Voice and Touch

Voice and Touch

(From http://depree.org/max-de-pree/)

In Leadership Jazz Max DePree focuses on the integration of voice and touch.

  • Voice is related to what a leader believes
  • Touch is related to a leader’s competence and resolve

Finding One’s Voice

“[A] leader’s voice is the expression of one’s beliefs….A leader’s touch demonstrates competence and resolve…” (p. 5).

“Leadership can never stop at words.  Leaders must act, and they do so only in the context of their beliefs.  Without action or principles, no on can become a leader” (p. 6).

“Leadership is…not a position but a job.  It’s also a serious meddling in other people’s lives.  One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises, not with tools but with beliefs, and not with systems but with understandings” (p. 7).

“A jazz band is an expression of servant leadership.  The leader of the band has the beautiful opportunity to draw the best out of other musicians.  We have much to learn from jazz-band leaders, for jazz, like leadership, combines the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals” (p. 9).

Five criteria for faithfulness in leadership:

  • “Integrity in all things” (p. 10).
  • “The servanthood of leadership” (p. 10).
  • “Accountability for others” (p. 11).
  • The “practice of equity” (p. 11).
  • Vulnerability (p. 12).

A Key Called Promise

“[The] goals of the organization are best met when the goals of people in the organization are met at the same time” (p. 23).

“Any follower has the right to ask many things of her leader….

  • “What may I expect of you?
  • Can I achieve my own goals by following you?
  • Will I reach my potential by working with you?
  • Can I entrust my future to you?
  • Have you bothered to prepare yourself for leadership?
  • Are you ready to be ruthlessly honest?
  • Do you have the self-confidence and trust to let me do my job?
  • What do you believe?” (p. 24).

What’s Fragile?

“From a leader’s perspective, the most serious betrayal has to do with thwarting human potential, with the quenching of the spirit, with failing to deal equitably with each other as human beings” (p. 34).

“Leaders must speak to followers; we must let them know where and how we stand on important issues.  We constantly make decisions and evaluate results in light of what we believe” (p. 36).

“Vulnerability in a leader enables others to do their best and to be fully accountable.  And, of course, being vulnerable to the strengths of other people also makes the leader vulnerable to their weaknesses” (p. 41).

“Preparation for leadership does not come from books. Books sometimes give you an insight or an outline, but real preparation consists of hard work and wandering in the desert, much feedback, much forgiveness, and the yeast of failure” (pp. 42, 43).

“Everybody battles for success; too few people are aware of its profound impact.  Success tends to breed arrogance, complacency, and isolation.  Success can close the mind faster than prejudice.  Success if fragile, like a butterfly.  We usually crush the life out of it in our efforts to possess it” (p. 47).

God’s Mix

“[The] mystery around potential is so great that even the most perceptive of us cannot look at a person and decide for certain whether or not she’ll be good at this or that, whether or not she’ll become a sales manager or vice president — or even the best shortstop you ever saw.  We really should be in awe of human potential” (p. 53).

“We are dealing with God’s mix, people made in God’s image, a compelling mystery” (p. 57).

Watercarriers

“I like to think of management in two broad categories, scientific and tribal.  The tribal is certainly the most important and, while palpable is quite difficult to grasp and nurture….Tribal means shared goals but different and separate responsibilities….You can’t be hired into a tribe.  Joining a tribe results in a certain intimacy.  This intimacy links the talents and skills that each of us brings to the job and the corporation on behalf of our customers–with marvelously delightful and worthwhile results” (pp. 70, 71).

Leaders’ Leaders

“I happen to believe that a large part of the secret [to renewal and innovation and vitality] lies in how individual leaders in a great variety of settings make room for people with creative gifts and temporarily become followers themselves” (p. 94).

“How does a leader approach the process of creative work?

  • A leader protects unusual persons from the bureaucracy and legalism so ensconced in our organizations.  A leader remains vulnerable to real surprise and to true quality….
  • A leader works with creative people without fear…” (pp. 96, 97).

“A writer, when asked why he wrote, replied, ‘Because I have to, not because I want to'” (p. 102).

Take Five

“The lore of life, the way to one’s voice, comes more from mistakes than achievements, more from listening than talking, more from these teachers and enablers than from one’s own understanding” (pp. 111, 112).

“Have you taken five to ponder the nature of the contribution that other people make to your leadership?  I highly recommend it” (p. 114).

Give the Gift of Change

“Some gifts to ponder:

  • Space–to be the kind of person I can be.
  • Opportunity–to serve.
  • Challenge–constraints are enabling friends.
  • Clarity–in objectives, in evaluation, and in feedback.
  • Authenticity–that gives hierarchy its true value, that gives me the right to offer my gifts, that neither overlooks nor oppresses.
  • Meaning–a lasting foundation of hope.
  • Accountability–a result of love.
  • Conscience–that forbids people to enjoy apathy or debilitating ease…”

and “an ethos for change” (p. 141).

Delegate!

“A good leader says, “I love you enough to make you accountable.  You have the right to be part of this task” (p. 155).

“As I see it, delegation requires a form of dying, a separation of issue from self.  We must surrender or abandon ourselves to the gifts that other people bring to the game.  We must become vulnerable to every person’s need to do her best….This means to me that we must go beyond learning a single skill or specific knowledge to acquiring the art and grace of a job” (pp. 157, 158).

“As someone once said, in delegating, leaders give roots and they give wings” (p. 160).

Polishing Gifts

“Polishing gifts is different than career development” (p. 169).

Amateurs

“To be an amateur means literally that you do something for the love of it” (p. 188)”.

“Amateurs simply don’t know what they can’t do” (p. 193).

Followership

“I’ve often asked myself, ‘Are the poorest sandlot baseball players chosen last because they commit so many errors?  Or do they commit errors because they’re chosen last?” (p. 198).

Seed Thoughts For Changing The World

Change the World

You Are A Seed

Within us is a code for certain good works but also have the freedom to “self-organize” and break our own personal as well as cultural “scripts”  — we can all become “transformational change agents.”  “Transforming a human system usually requires that we transform ourselves, and this is the key to the process” (pp. 1-4).  (And the human system has to respond to the change in us.)

What happens when we no longer judge someone as the problem? (p. 6).

Refer to Gandhi, the movie. “At this extraordinary moment, control makes a paradoxical shift from the physically dominant man (the policeman) of external authority to the physically wounded man (Ghandi) of internal authority..,,What we have in this scene are examples of two types of change.  Incremental changes are those that happen within normal expectations.  For the crowd to lose its courage in the face of the policeman’s brutality is an incremental change.  It is a relatively small and predictable change.  For the policeman to be suddenly frozen in his tracks by a wounded and seemingly powerless individual, however, is an instance of transformational change.  It is outside our normal expectations.  It is profound change” (pp. 8-9).

Normal Change Theory

Three general strategies for change in a normal situation (Chin and Benne 1969) — “telling (making logical arguments for change), forcing (using forms of leverage such as the threat of being fired or being ostracized), and participating (using open dialogue and pursuing win-win strategies)” (pp. 9-12).

Advanced Change Theory

ACT — “a set of action principles for more effectively introducing change to human systems….’Action from principle, the perception and performance of right, changes things and relations;  it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything that was’….“In the face of principled behavior, the individual observer is constantly required to choose between preservation of the current self or the creation of the new self”  (pp. 13-15).

