A math-minded engineer once told me they would speak "metaphor" with me if that were my language. Their comment helped me in two ways: (1) to understand that my ability to think metaphorically is a gift, and (2) others have other gifts. It helped me deepen and broaden how I write.
My metaphor-mindedness fuels my career-long writing of brief essays. Writing is a significant outlet for me, most especially during these COVID and post-COVID years, where speaking opportunities are far more limited. There was a six-month break in my writing in 2015 when my wife died, however. What follows is the first blog post when I haltingly resumed. The specific references to interviews became the Third Turn Podcast which just released its 75th episode. Hopefully, I've lived to what I wrote, transforming even more along the way.
My postings to this blog have been minimal in 2015, and almost nothing since the summer began.
It wasn't that I had little to say. What I needed to write took me away from thinking about organizations and leaders and into thinking about what it meant to watch my wife of 31 years die. Given my wiring, I needed to write to focus my perspective so I could be strong for her, do the right things at the right time, and then watch with her through her final hours. It was a privilege to do so, and clearly, no self-imposed writing deadline or blog best practices schematic needed to hang over my head and impede my being fully present with her and for my family.
Some of what I wrote during these weeks became available on Facebook. I intended to help my family and myself communicate more efficiently with friends and family about what was happening. The result was far more profound—thousands of people joining a growing crowd of readers and hundreds messaging me personally and privately about what my words meant to them. If I say I was overwhelmed by the response, it would not be strong enough of a description (Note: those essays were organized into the resource, "Walking Beside my Dying Wife," available for free via this link).
This heartfelt response to what I wrote combines with my time away from writing for the benefit of leaders and organizations, prompting a clarified vision for what I should be posting. If ever there was a hands-on laboratory for what people hunger for, what would be of real and lasting benefit, these past months were it?
Design Group International personnel mean it when they say we are here to help leaders and organizations transform for a vibrant future. Like all missional phrases, each word reflects a careful choice. In years past, I focused the material in this blog around leaders and organizations, with some attention to the vibrant future. This year's experience teaches me that the most powerful word in that sentence is transform. Leaders lead as their personal transformation continues. Organizations do not continue to exist, and there certainly is no vibrant future without the ongoing work of transformation. And transformation happens in mess and suffering and profound, pervasive change.
The leader sits at the intersection of people who must develop even as the organization must. If they aren't continuing to sculpt their person, they will run out of something to offer in support of their trust. They must attend to their emotional intellect (heart), their perspective on matters beyond their lifetime and certainly beyond their working career (soul), their lifelong learning (mind), and their physical capacity to do their work (strength).
So without apology, I intend to work in more of the "heart cry" element that evoked so much reflection. There will be less how-to and more exploration, curiosity, and reflection. I look forward to interviewing others who are growing themselves and guiding organizations, pointing to their work and inviting them to think and hope alongside me, even as I add my voice to theirs.
Here is to getting up in the morning, taking care of our bodies, tending to our front-row relationships (what matters when times get tough), and keeping perspective throughout the day. Here is to facing forward, and carrying hope, despite all that life throws at us. Here is to making something sensible and lasting out of chaos. Here is to emerging vision and lasting impact.
Tags:Lorie L. Vincent, Mark L. Vincent, deep transformation, Executive Development, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn Podcast, executive leadership development, Third Turn Blog, Transformative Change, Third Turn Leaders
Post by Mark L. Vincent
July 11, 2023
July 11, 2023
I walk alongside leaders, listening to understand their challenges, and helping them lead healthy organizations that flourish.