A Blogger’s Diary 10/3/21: On the Week, Writing and Reflecting, Publications and A Poem, WordPress, and Self-expression

The week

Over the past couple of weeks, the team has been preparing for school to begin, which means the registration team has been, is, well, super duper busy, which is awesome. Instructors are prepping for classes, as the rest of the staff are doing things like, getting computers out to in-person locations for late registrations, and supporting instructors as and where needed. 

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks, filled with registration numbers the likes of which we haven’t seen since prior to the pandemic. Amazing.

The past couple of weeks, I’ve also been reflecting upon the concept of self-expression in relation to human beingness; and, then in relation to leadership more specifically. I’ll have a little more to write about that in a moment. First, let’s take a quick look at some writing reflections from the past couple of weeks.

Writing and Reflecting

About two months ago now, I switched my blogging schedule. Previous to that time, I was posting every day, which just became too much to manage. Now, I am posting an average of 4 to 5 times a week, and that is working well for now. 

I’ve been thinking of possibly reducing it to 3 to 4 times a week, yet, we will see.

I’ve been writing a lot, as I always do; sometimes that means I write a poem each day, sometimes 3 or 4. It depends. 

Most of my poems over the past couple of weeks have taken love at their center, which is, well, quite wonderful. I never really know what is going to come from my heart, through my fingers, and onto the page you’re reading; really, I never really do.

I usually begin with a concept, or more likely, a sentence or two, and go from there. It is so much fun. 

For instance, the poem heart-related centeredness was a response to the WDYS photo prompt, hosted by Sadje, from Keep it Alive. I love to participate in this prompt, as I am able. The photo, to me, sparked an immediate response about the connectedness of all that we see, sky, clouds, sea, and, well, you; and me, of course. It just works that way for me today; it is what I see and feel.

And, the poem referenced above, from my heart, and through my fingers, was literally a reflection on the process of writing from my heart; and how it feels to me. Is simple, and quite beautiful to me. 

I’ve also been blessed with another publishing opportunity, and have just heard back from Spillwords Press on one other submission. How fun!

Publications and A Poem

I’m super excited about being a part of the first ever Word Weaving – A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, the kindle version of which is available now. You can access it from the link above. If you are interested, you can also learn more at the word weaving blog.

I also just learned that my poem, Smoulder Now and Forever, has been accepted by Spillwords Press. Excited. When the poem is scheduled for publication, I will let you all know.

I also have a few more pieces coming up in both MasticadoresUSA, and MasticadoresIndia. When those are scheduled for publication, I will also let you know. 

If you’ve not yet checked out these cool publication houses, please do so when you have time. Amazing people, and talented writers. Much fun!

Oh, before I forget, here is one of the poems that wasn’t accepted recently. I am including it here, well, because it reminds me of some of my recent reflections on the moon, which has been so beautiful in the night sky recently.

Dazzling delight

the moon

dazzling delight

transformed ages of night

called on by gods and goddesses

alike

WordPress

Alright, in my last diary entry, several of us had a conversation about blogs that we follow not showing up in our reader. I did contact WP, after some coaching from our friend Cindy, from Unique Times with Cindy, thank you, dear Cindy, and here is what I learned.

There is no solution at WP for this issue. Their suggestion was to do, well, what most of us already know how to do, which is unfollow, and then refollow. Usually this will work, and the blog posts will once again begin to show in our reader.

Therefore, I will be unfollowing and refollowing some of you. We will see how that works.

Self Expression

The past couple of weeks, I’ve also been reflecting upon self-expression. As a human being on this planet, it is so important to be fully self-expressed. I know this, as I spent some years not being fully self-expressed.

When we are fully self-expressed, we get out all of the ideas, concepts, and love we have for life. We experience aliveness, through the difficulty and ease that comes with life. And, for me, it’s inside of this aliveness, through all that we receive from life, where the beauty for and of life lives. 

It is interesting to write about self-expression within a beautiful community that self-expresses continuously; yet, what I also know about being a human being on this planet, is that even those of us who are fully self-expressed, have times when we feel not fully self-expressed.