“Thoreau’s statement about principle suggests that moral power plays a major role in the transformational process” (p. 17).

Grace

“To observe transformational capability, we cannot observe normal people doing normal things.  We must observe people who are living by principle.  To develop transformational capability, we cannot be normal people doing normal things.  We must stand outside the norm.  To that end we must ask who we are, what we stand for, and what impact we really want to have….The ideas I present here…suggest that the process of significant self-modification and change, of knowing and personifying core values, leads to a sense of empowerment.  Empowerment leads to increased experimentation, creativity, learning, and impact.  These results, in turn, lead to the development of unique characteristics and the capacity to transform human contexts” (p. 19).

Refer to Gandhi, the movie: the pastor and the thugs

Gandhi and King

“…Gandhi and King were both devoted students of Jesus…I then went to the New Testament and began a search for the philosophies and behaviors these three men shared.  From there came the seed thoughts at the beginning of each chapter. From the unfolding of each chapter came the principles of ACT” (pp. 23-24)

Eight Seed Thoughts For Changing The World

  • Envision Productive Community
    • “Productive community is a synergistic community, made up of groups of people who are becoming more inner directed and other focused.  In this community the common good and the individual good overlap.  There is clear purpose and structure. There is high cohesion and responsiveness” (p. 119).
    • “The three change agents see a system of relationships in which the members share a common purpose and each works for the benefit of all…[productive communities].  When people become members of productive communities they tend to become more inner directed and other focused.  They tend to be motivated by a calling that they feel deep within .  They make contributions that exceed narrow self-interest. People in productive communities also have another unusual characteristic.  They want to be connected to reality.  They want to know what is real, even if the news is bad” (p. 28).
    • “…none of the change agents say anything about abolishing hierarchy” (p. 29).
    • “…sacrifices led to increased commitment.  The increased commitment resulted in new behavior, and the new behavior changed the vision.  She could now see potential no one else could see” (p. 31).
    • Note the differences between frozen bureaucracy, dynamic hierarchy, structured anarchy, and chaotic anarchy.  Note that there are positive and negative forms of bureaucracy and adhocracy (p. 40).
    • “Deep change is not incremental change; rather, it is radical or ‘out-of-the-box’ change.  It usually requires letting go of control” (p. 41)
    • “He was beginning to see that fear of punishment and sense of inadequacy had caused him to get stuck.  He had lost his sense of meaning.  He was not growing….The notion of growing is key to understanding a basic truth — that when we experience meaning, we are in the process of becoming” (p. 44).
    • “I think by community Palmer means a collection of human beings who can effectively pursue a common purpose while also growing individuals” (p. 48).
    • “In asking ‘What is the right thing to do?’ the transformational change agent is asking a second critical question: What result do I want?  Such change agents are not asking How do I get what I want?…Transformational change agent is willing to go outside his or her defined position and violate expectations in order to originate productive community” (p. 53).
  • Look Within
    • “I would suggest that we do not find a purpose: a purpose finds us.  The process does not begin with some kind of goal-setting process.  It begins by making fundamental choices about our own life and what we stand for….” (p. 61).
    • “Clarifying our purpose and committing to pursue the highest in us is transformational” (p. 64).
    • “[We] need to look within for at least two reasons. The first has to do with purpose: making fundamental choices about who we are.  The second involves realigning our behavior accordingly.  By honoring and acting in alignment with our ideals, we grow within and increase what Gandhi called “soul force….The clearer we are about ourselves, the greater our capacity for change.  Instead of responding in expected ways, we can step outside of our routines.  Instead of reacting as expected, we choose our response to meet present circumstances” (p. 68).
  • Embrace Hypocritical Self
    • “With most change, it is a challenge to awaken the conscience….[The story of Jesus halting the stoning of the adulterous woman] illustrates the powerful impact that moral leadership can have in the transformational process” (p. 72).
    • “Argyris..believes there is a universal pattern in professional life.  He says that we tend to organize our lives around four basic values.  We strive to (1) remain in control, (2) win, (3) suppress negative feelings, and (4) pursue rational objectives.  In light of these values, any suggestion of failure is going to feel like a threat.  We avoid negative feelings through ‘dissociation,’ that is, by separating ourselves from anything that might cast us in a less favorable light.  Ironically, we shut down at the exact moment that we most need to be open to learning.  In doing so, we begin the process of stagnation, or slow death” [Recall The Man Who Listens to Horses story]” (p. 73).
    • “What is the bottom line?  As painful as it might be for us to accept, the truth is that we are all hypocrites.  And this is information that we either do not know or do not want to know.  Why?  Because we value control, winning, suppression of negative feelings, and the pursuit of rational objectives, we find ways to neutralize the slightest signal that we might be making a mistake or failing.  We resist any evidence that we might be less than perfect.  Our hypocrisy leads to dysfunctional behavior in our relationships with others….The channels of communication get distorted.  The system does not grow.  We keep exerting authority in order to preserve our positive self-image, at least in our own minds.  However, the more we do this the more disconnected and ineffective we become….We project our dark feelings on others.  Implicitly or explicitly we say, ‘You were responsible’” (p. 75).
    • “Whenever I am in a change situation, I almost always ask the terrible question: How am I practicing hypocrisy in this situation?” (p. 84).
  • Transcend Fear
    • “When we learn the whole story [feeding the five thousand and departing to the mountain) we discover that he was committed to being internally and not externally driven.  It was important to him that he remain very clear about who he was and what results he wanted….Like Jesus, Gandhi understood how external sanctions can shape our lives and divert us from our true purpose. He saw that to be internally driven one had to listen to one’s conscience….Like Gandhi, Dr. King understood that most of us, even though we might deny it, are driven by fears of what will happen to us if we fail to conform to the will of the system.  He also understand that suppressing our fears only caused them to multiply.  He argued that we need to bring those fears to the surface and face them head on” (p. 89).
    • What are the shackles that hold us?  One of the most central is the need for social approval” (p. 90).
    • “At the personal level, my frustrations over feeling powerless tend to turn into more serious problems.  My self-image grows increasingly negative.  I see myself as a person of little value.  My behaviors reflect those feelings.  I then attract people who also have a negative self-image and who need to feel superior.  We form co-dependent and often abusive relationships”  (pp. 92-93).
    • “The individuals, groups, teams, and organizations will not change until they can identify and embrace their potential, that is, really grasp what they are capable of achieving.  This will not happen until one person, somewhere, makes a fundamental choice and begins to demonstrate a new way of being” (p. 94).
    • “Our social fears generally have to do with wanting to be perceived as competent and being accepted as a contributing member of the group.  Within any organization upon which we are dependent for our well-being, we are naturally going to be concerned that the authority figure sees us as competent.  In fact, one of our greatest fears is failing to meet up to the expectations of an important authority figure” (p. 94).
    • “Notice that Dr. King does not tell us that we should be without fears….Transformational people have many fears and they are willing to admit to them” (p. 95).
    • “The paradox is that if we hold onto the scripts that got us to our present level of wealth and status, we will lose wealth and status.  Wealth and status are not the ends for which we are on the earth. We are here to seed the universe, to contribute to the emergence of the larger systems in which we exist.  That requires that we transcend our old scripts…. It is only by letting go of our desires for wealth and power that we grow” (p. 104).
    • “When we create, we claim the role we attribute to God.  In most traditions, God is defined as the great creator, the original cause of the process from which we emerge. Now, as inner-directed and other-focused originators, we become one with the great source” (p. 105).
    •  “Practicing transcendence by progressively letting go of object reference is not easy task.  For most of us, it is impossible until we find a unique mission….’Based on all the good and bad things that have happened in your life, what unique mission have you been prepared to serve that no one else can serve?….[Frankl] noted two points that are relevant here.  First, that people are always free to choose [how they will respond]. Second, having a sense of purpose give us the strength and the capacity to transcend even very abusive and even life-threatening situations” (p. 106).
    • “Our lives are no longer determined by the scripts assigned by the group.  We become the authors of our own stories.  In doing so, we violate the key assumptions of the social sciences and the key assumption of the people around us: We are transcending our own culture” (p. 113).
      • Contrast: Where is God?  Cf. The Kingdom Vision: Apprentices to Jesus
        • “The madness of the world rages all around, yet in places and events influenced by the apprentice of Jesus, we see God’s heart made visible.  When this becomes our goal, we dispel any thought that is just another form of self-actualization or personal development.  Thankfully, the objective is more magnificent than that.  Ultimately, we seek first the kingdom of God.  This was the unifying vision that knit together everything Jesus said and did” (Upended, p. 23).
        • We each have a kingdom to manage: when we “choose to align our influence with God’s will, the good that He intended for us from the beginning springs up” (Upended, p. 23).
  • “Be The Change You Wish To See”
    • “Why is it necessary to embody the common good?  Becoming the personification of the vision inspires others.  They are lifted to new behaviors by our behavior.  In witnessing our courage, they take courage.  As they engage in new patterns of behavior, a new community begins to arise” (p. 120).
    • “There is a saying that perception is projection, meaning that the world we perceive is one that we have molded by projecting our beliefs onto it” (p. 121).
    • “I believe everything I have learned about the problems of organizations can be stated in a single sentence: In organizations, individuals often choose personal good over the collective good” (p. 124).
    • “When someone in the good chooses personal good over collective good, we sense that we are all being cheated….In an organization, when someone chooses personal good over collective good, trust begins to wither.  Commitment and cohesion begin to disintegrate….The same deterioration occurs when the organizational good is chosen over the good of the larger society….People in the organization do not like how they must now see themselves.  They practice denial.  Everything becomes more transactional” (p. 125).
  • (You Are Already) Disturbing The System
    • “In organizations, transformational change agents do not seek to maintain equilibrium as managers are typically trained to do.  Instead, they seek to understand the system deeply and the individuals who are such integral parts of it.  Then they try to disrupt the system so that participants must step outside their scripts, pay attention to what is happening right now, and engage in new behaviors” (p. 162).
    • “Resistance is not where transcendence ends or even where it stops off for a while, but where it begins….Think of resistance as a feedback loop in which the change agent and the resisting system are joined in creative tension.  One is the acorn and one is the soil.  As they interpenetrate, they gain the potential to move to still another level of complexity and integration.  A self-organization system is in place.  Those who know how to facilitate significant change no only don’t avoid resistance, they seek it, knowing how essential it is for the transformational process to be successful” (pp. 167-168).
    • “So in the end, systems move to new levels of complexity because they are disturbed.  Yet the basic irony about all this, since systems are designed to prevent disturbances, that is, to help each person within the system maintain a steady course. Even so, human collectives can never transform until someone cares enough, and dares enough, to deviate and disturb them” (p. 169).
    • NOTE Ch 8, p. 171: “The sacred servants suggest that we should trust the emergent process.  Jesus tells his disciples that their behavior will disturb the system and they will be brought to stand before authority figures.  He then advises them to not worry but trust the process: ‘Take now thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak….[The] sacred servants tell us that if we change our state of being, we can transcend the shackles of fear, and in such a state we will enter the transformational reality and accomplish transformational deeds.”
  • Surrender To The Emerging Reality
    • “Now here’s a heretical thought.  Leadership is not about results. It is about commitment….Most people want to be told how to get extraordinary results with minimum risk….Leadership means go forth and die.  Normal people do not do it because they have nothing worth dying for.  The transformational person will argue: ‘Until we have something worth dying for, we have nothing worth living for.’  Transactional people often life lives of ‘quiet desperation.’…The transformational person is focused on something bigger than self.  One of the most incomprehensible aspects of the transformational perspective is that personal survival is not the first law of nature” (pp. 179, 183).
  • Forget Power; Enhance With Moral Authority
    • “I believe that perfection is a dynamic state that we enter whenever we are closing one of our integrity gaps, thus becoming more perfect.  When we exercise the courage to close an integrity gap, we experience victory over the self and become connected to a deeper reality.  We also gain increased moral power.  People see and are attracted by our increased integrity” (p. 193).
    • “[Looking] through other people’s eyes can mean that we have to change.  We can’t simply assume that telling people to change is going to get the results we want” (p. 202)

