Coping With Our Emotions: Why Hope And Despair Are Two Sides of The Same Coin

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

Have you ever considered hope and despair at the same time? Hm. I’m not sure that I have. I would like to. Thoughts? Well, let’s do a cursory look, and see what we get.

In 4 Reasons Why Language Is Power, I wrote about the power of language. We don’t typically consider the power that lives inside the language we use. It is very important. It shapes experiences, expectations, and trajectories that we set our lives on.

Similarly, in The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important, I wrote about the importance of understanding that all things are socially constructed. All of them. Hence, this post is also a social construction.

Yet, knowing this frees us from the fetter of worrying about attaching ourselves to social constructions, or concepts that we agree with or disagree with.

Alright, let’s define our key terms.

hope

Pronunciation /hōp/ /hoʊp/ 

Translate hope into Spanish

NOUN

  • A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.‘he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information’

despair

Pronunciation /dəˈsper/ /dəˈspɛr/ 

Translate despair into Spanish

NOUN

  • The complete loss or absence of hope.

Well, look at that. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Hm. Interesting. And, despair is defined as the lack of hope, or lack of such a feeling of expectation and desire about a result. Mm, this will be fun.

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Expectations and desires for a certain [result] thing to happen

If hope is, at least as it is defined here, associated with an expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen, when we hope we are essentially concentrating on a result.

And, if that result doesn’t occur? Then we may fall into despair, which is the lack of the expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. The issue?

We cannot have hope without despair. They go together. If you can feel hope, then it is equally possible to feel despair. Not a problem. Important, however, to understand. Why?

Often, people get upset or frustrated when in despair. Yet, as we can see from the language itself, it is only natural. If you subscribe to the feeling of hope, then you will sometimes feel despair. And, vice versa.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Another way to look at hope and despair

Another way to think about hope and despair is as two sides of the same coin. The world is full of these opposites. Sad and happy, life and death, and so on. For the world to occur as it does, they are needed.

Yet, we can create more power over these concepts by understanding that they always occur together. Meaning that if you are sometimes hopeful, you will sometimes feel despair. It is a must.

When we understand this as true, we can shift our thinking, and mindset to incorporate this apparent paradox with a new understanding.

The new understanding is that these concepts are one. Think about the coin analogy I’ve used in this post. A coin is one thing, yes? Yet, it has two distinct sides; head and tales. Hope and despair are the same. As are all pairs of opposites.

Photo by Simon on Unsplash

When do we run into trouble with these concepts?

When we expect hope, for instance, to show up more than despair. Why? Because then when despair shows up, we get down, frustrated, maybe even angry. Not helpful.

By accepting that despair is a part of hope, as sadness is a part of happiness, we increase our awareness about the fact that despair will come; and, guess what?

When it does, it’s okay. It’s normal to feel despair sometimes. Just as it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. If you never feel sad, or despair, then happiness and hope will elude you. True.

It is also important to welcome despair as much as you welcome hope. Why? Because when we resist feeling despair, we avoid it. And, when we avoid things, we actually attract more of those concepts into our life.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I avoided sadness for such a long time, that I was often sad. Really. Did I look sad all the time? No. It was internal. Yet, believe me, it was there. As was despair.

Yet, when you openly accept that all feelings happen, you create a space to be with them when they come. No judgment. Being in despair or sad doesn’t mean anything.

You are not having “issues” because you sometimes feel despair. Funny how we create language around “negative” emotions and associate them with problems. Not helpful. In fact, detrimental, and untrue.

What can you do?

When you are hopeful, notice. And, be hopeful. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of hope. Or, happiness, joy, or elation.

And, when you are in despair, notice. And, be in despair. Be just as you are in those wonderful moments of having despair. Or, sadness, melancholy, or misery.

Our emotions come and go. It is important to expect them all to show up. All of them. And, to welcome them all. When we welcome them all, they stop having power over us.

In that moment of acceptance, we create a space to be with our emotions in a completely new way. Free of judgement and created meaning that one emotion is better, or should be more expected than another.

Remember that our emotions just are, and that hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. Just like the heads and tales of a coin, hope and despair are one.

#copingwithemotions, #despair, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #dualism, #emotional-development, #emotional-intelligence, #emotional-self, #emotions, #emotionsareone, #growth, #hopanddespair, #hope, #leadership, #leadershipconcepts, #leadershipdevelopment, #personaldevelopment, #personaltransformation, #selfdevelopment

Creating Movement in Your Team, Business, or Organization: 3 Steps in 3 Minutes

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Photo by Jon Davey on Unsplash

I recently wrote 3 Steps and 9 Keys to Creating Safety on a Team in 5 Minutes, and today, I’m going to focus on creating movement. Have you ever felt stuck? Like you and your team, business, or organization are not moving, have not, maybe, moved in some time. Instead, you find that each day seems the same. A reproduction of the previous? Happens to us all.

Let’s take a look at 3 steps you can take to get moving again.

Step 1: Create Time

We are all inundated with email, all day long. In the first year in my current position, I checked email often; and, there were times when I was more focused on keeping my email in check than doing my actual job. However, email is not the job; it is a tool, nothing more.

