Your Deep Calling. Let’s Talk About It.

IMG_9861Recently, I had the gift of being asked to facilitate a dinner conversation using what’s been come to be known as the Jeffersonian technique. Based on Thomas Jefferson’s penchant for dinner conversations revolving around a particular question or set of questions, the technique includes providing a safe structure for sharing and the result is an intimacy that can be quite profound. As you might expect, no one gets to hog the conversation; at the same time only one person gets to speak at a time (no sidebars with your next door neighbor at the table, no cross-talk or remarks directed to the person speaking, no interruptions). All eyes and ears are on the person speaking.  The questions are intended to inspire honest and thoughtful discussion.

In my new book, EMERGE: A Strategic Leadership Model for the Sustainable Building Community, I remind the reader that leadership is a “we” activity.   The paradox is, that to be an effective leader, one must rely on others.  Emergent leaders create themselves through intimate engagement with others with whom they interact.

Let me encourage you to take the opportunity to try out this technique with your work team, your family, and/or community group.  The questions my client and I recently posed at the above-mentioned dinner were incredibly evocative. I’ve rephrased them slightly for this article, but based on my recent experience with similar questions, there will be tears, there will be laughter, there will be “intimate engagement,” and there will be a basis for shared leadership and personal growth. I suggest you try them out:

  • What is your deep calling and what was the moment you knew it was your deep calling?
  • How do you live that deep calling today? What does it look like?
  • How can we (around the table) support each other in living this deep calling?

Now, it does work best with a designated facilitator who can keep the conversation on track, but if one is not available (or the situation makes it inappropriate), having the guidelines and discussion questions posted in a prominent place can help, as well as giving any and all involved permission (and responsibility) to refer to those guidelines if the conversation gets off track.

Emerge Front Cover OnlyEMERGE: A Strategic Leadership Model for the Sustainable Building Community is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. In addition to this highly regarded book, all purchasers can access book bonus materials available at www.emergeleadershipthebook.org using a password provided in the Author’s Final Note. Bonus materials include links to exercises, recordings aligned with chapters in the book, as well as templates.