AND Reignite the Human Connections

April 15th, 2018

Everywhere we turn these days, life appears to be changing at an accelerated rate. AND whether illusion or reality, the world, as we knew it, or thought we knew it, is changing before our eyes.

At a geopolitical level, big social media systems have come to the point in their use where naïve designs that never accounted for privacy and system abuse for nefarious reasons are coming under scrutiny. The threats never anticipated by early adopters of new ways of communicating are costing those users the price of compromised privacy for having trusted a large, anonymous system to protect them, as a personal friend might have done in the past. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Rise to Your Potential

April 8th, 2018

In many ways, we are bombarded with signs of institutional failure and decay. I am not convinced that decay and decomposition of old outmoded systems that we unconsciously cling to is a bad thing. Nevertheless, unless we are clearly committed in our hearts to who we want to be and how we will greet what life brings, we leave ourselves open to fear and despair, when it might be a great time instead for creativity and hope.

Like old buildings whose facades are crumbling before our eyes, the facades of our large systems are being exposed for the ways they have operated that create and sustain inequity in our world. We see more clearly political gamesmanship and allocations of resources that serve old power networks instead of the people. Institutional racism and sexism are coming to light in our businesses in terms of hiring and management practices, as well as inequities in compensation and promotion opportunities. We are more privy to witnessing opportunities reserved for the privileged few and inaccessible to the wider swath of employees. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Welcome the New

April 1st, 2018

It’s that time again where one season begins to let go, grasping to hold on a bit longer, and another tiptoes into its full expression. For me, the joy of watching seasons change every year is a gift of the climate in which I live.

Long after my friends in the South report the blooming of pear trees and cherry blossoms, we, in the North, are still shoveling snow. This year the nor’easters, storms so labeled because they bring fierce winds and higher tides from the northeast, have been showing up as uninvited guests each week of March. Their tenacity reminds us that no calendar divined by humans will ever direct Mother Nature in terms of when and how she arrives. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Celebrate That We See

March 25th, 2018

The lens through which we view the world really does taint what we see. We have all heard of “pink colored glasses” being used to describe the incurable optimist. The choice to be happy means pausing to find something to be happy about, even when the new is not positive. Our state of health can taint our view of what is possible and worth doing. And of course, we react to what we see. The chain of actions that follow is a reminder of the power of perspective, distance to get clear, and the conscious intention we hold to see (or not) what is there, rather than what we want to be there.

I have spoken to a number of clients this week whose worlds have been jolted by events in their organizations that deeply affected them. In some cases, the community they reached out to create helped them to buoy the feelings of loss they shared. In others, they began to confront stories they have told themselves about their workplace and the people in it that were shattered by unexpected events. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Nurture the Seeds of Community

March 18th, 2018

I grew up in a city of immigrants from several different countries. They lived together in little enclaves with churches at the center and community at the center of that. There were clear divides between the haves and have-nots, although sports and education in the local schools were the great integrators that erased barriers to entry. Most of the history I knew was less about material wealth and more about family, community, and shared identity.

St. Patrick’s Day was a big holiday in my city. Big politicians from the state level and national stage, especially the Kennedys, marched each year. My Dad marched with the city fire fighters in dress uniform, as did the local police, school bands and the like. We had special performers from other states and beautiful floats. AND the city came out in droves, setting up their chairs well in advance of the parade and often sitting in cold, sometimes snowy, weather to watch the parade. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Greet the New With Curiosity

March 11th, 2018

I was thinking about uncertainty. None of us knows what will happen in life because life just happens. Yet, we are taught from childhood to plan for every eventuality so we are ready for whatever happens.

That frame of mind creates an illusion that it is reasonable to expect that certain things will or will not happen. For some, it leads a value for control…another illusion. AND in the context of these illusions, we create expectations of others, learn roles and scripts that we play out over time, and lose the delight and curiosity of children who approach life with fresh eyes and openness to whatever happens. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Reach Out Your Way

March 4th, 2018

Social media today seems to have accelerated our addiction to comparing ourselves to others and their lives as a means of knowing if we are good enough, how we should portray ourselves, and how to feel about our lives. When we are unconsciously inclined to learn about who we are by comparing ourselves to others and to what we were told growing up, both in the family and at school, we often lose touch with our own lived experience to know what is true.

It is time to take any situation, relationship, conversation, and encounter we find ourselves in and, after having experienced it, pause. The pause is to remember that what we tell ourselves unconsciously and what others tell us about how to label or assign meaning to the experience is only one perspective. We would be better served to consider our labels and those of others, including any source of media, as one piece of data to consider in our decision. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Pay Attention to the Context

February 25th, 2018

I recently attended an international conference on the changing state of the world today and the potential leadership role of the United States in the future. Held in one location and simultaneously broadcast in three other locations, the conference offered speakers who presented different perspectives and offered different projections for tomorrow’s world order.

There were European and American presenters, academics, policy leaders, journalists, and former government officials. The audience in at least two locations was high school and college students, as well as the mostly over sixty crowd.

The format allowed for many questions, offering differing perspectives and giving insights into the different backgrounds and interests of those present. Wherever we sat or found ourselves between speakers and on breaks, the participants engaged in natural conversations emanating from the points covered by the speakers. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Check Current Conditions

February 18th, 2018

As I was ice skating on a local rink the other day, I realized how tentatively I began my skate. The ice was glassy in parts and marked up in others. AND although my skates are for long distance and designed to glide over the unevenness of lakes and rivers, I can still find ways to practice on smaller surfaces, if I pay attention to the conditions of the ice and people on the rink.

My awareness of being so tentative caused me to watch my choices with a beginner’s mind, as if I were skating for the first time. In a very real way, I was, because I had not skated on that particular rink on that day under those conditions before. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Choose Fertile Soil

February 11th, 2018

When I first joined the working world, I naively believed that if I discovered something that would make things better, leaders would want to hear my ideas. I understood nothing of the power dynamic at play in our society and so worked hard to get those ideas across.

A colleague noticed how much energy I was spending trying to get leaders to understand my point of view. She invited me to imagine that the team or individuals whose attention I was trying to get were seated on the other side of a one-way mirror that was soundproof. I then was invited to imagine that I was on the other side of that mirror waving my hands wildly and shouting…to no avail, as they could neither see nor hear me. My ideas were falling on deaf ears. Read the rest of this entry »