Bridging Lives Notes: May 2020

Moving Forward Together
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We're in this together.

That's one of the most prominent mantras I keep hearing in these times of social upheaval and global pandemic. It's true in a way. We've actually all always been "in this" life together, creating ourselves and our paths forward on this one blue living planet. But right now, maybe for the first time in all of our lifetimes, we're all confronting the same "adversary" - Covid-19 and all the responses related to it - together. How does framing it as a battle promote or obscure better outcomes? As we face into the particulars, another truth is emerging that we are all in the same storm but not in the same boat together.
At all.

How will we emerge from this? What ideas and what practices will prevail? Who do we need to become so that the promise of this Global Reset is realized, not lost?

What we're opening for and choosing to create were themes of my prior Bridging Lives Notes. Continuing the inquiry into Leader as Creator, I'm curious about how we move forward together. Together, shifting from ME-centric awareness and actions to WE-centric awareness and actions. Together, facing into the difficulty and finding new common ground.
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This May has been hard on us all. It's hard to fathom - much less truly grieve - the loss of over 100,000 lives in only three months related to Covid-19 in the U.S. alone. Every single one of us is confronting harsh realities with far-reaching consequences. It's hard to comprehend how many "dominos" will fall as economies contract and as businesses and organizations we love or need - large and small - struggle to survive. It's hard to endure the failings of systems and leaders we count on. When truth is one of the daily casualties in this struggle, how do we reconcile our differences, heal from the loss and violence, and create something better, for all of us, together?

Something keeps moving us forward. Something restores our willingness to look again. Something keeps urging us to be present again, resourceful in new ways, and forgiving so we can give and receive in the pulse of life. In the pulse of our own creative nature.

What is it for you?

Myself, I find and remember myself whole again in nature. I love the month of May for the gentle brilliance of new green in the trees. For snow melt swelling the mountain streams and for bird song. Here in New Mexico, irises are the flower I associate with May. With their fragrance and colorful frills, they're an upright declaration of the power of regeneration and beauty. Irises remind me to focus on what works, what is essential and true, what has promise, and dedicating my energy there.

How are you reconciling difficulty in your life and turning toward what's possible and what has promise for you? Who are you becoming as you move forward right now?

We all have the extraordinary coded in us, waiting to be released Jean Houston

Confronting Conflict
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Moving forward together necessarily means we must confront conflict more skillfully, more consciously, and with better purpose. Conflict and collaboration are two sides of the same hand. A vision and commitment for "better" and the leadership to get there are, by definition, a commitment to confront conflict. Confront it and discover its creative magic.

The overriding theme I've heard this month in coaching leaders at work, has been "confronting conflict." My clients seek to be more effective in difficult conversations, like…
  • We get agreement and then we're back to square one as though the agreement never happened. I've tried everything. I give up. How can I get people to compromise so we can move on?
  • I don't dare say what's true from my perspective anymore. I've been shut down, disrespected or disregarded too many times to go there again. How do I have a voice, stay true to myself, and stand stronger in what I see and have to contribute?
  • Buy-in takes time we don't have. Communicating virtually is clumsy and insufficient. Somebody has to take charge. I don't have the power to compel their compliance, so how do I lead now?

Theme and variations. What conflicts are tugging at you?

Conflict is a social process with observable emotional and somatic aspects. Conflict – ranging from unconscious defensive behavior to intentional betrayal – is a system stressor. Conflicts and breakdowns are revealed – and resolved – in language and action.

“Conflict,” like trust, is a multi-dimensional, emotionally loaded concept. We tend to think of it as negative – namely, disruptive and destructive. Conflict can, however, also be positive – namely, disruptive and constructive or generative.

What makes the difference?
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Effectively working with conflict requires courage, respect and openness.

Courage because the key to what you need is in the heart. Respect, because of the willingness to look again, to understand needs, and to experiment and design for shared success. Openness, for the power of listening and choosing to extend oneself, again, for the sake of what matters most.

What needs do you attune to when conflict arises? What and whose “needs” are valid for consideration?

Ask yourself…
  • When and with whom do I tend or seek to surrender my needs for another's?
  • When and with whom do I tend or seek to put my needs before someone else’s?
  • When and with whom do I tend or seek to balance needs?

We humans are complex creatures with rational, conscious, and predictable drivers for our behavior as well as drivers that are irrational, unconscious, and unpredictable. A great deal of what we sort for, perceive, interpret about conflict happens at an unconscious and undifferentiated level. Actions that arise from the unconscious can be attributed to conditioning and habit. Our own moods and emotions can take us by surprise and can conflict with what we think we want and who we think we are. Examples of unconscious processing related to conflict include confirmation bias, implicit association, cognitive dissonance, and “shadow” dynamics.

Leader as Creator means choosing to confront conflict for growth, for moving forward together for the better. To the extent that we want to make new, more trustworthy and empowering choices, we have to become more consciously aware of ourselves and more agile in shifting ourselves into more resilient and resourceful states of being.

What do you need to confront in yourself so you can confront conflict with better results?

Center & Connect
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You are invited to Center & Connect

This is for anyone called to your “next edge.”

Center & Connect is a weekly practice in support of your wellbeing and the centered presence to be and lead well in these extraordinary times of crisis and change.

I began Center & Connect in March 2020 as a gift in direct response to the isolation, disruption, and chaos of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Center & Connect is now an opportunity for you to source new energy, resilience, and skillful choice for confronting and creating what matters to you now.

Click on the image or HERE to learn more and get started.

You are the Bridge to "Better"
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I'll be delighted to hear from you in response to 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. With years of experience working "virtually" with individuals and groups, we can work together from anywhere. You can empower your leadership and cultivate vibrant growth even now. Especially now. 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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