Robbed

October 31, 2016 at 7:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“It doesn’t matter what others are doing. It matters what YOU are doing.” – Unknown

It was a beautiful morning with hardly anyone else in the pool. My swim the day before had felt really laboursome. This morning’s though saw me feeling strong and comfortable. I was a million blissful miles away when suddenly something caught my eye and shook me out of the joy I had been experiencing. A swimmer in the lane beside me swam past effortlessly.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

The quote above has been coming up a lot within our program days lately. In the moment described above I was experiencing exactly that. Comparison really is the thief of joy. So catching ourselves when we do this, and then compassionately bringing our awareness back seems like the only real choice to make. For me that morning it was through one important question. ‘What am I grateful for?’

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner

I don’t believe that any of us walk around in a 24 hour a day joyus bliss. But I do believe that as we navigate the successes and challenges that our journeys of potential present we can use questions like the one that I described above to reopen forgotten in a particular moment pathways to simple joys. Reflection, planning, growth, contribution, collaboration, and other practices that keep us engaged, challenged and inspired as we strive to make a difference in our own and others lives don’t require us getting caught up in comparison along the way.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

How does comparison show up within your journey of potential? Do you agree that comparison is the thief of joy? What ways do you compassionately bring yourself back when you notice comparison slipping into your thoughts, words and actions? What are you grateful for?

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius

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Can I Get A Spot

October 24, 2016 at 5:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Celebrate even small victories.” – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

This past week has seen me achieve a few personal bests at the gym. They’re only small victories but as the quote above says you’ve got to celebrate them along the way. It got me thinking though about the journey towards these personal bests. Without a spotter I don’t think I’d be at this point right now. My friend’s encouragement and physical support has been crucial in building the confidence, amount of repetitions needed and strength to discover this new potential.

“Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.” – Stephen Covey

Interdependency and our journeys of potential are inextricably linked. None of us live on islands by ourselves, and for good reason. As we embrace interdependency we don’t have to give up authenticity. Independence and authenticity are not the same thing. Being you can bring with it an awareness that as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically we can choose cooperation over competition. Who we are and our contribution matter. Maximising this doesn’t have to involve feeling like we must do it on our own.

“Change requires energy, assistance, and more than just knowing what one should do.” – Unknown

Which areas of your journey of potential do you feel comfortable and confident to seek out and be supported by ‘spotters’? Which areas of your journey of potential do you not feel comfortable and confident to seek out and be supported by ‘spotters’? How do you view the role of interdependency, independence and authenticity in your life? What messages (individual and shared) reinforce, support or challenge our individual and shared beliefs?

“A little progress every day adds up to BIG results.” – Satya Nani

YES!

October 17, 2016 at 6:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means that you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your – and likely in others’ lives as well. Yes is what keeps us all young. It’s a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.” – Eric Schmidt

I love the video above that I watched last week. I can’t remember exactly what I was searching for at the time but I’m glad that I stumbled across such an inspiring short clip. For a while I’ve been interested in reading Shonda Rhimes’ book, ‘Year of Yes’, but haven’t got to it yet. Thinking about the power of yes and the taking on of a ’24 Hours of YES Challenge’ reminded me of why her book piqued my interest when I watched her TED Talk many months ago.

“Saying “yes” doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying “please” doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” – Amy Poehler

Being open to and excited by ‘YES’ doesn’t mean there isn’t room for no. This is where mindfulness comes in. As we gain greater clarity around what’s most important to us, and purposefully and non judgementally engage in the present moment, we can create the space in our lives for enthusiastic yes’s and compassionate no’s. This is our journeys of choosing kind for me, with you, so we can experience connecting us.

“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” – Anne Sexton

I wonder what opportunities to deepen connection to self, others or the world around you would be available within a ’24 Hours of YES Challenge’?

“As much as you can in your life, say yes.” – Mary Carillo

Peer to Peer

October 10, 2016 at 3:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters

Life can get so busy. Our personal and/or professional roles and responsibilities can see us experiencing feelings of being time poor while we juggle overcrowded schedules, expectations and deadlines. One of the areas that can slip away or be overlooked in the midst of all of this is effective communication with those within our spheres of influence. If time isn’t carved out within the busyness and the role of purposeful communication isn’t highly valued and practiced then opportunities to maximise our own and others engagement, wellbeing, contribution, growth and development may be missed.

“Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success.” – Paul J. Meyer

I recently had the chance to spend some time supporting a camp leader team. This is definitely one work environment that can mirror what I’ve described above. The camp leaders professional roles and responsibilities span the full 24 hours of each day as they fulfil not only outcome focussed instruction and safety components of the participants experience, but also the pastoral care element of children being away from their homes for that week. One of my favourite quotes definitely is on show during a week at camp, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’, as camp leaders interdependently create an experience for each individual that will hopefully be fondly remembered for a long time. Communication is absolutely at the heart of making this happen.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw

One area that we highlighted in our sessions was the importance of being explicit as we communicate (in particular areas for this group especially). ‘The illusion that it has taken place’, as the quote above most eloquently describes, is a major challenge that must be navigated. To limit feelings of frustration, blame and disconnection as we assume someone should know or maybe knows, we can open pathways to accountability, empowerment and the fostering of a positive culture if we have the courage to share what needs to be said, compassionately, openly and honestly. I was able to witness this in action within this group, with the ripples being created by the staff’s thoughts, words and actions becoming teachable moments for us all.

“Examine what is said and not who speaks.” – African proverb

The most powerful session that I facilitated saw the camp leaders engaging in a peer to peer feedback activity. Sometimes we can feel feedback travels downwards rather than owning the important role that we all play in our own and others engagement, wellbeing, contribution, growth and development in the workplace. The activity started with us all honestly reflecting on our own strengths and areas for growth before having the opportunity to provide observations for each other in these areas. All the staff involved spoke to me afterwards about how this process was important and valuable for them. It reinforced. It supported. It challenged. It reminded. It inspired. But most importantly the peer to peer feedback opened up meaningful and purposeful conversations rooted in mutual respect and a deep belief of we’re all in this together.

“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.” – Brian Tracy

Having spent a lot of time in camp over the years, here in Australia as well as overseas, I often say that what I love most is that when at its best camp is a celebration of the imperfect. Real really is a big deal. When participants and staff choose exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically, guards are dropped and comfort zones are expanded, that’s when the magic happens. Connection is the only real currency of any value in this environment. And as I said earlier in this post, communication is absolutely at the heart of making this happen.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

Hands Up If…

October 2, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you look online for a list of the top human fears it brings up a variety of search results. Most of the lists have similarities, it just depends on how that person or group has interpreted the ‘data’. One fear that comes up a lot in the lists and is also one that we’d all have experienced in our lives is the fear of speaking in front of others. On many lists it can sit right at the top at number 1 (higher than death – as Jay Leno famously said, “I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”) It’s not surprising then that many Year 5 and Year 6 students that we support put their hands up when asked towards the beginning of a program if they are discouraged from seeking leadership opportunities because of this.

“All speaking is public speaking whether it’s to one person or a thousand.” – Roger Love

Being fearful isn’t the issue. We all experience fear. The issue is that we as individuals and groups can equate leadership with this one particular role. We see Prime Ministers, Presidents, Principals and other visible ‘leaders’ speaking in front of others all the time. Our lens then is influenced by their position equaling one particular function; rather than encompassing the fullness of thoughts, words and actions that accompany anyone’s journey of striving to make a difference. This aspect of the lens we view leadership through is one of the things that keeps us motivated as we engage, challenge and inspire the next generation of difference makers.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

When recently setting up for the third program day with a client school I had some interested Year 4 students come up and ask me what I was doing and what the particular equipment I was laying out was for. As I explained what experiences the Year 5 cohort were involved in I was met with a peculiar look and honest question from one boy. ‘Why are you doing it with the whole grade then if it’s about leadership?’ This question opened up a great conversation with the Year 5 cohort of students (90 of them) later as I told them about how my day had started. They confidently explained to me the multitude of ways that each of them can embody leadership (individually and collectively) without the need to be wearing a badge or standing on a stage leading assembly.

“A good speech is like a pencil; it has to have a point.” – Author Unknown

We are all influenced by what we see, feel and hear within our journeys of potential. It’s why top down thinking comes so naturally to us throughout all the complexity that we navigate each and every day. We internalise particular beliefs, ideas and patterns of behaviour from our experiences and the ‘knowledge’ gained from external sources. Remembering that we can choose a lens that sees the fullness of leadership opens us up to purposefully leading. When overwhelm or fears associated with any part of choosing to lead appears (like speaking in front of others) we have the opportunity to come back to ‘why’; then courageously, compassionately, interdependently and authentically navigate our way through whatever it is that is in front of us.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else does is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.” – hplyrikz.com

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