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.

Contact me now!

 

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.

Showing up and Connecting

Drive-through ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Really?  I have to admit my level of cynicism has been heightened lately.  I expected people to be driving through the parking lot of our church, in a hurry, looking for a quick “fix” to their holy obligation.  I worried that it could be perfunctory, perhaps even a bit trite.  I was amazed and humbled that it was anything but, it was holy, it was precious, it was uplifting and it was profound.

Many found their way to us because they had seen on the news that we, along with other churches, were offering the “ashes to go” and drove quite a distance to participate.  Others simply saw the sign and impulsively decided to turn in. Once they arrived and rolled down their window I simply asked them to take a deep breath with me and slow down.  They needed a moment to summon their full presence and I needed a moment to gather myself and be fully present to them and not allow my prayers or our short liturgy to become rote.  We stopped, we breathed, we opened our hearts and once we were ready, we began to pray.

For two to five minutes I leaned over to share a quick prayer with total strangers while they sat in their cars and received the imposition of ashes.  For two to five minutes the world stopped, our eyes met, our hearts were touched and our spirits were lifted.  Sometimes it was for longer because that prayer and those ashes “undid” something, let loose something and stories poured out, tears poured out and ultimately joy.  Deep gratitude was exchanged in those moments.  I was grateful for their presence and they were grateful for mine.  We all showed up for one another.  We showed up with intention and granted one another our full presence.

Isn’t that what it means to be Christ to one another?  It just goes to show you that when we take the time to show up with our full presence and with shared intention it doesn’t take that long to establish deep connection.  We didn’t discuss politics, or work, or what we watched on TV.  We just emotionally pole vaulted over all that trivia and into the deep well of our being – one that was shared. In that moment, we experienced unity and I am profoundly grateful.

Articulate Values to Guide Behavior versus Assuming Values and Regretting Behavior

core-values

“Take care of it!”

“Get it handled!”

“Make it happen!”

“Sure, I can do that – the end justifies the means,  right?”  Or does it?

At some point in our careers we have been the recipient of some sort of ill-defined directive.  And we’ve probably all felt uncomfortable not knowing exactly how to go about “taking care of it.”   The person issuing directive may think they are empowering us.  But unless these directives are embedded in a culture of specifically articulated values the consequences may carry a high price.  I’ve seen this happen in good companies, with good people trying hard to do a good day’s work.  They came up against a challenge and sought out guidance from the leadership and the leadership said, “Just take care of it.”

So what does that mean, “Just take care of it” Does it mean that I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t bother YOU with it?  Does it mean that I can do whatever is easiest for ME?  Does it mean I can do whatever I need to do to “make it happen” even if what is required is illegal or unethical?

Assumptions are made on the part of leadership that when they issue an open directive like that the receiver will operate in a way that is consistent with the corporate values and the known rules.  Well, you know what they say about assuming – don’t do it.  Don’t assume they will do what you ask in the way that you would do it.  Don’t assume that they share your values and concerns.  Don’t assume they have the full context of any given situation.  Don’t assume.

Rather than assuming, leadership should be leading in such a way that the corporate values, intentions and their priorities are known and understood.  Not assuming requires an up-front investment but the pay-off is tremendous.  Because if you take the time to inform your team of your values, your intentions and your priorities AND ask them to come along side you and share those same values, intentions and priorities, only then have you empowered them to act on your behalf.  If you don’t do that you may well end up with a big mess on your hands; the kind of mess that may have legal ramifications, cost you a lot of money or perhaps adversely impact your reputation and business.

Make the investment in your business.  Empower your team to work with intention and purpose and in alignment with your shared values and vision.  Need some help getting that done?  Contact me, I can help.