Be A Resonant Leader

Great Leadership Is Primal

Emotional Intelligence

“Great leaders move us” (p. 3)

“They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us” (p. 3).

“Great leadership works through the emotions” (p. 3).

“No matter what leaders set out to do — whether it’s creating strategy or mobilizing teams to action — their success depends on how they do it” (p. 3).

“The emotional task of the leader is primal — that is, first — in two senses: It is both the original and most important act of leadership” (p. 5).

“The key, of course, to making primal leadership work to everyone’s advantage lies in the leadership competencies of emotional intelligence [EI]: how leaders handle themselves and their relationships” (p. 6).

“The leader can add the strongest flavor to the emotional soup of a group. The leader can set the emotional standard” (p. 8, 9).

“How people feel about working for a company can effect performance by 20-30 percent” (pp.17, 18).

“In any work setting, the emotional and the business impact of a dissonant leader can be gauged easily…People feel off-balance, and thus perform poorly” (p. 19).

The Resonant Leader

“[The resonant leader] was attuned to people’s feelings and moved them in a positive emotional direction.  Speaking authentically from his own values and resonating with the emotions of those around him, he hit just the right chords with his message, leaving people feeling uplifted and inspired even in a difficult moment.  When a leader triggers resonance, you can read it in people’s eyes: They’re engaged and they light up” (pp. 19, 20).

The Four Domains

“Each of the four domains of emotional intelligence — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management — adds a crucial set of skills for resonant leadership” (p. 30).

  • Self Awareness

“In short, self-awareness facilitates both empathy and self-management, and these two, in combination, allow effective relationship management.  EI leadership, then, builds from a foundation of self-awareness.  Self-awareness — often overlooked in business settings — is the foundation for the rest: Without recognizing our own emotions, we will be poor at managing them, and less able to understand them in others” (p. 30).

“Simply put, self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, as well as one’s strengths and limitations and one’s values and motives” (p. 40).

  • Self-Management

“From self-awareness — understanding one’s emotions and being clear about one’s purpose — flows self-management, the focused drive that all leaders need to achieve their goal.  Without knowing what we are feeling, we’re at a loss to manage those feelings.  Instead, our emotions control us” (p. 45).

  • Social Awareness

“Social awareness — particularly empathy — supports the next step in the leader’s primal task: driving resonance.  By being attuned to how others feel in the moment, a leader can say and do what’s appropriate, whether that means calming fears, assuaging anger, or joining in good spirits.  This attunement also lets a leader sense the shared values and priorities that can guide a group” (p. 30).

