Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Initiative - Intention and Presence in Action

"Initiate - to introduce by first doing or using"
Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary

Lately David and I have been considering what our clients gain from working with us. Where does the magic come from? What elicits the fire and the drive that seemed so distant from their work before? How do we adequately describe that magic we create in their world? The word that we keep rolling across is initiative.

Initiative seems to capture both the individual and the organizational aspects of what we unleash into play. Initiatives are often under the radar efforts or skunkworks. Many never get formal organizational sanction or recognition. Those that do most often trace their seed to an individual, subversive seeming idea that found its first roots in a benevolent little conspiracy before growing to a point where it pokes its heads above ground for a little sunshine and rain. Initiative is the key ingredient to innovation, creativity, and the deliberate, consciously induced change that individuals and organizations seek.

But something about the word Initiative doesn't sit right for me. It just doesn't capture the real sense of what really happens. It seems too, I don't know, static.

There seems to be something faulty about the language we have for describing systems and change. Our words seem to connote some certain 'is-ness' about things that implies that if we just got it right, we'll arrive at our perfect destination. (This is the point I think of as where I will ultimately write my magnum opus, "Amy's Five Easy Steps to Nirvana - And You CAN do it Too!")

So we describe what we invoke as initiative. We ask about intention. We deeply consider presence. As if doing those 'things' or reaching those mystical states (holding an intention and being here, now, with full acceptance of how it is) would get me what I want.

What is missing in these static seeming descriptions is action.

So, it's not about initiative but about Initiating.

It's not about intention but Intending

It's not really about Presence but ??? Presenting?

Hmmm, that doesn't quite get it either.

Maybe the missing factor that brings it to life is action - the doing, the using, the acting? Perhaps it boils down to acting with intention and presence. And, on the flip side, being present to all that intention and presence attracts.

Ah, gerunds. Aren't they great!

Acting - conscious, deliberate, sometimes courageous, sometimes foolhardy.

Webster's, once again, gives good counsel - initate by introducing into first using or doing.

Initiating - first doing or using, taking that first step. Again. And again. And again.

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