3 suggestions for creating time by managing email

  • Check periodically – morning, afternoon, and before close of business. Set this time aside. Add it to your calendar if needed. However, when you are not in your “check email time”, leave it alone.
  • Prioritize the need – sounds funny, yet prioritizing your email is very important. Often, I get emails that I might not respond to for several days. Why? It’s not needed. Not every email needs a response right away, and some never need a response.
  • Organize as needed – in the past three years, I’ve reorganized my email countless times. As the business changes, your calendar will change, and so should how you organize your email. Reorganizing your email so that it mirrors the current iteration of your team, business, or organization will save you the time of searching endlessly for emails to follow up on.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Step 2: Create Balance

I’ve found that finding time to work on the business (strategic thinking), instead of in the business (the weeds) is one of the hardest skills to develop. Why? Because we live in a reactive society, and work within reactive organizations.

Though you are working very hard, if you continue to work hard mostly on day-to-day operations, you will not spend the time needed on creating future plans, goals, and objectives. You will stay stuck. You must create the time to strategically think about the direction of your team, business, or organization.

3 strategies for balancing the weeds and strategic thinking

  • Manage time – I’ve used multiple different time management systems in the past three years; and, what I’ve come to realize is that continuing to change how you organize yourself is okay, even needed. If the way you are organizing yourself today is not working, let it go, and try something new.
  • Delegate – I’m one of those people who likes to do everything, and I have a hard time asking for help. Yet, letting your team assist you is necessary and needed. Delegating work is always essential, and is even more essential to ensure you have the time you need to create strategy.
  • Slow down – I love to be in action. Simple. Yet, there are times when you need to slow down. Let some of the day-to-day operations wait, so you can just sit and think about your team, business, or organization’s trajectory; and, what you want to create as its next step.
Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

Step 3: Create Strategy

Once you’ve created more time, and have more balance, you can now effectively work on the business. Very important.

3 strategies for creating strategy and gaining traction

  • Get your ideas out – often we think about what we want to create, yet we are so busy doing other things, that we don’t get these ideas out; and, when our ideas stay within us, we cannot use them. Write them down, put them on a whiteboard, put them in a document. It matters less how you get them out, than it does that you do so, and have the time to reflect upon them.
  • Invite considerations – collaborative teams and organizations talk about strategy. If you are on that kind of team, or in that kind of business or organization, invite people to consider your ideas. What do they think? Incorporate the best ideas into your ideas. If you work on a team, or in a business or organization that does not collaborate, invite people to consider your ideas anyway. Create collaboration.
  • Create an action plan – once your ideas are out, you’ve invited feedback, and have had time to reflect, it’s time to create an action plan. I always work backwards. Meaning, if you are creating a strategy for next year, work those goals backward to each quarter, month, and week, and create objectives that align with the yearly goals.
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

With your new action plan, you can begin to create the traction you’ve been looking for. Remember, you are not alone. Most teams and organizations are in the same place. They feel stuck. That you are aware of it, is the first step. Now you can mobilize the steps outlined here, and create movement for your team, business, or organization.

Also remember, that sometimes your team, business, or organization may have to move “backward” to once again move “forward.” I’m not a fan of labeling movement, because all movement is important and needed.

For instance, COVID-19 has created a “backward” momentum for teams, businesses, and organizations all across the globe. Now what matters most? Not being concerned about moving backward. Instead, create from where you are, and you will move forward.

#acitonplans, #brainstorming, #collaboration, #createstrategy, #creatingactionplans, #creatingbalance, #creatingmovement, #creatingtime, #delgation, #development, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #managingemail, #managingtime, #organization, #prioritization, #slowingdown, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #teambuilding

A Reflection On Creating Time For Ourselves, To Be With Ourselves: Hiking in Quiet and Solitude

August 22, 2020

I’ve written several posts about the need for quiet time. Time just for us, to reflect upon our day or week, and to just be. Important. Do you take time for yourself? I didn’t for a very long time. Not the case today. Too important.

If you do, great, if not, it’s not a demerit. Rather, it is an opportunity. An opportunity to take time and learn more about yourself.

When we stay busy all day, and don’t create the space for quiet time, we are quite literally burning out. Burning our creativity, and potential. We must rest, and have time to think, reflect, and be. When we recharge, we get more.

More insight, and more resilience. Both.

It is when I am most quiet that more insights show up. Much more. When the mind slows, receives the time it needs, you open it up to more insight. You also recharge your resiliency levels. Also very helpful.

There are many ways to create quiet time. If you’ve never created this space for yourself, it can be hard. It’s okay. Take the time you need to create it. It can also be hard for people around you. Setting boundaries around your quiet time is needed and necessary.

As you practice, you will create a healthy habit, and people around you will respect it. Be persistent.

Today, up at 4 am, I worked on my website, then a little Extended Learning work, time with a friend, and a hike in the quiet. 7.2 miles. Was lovely.

Here are some pics from my hike.

This first one was early on in the hike, maybe mile 2 or so. As the trail winds around the hill, you get to experience trail portions that are shaded and cool, and trail portions that are exposed and in the sun.

August 22, 2020
August 22, 2020

I took the above picture not long after the first one, and, as you can see, it is a nicely shaded portion of the trail. Very tall trees on this trail, beautiful.

August 22, 2020

This picture is not quite at the top of the hill, yet it is very close. The banner picture on this post was close to this spot, and, as you can see from the banner picture, I caught a hawk in flight. Super cool

There are three things I do during my quiet time. If you have never created that time for yourself, give it a try. I know it can be hard, especially if you’ve never done it before.

And, when I write quiet time, I mean time away from distraction and stimulation, such as computers, televisions, books, and other people.

Here are those three things. Walks, hikes, and meditation. That’s it. Well, for today anyway.

