Wisdom for Teams #38

Whether we stay or whether we go – to be courageous is to stay close to the way we are made.

DAVID WHYTE (Born 1955), Anglo-Irish poet; His writing explores the timeless relationship of human beings to their world, to creation, to others, and to the end of life itself.

Wisdom for Teams #37

Impact Players [i.e. people who are doing work of exceptional value and impact] see uncertainty and ambiguity as an opportunity to add value.

LIZ WISEMAN (1964), Researcher and executive advisor, author of New York Times bestseller Multipliers:  How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.  

Do You Own It? Or Does It Own You?

Photo by Marcus iStrfry on Unsplash

When I look at my life, I see a cliché: a rollercoaster — a few flat moments, and lots of ups and downs. For the most part, it’s been fun. But sometimes it overwhelms me, especially when things don’t roll as expected. Eventually, I realize I better get a grip.

What is the point of riding a rollercoaster, if you’re not going to own the experience?

As a coach, my job is to help people get unstuck, and that starts by them owning the experience they’re going through. As long as the experience owns us, we’re stuck and we can’t move forward.

Owning the experience means recognizing realistically what is happening — no more, no less — and then accepting it just as it is.

Only then can we figure out what to do next. Here is what I do to help myself and others own the experience.

First, frame the experience in a more constructive, less apocalyptic light. What is fact, and what is interpretation? What else could this mean? What is useful here? How could this help us grow?

Second, share the experience transparently with others. When we overcome the vulnerability of openly sharing our struggle, we dispel the power the experience has over us. As Mr. Rogers* would say, if it’s mentionable, it’s manageable.

Worse than the experience of feeling overwhelmed, is the experience of not owning this experience.

——

*Mr. Rogers was a TV host, author, and producer; best known for the preschool TV series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.

Wisdom for Teams #29

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL (1847 – 1922), Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer, credited with inventing and patenting the first practical telephone.

Wisdom for Teams #28

The passion for truth is silenced by answers which have the weight of undisputed authority.

PAUL TILLICH (1886 – 1965), German-American existentialist philosopher and theologian, widely regarded as one of the most influential theologians of the twentieth century.

Wisdom for Teams #26

People learn more from their own mistakes than from the successes of others.

RUSSELL LINCOLN ACKOFF (1919 – 2009), American organizational theorist, consultant, pioneer in the field of operations research, systems thinking and management science.

What Is Your Problem?

For the audio version of this post click below.

On July 6th I gave my first fact-to-face speech since the lockdown. I spoke at the BED Event in Barcelona for professionals of the events industry, both event organizers and providers. My question for them was: What is your problem?

One way of making sense of life, is to view the situations we face as a series of problems. For example, getting a degree, finding a job, and raising kids can be seen as “problems” we face in life.

Problems fall into one of two categories:

  • Problems-we-have. Examples could be: I want a promotion; I want more clients; I need someone in my life. What do these problems all have in common? In all of them we occupy the center stage and the spotlight is shining on us.
  • Problems-we-solve. Examples could be: I want to participate more in the company’s success; I want to serve more clients; I’d love to share my life with someone special. These problems have in common the fact that other people occupy the center stage and the spotlight is shining on them.

Generosity is the highest form of fulfilment.

Notice how both types of problems deal with the same situations and the same people. The difference is who the problem is about: us or others. Now look back on the lives of your role models. Was it a series of problems-they-had or problems-they-solved?

From what I’ve seen in my 45 years, it is much easier to deal with the challenges we face, both professionally and in our personal life, when we transform problems-we-have into problems-we-solve by moving our butts away from the center stage and shinning the spotlight on others.

So what problems are you solving at this point in your life?
Given the recent changes in the world, what new problems could you solve?

What Is Your Problem?