A Blogger’s Diary 1/10/21: On Writing, Work, The Remote Book Club, and Difficulty

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

Well, we’ve now just about completed our first full week of the new year, which means, well, many different things for people. For me? It means that I’m back at the College, and we are continuing to move our work forward. I’ll talk more about that in a minute. For now?

Let’s take a look at this week’s posts.

Phew, that’s fun. Now, how about next week?

Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve been scheduling posts in advance, so I already know some of next week’s posts, which include a few poems, haiku#2, and two more articles on development. One of the articles is on having difficult conversations, and one is the last entry in part 2 the Leadership Series.

I am also working on two new articles, which will not be posted for a couple weeks. One is on creating intention, and the second is on the law of attraction. They should be super fun.

Alright, as it was my first week back to work in a week-and-a-half, let’s take a look at how that went.

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Work

I’ve been in this current position for almost 4 years now, so the break was, well, awesome, and different. Different in that, there was more time. I didn’t work as much, so had more time for writing and other endeavors. Was nice.

However, by the last weekend of the break, I was ready to see the team. We had a great first week back, registrations are stronger than they’ve been since the beginning of the pandemic, which means we are serving more and more people each term. Amazing.

The team is well. They are continuing to use both their heads and their hearts to move our work forward, which is, well, essential.

I’ve written before about making sure we use both our heads and our hearts in our lives, well, actually recently, so will simply state here, that it is super fun to see the team’s growth, our collective growth, and the growth of each individual. Super fun.

Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Remote Book Club

I am happy to write that the remote book club is alive and well. As you may recall, we are reading, Killing Commendatore, by Haruki Murakami.

Now, I’ll admit my bias, as I have before, I am a huge Murakami fan, so I love this book. Thus far, the book is about journeying. Journey’s that occur inside ourselves and outside ourselves. It is quite fascinating.

We are only about half way through the 700+ page book, which means we will not finish it until sometime in February.

I look forward to the discussion we will have in about three weeks from now, should be pretty amazing.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Difficulty

This past week I was more present to the word, or concept of, difficulty. For many reasons, one of which is, yes, the article I wrote about difficult conversations; and, also the continued difficulties due to the pandemic.

I am leaving you this week with the Monday message I have scheduled for the team, which will go out tomorrow morning.

Here we go.

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon the word, or concept of, difficulty. Why?

Well, the entire world has experienced many difficult things this past year. And, whereas, yes, we are beginning a new year, it is part of my everyday practice and work to recognize that more difficulties lie ahead.

However, understanding that there will be difficulty does not mean that there will only be things that are difficult.

One thing, of the many, I’ve learned this past year, is that it’s actually inside of life’s experiences, which are difficult, where we learn more about, well, everything. More about the world, the nation, the state, our local community, the college, our team, and, yes, about the human beings we are today.

I’ve also learned that no experience, or concept, such as difficulty, is free from their conceptual counterpoint. In this example, we can use the word, or concept, easily, as the counterpoint to difficulty.

When we experience something that is difficult, we know it’s difficult because we’ve also experienced things in our life that are easier. They go together. Always have, and always will. It’s how life works.

My invitation to you?

To remember, when life is giving you things that are difficult, that they will pass, and that, in some ways, when we get life experiences that are difficult, they make us appreciate the easy stuff that much more.

Corvallis, Oregon, January 2021

Wow, I’ve never used the “pull quote” function in WordPress before. That’s fun. Alright, back on track.

We will always get things in life that are difficult. It is inevitable. However, we will also get things in life that are easy, also part of life. They are, in fact, one. Inseparable. Meaning?

Enjoy them all, as you are able, my friends, and live your life to the fullest extent possible.

Have a lovely week.

#bloggers-diary, #blogging, #business, #diary, #difficult, #easy, #education, #harukimurakami, #leadership, #pandemic, #remotebookclub, #work, #writing

A Blogger’s Diary 1/3/21: On Writing, 2 New Series, and Reflecting

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash

Alright, as we embark on a new year, it only seems fitting to, yes, take a look at last week’s writing real quick, and then? Well, we’ll take a look at two new series I am working on for this new year; one launched, and one in production. And, then a small reflection on this past year, and my hopes for 2021. Let’s get started, shall we? Good. Here we go.