In those moments, I usually take a walk, sit quietly, and just detach myself from all things. Inside of this space lives the possibility of reconnecting within, which for me, means insights will arise, and self-expression will follow.

Alright, that’s all for this entry.

Have a beautifully blessed week, everyone.


#poetry, #abloggersdiary, #blogging, #diary, #education, #leadership, #poems, #publications, #reflecting, #selfexpression, #wordpress, #writing

Servant Leadership: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

It occurred to me recently that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on leadership; and, considering I spend a large portion of my week, nay, my life, conducting leadership activities, conversations, and collaborations, it seemed like just the time to create a new conversation.

In lieu of a diary entry this week, I’m going back to a previous post about servant leadership, and picking up from there, with new eyes, as it were. Meaning, it’s been almost a year since the last post on servant leadership, and I’ve learned a lot about, well, everything in the last year. Update needed.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

What is servant leadership? Good question. Here is the definition.

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.” 

Robert E Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

I like to think about servant leadership as a leadership style that upends traditional notions of what leadership looks, sounds, and feels like. It is, thus, quite different. It is also harder.

Harder because servant leadership incorporates subtle elements of leadership. For instance, the emotional well-being of the self, and each person in the organization, business, and or team are of utmost importance. These more subtle elements of leadership are not always captured in other, more traditional leadership styles.

In order to fully grasp the distinction between traditional leadership, and servant leadership, let’s first take a quick look at organizational hierarchies.

Organizational Hierarchies

In traditional conversations and discussions about servant leadership, it is common to see, read, and hear about the concept of flipping the traditional leadership hierarchy.

Traditional Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

Servant Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

The concept of the inverted triangle, seen above, is common, and while I agree with this concept, in practice, servant leadership actually plays out a little differently.

It plays out in practice differently, because the flow of information happens between everyone all the time, and does not occur in a one-way directionality, as the above example illustrates.

Let’s take a look at what I am pointing to here.

Servant Leadership and Traditional Leadership

In my previous article on servant leadership, I elaborated on the distinction between a traditional approach to leadership, and a servant leadership approach to leadership.

Simply, in many traditional leadership theories, the leader is charged with distilling information, sending it out, and then holding people accountable.

In servant leadership, however, there is a dynamic context created through leadership of the self, of which all members of the team are responsible, creating a synergy of relationships and communication.

And, yet, even in the inverted servant leadership triangle, we see that the flow of information is distinguished with arrows, which still have a one-way directionality. As we will see in the next section, this concept is inadequate to fully describe how servant leadership is practiced.

Servant Leadership in Practice: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

In a context where servant leadership is practiced, information and communication is free flowing, collaborative, authentic, vulnerable, safe, and accountable. All of these things are true.

Information and Communication

Information does not flow from the top alone, as in a traditional leadership hierarchical model, nor does it only flow from the bottom, as in a servant leadership hierarchical model. 

Rather, information and communication flow all throughout the organization, business, and or team, in such a way that at all times, each person is leading their portions of work, and is in continual communication about their progress and barriers.

It is then up to the CEO or Director to ensure that the flow of information and communication is continually moving throughout the entire organization, business, and or team.

Here is a simple diagram of how I see and experience servant leadership actually being practiced.

As you can see from the three-dimensional pyramid diagram, both traditional leadership and servant leadership hierarchies are disrupted, and replaced by a nonhierarchical model.

The implementation of a nonhierarchical model ensures that each person in the organization, business, and or on the team has a voice in all matters, including the vision, mission, values, and the future direction of the organization, business, and or team.

Though the servant leadership diamond diagram is not inclusive of all of the possible communication flows, many are outlined, which gives us the basis of the conceptual framework.

The servant leadership diamond diagram, and associated conceptual framework are also practical. Meaning, it is entirely possible to implement the servant leadership diamond conceptual framework into any organization, business, and or team.

In fact, it has been done, and is done every day by the team I work on and with; and, though harder at times, it is a beautiful experience.

In the next post on the Servant Leadership Diamond Framework, we will explore several concepts that leaders will need to understand to create the appropriate context for the successful implementation of a leadership framework that disrupts all hierarchies in favor of a nonhierarchical model; creating more voice and empowerment for everyone in the organization, business, and or team.

