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Who am I not?

November 24, 2013 Leave a comment

A simple question that is “hard” to answer:  Who am I not? (in relation to my business, relationships, family, etc.)  You can ask the same question for your team or family or business.  Who are we not?

Last year, I found flow in my business dynamics by asking the question: Why not?  The Who am I not question is deeper for me.  It’s not about flow.  But rather about essence.  It hits a personal, internal place.  What is hiding?  What needs to be revealed to succeed?  What must I stand in or develop to get to the next step?  What changes need to happen in me to face the new circumstance?

We tend to be familiar with the deep, philosophical question:  Who am I? But when we ask Who am I not?  it puts us on an edge.  It brings up things that are hidden and not known.  And stuff we might want to be. Stuff we find difficult to deal with. Try and see what you feel inside when you think about what am I not?

For me, it is uncomfortable.  It doesn’t have a “bad” or “negative” connotation.  Rather a place of growth and development and change.  To increase our flexibility, capacity and perspective.

But the interesting thing is that it’s not the same as what are my weaknesses. This puts me on the defensive and calling me wrong.

Who am I not – softens the look on yourself during change.  Opens the door for compassion and at the same time challenge.  New perspectives about new ways to stretch when change happens – as is our normal life flow….

Ask yourself:  Who am I not?  Who are we not?

If you’d like to expand your possibilities, watch for the nonverbal signals of what’s not there.  It will expand your awareness and capacity.  It’s the nonverbal stuff that gives us cues into what’s not? and what’s wanting to happen?

Curious to hear about your experience!

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Ask Why Not? instead of Why?

July 19, 2012 1 comment

For the last 3 years I’ve been working to add more ease and flow in my life and work.  Coming from over 25 years in the hi-tech environment, I was always pushing, rushing and on the go…  When I took a step back, I understood that there were parts of myself that I’m missing and not using…  Not being fully in the momment and enjoying the small stuff…

My goal: How to mix that positive, active, directive energy with a softer, flowing, heart-based flow?

Mindset change: Going from Why?  to Why Not?

  • Why? is great for understanding the problem?  Going to solution?
  • Being in the hi-tech environment in new program development, system engineering and software development, this mindset served me well!
  • But in my business, most of my time was marketing.  The old mindset wasn’t working….
  • I love challenges.  Thinking. Doing. Achieving.  Get results.   I noticed that if it wasn’t hard, it wasn’t worth doing…
  • So building my own business was a transition: From hard challenges to it’s OK if it’s easy!
  • In my business, managing energy and business focus, i learned to love the dance, the lowest hanging fruits.
  • Ask Why NOT? The challenge in the flow doesn’t have to be hard!

With the new mindset comes new behaviors…  If I find myself working hard, grinding, in frustration, I take a step out.  Ask myself, what’s the easy way?  Open up with positive energy by asking, Why Not?!

Why not try this simple question out for yourself?!

What’s in YOUR garden?

April 25, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the greatest inspirations from my trip to Japan – Japanese gardens!  I’ve always used the garden metaphor in my coaching with clients. 

Some of the garden questions to explore for yourself:

  • What’s in your garden?
  • How do you want your garden to be?
  • What needs to be removed or weeded from your garden?
  • How can you cultivate and grow the garden?

By walking the gardens in Japan, I cultivated the experience and embodiment of the garden.  In the senses.  In the body.  In the mind….

What garden works best for you?!

Choose from some of the Japanese garden photos OR create one for yourself!

TIP: Counter the 4 Relationship and Team Toxins with NEW Positive Action!

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

After my morning mini-stomach crunching class today, the atmosphere got cold and stiff. The new teacher immediately received a stream of complaints from the participants. Quite a commotion from the group! His reaction: Defensiveness…  He took the barrage personally…  Then – closed up; NO listening…

My thoughts and inputs: It’s not an attack.  It’s feedback. What’s behind the complaints is good intention.  But the atmosphere didn’t show this…

In this post, I’d like to propose some antidotes to this type of situation: where a toxic environment doesn’t meet the intention.  In previous posts, we reviewed the 4 toxins: 1) Blame/Criticism; 2) Defensiveness; 3) Contempt; 4) Stonewalling (more details in: How to Manage the 4 Relationship and Team Toxins and How to Separate the Emotions from Behavior to Strengthen Relationship).  The bottom-line: the KEY is AWARENESS first!

Lack of awareness existed in the exercise class this morning…  Intention good.  Atmosphere toxic.  Pitch of voice, intonation, agressive energy, tense communication, argumentativeness…  So no good result: Complaints turned into criticism.  Defensiveness resulted.  No openness to hear what was being said…

So what are some ways that YOU can soften toxic situtations that you find yourself in:  How can YOU take responsibility for yourself? (rather than fall into the victim role)  How can YOU turn-it-around? ACT with POSITIVE intention – rather than just react and continue with the negative flow?….

1. BLAME/CRITICISM

  • express what YOU feel and what YOU request;
  • focus on your complaint about a specific BEHAVIOR, but not point the finger and question character or personality traits…
  • on the receiving end – don’t take it personally!  acknowledge inputs and feedback.  look for the request BEHIND the complaint!