Writing

Though I did work a little last week, I was on official holiday, as it is the only time each year that the college closes. Meaning, I had more time to write. A few more posts were published, and I did some writing for future weeks, which was really nice. Here then, is what was published last week.

Nice. Funnily enough, one of my favorite posts this week was the baking post. Different, and fun. Next week? Yep.

I’ve got two posts scheduled already, one for Friday morning, and one for Saturday morning. The former is the second installment, though it is written as the first, in the My One Thing series, which I’ll write more about in a minute, and then the latter is the second-half of the second installment in the Leadership series.

I also have several poems written, and am also working on scheduling those in advance. Though, again, with poetry, I like the space to create on the fly, as insights occur. I’ll be managing that balance as we move forward this year.

Alright, new series time.

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

New Series

I describe the insight behind the My One Thing series in the upcoming installment. Yet, real quick, will write that I am excited about a series that will cover, and capture, a moment in time, and expand out to, well, life, I suppose. The main idea behind the series is to focus and write about My One Thing of the moment, or evening, morning, afternoon, day, week, month, quarter, year, or longer.

You can see an example of this new series in the baking post above. And, the second?

I’ve been looking into and researching haikus, and I have to say they are quite beautiful. I’ve read many from your amazing blogs, and am currently reflecting upon creating a haiku series.

Though I love the stream of consciousness involved in poetry, there is also something quite magical about a 5, 7, 5 syllable sound pattern that is exquisite in its creation and manifestation. I am going to create a few haikus over the next week, and then, we will see.

Alright, how about a quick reflection.

Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

Reflection

As I look back at last year, I see a lot of pain, anger, frustration, worry, sadness, grief, and, well, many other emotions and actions, which I definitely felt and worked through this year, and I know were present for people around the world.

We were taken on a world upending, in many ways, tour de force of the power of nature. And, though the aforementioned emotions and actions were a reality, I did also see other emotions and actions in play this past year. Such as?

Acts of kindness, generosity, love, compassion, empathy, reciprocity, and many more. Yes, it was a tough year, yet even in that toughness there was also beauty.

Which leads me into my hopes to see more kindness, generosity, love, compassion, empathy, and reciprocity this coming year. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a lot of work to do in this country from many perspectives, equity and justice being one of them.

I look forward to progress this year on the continual dismantling of the, still in place, systems and structures of oppression in this country; and, I have hope that the vaccine will, at the very least, prepare a runway for us all to be back together again at some point this year.

Until then?

Continue to take the actions we can to create the world we all want to see and live in. It doesn’t matter how small or large the actions are. It’s not about that. It’s about taking that one step, that one action.

And, on that note, I’ll leave you this week with a quote that speaks to that point.

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” -Dalai Lama

AZ Quotes

Have a lovely upcoming week everyone.

#2020, #2021, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #newseries, #pandemic, #reflection, #socialjustice, #takingaction, #writing

New Year

Photo by ERROR 420 📷 on Unsplash

2020 saw lots
Of havoc,

Who new,
At the start,
There be a pandemic

Of the scope
And scale, we’ve
Now seen,

Phew, don’t ever
Forget to breathe,

And, as we get ready
To turn the clock,
Let’s remember,

The New Year
Begins with a shock
To our senses, yet

It’s also chock full
Of potential,

Where we can create
All the meaning-
Fullness

That, we’ve been
Lacking, in a year

Of solitude
And reclusion, no,
Not because anyone
Wanted to,

We stayed at home,
To bear the brunt
Of a virus
That was out

For blood,

And, thus, we
Learn to live,
And love again,

My friend, so

Take a moment
To reflect, on all
The loss and sorrow,

Yet, also contemplate,
The joy and hope
You borrowed from
Deep within,

And, carry that forward
To 2021, which
Is set to begin

And, as we move
Towards 12:00 am on
January 1st,

Let’s hold hands,
And pray for a planet
With people

That are not cursed, no,
Rather, they are
Well-versed

In a new, and
Grand
Resilient (re)birth

Happy New Year, everyone.

#poetry, #begin, #life, #love, #new-year, #pandemic, #poem, #poems

The Reflection Series Part 6: Why is Creating Safety Important?

