The Inner Dynamics & The Outer Behaviors of Leadership

IMG_1471“Self is revealed through an authentic relationship with

something that is greater than our ability to control.” -Tim Dukes

When you are in a position of authority and influence over other people, something that is natural to your way of being needs to guide you. The need to listen to this natural leadership compass is indicated by how imbalanced you find yourself in your personal and professional life. If you are off by just a few degrees, your leadership trajectory will skew the results you are after.

So if you are not getting the results you want, personally or professionally, turn inward and assess. Having clarity and coming to internal alignment is imperative for sound decision making and desired behavioral outcomes.

How do we realign ourselves? We find our way back to a time when we were aligned. For many of us, this means that we become reconnected with our natural world. Now this quite literally could mean that we return to connecting with the earth. However, it could also mean reconnecting with a creative process, our favorite sport, that coveted vacation spot … return to that place or state of mind that allowed us to have a deep inner alignment with the central components of ourselves.

By |February 13th, 2016|Categories: Leadership|0 Comments

Life on the Line

Kauai 071The hiking trail forks and you have to make a decision. You are most comfortable with the path to the right, as you have walked this way before. You actually take solace in the shade of the redwoods and the babble of the creek as it winds its way through the forest undergrowth. Two miles and your car will be waiting, home just in time for dinner. The fork to the left is steep, you would have to man up, chomp down a power bar, and dig deep for the remaining strength that is left after an already arduous hike. What way should you go? What path would you take?

Renowned mythologist-storyteller Michael Meade reminds us that the threads of any new story will be woven not by fear but by imagination and the ancient wisdom that connects “the solid ground of the earth and the unseen realm that sustains it.”

Intuitively, you recognize that the path to the right, although predictable, will leave you unconscious with the car and dinner as your endgame. The trail to the left, as steep as it seems, may afford you new vistas, seascapes, and waterfalls. After all, the day is clear, and the sun is only skirting the horizon.

Living into the imagination breathes life into the moment, allowing reconnection with that piece of yourself that still yearns for the “unseen realm.” -Sdukes

Betwixt and Between

IMG_3487Take a moment to close your eyes and take three breaths. Simply get a sense of yourself as you breathe in and out. Gently let your eyelids fall and allow the sensation of breathing to prevail. Relax.

Imagine that you are sitting at the edge of a deep pool, feet in the water, pants or skirt hiked up. Feel the warmth or the coolness of the water on your bare skin. Wiggle your toes in the current. Notice your seat against the edging of the pool; feel the air against your skin. And, relax.

As you are now fully placed in this dream-state become aware that there are fish swimming below. Some are beautifully colored and move gracefully within their school. There are several large sharks slowly circling in the shadows, neither retreating nor moving forward. Manage any considerations you may have about having your feet share the same water as these creatures. Notice the sensations that are predominant in your body and relax into them.

Realize that you cannot know what will happen next. Shift your awareness by simply feeling what it is like to be here, seated betwixt and between and manage the impulses that may try to dislocate you from this position.

Open to this in-between space, and receive what is here waiting. Allow the images, memories, and feelings to find you and observe.

It is in the “betwixt and between” that our conscious mind gives way to the unconscious and our dreams give voice to our soul.

I – You

When working one-on-one with my clients, I am dependant upon the “other” for me to be fully present. I am also dependent on the “other” to enter into the shared experience in order for it to be fully energized. . . a shared phenomenal world in common. An open mind allows for this phenomenon to unfold. A closed mind: too much judgment, doubt, fear or laziness shuts down the field and disallows the ever, evolving relationship and the context that it lives within.

When communication does occur at this level, when the field is open, the entire universe of possibility within the organization, business, or professional pursuit is clearly available. Each moment unfolds naturally. The interrelatedness between me and my client becomes the context which reveals how the organization can evolve efficiently and elegantly. For the artist, his or her passion returns. For the professional, goals and objectives reveal in an obtainable format.

“The basic word I-You establishes the world of relation.”

Buber, M. I and Thou. p.56.

By |August 1st, 2015|Categories: Clarity|0 Comments


What you hold, may you always hold.

What you do, may you do and never abandon.

But with swift pace, light step, unswerving feet,
so that even your steps stir no dust,
go forward
securely, joyfully, and swiftly, on the path of prudent happiness,
believing nothing
agreeing with nothing
which would dissuade you from this resolution
or which would place a stumbling block for you on the way,

so that you may offer your vows to the Most High

in the pursuit of that perfection

to which the Spirit of the Lord has called you.

by Clare of Assisi (1193? – 1254)

By |June 11th, 2015|Categories: Clarity|0 Comments

There is a Thread

IMG_3962The Way It Is

“There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.”

