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The holiday stir was all around us as we sat on the park bench clutching our warm coffee mugs in the freezing winter air. He looked up at the painted angels above a storefront. ‘I’m not a very spiritual person,’ he said while he absentmindedly stirred his coffee. ‘In fact, when things get really busy, it’s the spiritual aspect of my life that gets put to one side.’ He sighed. A twinge of sadness edged into his voice. ‘But I sure miss it.’ A friend for many years, he is a deeply present person and gifted musician.

I often here this kind of talk. Our culture holds to a narrative that separates “spiritual” from other kinds of “lives”, such as “work” life, “private” life, “public” life “family” life, and even the ever-elusive “balanced” life—one that implies that all the other lives work in perfect unison with one another. If I live in India and chant mantras then I’m a spiritual person. But if I sit at my desk and apply all of my attention and presence to an excel spreadsheet, then I’m an ordinary non-spiritual person, or at best I’m a spiritual person having a non-spiritual moment.

Many years ago (when I thought I was spiritual), I spent the better part of my days with a beautiful teacher in northern India. Many seekers from around the world would come to teachers like him in search of enlightenment. He often teased us, sometimes ran from us, and other times lectured to us. But the best teaching moments for me were when he was just quietly doing his life. It took years for that silent yet sacred instruction to sink in — that our simple presence is the connection to the whole.

Sometimes I get to watch my friend practice on his piano. His entire focus pours into every note. What fills the room is not only his music, but his presence. It’s palpable. So, huddling over our coffee that day I offered, ‘But John, your very presence is spiritual, no matter what you are doing or not doing.’ He smiled slightly, ‘I never thought of it that way.’

To say we are spiritual (or not spiritual) is a redundancy. We simply are. And this ‘are-ness’ is that which is both ordinary and holy at the same time. Animals have it. Plants have it. Stars, universes, galaxies all share presence. Even rocks and soil have it. Physicists actually confirm that what we perceive as dead inert matter is not dead at all. Everything is an intensely alive energy field. That aliveness is only an aspect of the aliveness or life that I am, that you are.

My dear friend and mentor, Uncle Bob Randall, the Custodial Elder of Uluru in Australia, said to me once, ‘It’s that aliveness—that “being-ness”—that connects us to all things. That is why we call the birds and the snakes and the trees our brothers and sisters.’

So my question then is, when are we not spiritual? One must then follow that question with another: when are we not being? When is that aliveness not happening? Answer: never. We are always being—even if we are distracted, unnerved, offline, and totally not present to our own presence! Even if we are dead, our presence goes somewhere.

My mother used to live just 20 footsteps up the hill behind my home. Last week she moved out to a new location. On the day after her move, I walked past her old home on the way to my backdoor. The absence of her presence was palpable. It wasn’t just that she wasn’t there. For I’ve walked that same pathway hundreds of times before and noticed when she was not home, perhaps playing golf or grocery shopping. But even then, she was ‘there’.

This whole idea of presence puts another twist on what’s known as the Holy Trinity, ie, the one godhead in three different persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Perhaps another way to look at it is that the Father is Source, the Son is all things manifest (people, animals, trees, et al) and the Holy Ghost is that ‘spirit’ within us of presence—alive-ness. All one thing.

Language perpetuates limited concepts. In an attempt to free it up a little, it has been said, “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but spiritual beings having a human experience”. However, I would argue both are equally limited viewpoints. Why even separate human and spiritual? They belong together as one.

Given that it is the holiday season, perhaps now is a great time to celebrate the birth of ourselves—as sacred beings—already whole, awake and perfect. Perhaps we could celebrate the sacred, not in, but as, each other. Perhaps we can give ourselves and each other the gift of recognizing that we do not just have sacred ‘parts’ of ourselves, but that the entirety of ourselves and our lives are holy. Period. Without condition.

We can toss out the concept of ‘spiritual’ and all the ways we beat ourselves up with it, along with all the used wrapping paper and limp new year’s resolutions.

No one is spiritual. No one is not spiritual.

Hallelujah.

Resources:
Uncle Bob Randall, an elder of the Yankunytjnatjara people of Central Australia.

When my children were babies, I worried about every cough and fever. I frantically thumbed through my dog-eared copy of How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor (a powerfully helpful book written by an iconoclast pediatrician dedicated to the empowerment of parents), and spent hours on the Internet to assuage my anxiety. It was then I stumbled upon the miracle of homeopathy.

