The Gift of Time

Listen to any podcast that pulls the veil back on how a business got started and you will hear about the practice of iteration.  You’ll hear how these big brands that are now household names started on someone’s laptop, how they worked out of their garage for years, had doors shut in their faces, created countless prototypes before hitting on the design, the business plan the right combination of factors to trigger their success.  How I admire them and their tenacity.

I think many of us want to believe in the myth of the overnight success but it is just that a myth.  If we want to move forward and create something new or even simply re-engineer what we have it’s going to take some time… and iteration.

Iteration.  Oh, it may go by other names like persistence, resilience, tenacity and commitment but it speaks with the same voice.  And when the voice of iteration speaks it is telling us:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing over and over again until you get it right!”

              “What lesson did you just learn?  Use it!” 

                                “Don’t give up, try again”

                                             “What if we tweaked this a little bit? What if …” 

                                                “Give it time”

Let me re-iterate – we hear and read about iteration because it is an important practice for any practice.  Do it, do it again, and again… repeat as needed.  It is a cycle but not a circle.  I’d say it is more like a spiral.  With each iteration, you hope to progress towards your goal, spiraling upward.  It would be so nice if our progress had a more linear path like a nice little chart with all the arrows pointing in a positive direction.  In reality that rarely happens.  Reality can be a bummer sometimes!

As you practice, curiosity, audacity and discernment know that you will spiral back to curiosity, audacity and discernment again and again.  You will ask, you will act and then you will assess.  With each assessment, you will be encouraged to ask more questions which will spur more action and in turn, require more assessment.  With each iteration, each cycle, you will learn, deepen your understanding and increase your ability to respond successfully.  It just never ends, because just when you think you have arrived you need to get curious about sustainability!

Can these practices become overwhelming?  Yes, they can and that is why having a supportive community is so important.  As a Facilitative Consultant, I work with individuals and groups to empower them to work with intention and joy.  Let me know how I can help you move forward.

 

The Gift of Discernment – Taking Aim

Is it possible to have too many opportunities and ideas?  Absolutely, if you have more ideas and opportunities than you can handle. And this can happen when practicing curiosity and audacity.  These two behaviors are associated with one of my favorite Tom Peters’ concepts – “Ready, Fire, Aim!” 1   Curiosity gets you “ready” and then you “fire” with audacity.  The resulting plethora of ideas and opportunities is ready for you to curate and that requires the next practice, discernment.   Discernment is the “aim” piece. You become the Curator of your ideas so you can focus on the opportunities most likely to yield success.  Increased clarity and focus are the gifts that a good discernment process will bring.

When your mind is churning with ideas it can be quite a noisy place.  It is easy to get carried away and find yourself overwhelmed.  Remember, just because something is a good idea  doesn’t mean it is a good idea for you.  Find your way to a place of discernment, a place of silence, and give yourself the gift of clarity.  There are so many ways to practice discernment; alone, with a trusted friend or advisor, even in a group.  The critical elements of discernment are silence and openness. This process moves you out of your head and into your heart.  Not the emotional heart but the heart of your being, your core.

Journaling has been one of the most fruitful discernment practices for me.  The great thing about journaling is that it is for you and only you.  Poor grammar and spelling, ill-conceived ideas and rants are totally acceptable.  Just write.  And write some more.  Write at least three pages at a time to move yourself from your head into your heart.  Find a time in your day that works for you and try to journal daily; it takes as little as twenty minutes.  Follow the flow of your thoughts and allow them to speak – even if they sound ridiculous. Play around with “what if” scenarios to get a sense of where you have reservations or where you feel your energy rise.  See where you get stuck.  Pay attention and be compassionate with yourself!!

Your deeply held beliefs and values will speak to you out of the silence.  Listen and process what you hear.  Share what you are learning with a trusted friend or advisor.  Understand that when your closely-held values are honored in your work it naturally becomes more satisfying. Working outside of your values or in direct conflict with your values will leave you spiritually bankrupt and exhausted.  It is imperative that you walk your path with integrity and authenticity.  I’m not saying it is easier, I’m saying it is more life-giving to work in alignment with your deeply held values.

Working with individuals and groups in discernment is one of my favorite things to do.  It is a privilege to bear witness to the process of birthing and developing new dreams, ideas and processes.  Having a facilitator who is not a stakeholder in your dream can be extremely helpful.   Contact me and let’s talk about your process.

1 In Search of Excellence, Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies, Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

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The Gift of Curiosity

Curiosity.  What is it about curiosity that creates a sense of spaciousness?  Space that is needed for collaboration and creativity.   Simply put, curiosity does not judge, it simply inquires. Where judgment seems to narrow our minds, curiosity opens our minds. Imagine what a gift that would be!  What would be possible if we replaced our fear of judgment with curiosity?

