In Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, Peter Senge and his co-authors write:
“We’ve come to believe that the core capacity needed for accessing the field of the future is presence. We first thought of presence as being fully conscious and aware in the present moment. Then we began to appreciate presence as deep listening, of being open beyond one’s preconceptions and historical ways of making sense. We came to see the importance of letting go of old identities and the need to control and, as Salk said, making choices to serve the evolution of life. Ultimately, we came to see all these aspects of presence as leading to a state of “letting come,” of consciously participating in a larger field for change. When this happens, the field shifts, and the forces shaping a situation can shift from re-creating the past to manifesting or realizing an emerging future.” (2004)
I’ve spoken before about the path of leadership. There are no simple steps or directions on how to be a great leader. Leadership is a path. The path leads us to the field. The field is the place where we are present, non-reactive, attuned, and open to both letting go and, as Senge writes, “letting come.” When we are in the field, we are not concerned with the past, nor anxious about the future. When we are in the field, we are not being driven by fear or anxiety or frustration, anger, or sadness. When we are in the field, we are not relating to the world as victim, or hero, or villain, we are conscious and we are connected.
The field is where we as leaders need to be. I think our teams and our organizations will be extremely well served by our living and leading in the field. I think it is very difficult to enter and lead in the field and very easy for us to get pulled out of the field if and when we are in it. The starting point for walking the path of leadership is cultivating consciousness and awareness. Just this can take a lifetime. Indeed, cultivating consciousness and awareness requires a daily focus and practice.
Fear is something that can keep us from walking the path of leadership and entering the field – fear of change, fear of losing what we think we have, fear of confronting and owning our own reality. The question each of us has to answer is, “Do I choose to accept responsibility for my life and live and lead in the present, in the field, accepting what comes of the choices we make, or remain stuck in the past and afraid of the future?
As summer draws to a close and we begin gearing up for the next year of racing to accomplish and accumulate, I challenge us all to strive to cultivate consciousness and awareness. Sit for a few minutes each day. Reflect on what living and leading in the field might look like, feel like. Reflect on what might shift for us, for our teams, our families if we could be in the field more. What might the next year look like if we could begin to let go of our old identities, our need to control? What might the next year look like if we began to realize an emerging future from the field of real presence, the field of conscious leadership?