After some less than impressive encounters, my most recent experience of a particular public service has proved transformative.  Past encounters had felt impersonal and perfunctory, more processing of a problem than dealing with a human being. I was expecting more of the same this time.

What I experienced instead was warm and personal…people collaborating, paying attention at a human level and connected to and with me. It has allowed me to start letting go a long-held, and somewhat calcified, negative viewpoint. I find a healthy appreciation growing in its place.

And it has got me thinking about how I engage with and bring more appreciation into my life and leadership. For me it’s about heart and living more through the heart. According to the dictionary appreciation is defined as recognition of the good qualities of someone or something. The synonyms offered include valuing, respect, cherishing, treasuring, admiration, regard, esteem – heart-felt qualities.

I know when I engage with people, situations and ideas through my heart the experience is both deeper and more expansive than is possible through an intellectual filter alone, shifting from a view informed by ‘fact’ and experience to a felt sense and appreciation of other contexts, experiences, views of the world and different possibilities.

At a personal level engaging through the heart, nurturing this ability to shift, to let go old constructs, develop a different appreciation and keep renewing, feels increasingly important. It is a contribution I and all leaders can make to our world where the impacts of fixed views, relying on old ways and experience and a lack of heart-fullness are all too obvious.

Trudy Worth