I wonder what would happen if we were to peer into the unknown places in our lives and simply ask questions instead of making judgments?  I know that I often don’t trot out an idea because I’m afraid of the judgment that may follow.  That accomplishes one thing – it stops me in my tracks!  The more I get over my fear of sharing my idea, the better off I and my idea will be.  The more I can be curious about other’s insights, about their needs, about their responses, the better equipped I am to move forward.

Like most behaviors, being curious may take some practice.  Try asking yourself how your idea/dream is like growing tomatoes or going on a road trip.  Exploring a seemingly silly metaphor can help you unfold an idea and allow you to gain a new perspective.  As a thought facilitator, I have found that this sort of exercise helps highlight where the current focus is and what is being forgotten or needs clarifying.

Be curious!  If you want to know something you need to take a chance and ask the question.  In the process, you may discover some new and unexpected allies.  I think you will find that there is a wellspring of support available in the world.  Ask yourself, ask your peers, ask on-line communities, ask those you see as experts… just ask.

Ask and receive.  Be open to the answers and ideas that come your way.  Some answers will be more helpful than others but all information is useful.  Hold the answers and opinions of others lightly and in the spirit in which they were asked – without judgment.  Gather it all together and take the next step.  Discernment.

What are you wondering about?  Who would be someone whose insights would benefit your process?  Stop thinking about it and do it!  Get out your journal, pick up the phone, send an email, get on an on-line forum – let your curiosity have a voice!

I wonder what you do to overcome fear and cultivate curiosity?  I wonder if you are willing to share?  Have a question for me – just ask!

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The Gift of Audacity

Success.  Do we have to be better and smarter than our competitors?  Based on my observations – no you don’t!

Based on my observations – oftentimes what seems to be the differentiator between one person’s success and another’s dead-end… is audacity.  They dared, they risked, they went for it – they were audacious.

That is an over simplification of a complex issue.  There are many factors that combine to create success in a person’s life and work.  Behind it all is the necessary action.  You must show up for yourself and your dreams and you must dare to act on them.  Audacity is a gift you give yourself and your dreams; a little needed energy to get you over the hump and down the road.

Audacity does not replace a good product or being a smart businessperson. It simply is a characteristic of some people who are willing to be bold, brave, and push their idea out into the world to see what happens.  They believe in their dream and are willing to risk offering it up.

There will always people who are smarter and do whatever it is you do better.  But there is not another you.  You and your dreams are unique and they request that you step up and allow them to be born into the world and manifested.

Audacity may be second nature for some but know it can be cultivated. Practice a little audacity in your life.  Stretch yourself and give voice to the work you desire.  Do something each day to support the journey you want to make.  You will build your own sense of audacity, confidence and ability to step up and out with your ideas and plans.

Stop thinking about it and do it!  Take one action, right now and it will feel really good, I promise.  Need a thought partner?  Contact me – my audacious request –  because that would allow me to live into my dreams.

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the dots aka don’t assume! Having a well-articulated statement of purpose and explicated values in an organization is just the start.  Then the real work starts – connecting that purpose and values not only to every day behaviors but to every single person in your organization.  What good is it to have a well-crafted statement of purpose if the people who work there don’t understand it or worse don’t feel it applies to what they are doing?  It’s not any good!

So, you start to connect the dots – connect the purpose of your organization to the people within your organization.  Everyone has a role to play for the purpose to be fulfilled but do they know that?  Does everyone from the custodial staff to the CEO understand how their individual “doing” is connected to fulfilling the purpose of the organization?  Does everyone understand how the core values or guiding principles apply to their role?  And I’m talking about practical applications of those values in every day work.  The way I see it, if a person’s role in an organization doesn’t help fulfill the purpose – then I see no purpose in that role.  Everyone is connected and responsible for fulfilling the purpose.

Unity is a powerful force in any organization.  If you have a powerful purpose, one that inspires, think how much more fulfilling it is to work within such an organization.  A receptionist can answer the phone and greet clients/customers anywhere.  A good salesperson can sell anything.  But when you take those talents and put them in service of an inspiring purpose… well, that is where they find a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment.  Now you have a workforce that is engaged and striving, in concert with one another, towards something they all feel is worthy.

Now it’s time to get to work.  It’s time to connect the dots and create that unity of purpose that pervades the entire scope of your organization and takes you to the next level of excellence.  And if connecting dots is not your thing, know it’s mine.  Contact me so we can create a pathway to your success.