Bridging Lives Notes: March 2020

Kind Connection Matters
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You have been in my thoughts. I wonder how you're faring just now and what is keeping your spirits up when so much of what we count on seems to be crashing around us. I hope this finds you well and being your agile, creative, resilient self as best you can.

"Freedom to make waves and win" was the theme of my prior Bridging Lives Notes. Today let's take a new look at becoming, creating, and leading for what can be "better." Leading now with whatever is available and true for you.

"Leader as Creator" is my theme this year. It was going to be "vision," but Leader as Creator kept calling me. Who are we as creators, really?

Who we are as creators is at the heart of our championship moments and our most persistent and bedeviling challenges. Like now…what is your generative response to what's in front of you and to what's arising within you? How are you choosing to "be the change" you wish to see and feel, especially in the face of fear, loss, and letting go?

What does Leader as Creator mean to you?

All of our humanity is being called on now. Whether it's in response to Covid-19 or some other novel thing. Current requirements for "social distancing" actually highlight the truth of our interdependence and interconnectedness. That popular saying from years ago could be a guiding mantra now: "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." Kindness is what we have to give and receive generously.

We will continue to connect, making a different kind of space for each other. Making a contribution and a difference for what matters. Instead of "disappearing" ourselves and each other, we have choices about how to connect. Who do we become when we dignify our fragility and vulnerability and grow into our courage?

How can we be with ourselves, be together, and be with what IS in greater kindness, presence, and openness?

Re-Vision 2020
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Back in January, the joyful and aspirational meme everywhere was "VISION 2020." Clearly, we saw that coming.

But did you see this global pandemic and the related social and economic impacts coming? Here we are. Taking the longer view, what's happening with your vision now?

Leader as Creator is vision-centric. You choose a "North Star" and navigate towards that, addressing the creative tension and whatever terrain and storms arise. When basic assumptions and the experienced or imagined "normal" have been upended, it's time to re-assess, re-imagine, and re-generate. It can really help to quiet down and sense into "vision" in new ways, too.

Whatever you set your sights on, how do you really "see" into the future you are choosing to create? We might start with eyesight. What do we choose to see and not to see? What do we see clearly and what do we need help with? We have blind spots and can be blindsided. … What other "sight" can we cultivate? Well, how about insight, foresight, hindsight, and mind sight. There's probably more. What are you using to reimagine and revive your vision?

How can we better see who we are and where we are together so we can navigate forward with short-term clarity as well as an abiding sense of what is life-affirming and contributing to a bigger sense of "better?" Where we're going might be clear… or not. It might be what we had in mind or had at heart…or not. What's your true "North Star" now?

Especially in these VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic, ambiguous) times, who do you need to BECOME to realize your present vision? Leading from the inside out, as a Creator, starts with who we are BEing and what we are practicing, which shapes who we are BECOMING.

As you pause to re-vision for yourself, notice what has heart and meaning for you now. It may have changed from even a day ago. Related to this, what will you redesign now to stay ahead of the curve, ahead of the waves?

Pause, center, and re-commit to who you choose to be as you step forward, one step and one breath at a time.

Care + Courage + Candor
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When not at your best, what happens to your communication? When do you catch yourself avoiding a conversation or being aggressive or somehow defensive where you thought you could be more effective and keep your cool? It doesn't take a crisis for us to get triggered. And in a prolonged state of crisis or stress, everyone will have their moments. Some of that will hurt. How do you clean up the "mess" of communication gone wrong?

Leader as Creator is not about being perfect. We are all works in progress and have permission to be human. Leader as Creator is about being aware and doing your best at the time and with what you have. When we fall, we get up again. Eventually we learn what can be better, and we get better at it.

A song I love is about losing one's "edge," waking up to habits that keep us "running in circles," and becoming still enough for the "truth to unwind." You might like it: K.D. Lang - Habit of Mind.

If you're familiar with my work, you may remember some things I've shared about Conversational Intelligence®. Here's a simple recipe for engaging in difficult conversations for better outcomes: Care + Courage + Candor.

Like anything "simple" that we learn, it's only rumor until it's practiced into our muscles.

Start with your own core of care, what really has heart and meaning for you about the conversation, the relationship, what you're co-creating. Connect in yourself to the core of care that you can imagine for the other person, too. Then source the courage in yourself to engage as best you can. Have the courage to be direct and say what is true for you. Be candid about your intention, the impact you're feeling or observing, and your commitment for redirecting what's happening.

When your candor is rooted in felt and genuine care and courage, you can co-create more effectively and with greater presence, kindness, and openness.

Radical Candor
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Candor can be so tricky, especially for conversations that feel difficult for any reason at all.

Here's another way to think about it: Radical Candor. I recommend Kim Scott's book, Radical Candor: How to be a kickass boss (without becoming a robot); click on the graphic here to see her talk about it herself.

I like this framework because it distinguishes what is and is not radical candor in terms of your willingness to care and to challenge consciously and skillfully. Both are rooted in courage.

Each of the following is a trap:
  • Ruinous Empathy: Too much care and not enough challenge.
  • Obnoxious Aggression: Too much challenge and not enough care.
  • Manipulative Insincerity: Not enough care or challenge.

By contrast, Radical Candor is a "just right" blend of caring personally and challenging directly. It requires that you care enough to feel empathy, respect, and curiosity for what's happening. That's that "what's happening" (thoughts, actions, and feelings) for you and also for the other(s). It requires that you connect with humanity and a commitment for truth, purpose, and choice. It requires that you have the courage to understand what is needed for the situation to improve.

How might you practice Radical Candor where you are?

What becomes possible as you become more skillful and nuanced in leading by example this way?

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You are invited to Center & Connect

Now through April 2020, please join me for an hour dedicated to centering and connecting together. This is my gift to you in support of us being and leading at our best in times of extraordinary change. As we are called to our “next edge,” that zone of discomfort and awe into which we are called to grow, engage for practices that serve you well.

For ease, here's the Zoom link.
Wednesdays through April 2020 - 9-10am MT

Let me know what renews and uplifts you as we go.

You are the Bridge to "Better"
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I'll be delighted to hear from you in response to the notes offered here.

  • Let me know what resonates for you in these notes
  • Ask about ways we can focus on growth where you are.

There's more here for you. We can work together from anywhere – whether as an individual or in a group. The distance between us is easily bridged from wherever you are to me in Santa Fe, NM. Reach out and let’s explore what’s possible together.

People find me and benefit from our connection because kind people like you share. Thanks in advance for sharing and encouraging others to find and connect with me.

For the work that's yours to do, you are the bridge to "better." Thank you for the important work you do and the leader you're becoming while you do it. I'm here as your ally, partnering with you to thrive.

Be in touch...and stay tuned!

P.S. There are links throughout this and every issue of Bridging Lives Notes. Some are in the text and every image has a link. Follow your curiosity!
Lead. Collaborate. Grow. Thrive!
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