My colleague David Robinson and I are in The Netherlands this week to lead the Transformational Presence Global Summit starting tomorrow. “Vision 2020: Taking Your Gifts To the World” is the first summit gathering of graduates of the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching program. Thirty-five of us from eleven countries will gather at the beautiful Huize Bergen estate in Vught for four days of learning, inspiration, connection, and creation. I’m incredibly excited about this next milestone for the TPLC program.

A few of weeks ago in a TPLC teleclass session, David shared the story of the Polynesian “Wayfinder.” He had written about it in his blog on that same day. In our conversations since then, David and I keep coming back to the idea of the Wayfinder and its importance in transformational leadership. We then used it as the theme of our February 7th Transformational Leadership Dialogue teleseminar. Because I can’t stop thinking about it, I’m sharing an excerpt from David’s January 30th blog post with you. He writes in such a poetic and lyrical way, using the metaphors of the sea, the canoe, and the vast ocean of life to paint a stirring picture.

I came across the image in Wade Davis’ book, The Wayfinder. The title refers to the navigator in a traditional Polynesian canoe, sitting in the bow, sensing and reading the waves, the air, the stars, the rings of the moon. But mostly, the navigator holds in her mind the image of the island that her people are attempting to find. Wade Davis writes that, according to the Polynesian belief, the power of the Wayfinder’s image calls the island to them. The canoe stands still in the water and the island finds them. They simply point their canoe in the proper direction while the Wayfinder holds the image.

I ask myself as I sit in the bow of my own canoe, what image do I hold? What island do I draw to myself? In my urban ocean, have I developed the sensitivity to read the currents, the subtleties of energy in the waves that can help me point my craft in the direction of the island that rushes from the future to meet me? Or am I lost at sea?

This ocean is vast. I have an image for home – a smell, a taste, an undeniable energy that makes me shake when I allow myself to fully feel it. And in the midst of this vast ocean, I am taking my cue from the Wayfinders to remain still and know that the power and potency of my image will soon call my island home to me.

Transformational Presence work is grounded in the idea that in any situation or circumstance, vision or dream, there is a greater potential waiting to emerge and unfold. Our job as transformational leaders is to recognize that potential and follow it, trusting that it will show us the way forward.

The Wayfinder’s belief that the island comes to find her takes this idea of following the potential to another level. What if the potential is actually trying to find us? What if our job is to recognize the potential that is waiting to emerge and then hold fast to the image and feeling of it so that it can find us? What if the future is just waiting for us to catch hold of the energy of the amazing potential wanting to unfold? The Wayfinder understands that once she catches the image and trains her focus and attention on it, that potential can find her.

As we engage with emerging potential, there will surely be steps that we must take. Yet when we let the future show itself to us, employ the skills and tools of the Wayfinder, and then respond to what the future asks of us, the full manifestation of that greatest potential waiting to emerge just might be a lot easier than we imagined.


P.S. If you want to know more about tapping into the potential that is waiting to emerge, pages 176 – 181 in my latest book, Create A World That Works, may help. If you don’t have the book, you can order it here.

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