I love it when I find books that capture ideas that have been swirling around for me, but that I haven’t put into some kind of order or framework. How Successful People Lead by John Maxwell is a recent find that does just that. It is an informative read, with tons of great insight and practical tips about how leaders can continue to develop. Key insights for me from Maxwell:
He challenges people who only view themselves as positional leaders to move beyond that.
He does a nice job of blending the age old productivity/people dilemma.
He provides some great insight around delegation and developing your people.
He addresses the idea of one’s legacy as a leader.
He suggests we develop our leadership through progressing through 5 stages:
As someone who does occasionally take pleasure in moaning, I have had that behaviour reflected back to me a fair bit the last while. I have encountered a few folks who despite much listening, conversation, and tools for moving beyond past injustices, remain hopelessly stuck and just moan all over everyone. It occurs to me that this well worn behaviour starts to become an identity, worn much like a favourite coat or hauled out like a security blanket. To stop moaning would leave that person without an identity, without that security blanket or even best friend. In that regard, it seems to me this behaviour is addictive and so the question I’m left pondering is … “What is it we who are in the midst of people like this do to enable the behaviour and how do we help people deal with the identity gulley and move to a place of possibility?” I wish I could answer that … I would love to hear how others may have handled this!
I am very excited to be putting my insights over the past year about using visuals to work in a 3 day program I am teaching for the University of Alberta Executive Education programs called Using Multiple Intelligences to Influence Human Systems. I am challenging participants to summarize their learning in the course using a pecha kucha and so have done my first ever one too! I will be delivering this live in the actual course, but have taped a version of it so that people can refer back to it after the course.
For those who might be interested in how I produced this … it’s 2 apps on my iPad. I used Paper to design all of my images and Explain Everything to add the voice-over and create the movie file. My next challenge will be to do a live drawing together with my voice-over (ala RSA Animate) as Explain Everything does this as well. This is going to take me some time, however, as I need to learn a lot more and work a lot faster! Watch this space!
My lovely husband asked me to describe 2013 and I said, “It started crappy, ended crappy (as I was sick for the entire holiday season) and there was a whole lot of crap in the middle.” Egads, not something you would think I would admit to in my blog To cut myself a bit of slack, I was very sick when he asked me, and I was being sarcastic. Today I am feeling better and acknowledge there were many good times and accomplishments last year, alongside the super uncomfortable (scary?) learning, and plain old life challenges that create (stretch?) our character.
And so, the focus of today’s blog. Letting go. While some people are oriented towards gratitude and positivity and don’t even remember bad times, others of us aren’t and need to let go before we can see more objectively. I envision balloons floating upwards taking away those things that don’t serve me that well and cloud my perception. In no particular order, what I need to let go of in order to realize the blessings in my life …
Reading about how much $$ is needed for retirement
Expecting people to be different
Spending too much time on social media
When I do this, I realize I live an incredibly abundant and blessed life. For all of you who heard my earlier rant about 2013, please accept my new and revised version
Vacations provide the opportunity for hours of uninterrupted reading. While I have gobbled up escapist fiction like The Hunger Games trilogy, I also read a book that has had a profound impact on me, SQ21 by Cindy Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth suggests that we can develop spiritual intelligence as we can emotional intelligence, and the title of the blog is a concept she highlights. I think it provides the much needed missing piece to developing ourselves as grounded, non anxious and whole people and leaders.
My major takeaway has been the difference between operating from our ego self, which is the part of us hard wired to avoid pain at all costs, versus operating from our highest and best selves. Figuring that out is unique to each of us and where I’m at now in my own thinking is that my ego most often operates from scarcity and my highest self from abundance. In every interaction we can make the choice to act from ego or from our highest self. Simple …. but certainly not easy.
In helping others (and myself!) learn and grow, we often think it’s the awareness of a pattern that can lead to insight and change. I think it’s HOW we notice the pattern that’s more important. When I can simply observe or notice, I am more likely to change that pattern of interaction the next time around. When I judge it, I stay stuck and probably continue to live it. It’s a slight but powerful shift in attention and intention.
It’s no surprise that more and more people are researching and writing about creativity and innovation. We so need it today! I really like Dyer et al’s framework, simple but powerful. The one I most need to work on is experiment as I don’t like failure much! What about you?
I have become a bit obsessed with drawing night scenes and was thinking about why that is. I have been in a bit of transition in a couple of areas of my life and have also been coaching some people who are. William Bridges has written about the neutral zone. While I completely intellectually agree with the notion that a necessary precursor of something new is the scary in between place where not much is clear, I really don’t like it much. It feels like wandering around in the dark in a big city looking for some kind of sign. So here’s to enjoying that journey a little bit more.
Well, despite many attempts to control our travel experience the past few weeks, including paying additional fees for better seats on the plane, I am reminded of how much is beyond my control. In the end, I just needed to let go and experience whatever it was that was unfolding. It occurs to me this is the same of leadership. You can set elaborate plans in motion, but never really know what is going to happen. Great leaders are able to keep themselves and others calm and grounded despite travel delays.
When was the last time you were truly uncomfortable in your leading, learning, living? If it has been a while, perhaps it’s time to push yourself a bit more. Incremental learning happens all the time as we interact with others on a daily basis, but if we want to create something new and different in our lives and organizations, it requires some discomfort. And if you find yourself paralyzed by fear, remember that often happens when we stretch ourselves. Take a deep breath, remember it’s part of the process, return to some safer ground, and keep living through the discomfort.