Precisely how homeopathic medicines work remains a mystery, and yet, nature is replete with mysteries and with numerous striking examples of the power of extremely small things. Packed into tiny sugar balls the size of cupcake sprinkles, this natural form of nanopharmocology dilutes remedies to the point where there may be no molecules of original substance left. The dilution, combined with rigorous shaking of the substance potentiates the remedy. This is called ‘ultramolecular’ dilution (in other words, way small).

To my delight, my children’s health improved dramatically more with these micro dosages, than with the heavier handed versions of conventional medicines. We are taught more is better, yet homeopathy reveals a radically different principal of physics that supports the view that small is powerful. Just look at the force released in an atomic bomb from smashing two atoms together.

When applied to personal development and organizational change, this principle holds true. Attempting to make positive changes through aiming for large fell swoop goals and achievements is not nearly as effective as making numerous very practical and achievable micro-moves towards an overall vision, calling or dream.

As a horsewoman, I’ve come to see that so many theories that work with eliciting real learning and collaboration for horses, work magically with their human counterparts. The brilliant horseman and trainer (as well as second degree aikido black belt), Mark Rashid, teaches how to ‘reward the try’, which rewards a horse in response to any of his ‘micro-tries’ towards the desired action.

“Because we are constantly looking for the big thing (the flawless lead change, the effortless transition, the sliding stop), we often look right past the most important part–the try that tells us our horse is understanding our request,” he writes.

The more sensitive one becomes to the smallest of tries towards the right thing, and the quicker one rewards those tries, the quicker and more solidly the horse learns and grows. It’s the same for us. The more respect we can give ourselves or each other for the ‘micro tries’, the quicker and more solidly we can grow.

My belief is that inside these micro-tries, no matter how small, is the most powerful of neurological rewards — success. From a neurological point of view (remember, we are talking small here) the bio-chemical stimulus of success is the same, whether it be a tiny success, or a huge one. But tiny ones are easy, and you can rack them up with much frequency. Which means you’ll grow and learn and thrive better, and faster!

For a lot of us, when we try to make big changes for the better, it’s too easy to get disheartened, cheat, and slide back into our old ways. Better to succeed in small ways, more often. A recent study by social psychologist Sung Hee Kim supports this idea. Kim advises undergraduate psychology majors at the University of Kentucky and has an interest in finding ways to help students follow good advice. To that end, she surveyed the various “micro” actions—those requiring little time, effort, or resources—that students engaged in that resulted in positive “macro” life changes.

Students recalled small actions, performed consistently, that they believed produced lasting, broader changes. The kind of micro actions ranged from getting up a bit earlier (10 minutes) in the morning, briefly reviewing course material, to writing down plans and assignments in a planner.

This principle of ‘small is better’ is the reason why, at the end of my sessions with clients I might ask, ‘What’s the one smallest thing you can do?’  I don’t ask for more than one, and I insist that it be as small as possible. Mostly I am met with incredulousness. Did they hear me correctly? Small? But aren’t changes meant to be big, monumental and life changing?

Another fine horseman, Warwick Schiller, reminds us to aim for only 1% improvement per day. ‘In 100 days, you’ve improved 100%,’ he says.

In one of his talks he recounts a story about his wife who suffers from panic attacks. She began working with cognitive behavioral therapy in hopes that it would help. As part of her treatment, every day she had to build her capacity to manage anxiety through creating micro moments of fear. She would sit down quietly, then summons an anxiety-creating trigger—only just enough to bring the anxiety on—and then sit quietly and breathe through that micro-trigger. Over time this created greater capacity to cope.

One day she and Warwick were taking a flight overseas. Warwick fell asleep. When he woke up, she exclaimed that she had had a panic attack, but was able to deal with it, and it went away quickly. They were both amazed that the simple act of practicing through tiny moments of anxiety, resulted in the ability to stop a panic attack on a plane, one of the most challenging places to have one.

The point being that she did not create this capacity by going on to many planes and dealing with the Super Bowl of anxiety producers. She achieved it through many very small successes.

