Four articles to help your resiliency

I’m thinking of you, home and with a world turned upside down in two weeks. 

I feel energized to be helpful and of use to you. 

Here is one way. I looked back and found these articles I wrote that may be help you today.

These articles focus on resiliency.

  1. Quix Tip: Breathe
  2. Squirrels don’t do daylight savings time
  3. Quix Tip: Stay in the Game
  4. How to Savor the Moment

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Five articles to help you work with fear

I’m thinking of you, home and with a world turned upside down in two weeks. 

I feel energized to be helpful and of use to you. 

Here is one way. I looked back and found these articles I wrote that may be help you today.

These articles focus on working with fear.

  1. Giving Voice to Joy: The Antidote to Fear
  2. Amygdala or Neocortex? Fear or Love? Which Path is the First Intelligence Taking?
  3. Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks on courage and cowardice, bravery and fear
  4. Nothing to fear…but fear itself?
  5. If you’re a leader is safety or happiness more important to focus on for your people?

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What does fear want you to do?

Move. 

The amygdala thinks danger has shown up it shoots adrenalin out. It makes you literally and measurably stupider, but also gets you primed for fight or flight.

So when you notice the next moment of fear, stop what you’re doing. Immediately get up.

Move.

Shake it out, run around the house, do jumping jacks, push ups, squats, dance, hop, anything.

Move.

Move in a positive way – no harm to you or others. As Rumi said, “don’t move the way fear makes you move.”

Fear now has less control over you, you get your thinking mind back and you can be the lighthouse, the leader that helps the other frightened people around you to safety.

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to. 

Don’t try to see through the distances. 

That’s not for human beings. 

Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty & frightened. 

Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. 

Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.

There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

-Rumi

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Lighthouse leadership

 “If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Working from home? Feel like you’re in a bubble?

You can lead from right where you are, right now. You can be the lighthouse. Lamott was talking about writing but you can insert anything in place of that.

You don’t have to go anywhere physically. You can reach out to your team, to your loved ones not with you via phone, email, text, slack channel, Facetime, anything. 

Stand where you are, shine and lead.

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Busyness as usual: Is it business or busyness?

It’s business if you’re getting what’s important done. It’s busyness if you’re doing anything else or not getting done. Busy work isn’t work, it’s somewhere between meaning and pleasure, but not close to either one. ‘Busyness as usual’ is the zone I unfortunately see most working people living in. And it’s responsible for my least enjoyable days.

The Pareto Effect applied to work means that in 20% of our day 80% of the work gets done. Then the rest of the day (all 80% of it) is going to be pretty inefficient and ineffective. It’s ‘busy work’ time.

Or we could take a chance. It could be recharge time, play time, relationship time, learning time, exercise time, nap time, anything. That would be business as unusual.  

Learn more: Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency, engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game, for peak work performance and enjoyment.

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From the gross to the subtle

Whenever I’ve studied with masters of an art or a skill, there has been a common theme. They’re no longer interested in the big, obvious stuff. They’re refining their skills to focus on very small things. And they’re encouraging their students to be more mindful of the small as well. Yoga teacher Rodney Yee calls this going from the gross (big) to the subtle (small).

When you see beginners at anything you’ll be forgiven for immediately thinking of the word ‘flailing’. They haven’t become efficient with their movements yet. With time and conscious attention this changes. Baby birds figure out how to use those wings.

We have to start with the gross, but keep aiming for the subtle. That’s where mastery lies.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birds’ wings. – Rumi

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Waiting in the dark – The hardest part of personal change

This is why New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Waiting in the dark between where you are now and where you want to be is hard. Change needs action, the follow-through. But there’s also the waiting. This is the emotional part of it. It is as simple as withstanding discomfort. 

People want to change, then change doesn’t happen, they get impatient, or unwilling to wait in the dark and the unknown, and pop back to the known, the familiar, the old way. They give up.

Yet every heroes journey begins with leaving the known and descending into the darkness of the unknown, the underworld. No heroes journey, no story worth anything goes directly from where you are to success. There is always a road of trials. There is always a threshold to cross. Who wants to read a story about someone wanting something and then them immediately getting it, the end? 

If you stick with the change you want to make, if you wait in the dark, your life just might become, like all great quests, a great story.

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

 T.S. Eliot

(From Section III of East Coker from The Four Quartets)

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Troubled? That’s great

When your conscious awareness increases, your dissatisfaction may increase. You wake up to the problem. 

When a spouse leaves suddenly after years of mutual alienation, the problem didn’t start that day, it was years in the making. Awareness means you wake up to it. Think of the moment you realize you need to go on a diet. Yesterday you also needed to lose weight and exercise more, but today your doctor told you that you had to or you saw yourself in a mirror in unflattering lighting. 

You notice something. And you don’t like what’s been noticed.

The most painful aspect of meditation for me is it seems like there’s an increase in the number of runaway thoughts. My mind is always churning. But meditation teachers teach that the number of thoughts don’t actually increase, just your awareness of them increases. They’ve been endlessly flowing underground, but that stream breaks surface and blinders have been taken off your eyes for a moment.

When you’re troubled, that’s good. Awareness has increased. Change can’t happen without it. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

“The more dissatisfaction, more questions, and more doubts there are, the healthier it is, for we are no longer sucked into ego-oriented situations, but we are constantly woken up…We are woken up constantly by the unrest.” – Chögyam Trungpa

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How Lizzo learned to be vulnerable

Pop phenomenon Lizzo had a nervous breakdown in 2018 and started seeing a therapist. “That was really scary,” Lizzo said in this Rolling Stone article. “But being vulnerable with someone I didn’t know, then learning how to be vulnerable with people that I do know, gave me the courage to be vulnerable as a vocalist.”

Patrick Lencioni says trust is the foundation for a team to be high-functioning. And the mainline to get to trust is vulnerability. 

But how to get there?

Conventional wisdom would say to start with the closest people you trust already and work out from there. But as we can see from Lizzo’s example, sometimes it’s easier to work from the outer to the inner. She started with a stranger. That gave her the courage to widen her vulnerability circle to include people she did know. That led to the most personal of all – her voice.

We start the vulnerability journey in the place that’s the least terrifying, whether outside-in or inside-out. Then, as Rilke said, we live our life in growing orbits. Each vulnerability success – and the success is in the attempt, not the reception by the other person – opens the door to the next possibility.

If you wanted to take a step towards trust who might you start being vulnerable with today?

PS – Team Collaboration Quest is now completely revamped and updated with the latest research! Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication.  Click here to start transforming your team.

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What’s the best form of feedback?

Before we answer that question, a quick review. In a study, people were told that their efforts would be compared with how well hundreds of others had done on the same task. They then received praise, criticism, or no feedback on their performance. The highest ranking came as you’d expect – after praise. But the second highest ranking came from receiving criticism. The lowest ranking came from getting no feedback.

So, we know that feedback is important.

Gallup took this idea one step further and looked at the efficacy of strengths-only feedback vs. strengths and non-strengths feedback combined. They found the best form of feedback is…drum roll…..

The best form of feedback has a primary focus on developing strengths. But there’s also an awareness of and discussion about how to manage non-strengths so they don’t become weaknesses. 

Don’t be afraid of both positive and negative feedback. We want to know. And we do better work when we get both, with an emphasis on our strengths. AND we want to be coached on how to use our strengths more effectively.

(data from It’s the Manager book by Jim Clifton and Jim Harter) 


PS – Leader Quest is now completely revamped and updated with the latest research! How can we unite our people and rally them to a better future? How can we empower people in every position to lead? Click here to start transforming your team.

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