Have a wonderfully beautiful week, everyone.


#collaboration, #communication, #information, #leadership, #organizationaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #servantleadership, #servantleadershipdiamond, #teamdevelopment, #theoryandpractice, #traditionalleadership

A Developmental Moment #7: A Conversation About Connection and Compassion

How Deep Connections Increase Our Compassion

A couple of weeks ago I gave a talk about connection. More specifically, it was titled, the Year of Continued Connection. The talk was delivered at our Community Education Instructor Forum. An event we’ve been planning and delivering for, well, almost three years now.

After the talk, I continued to reflect upon the conversation with the instructors, and the concepts they brought up, and just how important connection is in our lives. In many ways, it is the bedrock of many concepts we cherish, such as relationships, engagement, an open heart, kindness, care, and yes, compassion.

When we are deeply connected to our own humanity, we get a larger picture of our shared humanity, which increases the humility and compassion we have for ourselves, and everyone else.

In this post, I would like to elaborate on a few of the concepts outlined above as I understand them in their relation to connection. Ready? Good. Here we go.

Connection

Photo by Uriel SC on Unsplash
  • Relationships – as I’ve written about many times, all of our relationships start with the relationship we have with ourselves. The connection we have with ourselves is the same connection we will have with the people in our lives. It just works that way. There was a time when I wondered why it was that my relationships weren’t as strong as I would have liked them to be; bottom line? The relationship I had with myself was not strong. Simple.
  • Engagement – when we are in relationship with ourselves, and then the people we surround ourselves with, it means that we are engaged. Engagement in this context means we have easy and difficult conversations. Both. When we hold ourselves accountable, we will do the same for everyone else, which makes navigating our relationships harder. Though harder, when we hold ourselves accountable, we get back relationships that have a deeper connection. Why? Because we are real, we are speaking our truth. That’s it.
  • Open Heartedness – when we are in engaged relationships there will be difficult times. For us, and for the people we love. However, when we are engaged, we won’t run, we will stand by their side, and stand for those we love, just as we stand for ourselves. And, when we are standing, we are being open to all that life gives us. We don’t pick and choose the times we are engaged and willing to stand for ourselves and the people we love. We do it all the time. Without thinking. It just happens. We create more openness within ourselves because we are living through experiences that we may have run from before; and, when we stand through all of the stormy times, our connection to ourselves and the people we love deepens even further.
  • Kindness – with our hearts more open in these engaged relationships, we develop more kindness for ourselves and everyone else. It happens as a result of continuing to navigate all of life’s triumphs and challenges. In essence, we become a kinder human being, because we’ve been through more challenges. We’ve become more vulnerable; and, when we become more vulnerable, yes, we get stronger, and we get kinder. All of which also creates a more intense connection with ourselves and the people we love.
  • Care – when we are kind, engaged, and open-hearted in our relationships, we develop more care. We have a better understanding of the human condition, and what it takes to stand for ourselves and the people we love. Every day. And, as we do this work, a deeper awareness develops within ourselves, which includes a deeper connection of care to everyone and everything.

The 3 S’s of Connection

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

I also like to think about connection in regard to three other concepts. Here they are.

  • Safety – when we stand for ourselves and other human beings, we stay engaged, regardless of the situation. A result of increased engagement is safety. When we know we won’t run at the first sight of trouble, people feel safe. And, when people feel safe with you, they will be much more connected.
  • Security – as a sense of safety develops in your relationships, a sense of security also develops. It has to. When we feel safe, we also feel secure. Secure in the knowledge that our relationships are a place where we don’t have to worry or create anxiety over people leaving us, or being upset with us. Now, that doesn’t mean there will never be disagreements, or even arguments; what it does mean is that people will respect each other, and speak their truth, without fear of reprisal. That’s security.
  • Stability – and, when we feel safe and secure, we also feel stable. The relationship we have with ourselves is more stable, which means all of our relationships are more stable.

When we have safety, security, and stability in our relationships, we have a deeper connection to those we love. It also means that we know when a relationship is not going to work. Whereas this is difficult, we stay true to our truth. The knowing we have of the kind of relationship we are creating, and want to have. Therefore, we are much more clear on the people we allow into our lives. In fact, we have much more clarity about humanity in general. Beautiful.

