|Publisher:||Greenleaf Book Group Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||3 Months to 18 Years|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Journey Begins: Isn't It Time?
We Want More
WE ALL WANT the same thing. More. Even though we come from different places and diverse backgrounds, most of us yearn for something that we do not yet have. Or, at least, we think we don't have it or even know how to describe what might be missing.
Do you want more? Do you feel like you are going through the motions at work? Are you struggling to find meaning in what you do? Are you resigned to your current role by saying this is all there is? Are you disengaged from your colleagues and feel as though there isn't a true sense that you are all a team? In some senses, does it feel like you are dying a death of 1,000 paper cuts, feeling like you care a little less with each passing day?
If you have felt or currently feel this way, you are not alone. Many of the business leaders and professionals we work with tell us they have a sense of feeling alone. And, we've also experienced this yearning with artists and politicians, clergy and students, and among dreamers and pragmatic collaborators.
So how do you shift from that sense of feeling alone or disengaged into a sense of connection? How do you shift from feeling like a drone completing your work into feeling inspired by being a part of and aligned with something that has a sense of purpose?
Our book's title, The Power of Vulnerability: How to Create a Team of Leaders by Shifting INward, speaks to a concept that we call "INpowerment." Not to be confused with empowerment, INpowerment comes from our beliefs that:
each individual and team have more power than we realize,
each of us has the capacity to access the power inside us,
we can learn how to do it,
we can do it on our own, but even better as a team, and
we need to discover and unleash that power by shifting inward.
The potential of INpowerment reaches beyond our imaginations, yet it requires the courage of vulnerability to join the journey.
To help break the ice working with groups and teams, we invite participants to stand in a circle and take a step forward if they identify with one of over forty statements we read. We'll ask them to step forward "if you have a post-graduate degree" or "if you played on a high school sports team" — as part of a warm up round, and then gradually we offer more intimate statements.
When we say, "Step in if you believe you are not using all of your talents in your current role," almost everyone takes a step in. Each of them believes they are limited in what they can offer and contribute to their team. There is a palpable gap between the individual's perception of their output and their potential; and each time we conduct this exercise, we can feel the tension and possibilities at both the individual and team levels. Not only is the individual living in a "less than" state, but the team is achieving less than it could if the members were organized so that each person was able to access more potential talent and put it to use.
The good news is that these people actually believe they have innate and learned talent. The bad news is that they're not using it. Often they've given up the belief that they have the power to use all of their talents. Or they have given their power away.
We can explore how to maximize your power at the individual level and the team level — a process we'll engage in throughout the book.
Individually, each person who steps in during these exercises is yearning to be seen for their potential and pleading to contribute more.
At the team level, the individuals want to be part of something bigger than they are — a team or organization where they will be counted on and can count on others to contribute to its success. They want what they don't have: more. They know that their success depends not only on their improvement but also on their cooperation with others.
All of these folks want to join the journey.
Disconnected from the Source
So why are these leaders from different backgrounds feeling this way? Where can they find the more that they're searching for? What do they have in common?
They are all people who feel disconnected from their purpose and authenticity, and who feel alone or uninspired by others on their team.
They show up for work just to go through the motions and get through the day. While they cooperate with others as appropriate and necessary, their objective is simply to complete the task, usually without regard for a grander individual or team purpose.
All of this disengagement creates a huge sense of "aloneness" in the workforce. Our disconnection from purpose and authenticity is the root cause of this loneliness and lack of inspiration.
These people are lonely. They are members of lonely teams. And when they speak about this challenge, it is usually to complain about it. It is lonely at the top, the middle, and the bottom. At all levels of the organization, people feel disconnected and without power. They get the work done with mind and body, yet still yearn to have a natural and soulful connection to others. So, not only are they holding back from contributing their true value to their team, they neither give inspiration to nor receive it from others. And this aloneness is contagious.
These lonely individuals and teams are disconnected. There is a lack of enthusiasm, and the day takes forever to pass by. The "more" they seek is connection. But from what are they disconnected? To what or whom do they need to connect? What is keeping them from fulfilling these connections?
We believe they are disconnected from their source — their purpose and authenticity. This source can only start with the individual. It's the feeling when you get out of bed in the morning — sometimes even before the alarm goes off — when you cannot wait to seize the day because you are deeply engaged at a level that is awe-inspiring yet indescribable. A person's source is a unique imprint. And, because it is indescribable and unique, those who have never experienced it have a difficult time understanding what it means.
Purpose is the reason why we are here, the connection to the cause — small or large; it just feels right and makes sense. Authenticity is the quality of being real. When the two intersect, there is an emotional connection with intense enthusiasm when time seems to pass by without notice.
When you do not know why you're doing something, or don't have any emotional connection to it, you will likely feel lonely. And when you feel lonely, you are unlikely to engage with others enthusiastically. So, the malaise that you bring to the team will pull the others down rather than lift them up. The good news is that the same logic works in reverse toward a positive outcome.