“After self-awareness and emotional self-management, resonant leadership requires social awareness or, put another way, empathy.  The ability to empathize, in its most basic form, stems from neurons in extended circuitry connected to, and in, the amygdala that read another person’s face and voice for emotion and continually attune us to how someone else feels as we speak to them” (p. 48).

  • Relationship Management

“Finally, once leaders understand their own vision and values and can perceive the emotions of the group, their relationship management skills can catalyze resonance.  The guide the emotional tone of a group, however, leaders must first have a sure sense of their own direction and priorities — which brings us back again to the importance of self awareness” (p. 31).

“Managing relationships skillfully boils down to handling other people’s emotions.  This, in turn, demands that leaders be aware of their own emotions and attuned with empathy to the people they lead” (p. 51).

Assess Yourself: Are You A Resonant Leader?*

*from http://cbmcint.com.au/blogs/emotional-intelligence-and-leadership-part-1/)

Rank yourself out of ten in each area (1 = not at all; 10 = frequently)

  • Personal Competence
    • Self-awareness
      • How “in touch” are you with your own feelings? ……
      • How well do you know your own strengths and weaknesses? ……
      • How healthy is your self-image?
    • Self-management
      • How much do you show evidence of possessing a drive to improve your own performance?
      • How well do you control your own anger and frustrations?
      • How free are you of self-destructive habits and addictions?
      • How able are you at adapting to changing situations?
      • How self-disciplined are you at being able to sacrifice your lifestyle now in order to work for a reward you won’t see for many years?
      • How much have you proven to have the ability to show initiative?
      • How well do you handle personal setbacks?
  • Social Competence
    • Social awareness
      • How good is your reputation for understanding other people’s point of view?
      • How naturally aware are you of the characteristics and culture of a group of people?
      • How naturally aware are you of the feelings and needs of others?
    • Relationship management
      • How able are you at resolving conflicts with people?
      • How well can you inspire others with an idea?
      • How easily are you able to make friends?
      • How much are you able to initiate change in an organisation?
      • How is your ability to win a debate whilst remaining friends?
      • How much do you naturally attract people around you?
      • How much do people naturally look to you for strength and leadership during times of change?

“If you’re a leader, you want to be the boss people want to work for, which means someone who cares about me, understands me, who’s going to help me do better instead of just look at how I’ve blown it”  (http://www.danielgoleman.info/daniel-goleman-the-one-reason-why-people-dont-want-to-work-for-you/).

THE Goal (Part IV): Called to Love

By Gordon T. Smith

Social Holiness

“God is not a solitary being; rather, the divine being is a union of three persons bound together by the mutuality of love.  In like fashion we affirm and celebrate that the human person is not a spiritual monad but a being designed to live in interdependence and communion with others.  Adam was created in the image of God to be in communion with God, but Adam was not created a solitary or isolated being.  Genesis 1 celebrates the deep goodness of the created order, as is evident from the recurring line ‘and God saw that it was good.’  But then we have one of the most extraordinary declarations in all of Scripture when God says of Adam that it is not good for him to be alone” (pp. 128, 129).

“The biblical vision is for the individual to thrive in community and in mutual interdependence….The deep challenge we all face…is that our hearts are bent on independence, self-sufficiency and autonomy.  No one is naturally loving” (pp. 130, 132).

“Humility is the antithesis of self-dependence” (p. 134).

Radical Hospitality

“Listening is the fundamental means by which we honor [each other] and fulfill the call to honor others above ourselves” (p. 139).

“If we are marked by sincere or genuine love it is evident in this: that we listen more and talk less” (p. 140).

“Hospitality also means that we do not impose ourselves upon [others] — we give them their space” (p. 140).

Patience, Forbearance, Forgiveness, and the Resolution of Wrongs

“[We] cannot love until and unless we graciously come to terms with the imperfections and failures of others….This will include at the very least that we are patient with others, that we bear with and forgive each other” (p. 141).

  • “Patience is closely linked to hospitality, only now our hospitality is that of those who accept rather than demand, whose hope and aspiration for the other are not oppressive but grace-filled.  We let God do God’s work in the life of the other in God’s time” (p. 141).
  • “Forbearance is the twin sister of patience….This mark of compassion and generosity signals not tolerance of evil or wrongdoing but the reality that all of us are on the road to transformation…” (p. 142).
  • “To forgive means we let it go; we no longer hold it again [each other].  We bless [each other] rather curse the one who has wronged us” (p. 142).

“[The] flipside of the call to patience, forbearance and forgiveness: the proactive resolution of wrongs” (p. 143).

Generous Service

“Specifically, to serve the other is to respond to genuine, concrete need” (p. 144).

  • “First, it is important to stress that our generosity is always a generosity ‘in Christ’….
  • Second, ‘in Christ’ also means that our acts are never to our own merit or honor; we can and must learn how to serve quietly without seeking recognition or thanks for the simple reason that we do it in Christ and for Christ….
  • Third, to love is to actively seek the welfare of [each other].  We are called to love; therefore our way of being in the world is always one of attentiveness for the well-being of all.  And thus there is a close affinity between love and justice….
  • Fourth, one of the most powerful forms of service is intercessory prayer.  We serve one another by praying for one another.  It is done quietly and without fanfare; it is offered in secret as an act of service…” (pp. 145, 146).

 

By John Ortberg

We have a need to connect.

“The yearning to attach and connect, to love and be loved, is the fiercest longing of the soul.  Our need for community with people and the God who made us is to the human spirit what food and air and water are to the human body” (p. 18).

“Neil Plantinga notes that the Hebrew prophets had a word for just this kind of connectedness of all things: shalom — ‘the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight'” (p. 19).

“Community is the place God meets us” (p. 21).

“Community is rooted in the being of God” (p. 34).

“The Trinity exists as a kind of eternal dance of joyful love among Father, Son, and Spirit” (p. 35).

“In the Bible, a person’s name generally stands for his or her character and identity.  To gather in Jesus’ name means tro relate to other people with the same spirit of servanthood, submission, and delight that characterizes Jesus in the Trinity” (p. 40).  What does that mean?

The Fellowship of the Mat

Think abouwt the paralyzed man and the friends that brought him (dropped him through the roof) to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12).

“Here is the truth about us: Everybody has a mat.  Let the mat stand as a picture for human brokenness and imperfection.  It is not what is ‘not normal’ about me.  It is the little ‘as is’ tag that I most desire to hide.  But it is only when we allow others to see our mat, when we give and receive help with each other, that healing becomes possible” (p. 47).

“Humility and trust are more at the foundation of community than penrfection.  If you want a deep friendship, you can’t always be the strong one.  You will always have to let somebody else carry your mat” (p. 48).

A Community of Roof-Crashers

  • Family: “A group which possesses and implements an irrational commitment to the well-being of others…noticing and doing (p. 52).
  • Friend: “When someone is your friend, your greatest desire for them — deeper than external well-being or even physical health — is that things are right between them and God” (p. 56).

In Community with Jesus

“Count on it: In community with Jesus and with those who love you, most of what happened to this man will happen with you: Sin will get named and dealt with.  And although this sounds frightening, it may be the best gift of all” (p. 57).

“The truth is, the more spiritually mature you grow, the more you will find your heart being drawn to people.  You want to reach out to people, especially those neglected by society or far from God….People who don’t love people can’t love God” (p. 59).

