They befall us all, for it’s a part of being a walking and breathing kaleidoscope, on a planet so full of hope.
When they come, it’s very normal to withdraw, and look for reasons for this flaw.
Asking questions to the sky above, yet, that might not be where the answers are located, my love.
Tragedies are a part of the calamity of this thing we call life. They are part and parcel of the seen and unseen, and everything in between; conjoined forever in an illusory dance with,
my friend are all around you, so when you have a moment, take a minute, and stop. Stop moving, and just be with all that surrounds you, and is within you. And, in that silence, listen, feel, and always keep it real.
Reality holds a lot of promise, when we move out of the way, and let go of our preconceived notions. When we stay in motion, and let our hearts open, allowing the silence within to determine our devotion.
Now, in this article, we will discuss how we can increase our productivity by simply being the human being we know ourselves to be. Yep. Ready? Good here. we go.
Have you ever seen behind the scenes of a theatrical production? Yes, no? Well, either way, there is a ton of work that goes into creating a stage production, even a small production at a local high-school.
I remember taking, what was then called stagecraft, in high-school, and that was our job. Creating the stage, or, in sociological terms, creating the visual context for the play. Was great fun.
Erving Goffman, an American-Canadian Sociologist from the 1950’s, talks about life in terms of a play. Noting that we all take on particular personas based on socialization, yes, the context we are working or living in, and the ideas we have about who we are, and, yep, the ideas we believe others hold of us. Phew. That’s a lot of information to hold, which, hint, hint, is part of the point of this article.
I digress, back on track. Here is a short, well, relatively short, synopsis of what Goffman terms dramaturgy.
Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective that is a component of symbolic interactionism and is used in sociological analysis of everyday life. Developed by American sociologist Erving Goffman in his seminal 1959 text The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, dramaturgy uses the metaphor of theater to explain human behavior. According to this perspective, individuals perform actions in everyday life as if they were performers on a stage. Identity is performed through roles. Here, the term “role” works in two ways, referencing both the name for a theatrical character and the ways in which individuals fill roles in reality by acting as a mother, friend, husband, etc. Dramaturgy argues that the presentation of oneself through role is a way of engaging with society.
Well, think about all of the roles you take on each day. Seriously. Count them real quick. Here, I’ll do it too. I came up with 7. And, that was just a quick inquiry. A more focused inquiry would reveal many, many, more. And, you? How many did you come up with? Yep. Good.
Now, with all of these roles, and what I will now term performances, how much preparation do you do to create, deliver, and sustain these performances? Hm. Quite a bit, I bet. And, time? Yep, preparation is time. And time is energy.
Alright, so we spend a lot of time backstage, in Goffman terms, preparing for our individual performances, even when we are unaware. Yep. And, then frontstage, delivering them? Exactly. We spend a lot of energy there too. True.
And, now, let’s add in being inauthentic. If we are, let us say, working even harder on our performances, because we believe we need to look, act, and behave a certain way, either because we feel we should, or, we feel that others expect that of us, that is even more tiring. Phew. That’s a lot of tiring. Yet, there is another way. How?
By being authentic. And, guess what? Yep. When we are authentic, we save energy.
Authenticity and Productivity
When we are authentic, we save energy because, quite simply, we work less hard trying to convince ourselves and everyone around us that we are someone we’re not. As we’ve already seen, it takes a lot of time and energy just to perform our various roles, which does not include trying to perform them in ways we think we are supposed to.
Further, we all have a limited amount of energy to utilize throughout our day. We can think about our day in terms of exchanging units of energy for each task, project, or activity we take on.
As we exchange our units of energy, our stores become depleted. Now, we can recharge these energy stores by doing various things, such as taking a walk or sitting and breathing for a couple of minutes.
However, we should also covet these energy stores by being aware of our energy levels throughout the day. And? Well, when we are continuously thinking about our performances, our energy is depleted at a faster rate. Why?
Because we are distracted with thoughts and mentalizations that make the work we are engaged with more arduous. Pretty simple.
However, when we aren’t concerned about our performances, meaning we are being authentic and true to the person we know ourselves to be, our energy is saved from tasks such as worrying and overthinking. Important.
And, when we save our energy we can be more productive.
Alright, here then are three productivity byproducts that come from being authentic. Being who we really are. Just for fun, we will call these the 3 C’s of Authentic Productivity.
Capacity – when we are authentic, we have more energy for the aforementioned reasons, and we also have more capacity. More capacity to do the work we need to do, free from the constraints of spending time and energy concentrating on performing in ways that we think we are supposed to, or we think others expect us to.
Concentration – when we are authentic, we are also able to concentrate more easily. Our minds are not busy fretting about our performance. For instance, wondering what someone thinks about what we just said, or how we are acting in a particular context. When we are free from these mentalizations, we are much more clear.
Clarity – and, yes, when we have more capacity to concentrate on the work at hand, we are also more clear. We have more clarity in general about all things, and are able to complete tasks and projects with much greater efficiency and effectiveness.
There is one more bonus to being authentic. Insight.
