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Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. I watched a movie two weekends back called Anaesthesia. The story was centered on a delightful philosophy professor wounded during a mugging. In an effort to escape he rings buzzers indiscriminately waking Sam, who reluctantly answers his pleas & the professor loses consciousness in his arms.

Through an exploration of why these men come together, we explore New York City. The experiences ripple out to include connected lives of many others involved with all the families. But the story for me centred entirely on a quote from the professor, which went like this: “In our careers we often look to the future. However, there comes a time when the future is upon us” The professor always thought it would happen, but typically, like him, we are not ready when it arrives.

I have been reflecting on this for two weeks now, before googling: ‘The Future is Here’. I was provided with the following meaning: “the title comes from a quote by American speculative author William Gibson. In its original context, it alludes primarily to the fact; the things which constitute the normal, or everyday within the lives of those living in the future, already exist for some today”. So, to some more research & I found the following story:

On October 25, 1999, a twin-engine Lear Jet taxied down the runway in Orlando on its way to Dallas, Texas. Over Gainesville, Florida, the plane should have made a left turn & headed toward Texas. But it veered off course toward South Dakota. Repeated attempts to contact the pilots were met with a deafening silence. Five fighter planes were dispatched to go up & make visual contact with the runaway jet.

Two F-16’s finally were able to pull within fifty feet of the Lear Jet. The pilots reported they were unable to see inside because its windows were iced over. The plane flew on autopilot for fourteen hundred miles, over a period of four hours, and finally crashed into a grassy field at six hundred miles an hour.

All six passengers were killed, the most famous being professional golfer Payne Stewart. It was a bizarre & tragic event. Suppose for a moment you had been standing on the ground as the plane flew overhead in the clear autumn sky. It is travelling fast & straight, & as far you know it is on course. The reality however, is something was desperately wrong on the inside, & it was headed for disaster.  [1]

Many leaders, soar through life at breakneck speed. They give every outward appearance of being on course, cruising on autopilot. To the onlooker it seems they have it all together, but on the inside there is a crisis brewing. In spite of appearances, they are on a collision course with disaster.

I do like the following quote: “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” [2]  One of the crying needs of people today is to give thought to their ways & where they are headed.

Most every business I know of will take a couple of days annually to retreat & talk about plans for the future. Goals are established, initiatives are considered, resourcing is allocated, & course corrections are made. These leadership gatherings are crucial for the future effectiveness of the organisation.

It is just as important to do this on a personal level. As a leader I must regularly pull back from the daily grind & give thought to “my ways”… especially the ways of my soul. My first calling is not to pay attention to the ways of the organization or the ways of the staff, but rather to my ways. How I am paying attention to my soul will always inform how I operate, even survive. The focus of my living must precede my leading. 

If you could plot the trajectory of your soul, your inner life, where is it headed? If your soul stays on the path it is on, where will it be five or ten years from now? Twenty years from now? After you are finished working & you have handed over your role to someone else, what will you be left with?

Where you end up then is largely determined by how well you manage what is going on inside you now.

A lot of leaders I know are “dead people running.” They’re a flurry of activity, & they are working hard. But on the inside they are empty & joyless. Their trajectory has them flying toward burnout & disillusionment.

Henry Cloud’s book 9 Things You Simply Must Do provides nine axioms ~ life lessons. He has learned through the years one principle which is called “Play the Movie.”

Every scene in a movie is moving toward a final scene. A plot is developing. And the final scene is being shaped & determined by earlier scenes. I need to determine what kind of final scene I want & then develop a plot which gets me there.

We tend to look at life as a series of disconnected scenes. However, “Playing the movie means never to see any individual action as a singular thing in & of itself: any one thing you do is only a scene in a larger movie.”

As Andy Stanley says “Direction, not intention, determines our destination.” What I often fail to realize is my life is on a path (direction) headed to a destination. What I am doing today was shaped by what I did yesterday. Who I become tomorrow will be informed by what I do today. And I am writing a scene now which will influence the final scene.

So, as enter another autumn, let me encourage you to spend some time reflecting on the trajectory of your soul. Linger for a bit & allow the soul time to rest. BTW, I thought the movie was splendid...

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend for those who are able to enjoy it & another week of success & results ahead. Please take care out there.                I look forward to being with you all again then.

[1]   Lance Witt is the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live & lead from a healthy soul. And a significant inspiration for my article this week.
[2] Proverbs 14:8 NIV

Kenn Butler
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