If you are interested in mediation, here is a post I created some time ago about creating a mediation practice. Creating a Meditation Practice: 3 Steps in 4 Minutes.

If you like walking, walk. If you like hiking, hike. And, if there is something else you like to do, do that. It matters less what you do, than it is you get the time you need to rest and recharge.

I would also invite you to calendar it, especially if you are just starting out. Start with once-a-week. You can increase as you go. Start small. One step at a time. Then increase it as you go, until you get into a habit that works for you.

Alright, a reflection today on creating quiet time for ourselves. So important. Create time for yourself. When you do, you get more back, and you are able to give more to yourself and everyone else around you.

#bewithyourself, #hiking, #increaseresiliencelevels, #increaseresiliency, #makingtimeforyou, #meditation, #quiet, #quiet-time, #reflectiontime, #resilience, #restandrecharge, #solitude, #walking

3 Steps and 9 Keys to Creating Safety on a Team in 5 Minutes

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Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago I wrote Three Transformational Leadership Skills; and, creating safety was on of the three. This week, let’s take a deeper look at creating safety among those you work with, and lead. What does it take to create safety? And, how important is creating safety? I believe it is always important, and is even more so now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to be in the next few years, as we all learn about our new realities.

Creating Safety

What does it mean to work in a safe environment, where you feel like you can act and be who you really are, without fear of reprisal? Well, it means exactly that. That those on the team, in the work office, or that are a part of the organization, can be who they are. Meaning, they can act and say what is needed about the direction of the team, without fear of someone lashing out at them, and defending or justifying why their opinion is more important than theirs. The latter, doesn’t work well.

What works well? Creating an environment where people can actively question each other, even be critical of each other, yet know that they are safe. It is a big deal. If you are on a team that can act in this way, you will gain more traction on your goals and objectives.

Why?

Because you are actively talking about the issues that matter most. And, when you are talking about, and creating action plans to resolve those issues, you are creating movement. And, movement is needed and necessary to create traction.

Photo by Jason D on Unsplash

Step 1: Understand the keys to creating safety

I’m sure there are many ways to create safety on a team, or within an organization, yet I can only speak to the ones that have worked in the contexts in which I’ve worked. And, these keys, I think, can be utilized across multiple contexts, across different teams, and across many organizations.

Three keys to creating safety
  • Building relationships – developing high-quality relationships is important to creating safety on any team. Making the time to get to know each person on the team, their hopes and dreams, as well as their strengths and opportunities. Knowing each of them well is necessary to understand their perspective, and to build trust. Trust is akin to safety.
  • Fostering individual perspectives – when people have a say in how things work, and how the team moves forward, more comfort and more safety is created. People want to participate, to collaborate, to draw upon their talent, and to provide their individual perspectives on issues the team faces. Foster these perspectives.
  • Creating support systems – think safety net. People need to understand how they will get the support they need. Support can be delivered many different ways. What is important is that there is a support system in place, and that the team knows how it works.
Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

Step 2: Understand the keys to your role

As I’ve discussed in other posts, everything you do within your team and organization starts with you. The way that you develop yourself, and lead from within, will determine how you lead without. Same. Taking the time to develop skills that will move yourself forward, hence, the team, is important.

Three keys to your role
  • Being open – one thing that helps foster a safe environment is being open and available. When the team knows you are open, meaning open to new suggestions and ways of doing things, they will feel more appreciated, and more safe.
  • Being available – will also signal the team, that spending time with them is of utmost importance. I’ve always found that open environments foster the most innovation and safety.
  • Being authentic – leading with authenticity creates the possibility that the people on the team will also demonstrate authenticity. And, authentic environments foster contexts where people can give candid and honest feedback about how the team is doing, and what they see as necessary improvements.
Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Step 3: Understand the keys to the team’s role

Once you are clear on your role, you will have developed the ability to understand the team’s role. And, understanding the team’s role, including each person’s role on the team is important to foster momentum, movement, and traction.

Three keys to the team’s role
  • Individual engagement – creating ways to engage each individual team member at their developmental stage is important to their growth both personally and professionally. And, opportunities for developmental growth is critical to moving teams forward.
  • Team engagement – developing ways to engage the team, and for the team to engage with each other is important to creating safety. People that don’t know each other well, don’t general trust each other, nor will they feel safe with each other.
  • Connecting the individual to the team – fostering individual development while also building the team’s development is a very important component to creating a team that knows how to move, develop, and gain traction in their work every day.

Movement and Traction

Implementing the aforementioned strategies within your team will increase the possibility of creating movement, and gaining traction. And, as the team moves forward, finding new ways to ensure that the safe environment you’ve fostered, and the team has created, is continuously redeveloped is important. Contexts change, organizations grow, they shrink, and they move forward. The ability to develop new strategies to create safety as things change is critical.

The COVID-19 pandemic is, unfortunately, a great example of a change that no one saw coming that has increased anxiety and decreased safety throughout the workforce. Now is the time to create, and recreate safety. Creating safety is an essential leadership skill, and it is also essential to growing, moving, and gaining traction on teams.

Originally posted on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#beingauthentic, #beingopen, #buildingrealtionships, #businesses, #connectingindividualstotheteam, #creatingmovementandtraction, #creatingsafety, #creatingsupportsystems, #fosteringindividualperspectives, #individualengagement, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #teamdevelopment, #teamengagement, #traction

Three Transformational Leadership Skills

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Where we start matters, much more than where we end up. For, it is in the starting of something that matters. The action, not the result. Let us embark, then, on a simple foray into leadership essentials.

