AND Check The Engine Before Starting

August 11th, 2013

 I recently bought a new car. It has more gadgetry than my previous car and requires me to learn how to operate differently in order for it to work. One of the things I noticed is that it simply won’t start until it is finished doing what it calls a “systems check”. When the systems check is complete, it then sends me a “ready” signal and I can shift the car into “drive”.

The whole process got me thinking (not that that takes much these days). We are being trained by the gadgets we build exactly how to interact with them for optimal performance, and in some cases, any performance at all. We have “smart cars” and “smart houses” and probably a whole lot of other “smart” things. AND they are training us.

So in the spirit of not resisting what exists and the direction we seem to be headed with technology, I am wondering what we can learn from these gadgets that we have designed. AND I wonder what would happen if we adopted the same rules of engagement. Might we engage “smart relationships” if before engaging our mouths, either in response to another’s comments or when initiating an interaction, we stop to check our own engines?

How many times have you found yourself overcommitting, agreeing to do something that you know is not healthy and won’t help you to “run more effectively?” (I do not want to convey any message that we think of ourselves as machines. Quite the opposite.) If we want to be more conscious, then doesn’t it make sense that we make sure to take care of whatever is necessary for us to be healthy, to be “smart” about our choices? AND what if we do an internal “systems check” before indicating that we are ready to engage whatever the situation asks of us?

One Response to “AND Check The Engine Before Starting”

  1. shelley kappel says:

    Dear Lou,
    Loved your observations and insights expressed here. An Operating Manual clearly defines how to get the most out of your “machine”, what ever it may be. I was “fueled” 🙂 by the concept of imagining myself as a mean, lean performance machine, operating on all cylinders, fun to drive, and built to last. Before I even finished reading the AND…article, I was inspired to reflect on and subsequently write my own personal “operating instructions manual” : how to get the most out of me. In five minutes flat ( not to be confused with a tire) I posed some basic operating questions, 1. what is my dash board print out indicating at this moment?( feedback)2.under what conditions do I perform at my best? 3.. What has to be in place for me to be fully operational? 4. What fuel do I run best on? 5. What fuel should I avoid at all cost? 6. How often should I go in for maintenance checks ( certainly NOT when the emergency light is flashing. That’s when you call in the tow truck!) 6. What renewable energy options will keep me running indefinitely? etc.. Thanks for the inspiration! As a health care dialogue partner, I support a dental practice in bringing out the best of themselves in every moment. At our next all team “learning Lab” I shall invite each team member to write her/his own “Optimal Operating Instruction Manual”: “how to get the most out of this machine” that they get to reflect on, create, share with their team mates, and keep in their personnel file for easy reference. Thanks to your insights, comments, and openness, I designed an exercise in empowered leadership in record time. Now that’s what I call a pit crew, cranking out collaborative solutions for optimal outcomes that benefit the whole. SO glad to be on the same crew!! Keep it coming, baby! : )

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