Greetings dear friends & welcome to my world again this week. Working today, for everyone with a role to play under lock-down continues to be different for everyone I suspect.
In our current environment, leadership is not only about communication technique & accurately providing all forms of governance under daily changing conditions. As I have indicated recently, the position for almost everyone today will be one which flows from a healthy soul. Let me give you a picture which might help 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. I think we may have seen a couple of examples of this in recent days. 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.
As leaders, we know how to have front-stage conversations. We can easily converse about attendance & client presentations & planning & events. 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 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 the vision of growing our business, our back stage life is not even on our radar. This has been true for me for much of my life. I was just so focused on doing & leading & achieving & building, I never gave any thought to my interior life most of the time.
Not once as I recall in my early career, when we were gathered in (small groups) for example, a management conference together, or training sessions, the last thing, if ever, everyone asked each other was a backstage question: “How is it with your soul?” In forty seven years of work, I do not think anyone has ever asked me this question.
For most of my working career 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 today is found backstage, the only way to be healthy is to pay attention to it. Staying in a world of peace & serenity with yourself is a backstage issue.
This is what I am learning, life is inside out, & the private informs the public. From the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. From the root (backstage), determines the fruit (front stage).
Often, 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 in & for the long haul.
We get up to speak & deep down I wonder if we are reflecting about a life we are not living. When leadership 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 of caring for the soul. For some of us, simply acknowledging we have a soul needing to be cared for is the first step. One of the most helpful practices I have developed is reading great books to assist with feeding 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.
I hope my comments each week are helpful dear readers; & again, provide just an opinion, from my world. Thank you for taking the time to be with me, I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson. With my best wishes, I look forward to connecting with you again soon.