What are those essentials, and why do they matter? And, do they matter only for leaders, or do they matter for everyone on a team, in a family, or in a relationship? Hm. Good questions. Let’s take a look.

Being Authentic

One of the most important leadership skills, is the ability to know oneself. Understanding who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, is critical to effective leadership.

It is an impossibility to effectively lead a team, when you are disconnected from yourself, or are hiding from yourself. Impossible.

What is possible, is to be honest about who you are, and to be authentic. Being anything other than authentic will come off fake. The team will know when you are not being authentic, and traction with the team will elude you.

When you are authentic about who you are, you create the possibility of openness. When you are open to all that is around us, you also show that you are vulnerable. And, when you are vulnerable, you openly admit that you do not, could not, know all of the answers. No one can.

The opposite of authenticity and vulnerability is rigidity. Being rigid, pretending you know things you do not, will shut people down, close doors to new possibilities, and decline moral.

Practicing authenticity and vulnerability starts with you. You are the only one that can be authentic, and vulnerable. It can be frightening, as I share often with the team I work with, to be out on a ledge before the unknown.

However, that is where all the great stuff awaits you.

Photo by Nicholas Sampson on Unsplash

Creating Safety

Creating a safe environment where people can be who they are, while knowing that they are safe to do so, is important to building trust. And, building trust with those you work with, reciprocally creates more safety.

I believe that the ability for a leader to create safety, is one of the most important leadership skills.

That is my bias. However, know that without trust, developing the investment, or buy-in, from team members on what you are looking to create is impossible. They must trust you completely. And, trust will only come when the environment is a safe one.

When you have created a safe and trusting environment, you have the opportunity to innovate because people are willing to trust in each other and be vulnerable. Safety increases the likelihood that people will be who they really are, authentic and vulnerable.

And, being vulnerable is one of the keys to creating innovative teams.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Include Transparent Communication

Being open with your team, includes being transparent. In the first year working with the team I am currently working with, there were people that were surprised when I would discuss the financials with them. They had never had open conversations about the finances. They were simply told to hit a number, or were told nothing.

You may get results this way, however, I am here to tell you that those results will not last, or will be limited.

People that don’t understand the financials, cannot understand all that is possible. And, similarly, only knowing a number, is only one piece of the whole. People need to have access to all of the information, so they can grow.

When people grow, the team grows. And, when the team grows, you grow. Simple. Growth will only come when you have created an environment that welcomes growth.

Welcoming growth, which includes creating opportunities for individual and team development, are keys to building an innovative and dynamic team.

Photo by LUM3N on Unsplash

Developing High-Quality Relationships

Being authentic and vulnerable, while creating a safe and trusting environment, which includes transparent communication is all about creating high-quality relationships. And, it is inside of the development of these relationships where reciprocity flourishes.

Building and fostering relationships that are reciprocal, means that it is always a team effort. Always. As a leader, you lead and set the tone, including practicing all of which we’ve discussed, however, it is the entire team that creates traction that is sustainable.

And, as they grow, you grow, and as you grow, they grow. Transformational.

The leadership skills we’ve discussed in this post are not limited to work teams. These leadership skills can be used in any relationship. And, you can get transformational results from any of your relationships by employing these leadership skills.

Relationships that are transformational have no limits. People in these relationships, whether it is a work team, family, marriage, partnership, or any other relationships, live without limits, without fear of the unknown, at the edge of what is known.

As a leader, it is your choice. What will you choose to create with your team and in your relationships?

Originally posted on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#authenticity, #authenticityandleadership, #creatingsafetyonteams, #developinghighqualityrelationships, #developingteams, #highqualityrelationships, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershipprinciples, #safetyandleadership, #teamdevelopment, #transformationalleadership, #transparentcommunication, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandleadership

Creating a Big Hairy Audacious Goal: The Creation of the BHAG

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Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

Alright, phew, what a busy couple of weeks. So much change. As I continue to prepare for the merger of my two websites, I am going to continue to post new material to this site, which was originally created for servantleadershipcoaching.com.

I am excited about the merger, and about reformatting this website. 🙂

Hopefully, you will enjoy these new additions! Here then is:

Creating a Big Hairy Audacious Goal: The Creation of the BHAG

What in the world is a BHAG, and why does it matter? A BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is a way to get out of the weeds, and create a distinction between working in the business and working on the business. Creating a BHAG is also a way to take all of the smaller goals you have and connect them to a higher level mega-goal – the BHAG. Not sure if a BHAG is for you? That’s okay. I invite you to read the following list before making a choice.

Do any of these sound like a day you’ve experienced recently?

  • Working in the business more often than working on the business – this is an important distinction, and means that you are working on the day-to-day operations of the business more than you are the long-range planning and vision for the business.
  • Reacting to the daily business needs, more often than working purposefully, and wondering if those reactions are in any way connected to the vision of the business.
  • Spending more time at a computer screen than a whiteboard.
  • Feel like you are going in multiple directions all at the same time, while wondering if these multiple directions are connected to each other, and your other long-term goals.
  • You have multiple competing goals, and are unsure how to connect them.
  • You are unsure how to connect your metrics to the day-to-day business operations, AND, your long-term goals.

If you experienced any of the above, then creating a BHAG is for you. Where did the term BHAG come from? Here is an excerpt from Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James Collins and Jerry Porras.