The other day I stumbled into an app called YOU. It’s an app of small steps, micro-actions, to a ‘happier and healthier you’. I downloaded the app and was invited to do my first micro action – to take a moment, get present, look at my surroundings and capture the moment by taking a photo. Simple. Testimonials raving about the app include things like “It’s incredible how much has changed in the last months. Especially when it comes to self-love, leaving my comfort zone, ending procrastination, … or focusing on the right things.”

So, do you want to do something brilliant in the world? Do you want to be awesome, have bright, clear, loving relationships, and leave this world a better place? Start with something really tiny. What is one really small practical thing you can do today to make that happen?

Resources:
Mark Rashid
Warwick Schiller
YOU app

 

I know, it’s the holiday season, and you may have expected a blog post on gratitude, love, forgiveness, generosity or some other altruistic virtue. Which is precisely why I chose the timing. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be kind, accommodating, and loving — especially during the holidays. But in the bootcamp of love, I’ve learned a very hard lesson: real love cannot happen without equal measure of indifference.

In 1961 Joan Didion’s seminal essay ‘Self Respect: Its Source, Its Power’ graced the pages of Vogue magazine. She describes self respect as a discipline, ‘a habit of mind that can never be faked but can be developed, trained, coaxed forth’ unconditional upon failure or success. Then she turns the conversation slightly a few degrees, and aims it right to the heart, ‘To have that sense of one’s intrinsic worth which, for better or for worse, constitutes self-respect, is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent. To lack it is to be locked within oneself, paradoxically incapable of either love or indifference.’

With self-respect emerges the imperative to be indifferent…an altogether under-celebrated capacity of the heart, and one that is essential to the authentic expression of fierce love and compassion. Indifference allows us to be liberated from our need to please, to be liked, to be a hero. It liberates others from our manipulation, fear and cowardice.

The Buddhist counterpart would be nonattachment. People talk about being ‘unattached’. But that word never really hit home to my inner Frieda Lawrence to D.H. She was too convinced that pleasing was some kind of Medal of Honor, validating her place in the world, evidence of her generosity and kindness. And besides, the spiritual overlay kept the concept inside some kind of theoretical, heady domain. Oh yes, I’m so unattached. Like it could be proudly claimed somehow, whilst sporting ochre robes and beads, with a pat on the head from the Dalai Lama himself.

Indifference is an altogether grittier word. It hangs out in the bone marrow of existence. It’s not something to be claimed but rather quietly, humbly understood. When I first read it in Didiot’s essay, my Frieda couldn’t argue.

Cloaked in adjectives such as coldcool, hostile and heartless, indifference remains an untapped and greatly misunderstood resource, especially to those who need it most…the sensitives, the pleasers, the overwhelmed among (and within) us. So allow me to lift that veil a little, and reveal its true face.

Indifference is spaciousness – for yourself and for others. It is freedom. It is clean. It allows others to truly be themselves, and live inside the dignity of their (and your) own choices and consequences. It wards away victimhood and martyrdom. It helps you to sleep at night. It extinguishes panic. It banishes anxiety.

When indifference is allowed to settle inside your being and take it’s rightful place next to authentic kindness, honest care and love, it ignites an alchemy forging the foundation of self respect, or as Didiot writes, ‘character, a quality which, although approved in the abstract, sometimes loses ground to other, more instantly negotiable virtues’.

So, for this holiday season, I want to place a little something under your tree, wedge a small trinket in your stocking. For this holiday season I wish for you the permission to be indifferent.

A company is a living being.
— Arie de Geus

Harvey* paused over his cup of coffee while we discussed some of the challenges happening within his company in the wake of a merger. ‘I’m going to take a risk here,’ he said. ‘It’s not the mechanics of this company that interest me. I could care less about the bottom line or all the strategies and equations; those will take care of themselves. What interests me is grace.’ What he meant was that meaning was more important to him than metrics. I smiled to myself knowing this is an organization and its leader on the brink of possible awakening.

What does an ‘awakened’ organization mean exactly? To define this, I must first refer to Arie de Geus’ quote at the top of this page (not to be confused with the sadly manipulative phrase, ‘companies are people’). De Geus, a Dutch business executive and former head of Shell Oil Company’s Strategic Planning Group, began looking at the longevity of companies. Surprised by their high mortality rate (a company’s average life span is around 40 – 50 years), he inquired into the reasons. He discerned that what lead to their demise was the idea that companies were things, instead of living entities, and treating them like things made them treat their people like things, and this lead to downfall for all concerned. What if, he questioned, companies were not machines built to serve economic interests, but were communities of human beings, and as such, were alive? And if we worked with them as living beings, would this not positively change how people were treated working inside them? And would this in turn positively change how companies wield influence over the world for the better?