How To Stay Relevant Without Selling Your Soul

By Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn is an expert in transforming leadership.  Here are my favorite quotes from Deep Change.

Preface

Deep Change assumes that one person can change the larger system or organization in which he or she exists (p. xii).

When we have successful experienced a deep change, it inspires us to encourage others to undergo a similar experience….Having experienced deep change in ourselves, we are able to bring deep change to the systems around us (p. xiii).

Our capacity to face uncertainty and function in times of stress and anxiety is linked with our self-confidence, and our level of self-confidence is linked with our sense of increasing integrity.  We are all affected by technical competence or political acumen, but we are more deeply influenced by moral power (xiv).

Chapter 1: Walking Naked In The Land Of Uncertainty

The process of formalization initially makes the organization more efficient or effective.  As time goes on, however, these routine patterns move the organization toward decay and stagnation.  The organization loses alignment with the changing, external reality.  As a result, customers go elsewhere for their products and services, and the organization loses critical resources.  When internal and external alignment is lost, the organization faces a choice: either adapt or take the road to slow death.  Usually the organization can be renewed, energized, or made effective only if some leader is willing to take some big risks by stepping outside the well-defined boundaries.  When this happens, the organization is lured, pushed, or pulled into unknown territory (p. 5).

We can change the world only by changing ourselves (p. 9).

Traditional learning is learning linked with the past–it is learning something that someone else already knows.  “Traveling naked into the land of uncertainty” allows for another kind of learning, a learning that helps us forget what we know and discover what we need (p. 12).

Chapter 2: Confronting The Deep Change Or Slow Death Dilemma

A victim is a person who suffers a loss because of the actions of others.  A victim tends to believe that salvation comes only from the actions of others.  They have little choice but to whine and wait until something good happens.  Living with someone who chooses to play the victim role is draining; working in an organization where many people have chosen the victim role is absolutely depressing.  Like a disease, the condition tends to spread….When someone makes the initial decision to avoid confronting a difficult situation, a negative process is triggered….Often, without fully realizing it, the person has taken on the victim’s role (p. 21).

We actually seem to prefer slow death.  Slow death is the devil we know, so we prefer it to the devil we do not know (p. 24).

Life is a process of deaths and rebirths (p. 25).

Chapter 3: The Fear Of Change

One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change.  Personal change is a reflection of our inner  growth and empowerment.  Empowered leaders are the only ones who can induce real change.  They can forcefully communicate beyond a level beyond telling.  By having the courage to change themselves, they model the behavior they are asking of others (p. 35).

One of the last things we want to consider is our own selfishness and immaturity.  We resist reflecting on our own fear of change (p. 36).

Chapter 4: The Heroic Journey

The amount of energy we feel has much to do with the alignment between oneself and our surrounding environment.  We can be aligned with our environment in such a way that we feel either strong and empowered or weak and powerless (p. 41).

The hero’s journey is a story of individual transformation, a change of identity.  In embarking on the journey, we must leave the world of certainty.  We must courageously journey to a strange place where there are lots of risks and much is at stake, a place where there are new problems that require us to think in new ways (p. 45).

Chapter 5: Finding Vitality

When an impossible objective is given to people in a large hierarchy and when it is accompanied by immense pressure to produce, the people in the organization will also experience growing pressure to engage in unethical behavior.  An invisible form of corruption at the top, the exercise of authority without concern or demand without support, results in a very visible form of corruption at the bottom (p. 52).

Denial occurs when we are presented with painful information about ourselves, information that suggests that we need to make deep change.  Denial is one of several clear paths toward slow death.  When we practice denial, we work on the wrong solutions or on no solutions at all (p. 52).

We need to watch carefully for signs that we have crossed the invisible line [the line between increasing returns and decreasing returns on our efforts].  When this occurs, we need think about breaking the logic of task pursuit and charting a course toward deep change and renewed vitality (p. 55).

Chapter 6: Breaking The Logic Of Task Pursuit

A hermit, who lived far out in the forest, would cut enough wood each summer to heat his cabin through the winter.  One fall day, he heard on his shortwave radio that an early winter storm was heading for his area.  Because he had not yet cut enough wood, he rushed to his wood pile.  Examining his dull and rusty saw, he realized that it needed sharpening.  He paused for a moment, looked at his watch, looked at the height of his uncut wood pile, and shook his head.  Instead of sharpening his saw, he began to cut.  As he worked, he noted that the saw was getting increasingly dull and that he was working harder and harder.  he told himself repeatedly that he needed to stop and sharpen the saw, but he continued to cut anyway.  At the end of the day, as the snow began to fall, he sat exhausted next to a sizable pile of uncut wood.  This man was not ignorant.  He knew his saw desperately needed sharpening.  He also knew that the more he cut, the duller the blade would become.  Yet he could not bring himself to stop and sharpen the saw.  This man [made himself the — edit by svveen] victim of the logic of task pursuit (p. 59).

Chapter 7: A New Perspective

We have to reinvent ourselves so that we can meaningfully connect with our current world.  This is not such a radical thought; it’s actually an ongoing process  (p. 66).

One way to realign the self is to retell the most important stories in our life….When we repeat one of these stories, we do not tell it exactly.  We recount it from the perspective of our current problem.  It is presented in a unique way that allows us to reconnect our past foundation with our present and future structures.  In fact, what we are really doing is realigning our past to include our present and future (p. 67).

Chapter 8: Confronting The Integrity Gap

The heart of effectiveness, Torbert argues, is building integrity through the constant observation of one’s lack of integrity (p. 76).

Ultimately, deep change, whether at the personal or the organizational level, is a spiritual process.  Loss of alignment occurs when, for whatever reason, we begin to pursue the wrong end.  This process begins innocently enough.  In pursuing some justifiable end, we make a trade-off of some kind.  We know it is wrong, but we rationalize our choice.  We use the end to justify the means.  As time passes, something inside us starts to whither.  We are forced to live at the cognitive level, the rational, goal-seeking level.  We lose our vitality and begin to work from sheer discipline.  Our energy is not naturally replenished, and we experience no joy in what we do.  We are experiencing slow death (p. 78).

Chapter 9: Build The Bridge As You Walk Across It

Organizational and personal growth seldom follows a linear plan….When we have a vision, it does not mean that we have a plan.  We may know where we want to be, but we will seldom know the actual steps we must take to get there.  We must trust in ourselves to learn the way, to build the bridge as we walk on it.  Deep change is an extensive learning process.  When we pursue our vision, we must believe that we have enough courage and confidence in ourselves to reach our goal.  We must leap into the chasm of uncertainty and strive bravely ahead  (p. 84).

Chapter 22: The Power Of One

There comes a time when we all question whether something is right.  At such times, we have to listen and follow our inner voice, even when it means tackling the system and enlisting some unconventional procedures and techniques.  One person can make a difference.  However, deep change comes at a great cost.  Enacting change means taking some risks.  When we take the necessary risks, we become self-empowered.  We begin to better align our internal self with our external world.  As our internal power base grows, we become confident and make genuine progress toward our goal.  We become energized and slowly begin to recognize that we can make a difference.  We begin to understand that one person really can change the system (p. 218, 219).

Want To Become A Millionaire?

Education of Millionaires

By Michael Ellsberg

What?