Boeing Corporation is an excellent example of how highly Visionary companies often use bold missions – or what we prefer to call BHAGs (pronounced bee-hag, short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”)– as a particularly powerful mechanism to stimulate progress.

One of the coolest things about creating a BHAG, outside of the progress that lives inside of that creative experience, is that you can create them for your personal and professional lives.

Let’s look at the creation of a BHAG through a real life example – mine.

After 6 months in my current position, Director of Extended Learning at Linn-Benton Community College, in Albany, Oregon, I was wondering exactly what I had committed to. Has that happened to you before? It happens to all of us.

Anyway, I was working hard, very hard. And, most of that work was focused on working in the business, not on the business. As I’ve mentioned earlier in this post, and in other posts, if all you do is work in the business, you will simply get the same result you got the day before – the same thing, everyday. Why? Because you are doing the same tasks everyday. Simple. It’s not that you don’t desire to grow, and do more, however, you are effectively stuck in yesterday.

However, if you can shift to working both in the business, and on the business, watch out.

After over a year of working in the business, I went to a strategic thinking training, led by Terri Houde, which was where I first experienced the BHAG. I believe we were first asked to work through some of our goals, to identify them, and write them out. Then we were asked to go out on a ledge, and create a goal that was at the limits of what is possible – the BHAG.

Here is the one I created.

Becoming the State recognized leader in noncredit education

Creating a BHAG is a life changing experience, because in one moment you create in language a goal that is so big, it is visionary. And, what do we know about working inside of a vision, rather than working outside of a vision?

“Having a vision provides a sense of purpose and direction for the business. Your vision will help you define your short and long-term goals, and guide the decisions you make along the way. A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved…” ~ Ralph Lauren

Okay. I’ve created a BHAG, now what? Don’t know. I didn’t either. Here, however, is what happened.

Once the BHAG was created, it was time to inform the staff about the vision. I created a very simple presentation, which I delivered at a team building training at the end of 2018. Why is standing before your team and delivering a vision needed and necessary? It is important, so they can see you, AND themselves inside of the vision. When we can see ourselves as part of a vision, we are going to act in accordance with that vision.

In fact, I told the team often then that the BHAG came through me, however, it was a part of everyone of them. I can see each of them in the vision.

I should also mention that when the vision was created, we were also implementing Traction, which is a way to systematize your business operations (Wickman, 2012). The timing was perfect, because we were able to make connections to the 10-year vision (BHAG). We then created the following.

  • 5-year priorities and goals
  • 3-year priorities and goals
  • Yearly goals and priorities
  • Quarterly goals and priorities
  • Weekly and monthly next actions

All of which were connected to the 10-year BHAG!

Working inside of a vision the past two years has been a wonderful learning experience. We’ve achieved some of the goals we’ve set out to accomplish, and have many more to achieve. However, we are all pointed in the same direction, focusing on the same things, and have a shared language around a vision that was created from a one-day training experience where a BHAG was created.

Now we find ourselves in a very new situation – COVID-19. Well, in the next post, we will discuss what you do when your BHAG is severely disrupted. Can you guess? Yes, no?

You create another BHAG!

Yep, that’s right. You can have a BHAG that lives inside of another BHAG. I’d share that one with you, however, it is very new, and the team hasn’t even seen it yet. Next time, promise.

Remember, when you are interested in taking your business, organization, team, self, to the next level, create a BHAG. Then work backwards and connect that vision to this year, quarter, month, week, and day. Then you’ll know that every action you take is moving you closer to your ultimate vision, mega-goal, or BHAG!

References

Collins, James C., and Jerry I. Porras. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. New York: HarperBusiness, 1997.

Wickman, Gino. Traction Get a Grip on Your Business. Publisher: New York : BenBella Books, Inc., 2012. URL.

You can reach Jeff Flesch at fleschj@linnbenton.edu and Terri Houde at houdet@linnbenton.edu.

Originally posted on servantleadershipcoaching.com

#10-yearvision, #bhag, #bighairyaudaciousgoal, #covid-19, #creatingstrategy, #creatingvision, #disruptionbhag, #disruptionvision, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmidset, #leadershipprinciples, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #strategy, #vision, #visionandstrategy

The Social Construction Series Part 1: 7 Reasons Why Understanding Social Constructions Is Important

Photo by Jon Moore on Unsplash

Have you ever heard of the phrase a social construction? Maybe? Well, I hadn’t heard of it until I went back to school in my early 30’s. I was in a class on gender, and the professor said something like, gender is socially constructed.

At first, I was like, wait, what? I had no idea what the professor was talking about. Nope, not at all. As the professor continued to explain the concept, I almost fell out of my chair. Seriously. I was so baffled, confused, and interested, all at the same time.

I grew up in a family where ideas like social constructs were unavailable. Not a judgment, just reality. And, it’s okay. There are many, many families across this country that don’t have access to these kinds of ideas, and knowledge. Part of my passion and mission. Dissemination. Here we go.

Let’s define social constructionism.

“Social constructionism is a general term sometimes applied to theories that emphasize the socially created nature of social life. Of course, in one sense all sociologists would argue this, so the term can easily become devoid of meaning. More specifically, however, the emphasis on social constructionism is usually traced back at least to the work of William Isaac Thomas and the Chicago sociologists, as well as the phenomenological sociologists and philosophers such as Alfred Schutz. Such approaches emphasize the idea that society is actively and creatively produced by human beings. They portray the world as made or invented—rather than merely given or taken for granted. Social worlds are interpretive nets woven by individuals and groups.

