For more than 25 years Steve Boehlke has worked with youth, managers and top corporate executives around the world to inspire integrity and authenticity in leadership. Steve’s message is simple: Leadership is born from having the courage to be who you are. You unlock your Leadership potential when you seek to become more fully and authentically yourself. As you claim and activate your unique position in this world, others notice and respond.
I love to travel. For most of my career going to work has meant getting on a plane and flying somewhere to engage with clients. I have landed among other places in Shanghai, Warsaw, Johannesburg, Bangalore, Lima, Bangkok, and cities all across the U.S. I am extraordinarily grateful for the vistas and venues I have been able to explore. Now that I am confined to home with Covid-19 quarantine for the indefinite future, I am prompted to examine as never before how much being in motion – going somewhere, doing something – has defined my sense of self.
Today I pause to find my moving center without going anywhere. Sometimes it takes me hours, even days, to modify my agenda(s), release my compulsions, quiet all the chatter and distractions in my head, and trust that the moment is more than sufficient to sustain and enliven me. Even then I realize there is still much in motion within me and around me. I discover it is a very elusive task to find and know my center, the essence of me, apart from the current environ in which I may be situated, for better or worse.
The current global pandemic environment threatens our quest for stability, predictability, and certainty as never before in my lifetime. External sources of assurance are not stable — whether enduring employment, financial liquidity, fully-stocked shelves, or merely a place to convene with others. The task of being with ourselves, calming ourselves, knowing ourselves is stripped of our usual props and platforms. With more angst than usual, we look for a place to land in the midst of unanticipated turbulence.
The sage advice and wisdom of many whom I have trusted over the years is to find and build on something solid as a rock, something that would secure me regardless of external circumstances. But what if my security lies not on a rock but rather in a river? What if I choose river rather than rock? In the span of my lifetime I have experienced myself as a man with many selves, a sense of identity that sometimes confounds me but nevertheless defines me. A continual process of exploring, owning, engaging these different aspects of myself assures me that I am for real, I am alive. I might well describe this as my “moving center” – the essence of who I am without fixing myself to one inviolate anchor or rock. It’s a paradox.
Much as a gyroscope functions in perpetual motion, most balanced while spinning, I know myself most assuredly when I am in some sort of “flow state” – a veritable stream of moving parts and pieces, all of which comprise who I am. Claiming that fluidity, knowing that I am always in process, brings me alive, regardless of the external world that I find myself in. Though global pandemic pervades and economic collapse threatens, I am for these moments thankfully grounded in a place that is uniquely mine. It changes, it evolves, it spins and turns – and I am in that movement most fully myself. And most alive! The journey inward to embrace a dynamic stability within is the most daring and arduous adventure of all.
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