Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘direction’ Category

When Bad Things Happen

December 16th, 2009

There’s a lesson if we look for it. Sometimes shit happens. That’s what some say. But I believe life is more intentional; there’s learning in every situation if only we scratch the surface. Last week, I lost the keys to my Manhattan apartment. Ever since I took over the apartment three weeks ago, I feared losing the keys. What would I do? The landlord lives an hour outside of Manhattan.

Last Wednesday was a rainy day. I had scored a discount ticket to the Broadway matinee of “Ragtime.”  It was terrific. At the end of the show, I stood up and reached for my keys, and to my horror my pockets were empty. I looked around my seat. No keys. I went back to the restaurant where I’d had lunch. No keys. I called my landlord. No answer.

Panicked, I walked to St. Thomas Episcopal Church, sat in a pew, took a deep breath, and gathered my thoughts. Where would I spend the night? Once I calmed down, I decided to call Roy.

My friend Roy lives in New York; he was in Atlanta on business. He arranged for me to pick up a key to his apartment. Twenty-four hours later, and $125 poorer (my landlord demanded a $75 damage deposit and $50 replacement key charge), I was back in my Chelsea apartment.

That afternoon, my inner critic birthed an inner chorus. In unison they berated me for my lack of responsibility. I began to journal to quiet their roar. Perhaps if I looked at this incident as a dream, I’d find an insight, and that insight would be worth my trouble and the $125.

Losing my key was my biggest fear in New York, and it happened. The truth is, it wasn’t so bad. Roy’s apartment is far nicer than mine, and it’s close to Central Park. One of the highlights of my trip was the walk I took the next morning in the park.

I came to New York three weeks ago seeking clarity. As I reported in last week’s blog, I found it. Maybe not “burning bush clarity,” but I did receive several insights that were valuable. Here’s another: fear is the only thing holding me back, and after losing my keys, I now know that even if the worst happens, I’ll be okay. And if I look for it, I’ll find an unexpected gift: a lesson that will help me live a richer life.

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The Adventure Begins

November 24th, 2009

Live your way to the answers. The adventure begins at 1:30 today. This afternoon, I fly to Manhattan where I am renting a studio apartment in Chelsea for three weeks. If I had a nickel for each time a friend asked me the purpose of my trip, I could buy a ticket to a Broadway show. My answer? “I’m not sure.”

My extended stay is something that I feel I need to do. I am following my gut. I’d love to stumble on a burning bush at 21st and 9th, but I’d settle for something far less dramatic.

This I do know: I am seeking to integrate more “New York” into my life. No, I’m not thinking about moving; a lot of people have asked. But, I am seeking to bring more New York energy into my Asheville way of life. I’m ready to turn up the volume, take more risks, and shake it up a little. What that looks like, I don’t know.

I’ve been unsure for a long time. The world around us in changing, and I’m struggling to find new ways I can be more relevant and of service, and at the same time make a living. I am impatient, and yet I know the answers will come in their own perfect time.

The Persian poet Rilke writes, “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, someday in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

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Infuse Meaning Into Your Work

October 28th, 2009

What’s your attitude toward work? Jungian analyst and author Robert Johnson shares a memorable story in his book Living Your Unlived Life: Coping with Unrealized Dreams and Fulfilling Your Purpose in the Second Half of Life. The story is set in medieval times.

A man sees a laborer pushing a wheelbarrow and asks him what he is doing. The laborer replies, “Can’t you see, I’m pushing a wheelbarrow.” Later the man sees another laborer pushing a wheelbarrow, and he asks him the same question. “I’m doing the work of God; I’m building Chartres Cathedral,” the second laborer replies.

Same activities, but totally different interpretations. The second laborer infused his work with meaning, connecting to a greater purpose.

I ask myself, “Do I want to give workshops and coach executives, or do I want to help professionals stand in their power by becoming the full expression of all they are?” The answer’s a no-brainer.  The second approach carries much more juice.

So tell me. What do you do?

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A Compass for Calling

October 21st, 2009

Follow your flow. Years ago, my analyst posed the question: “What would your life be like if you were to simply follow your energy?” In his question, I found a compass for my calling.

Whether called energy, enthusiasm, passion, or love makes little difference: it’s all the same to me. When I follow it, I am in the flow. The right situations, people, and resources come forward. I am following what Joseph Campbell called “my bliss.”

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