Oxford Reference

Alright, so the basic idea is that all of life, all if it, is socially constructed. Meaning, simply, that all that we know is created again and again by people. These creations are then shared between and within groups. Shared meaning is derived from these created social constructs, or concepts. What concepts you ask?

Tree. Sun. Love. Life. Health.

Photo by Miha Rekar on Unsplash

All things we see and know. They are all socially constructed. Sometimes groups share and agree on their meaning across cultures, sometimes there are variations specific to particular cultures or geographies.

Why does it matter?

Because if everything we see and know is socially constructed, then all that we argue about, disagree about, and sometimes fight about is based upon ideas and ideals that are created. Created by people.

Understanding that the world is socially constructed is very important.

Important to individuals and how they internalize and understand their place in the world; and, it is also important to how groups understand their relation to each other.

When we know that everything is socially constructed, we have freedom from ideas and concepts, because we know they are not naturally occurring.

You may say, well, love is love and I know what that is, and how it feels to be in love. Yes. And, I am saying that love, even though you feel it, and know it, is still a concept. It is a concept associated with a particular way of being and feeling.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

And, guess what? Naturally occurring, or biological concepts, are also social constructions. Tree. Yep. Biological, right? Yet, a tree is still a concept. Believe me. There was a time when a tree was not called a tree. A tree is a concept.

Alright, let’s look at 7 reasons why understanding social constructions is important.

  1. Gives us freedom from concepts.
  2. Creates access to new knowledge and power.
  3. Provides us a new perspective on how the world occurs.
  4. Empowers us to understand why we internalize concepts as real, even when they are not.
  5. Helps us understand each other on a deeper level.
  6. Assists groups in understanding each other; either how they relate, or how they differ.
  7. Creates an important distinction about language. How we use it, and how it affects how we see and experience ourselves, each other, and the world.

How can you use this information?

Question everything. Important. Here is a quote about questioning that I love.

“We awaken by asking the right questions. We awaken when we see knowledge being spread that goes against our own personal experiences. We awaken when we see popular opinion being wrong but accepted as being right, and what is right being pushed as being wrong. We awaken by seeking answers in corners that are not popular. And we awaken by turning on the light inside when everything outside feels dark.”  -Suzy Kassem

Awaken the Greatness Within

You can find quote after quote online about asking questions. Really. Asking questions is that important. Questioning that which others take for granted as real, or right, or wrong, gives you an immediate advantage. How?

Because most people won’t ask. They believe in what they see, hear, feel, and think they know. Why? It’s easier. More comfortable. Not a judgment. It’s okay not to question.

However, when we ask our questions, and actively participate in the contexts we are living in, we get back much more. Much, much more.

My invitation to you is to ask questions. You know, the ones that you’ve been holding onto for years. You know they’re there. And, it’s okay. It’s even okay to hold onto them, if you want to. However, it is way more fun to ask them. Way more. 🙂

Alright, that concludes the first part of the social construction series. Next time? Funny you should ask. I’ve already come up with it.

The social construction of knowledge. Will be fun.

Until then, question.

#concepts, #groupdevelopment, #individualdevelopment, #internalization, #knowledge, #language, #learning, #newperspective, #philosophy, #power, #poweroflanguage, #social-construction, #socialconstruct, #sociology

Fathers and Sons: Part 1

Photo by Conner Baker on Unsplash

Sitting on the porch, rocking back and forth, I reflect upon the birth of my sons. It feels like yesterday. Just a moment ago. And, then, flash, I am 46, they are 20, and 16. What happened?

Life happened.

Growing up in Los Angeles was for a long time something that I took for granted. I remember the first time I traveled across the country, via car. I said something to my buddy like, wow, it all looks like San Bernardino.

If you’ve been to Southern California, and spent anytime at all in the desert areas, of which San Bernadino is a part, you will get that reference. If not. Well, let’s just say that I had an idea in my head that all places looked like Los Angeles. Not so.

I digress.

Justin was born in 2000. I was 26. At the time, I remember thinking, jeez, I’m old, better hurry up and have kids, buy a house, live that American Dream everyone’s talking about. Really. WOW. I was young, not old.

We lived in two different apartments when Justin was little. First halloweens, first christmas, first-time parents. Phew. At that time, I worked close. I did work long hours, however, the work was very flexible.

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

I remember when I got the call. I was on my delivery truck, called my boss and said, Justin’s coming. I’ve got to go. They covered me.

So excited, nervous, anxious, joyful. All at the same time. Justin was born quick. Very, quick.

Bringing him home was so nerve racking. What if I do something wrong? What if something happens? Well, my mother-in-law stayed with us for a week or two, and I called my mom regularly. Drawing upon the support we had. Very lucky to have it.

Anyway, we did end up purchasing a house when Justin was 4. Jason was born shortly thereafter. Only 4 years separate the two boys, and yet, we were completely caught off guard by having another child. Not prepared at all. Phew.

We did like many people do. We moved forward, did the best we could, and loved them both unconditionally.

I loved when they were little. Though I worked a lot, it was so much fun to see them play in the yard, play with our dog.

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Build things, tear things apart, be free.

Though we only lived in that house for 4 years, we did so many things together there. My memories of that time are so vivid. Possibly those memories are so vivid, as we were building a life.

Just starting out. Knew very little about what we were doing, yet we drew upon what we were taught, and created the rest. Filled the gaps.

