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Courage and the Leader in Front

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Henry Kimsey-House  |  Oct 05, 2016
Photo Credit: JupiterImages

At the time of my writing this, the American Vice President debate will be on tonight and I must say I really don’t want to watch it, and I will. The reason I don’t want to watch it is how distressing it is to watch these debates and these campaigns and these “leaders” as they try to maneuver and manipulate, stumble and fumble, bark and bicker, and generally irritate the people that they want to vote for them. The reason I will watch it is that I need to keep reminding myself how important the work that we do in working with leaders to grow their worlds and to take responsibility for those worlds is in this time.

By the time you read this that debate will be complete and I feel that things will just have spiraled even more downward into darkness and fear that we are being sold. Why is it that our leaders are so addicted to creating more and more problems, divisions, hatreds and angers instead of courageously showing us their hearts and lining us up with a vision that is full of love and compassion and how to make this world an even better world to live in?

I just came back from leading a Retreat 3 of our Co-Active Leadership Program and at one point we were discussing the dimension of “Leader in Front”. We were standing in the “geography” or the body posture of Leader in Front. We had our feet firmly planted on the ground with one hand stretched out in front of us pointing towards a vision for a future that we wanted to create and then we took our other hand and stretched it out in the opposite direction and looked back to connect with the people that we were leading towards that vision, to enroll them, to relate with them, to do what was needed to help them see this vision and want to move towards it. So there we are with our feet firmly planted and one hand reaching back to connect with the people and one hand reaching out to point out the direction towards the vision. We were feeling like powerful leaders and guides and we realized something crucial. We realized that our hearts were completely exposed and in fact leaping out of our chests. We realized that it is absolutely essential for the leader in front to open their hearts and then with great courage leap, while carrying the people they are connecting to, over the next fence.

This courage is crucial to Leaders in Front. I like to take my definition of courage from a mish-mash of different definitions that I’ve heard over the years. The first is cour-rage or Coeur – French for heart and rage, defined as passion or an intense feeling. The rage of the heart. I like the story that it came from jumping horses. That in order for a horse and its rider to jump a fence they had to throw their heart over it first without knowing for certain what was on the other side. So there is that Leader in Front with a completely exposed heart leaping over that fence with all the people he or she is connected to riding and throwing their hearts over that self same fence.

In order to protect that exposed heart we have to bring in one hand or the other. We have to either bring in the hand that has a clear direction and a vision or we have to bring in the hand that is reaching out to connect with the people. Most of the so called leaders in this day and age seem to have one or both hands pulled in and are in fact the opposite of courageous.

It is indeed time to populate our world with 7 billion or so courageous leaders that are taking responsibility for their world and forget this looking for somebody that will do it for us.

What fence are you in the process of throwing your heart over?

Henry Kimsey-House

About Henry Kimsey-House

Henry Kimsey-House, Co-Founder of CTI, is the main designer of the coaching course curriculum, including the leadership program. Today, Henry continues to develop and refine the CTI coaching curriculum, leveraging his creative insights and experience as an actor. He is also co-author of the industry best-seller, Co-Active Coaching. An actor since age nine, Henry brings that experience and understanding of human process and development to CTI. His acting career includes appearances in Woody Allen’s movie, ‘Stardust Memories,’ soap operas and regional theatre productions. According to Henry, his acting experience contributed greatly to the creation of Co-Active coaching and to the creation of language used in CTI courses that addresses the core of who we are. After acting for several years, Henry joined the Actors Information Project (AIP), in New York City, a career counseling service for actors. As Vice President of Curriculum Development, he created a variety of workshops and programs to help new actors succeed in their craft and in the business of acting. In the 1980s, Henry became one of the first professional coaches, with a specialty in coaching artists and actors. In 1992, he turned his creativity to co-founding and co-designing the curriculum for CTI. Henry studied acting at Lewis & Clark University, University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire), University of Tennessee (Chattanooga) and in New York City.

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