A Guiding Hand episode

When I took this photograph the Northern Lights were strong and powerful and were being brought to earth, or earthed as if there was some huge lightening conductor. I recall musing about power as I took this image and then the phrase of words came that I am now aspiring to translate. I noted how the lights were reflected in the water and upon reflection I found myself contemplating: what is the true nature of power? And what power moves, inspires and develops people?

Being in control is something we think is vital in our life and work.

What does it mean to you to be in control?

Reflect on this question for yourself…

Often being in control means having ‘power over’ things and situations. And that you can take charge and direct. We often associate being in control with certainty. Knowing that we are right and have the answer, gives us a sense of certainty and safety within what may commonly perceive to be a challenging and ever-changing world. But does such control give us power? Let’s consider…

Once again when we are in control, we tend to direct and tell others what to do – based on our rightness – we are certain of way forward. But does directing and telling empower?

How do you experience being directed and told what to do?

Is this experience empowering?

If not, why not?

There are times especially when we face a crisis, where directing and telling is necessary to bring about immediate action, however in our everyday life and work – being told or directed – has its consequences.  If people are told what to do, they can become robotic, for telling and directing presumes that the individual has no say in it and that relationally engaging and exploring together has no value or place. The result is that people often do not engage and switch off. As a result, they may or may not complete the task in hand for they will not be vitally engaged in doing so.

Consider the difference between not having a choice and having a choice in what you do?

What is the difference?

And what would you prefer?

And more to the point How do you enable engagement and choosing when you wish a particular task to be completed?

And what is the value to you of engagement and participation?

Though we often think that being in control is vital to our having power. The art of empowering others may teach us that it is the very antithesis that creates both relational engagement and choiceful action. To empower others, we need to create not a certainty of knowing, but a creative ‘not knowing’. For only in the space of our willingness to ‘not know’ can we enable others to come to know themselves and their choices more fully.  It is only when we create the spaciousness of ‘not knowing’ that others can discover their questions and we can enable them to find their answers. It is in the freedom of having such a creative and relational space that people can engage with the issue at hand and discover if and how they can commit to make it happen. Such conscious engagement and choosing is key to ensuring that a task is completed whole-heartedly – in that the persons head and heart are both engaged purposefully in the tasks at hand. It is in such creative and relational spaces that those we work with or meet in our daily interactions, can through the process of deepening awareness and self-discovery grow and develop. Consider your choice of followers – robotic and or dis-engaged or relationally engaged and purposeful? We can profoundly learn and grow through our work and not despite it, that is, if those who lead know and practice the art of empowerment.

For those who are in positions of so-called ‘power’, it is vital to consider how you facilitate the art and practice of empowering others. When told what we must do – our heads may utter a ‘yes’ to the task for its what we should do, but our hearts may hold an unspoken ‘No’. Unless we also engage our hearts there will be little energy or commitment to complete whatever task we may face.  True power is felt from a whole-hearted approach to taking action. To claim your power necessitates the exploration of how you can give up control, for once again – it is in the spaciousness of being willing ‘not to know’ that others can ‘come to know’ themselves, their purpose and values and essentially align with the task in hand.

Consider a task that you face that you wish someone else to complete?

Mindful of this learning, rather than purely telling and directing, how will you empower and enable them?

What is essential to empowering others?

And what does this gift you?

May you practice the art of empowerment fostering relationship, engagement and choiceful and purposeful participation in the tasks that we daily face.

And may you permit others to deepen self-awareness, discover their choices and to essentially grow through their daily life and work.

Podcast Version


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