First house, first backyard, first garage, first-time having neighbors in a house. All so new. The house was so small, yet had a huge lot. Was so great for the boys. Tons of space to roam and play.

That house was quite a ways from our extended family. 46 miles. Which, at the time, was like 5,000 miles.

You have to understand that, especially for me, we grew up in families where most people stayed very local.

All good. We took the boys to LA regularly to see their grandparents. We even sent Jenn and the boys to AZ, where her parents lived, so they could also visit them.

I remember the first time I took the Amtrak. What a different experience. Was fun. Back then you could actually smoke on a train. In a smoking car. Yep, they had those then.

Photo by JK on Unsplash

When Justin was 5 or so, and Jason was 1 or 2, we decided to sell and move to AZ. It was right before the housing crash. Really. Within two years that house we bought for $150,000 and sold for $370,000, was once again worth $150,000. Crazy.

We bought a house in Surprise AZ, and I went to work for US Foodservice. Huge company. Good training program, lots of work. During this time, Justin was in third grade, and Jason was spending portions of his day at a babysitter. We both worked, did, and still do. Normal.

Third grade was a difficult one for Justin. New school, new kids, new context, new State. Very different from where we were from. As with most things, there were those things we liked about AZ, and those we did not.

Beautiful winters, HOT summers. Still, there is something quite majestic about the desert. Really. If you’ve not spent a lot of time in the desert, check it out.

We were only in that house for 1.5 years. Housing crash. Foreclosure. Emotionally trying. Actually, in every way that time was challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally.

What does it mean to “lose” a home? Difficult. We were, of course, not alone. Many, many, people were in the same position in 2007 and 2008.

The home we ended up renting was only around the corner. Helped, in that Justin could stay in the same school. They both played outside a lot with the neighborhood kids. Fun, and fun to watch.

Next?

Well, let’s save that for Part 2. I’ll end with saying that being a father to two beautiful boys has been and is one of the greatest experiences of my life. And, I wouldn’t have shared it with anyone other than Jenn.

Being a father. Beautiful, wonderful, lovely, and hard, frustrating, and scary. Still is. More on that later. 🙂

#amtrak, #arizona, #beautifulwork, #desert, #emotionalintenlligence, #emotionallytrying, #experience, #families, #family, #fathers-and-sons, #firsttimefather, #hardwork, #havingbabies, #housingcrash, #kidsplaying, #losangeles, #love, #newfather, #newparents, #raisingkids, #thefatherexperience

From Confusion to Clarity Part 0: Change As A System of Related Parts

August 16, 2020

It occured to me after writing, From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps, that there was a need to create a post about the context of change. How and why change occurs, prior to thinking about the distinction between developmental growth and transformation.

I created the above video for this purpose. Let’s also discuss it here for a few moments.

A system of change?

Change is actually a rather ordered system. Meaning that it always occurs, and in a similar manner, no matter how small or large. Important to remember that even when we don’t notice, change is always happening. Always. Alright, let’s take a look at this system.

Here are the four parts.

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Photo by Yan Ots on Unsplash

1. Order

We live, work, and love, and we do so in an ordered system. Yes? Meaning that we order our world. It’s different for everyone, yet everyone has some sort of way they order their lives. Even if we don’t write out our goals, objectives, and priorities, we have them, and know them. At home and at work.

We believe that how we order our lives is unchanging. Solid. Stable. Then what?

Something Changes

Most recently, COVID-19. Massive amounts of change. Changing all that we thought we previously knew about our ordered lives. At home and at work.

Creating a necessity to pivot businesses, and create new goals, objectives, and priorities. Yes, in business, and yes, at home. Both. Personally and professional, we’ve all been affected.

When this happens we all go into disorder. With the scale of change that COVID-19 created, the whole world went into disorder.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

2. Disorder

In disorder, we are trying to understand what is happening. Confused, worried, fearful, yes. And, at the same time, we are in survival mode. What can we do? How can we do it?

Moving anything and everything forward that we can. Personally creating new ways to shop, to exercise, to socialize. Professional, creating new business models in our new reality. Everything delivered remotely. New engagement methods, new financial models, new everything. Right? Phew.

And then?

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Photo by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash

3. Reorder

Professionally, we begin to once again create longer term goals, objectives, and priorities. Sometimes going out a year, and working backwards to priorities for the next quarter, then the month, and then the day. Beginning to create a sense of order once again.

Personally, we also begin to think about longer term goals. Creating new ways to think about living inside of our new reality. What’s possible? How can we create it?

Then?

4. Order

We have a new order. Phew. Lot’s of work. And inside of this new order, we continue to move forward. Creating, moving, creating, moving, creating, moving. Again, and again. Life.

Something Changes

Of course inside of this new ordered system, we must keep in mind that it is inevitable that another change will occur. It has to. It’s part of the system we call life.

And, what happens when that change occurs. The cycle starts all over again. Really, it does. Here.

  1. Order
    1. Change
  2. Disorder
  3. Reorder
  4. Order
    1. Change
  5. Order

And so on.

Another thing to note is that even the most subtle changes cause this system to move. It is always moving. We may not notice it, yet it is there. In the background it is always functioning.

Usually, it takes larger changes for us to notice.

Alright, that’s thinking about change as a system, which I think will be helpful in engaging with the aforementioned post on developmental growth and transformation.

Be well. Love well. Live well.

