Friday, March 6, 2015

Who are you turning into?

Who are you supposed to turn into? It isn’t who you have been, it’s who you are becoming. Bob Goff

Can you See the Difference?

The problem we all face in strategy, and in life, is that each of us is unique and has a unique personality. Our circumstances are also unique; no situation ever really repeats itself. But most often we are barely aware of what makes us different – in other words, of who we really are. Our ideas come from books, teachers, all kinds of unseen influence. We respond to events routinely and mechanically instead of trying to understand their differences. In our dealings with other people, too, we are easily infected by their tempo and mood. All this creates a kind of fog. We fail to see events for what they are; we do not know ourselves.

Your task as a strategist is simple: to see the differences between yourself and other people, to understand yourself, your side, and the enemy as well as you can, to get more perspective on events, to know things for what they are.

Robert Greene
The 33 Strategies of War

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Open Arms

Perhaps because your father questioned you for so long, you question yourself out of habit. It has been drilled into your head. Despite the fact there's plenty of evidence to show that you are usually on the right track, that vague feeling nags.  You may not measure up to your father's ideals.

Compare these expectations to those who love you. It's not that those who love you ignore your inadequacies. Instead, they are willing to pitch in. They will cheer for you. They will allow you to grow and fail. Their arms remain outstretched in acceptance.

If your father hasn't given you this gift, know that your heavenly father offers it--with arms outstretched.

Stephen Goforth

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Holding on to the Grief

When someone dies, you want to hang onto the pain of grief because that’s all you have of the person you’ve lost.

Trusting Ourselves to Live Without Self-Made Barriers

My weekend of "sleeping" on the decision of whether to apply for a potentially exciting job evolved into a familiar frenzy of circular, useless thought and internal list-making, as well as reading everything I could get my hands on, including a book one of my journalism professors gave me, titled "Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes," which I have yet to finish for good reason.

I initially plunged into the book, knowing my super-speedy reading skills would yield another "achievement" of having yet another book to bring up at parties or feel particularly good about myself when I can tell others, "Yeah, I've read that," as if some book fairy was waiting on the last page to plant a huge gold star on my forehead for being on the fast track to personal enlightenment. There I go again. Fast as I can. Trying to get to the finish line before anyone knows I'm in the race. But something slowed me down. Something made me stop trying to rush through a book intended to help me enjoy, or at least cope, with life's gentle lulls.

Amid my mental commotion, I managed to pick up another book by Geneen Roth, "Women Food and God." That one was impossible NOT to read in about three hours - again, for good reason. It was a book I needed to read ten years ago. And it led to a few realizations:

The constant drive I feel to keep climbing whatever ladder happens to be in front of me at the moment has a lot to do with the fact that weight loss has somehow programmed to me think that PROGRESS is actually REPAIR for a person I've always been convinced is broken. I'm not skinny enough, so I "fix" myself with a rigid diet. I'm not smart enough, so I digest information at every possible opportunity to seem less inadequate. I haven't accomplished enough, so I keep seeking professional outlets for which to prove to a judgmental world that I'm aware of my shortcomings and want to overcome them.

This self-inflicted rat race has never been about personal growth; it was always about internal repair. And these moments of murky transition scream to my compulsions, saying, "Wait, there is no way that YOU could be good enough to slow down. You've never been good enough. What makes you think you are now? Keep pushing. Keep working. Keep killing yourself to prove you have value. It's the only way."

Any sort of educational, professional or personal structure I've ever maintained in my life was an excuse to keep a cage around Broken Me. I adhere to strict, torturous diets and workout plans because if I don't, Broken Me (who obviously can't be trusted) will screw up and gain weight. I maintain impossibly difficult schedules because Broken Me would waste her life away if left unattended. I've spent my life devaluing everything about myself in order to justify having my own predetermined life track. I've also convinced myself that if I don't spend a life obsessively submerged in all that I love, simply loving it has no value in itself, hence the all-too-predictable desire to jump at the opportunity to apply for the job.

And the truth is, I would love that job. I would learn from it. But, would I grow? My news judgement and management skills would likely improve. I would be able to gain a new type of experience. But, would taking on a position like that enhance my education or serve as yet another comfortable crutch for a girl who convinced herself long ago that she couldn't stand on her own two feet?

Alex McDaniel

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Time Alone

Find a regular time and place to be alone. People in transition are often still involved in activities and relationships that continue to bombard them with cues irrelevant to their emerging needs. Because a person is likely to feel lonely in such a situation, the temptation is to seek more and better contact with others; but the real need is for a genuine sort of alones in which inner signals can make themselves heard. Doing housework after the kids leave for school or paperwork with the office door shut are not being alone in the sense I am talking about.

