Leadership10 Dec 2013 04:26 pm

Unlocking your full potential is about coming to know the many facets of yourself. Most of us treat parts of ourselves as if they were “not me.” For example, in a recent coaching session in which I was being coached, I encountered a part of myself that feels disempowered, shamed, and small.  I don’t like to think of myself that way. And there’s a part of myself that is critical, telling me I am not good enough.  There’s also a part of myself that expresses wisdom and empowers others in ways that I am shy to own.

When we begin a coaching assignment with a leader, he or she invariably initiates the coaching effort by listing deficits they believe exist in who and how they are. A good coach knows hidden strengths will be found in these supposed deficits. As we work together, one split off part after another is discovered to be a valid aspect of the full self that is emerging.

In my case, the Small Part that I mentioned above opens me to my tender, loving self. The Inner Critic to my strength. The Great Empowerer in me shows me the gift that is mine to bring. And so on. As we go along, we become ever more aware of the rich depth and range of who we are.

Yet, there is a still deeper discovery.  While it had been emerging over time, this landed for me in a most potent way one day in the woods up in the Colorado hills. It suddenly became unmistakably apparent that all I see and feel is an unbroken whole underlying and including everything.  I realized there was no separation.  What I had previously thought of as a separate “me”—my body and its personality—is just as much an expression of this whole as anything I was seeing around me.  And everything around me is simply an expression of who and what I am.

This is true for everyone.

Whatever favorite self or selves we have thought of as “me,” they are found to be contained in this larger whole, in awareness itself.  No matter how we feel in any moment, or what part we’re playing out, this awareness is simply free and present, an easeful respite right at the source of all activity going on around and inside us.

Not just the source of what I think as “me” but the source of all.

It is a endless emergence.  We continually discover more about ourselves, own and embody more parts, more of our full potential.  At the same time, we recognize ever more deeply the ease, strength and intelligence inherent in the whole of which all the contents of our awareness are parts.

It is a truly fulfilling way to live.


David Lesser is an executive coach in Northern California who has worked with hundreds of CEOs, guiding them and their organizations in mature self-emergence for over 25 years. Please visit SelfEmergence.com for more info.

Leadership13 Aug 2013 12:38 pm

Leadership requires self-awareness – a deep understanding of who you are and how you come across.   Without it you will be perceived as naïve, narrow, untrustworthy and missing the point.

When working with people who get the feedback that they have low self-awareness, I usually find they aren’t actually deficient in anything. It is just that they are paying attention elsewhere.

For example, one person had been through a major growth spurt in which he became much more openhearted, felt his feelings more deeply, and connected with others to a greater degree than ever before.  But he began getting the feedback that he wasn’t so aware of how others were seeing him.

During a similarly expansive period of growth, another client’s inspiring leadership capability increased significantly.  She became very interested in purpose and values, and inspiring others to approach their work with this kind of vision.  In the feedback work we did, she also was told she wasn’t very aware of her impact on others.

In both cases it was not about some innate deficit of awareness, but rather a matter of attention and perspective.  People can get so focused on others or on how things could be in the future that they lose sight of how things actually are in the present.

How do we grow awareness?  I suggest viewing ourselves from a different perspective.  Imagine you are dealing with someone who has the qualities that you hear or suspect other people are ascribing to you.  Do this regardless of whether you believe these perceptions of you are fair and accurate. As soon as you see yourself from another perspective, your awareness has grown. You begin to see the impact you are creating. You begin to feel how others perceive you, and what others are going through when relating to you.

Try this:

  1. Write down the names of three people with whom you interact regularly.
  2. Imagine yourself looking at you from their perspective.
  3. Write down what you think they see, and how they feel relating to you.

As a leader, having the ability to look at yourself and your situations from diverse perspectives can help head off problems before they even begin.  Conflict, deflated motivation, and missed opportunities may all be brewing around you in ways you will only see if you loosen your viewpoint and allow it to shift.  What do you look like through the eyes of others?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


David Lesser is an executive coach in Northern California who has worked with hundreds of CEOs, guiding them and their organizations in mature self-emergence for over 25 years. Please visit SelfEmergence.com for more info.

Leadership29 Jul 2013 10:49 am

This is the third in a series of the blog posts on vision.  First on discovering your deeper vision in times of transition.  Second, on being a servant leader.  And third, on inspiring vision in others.

In my last blog, we saw how great leaders follow an inspiring vision. However, the people following you don’t necessarily see the vision as clearly as you do. How do we evoke our vision for others?

Here are the three vital ingredients: headline, numbers, and feeling.

First what is the clearest statement of your purpose and direction? Can people rally behind it? For example, Google’s Mission Statement is “To organize the world’s information and to make it universally accessible and useful.” As a coach, mine is “To restore human experience to wholeness by my uninhibited connection with you.” The best headlines create in the reader an idea of an inspiring future and the path to get there.

Visionaries often find numbers hard! But if you don’t make your vision specific and measurable, it is little more than a dream. When you vision is manifesting successfully, what will it look like? What accomplishments will show that you and your team are on track?

Finally, we want to call up movement in the listener’s senses: a picture they can see, sound they can hear, a feeling they can feel on their skin. We see and feel Martin Luther King’s vision when we hear: “One day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream…”  Like a poet we use pictures and metaphor to activate the senses. When people feel your vision in their bodies, that is when they know what they are following.

For what you serve,

  • What is your headline?
  • What are the numbers?
  • How can you evoke the feeling of it?

When you articulate something that doesn’t yet exist in these three modes, you make it almost impossible for it not to come true. And you can always refine how skillfully you are communicating the future that is being created because of you.  Take a step today and, if you would like to, send me your latest expression of this.  I will be glad to give my reflections.

Please share your experience in the comments below.

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