#change, #confusiontoclarity, #covid-19, #creatingnewpossibilities, #decreasingconfusion, #development, #disorder, #fromconfusiontoclarity, #growth, #increasingclarity, #livingunlimitedlives, #mindulness, #order, #orderedsystems, #reorder, #selfdevelopment, #systemofchange, #systemsofchange

From Confusion to Clarity Part 1: From Confusion to Clarity in 5 Simple Steps

Photo by imaad whd on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking a lot about limit and limitlessness this week; and, I’ve been thinking about the connection between knowing we are unlimited, and confusion and clarity.

Where do you suppose confusion comes from? Or, lack of clarity? And, how do you suppose limited thinking is connected to confusion? Lastly, how does having clarity reduce confusion, and our own limited thinking? Hm. Not sure. Well, let’s take a look.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

  1. Where does confusion and lack of clarity come from?
  2. How is limited thinking and confusion connected?
  3. How does having clarity reduce limited thinking?
  4. 5 Simple steps you can take to reduce confusion and increase clarity.

Here we go.

1. Where does confusion and lack of clarity come from?

A lot of confusion comes from over active minds. In some ways, human beings are programmed to think and think and think. Think about the past, think about the future, yet not so much the present. The issue?

When we are thinking about the past or the future, we are not present. In these moments we are literally living in the past or the future. And, when we are not present, we are confused about our current reality.

We cannot see our current reality, right there in front of us, when we are thinking about what we should or could have done yesterday, or when we are thinking about what we are going to do tomorrow, next week, or next month. Impossible.

Photo by Adrian Swancar on Unsplash

In a sense, we are confused and don’t even know it. How can this be? We are too busy thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, as we act today. When this happens we are living in yesterday or tomorrow.

All the while the present moment is being missed.

When this happens we also have less clarity. Simply because the mind is so busy thinking about other things, worrying about something that was said or not said, or something that was done or not done. When your mind is that active, you cannot have clarity. There is no space for it.

Clarity comes when we are able to leave the past in the past and the future in the future. Simple. Well, not really. Takes lots of practice. And, yet it is possible, and is quite amazing to have the space for more clarity. With more clarity, of course, comes more insight. Fun.

2. How is limited thinking and confusion connected?

When we are confused because we are focused on the past or future, we are also limiting our thinking. We are concentrating on events that are not in the here and now. Because we are not focused on the here and now, we are limiting the possibilities that live in the present moment. Limited.

Think about a time that someone asked you a question about a topic or event, and you, instead of being present to the conversation, started to think about how something similar didn’t work last time, or how the result will need to be this way or that way.

We are actively limiting the potential of the moment, because we are living in another time. Literally.

We have, in effect, created limitation. Important to note here that the limitation being created is not created intentionally. It just happens. That is why noticing when we are focusing on anything other than the present moment is important.

Limited thinking, then, is connected to confusion in that when we are confused we limit our thinking. Meaning that all the things that are possible in any given situation or event are limited. They are limited because we are paying attention to the past or the future instead of what is right in front of us.

Photo by Sep on Unsplash

3. How does having clarity reduce limited thinking?

As we’ve discussed, when there is less confusion there is more clarity. When we are focused on the present moment, we have more space for insight, and for all possibilities that might present themselves in that moment.

Conversely, when we are confused and are limiting our thinking, we have less space for those same insights and possibilities.

Therefore, clarity is created by focusing on the present moment, and letting go of thoughts about the past and future. Again, I know it sounds simple, and in language it is. In practice it is more difficult. Why?

As was aforementioned, we are in some ways programmed to focus on the past and the future. As I’ve written about in other posts, humans are meaning-makers. Which means that we are always creating meaning about what we are doing, and we are also always relating it to what we know.

And, what we know lives mostly in the past.

Additionally, we are socialized, especially in the U.S. to focus on results. When we are focused on a result, we are now focused on the future, not on the present.

Both focusing on the past and the future detract us from the present. What can we do to increase clarity and reduce confusion? Let’s take a look at 5 simple steps you can take to begin to increase your clarity.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

4. 5 Simple steps you can take to reduce confusion and increase clarity.

When you notice that you are thinking about past events, whether it is something you wish you wouldn’t have done, or something that you wish you would have done, shift your thinking to the present. It takes practice.

Notice without judgement. Once you are more aware of your thoughts, you may get frustrated when you catch yourself focusing on the past or the future.

It’s okay. Normal. Don’t beat yourself up. You are human.

When we get frustrated, we can actually create more confusion. Think about it. If you are focused on the past and you notice, and then get frustrated, you have now filled your mind with both the past and frustration in the present moment. More confusion.

If you get frustrated, notice that, and let it go. Again, it takes practice. Here are the steps again.

  1. Notice when your thoughts are in the past or future.
  2. Shift your attention to the present.
  3. Notice frustration if it arises.
  4. Let go of the frustration.
  5. Repeat again and again.

It works the same for future events. Same process, same steps.

Remember, we don’t create confusion and lack of clarity for ourselves intentionally. It just happens. However, there are steps you can take to increase clarity and reduce confusion. How to begin? One step at a time.

And, when you get frustrated, which will invariably happen, remember that frustration will only attract more confusion. Take it slow. Breathe. Practice. And, please give yourself the grace you deserve.

#becominglimitless, #fromconfusiontoclarity, #frustration, #increaseclarity, #increaseyourclarity, #limitedthinking, #limitlessness, #noticefrustration, #pastandfuture, #possibilities, #potentialofthepresentmoment, #present, #reduceconfusion, #reduceyourconfusion, #shiftyourattention, #thepresentmoment, #unlimitedthinking