Keeping It Light: Appreciating the Guardian

Words matter, according to UAE-based Susan Furness, an alternative strategist, coach in Spiritual Intelligence, and a senior associate with She says vocabulary can power expansionary impact on brand reputation, especially in the digital economy.  

In her book Edgewalkers, people and organizations that take risks, build new bridges, and break new ground, Dr Judi Neal looks in different places to understand, embrace and manage change. She offers new definitions and glossary for leaders, often suggesting a clear relationship between transformational leadership and spirituality.   

The original article was penned by Susan for the Edgewalker Blog found at  

It is a precious responsibility to step into any of the five Edgewalker Archetypes of Change introduced in Edgewalkers. Yet acting in or out as the Guardian orientation feels especially huge.     

Let´s consider a Guard has the responsibility to care for something deemed valuable. Add the ‘ian’ and read it as I AM for an intimate energy. Like it is my sole responsibility, or indeed my ‘soul responsibility’.   

In 2008, I embraced the Guardian as my default archetype. However, the way I wear the proverbial overcoat sees me ever eager to fill the extra-large pockets with ‘responsibility for the responsibilities of others’. The role of the Guardian to tend what is precious can fall heavy on my shoulders.   

Fortunately, Dr Judi Neal’s definition of a Guardian offers immediate light as she introduces words like future, gift, sensing, protecting people:  

Guardians are the people who look to the future and tend to see all the things that could potentially be a problem. They have a gift of analyzing and/or sensing what could go wrong before it happens. They are committed to protecting people and the organization from potential harm.  

The heavy responsibility starts to lessen by honoring the sense-ability of Guardians.  As they sense the future they use ´gut feeling´ to flag potential pitfalls on the road less travelled, calling to work the ‘analysis of facts and the third eye of intuition’. Intuition is an Edgewalker Quality of Being.   

But what feels uncomfortably hot and heavy in the definition is the ‘commitment to protecting from harm’. I take a moment to listen to my Guardian-filled heart and the need to deploy ‘sense-based situation analysis’. Is my responsibility as a Guardian to shout, ‘fight or flight’?    

I recall the Indian philosopher, Anthony De Mello : “…find truth in observation, not opinion….”. Another light goes on.  

In the unlikelihood of serious physical harm to anyone my commitment to protection can be met by delivering the message as a well-rounded observation, stripped of opinion, demand, directive or order.  

In this new light  the Guardian overcoat immediately feels much lighter. The remit is not to carry the responsibility of others, rather to appropriately name what I sense and/or know. Presently, as life during and after corona offers little known facts this is made even lighter.  I name Sensing the Future, as opposed to knowing the future, as an ‘alternative strategic driver’ in business and in life.   

Let’s unpack some more.   

‘Problem’ features boldly in in Dr Neal´s definition also tugging uncomfortably especially for those akin to risk avoidance at all costs. To lighten the overcoat some more, a replacement word is needed.  

Diane Musho Hamilton wrote the book Everything Is Workable. With inner listening and outer practice,  a conscious conversation can align thoughts and intention by clearing a muddy path and help keep the luggage light.   

Indeed, in polarity a problem, issue or challenge at home, in the office or the boardroom can ´disappear´ ´when re-named an ‘opportunity’. I call this a Blessing in Disguise.  

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