Thank everyone who helps you


Social support and society’s gifts to us (in exchange for our money of course) have gone from assumed to questionable. Uncertainty is shaking everything up. But we can still go to food stores when needed. And when we do, what is it like for us? We can be worried about other people being too close, touching things, getting everything on our list, prices rising with supply chain disruption. And we can unconsciously go about it the way we always have, in a world of our own, chafing at the lines or still not being able to buy toilet paper.

There of course is an alternative, the antidote to fear. Appreciation. 

Thank each and every person who helps you – the cashier, the bagger in the supermarket, any clerk anywhere. Of course thank any health care worker who helps you – virtually or in person. But the food providers we come in contact with are risking their health and their lives so we can eat. And they’re doing it for very little money, less money than we make, or used to make.

See how appreciation, just like fear and just like the virus, is contagious. And see how unlike those two it helps, both them and you.

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How to stop multitasking during virtual meetings

Here’s advice you can share with your virtual team meeting to help with engagement during the meeting. This is a version of advice I give to team members before any virtual team development workshop.

You WILL be tempted to multitask during a virtual meeting.

Engagement, flow and happiness levels are directly linked to focusing on one project and temporarily excluding all other distractions and outer demands.

Resist the urge to check out and multitask.

If you are unable to resist the urge, do it consciously instead of unconsciously. Notice what happens to your level of engagement, flow or happiness when you split your attention and attempt to multitask. Do your engagement levels increase or decrease? Has your connection to your team-mates increased or decreased? 

This is all helpful information to consciously note.

What do you do if you stay focused, don’t multi-task, but still find the meeting boring or an exhausting waste of time? You can do nothing and complain in a side conversation with someone, never speak up and make everyone on the team suffer together. 

Or you could do something about it. This is your opportunity (and responsibility) to speak and lead the team to a better, more energizing meeting. Be the change you want to see. 

I provide virtual coaching, virtual team building and virtual team development workshops for leaders and and organizations that are ready to be at their best. Ask me how I can help you.

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Eye contact isn’t contagious

COVID-19 is highly contagious. But not from eye contact. Visit any public place and you’d be forgiven for assuming that indeed eye contact is dangerous. 

We go out in public when we must and treat any others as the enemy. They might have and might get us sick. They aren’t taking this seriously enough. 

So the big question is, are we all in this together or not? If we act like it’s every person for themselves, then we’re not living ‘we’re all in this together’. We’re living ‘us vs. them’. And that’s an old game that has no winners.

Try making eye contact. If you’re wearing a mask, raise a hand in greeting. If you’re not wearing a mask, give them their space, make eye contact and smile.

They, just like you, are afraid. They’re not going to go first. It’s up to you.

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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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