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                                     A Most Valuable Resource…

Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. I had the privilege on Thursday of attending an Institute of Directors luncheon & listening to a very wise & humble Traci Houpapa who reminded us all among many topics, her rule of life ~ keep life simple. In creating partnerships we must accept differences with honour & respect. It is all about the long game, so we all need to spend time on one of more things to agree on. This luncheon followed a webinar I attended on Tuesday evening on Culture & Ethics.
I have a fundamental belief dialogue is not only about communication technique & accurately articulating the desire to form closer relationships.  The best intentions flow from a healthy soul.  Let me give you a picture to assist in illustrating this.  We all have a front stage life & a back stage life. Front stage is the public world. It is where we are noticed, where the spotlight is on us, where people applaud & affirm us. It is where we cast vision, inspire others, & lead with skill. Front stage is all about doing.
But we also have a backstage life, & the two are connected. If we neglect the backstage, eventually the front stage will fall apart. While the front stage is the public world of leadership, the backstage is the private world of the leader. The back stage is private, always dark, & usually messy. The audience is not allowed there. Backstage has no spotlight & no glory. Backstage is all about “being. 1
As leaders, we know how to have front-stage conversations. We can easily converse about attendance & planning. But where is the conversation about our backstage life? Who is talking to you about you? 
Backstage conversations do not come naturally to most of us. As leaders we may feel a subtle pressure to have it all together. We might even feel the pressure to communicate like we have it all together.  Talking honestly about the messiness of our private, interior world feels risky. It is safer to limit the conversation to the front stage. Or we may be so focused on our vision the back stage life is not even on our radar.  This was true for me for much of my life.  I was just so focused on doing & leading & achieving & building I never really gave any thought to my interior life.
For most of my working life I neglected my backstage life, the care of my soul. After all, front stage is where the action is. But I am learning the key to life is found backstage, & the only way to be healthy is to pay attention to it.  
A good place to start is acknowledging many of us in leadership have neglected our backstage. Living only for the front stage will not sustain you for the long haul.
We get up to speak deep down we know we are teaching about a life we are not living. When needs present themselves, we find ourselves not caring like we used to. Out of obligation & “doing our job,” we go through the motions but our heart is not really in it.
We have this gnawing feeling in our gut something is missing. This is not how it was supposed to be. We find ourselves with less joy & more frustration; less compassion & more cynicism. Some days we dream of getting out. And, if the truth were known, we are not hiding it as well as we think. Those closest to us are beginning to see it.
This is why it is so important to learn the art care for our soul. For some of us, simply acknowledging we have a soul which needs to be cared for is the first step.  One of the most helpful practices I have developed is reading great books to feed my soul (backstage).
Our soul is far & away the most valuable possession we have. Just as you need to tend to your body to be physically healthy, you must tend to your soul if you want to be spiritually healthy. So, thankQ to Traci & the IoD for the reminders this week. He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata; it is about people, about people, about people. The most valuable resource.
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 ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week.
1 Lance Witt ~ preaching is not only about communication technique, the best preaching flows from a healthy soul.

Kenn Butler
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