Transformation

October 26, 2015 at 5:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“What you resist persists.” – Carl Jung

There will always be an excuse available if we go looking for one. Too busy. Don’t have all the answers. Someone else is to blame. Too hard. Too challenging. Too scary. Not fun. Not ready. (Insert your favourite here: _________________) And now let’s compassionately come back to the ‘Now’.

“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.” – Eckhart Tolle

In the ‘now’ is where transformation is possible. Within any experience, as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically, we can be changed through a deepening of connection to self, others or the world around us as we remain present. It happens in there amongst all the complexity. And the vulnerability. And the unpredictability. And the uncertainty. And the joy. And the wonder. And the frustration. (Insert your favourite here: _________________) One of my favourite quotes explores this theme, “Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely” – Unknown.

“To journey without being changed, is to be a nomad. To change without journeying is to be a chameleon. To journey and to be transformed by the journeying is to be a pilgrim.” – Mark Nepo

So here’s a short reflection to finish this post. In our journeys of potential what are we willing to experience? In our journeys of potential what are we going to turn to face? In our journeys of potential what are we willing to open up to? And in our journeys of potential what and how will we surrender into?

“Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I am given unimaginable gifts;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.

Each condition I flee from pursues me.
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed…”

– Jennifer Welwood

Difficult is not the same as Impossible

October 19, 2015 at 6:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”– James Allen

A month and a half ago I had the pleasure of being at The Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney. It was a great day of inspiring speakers, but most importantly many conversations were started and connections sparked as people milled in and around the Opera House on the day. I really do love the feel of live events like this. They remind me to keep exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically.

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington

One of the speakers who we listened to at the festival was Canadian Naomi Klein. She is an author, social activist and filmmaker who provided the packed Concert Hall audience with much food for thought within her presentation. One specific comment that she made resonated strongest for me, with its application much more broad ranging than just the important topics being covered in her talk. ‘Difficult is not the same as impossible’.

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

How often does limiting language like impossible impact our individual or shared daily thoughts, words and actions? How often do we as individuals and groups not even begin because of a perceived sense of impossibility? How often do we as individuals and groups walk away within the struggle of challenge because if it doesn’t come easily it must be impossible? How often do we slip into blame and criticism as we navigate our journeys through difficult?

“The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” – Unknown

So what can we tap into while we navigate complex journeys through difficult? What about 3 C’s! First: being and staying curious, second: tapping into our own and others creativity, finally: within collaborative practices. Staying curious sees us remaining engaged and staying with difficult long enough to find new opportunities, ideas, learnings and ways of being. Tapping into creativity sees us being able to form new and valuable (tangible or intangible) connections, patterns, outcomes and solutions. While collaborative practices see us supporting each other through ‘being the change we wish to see in the world’.

“If it’s not exactly like you thought it would be, you think it’s a failure. What about the spectrum of colours in between.” – Sara Evans

Where in your journey of potential or within your spheres of influence does this comment (difficult is not the same as impossible) resonate? What do you tap into when navigating your way through difficult?

There’s more than just a tip of an iceberg!

October 12, 2015 at 6:01 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” – Wendy Mass

This past Saturday was World Mental Health Day. Therefore, over the past week there have been plenty of discussions, events and special presentations on TV, radio and in the community surrounding this important personal, family and societal issue. It wasn’t really until Saturday morning though, as I walked along the beach and went for a swim, that I started connecting all the dots fully as to the depth of interaction that I had had with the issue over this past week. It was far more than just the snippets of interviews, skimming through newspaper articles or segments of TV programs that I had seen, the complexity and interdependent nature of this issue was woven right throughout a week that felt like so many that I’d had before.

“When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

It all started as I witnessed and was apart of a school community supporting two teachers through loss and grief. Inevitably we find ourselves within unfolding human struggles and hardships (our own and others) because of our personal and professional connections and schedules. There are no quick fixes, single ways of coping or easy conversations in these moments, just opportunities for genuine and imperfect connection, empathy and compassion. Within the vulnerability and fragility that I saw, there was also so much strength. This paradox plays out in all our lives each and everyday. One comment really struck me though as so important, as both teachers recalled a final communication from one of the loved ones who they had lost that week. It was all about being kind, to self and others!

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

A question I found myself asking a lot last week was, ‘What is your most important daily practice?’ One conversation was with a teacher at a school we support who spoke about a morning and afternoon ritual that she has. Hearing her explain how they positively impact her days reminded me of why my Saturday morning had so many dots connecting. Feet on sand and swimming are two of my ’10 for Me’. This ’10 for Me’ is a list of daily reminders of simple practices that see me feeling most connected (to self, others and the world around me), creative and inspired. Obviously, being human means we experience a natural ebb and flow within our journeys. But coming back to what works for you, fostering supportive networks of individuals and groups, and having the courage to ask for help when we find ourselves in a ‘funk’, provides us with opportunities to most effectively navigate our way back to our path of wellbeing and making a difference in our own and others lives.

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” – Nido Qubein

There were conversations with teachers about particular students welfare and mental health needs and challenges. There were conversations with friends and family members about successes and challenges that are being currently navigated. There was time found in busy days to stop and recharge my own batteries through empowering daily practices. There were… There were… There were… The list really could go on and on and on. This is why weeks like the one just past, weeks that get people thinking, making connections to and talking about an issue like mental health, are so important. We are all works in progress and there definitely is more than just a tip of an iceberg!

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” – Rabindranath Tagore

En Masse, On Purpose

October 5, 2015 at 3:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Ingredients for a good day; a good dose of curiosity and conversation (to me they go hand in hand). Not being a coffee drinker, I always contemplate what its effects must be like when I’m in the midst of a connection filled discussion. As the quote goes, ‘Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after’. Many of my Explore Discover Act conversations lately has seen people being curious about the facilitation structure of our L.E.A.D. with Courage™: Stage 3 Leaders Program experiences. I have found myself in these discussions digging deeper into our philosophy of en masse, on purpose.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Traditionally, leadership has been seen as the domain of the select few. Certain people, possessing particular skills, holding special titles or positions, whilst having the ability to control, direct and make choices for the many; those are the people who can call themselves leaders. This narrow view of leadership can disempower, disengage and displace individuals and groups from ‘being the change they wish to see in the world’. Therefore, we have developed and fostered a leadership lens made up of purposeful and empowered daily thoughts, words and actions that deepen connection to and make a difference for self, others and the world around us.

“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.” – Ken Kesey

Many students, who at the beginning of an experience comment that they wouldn’t call themselves a leader, choose to put themselves into a now broader picture of leadership by the end of the program. Why is this important? Mainly because life is a journey of opportunities: interdependent, ongoing, and dynamic with varying degrees of complexity. We as individuals and groups navigate many choices and experience both successes and challenges. Instead of inaction, fear or disconnection affecting our own and others potential, we can adopt and continue to develop practices of Exploring the possibilities, Discovering potential and Acting authentically, remembering what Winston Churchill said, ‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’. But we have to choose, and continue choosing, over and over again.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”- Henry Ford

One thing that many of the participants say in our feedback process is that working with others they don’t usually work with or know that well is one of things they enjoyed most about the program. We all can get comfortable within our stories, groups and routines, until we are reminded through experience and reflection of the connection, potential and wisdom that lies within us all. We love being involved in the growth and development of leaders. Not just with the students, teachers and school communities with whom we work, but ourselves as well. We each, as individuals and groups, are dancing with opportunity in our journeys of potential all the time, will you lead or be lead across the dance floor?

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” —Warren Bennis

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