In 2008, during Retreat 4 when it came time to think of my ‘quest’ – the Leadership project I would take out into the world on completion of the one-year program – I drew a complete blank. Then it came to me in a vivid dream — I would create a palette of tools that would assist Global Graduates of the CTI Leadership program to keep their newly minted empowered leadership alive! Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, I awoke full of “the force,” giving me an immense amount of energy and inspiration to create WE LEAD. I knew for sure I could not do this alone.
For any of you who have co-created with other graduates of the Co-Active Leadership program, you will know that we are very “empowered” and not even slightly shy about saying how we envision the way things should and should not be done! The experience of initiating WE LEAD has without a doubt made me a better leader.
Here are 5 leadership insights that can help you take your Leadership Quest into the world.
- Tribe Microcosm to Real-World Macrocosm
I have learned how to take the theory out of the microcosm that is my tribe and put it into practice in the world. Being on type, leaning in, using multiple screens, co-leading, and leading from the front & behind are among the leadership skills I employed to enable me to organize such a large, complicated event and keep my eye on many balls.
I had always thought of myself as someone who was pretty fearless in life. To my surprise I was a blubbering wreck on the ropes course during the Leadership program. I was confronted with the discovery that instead of being fearless, I just made sure that I never did things that scared me. After this eye-opener, I made the second realization that I deal with fear best by not thinking too much about it and just going for it! This is how I approached creating the WE LEAD event — by playfully making things up and being willing to fail. I had to commit and trust.
- “CO” and “ACTIVE”
I really practiced when to stand up for what I believe in and take charge, and when to dance in a way that let someone else lead. Sometimes it is easy to mix up “Co-Active” with “majority rules.” However here’s the actual definition of Co-Active (taken from the CTI Website):
“The “Co” in Co-Active suggests relationship, connection, intimacy and collaboration. Thus, the “Co” in us is curious, listens deeply, hears nuance, holds space for others, intuits and nurtures.
The “Active” in Co-Active stands for power, direction, action and manifestation. So, the “Active” in us is courageous, has clarity and conviction, takes charge and achieves goals.
The magic happens in the dance between “Co” and “Active” — action that arises from presence, deep relationship and context…and presence that is channeled into dynamic action and contribution. Balancing and blending these energies allows us to move out of an “either/or” paradigm into a “yes/and” paradigm.“
Embracing the magical art of this balance between “Co” and “Active” and the yes-and (creating-from) paradigm will help you bring your leadership quest into the world.
- Yes, And….
“Yes, and…” is a central tool of Co-Activity. Originating in Improv Theatre, it is the “how” of collaboration. The blending of ideas and ways of doing things, leading and following, all of this is done via the “Yes, and” technique. For me this was an important structure to operate under. Quests are big! We want to change the world! Why would we want to do this alone?
- Begin Again (and again…)
Of course I failed and succeeded along the way. If I had stopped after the first event, I would not have learned and used that information to improve the event, as well as my leadership skills. I encourage you to give yourself permission to fail and have fun!
Co-Activity reminds us again and again intimacy and connection is so easy once we know how! In our community of Co-Active trained people, I absolutely believe we all have the knowledge and power to transform the entire world. This community is the engine that fuels what I do. The people in this community are the ones I reach out to when I need it, and without fail someone is there to re-inspire, tell me off, or give me a shoulder to cry on.
Reach out to the Co-Active community, ask for help, and start collaborating. Let’s create more magic in the world!
Danielle White is the creator behind WE LEAD, a Global Gathering that brings together passionate leaders from all over the world. WE LEAD’s purpose is to support bringing our leadership into the world as an expression of each person’s unique impact in their world. WE LEAD was the result of Danielle’s own Leadership Quest and was founded in 2008. If you are interested in getting involved, please check out their Facebook group or contact Danielle White at firstname.lastname@example.org.