When we have more capacity, are able to concentrate more effectively, and have more clarity, we create the possibility of receiving more insights. Insights occur when our minds are quiet. When we are quiet.
And, we are much more quiet when we are not in a continuous internal battle about who we are. When we are authentic, this battle drops away, and insights come more frequently.
Wow, that was fun.
Alright, that’s the 3 C’s of Authentic Productivity. Know there are many more benefits to being authentic. Seriously. Many more.
Pretty much everything we do, we do more effectively and efficiently when we are authentic. As we’ve seen in our discussion, worrying about our performances depletes our energy levels.
However, when we are authentic, we save our energy, and in doing so increase our capacity, ability to concentrate, and overall clarity.
You are already just as you are supposed to be. So be who you are, be authentic, embrace yourself, and enjoy each moment of every day.
Oh, yes, and, remember, when you do so, you’ll also enjoy more insights along the way. And, believe me, that’s super fun.
A 3-minute Reflection on Leadership and Systems Thinking
What do you think that coaching, communication, and insight have in common? Hm. Not sure?
Or, maybe, you’re thinking it’s that they’re interactive, and that’s what they have in common, and, yep, that is true. Yet there is one more. Yep.
They are all part of a single system. Each one, coaching, communication, and insight, all of them, is a piece of a larger whole. Let’s take a look at these pieces so we can see the whole. Ready? Here we go.
Alright, I’ve written about coaching before, and, even wrote about a developed model that works pretty well. Yet, guess what? Yep. That model has iterated. Today? Here’s what it looks like now.
Define the Gap
Create Next Actions
Yep, it is a complete system. And, yes, it is a system within a system. Meaning, that coaching is, yes, one piece in an overall system, and, yep, you begin with safety and end with it. Every time. Why?
Because creating safety for people is one of the most important aspects of developing high-functioning teams. Seriously. Watch.
What does it take to have a high-functioning team? Any ideas? Yep. Here we go.
There’s five. And, to have those five? Yep. Safety. Always.
In order to have high-quality coaching conversations, good communication must also be present. And, what, pray, are the components of good communication. Here are a few.
Tell your truth
Sounds simple, yes? Well, it is, and yet, is a paradox, like most things in life. Why? Because it takes practice, and a commitment to persevere. You will make mistakes. And?
That’s okay. It’s part of it.
If we think that good communication feels good all the time, or looks one way or another, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Most of my favorite conversations today are loaded with work, for both people.
Here are a few more important concepts to develop good communication.
It takes work and time. Yet, when you practice listening and being present, all kinds of wondrous things happen. Really.
Ah, yes, one of my favorite topics. Insight. Beautiful.
Well, what’s the deal with insight anyway? When we typically think about insight, we think about that moment of clarity where we learn something we’d not considered before. Right? Yep.
However, insight can come in many forms. Seriously. Here are a few.
Yep. Insights are created through collaboration, whether that is through collaboration with yourself, yes, that’s true, or with another individual or team member, or with the entire team, organization, or community.
Insights are a product of high-quality communicative contexts that are safe. Period.
A Single System
Alright, so what does creating coaching, good communication, and insight have to do with each other? Yep, you got it.
They are all a part of the relationship system. First, the relationships we have with ourselves, then, the team, organization, and community. True.
And, the relationship system is applicable in all social contexts. Meaning, you can substitute family with the team in the aforementioned example, and you have a whole and complete system for the family. Same.
There we go. That’s my 3-minute reflection on the relationships system, and why considering these pieces as connected and a part of a larger whole is very important for leaders, and, well, for everyone. Really.
In fact, one could argue, as I would, that your very relationships depend on it. Truth. Phew. That was fun.
Anyone can create a why, right? You get a prompt, why do you do what you do? You answer. Yet, that’s not quite it. If your why is disconnected from your authentic-self, people will not be attracted to it; why?
Because they will know/feel that you are being inauthentic.
It is, then, super important when creating our whys to be the authentic human being you know yourself to be. Let go of preconceived notions of who you think other people believe you are, and write your why from the space of who you know yourself to be. Important.
See, creating a why, or a purpose statement, is not about pleasing someone else, it’s about you. About the person you are today, the person you are creating yourself to be tomorrow.
When you get clear on your purpose, and convey your why from a place of authenticity, people will be attracted to it. They will see themselves in you. And, when someone shares their why with you, you’ll know if they’re being authentic, and, if they are, you will probably be attracted to them.
You. Yes, you dear blogger.
I’ve been following more and more sites the past couple of weeks, and have been truly inspired by all that I’ve read. From food recipes to articles on grief and trauma.
In the event someone hasn’t told you recently, you are making a difference in the world. Each one of you.
Human connection is such a wonderful experience, and to connect with each of you, though distanced we are, is such a joy, and honor.
My cousin literally just sent me a new message via LinkedIn, and shared with me a beautiful story about the Good Night Lights. Have you ever heard of this? I hadn’t. Take a look. Beautiful, and moving.
