
While change has always been a natural part of life’s unfolding, it hasn’t always moved as fast as it does now. Yet it’s probably not going to slow down, at least in the foreseeable future. Many of us increasingly find ourselves navigating a sea of swirling currents. The faster things move, the more confusing they become. Lines of separation or distinction increasingly blur. And because we are moving so fast, we often don’t notice how thoughts, feelings, emotions, and circumstances – our own as well as others’ – are piling one on top of another, quickly adding layers of complexity to our lives and work.
As the complexity deepens, people everywhere are longing for clear understanding of what is happening and a simple, straightforward way to approach life and work.
So how do we get there? How do we find clarity within the confusion of all that is happening? How do we find simple and straightforward ways to move forward?
There are steps that we can all take in this direction, yet they may not be the steps you expect.
Our first steps are actually inside ourselves, not in what is happening on the outside. While we may not be able to find clarity and simplicity in our situations and circumstances right away, we can find clarity and simplicity within ourselves. It starts with knowing who we are and why we are here.
The better we know ourselves – the more tuned in we are to our own inner processes and experiences – the clearer we can be on what is important to us and where it will serve us to spend our time and energy. So it’s about doing our own inner work.
Furthermore, the more clarity we have about the difference we are here to make – our soul mission or life purpose – the easier it is to recognize what we are called to do. It’s not just about what we can do – it’s about what we feel called to do. It’s about what brings us alive – what we long to bring to the world, and where we find the greatest sense of personal fulfillment and reward.
In other words, the more we know ourselves, the clearer and simpler life becomes. We practice putting our attention on situations and circumstances where we can make an impact – where we have a good chance of making a difference – and letting go of the rest.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about what is happening. And it doesn’t mean that the confusion and complexity within our circumstances or situations necessarily goes away.
What it does mean is that we are no longer looking for clarity and simplicity outside of us because we have found it inside of us. We know who we are, we know why we’re here, and we keep taking steps towards fulfilling that mission and vision. Instead of looking for clarity in our situations and circumstances, we look from a place of clarity inside of ourselves.
We are all players in this big complex game of life. The clearer we become as individuals and the simpler and more straightforward our own thoughts and actions, the better chance we have of navigating these complex and disruptive times in a calm and focused way. And the bonus just might be that our own clarity and simplicity will begin to spill over into our circumstances and situations as well.
P.S. If you need some help getting started, this Welcome Video and exercise can be a place to begin. It’s the first video on that webpage. The exercise begins at about 1:25 into the 8-minute video.
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