~ William Stafford

What Are You Really Worth?

CALIFORNIA 004It takes great courage to think differently, to come up against the masses, and to truly believe when the opposition roars. In Moneyball, Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, did just that. He turned a woefully funded team into a legitimate contender sending shock waves through the baseball community. Influenced by the philosophy of Bill James, Beane employed sabermetrics forming new methods of player evaluation.

As the movie opens, the screen is black and in white letters there appears a sentence stating, “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you have been playing all of your life.” Although this relates to the game of baseball, it can certainly take on other meanings as well. As we pass through this lifetime, we learn and concretize certain methods for survival, just as in the game of baseball where players were consistently and historically chosen for their high averages. No questions asked. That is until Beane, with a budget of less than 4 million, needed to “think outside the box,” for any hope of victory against teams with budgets over a hundred million.

With the help of Peter Brand, Beane realized that the teams were not asking the right questions and analyzing the right data. He also knew from personal experience that few scouts are actually able to go inside the mind of a young man and be confident that he will become the next hero on the plate and in the field.

‘We are card counters at the blackjack table,’ declares Beane surrounded by veteran scouts, adding: ‘If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good.’ (Beane in Moneyball)

How many times have you had to stretch to succeed? When all seems futile, have you had the courage to disregard the norm and believe in something so strongly that you actually change history or at least a piece of history as you knew it?

Beane did just that; although, at the time he was so caught up in the count that he did not realize the implications of his actions. Just like Jeremy Brown who hit a home run and didn’t even know it, Beane changed the game. He changed the game of baseball for good.


By |March 21st, 2015|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

What makes a man turn to nature?

EasterTim Corcoran, in his book Growing up with a Soul Full of Nature, writes a compelling, meandering tale based upon his experience of taking refuge in nature. At a young age, nature became Tim’s friend and teacher. Having witnessed a horrific mutilation of animals in his neighbor’s garage, Tim turned to the land, the dirt, its plants and animals in an attempt to heal. By opening his heart, Tim was able to feel the unspoken connection between all things – believing, above all else, that the intimate experience of raw nature remains our inherent birthright.

Courage keeps one grounded in the natural world and provides one the strength to maintain a mind open to the many mysteries that present themselves as one peers deeply into the folds of all that is and ever was. As a teenager, by creating his own living “Code of Honor,” Tim has had to fight hard to walk the ridgeline of his life. This being a heartfelt set of beliefs, Tim’s “Code” holds meaning only to him; therefore, it is only he who can attain true mastery. For him, self-mastery comes from a place of power within ones-self that engages with the world through presence, self-knowledge, experience and wisdom.

By |March 9th, 2015|Categories: Mastery|0 Comments

Things Fall Apart

Dinner in SausalitoThings fall apart and they should. Everything in life is in an impermanent state of flux. Things end so that new life can emerge. We lose lovers, pets, valued objects, moments, feelings, sleep, friendships, opportunities, and finally loved ones. When things crumble and fall to pieces, new possibilities are soon to present themselves. Thousands of mini deaths inform transformation within the individual psyche, because each of these dying moments gives birth to the process of becoming whole. It is only when we recognize them for what they are and receive their teachings, that we open ourselves to a deeper and more informed opportunity to participate fully in our relationship with life.


“This frail vessel thou emptiest again and again,

And fillest it ever with fresh life.”

(Tagore, R. Gitanjali)

By |February 17th, 2015|Categories: Change|1 Comment

The Power of Nothing

Could studying the placebo effect change the way we think about medicine?

In 2011, Harvard created an institute at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center under the direction of Ted Kaptchuk: its sole purpose being Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter. Can placebos when given deliberately, be employed in clinical practice; could placebos possibly replace medicine?

Something has to change the chain from illness to pill – the simple solution to a single problem.  Somewhere we have to acknowledge the healing power of being witnessed and held in relationship by our doctors: honest words, a pat on the back, encouraging, empathetic resonance. At some point, we have to question the unquestionable: can our expectations have a profound impact on our ability to heal and, if left to its own healing, can the brain produce its own pharmacy? -Sdukes

Michael Specter The New Yorker December 12, 2011, p. 30

Image: Tdukes, 2011

By |February 8th, 2015|Categories: Dr. Dukes' Musings|5 Comments