We all know that an organism, such as a fish, is alive. As is the coral it lives amongst and the billions of tinier organisms that thrive around the school of fish amongst the coral. Would we not say, then, that the entire ecosystem is alive? Like this, a company is made of many people making a veritable ecosystem of creativity, possibility and learning. Even organizational lexicon points to a deeper meaning behind corporate life. The word ‘company’ comes from the word ‘companio’ who is someone you break bread with. The roots are the Latin words cum – ‘with’ and panis – ‘bread’. The words ‘incorporate’ and ‘corporation’ both come from the Latin root corpore – ‘body’. Hence the roots of these words imply living, thriving things — community, body and nourishment.

Continuing on this line of thought, individuals have great capacities for learning, growth, transformation and ultimately awakening. And when a person learns, grows, and even eventually awakens, his awakening serves a greater whole. He may become more joyful, centered, wise, compassionate or thoughtful. It would stand to reason that a company has the same potential — to grow, learn, transform and ultimately awaken. Safety, care, thriving, joy and serving the common good are all possibilities of such a company.

But awakening organizations need awakened leaders who first and foremost see their company as a living being, and as such participate in its transformation with skill, finesse and a good dose of courage. What are some of the qualities of awakened leadership? Working with horses for decades and spending time in their herds has revealed the necessity of unmistakable qualities of leadership that not only support the herd as a living system, but ensure its safety and its joy. These qualities are congruencepresenceclarity and justness.

Congruence — ‘Be who you are’ is the invitation here. Our culture teaches us to mask our inner reality with an outer façade making us chronically incongruent. But more importantly, it teaches us to separate from our true sense of things from moment to moment. Being congruent does not mean wearing your heart on your sleeve, or letting wild emotions explode onto others. What it means is cultivating an inner spaciousness and mercy that allows for all internal things to be as they are. If you are anxious, for example, instead of tightening up around the anxiety in an attempt to change it or ‘relax’ it, try just allowing it to be there, completely. Allow its presence within you just as you would any other weather pattern that moves across the sky. Some moments the ‘weather pattern’ is anxiety, other moments it is curiosity, or happiness, or sorrow. It is only our mind that labels them ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Try this experiment: the next time an uncomfortable feeling arises, just open yourself for a few moments to feel it fully. At first your mind may be very active around this unpleasant feeling — strategizing how to change it or fix it, or fix the situation that caused it. But stick with it, just softening your body around the feeling, and letting the feeling be there. Notice how, over time, your mind becomes quieter, and the feeling becomes simply a sensation. It may not be comfortable, but it is, after all, only a sensation. It has no more significance than that. When our inner reality is met with equanimity in this way, then our outer presence feels safer and more trustworthy to others, even if they have no idea why.

Horses (and, yes, people) read incongruence as a threat. Think of someone who tells you one thing, but does another, or someone who is really hurt at a meeting, but keeps denying their feelings. These moments don’t inspire trust. For horses, predators present as incongruent—pretending to be invisible while stalking. Congruence, though seemingly a very subtle quality, has enormous impact on those around you. As a leader, knowing the power of these invisibles is your greatest strength.

Presence — We’ve heard it a hundred times, ‘be here now’. But what does that actually mean? Being congruent is the first step. You can’t be fully present if you are at odds with your experience in any given moment. Then allow your mind, your actions, and your sense of being to arrive fully in the moment. Notice how you want to check your texts, or think about the next meeting, or ruminate over what happened this morning at home, and gently bring yourself back to now.

Being present also means to know that your presence, and the presence of others, count. During our Institute gatherings, we insist, if people must leave a meeting early, they not sneak out (for fear of interrupting the process), but instead make their departure known to everyone in the group. This acknowledges that each person in a circle matters, and so when one person leaves, it changes things. You matter, your presence matters, and when your body is in the chair, but your mind is elsewhere, it makes a difference.

