Being the Board

In The Art of Possibility on January 5, 2010 at 3:34 pm

“You ask yourself, in regard to the unwanted circumstances, ‘Well, how did this get on the board that I am?’ or, ‘Now, how is it that I have become a context for that to occur?’  You will begin to see the obvious and then the not-so-obvious contributions of your calculating self, or of your history, or of earlier decisions that landed you where you are, feeling like a victim.  This reflection may bring forth from you an apology that will knit back together the strands of raveled relationships.  And then you will be standing freely and powerfully once again in a universe of possibility.”

~ Roz Zander, The Art of Possibility

Lately, I’ve been considering the ‘DNA’ of my leadership.  Do you know what I mean?  It is the cumulative impact I have with others.  It is the feedback I get from others.  It is the hits on my blog, it is the responsiveness/unresponsiveness of others to my invitations.  It is…a form of feedback.

This book, written by Benjamin Zander and his wife Rosamund Stone Zander, asks me to consider how I’ve contributed to the relationships I have.  Specifically, to the community of which I am a part.  One of the practices called ‘Being the Board’ invites us to acknowledge ourselves as contributing to every circumstance and relationship in our lives.  Doing so, we name ourselves the ‘board’ upon which the game of our life is played.  Namely, this means stepping out of victimhood and into responsibility.  To the hard-nosed, this may well seem like a simple practice.  But the truth is, there are times that I would rather move away from people rather than toward.

I’ve been a part of a church community for over three years.  More recently, I’ve been a part of group of 20’s, which has been dwindling in numbers.  It must be the pastors, or the programs, right?  Maybe, it is a result of the people who have left.  They resent me, that’s it…(or so, the limiting thinking goes)

As I consider how I’ve contributed to these relationships, I see in myself a stream of with-holds.  I see an avoidance, rather than moving toward.  I have determined others ‘to be’ a certain way and settled on that.  As I move toward others, I have to face my assumptions.  As my stance has changed, I notice there are a myriad of people that I can move toward.  Notice how this is not taking the blame on myself.  It is not identifying myself (or others) as the ‘bad’ party.  It simply acknowledges that I have made a contribution.  And this distinction, empowers me to make a new contribution by moving toward those I would tend to resist.  Rather than resisting the provision that others are in my life, I am free to invite them close as an extraordinary gift – starting with those I have most resisted.


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