Connection and Compassion

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

With more clarity about our own humanity, we are much more clear on all humanity. I’ve written this sentence differently many times. Yet, it is such an important part of deepening our connection with ourselves and the people we love.

When we have authentic relationships, we are working hard on them all the time. And, as we do the hard work, we go through many challenges. These challenging times show us more about our own humanity, and then our collective humanity.

For instance, we can read every book ever written on being vulnerable, yet the only way to really know about vulnerability is to practice being vulnerable. It is the only way. Without the practical experience of being vulnerable, vulnerability is just information in our heads; we leave our hearts behind.

Yet, when we are open to all of the experiences life gives us, we get to learn so much more. And, it is inside of these learnings where we further deepen our connection with ourselves and everyone else.

As we deepen our connections, we also develop more compassion. We develop more compassion, because as we go through more challenges, we develop a new understanding of how hard life can be; and with this new experiential knowledge, the compassion we have for ourselves and everyone else deepens.

When we are more compassionate, we are also more patient, and have more love for people when they are struggling, because we can see ourselves in them. And, for me, one of the most magical experiences of my practice of self-inquiry over the past four years has been seeing myself in other people. It is a beautiful experience.

Remember, every connection we have in life starts with the one we have with ourselves. When we have a deep connection with ourselves, we will have a deeper connection with the people we love, and we will also become a more compassionate human being. And, guess what?

We need more compassionate people on this planet.

#care, #compassion, #engagement, #human-connection, #humandevelopment, #leadership, #minfulness, #openheart, #relationships, #safety, #security, #selfdevelopment, #stability

The Reflection Series Part 9: The Power of Silence

In Leadership and Life

Photo by Tim Hüfner on Unsplash

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the power of silence; and, maybe more importantly how in that absence of sound and other stimuli there lives a very powerful reservoir. One that, as many of you know, I was not in touch with for many years.

In my reflection this past week, I’ve also been pondering how in today’s fast-paced, go, go, go, culture, I do have the United States in mind here, accessing silence is even more important. The paradox? It’s harder to access. Though not for the reason you may be thinking.

It’s harder to access, not because there is less silence available in the US. In fact, accessing silence has nothing to do with spaces and places. The reason that it is harder in the US to access silence is actually rather simple. It’s not valued, nor taught. In fact, one could argue that the opposite is valued.

Fast-paced, loud, go, go, go. Right? These may be horrible generalizations, yet take a look around any metropolitan city in this country, and what do you see? People moving fast, cars driving fast, animals moving fast. Habituation to a lifestyle that proceeds all of us, yet we also help to continue to perpetuate this lifestyle. Interesting.

In this post, I want to create a space to discuss some practices that anyone, no matter where you live, can take up to secure themselves a little silence each day. These practices are common sense. No great mysteries here. Yet, it’s the planning and doing and repeating that matter most in this conversation. (Re)habituation.

(Re)habituation

Photo by Omar Flores on Unsplash

Well, I’ve not defined a word in a while in a post, so let’s do that, shall we? Good. Here we go.

habituation

noun /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/ /həˌbɪtʃuˈeɪʃn/[uncountable] (formal)

  1. habituation (of somebody/something) (to something) the action or condition of becoming used to something

There we go.

So, what then is (re)habituation? It simply means the process of habituating ourselves to a different set of stimuli, actions or conditions, while letting go of the ones we are currently habituated to. Simple. Yet, when we are habituated to an action or a particular set of conditions, it can be difficult to (re)habituate ourselves to something new.

I’ve written on this topic before, and think, especially right now, it is important for everyone to consider how they can get at least a few moments of silence in their lives each day.

Just a short 4 years ago, I never created silence for myself. In fact, I thought reading and watching television was, in their own way, silent time. And, when you don’t know how to access silence, and, in fact, are quite afraid of it, then watching TV or reading a book can seem like silent time.

Yet, accessing real silence takes practice. And, guess what? Once you’ve created a new habit to access silence, and you’ve done so for some time, you begin to realize that silence is always available. Even when you are busy. A paradox? Yes, and no.

