As we return from summer holidays, here's a great article from Entrepreneur Magazine to kick start your week. My favorite one: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” -- Zig Ziglar
read it all here
Welcome back to the office!
Before fixing what you are looking at, check what you are looking through…
- Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
In his book, The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo speaks about how we see the world using the example of his grandmother looking out through her only window and complaining about how gray the day was, only to realize that the window was dirty. When he discovered this, his grandmother with humor stated, “Got a dirty eye, see a dirty world…. ”Whether it is a dirty window, a pair of glasses with smudges or reflections of something else, or a mood that affects everything that happens to us, he offers a reminder that we see the world as we choose to see it.
While we do not control all the events in our lives, we do have the capability to see things as they are, naked of all the baggage we pile on. It’s not only a question of perspective, but perhaps also one of simplicity devoid of assumptions and or expectations. We don’t control the all the events in our lives, but we do choose what we see and how we interpret those events. Finally, we choose what to do in the face of these events.
While coaching clients who want to improve how they manage conflict in their professional or personal lives, I often ask my client to walk through an event, step by step, as it is a movie played on a screen in front of them. First observing what is seen, heard, the actual words and motions. As we dive deeper, the client is often surprised when I play back the words used by the client to describe the situation. Or, the client is surprised when I ask whether some portion of the event that was critical in their interpretation came from the scene itself or from something he or she interpreted from a past experience or an expectation.
There is something to be said about learning from our past experiences or using our intuition in dealing with the events in front of us. The tricky part is to be aware of what is an assumption or comes from within ourselves and what is actually being done by another person in front of us. When we become aware of our own internal dialogue or assumptions, it is only then that we can put forth those assumptions to check with the other person if that is what they truly intended. Through more simple questions and communication to clarify, some of the conflicts and misunderstandings could perhaps be avoided.
The other factor that can dirty our windows, so to speak, can be our beliefs and expectations. Whether in the office or at home, if we expect the worst from someone without giving them the benefit of the doubt, we will for sure end up with an unpleasant experience that reinforces our beliefs about that person. It can make a simple misunderstanding evolve into an overall sentiment that all is terrible with that person, therefore labeling the identity of the person as “bad.” Likewise, we may also miss critical clues if we expect that anything that a given person does is perfect. Later, we can experience an unpleasant surprise because we “did not see it coming.”
Another example of this is a senior leader that is preparing to “fight” for his department at a management meeting. Whether for new product development budget or for issues that his department has encountered, by seeing the meeting as a battlefield, the executive found himself in a defensive position, using terms like “my department” and digging his heels, wondering why no one was listening to his ideas and concerns. In doing so, he probably positioned himself as sitting across the table against his peers, rather than sitting together trying to find the best solutions for the business as a whole. After our discussion, he liked the analogy of being in a boat, each leader having an oar, and each oarsman playing a critical role to move the boat forward. It gave him food for thought as he prepared for his next management meeting.
Mark Nepo speaks about the window washing in our minds and in our hearts. He asks us to contemplate what are the ideas and conclusions we have in our minds and in our hearts, and how we can wash these windows through which we see the world. It was a great reminder for me, an invitation for me to see things and other people for what and who they are, not as I believe them to be.
I hope that it can also offer you an opportunity for reflection. Thanks !
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
- Charles F. Kettering, American inventor, engineer and businessman (1876 – 1958)
Awareness is not something that
needs to be manufactured:
when there is a gap,
awareness enters into us.
So awareness does not require
a certain particular effort.
Such an effort is unnecessary.
Awareness is like a wind.
If you open your doors and windows,
it is bound to come in.
– Chogyam Trungpa
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
– John Lennon
This quote reminds me that each and every day, we have commitments. Things to do, people to meet, tasks to complete, places to go. We prioritize, plan, do everything possible to ensure the successful achievement of our goals. At the same time, I am reminded that there is more to life than getting more and being more...
The following is an excerpt from the day book by Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening, from April 27th.
It is beautifully written, and there is little that I can add to it. It serves as an inspiration and a valuable reminder to me perhaps it will do the same to some of you out there. If you like it, perhaps you can consider to pick up his book. I was grateful that a colleague introduced it to me more than a year ago, and I still return to it. Jean
Let There Be Light
“Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“When Edison was discovering the light bulb, he first engaged in a process of envisioning how an unseeable current of energy could be harnessed and turned into light. Like most of us, the vision came out first. Once he understood what came to him, it took quite some time to find the precise material that would work as a filament in the bulb itself...
The New Year is beginning. For some of us, the New Year started on January 1st, for others it starts today with the Chinese (Lunar) New Year (February 3, 2011). It is a time of reflection for many of us, about the year that has closed and about the changes that we want to make in our lives in the coming year. It is a time of opportunity as well, because prospects of facing a new year can provide us with the motivation to mobilize. It gives us the feeling that we can make a fresh start or adjustments to ourselves if we have the desire and will to do so.
How many of you have made up your New Year’s resolutions? Now that we are starting February, how many of those are fading away already? Whether you have already done so or not, I would like to I invite you to take a deeper look as you contemplate the resolutions and the changes that you want to make in the coming year.
Why New Year’s Resolutions Sometimes Fade Away
One most common reasons why New Year’s resolutions get set aside is that the goal you have set is something you feel you “should” do, but in the scheme of things, perhaps it is not truly a priority. While it might have made perfect sense at the time of making the commitment, actions speak louder than words: our actions during the course of the year of will determine whether the goal was really a priority or not....
Watch your thoughts,
they become words.
Watch your words,
they become actions.
Watch your actions,
they become habits.
Watch your habits,
they become your character.
Watch your character,
it becomes your destiny.
- Buddhist philosophy
This very simple Buddhist philosophy is a great reminder that there is only one person who is the author your life. It’s you. While there are many events and other players in the story, our thoughts and beliefs drive our behaviors, and our choices drive our actions and ultimately our destiny.
With any change one tries to make in their life, it is important to gain awareness of what is going on inside of you that drives these behaviors. Usually there is a reason for anything we do. Rewriting the foundation beneath the behaviors helps drive lasting and sustainable improvement. If you are interested in learning more, contact me for a free trial session to see how coaching might help you gain the insight to drive positive change in your life and career.
A reminder that we always have choices and that the power to act on these choices are in my hands… Enjoy!
We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we’ve selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make…
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father and 6th President of the United States (1706 – 1790)
It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are…
Roy E. Disney, younger brother of Walt Disney (1893 – 1971)
Life is a sum of all your choices…
Albert Camus, Author & Philosopher (1913 – 1960)
The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose…
J. Martin Kohe, Author and Psychologist
The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose…
Thornton Wilder, Palywright and Novelist (1897 – 1975)
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice…
William James, Psychologist and Philosopher (1842 – 1910)