It’s Time for 21st Century Leaders to Pick Up the Pieces of Our Lives

What happens when we build solutions for broken systems that are cracking? We get fragmented solutions.

One of the biggest opportunities we have today is to bring more people together in conversation and let go of our limiting beliefs that got us into the current mess in business and the world.

Our addiction to busyness and stress are increasing and no mindfulness program will be able to address it without looking at the root cause of how we got here and recognize why we have other choices on how to live our lives.

We are building more and more programs where we have to “find” more time in our day to integrate mindfulness and meditation into our lives. And what very few people focus on today is integration of our disjointed pieces that are lying on the side of the road calling us to regain our common sense and wisdom in our journey to becoming whole as individuals and organizations.

The broken story

The world around us teaches us to “network” and be a master of “small talk” and to make sure we exchange business cards. Go to an event and make conversation with others is the guidance we get from the “influencers” who know how to do it. We are told to have our elevator pitch ready to share with the world.

Seth Godin shares with us that there is very little selling going on in elevators, which makes me think why we have been conditioned to “pitch” people. What are we selling when we go to a social event?

Whatever happened to the art of the two-way conversation?

What if it’s about deep value and connection, not volume?

Take time to go on a journey. Take yourself outside of your current situation as an actor and director of your story, and become an observer just for an hour, a day, a week or whatever works for you. You will be amazed at what you will see and more importantly, learn by listening.

Go into a room full of people and sit quietly and listen in on the conversations around you.

I did that last night. I took a spot in the middle of the room (luckily there was a great view of the ocean) and listened to get a sense of who was there and what the conversations were about.

I learned so much. And guess what? I didn’t feel uncomfortable and I observed that some people were uncomfortable by my silence.

It didn’t take long.

One guy started talking to me by making a joke that I looked too relaxed. My silence sparked some amazing “deep” conversations. I connected with amazing people. Some I will see again. Some I won’t.

It was about the experience. My purpose was to show up and explore possibilities. It is always an adventure.

Too often in a life where we value volume over value and connections, we end up missing the opportunity to experience the moment.

We can never know if that one conversation we had will be shared with others and what the ripples will be. And we don’t need to know when our metric is value. All we need is to show up.

Showing up

It’s time to pay attention to who is showing up in our life and why.

We can follow the so called “influencers” or find people we resonate with and build meaningful relationships. It takes an open heart that wants to connect with ourself and others in the world that tries to make us like everyone else.

There is no marketing plan that helps us do this. There is only courage and our ability to understand our boundaries and opportunities.

It is about asking questions; not frameworks that shove us into one of four quadrants.

It can be messy. Life usually is beautiful and messy.

Waking up

The 21st century leader is waking up to opportunities and tapping into ancient wisdom to construct the foundation of the new Renaissance that is appearing in business today on the edges.

The irony is that we can connect today — human to human — like no time in history and most people don’t follow up with each other. I witness it all the time.

It’s time to go beyond the tweet, the elevator pitch, the status updates, the noise and connect around a question, a purpose, an interest, a conversation.

The two way conversation and empathy are the best technologies available to each of us. There is no divide here. It is accessible in silence too.

How do you choose to connect and show up in the world?

The 21st century leader runs very different meetings, training and development than the status quo.

We see opportunities every where in bringing the team back together and becoming whole as individuals and organizations. When organizations bring in the new and ancient techniques, much is possible.

I’d love to hear from you. Ayelet Baron, @ayeletb, ayelet.baron on Skype

San Francisco, CA