Category Archives: Purpose

What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’?

This is the 10-year anniversary of the newsletter. That’s 120 newsletters. This month I’ll post my 1,300th blog post. It’s something I’m very, very proud of – perhaps what I’m most proud of persisting at this past decade. And I’m grateful for you reading these words. If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be either. This kind of persistence comes at a cost though. Something else had to be given up in order to write each word I wrote. Again and again I had to say no to something enticing or demanding or relaxing or meaningless enough to not have fear attached to it. There is something you want to do, isn’t there? There is something meaningful to you, something that will be helpful to others. Something that will make your world and the worlds you intersect with a better place. There’s lots of persistent work to be done to make that something to come into fruition. But now, what’s even more important? The seed of that something is going to need to some space to begin to grow. You’re going to need to say no to something else. Something is going to have to be left behind. The journey ahead is long, and you’re going to need to travel light. We have a fascination with the TV show Hoarders. How can people compulsively hold onto so many things that are no longer important? How, indeed? You and I? We’re also hoarders of something. What am I holding on to that is no longer important, no longer helpful to my work? What are you? What can you say no to that will clear the space to do the most important work you were meant to do this year and beyond? What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’ – to being the change you so want to see in the world?

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Quest Story: Around the World In Twenty Days – Savoring the Adventure

On March 1, 1999 Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones set off in a balloon from Switzerland in an attempt to become the first piloted balloon to fly around the world nonstop. Here is Piccard as he savors his adventure in this journal entry from the night before their triumphant landing in Egypt twenty days later. During the last night, I savor once more the intimate relationship that we have established with our planet. Shivering in the pilot’s seat, I have the feeling I have left the capsule to fly under the stars that have swallowed our balloon. I feel so privilege that I want to enjoy every second of this air world. During our three weeks of flight, protected by our high-tech cocoon, we have flown over millions of people suffering on this earth…Why are we so lucky? Very shortly after daybreak, [our balloon] will land in the Egyptian sand. Brian and I will be lifted away from the desert by helicopter, and we will immediately need to find words to satisfy the public’s curiosity. But right now, muffled in my down jacket, I let the cold bite of the night remind me that I have not yet landed, that I am still living one of the most beautiful moments of my life. The only way that I can make this instant last will be to share it with others. We have succeeded thanks to the winds of providence. May the winds of hope keep blowing around the world. (National Geographic, Sept. 1999: p44)

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What do you want to see in 2020?

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke dreamed up the film and the book 2001: A Space Odyssey. George Orwell published his dystopian novel 1984 in 1949. It’s 2018. The next number with meaning is the year 2020. That is now about 100 weeks away. Numbers like these are tools to help us think bigger. What do you want to see 2020? What do you want to see clearly 100 weeks from now? The time to start on what you want is now. Today. There is no need to look back when you hit 2020 and wish you had worked on something else more important for the last two years. There is something in you, something about you that is unique to you. Some change you want to make and help the world with. What is it now? How will you be the change you want to see in the world when you can see clearly – 20/20?   Learn more: How to Lead Change -  Learn how to be an effective change leader and lead positive change that lasts.

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Strategic or Tactical?

There is a tension between thinking strategically and tactically. We tend to just live tactically. We humans don’t do well with tension and tend to just go to one side or the other. And the daily grind is where we usually go. It’s the path of least resistance. Carl Jung said the sign of a true adult is to be able to live in the tension of the two opposites. You have 100 weeks. What do you want to see 100 weeks now from now 2020? What’s your tension between now and then? Today is day one of not giving up. Today is the day to happily rest in the tension.

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What are your New Year’s Curiosities??

We’ve been making New Year’s resolutions all our lives. They usually don’t work out too well. 60% of those resolutions are toast by July. And they never end the way we wish they would. These intentions always end up differently. It’s hard to gather enthusiasm, isn’t it? Let’s try New Year’s curiosities instead. Curiosity recognizes that when we step forward, we step into the unknown. We don’t know the ending yet, we haven’t lived it. And curiosity keeps us in our frontal cortex, the smartest, wisest part of the brain. Here are some curiosities: What important projects will we finish this year? What projects won’t we finish? What will we begin? How much kindness will we give – to ourselves and anyone we meet along the way? How brave will we be with the hard, emotional work – the real work? How well and long will we sleep? What and who will inspire us? What and who will no longer inspire us? What change will we make in the world? How will we make things better? What is the path ahead like – 365 days of unknown – and where will we travel on it? What’s our quest this year?   What are your 2018 New Year’s curiosities?   Learn more:  40 Days to Change For Good - Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts.

