24 June, 2011

Winter Moments

Instead of hibernating like a bear, I have used my winter moments to do some winter reflections. I hope this provides some warmth for you today.
A Best Day
Every day is a new beginning to live life fully and allow potential to flow and be fulfilled.
One of my favourite sayings from my 5 year old daughter is ‘today is the best day of my life’, she says this at least a couple of times a week. I retort ‘of course it is, because today is all that matters’.
What if we did live each day as the best day of our lives, what would it look like, how different would it be from each and every other day. Would I experience less groundhog days, days that feel they are a repeat of the previous? Would I get more done, or less done? Would it be a faster or slower?
What if every day was framed to be the best and get the best from one another, how would our work places look, how would our families behave? If we are not framing our lives this way, how are we framing them? Are our intentions to create mediocre or stressful work days? Do we design our work flow and teams for people to step up and use their talents or do we just assume people will thrive and achieve in any situation.
Please try this experiment - frame every day for a whole week as the best day of our lives, I wonder what we will discover…

I have recently been running focus groups with the intention of discovering customer’s real experiences and using this as research to learn and improve my client’s offerings. What I am discovering is that you can put 7 people in one room and they all have their own stories. The variation of experiences is quite extraordinary even though they were supposed to have experienced the same offering.
Their interpretation of reality needs to be heard and acknowledged and not judged. People’s body language and presence changes when they are heard, their faces soften up, their body opens up and they seem to have a weight taken from their shoulders.
Validation of the experiences we have in life is an important aspect of our being heard and being alive. I often hear people say ‘I don’t understand XYZ’s view, how could they think this way’. Many times I think people should be saying ‘I don’t agree with XYZ’s view’, understanding and acknowledging someone’s view is sometimes all people require. We don’t have to agree with what they are saying, we can just validate what we are hearing. I think this helps with creating more harmony and less conflict in our communication and relationships. Try acknowledging people around you, see what happens next…

06 April, 2011

I Am Aware

I Am present for this Blog.
I Am aware of my laptop’s churning sound.
I Am aware of how my fingers lightly tap the keyboard.
I Am present and aware of my physical state, creaky knee and all
In my life roles of Coach, Advisor, Facilitator, Strategist, Mum, Wife, Partner, Daughter, Friend, Aunt, Colleague I am not always so AWARE.
In the roles of Coach and Mum I am most AWARE. I think I might have a bias for these particular roles in my life as the more AWARE and present I am the greater value I experience and create.
When working with Business Executives a lot of energy goes into helping professionals become AWARE of their stories, barriers and strengths and co-creating better ways of being. It seems that in the business of life we forget to pause and remember what state we are actually in. We then allow questionable habits to dominate our life and negative language to restrict our potential. Have you ever heard yourself saying ‘I am too busy’ , ‘I have too much on my plate to look at innovation’, ‘I will get to that when I have a quiet time’…
These scripts play out in reality every day and translate into back to back meetings, task orientation, urgency addiction and working extraordinarily long days. Does this approach to working translate into value and success? For some organisations it does and some it doesn’t. My question for you today is to be Aware of your state - your thoughts, language, physicality, being and then ask yourself this is the most constructive way of being to fulfill your potential and the potential of your organisation, team and colleagues.
Where our attention goes energy flows. Be AWARE of where you are putting your attention and ensure that its focus is what is most important to supporting your success and the success of your organisation. Remember it is OK to pause and reflect and be AWARE, it may only take a few seconds…

14 January, 2011

Creating Meaning

Which Life Will You Create – Pleasant, Good or Meaningful
Holidays bring with them time to reflect, time at the beach and time to catch up with my TED talks. A couple of the TED talks that stood out for me included Martin Seligman’s State of Psychology and Brene Brown’s Power of Vulnerability.
As a recovering control freak and an eternal optimist both of these talks resonated with me. The Power of Vulnerability highlighted to fully live and reach your potential you need to stop controlling everything. You need to be OK with a bit of mess. You need to be OK with the uncertainty of life. You need to acknowledge your own vulnerability and let it breathe and flow. By doing this you can take risks, be OK with things not working out and therefore know that you can get through any situation. Exercising your vulnerability allows you to step up and grow in different ways that you could not imagine compared to trying to fully control a situation. Being vulnerable for me is exposing myself to failure. Without risking failure how can we fully succeed? We have had many great ideas that sizzled and then fizzled. That has not stopped us from creating new ideas, we don’t know which idea will work. All previous ideas were great practice experiences to help us really appreciate when an idea actually does work!
Allow yourselves in 2011 to be a little risky – create a little mess, trial new experiences seek new adventures and allow your teams and families to play too.
Martin Seligman spoke about the more positive lives we could live and categorized them into 3 types: Pleasant, Good and Meaningful.
Pleasant lives – emotionally feel positive in the moment, but the feeling dissipates quickly. For example the feeling you have when you watch a funny movie, or buy a new pair of shoes or new clothes. Allowing ourselves to be fully present and mindful to savour our lives can make a pleasant life even more enduring.
Good lives – when time stops and you are in the flow/zone and you are immersed in whatever you are doing. You are so into your experience you do not recognise anything that is going on around you. For example athletes, musicians, artists are totally immersed in their experiences and nothing else exists. When I am coaching, dancing and writing I am in this zone – it feels like time just stops. At these times we are generally working with our strengths and allowing them to shine.
Meaningful lives – ability to use your strengths to contribute to something bigger than yourself. Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jnr and Nelson Mandela are examples of leaders who have led meaningful lives. Becoming a parent definitely added a new dimension of meaning to my life and any work that we provide to charities and community groups definitely has a long lasting positive impact on me. The challenge is to find your own meaning in your life.
Which life are you living?
In our work lives what environments are we creating for ourselves and colleagues – are we amplifying the work stage to allow vulnerabilities to be tested and shine? Are we creating pleasant work environments, where people love to come to work? Are we encouraging people to work in their zones playing to their strengths? Are we creating meaning in our workplace where people can contribute to a greater cause?
If we truly want our businesses to be innovative, rise to the new technological and environmental challenges we need to take risks and create meaning. Live fully in 2011.