“[E]ven though you may learn wonderful things in college, your success and happiness in life will have little to do with what you study there or the letters behind your name once you graduate.  It has to do with:

  • your drive,
  • your initiative,
  • your persistence,
  • your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives,
  • your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively,
  • your charisma,
  • your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call ‘practical intelligence’),
  • and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph, throughout all the ups and downs, no matter what the naysayers tell you” (p. 11).

Why does your success in life have little to do with what you study?

“[J]ob security is dead….You’re going to have many different jobs, employers, and even careers in your life.  So where you get your first, entry-level one–the single thing that a BA credential really helps with–becomes less and less relevant.  Building a portfolio of real-world results and impacts you’ve created, over time, becomes more and more relevant.

“[T]he internet, cell phones, and virtually free long-distance calling have created new opportunities for flexible, self-created, independent careers; this trend has been helped along by the gathering storms of millions of hungry, highly educated young men and women in India, China, Eastern Europe, the Philippines, and elsewhere, happy to do the work that entry-level Organizational Men would have done in years past, for a fraction of the cost” (p. 14).

“For knowledge workers in the developed world, the tools of the trade have become so ridiculously cheap that the ‘means of production’ have once again become affordable to individual workers” (p. 16).

“Education is still necessary to learn how to do the great work that gets you paid.  But these days, almost all of the education that ends up actually earning you money ends up being self-education in practical intelligence and skills, acquired outside of the bounds of traditional educational institutions” (p. 17).

Success Skills Needed

  • Putting meaning and work together.
  • Building networks and relationships, finding mentors and teachers.
  • Marketing
  • Selling
  • Investing (Bootstrapping)
  • Building your brand
  • Having an entrepreneurial mindset (pp. 19-20).

To elaborate…

Putting Meaning and Work Together

I don’t think Michael Ellsberg really answers the question here, although he does tell us how to begin to experiment and take risks.

Building Networks and Relationships, Finding Mentors and Teachers

The secret, believe or not, is giving (p. 73).

Marketing

“Good marketing…speaks to the prospect about their deepest emotional realities, their innermost desires, and about helping them achieve what they want in those realms” (p. 115).

Selling

“Sales is simply persuasive face-to-face communication.  It’s relevant anytime you are talking with someone and you want a specific outcome to arise out of the conversation” (p. 129).

“[E]ffective sales isn’t about spewing off a slick pitch.  It’s about asking a lot of questions.  The right questions.  And then listening” (p. 136).

Bootstrapping

“Bootstrapping is a concept central to the themes in this book.  In the world of business, it’s a strategy that involves getting to the point of profitability as quickly as possible–even if the profits are small–and then continually reinvesting profits to fuel growth” (p. 158).

“Make small, incremental investments in your human capital and earning power.  Buy some books….Take workshops and online training programs to learn different success skills.  Invest in your network of connections and mentors by going to high-quality conferences, workshops, expos, trade shows, meetups, and retreats related to your field….Find a high-quality business or career coach….a snowball effect” (pp. 160-161).

Branding

“Your brand is what people think of you when they hear your name” (p. 179).

Entrepreneurial Mind-Set

“We don’t get to choose what happens to us.  But we get to choose what it means.  And in that choice is a tremendous power….become the active ingredient in your own life” (p. 196).

“It all boils down to one thing.  [The self-educated millionaires featured in the book have] chosen to do whatever it takes teao create the lives they want, including exercising the effort and initiative to figure out what ‘whatever it takes’ is” (p. 200).

Ironically, “[Money is] like breathing; we don’t live to breath.”  (Max DePree, as quoted in On Moral Business, p. 912).   See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/bill-gates/9812672/Bill-Gates-interview-I-have-no-use-for-money.-This-is-Gods-work.html.

Life is about becoming holy — called to joy, even in business.

Believe it or not, this is what students learn in Trinity’s Business Department and Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment.

Want To Be A Good Leader? Let Your Life Speak

Let Your Life Speak

By Parker Palmer

Vocation

“Vocation does not come from willfulness.  It comes from listening….Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue.  It means a calling that I hear” (p. 4).

“[There] is a great gulf between the way my ego wants to identify me, with its protective masks and self-serving fictions, and my true self….The difficulty [of sensing the difference between the two” is compounded by the fact that from our first days of school, we are taught to listen to everything and everyone but ourselves, to take all our about living from the people and powers around us” (p. 5).

“Today I understand vocation quite differently — not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received.  Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess.  Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to become something I am not.  It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God” (p. 10).

“Biblical faith calls it the image of God in which we are all created.  Thomas Merton calls it true self.  Quakers call it the inner light, or ‘that of God’ in every person.  The humanist tradition calls it identity and integrity.  No matter what you call it, it is a pearl of great price” (p. 11).

True Vocation

“True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need’” (p. 16).

“The Quaker teacher Douglas Steere was fond of saying that the ancient human question ‘Who am I?’ leads inevitably to the equally important question ‘Whose am I?’ — for there is no selfhood outside of relationship” (p. 17).

“Most of us arrive at a sense of self and vocation only after a long journey through alien lands….It is more akin to the ancient tradition of pilgrimage — ‘a transformative journey to a sacred center’ full of hardships, darkness, and peril.  In the tradition of pilgrimage, those hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself.  Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost — challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge and make space for the true self to emerge” (pp. 17, 18).

“Vocation at its deepest level is not, ‘Oh, boy, do I want to go to this strange place where I have to learn a new way to live and where no one, including me, understands what I’m doing.’  Vocation at its deepest level is, ‘This is something I can’t not do, for reasons I’m unable to explain to anyone else and don’t fully understand myself but that are nonetheless compelling” (p. 25).

Self-care vs. Projections

“Here, I think, is another clue to finding true self and vocation: we must withdraw the negative projections we make on people and situations — projections that serve mainly to mask our fears about ourselves — and acknowledge and embrace our own liabilities and limits” (p. 29).

“[Self-care] is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.  Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care if requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch” (pp. 30, 31).

“Where do people find the courage to live divided no more when they know they will be punished for it?  The answer I have seen in the lives of people like Rosa Parks is simple: these people have transformed the notion of punishment itself.  They have come to understand that no punishment anyone might inflict on them could possibly be worse than the punishment the inflict on themselves by conspiring in their own diminishment” (p. 34).

Implications of Our Nature

“Each of us arrives here with a nature, which means both limits and potentials.  We can learn as much about our nature by running into our limits as by experiencing our potentials” (pp. 41, 42).

“When the gift I give to the other is integral to my own nature, when it comes from a place of organic reality within me, it will renew itself — and me — even as I give it away” (p. 49).

“[If] it is true that we are made for community, then leadership is everyone’s vocation, and it can be an evasion to insist that it is not.  When we live in the close-knit ecosystem called community, everyone follows and everyone leads” (p. 74).

Authentic Leadership

“The power for authentic leadership…is found not in external arrangements but in the human heart.  Authentic leaders in every setting — from families to nation-states — aim at liberating the heart, their own and others’, so that its powers can liberate the world” (p. 76).

Good Leadership

“Good leadership comes from people who have penetrated their own inner darkness and arrived at the place where we are at one with one another, people who can lead the rest of us to a place of ‘hidden wholeness’ because they have been there and know the way” (pp. 80, 81).

“It is so much easier to deal with the external world, to spend our lives manipulating material and institutions and other people instead of dealing with our own souls” (p. 82).