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Recalling Joy: An Appreciation

“Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all. We have heard, perhaps, too much of lesser matters. Here is the door. Here is the open air.” -Robert Louis Stevenson Research shows us that the most effective way to positively influence scary, upsetting life moments is to tap into a feeling of appreciation for something in your life that brings you a deep sense of joy. Pause, allow your mind to rest a moment and follow your breath. Think of one thing that brings you a full sense of joy. It may be a child, a life partner, the bud on a tree, a warm cup of tea, a good friend, something you’ve done for yourself, a pet, a special place. Call to mind as many of the details of this as possible. Make the image as real as possible in your mind. Allow the most joy you’ll allow yourself to feel about this to flood through you. Make this process a daily practice for awhile to train your brain. It helps to do this in calm moments. The next time your emotional mind gets triggered into fear or anger, recall the sense of appreciation you have cultivated. Allow both the unpleasant feeling and the sense of appreciation to be true, to sit side by side inside you. This recalling of a joy will help keep you in control of a situation and will help you positively influence the outcome. It may help you to carry some small physical reminder of what brings you so much joy. In that way, you can physically touch it or look at it when you feel your pulse racing. The more times you allow this recalled joy into low and high-stakes situations, the more quickly and easily you’ll be able to allow it in the next time you really need it.

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The best present

I want to buy a really nice present for you. I’m going to choose something for you from this list: NBA League Pass, a new chromatic harmonica, a nylon-string guitar, the Behave book by Robert Sapolsky, a lift ticket, hiking shoes, a maul. What’s wrong with this list? Those are things I like. Not you. That’s what giving presents is like without empathy. It’s Homer Simpson giving Marge a new bowling ball that says ‘Homer’ on it for her birthday. But we don’t do that do we? We do our best to notice what the people we care about like and are interested. We delight in noticing them. And we love their delight at being seen. Today you are living a story that you will remember. You can connect this story of your generosity today to someone else in your life not with you today. It might be someone at work. It might be someone who serves you coffee. Who do you want your Christmas story to help you bring empathy to? Merry Christmas!

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The Gift of Work

What would our work-life be like if we looked at what we do, what we create each day at work as a gift? What does it mean to be “gifted” at what we do? Lewis Hyde, in his marvelous and far-reaching book The Gift, describes the four stages of giving work that is inspired: The experience, or inspiration, imagination or vision to create a work The ability to do the labor The finished work offered to the world The way others respond to the gift – inspired to give their gifts In our workshops, we encourage teams to uncover their unique gifts and to see how those gifts interact to create a gift for their customer. And we encourage teams to make their customer as real as possible, whether it means bringing a customer into an IT meeting, or going into a store where a product is sold, or any of a myriad of creative ways to make the customer experience more tangible. By asking, “who am I helping?” during the workday, it helps focus your energies into what’s most important, out of a workload that no one could realistically complete well. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: At Your Best – Explore how to give your best and play to your strengths for sustained individual success. 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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Quix Tip: The Origins of a Gift

“The most perfectly balanced gyroscope slowly winds down. But when the gift passes out of sight and then returns, we are enlivened.” – Lewis Hyde Think of a person or something that has influenced you positively, whether a teacher, book, co-worker, song, family member, movie or friend and trace back their gift. Who or what influenced them? No gift lives in a vacuum. For a musical example, let’s look at jazz-guitarist George Benson, someone who has been extremely musically influential. His soloing style is influenced by jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery. When Wes Montgomery was starting out, he was hired because he could play the solos of jazz guitar pioneer Charlie Christian note-for-note. And so it goes.

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Quix Tip: Surrounded by Gifts

What gifts can you surround yourself with to give you the energy you need to create, do good work, and best give your gift? It may be a piece of art, music, the picture of someone who inspires you, a flower, a note, a conversation. Whatever small gifts you can surround yourself with will support you on your quest.

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