You have undoubtedly felt, during certain times in your life, a clear sense of purpose or direction. When you are connected to yourself and feel that internal source of inspiration, the days fly by! You are happy, excited, and fulfilled. You may feel a deeper sense of connectedness to your teammates, as they share in the broader vision. Being aligned, working together toward a greater purpose, and being committed to making a vision reality can be one of the most fulfilling aspects of our careers.
So, the journey from loneliness to connection starts with the awareness that something is missing, and a desire to explore purpose and authentic connection. As an individual, you want to get clarity about your purpose or cause, to choose and embrace your "why" before you take on your to-do list, and to know that it is right when you are being real.
A team's source of power lies with members connecting first to their own purpose and authenticity. If all members show up disconnected, the team will be nothing more than a bunch of lonely souls. Yet when each person has clarity and is aligned with their purpose, it will be a connected — and powerful — team.
Creating a shared vision and deeper connection within a team or department takes time. It's an investment. In a culture that wants a quick ROI, many times the time invested into our human capital and relationships doesn't provide an immediate, quantifiable impact to the bottom line. In many organizations, that process is allocated to an annual offsite, where the organization can have two days filled with kumbaya moments, and then get back to work.
Who Unplugged Us?
Why, in our interconnected world of ubiquitous communication, are we disconnected from others and ourselves? How did this happen? What is our responsibility in creating our purpose?
Our culture thrives on what is convenient, easy, and quick. This is what we call a master overlay for our culture. This culture pretends to keep us totally connected with everyone all of the time. While we are tethered to multiple devices that ostensibly connect us, we have become untethered from our inner souls and those who matter most to us. Instead of high-quality, low-quantity synchronous touch — like walking into someone's office and talking — we have migrated to low-quality, high-quantity asynchronous touch — such as sending an electronic message to the person sitting next to you. Lines of banal texting with emoticons have replaced looking into someone's eyes and feeling a soulful connection. We have replaced going to a theatre, watching a film together, laughing, crying, or clapping in catharsis as a group with asynchronous, individual viewing or binge-watching entertainment on personal devices. As an unintended consequence of technology, we have stripped ourselves from our humanity. Instead of looking inside for our purpose, we are now trained to look down at the device of the day for a script.
External solutions — online and offline — abound for every challenge. Sitting around a table in discussion about a banal factoid, we all turn to our phones and quickly search for the answer. We have hyperlinked ourselves to what we're convinced is a higher knowledge platform, and yet in the process we have disconnected from the ultimate source of wisdom that resides INside.
It is so much easier to blame or look to others for problems and solutions. And in our world today, sponsors of fast-track solutions are targeting us in hot pursuit, no matter where we click or turn. Our culture is at the point where we are unconsciously seduced by constantly streaming offers. Even when we refuse one, another more tempting one appears on our screens. As a result, we tend to shut down and check out, resulting in a loss of "you" as a source of inspiration and wisdom.
It's not surprising that our internal connections have been hijacked. It is tough work to even think about, let alone work on, "purpose" — and the whole notion of being "authentic" poses a grave risk. What if our real selves turn out to disappoint others or ourselves? And the purveyors of so-called solutions for everything I need (and don't need) know our weaknesses. Try doing a search for "how to connect to your purpose" or "ten steps to becoming authentic." You'll discover no shortage of surefire suggestions that commoditize and commercialize a journey that should be unique to you. As you'll see, purpose is not some esoteric dream, but a deep connection to the core of what's important to you, today, NOW.
If our real power comes from connecting to the purpose and authenticity that are unique to each of us, then the road to connecting with others on our teams will have to start with ourselves. Unfortunately, cultural biases are working against us.
Imagine you're going on vacation and want to take advantage of staying connected to your office, friends, and family. Even though you click "outof-office assistant" on your email settings, you still check messages every time you have an Internet connection. And, each time you sneak a peek, you end up moving away from where you are and into the place you are supposed to be away from. Each time you check your messages, you are stepping in technology quicksand.
We don't need to travel far to find quicksand — it's even in the office. It's waiting to invite you in to a one-way-only detour, even as you're seated side-by-side with your colleagues at the conference table. As the projector broadcasts a bunch of graphs on the big screen, you lose your focus for a moment when you sense a vibration in your pocket — a sign that you can be removed from the formality of the presentation (well, you could always access it later on the shared drive) and instead be drawn to a beacon (your phone) that could be a more important opportunity, or at least more enticing than what's on the big screen. And, there you go, into the void of someplace other than where you are supposed to be right here and now — disconnected from purpose and people, alone even in a crowded room.
Quicksand sucks in anything falling into it and is hard to escape from. It attracts us through the lure of taking on more devices, tools, and ways to stay in touch with business, family, friends, and the world. We even take the connection to the bathroom, learning from an early age how to multitask multiple things all of the time. Continually captivated by the myriad possibilities of connecting to the most information and most people, we can no longer escape from the servitude of technology quicksand.
