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Lisa-Chandler,-Chandler-Coaches

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in¹

~ Leonard Cohen

Our imagined March Break plans cracked at the last minute. Forget our perfect offering…

And yet, we found moments of connection and delight in Montreal with cherished friends.

And I found some moments of provocation and pleasure at The Musée d’art contemporain (MAC).  In the exhibit A Crack in Everything many artists pay tribute to our man Leonard Cohen².

These two impatient seven-year-olds (pictured above) rushed my friend and I through the exhibit. Our rushed visit felt “imperfect” and it definitely was not how I had planned to take in the exhibit.  Yet, this beautiful photo is now a lasting reminder how the cracks of imperfection let the light in.

Rumi said, “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

The Japanese fill cracks in broken pottery with gold dusted lacquer in the centuries-old art of Kintsugi. By adding beauty and uniqueness to what is broken, they emphasize the fractures instead of hiding them. And while Kintsugi blocks the light that could shine through the cracks, seeing beauty in the flawed (the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi) is what Leonard is also celebrating.

Source: Tumblr

I read that The Navajo, after weaving a perfect rug, interrupt one stitch to “let the world in”. 

And Chinese potters of some lost and ancient dynasty, having finally completed a flawless work, created a small chip to “let their soul out”.

Leonard Cohen. Rumi. Kintsugi. Navajo weavers. Chinese potters.

A crack is where the light comes in.

A wound is the place where the light enters.

A fracture allows beauty from brokenness.

A stitch of imperfection lets the world in.

A small chip lets the soul out.

It seems fitting to end in song.  I give you a bit more of Anthem:

The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
Has passed away
Or what is yet to be

Ring the bells that still can ring (ring the bells that still can ring)
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in

 


¹ Full lyrics for Anthem here; or watch Leonard live in London, 2008.
² If you’re a fan, you have until September 2018 to take it in.

If you are an average leader (Who wants to be average? I know!), you are likely subject to your thoughts and feelings much of the time.  You don’t have your feelings. They HAVE you. You aren’t conscious that you’re often afraid, you just ARE scared. You likely won’t easily see it or admit it though.

Since we humans are hard-wired to scan our environment for threats unconsciously much of the time, fear in the workplace is a topic we need to wake up to.

Simon Sinek says good leaders make their people feel safe. I agree. To a point.

 

Leaders certainly ‘bring the weather’. They create the culture.  And cultures need to be safe enough so people can be themselves, so they can have failures without dire consequences (Listen around min 17 for Safe to Fail Experiments). They also need to inspire risk-taking for forward movement in order to achieve results.  

And sadly, no amount of safety provided by leaders and the culture will be sufficient when individuals in the team are unaware of their own underlying beliefs. Beliefs are usually some version of “To be safe, I need to_____ (comply, control everything, keep my distance, be right all the time.”

Creating and managing the right amount of tension between purpose and safety takes great intention. Many leaders are not yet self-aware enough to manage this tension for themselves, let alone their company cultures.

I’ve noticed that the prevailing mood in some of my client companies is subtle fear.  The leaders we coach in these companies oscillate between pursuing what matters and playing safe, playing not to lose.  One month they will be on fire with purpose. The next month they will be gripped with uncertainty and fear, for themselves and the company. I see the incredible energy riding these waves consumes. And I see how the energy doesn’t translate into the results they so desperately want.

Other client companies dance more in the realm of their purpose, slipping into fear less often. Individual leaders still have uncertainty and fear because they are human. But overall the culture is safe enough that they feel free to be themselves and experiment. Their superior results are the evidence that enough safety + a compelling, shared vision drive results.

Accepting an invitation into the purpose vs. safety dance, we can pose great questions.

How can we:

  • Help our people get their safety needs met so they can live on purpose?
  • Face what is present and name it versus avoiding or wishing it was different?
  • Reveal our own tendencies (how we try to stay safe) and help our people do the same?
  • Lead with backbone and heart and create a safe AND courageous space for our people?
  • Encourage ourselves and our people to feel feelings all the way through so we can move from drama to our vision?

It’s awe-inspiring to witness a leadership team alive with purpose.  It’s soul-sucking to witness a team living in fear.

In the purpose vs. safety dance (or tug of war!), which side is winning at your company right now? And what are you going to do about it?

Her most important thing is to be helpful, sweet, caring and loving. She rescues by easing pain and suffering, at least temporarily.

She prides herself on making homemade treats for those she loves, who are in “need”; she makes homemade cards too.   She’s proud of her listening ear, how her thoughtful deeds will have you feeling special, and how she’ll put your needs ahead of hers at the drop of a hat.