Here are a couple things you can do on a regular basis to begin to access silence.

  1. Stop – when you are super busy. Stop. Stop, and set an alarm on your phone for 2 minutes and just sit there and focus on your breath. The way the air is inhaled into your lungs and the way it is exhaled out. Just 2 minutes. Do that periodically throughout your day. You will find that in just 2 minutes of silence, you can quiet your mind a little, and gain more focus. As you practice this 2-minute silence break, increase it after a couple of weeks to 3 minutes, then 5 minutes. It is amazing how much focus and mental equilibrium can be created out of just a few minutes of real silence.
  2. Walk – calendar yourself for regular walks. You can start with a 5-minute walk. If you’re at work, maybe it’s just around the area you work, inside or out, it matters not. What matters is to focus on your breath as you walk. As you take a step, inhale in, and as you take another step, exhale out. You can even count the steps as you take them. I still do this today without even thinking about it. Habituation.
  3. Listen – when you are super busy, stop what you are doing, and listen to your mind and body. How do they feel? Are you tense? Is your mind super active? If so, stop and breathe for a few minutes, or take a walk, as described above.
  4. Repeat – the most important thing about creating a new habit, or (re)habituating ourselves out of our current habits and into new ones is repetition. Daily is best. Yet, it is also important to set a schedule you can work with and that will feel good. So, if that’s every other day, so be it. Getting started is key, and then continuing as you are able will create more workability for you inside of creating a new habit.

Alright, there are a couple of things you can do to habituate yourself into a new habit, which will help you gain access to silent time everyday. Remember, if you forget, which will happen, or feel you don’t have time so choose not to access silent time one day, it’s okay.

There are no demerits here. It’s about creating more workability by increasing your focus, attention, and mental wellness, something everyone needs, and leaders must have.

Leadership and Silence

I’ve found accessing silence one of the most powerful concepts and practices of my entire life; and, remember, the person writing this post did know how to access even one minute of real silence until about 4 years ago. True.

Yet, when we create the time to be silent, to quiet our minds, to listen to our bodies, and to just be, what we get back is so much more. We get more focus, attention, and mental wellness, and we also get more insights. Insights into our own humanity. A sacred and beautiful experience.

Here are five few ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership.

  1. Mental Flexibility – when we are mentally flexible, we are open and willing to listen and learn.
  2. Calmness – remaining calm under great pressure and stress is key to keeping yourself and your team on track and in alignment.
  3. Clarity – developing clarity means that your communications will be more clear and understandable. Communication is one of the most important functions in leadership, so being clear, concise, and understandable is key.
  4. Patience – the ability to demonstrate patience shows your team that even under extreme pressure, you will remain open and flexible. Demonstrating patience will give your team more confidence in you as a leader.
  5. Deeper Understanding – to lead, you must understand yourself well; and, you must be able to relate to all people, staff, peers, customers, clients, everyone. Developing a deeper understanding of your own humanity, means that you develop a deeper understanding of all humanity, which makes you more relatable, empathetic, and compassionate.

There are many more ways that silence has impacted my life and leadership, yet these are important for all of us, and for leaders they are critical. The ability to be mentally flexible, remain calm, have clarity, demonstrate patience, and create a deeper understanding of yourself are skills that every leader needs.

Remember, then, the next time you feel overwhelmed at work or in life, create silent time for yourself. It can even be 1 minute to start. What matters most is getting started.

It’s about accessing the silence that is always within you; and, watching that grow over time, as you continue to practice the act of creating silent time for yourself.

#clarity, #creatingnewhabits, #creatingsilence, #deeperunderstanding, #habituation, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #life, #mentalflexibility, #mindfulness, #patience, #personaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #reflection, #selfdevelopment, #silence

A Blogger’s Diary 3/28/21: On Writing, Reflecting, Vaccinations, and Emotions

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon my emotions, as you might have noticed and/or read about in some of my poems. As we continue to move forward with vaccinations, it occurs to me that there will be emotions about the pandemic that will arise for all of us. Some we will see coming, some we will not.