I went to the site and was moved to tears. Why? Well, it is, yes, a beautiful story. And, then, it got me thinking about each of you, and the work you continue to do on your individual websites.
See, it isn’t about moving an entire population of people, or providing them access to you and your ideas, all at the same time. It’s about touching one person at a time.
One person, then becomes two people, which eventually becomes thousands, as many of you can attest to; and, thousands can become millions.
You are an inspiration, and I thank you for the opportunity to know you in the way I do today.
Here are three quotes on authenticity that I love.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown
This weekend I reimagined the covid-19 creativity site and in its place created jefflesch.com. Why? It was time. When I originally created the COVID-19 site, I had no idea that I would end up writing all that I have.
It’s been a wonderful experience, one that will continue well into the future, as I have lots more to to tell you all about, and to discuss with you. 🙂
As I was reimagining the site I had an insight. Before we get to the insight, however, I am going to recreate the distinction between the head and the heart to aid in communicating this insight. Ready? Here we go.
About the Head and the Heart
I’ve written about the head (intellect) and heart (intuition) many times on this site. Sometimes, I’ve used head and heart, sometimes I’ve used intellect and intuition. The distinction? Alright.
When we use our head, we are leading with our intellect. That which we understand to be true about the world.
We’ve acquired some of this understanding from our parents and caretakers; and, some has come from schools, friends, and coworkers. Really anyone we have in our life.
On the other hand, when we use our intuition, we are leading with our heart. That which we know to be true about the world.
Do you see the distinction?
With intellect we understand something to be true, and with intuition, we know it to be true. When we intuit something, we have a deep feeling that that something is true, or right. Or just as easily, wrong and false.
An important distinction.
The more you are connected to your intuition, the more accurate the knowing will be. If, however, you’ve been disconnected from your intuitive-self, the knowing can be more challenging. I would know.
Though my intuition has always been with me, for a long time, it was suppressed. Covered up by other things, like food and alcohol. Not the case today.
Alright, that’s the distinction. Now the insight? Alright, here we go.
An Insight From the Newly Developed Site
As I’ve written about before, I now work in education. I’ve worked in education full-time for the past 5 years, and combined with my part-time work, it’s been over 13 years. Long time.
Prior to going back to school at 33, I worked in the private sector, in sales and sales leadership. 16 years. Also a long time.
In my current job, I get to use both my practical work experience, and my educational experience. It’s a ton of fun.
When I developed the leadership site, which is now no more, and the COVID-19 site, I didn’t realize I was actually creating an intellectual site and an intuitive site. No idea. Super cool insight.
As I reimagined and then created my website this weekend, it occured to me that the newly formulated site is a combination of both my head (intellect) and heart (intuition). I think that’s pretty cool.
Though it was never my intention to create two sites, one focused on my intellect, and one focused on my heart, it just sort of happened that way. What excites me most now?
That I now get to give you everything I’ve got. Both my head and my heart, right here. Exciting.
Alright, that’s the insight alongside the distinction about the head and the heart. Oh, one more thing.
Know that the head and heart, though separated in this post intentionally, are really one. They are connected, and work together, even when our intuition is covered up by other things.
What fun this journey has been. And, as the first chapter comes to an end, this next chapter is going to be so much fun. I look forward to writing to you, and discussing all with you.
Vulnerability is a wonderful gift. When we choose vulnerability over fear, we open ourselves up to learn more about ourselves and all of humanity.
For a long time I chose fear. Not so today. In the spirit of vulnerability, here is a video I created last week on the importance of being vulnerable.
I am inspired by everyone in my life, and everyone I meet. All of them. This past week, I was particularly inspired by a colleague of mine. Terri Houde is a Corporate Trainer, works on our team, and created the following video about an upcoming video series. Check out vulnerability in action. Inspiring.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” – BRENÉ BROWN
There was a time when I thought about creativity within a very limited framework. A framework that associated creativity mostly with art. However, what I know to be true today is that creativity is an unlimited framework. There are no limits.
Within this unlimited framework, here is an insight, an inspiration, and a quote.
You are it. Look for the answers you are seeking within yourself. They do not reside outside of yourself. They are within you. Have been, are, and always will be.
Create the life you want to live into. Create the future from the future. Always look within, then look forward. Make connections between that which you know to be true, and the future state you are creating.
A vision, your vision. You are the creator of that vision. Live it today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.
Visionaries don’t wait for someone to hand them a guide to life. They create it everyday. One step, once action at a time. Each day, every day.
And, guess what, you are a visionary. We all are. We just need to get out of our own way. How do you know when you are in your own way?
When you deeply want to do something, try something new – you know, that funny feeling you get in your tummy when you get excited or nervous.
Well, when we feel that, and know also that we are inhibiting our own creativity because we are concerned about what someone might think or say, we are in our own way. In that moment. And, when it passes, and we don’t act, we can also feel upset, yes, and also disempowered.
Disempowerment does not feed creating your vision, and living into it. Empowerment does. Yep. If you are feeling disempowered, don’t fear, you can also move yourself out of disempowerment and into empowerment. You can.