The First Issue of 2009: Balance

December 31st, 2008

Resourcefulness: Keeping our balance in turbulent times

Dare I write it? These are the best of times, and the worst of times. Things are changing faster than many of us can track. So much hope, so much uncertainty. Even those of us who thrive in shifting sand may find ourselves challenged by the accelerated pace of life these days. How are you doing in this wonderful and difficult time? What is the quality of your leadership?

The last eight years have been an excellent example of what leadership looks like when the leaders are triggered. Our current social and economic situations exist in great part because the folks who have led this country have been leading from a place of fear, greed, and anger. And likewise, many of us in the social change movement have been equally triggered by national leadership. As we enter into a time of new possibility, it is important for us to take a moment to consider our own leadership.

Chances are, instability will increase before things improve. And though it is often last on our laundry list, taking care of ourselves and managing our emotional states is essential in times like these. Just the other day I was on a challenging conference call and I found myself throwing my pen against the wall in a moment of frustration. The good news is that I was alone in my office. The hard news is that I momentarily devolved about 100,000 years, and I know that my capacity to be present was severely diminished until I gathered myself together again.

What can we do when there are so many fine opportunities to get triggered? Do you remember that list of triggers you made whenever you attended Rockwood's Art of Leadership? That list of events or behaviors in others that are guaranteed to make you lose your mind? If not, this is an opportune time to make another list. Notice any patterns and themes in your list. Now imagine that you are confronted with a triggering situation. What to do?

First, name it. Notice that you are triggered.

Step two is to appropriately create some space for yourself. Breathe. Once you've removed yourself from the situation (even if it is only in your mind) it is now time to shift your state into a more resourceful place of inner power. It might be time to take a walk, or to eat lunch. Take a break, stretch, move. Perhaps wild dancing is in order. Feel your deeper feelings, remembering that they are not in present time. Exaggerate, get playful, laugh.

Anchor yourself in a greater truth. Remind yourself of your purpose. Mesh. If you've forgotten what some of these tools are, dig out your old training manual - it's all in there. And if you can't find it, give us a call - we're happy to help.

The world needs solid, powerful leadership like never before. And we need your leadership in particular. I invite you to care for yourself well in the coming months and years. Let's all be here for the long haul.

My best to you,

January 2009

Book Announcement Fellow Rockwood Leaders Share Knowledge in... Working Across Generations: Defining the Future of Nonprofit Leadership

Written by Frances Kunreuther, Rockwood trainer and coach Helen Kim and Robby Rodriguez, this book offers a comprehensive look at the leadership and generational shifts in the nonprofit sector. It presents findings from various research, interview highlights, and recommendations on how to approach generational changes in leadership so that the contributions of long-time leaders are valued, new and younger leaders' talent is recognized, and groups are better prepared to work across generational divides. Visit for more information and excerpts