Before we discuss this topic more, let’s take a look at the writing that occured this week, and the writing slated for next week.

Writing

This past week, I found myself drawn more to poetry. In fact, in the past two weeks, I’ve written about 10 new poems. All of which, I will share in the coming weeks. I’ve been feeling moved this week by several concepts, which did make their way into the following pieces.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1.jpg
Image credit; Eric Muhr @ Unsplash

Keeps

The poem Keeps was initially inspired by the WDYS #74 prompt from Keep it Alive, by Sadje. The prompt this week reminded me of my hikes in the local area in which I live. Hikes where I am present to only my footing, the scenery, such as the earth, the foliage, the beautiful sky, and any wildlife that comes by. Beautiful.

As thoughts enter my mind, I let them pass through, and remain in that moment, just walking along the trail being one with the Nature that surrounds me.

It is quite meditative to walk, practice your breathing, and just listen and watch. There is healing in each foot step, each breath, and in each moment. If you’ve not tried meditative walking/hiking, I suggest giving it a try.

Elixir

The poem Elixir was an acknowledgement to the present moment and the illusion of time. I’ve written several times about the social construction of time, and when you really understand that time, in fact, is illusory, you are freed from self-imposed limits bound in time.

We all live outside of time, yet also live in it, as we choose. A paradox, and not.

Next Week

As I mentioned previously, I’ve created a bunch of new poems, and am excited to get them scheduled. I feel more poetry coming, so will continue to write and reflect on new concepts and insights as they come.

I am also continuing to work on a post on silence. I had an insight this week about a post on communication, and will probably start that sometime in the next week or two.

Alas, I’ve not made much progress on the Leadership from Within series. Though I’ve not made much progress yet, I will continue to endeavor to write this series. I see it as a possible book in the future, and have a lot of thinking and feeling about the topic to share.

Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are opening up more here locally. In fact, I am pleased to report that I am on an official waitlist for my first dose. I was told I should get a call in the next week or two.

Though I am pleased about this progress, both as a State and a Country, I realize that there is much work to do across this country and the world to ensure that everyone that wants a vaccination has access.

I will not pretend to know the answers to this issue. I will say, however, that I look forward to a day when those in legislative positions and positions of power in this country and around the globe think more collectively and collaboratively about serving the common good, which includes all of humanity. Everyone, everywhere.

Photo by Diana H on Unsplash

Emotions

With anticipation and excitement also comes apprehension, fear, and indifference. It’s just how it works. Which means that whereas some people will feel the former, some will feel the latter, and many of us will feel both.

When I was told that I would be put on a waiting list for my first dose of the vaccine, I was excited and anxious. Excited about the movement, and anxious about the unknown.

It is important for me to stay grounded in the current reality, which, yes, includes the vaccination being distributed to more and more people across the State. The current reality also includes, however, the fact that some people will not want to get the vaccine and some will not have access to the vaccine due to systematic inequalities in this country and around the world.

The latter of which fills me with sadness.

It also occurs to me that the landscape of how the pandemic, and respective responses to it from a systems and organizational perspective, are still completely unknown. Which simply means taking things as they come, developing plans and iterating those plans as needed, to ensure we continue to serve as many people as possible with educational options that fit their needs. Important.

The invitation I will send out to the team this week will be to recognize the emotions as they come for what they are. Responses to stimuli in your environment, and in your mind. Meaning, emotions are something we get and feel, they are not who we are.

Emotions, like our thoughts, do not define us. We choose.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

Have a wonderful week and please stay healthy and well.

#poetry, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #communication, #contemplation, #covid-19-vaccination, #diary, #emotionalintelligence, #emotions, #leadership, #meditation, #pandemic, #poem, #poems, #reflections, #silence, #writing

My One Thing This Week: Creating a Vision Traction Organizer

Current Reality, Future Reality, and Gaining Traction

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Alright, it’s been a while since I’ve created a My One Thing post. As I considered this this past week, it occurred to me to write a post about creating a Vision Traction Organizer (VTO). The VTO is taken from the book Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business, by Gino Wickman.

I’ve written about the book Traction before, and highly recommend it for anyone working in the business world, both private and public, no matter the size of your business. It is a very practical and implemtable book.