She learned her beautiful style from all the heroines who raised her and all the heroines she befriended over the years.

She’s been around for a very long time, always finessing her caring approach.  

Lest this be a tale only of sweetness, I must tell you that Heroine Helen has many fears. She’s afraid of being rejected or tossed aside. She fears anger: her own and others’. She is totally in her element when she’s an angel. She judges herself harshly when she is anything less than sugar, spice and everything nice.

What she MOST wants, and feels she NEEDS is to be approved of and loved deeply.  She’s willing to go to great lengths to feed her wants, to meet her need. Giving love and approval is her insurance policy that she’ll always have enough of it herself.

She’s lovely.  She’s so human.  I can see her so clearly now.

That’s because she is a part of me, a ‘persona’ I am finally welcoming in.

And as I see her and open up to her, I see that Heroine Helen needs me to befriend her at long last.  She’s a beautiful piece of me. She needs loving support to unhinge her identity and her worth, from her deeds.

I’m going to help to her experiment with giving her gifts only when she wants to, when she comes from a place of abundance versus lack, from a place of creating what she wants versus complying. I’m going to help her say no when she means no. I’m even going to encourage her to let her anger out when it arises.  

I’m going to love her through this. Together, we’ll observe what happens. Together we’ll see if others will too.  

I am confident Helen and I can grow wise together.  Our world will be the test.

I have other personas that are not nearly as sweet as Helen.  I’ll need to befriend them too.

What are the parts that make up you? Which parts/ personas need more love right now?

It’s Your Life. Join at Any Time!

Don’t wait. Welcome everything. Push nothing away. Bring your whole self to the experience. Find a place to rest in the middle of things. Cultivate “don’t know” mind [sometimes called “beginners’ mind”] When I mentioned to friends that I planned to read The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully while… Read the full post here

Our Social Side Hustle: Flowers

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer Those days of soda and pretzels and beer Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer You'll wish that summer could always be here   - Nat King Cole Our lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are filled with camping adventures, summer day camps, a… Read the full post here

Lessons From A Billionaire: An Ultra Mini-Series Adventure

Most of us live our lives in the “ordinary world”, living largely ordinary lives if we choose the safety of ordinary.  Others hear a call to adventure and embark on a hero’s journey¹ to find their treasure.  Of course, the journey from ordinary/ safe to purpose/adventure is not easy or certain.  Crossing the threshold into… Read the full post here

Unified Front

Have you ever been part of a leadership team so aligned that they were able to maintain a unified front even in the face of complex challenges? Lucky you! What a beautiful thing to behold. Sadly, it’s so rare that most of us have never experienced it. It doesn’t have to be. The world of… Read the full post here

Plunging Into Feelings

  Don’t drink at the water’s edge, throw yourself in. Become the water. Only then will your thirst be quenched. - Jeanette Berson Sometimes we throw ourselves into the metaphorical water and get in over our heads, drowning in failure or loss. Sometimes, even from the water’s edge, circumstances beyond our control wreak havoc in… Read the full post here

A Crack in Everything

Ring the bells (ring the bells) that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) That's how the light gets in¹ ~ Leonard Cohen Our imagined March Break plans cracked at the last minute. Forget our perfect offering… And I found some moments of provocation… Read the full post here

The Dance Between Purpose and Safety

If you are an average leader (Who wants to be average? I know!), you are likely subject to your thoughts and feelings much of the time.  You don’t have your feelings. They HAVE you. You aren’t conscious that you’re often afraid, you just ARE scared. You likely won’t easily see it or admit it though… Read the full post here

Introducing Heroine Helen

Her most important thing is to be helpful, sweet, caring and loving. She rescues by easing pain and suffering, at least temporarily. She prides herself on making homemade treats for those she loves, who are in “need”; she makes homemade cards too.   She’s proud of her listening ear, how her thoughtful deeds will have you… Read the full post here

Lead From Love

For three mornings in a row last week, my little girl Lali woke up as angry as a hornet. On the third morning of fury, exhausted from her highly charged storm clouds, I wept openly in front of her. It happened spontaneously as I allowed her to bring me to my breaking point. About 30… Read the full post here

You Cannot Change Until You Overcome Your Own Immunity

My client, Laura¹, was late for her own wedding. Not traditionally late. Really late. The minister almost called it off. And she’s been late for almost everything for decades since.  Lateness has been her life-long pattern. We jumped in by exploring the costs of her lateness habit. For her, there were no serious outward consequences… Read the full post here