A 3-minute Reflection on 4 Things Every Leader Can Do to Create Safety on Teams

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Well, we are 9-months into a pandemic, actually much more than 9-months, yet, here locally, 9-months ago was when the restrictions started. And?

I’ve been thinking about and reflecting upon just how important creating safety on teams is all the time; and, now? Even more important.

Developing safety within a team creates a context where possibilities abound. Meaning, when people feel safe, there is trust, and where there is trust, well, anything is possible. Seriously. Anything. And, now?

Living inside the pandemic for the past 9-months has been unsettling in many ways. Though I’ve written about, and we’ve discussed many times before, how much more there is to know and learn, than is known.

It is equally true that when the foundation of someone’s belief system is shaken, it can be really hard, and can make people begin to question what they thought they knew about how the world works.

Meaning that for some people, they already know there is much more to know than they know, and now what they thought they knew has been up-ended. Hard.

Right, so what can we do? How can we make sure to continue to create safety on teams so people feel like they have solid ground to stand on? Good questions. Let’s take a look at 4 ways we can do just that.

Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

Reality

Have you ever heard about managing the real and ideal? Yes, no? Either way, it simply means that when in a leadership role it is important to always strive for an ideal, think vision, while being very clear on the current reality.

Basically you are managing the tension between what is and what you are creating. Super important. Why?

Because even though the current reality might be hard to hear, people need confirmation that what they are seeing, thinking, and feeling is accurate. The very last thing they need is false hope. Nope. They need reality.

When you stand in the current reality, there is workability. Why? Because when you are clear and the team is clear, you can continue to create the ideal free from the distraction, what if.

You will get more focus, concentration, and organization when you are clear on the current reality while continuing to create the ideal future state. More focus, concentration, and organization from yourself and the team.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

Listen

We all know how important it is to listen. Very important. There might not be a more important leadership skill. Seriously. This is especially true when times are stressful.

People need someone they can come to, someone they can depend upon. Someone that is going to be present, listen, and give honest feedback. They need that, their team members need that, and, as the leader, you need that. From? From each of them. Yep.

There is immense power in being present and being an active listener.

Active listening simply means being mindful in your conversations. Be present, pay attention, empathize, and use your conversational skills to really understand, take in, and respond in kind to the person you are talking to. Important.

You will get much more back when you practice and coach people to practice active listening. More for yourself, for your teammates, and the entire team. When people really listen, they know what’s going on with their teammates, which makes for a much more productive work environment.

Photo by Edvin Johansson on Unsplash

Collaborate

When the team understands the current reality and the ideal state you are creating, is practicing active listening, the likelihood for collaboration increases. Why?

Because when people feel comfortable, are able to focus, and know how their teammates feel and what they think, they are immediately more approachable. And, when we are more approachable, collaboration is just easier.

And, what do you get when your team is able to collaborate more effectively? Yep. Innovation.

When your team works together, there is a synergy that occurs, and inside of that synergy, you get ideas that take the team further. You don’t get these types of synergistic innovations from silos. Just doesn’t happen.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Action

Of course, you cannot create an ideal reality from a very clearly defined current reality without taking action. Nope. Not possible.

Actually, the coolest thing about creating an ideal, and generating all of the innovative ideas, is seeing them executed upon. Amazing. It is one of the things I love the most about working on teams.

Yep, it is so much fun to create, and, yes, I am very creative. Yet, it is equally beautiful and fun to watch the transformation of what can be months of innovative work into a new system, process, program, training, or class. Really.

Wow, that was fun.

Alright, remember, creating safety on teams is a powerful leadership skill. Truly.

As we discussed, creating safety ensures that people can feel comfortable in the current reality, even a very stressful one, while continuing to strive for the ideal reality.

Practicing and modeling active listening also fosters safety by creating a context of respect and mindfulness, while collaboration and taking action ensures that the bridge between innovation and execution is clearly articulated and navigated.

And, when the bridge between innovation and execution is clear and ideas are being executed upon, the team will feel a sense of accomplishment, which increases the team’s morale and feelings of security and safety.

Creating safety on teams may be one of the most important things a leader can do, especially during times that are more stressful and unknown. The ability for everyone to feel safe is that important.