Starting with a noble intention, we end up defeating the intended goal — we move further away from meaningful connection rather than closer. The volume is too high, too loud. There are hundreds of channels, but we are tuned out to what matters most and to who we are really meant to be — our authentic purpose.
And, all hooked up amid lots of noise, we are alone, unfulfilled.
Tripping over Myself and Going Nowhere
This lack of connection gets us stuck.
What keeps us stuck in the same place are our self-limiting beliefs.
We create limits for ourselves and we actually spend energy finding ways for these boundaries to be reinforced by others. Ultimately, they become embedded into our internal operating system of how we must show up in our roles and perform our jobs.
These limiting thoughts include:
Beliefs about how much of ourselves we can reveal in meetings
Beliefs about our roles in the leadership of a team, department, or organization without being the hierarchical boss
Beliefs about the appropriateness of more real, open, even vulnerable conversations
Beliefs about our ability to take risks within the organization
Beliefs about our own powers, authority, and/or ability to change our circumstances
Beliefs about the combined capabilities of the team.
Beliefs about our ability to feel a deep sense of fulfillment
Beliefs in our and the team's ability to handle chaos
If we subscribe to this way of thinking, we may believe "I am who I am because my business card says so. This never happens to someone in my position. It's never been done that way before. It's always been done this way. So it always is that way." And so on.
Management practices have long been founded on hierarchy and order. There is a structure to how decisions are made. Countries work this way. Institutions work this way. Families work this way. Without hierarchy, there would be anarchy, so organizations certainly work that way.
In an organization, if you are not in a high-level box on the organization chart, then you are a follower, not a boss or leader. Additionally, in the past, there never has been a place for emotions or personal issues in the workplace. They have been, frankly, unacceptable. We are all expected to keep a stiff upper lip, show no emotions, and keep our cards close to the vest. We are, in many ways, asked to be good little robots, emotionless, tireless — and just get the job done. The less drama, the better, we are told.
We grow up in a world where identity forms early, shaped by the home and community in which we grow up, influenced — directly and indirectly — by parents, family, teachers, and other elders. Often though, unintentionally, we more easily absorb and start to take on the belief that we will live a life within clear and preset boundaries. And our power is, therefore, limited by those bounds, and our self-limiting beliefs are born from these demarcation lines — ceilings that govern how far we can reach up based on how the outside world has set us up for life. Then, these self-limiting beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies and we get our jobs done only as we are instructed. We stay on the job with others, much like us, who suffer from similar self-limiting beliefs, and side-by-side yet very much alone and lonely, we work until quitting time and come home without hope that the next day will bring a better outcome.
There is a switch on this story line, however.
These self-limiting beliefs are self-fulfilling — unless we choose to change the belief. (Now that's hard to swallow, since one of the most common self-limiting beliefs is that we can't change belief systems.) At some point we can become aware that we are tripping over ourselves, or that our self-limiting beliefs about our power and potential are causing us to remain stuck in place. That if we take ownership for tripping our-selves, then we can no longer blame others for our situations. Now we are free to take responsibility for moving forward through changing our belief systems. Instead of finding how much power we have given to us from those on the outside, we can look inside for the answers of where our power is, where we belong, and what we want.
Excerpted from "The Power of Vulnerability"
Copyright © 2018 Shift 180, LLC.
Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 The Journey Begins: Isn't It time? 1
Chapter 2 For Return to Connection: INpowerment Is Worth It 13
Chapter 3 Break Through: Claim Responsibility to Shift Direction 27
Chapter 4 All Are Invited: The Time Is Now! 37
Chapter 5 Who Goes First: Don't Look Outside Yourself for the Leader 43
Chapter 6 Reclaim Your Power: Any and All Leaders In 53
Chapter 7 Embrace Authenticity: The New Boss Lets Others Be Leaders 65
Chapter 8 Time to Show Up: Start a Cultural Revolution in Your World 75
Chapter 9 All INpower: But Watch Out for Detours 85
Chapter 10 Hang On: Disruptive Processes Ahead 99
Chapter 11 Warm Up: Access Power through Vulnerability-Ask, Don't Tell 113
Chapter 12 Taking the Leap: Safety Belts, Please! 123
Chapter 13 Where You Are Right Now? Eyes on the Road 135
Chapter 14 Rules of Engagement 151
Chapter 15 Wow, Honesty! Navigating Rocky Roads 161
Chapter 16 Embracing Our Fellow Travelers 175
Chapter 17 Making Our Way: Use It or Lose It 185
Chapter 18 Real Journeys 195
Chapter 19 Wide Road Ahead: It's Your Brave New World 211
Chapter 20 Bring It to Work: Just the Tip of the Iceberg 219
Chapter 21 There Is No Destination: The Journey Continues 225
About The Authors 241