Shadows of Our Souls

“The first shadow-casting monster is insecurity about identity and worth….The second shadow inside many of us is the belief that the universe is a battleground, hostile to human interests….A third shadow common among leaders is ‘functional atheism,’ the belief that ultimate responsibility for everything rests with us….A fourth shadow within and among us is fear, especially our fear of the natural chaos of life” (pp. 86-89).

Fundamental Transforms Normal

Building a Bridge

THE NORMAL STATE OF LEADERSHIP

In the Normal State of Leadership

“[We] seek equilibrium.  In the normal state, we are comfort-centered, externally-directed, self-focused, and [externally] closed.  We construct a world of social exchange and economic transaction.  The central purpose of anyone in such a system is to obtain status and resources while avoiding pain and punishment.  When emerging reality threatens our deeply held values by suggesting we need to move into the unknown, we resist.  We become self-deceptive because we say change is needed, yet we want to avoid the risk of losing what we have, so we seek to ‘manage’ change in ways we do not find deeply threatening” (p. 69).

“In the normal state, we typically employ two general strategies of change: Telling, that is, making logical arguments for change and Forcing, that is, using forms of leverage such as threat or firing or ostracizing.  Less often, we use a third strategy, Participating, that is, using open dialogue and pursuing win-win strategies” (p. 69).

THE FUNDAMENTAL STATE OF LEADERSHIP

“When we are in the [Fundamental State of Leadership,] we become more purpose-centered, internally-driven, other-focused, and externally-open” (p. 21).

  • “We become less comfort-centered and more purpose-centered.  We stop asking, What do I want?…Instead we ask, What result do I want to create?…[That] may attract us outside our comfort zone and into the uncertain journey that is the creative state.  As we begin to pursue purpose in the face of uncertainty, we gain hope and energy” (p. 22).
  • “[We] also become less externally-directed and more internally-directed….We begin to transcend our own hypocrisy, closing the gap between who we think we are and who we think we should be” (p. 22).
  • “[We] also become less self-focused and more other-focused.  As our sense of achievement and integrity increases, we feel more secure, less selfish, and more willing to put the common good ahead of the preservation of self” (p. 22).
  • “[We] become less internally-closed and more externally-open.  When we meet our needs for increased achievement, integrity, and affiliation, we increase our confidence that we can learn our way forward in an uncertain and changing world” (p. 23).

How Do We Educate Students To Succeed?

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the skill needed for all aspects of life.  As M. Scott Peck says, “Life is a series of problems.”  Best to be able to solve them.

Personal Leadership Development

Personal Leadership means being able to manage oneself.  Peter Drucker famously wrote:  “Now most of us, even those of us with modest endowments, will have to learn to manage ourselves.  We will have to learn to develop ourselves.  We will have to place ourselves where we can make the greatest contribution” (Drucker, HBR Leadership Fundamentals, p. 7).

Managing ourselves is a primal skill because at our core we default to being emotional, rationalizing beings.  Today we refer to the skills that manage our primal instincts as emotional intelligence: “The key…to making primal leadership work to everyone’s advantage lies in the leadership competencies of emotional intelligence [EI]: how leaders handle themselves and their relationships” (Goleman, Primal Leadership, p. 6).

For example, if you tracked high IQ people over time, who would rise to the top of organizations and stay there?  You guessed it: emotionally intelligent people.

Vocational and Career Discernment

Like Critical Thinking and Personal Leadership Development, Vocational Discernment is a necessary skill for success.  Vocational Discernment, however, not only defines success differently, it empowers the development of Critical Thinking and Emotional Intelligence skills — more than any extrinsic motivator ever could.  And it is not a gift to be achieved, but received.

Note Vocational Discernment is different that Career Discernment.  Although they could be the same, they don’t usually entirely overlap.   One might say that one’s Vocation transcends and transforms one’s career, much like one’s eulogy virtues might transcend and transform one’s resume virtues (David Brooks).

A Gift To Be Received

Some people find success by learning the rules of the game and using them to get ahead.  Others break all the rules, or at least some of them.  “I believe that God doesn’t want us to be satisfied with just the status quo.  I think in a sense everyone is called to be an entrepreneur in a way. We are all called by God to approach life as an opportunity to use our skills that God has given us to better the world for the glory of God” (Jordan Rose).

Another work for calling is vocation: “True vocation joins self and service, as Frederick Buechner asserts when he defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need’” (Parker Palmer).

Interestingly, David Brooks tells us that we don’t find out calling, it finds us.  That may be true.  As Parker Palmer writes, “Today I understand vocation quite differently — not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received” (Parker Palmer).

In other words, it is a gift to be called to make the world a better place doing that which combines one’s deep gladness and the world’s deep need.  The concept that pulls those concepts together, believe it or not, is Holiness.  Can striving for holiness lead to joy?

Our Vocation Is To Become Holy

We are called to holiness (big “C” calling).  In other words, God intends for us to be perfect.  But perfection is not something we can obtain this side of heaven. However, in accepting it and then seeking it we can experience wisdom and joy!  Joy and wisdom come from radical dependence on God and interdependence on others.  Sounds crazy!

We can strive toward holiness, believe it or not, by accepting we have a calling and seeking to discern, develop, and deploy it (little “c” calling).   Doing so is incredibly empowering and motivates us to become even better at critical thinking and personal leadership.  There is nothing more energizing than doing that which brings us fulfillment and joy.

Discerning, Developing, Deploying

Discerning can occur when we listen to what God speaks in our lives and in our hearts — our holy discontent.

Development can occur when our Adam II transcends Adam I (when our eulogy virtues begin transcending our resume virtues), and our  “fundamental” state of leadership transcends our “normal one” such that it reflects the fruits of the Spirit.   It is no long conforming to the pattern of the world (Romans 12:1,2).

Deployment can occur when we actively pursue God and his will in our work.  This is also the source of wisdom, which is both understanding and practice, “for we do not understand until and unless we live this understanding” (Gordon Smith).

Therefore, if we wish to set students up for success, we need to enhance their critical thinking and personal leadership skills.  But most of all, we need to help them accept and discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.  How do we do that?  In the classroom but also outside of the classroom via experiential learning and mentoring.

What is experiential learning?  Learning that includes:

  • Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis
  • Opportunities for initiative, decision-making, and accountability
  • Holistic learning: learning that engages the head (intellect), heart (emotions), soul (beliefs and values), and hands (physical engagement)

Which learning opportunities bring us joy?  Why?  Which meet the the world’s deep needs?  How?

Eulogy and Resume Values

We are “Adam I” and “Adam II.”  We straddle the pursuit of our “resume virtues” and our “eulogy virtues.”

See David Brooks’ TEDx video: https://www.ted.com/talks/david_brooks_should_you_live_for_your_resume_or_your_eulogy?language=en

Road to Character

Adam I Vs. Adam II

“Adam I is the career-oriented, ambitious side of our nature.  Adam I is the external, resume Adam.  Adam I wants to build, create, produce, and discover things.  He wants to have high status and win victories.  Adam II want to embody certain moral qualities.  Adam II want to have a serene inner character, a quite but solid sense of right and wrong — not only to do good, but to be good.  Adam II wants to love intimately, to sacrifice self in the service of others, to live in obedience to some transcendent truth, to have a cohesive soul that honors creation and one’s own possibilities.