#activelistening, #collaboration, #covid-19, #creatingsafety, #currentreality, #humandwevelopment, #idealreality, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #listen, #pandemic, #safeteams, #selfdevelopment, #takingaction, #teamdevelopment, #vision

A Blogger’s Diary 12/5/20: On Writing, Books, 300 Followers, and Connection and Communication

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Well, like many places around the globe, cases in Oregon are approaching an all-time high. Difficult. Yet, it is the current reality. For now.

And, as I wrote about in a previous entry, the time I have to write is less today than it once was. Partly due to work, which continues to expand as we serve more and more people with remote education. Lovely.

Though there was less time, I did write quite a bit of poetry this past week. Even submitted a couple to two other national publications, just for fun! Right, so here’s what that looked like.

Writing

  1. Hand-in-Hand
  2. A Dream
  3. Sorrow
  4. Becoming
  5. Sensitive
  6. A Developmental Moment #1: Inspiration
  7. Run

Wow, that was fun. Fun to think about, reflect upon, and write. So much Fun. And this coming week?

Well, I am currently working on three more poems, a new entry for the reflection series, the second installment in the leadership series, and a new developmental moment article. And, you all know that as new insights occur, well, those will also be considered and written about. Happens every week.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Books

Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, by Sri Ramana Maharshi

What a powerful book. In fact, it is so powerful, I’ve purchased my own copy, which has arrived, so I can read it again. I also watched a great documentary about Ramana last week, called Arunachala Shiva, The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, which I highly recommend. And, along the way?

Well, I fell in love with a mountain. Arunachala. My life coach spent 5 years at the Ashram at Arunachala, which I had no idea about until yesterday; and when we talked, we talked about how drawn I am to that mountain. I will find myself there in the future. That is known. The book?

I may have more on that in the future. Now? I am taking it all in, reflecting, and meditating upon it. That’s about it for now.

Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman

An excellent read. About? Yep. I believe the book is about compassion, and humanity’s resiliency. Meaning, whether we are aware of it or not, we know far less than is knowable, and, well, quite frankly, that can be painful.

Yet, inside an awareness that there is much more to know about, than we know, there is also beauty, and a joy that comes from this gift. Both pain and joy are possible. It really depends on which one we choose.

Photo by Howie R on Unsplash

300 Followers

Wait, what?! Yep! WOW. I would just like to say two things. Ready? Good. Here we go.

I appreciate you. I appreciate you liking my work, commenting on posts, and supporting me on a regular basis. We’ve had some excellent engagements and conversations. Know that you are always appreciated. Always.

I also want to thank each of you for the lovely community that has developed, and that I have so graciously been welcomed into. Absolutely wonderful. I am so grateful for all of you. I love reading your work. You are all so inspirational and talented.

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Connection and Communication

This past week, I’ve been very present to connection and communication. Yep, first with the connection and communication I have with myself, and then with everyone else. and then? Yep. The connection and communication I see that everyone else has with everyone else. Does that make sense? Good.

We can in fact call this the connection and communication system, which I’ve also called the relationship system. They are one and the same. It looks like this.

Why am I present to connection and communication this week? Good question.

Mainly because connecting and communicating is harder today. Yet, it is a paradox though. Watch.

Though you may be thinking, well, that doesn’t make sense because technology bridges connection and communication. Yes, this is true. However, what’s often missing is the feeling part.

Let us say that we are also a system made up of the following. Thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. Well, when you are connecting and communicating almost exclusively through technology, not in-person, the feeling part of connecting and communicating is much harder to manage. It just is. And?

Well, if we are unaware, the connection you have with that person, or people, may become disconnected. Or, rather, less connected. Meaning that connection and communication live along a spectrum, so it’s not connected or disconnected, there are subtle variations.

And, knowing about these variations is important. Sensing them, knowing about them, and then creating contexts to talk about them. Important for our friendships, familial relationships, work relationships, and, well, all relationships. Important.

Alright, before I go, one question.

  • What are some things you’ve done to remain connected and communicative with those you are in relationship with?

I wish you a lovely coming week. Please stay healthy and well.

#300followers, #bloggersdiary, #communication, #connection, #onblogging, #onwriting, #pandemic, #poems, #relationships