The Power of Awareness

Robert Greenleaf in The Leader as Servant, says, “Awareness is not the giver of solace – it is just the opposite.  It is a disturber and an awakener.  Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed.  They are not seekers of solace.  They have their own inner serenity.”

Today’s environment is fraught with change and uncertainty, meanwhile our workdays are filled with a whirlwind of activity and growing to-do lists.  It’s easy to find ourselves jaded by our workload, going through the motions to cross things off our lists, but that behavior is detrimental to responding proactively to change. As leaders, we need to be sharply awake, disturbing our own “inner serenity” to be aware of the opportunities surrounding us.

Whether you thrive in constant change or  prefer a consistent environment, it is wise to stop, listen and assess.  This helps us maintain our inner serenity, while ensuring our actions are moving us toward our desired results.

Now, at the midpoint of 2017, it’s an opportune time to reflect and take stock.  For many of us, our fiscal year is coming to an end and we are assessing our success, while simultaneously planning our strategies for the coming year.  For others, we may be hitting a stride to finish out this year strong, successfully and effectively advancing our missions.  Wherever we fall on the continuum, pausing to listen and reflect will help us to move forward effectively.

How to Listen

An effective way to recharge and increase awareness is to connect with others, starting a dialogue and listening.  At Mission Capital, we appreciate the power of connectedness.  As one of our core values, we attempt to integrate it into our own daily interactions. Connecting with peers, stakeholders and funders is essential.  Find a way to connect through learning with a class, a group, or at conference.  Connecting through learning provides a platform to interact and listen, providing you the space to reflect and build your own awareness.

Hearing is not simply enough; listening takes focus and awareness. These key tips will help you listen effectively:

  • Listen for truth without bias
  • Listen without trying to influence
  • Listen to understand, not to respond
  • Be willing to modify or even drop old ideas and intentions to hear more and hear better

Albert Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it: we must learn to see the world anew.”

Connect through Mission Capital

At Mission Capital, we have opportunities to connect, listen, and become more aware.  Join us for our next Mission Meet-Up on July 12, which will focus on strengthening your organization’s sustainability. Check out our full list of offerings on our events page to find an offering best suited for your organization.

We also encourage you to attend Mission Driven, our 2017 Human Capital Summit focused on creating meaningful connections to lead organizations through change.  Come and learn from a multitude of thought leaders as they provide engaging and empowering sessions on leading, attracting and retaining talent in the social sector.

Even if it’s hard to believe, 2017 is halfway over.  I encourage you to let Greenleaf’s words remind you to pause and practice awareness, taking time to listen, assess, and connect to be sharply awake as we move forward to change the world.

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