2. DEFENSIVENESS –

  • Repeat what you hear (exercise active listening) and question if you’re understanding?
  • Look for the truth and learning
  • Remain open and curious!  Show appreciation for the other…

3. CONTEMPT –

  • Don’t take it personally!
  • Express what you feel and the specific behavior with a request: I feel….  I want….
  • Show respect (if you want it, give it…)

4. STONEWALLING –

  • What is unsafe? How can you or others gain security?
  • Is there a fear? Or what’s making you flooded? How can you counter this?
  • Agree to take a break and set a time to talk later… (rather than not communicate at all)

It takes two! If you take care of yourself, the fire can’t continue…  The way to eliminate toxic communication is to practice, practice, practice the antidotes that work for YOU!

A Crowdsourcing Success Story: How a teen robotics team got amazing results?

March 12, 2012 6 comments

Team intelligence is the power of crowdsourcing. I’ve been priveleged to witness team intelligence (or group collective intelligence) in action over the last several months via my 16-year-old son’s high school robotics project.  Thirty 11th and 12th graders working together to solve a complex FIRST robotics project.  Only 6-weeks to get it done.  Strategy. Planning.  Hardware. Drafting. Systems. Prototypes. Software.  Then a 3-day competition!

You can see their robot in the center.  With other robots that worked together with them in the final round.  The robot shot basketballs at amazing accuracy.  Automatic program and run remotely.  It collected balls.  Passed balls between robots and balanced on a bridge cooperatively for extra points! 

How did it happen?  How can a group of teens produce such a robot?  The answer is: Crowdsourcing.  Based on a Developed Team Intelligence.

It’s NOT the teacher!  It’s the power of the group at its best.  In past years, the teacher was the ONE with the answers.  This year, a new teacher led the project.  He believed that the kids had the answer.  And the solution came from them.  The teacher had few rules for process, cleaning, procedure.  The kids worked together to collect ideas, determine the way forward and build the solution.  They worked night and day.  And they did it on their own!

What is the key to this crowdsourcing success?

  • Hear all the voices
  • Respect for others
  • Common, compelling, time-sensitive mission
  • Clear roles and leaders
  • A can-do, collaborative spirit
  • Balancing thinking and doing
  • Not afraid to make mistakes
  • Positivity & belief
  • Lots of persistance, practice and hard work!

The STEAMPUNK 1577 team did it!  Great team.  Great robot.  Great results!

Wouldn’t you love to be part of a team like that?!

Discovering your Management Strengths with Origami

February 28, 2012 Leave a comment

This week I enjoyed a new collaboration with a colleague in a joint area of expertise: Management.  We decided to see how the lecture material that she uses fits with the magic pinwheel origami discovery tool that I’ve been using with my leadership clients, teams and groups.  The lecture provides the overview, details and know-how. The origami focused on the essence for personal assessment & integration of knowledge. Via the origami, we were able to deepen the two main aspects of successful Management: Being (Co-) and Doing (Active).  The result: our co-creation brought unique value to small business owners!

3. Unfolding the Magic Pinwheel

4 Management Characteristics form the essence of small business success:

  • Belief
  • Focus
  • People/Relationships
  • Persistence

4 Management Skills make up the business operational cycle:

  • Plan
  • Organize
  • Execute
  • Follow-up

Business owner success depends on the co-active dance of balancing the doing/skills with the being/characteristics required for management. 

As we build the origami leaves and relate the skills and characteristics to ourselves, we begin to discover our management strengths, gaps and flow.  We unfold the magic….

Afterall – how much can you really integrate from a lecture on management skills and characteristics.  Without really thinking about how to apply it to yourself…  Building and unfolding origami proves to be a great platform for self-discovery.  To understand concepts.  To see where the concept fits into your thinking.  To rate where you currently are.  For revealing strengths and connecting to new possibilities and directions. To put a new perspective and magic in the process.

I loved to see how the origami served as a great tool for discovery.  How the 2 co-active aspects were enhanced.  How the doing of the building and unfolding worked its own process for each participant.  How the origami magic pinwheel can be applied to Management, Leadership, Listening and more…  I’d love to hear how the magic pinwheel origami platform can enhance more processes and realizations…

5 Keys to Unlocking Effective Communication for MORE Engagement and Sales

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

What’s common in: 1) employee engagement, 2) relationship marketing and 3) client-driven sales?

Answer: Effective communication empowers the relationship! 

Building a coactive relationship provides the solution to relationship empowerment.  For sales, marketing and employees.  It puts the relationship in focus.  Especially needed in today’s social business landscape, we zoom into developing special partnerships where direct, effective communication lifts people for business and personal success.  Where the collaborative creation space is paired with the proactive doing component.  A true bond.  Fostering an environment of trust, integrity and responsiveness.  An aliveness, openness and courageous connected space!

How are effective relationships nurtured by individuals?  According to CTI, there are 5 coactive relationship contexts that characterize “changing business and transforming lives”:

  1. Curiosity – a place of fascination!  like a child.  with powerful, open questions? that you want to know answers to…
  2. Listening – consciously placing the spotlight on 3 levels: what’s happening to self, to others and in the world around
  3. Self-Management – ability to get out of self and connect to others
  4. Intuition – trusting inner wisdom, metaphor and essence for taking charge
  5. Forward Action & Deepen Understanding – balancing between awareness and forward action.  To grow, develop and transform…

Developing these 5 relationship skills is the key to success in today’s social business landscape – inside and outside the organization.  Empowering people AND their relationships.  I strive to act with these contexts in mind in my life and work.  I find that it helps to put a framework and balance to what’s going on for me.  With greater perspective, wisdom and learning.  Think about how you can incorporate them more in your everyday actions!