The old passage rituals provide the person with this experience of deep aloneness, often in a wilderness setting. (Interestingly, the Hebrew word for the “wilderness” in which Jesus, Moses, and Buddha spent time during critical periods of their lives is the same word that means ‘sanctuary.” This unmappable “nowhere” was also, as several of these heroes were explicitly told, holy ground.) Traditionally, time spent in such “sanctuaries” was a continuous period; but you many have to plan your time to accommodate your own life situation. One person manages that getting up every morning forty-five minutes ahead of the rest of the family and sitting quietly in the living room with a cup of coffee. Another jogs regularly after work for a half an hour. Another plays ocean sounds and temple bells on his car stereo whenever he drives along. Still another has cleaned out a little storage room off the upstairs hall and sits quietly alone in there for an hour after supper.

William Bridges

Monday, March 2, 2015

What Winners do

While most are dreaming of success, winners wake-up and work hard to achieve it.

Accepting the Gift

A friend once told me, "Everything worth anything is hard." That proverb is true in many areas of life, but we've got to abandon it briefly if we want to grasp and embrace God’s grace. It comes freely. You can't earn it. A part of us rebels against such lavish and reckless generosity. It sounds noble to say, “I don't want anything handed to me that I don't deserve. I work for what I get.” But if you earn it, the spotlight shifts from God's graciousness.. to your own striving and accomplishment.

Are you anxious and "tied up in knots" today? You know can’t be good enough. You know you don’t measure up. You don’t deserve to be happy or fulfilled or forgiven. But there's good news. When we come to the end of ourselves and let go.. we are set free and can truly relax in grace. There’s not a thing we can do to make God love us any more.. or any less.

Stephen Goforth

Friday, February 27, 2015

Our priorities

Where we spend our money reveals our priorities.

Shrink the Change

A sense of progress is critical, because the Elephant in us is easily demoralized. It’s easily spooked, easily derailed, and for that reason, it needs reassurance, even for the very first step of the journey.

If you’re leading a change effort… rather than focusing solely on what’s new and different about the change to come, make an effort to remind people what’s already been conquered.

A business cliché commands us to “raise the bar.” But that’s exactly the wrong instinct if you want to motivate a reluctant Elephant. You need to lower the bar. Picture taking a high-jump bar and lowering it so far that it can be stepped over.

If you want a reluctant to get moving, you need to shirk the change.

Chip & Dan Heath

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's all in the 'tude

Several years ago on an extremely hot day, a crew of men were working on the road bed of the railroad when they were interrupted by a slow moving train. The train ground to a stop and a window in the last car – which incidentally was custom make and air conditioned – was raised. A booming, friendly voice called out, “Dave, is that you?” Dave Anderson, the crew chief called back, “Sure is, Jim, and it’s really good to see you.” With that pleasant exchange, Dave Anderson was invited to join Jim Murphy, the president of the railroad, for a visit. For over an hour the men exchanged pleasantries and then shook hands warmly as the train pulled out.

Dave Anderson’s crew immediately surrounded him and to a man expressed astonishment that he knew Jim Murphy, the president of the railroad as a personal friend. Dave then explained that over 20 years earlier he and Jim Murphy had started to work for he railroad on the same day. One of the men, half-jokingly and half seriously asked Dave why he was still working out in the hot sun and Jim Murphy had gotten to be president. Rather wistfully, Dave explained, “twenty-three years ago I went to work for $1.75 an hour and Jim Murphy went to work for the railroad.”

Zig Ziglar
See You at the Top

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Passion and desire

Where there is passion and desire, there will always be new horizons.

Fellow Students

The best professors.. were no longer high priests, selfishly guarding the doors to the kingdom of knowledge to make themselves look more important. They were fellow students – no, fellow human beings – struggling with the mysteries of the universe, human society, historical development, or whatever. They found affinity with their students in their own ignorance and curiosity, in their love of life and beauty, in their mixture of respect and fear, and in that mix they discovered more similarities than differences between themselves and the people who populated their classes. A sense of awe at the world and the human condition stood at the center of their relationships with those students.

Most important, that humility, that fear, that veneration of the unknown spawned a kind of quiet conviction on the part of the best teachers that they and their students could do great things together.

Ken Bain
What the Best College Teachers Do

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rich and Poor Cheat for Different Reasons

In certain circumstances, it's the poor who are more likely to cheat. The difference is that the rich do wrong to help themselves, while the poor do wrong to help others. In several experiments reported in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology… the studies suggest a straightforward sequence: Money leads to the perception that one is higher in the social hierarchy, which in turn leads to a sense of power, which in turn leads to a greater willingness to cheat for selfish reasons.

People with less money (and therefore less power), however, are more communal. They need to rely on each other to get by, and as a result, research shows, they’re more compassionate and empathically accurate. Breaking rules is always risky, but social cohesion is paramount — so you do what it takes to help those around you.

The researchers think their findings could lead to some easy practical applications. If you’re speaking to higher-class individuals, you might want to appeal to their selfishness and warn that cheating will ultimately backfire. But when talking to those with fewer resources, you might be better off noting that their actions could harm those around them.

Matthew Hutson
New York Magazine

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chips on your Shoulder

When you take responsibility on your shoulders, there isn’t much space left for a chip!