Alright, so here is what the VTO for the Extended Learning Department at Linn-Benton Community College looked like in year 2.

Extended Learning, Vision Traction Organizer

As you can see, it begins on the left side with the department values and vision and then works all the way to the right displaying the department goals, and issues the department is facing. Hence, traction. Why?

Well, as I’ve written about before, the only way to make a vision a reality, personal or professional, is to actually tie that vision to day-to-day life in the form of smaller goals. When you have your day-to-day activities tied to the vision of who you want to be, or where you want your organization or business to be in, say, 3 years, you will develop traction.

Meaning, you will move toward and likely manifest that reality for yourself, or your team.

Now, since the department’s second year together, well, we’ve had some, let’s say, unexpected things occur, such as the pandemic. Yep, so now that we’ve been living inside of this pandemic for a full year, it was time to start to sketch out the next 3 years.

Here is what it looks like on my white board wall.

Albany, Oregon 2021

If you compare the two, you will see that the revenue goals are much lower than they were expected to be when the original VTO was created in our second year together. That, however, is the reality. And, as I’ve written about before, being clear on the current reality is necessary and needed in leadership.

We may not want to look at the current reality, we may want to instead run and hide from it, yet, it will only follow us if we do. And, in refusing to acknowledge the current reality, just as it is, the people that work in your organization or business, will be confused. Confused because they are not getting honest communication from leadership. Not helpful.

Further, when we don’t stand in and accept our current reality, we cannot create new realities. The only way to create a vision for the future, is to accept reality as it is. Just as it is now. Then work from there. Simple. Yet, this can be hard for people in new leadership roles. Trust me, I know how that feels.

However, you will find that your team, organization, or business, will be grateful when leadership stands in and actively communicates the current reality. For it gives everyone a real starting point.

Alright, that’s My One Thing for this week. The next step will be to take the “whiteboard wall VTO” and put it into a graphics design software package. Once I’ve done that, I will create another post and walk you through some of my thinking about Extended Learning’s next three years. That will be fun.

#business, #current-reality, #gettingagriponyourbusiness, #ginowickman, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #myonething, #selfdevelopment, #strategicthinking, #traction, #vision, #visiontractionorganizer

The Reflection Series #7: Thinking about Time Differently

Using Our Energy Level As A Measure Of Time

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This past week I’ve been reflecting upon time management. Well, to be more specific, time management in relation to projects, tasks, and, then, after a conversation with a colleague of mine, energy.

Have you ever thought about scheduling your day by the energy you exert in relation to the projects or tasks you work on? Well, I had never really thought about my time this way either.

Or rather, I think a lot about how much energy a project or task takes, yet I have never created a system for analyzing my energy output.

Well, it’s about time, I think. Pun intended.

Before we go on further in the discussion, however, let’s first take a look at my projects and tasks in a linear format, which is the picture below.

Albany, OR 2021

I find it helpful to write out the projects and tasks I am responsible for.

Yet, in the linear version to the left, I am missing several pieces needed to get a grasp on the whole picture.

Meaning, how do the projects and tasks relate to the department priorities? Good question.

Let’s take a look.

Below is a mind map to assist in answering this question.

Albany, OR 2021

Completing the whiteboard mind map helped me see a couple of things that are not apparent when data or information is presented linearly.

Here are some of the things I learned from mapping the projects and tasks nonlinearly.

  • Most of my time is currently spent in meeting the department’s sustainability priority.
  • There are at least three commitments that aren’t connected to a department priority. They are the bubbles, or circles, that are off to the side, disconnected from the rest of the mind map.
  • We are working on systems in each program, yet they are different systems.

And here is a question that arose after reflecting upon this mind map overnight.

How does my time on these various projects and tasks vary as a function of energy output?

It is very common to measure out time in, well, units of time. For instance, project A takes X amount of time, whereas project B takes Y amount of time. Helpful.

Yet, what we also know about time is that, for instance, you can work on a project or task for an hour, let’s say, without exerting that much energy. While, conversely, you can spend 30-minutes on a project or task that requires much more mental, or physical, output. How do you then manage your time?

