In coaching leaders toward purpose and impact, there is always the assumption that we are starting upon an elevated launching pad frequently referred to as “the advanced civilization of humanity”. The one civilization this planet currently has to offer, all its knowledge and wisdom as our foundation.

Recently, on a patch of moss-covered ground in a redwood grove somewhere east of Mendocino, CA, I dropped this assumption to hopefully be decomposed and feed a greater truth.

I was seeing there may be more advanced, true (based on dictionary definition), and aspirational civilizations on this planet to launch new leaders, companies…

Many would say the title above is grammatically incorrect.

That once a being experiences the event the world calls “death”, they are to be referred to in the past tense. In this case, “Kalina was.”

I am unable to do that.

Not because I am yet in acceptance of a dear friend recently moving through that experience. I know intimately that she did move through death, as she did it while being held tightly in my arms. The reason I am unable to refer to Kalina in the past tense is because I am experiencing a greater truth. Kalina is…

“CEOs are recognizing that the barriers to boldness and speed are less about technical limits and more about such things as mindsets toward what is possible…”

“People are looking for a different kind of leadership. In a normal environment, it’s about business leadership and setting up strategy…In this environment… it’s about people being prepared for whatever may come in the face of uncertainty.”

— Leadership for a New Era, McKinsey Quarterly, 7/21/20

It’s always encouraging when what is regarded as cutting edge business practice catches up with wisdom that has been present to humanity for ages — wisdom in the…

With masks for Playa dust, not for virus, Patricia, McKinley, and Kevin in the “O” of LOVE. Always our last word.

About three weeks ago I developed a fever and headache that would come in strong about midday and last the rest of the day. On day three I went to my doctor, who said, “You have a virus of some kind, but I don’t think it’s COVID — given your medical history, your lungs are in such rough shape I am pretty sure it’d be there by now and you’d be having a cough.”

I left feeling a little easier until I woke up the next morning with a cough.

Then some deeper thinking started.

My doctor is right. My…

Gina the puppy

It must be hard to be a dog and die in the spring.

It must be hard to die with the scent of so much newness filling the cool wet of your nostrils.

New rabbits to chase, new squirrels to charge, new dandelions to roll in, new meat on the spring picnic tables to quickly gulp down while eyes are diverted to fly balls.

It must be hard to be a dog and to die with the scent of new moss emerging in the pores of old forgotten tennis balls lining the muddy banks of nearby rivers.

It must be…

The universe is an extremely precise, diligent and efficient actor. Just when our world, in particular big business, desperately needed to embody a new archetype through which to apply its might to challenges like climate, inequality, diversity, etc. (challenges largely a side-effect of the reigning archetype — the Achiever — but more on that later), the universe used a virus just 70–90 nanometers large to spotlight a new archetype seemingly of its choosing. …

I am fortunate in this moment to be able to be in service to business and cultural leaders who are navigating the turbulence of these times. Over the past two weeks, 90% of my sessions have started with an almost identical context which I will aggregate here into one quote:

“I am looking for clarity. Everything we had planned to actualize in the remaining quarters doesn’t seem to be in the cards anymore given the cultural constrictions brought by COVID-19. …

What the next period of time will be for you will be determined inside you, not outside you.

As of this writing, 82M people are currently under “Stay at Home” order, with four states now having made this ultimately wise and pragmatic choice. That is one in four Americans, and if the other states follow suit, as they should, soon that will be all of us.

And so in eight, ten, twelve weeks, 327M Americans may emerge deprived, depressed, and deflated by their time at home, or they can emerge with new wings — having taken advantage of that time…

The vast majority of the leaders we work with are in some way attempting to navigate these straits: the journey from a place of high traditional achievement, to a place of high purposeful achievement, aliveness, and meaning.

In the process of working with these leaders over the years, individually and in our workshops, we have encountered a repeating pattern of blocks so consistent, that we thought it would be of value to bring them forward here (given so many wanting to undertake this journey) and also to illuminate the deeper causal issue that lies underneath them all.

And to be…

“Man in a bowler hat” — Rene Magritte


Maybe you’re not stuck.

Maybe you just think you’re stuck.

Maybe what you think is absolutely true is an absolute lie.

Maybe you don’t have to choose between what brings you alive and what keeps you alive.

Maybe you don’t have to choose between what your heart asks and what the world asks.

Maybe you don’t have to choose between serving what you love and serving those you love.

Maybe you don’t have to choose between what brings joy in and what brings money in.

Maybe you don’t have to know exactly what it looks like before you go…

Kirk Souder

enso / leadership coach. Helping the transformation of leaders that they might transform their worlds.

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