Once upon a time there was a brain, well cultivated and powerful. This particular brain had a transport system called a human body. But really, the brain thought it was the whole deal. So this human being was really more of a human doing. Much got accomplished in this way and the brain was satisfied. And yet…
That’s pretty much how I lived my live for decades. Through a series of personal retreats, I began to see the potential to become more of a full Human Being instead of just a Human Doing. A consistent meditation practice helped bring me more present to that reality.
I began to notice a hunger in me for the real heart of my work with leaders. Clients found my work with them meaningful and helpful but I felt something was missing. Learning to be fully present in my body, heart and mind shifted how I showed up with clients and what the work meant to me. I began to see more clearly the impact of this on how we lead. Both how we lead in the workplace and how we lead our lives. When we can fully embody what we care about, much more is possible!
Around that same time, I came to see that being fully present in body and mind enabled me to work differently with the tension we sometimes perceive between love and power.
Martin Luther King: “One of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites – polar opposites. Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”
Power can be defined as the drive to realize ourselves and act purposefully with increasing impact and scope. My Human Doing phase was dominated by accomplishing things, realizing my creative potential. In other words, I was preoccupied with Power. Love can be thought of as our drive to unify that which is separated.” In this new Human Being phase, I was hungry for a deeper impact, a more heartful connection that could transform both me and my clients. I needed to bring love and power together.
That journey to bring love and power together in myself and in my work became a doorway into deeper work. Like most leaders, I was pretty adept and comfortable in one domain (power) but not the other (love). When we come home to our bodies, to this present moment we can find both Being and Doing, both Love and Power. And in finding both, we show up fully as leaders who can make a difference in what matters most to us.
Whether you are leading your family, yourself or a large organization, here’s my invitation to you. Allow this month’s intention of love to “snuggle up” with power. Let the two be intimate friends, amazing allies within you and see what you discover.
Dr. Linda Ford seeks to support and develop leaders who act with integrity and authenticity to create stronger organizations and communities on behalf of all the stakeholders. She comes to this work with 15 years experience working inside large organizations, over 25 years coaching and consulting experience, and a PhD in Human and Organization Systems. She is also the author of “The Fourth Factor: Managing Corporate Culture,” a practical, accessible book for managers who are serious about leading culture. Ford has also served on the full-time faculty at both Concordia University Texas and St. Edwards University.