Another ‘invisible’ tool, our presence transmits so much non-verbal information to others. I have learned this with the horses over and over again. If, for example, I am making a request to my horse, but I lack a certain confidence in myself, she will not respond. Or if I have some judgement of her, she will not respond. Our presence sends out a telegram to the world about who we are and what we stand for.

Clarity — Our requests to others and towards ourselves must be unambiguous. Taking the time to think carefully through our intention before important phone calls and meetings ensures our clarity translates into desired actions and outcomes. In this way we are fully aware of where our time is going, and we shepherd our conversations towards meeting those intentions. If we are not clear, then it is up to us to notice it — sometimes by how it is reflected in others around us (the outcomes of a meeting weren’t quite what you were looking for) — and then take responsibility for it. Congruence and presence help support us to gain more clarity, which in turn hone our intentions and translate into better outcomes.

Justness — Justness is defined as being honorable and fair in one’s dealings and actions. People often mistake kindness or niceness for justness, and deny their organization the strong backbone that justness implies. Being just can mean applying a very firm and uncompromising hand when it is needed. What informs justness is that sense that one’s organization is a living system, and as such one’s actions must serve the common good of all involved. This may not necessarily be experienced as ‘nice’ by one of your direct reports. Justness requires too that consequences are delivered in an unemotional, non-judgemental way (see more information about this in an earlier blog, The Four Phases of a Request).

Horses disrespect both niceness and unfairness. If I am nice to my horse when he steps rudely into my space he learns he can’t trust me because he disrespects my lack of authority. Likewise, if I unfairly deliver a request without sensitivity to where he is, he can’t trust me because he disrespects my aggression. Learning what justness is and how it is applied is a life long practice and varies situation to situation and person to person.

Cultivating the four qualities of congruence, presence, clarity and justness as a leader allows you to support and lift up new potentials in your organization so that it can transform into a force for positive change, both in the lives of everyone within it, and in its influence externally. Learning non-predatory approaches to leadership, thought the gentle guidance of horse-informed facilitation helps leaders learn in their bodies how to navigate towards these qualities.

*the name has been changed in this article.

 

Karen*, a sales manager at a large company, is starting to have that knot in her stomach. She’s asked a member of her team to come up with his projected sales report for the quarter, and he’s still not done so. Pressured to not come across as bitchy, she bends herself into non-threatening postures of politeness each time she reminds him that she needs his projections, but inside she is beginning to boil. She’s feeling blown off and disrespected. Finally, after her fifth request, she confronts him in a sales meeting and looses control—yelling, accusing and threatening.

Later, he tosses the report on her desk and walks away in silence. The other team-members are weary of her. Karen feels terrible and embarrassed. She can’t believe she lost control like that and in front of all of her direct reports, and at the same time, she felt ‘set up’ to do so by her team-member’s refusal to submit his work. She knew that she had let anger have the reins, but she also knew part of the fuel for the anger was that she was angry that she was angry. She began to feel powerless and despairing. This, she thought, is exactly why she hated managing and leading.

It doesn’t have to be like this. Learning how to make requests in a firm, fair and just manner, and inspire others to follow those requests is a skill that the horses have taught me over the years. Horses teach us a way of relationship that is not only authentic, but abides in the world between the two extremes of ‘nice’ and ‘violent’. That place is called ‘just’. And while I can’t bring a horse to you through the screen to show you how it is done, it is easily described. In discovering collaborative horsemanship, I learned about what some horse-people call ‘the four phases of a request’. And it goes like this:

Phase one — a subtle, quiet request. With horses, it looks something like a gesture, or a look, a feel, or sometimes just a thought. With people it is slightly different, but the same principle applies. In the case of Karen, it may be the first request for the projection report made to the entire team through a meeting or email. Or, it is the expectation of projection reports that are due on the first Monday of each quarter, as part of regular known protocol.

Phase two — is slightly ‘louder’ – not as in verbally loud, but ‘louder’ in clarity. It follows phase one, and only if phase one is not heard. Karen may take her team-member aside and, with eye contact, remind him of the report, and perhaps asking him some clarifying questions about his needs or challenges to see if anything needs to change in her expectations, or if some assistance is required. By now, if she had practiced the phases enough, Karen would be already strategizing what her phase three and four are going to be, so that she was not just reacting. Knowing her potential phases three and four also helps Karen to stay centered and calm, confident that one way or another she will have a means to receive her report.