While Adam I want to conquer the world, Adam II wants to obey a calling to serve the world.  While Adam I is creative and savors his own accomplishments, Adam II sometimes renounces worldly success and status for the sake of some sacred purpose.  While Adam I asks how things work, Adam II ask why things exist, and what ultimately we are here for.  While Adam I want to venture forth, Adam II wants to return to his roots and savor the warmth of a family meal.  While Adam I’s motto is ‘success,’ Adam II experiences life as a moral drama.  His motto is ‘Charity, love, and redemption’” (pp. xi, xii).

“Adam I — the creating, building, and discovering Adam — lives by a straightforward utilitarian logic.  It’s the logic of economics.  Input leads to output.  Effort leads to reward.  Practice makes perfect.  Pursue self-interest.  Maximize your utility.  Impress the world.

Adam II lives by an inverse logic.  It’s a moral logic, not an economic one.  You have to give to receive.  You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself.  You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave.  Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride.  Failure leads to the greatest success, which is humility and learning.  In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself.  In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.

To nurture you Adam I career, it makes sense to cultivate your strengths.  To nurture you Adam II moral core, it is necessary to confront your weaknesses” (p. xii).

Modern Life

“We live in a culture that nurtures Adam I, the external Adam, and neglects Adam II.  We live in a society that encourages us to think about how to have a great career but leaves many of us inarticulate about how to cultivate the inner life.  The competition to succeed and win admiration is so fierce that it becomes all-consuming.  The consumer marketplace encourages us to live by a utilitarian calculus, to satisfy our desires and lose sight of the moral stakes involved in everyday decisions.  The noise of fast and shallow communications makes it harder to hear the quieter sounds that emanate from the depths.  We live in a culture that teaches us to promote and advertise ourselves and to master the skills required for success, but that gives little encouragement to humility, sympathy, and honest self-confrontation, which are necessary for building character” (p. xiiii).

“The central fallacy of modern life is the belief that accomplishments of the Adam I realm can produce deep satisfaction.  That’s false.  Adam I’s desires are infinite and always leap out ahead of whatever has just been achieved.  Only Adam II can experience deep satisfaction.  Adam I aims for happiness, but Adam II knows that happiness is insufficient.  The ultimate joys are moral joys” (p. 15).

Vocation vs. Career

“Today, commencement speakers tell graduates to follow their passion, to trust their feelings, to reflect and find their purpose in life.  The assumption…is that when you are figuring out how to lead your life, the most important answers are found deep inside yourself….You should ask certain questions: What is the purpose of my life?  What do I want from life?  What are the things that I truly value, that are not done just to please or impress the people around me?”  By this way of thinking life can be organized like a business plan….But [she who was called] found her purpose in life using a different method….In this method, you don’t ask, What do I want from life?  You ask a different set of questions: What does life want from me?  What are my circumstances calling me to do?  In this scheme of things we don’t create our lives; we are summoned by life.  The important answers are not found inside, the our found outside.  This perspective begins not within the autonomous self, but with the circumstances in which you happen to be embedded.  This perspective begins with an awareness that the world existed long before you and will last long after you, and that in the brief span of your life you have been by fate, by history, by chance, by evolution, or by God into a specific place with specific problems or needs.  Your job is to figure certain things out: What does this environment need in order to be made whole?  What is it that needs repair?  What tasks are lying around waiting to be performed?” (pp. 21, 22).

“Few people are put in circumstances that horrific and extreme [as Viktor Frankl in concentration camps during WWII], but all of us are given gifts, aptitudes, capacities, talents, and traits that we did not strictly earn  And all of us are put in circumstances that call out for action, whether they involve poverty, suffering, the needs of a family, or the opportunity to communicate some message.  These circumstances give us the great chance to justify our gifts” (p. 24).

“A vocation is not a career.  A person choosing  a career look for job opportunities and room for advancement.  A person choosing a career is looking for something that will provide financial and psychological benefits.  If your job or career isn’t working for you, you choose another one.  A person does not choose a vocation.  A vocation is a calling.  People generally feel they have no choice in the matter.  Their life would be unrecognizable unless they pursued this line of activity” (p. 24).

“A person with a vocation is not devoted to civil rights, or curing a disease, or writing a great novel, or running a humane company because it meets some cost-benefit analysis.  Such people submit to their vocations for reasons deeper and higher than utility and they cling to them all the more fiercely the more difficulties arise” (p. 25).

“She [Frances Perkins]…reflected on a distinction that had once seemed unimportant to her.  When a person give a poor man shoes, does he do it for the poor man or for God?  He should do it for God, she decided.  The poor will often be ungrateful, and you will lose heart if you rely on immediate emotional rewards for your work.  But if you do it for God, you will never grow discouraged.  A person with a deep vocation is not dependent on constant positive reinforcement.  The job doesn’t have to pay off every month, or every year.  The person thus called is performing a task because it is intrinsically good, not for what it produces” (p. 44).

“The essential drama in life is the drama to construct character, which is an engraved set of disciplined habits, a settled disposition to do good.  The cultivation of Adam II was seen as a necessary foundation for Adam I to flourish” (p. 53).

Knowledge Vs. Education

“Knowledge is not enough for tranquility and goodness, because it doesn’t contain the motivation to be good.  Only love compels action.  We don’t become better because we acquire new information.  We become better because we acquire better loves.  We don’t become what we know” (p. 211).

Education is a process of love formation.  When you go to school, it should offer you new things to love” (p. 211).

“He [Augustine] started with the belief that he could control his own life.  He had to renounce that, to sink down into a posture of openness and surrender.  Then, after that retreat, he was open enough to receive grace, to feel gratitude and rise upward.  This is life with an advance-retreat-advance shape.  Life, death, and resurrection.  Moving down to dependence to gain immeasurable height” (p. 211).

Road to Character (“The Humility Code”)

  1. “We don’t live for happiness, we live for holiness” (p. 262)
  2. However we have an “innate tendency toward selfishness and overconfidence.” We tend to see ourselves as “the center of the universe” (p. 262).
  3. Even though we are flawed, we are “splendidly endowed.” We do sin, but we “also recognize our capacity for sin” (p. 262).
  4. Humility – having an accurate assessment of our own nature and our place in the cosmos – is our “greatest virtue” (pp. 262, 263).
  5. Thus “pride is the central vice” because “it blinds us into thinking we are better than we are” – our abilities and moral weaknesses (p. 263).
  6. “The struggle again sin and for virtue is the central drama in life” (p. 263).
  7. Character is the result of “inner confrontation.” It is “a set of dispositions, desires, and habits” that are slowly developed through a “thousand small acts of self-control” (pp. 263, 264).
  8. What leads us astray are short term things: “lust, fear, vanity, gluttony.” The dimensions of character, in contrast, are long-term in nature: courage, honesty, humility” (p. 264).
  9. No one can achieve mastery of the virtues alone (p. 264).
  10. “We are all ultimately saved by grace. The struggle against weakness often has a U shape….The shape is advance-retreat-advance” (p. 265).
  11. “Defeating weakness often means quieting the self” (p. 265).
  12. Wisdom begins with knowing our limitations (p. 265).
  13. The good life is not possible “unless it is organized around a vocation….Vocation is found by looking without and asking what life is asking us. What problem is addressed by an activity you intrinsically enjoy?” (p. 266).
  14. “The goal of leadership is to find a just balance between competing values and competing goals” (p.266).
  15. “The person who successfully struggles against weakness and sin may or may not become rich and famous, but that person will become mature….A mature person possesses a settled unity of purpose” (p. 267).