If you simply gauge or measure all projects the same way, you may, for instance, have a work day that is full of high energy outputs, and a day that has very little, which may cause a balance issue.

My suggestion? Good question.

Well, I plan to remap my projects and tasks by energy output. It might look something like this.

Corvallis, OR 2021

A rough sketch this is, however, even in this rough sketch, you can get the idea.

What this sketch does not take into account, or, rather, does not, at this time, have space for, are those projects that fall outside the department priorities.

More reflection for me.

Alright, that wraps up this entry in the reflection series on thinking about time differently.

Remember, if we simply use time as the only way we measure our output, without considering energy, for instance, we may be missing a big piece of the overall framework of how we schedule ourselves and our work.

#energy, #humandevelopment, #introspection, #leadership, #mindmap, #reflection, #selfdevelopment, #selfimprovement, #strategicthinking, #timemangagement

A Blogger’s Diary 2/7/21: 2 Writing Reflections, Next Week, and Movies

Alright, we’ve now entered February and are approaching the 1-year anniversary of the pandemic outbreak here locally. Phew. Hard to believe, and, yet, not. Why?

Well, in some ways this past year has gone by really quickly, and, in others, not so much. Time is an interesting construct. One I will not go into right now, promise, though if you are interested in more of my thinking on time, please take a look at, The Social Construction Series Part 5: The Social Construction of Time.

I also wrote a poem on time once.

I digress. How about those reflections? Okay, here we go.

2 Writing Reflections

Hope

Alright, the hope elfje poem was a response to Sadje’s weekly WDYS prompt, and I loved writing it. There are times when I write a poem, and all the words just flow out of me and onto the page. There are other times, where it flows out of me, and then I sit with the poem a while, and make minor, and sometimes major adjustments.

The hope poem was of the latter variety. I originally conceived of this poem as a poem about fright. Yet, as I played with the words in my mind, and looked at them on my whiteboard, it occured to me that the poem was really about hope.

That, at times, we all feel like the darkness is enveloping us, and then when we are least expecting it, a ray of light, or hope, shines upon us. Beautifully fun.

Shy

Well, what do I say about the poem shy. Hm. First, I wrote this poem two months ago probably, and just left it. I would occasionally go back to it, read and reread it, and then still leave it for another day.

Well, this past week, I read it again, made a couple minor changes, and thought, let’s post this this week. And, so that’s exactly what happened.

I was shy growing up, and was called shy and sensitive a lot. In the early 1980’s being shy and sensitive as a young boy was, well, difficult. And, I know for many young boys and girls this is still the case today in the US.

In the United States there is a fixation on being unemotional, which is, as we all know, quite toxic and unhealthy. Emotional balance and stability is needed and necessary, yet, when we shut our emotions away, we are ultimately harming ourselves and those around us.

Anyway, the poem shy was about me stepping into the light of my shyness and sensitivity. For me, they go together.

One of my blogger friends asked if the poem was about being shy or being introverted. And, well, I am actually quite extroverted, yet also have a very important introverted part of my life. A paradox? No, not at all.

Shyness, sensitivity, extroversion, and introversion, all live on a continuum, or spectrum. And, they can actually change over time and between contexts.

Writing the poem shy was a blast.

Next Week

Looking ahead, I see more poems, and an article on time and energy, which is almost complete. And, then one, I think, on patience, something that I struggled with for a very long time.

In the coming weeks, I will also be working on the Leadership From Within Series. The posts in this new series will be shorter, and will be about the many things I’ve encountered the past 4 years in my role at the community college. Will be fun.

I will also be trying out some new poem forms, such as the Hexastich. Should be a lot of fun. And, movies? Alright, let’s take a look at a couple I’ve watched over the past two months.

Movies

I’ve always enjoyed movies, and though I don’t watch as many today, I still love to curl up with a blanket and take in a good movie.

Here are a couple I’ve watched recently.

I give all of these movies at least a 7 out of 10, with the Legend of Bagger Vance being my favorite.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

I wish you well in all that you do, and hope you have a wonderful week.

#poetry, #blog, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #leadership, #movies, #poems, #writing