Phase three — is slightly ‘louder’ still, and follows phase two, that followed phase one, and is only applied if phase two has not been heeded or ‘heard’. At this point Karen might have stated something succinctly and unemotionally such as, ‘On my table by 4 pm today, period.’ It may be followed by a warning of some kind of consequence or outcome as a result of the report not being handed in by 4 pm.

Phase four — is a ‘promise’. Unlike phases two and three, it is no longer just a ‘crescendo’ of a request, but is more a final word, a line that will not be crossed, and a consequence that is issued as warned in phase three. It is firm, clear and unwavering. But best of all, it is unemotional — free of judgement, blame, anger. This is, after all, just physics: a request was made, and was not yet followed, and as a result, there are consequences. And here’s the secret to phase four—there is no phase five. Four is final.

But I want to warn you about the importance of a correct phase four. Here is what they are not: emotional, judgemental, angry, threatening, intimidating, thrashing, controlling, mean, sarcastic, manipulative, inappropriate, or out of control. We have all been at the receiving end of such tactics, whether in childhood or adulthood. That is not a phase four, that is violence. And because of violence, many of us fear the phase four and therefore will not use it.

Phase four is: considered, powerful, clear, certain, serves the good of the whole, situational-appropriate, unemotional, nonjudgmental and final so that the particular issue (in the above case, the report) is dealt with once and for all.

It takes time to learn the art of a phase four, and they are different with every circumstance. This is why it is important to creatively plan ahead in every situation, so you are ready.

If you think about how you make requests, you might find yourself in one of these scenarios:  either you remain in phase one, and continually bend and bend and accomodate, until finally you, like Karen, blow up – going straight from phase one to a very emotional and stressful phase four! This style perpetuates the blow-up cycle, because it reinforces our fear of a phase four (‘See, being strong and clear is always scary and dramatic!’ ) and keeps us accommodating. Or perhaps you have an authoritarian approach, just going straight to a phase four. This approach makes people weary. Or, some of us move from phase one, to then a two, and then even a three, but because we resist a phase four, we’ll just hang out delivering phase two’s or three’s over and over and over. This is called nagging.

What makes these phases work? First of all, they are offered in succession, one after the other, allowing the recipient a chance to follow the request at each phase. They ‘crescendo’ in firm-ness, with clarity of the final consequence. And they require the one making the request to plan for each successive (clearer) phase, knowing there is a final phase, and not just some wild unfettered escalation on their part.

Ironically, people who blow up and lose control are those who dislike anger and feel disempowered by external events. The four phases help us regain a sense of control, thereby protecting us from reactive anger in two ways: by helping us put a plan on exactly how to escalate requests (protecting the one making the request from the perils of reaction mode), and by putting a lid (phase four) on the projected escalation.

Over time, the four phases allow us to trust our requests, trust how we make them, and trust others to follow them. We learn to make them without fearing we’ll lose it if requests aren’t followed, or just wallow in defeat. We become clearer, firmer and more just—on ourselves and with our staff. As the worry about anger or being manipulated diminishes, we become more effective and so does our team.

What can you expect over time? When working with horses, the four phases inspire them to increasingly follow requests with a simple phase one, and that’s all. They do this, not because they are intimidated, but because it is easier, quieter and more fun. When the phases are applied with consistency and clarity, and the phase four is applied unapologetically, unemotionally and without ambivalence, horses feel respected and in return, respect us. This is, after all, their language. What results is a partnership of quiet collaborative ease, with almost psychic response and precision. Imagine that with your team!

But here’s the secret, if a horse knows you really really don’t want to have a phase four, he’ll ignore you. Or, if all you have is violence and emotion in response to his defiance, he may be subdued, but he’ll never respect you. He has to respond in these ways, his survival depends upon it. If you are not clear enough to deliver a correct phase four, you have no right to lead that horse to safety, and his defiance is his way of making sure only the most clear, present and just earn leadership status.

It works the same way in organizations. Only the most clear, present and just deserve leadership positions. And we’ll be tested in numerous, often subconscious ways to see if we are clear enough. You can take defiance as a welcome and important test, and oblige by revealing your presence, justness and clarity.

Learning a non-predatory approach to leadership by implementing the four phases of a request teaches us the art of power-with, verses power-over. And this makes us worthy leaders.

* Names have been changed.

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