Cadence is a musical term that literally means to Fall.  Cadence is falling in step or keeping with the rhythm, pace and flow around you. I recently read about this in John McAuley’s book, “Leading from the in-between”.  A brilliant book that is highly recommended.

John describes Cadence.
“We need to keep in step with ourselves – knowing who we really are (and who we are not), how we are wired and how that drives the way we view the world.  We need to keep in step with others – seeing people for who they are, knowing their strengths and understanding the world they live in. And we also need to keep in step with God – alive to our own spirit and the Spirit around us.

It reminds me of the scripture in Mark 12:30-31
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul (life), and with all your mind (thought, understanding), and with all your strength.  This is the second: ‘You shall (unselfishly) love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.  This is cadence!

When we read this scripture we often focus on loving God and others, but we miss “as yourself”.  We can only give out of what we have.  Loving God, then ourselves, then others.  When we get these three things in order, life is abundant, life is full and we have influence.

Cadence requires us to have a disposition of Openness, Awareness and Responsiveness.

Disposition of Openness
As long as we have a disposition of openness, we are in the right state no matter what comes.  Openness is a state of hopefulness.

John 16:30  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

In the two chapters before, Jesus keeps telling them to not let their hearts be troubled.  When we are troubled, we are in a closed space.  We lack hope, we lack courage and when we make decisions in that place we are driven by fear and there will always be a negative outcome or fruit of that.  We do have another option available to us….

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

We will all live a legacy, but only those who are intentional will leave a legacy that influences for good and for God.  We need to be have a disposition of openness to make this happen.

We can also be closed to feedback from others.  If you get defensive about feedback you are in a closed space.  Yes it might sting, but feedback is valuable.

An excerpt of the book says it beautifully,  “Openness to our own story and how that impacts every fibre of our being and doing, openness to the feedback of others to help us read our own story more accurately, and openness to God, whose story is far bigger than ourselves.”

Disposition of awareness
This is closely related to openness, if openness is about gesture, (open arms) awareness is about posture (leaning forward).  I have coached many people in leadership and the ones who are great (not just in there own minds) have great self and other awareness, in the coaching world we call this EQ.  or Emotion intelligence.  It is a learned and practiced skill.  It’s is about being intentionally aware.

Awareness is about being in an open and ready posture that is about knowing what I carry and listening and seeing what others carry and being able to invite in more than my own narrative and story to create something bigger than me, you or us.  It is about being reflective and being flexible to adjust if necessary.

In the book it says, “Living with a posture of attentiveness means we are awake to our own framework and open to other people’s ways of seeing, other people’s gifts and other people’s stories.  Only by being both open and attentive will a leader be able to bring together all the people’s best strengths and live in cadence….  To live with a disposition of attentiveness means to be able to take down assumptions and make sure that we are not defining things by our limited frameworks.

Disposition of Responsiveness

In the book it says, “What use is a posture of responsiveness, if we are not also ready to move? Keeping in step with the rhythm and flow of life and leadership implies action.  Responsiveness is where openness and attentiveness meet practical reality.  Action takes hope and courage-and that ability to embolden courage to respond is one of the marks of a leader.”

What can you do today that will get you in cadence with God, yourself and others?


Tracey Olivier