Who is Your Teacher Today?

I am not self-taught. Everybody who has given me a moment of beauty, significance or excitement has been a teacher.” – Jazz Pianist and Teacher George Russell

Who is your teacher today?

And what are you going to teach everyone you touch?

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What is your favorite purpose power tool?

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What is your favorite purpose power tool?

(A power tool is my way of describing something that powerfully helps you do something.)

There are many tools to remember what is most important and vital. My favorite tool to remember the power of purpose, a purpose power tool if you will, is nature.

What’s yours?

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“Can I get away with this?”

dog-2228595_640There is a feeling that often accompanies unexpected play. It is the feeling of getting away with something. And your mind may get worried for a moment and ask yourself the above question.

Other variations of that question may be, “is this legal? ”

Many of us, myself included, sometimes carry the expectation that life and work must be a serious affair.   That there is value in finding something truly distasteful but continuing to do it.

We trust drudgery more than play sometimes. Drudgery is safe, play has an element of danger to it. Can I really get away with this? Can I get away with enjoying this thing that I’m doing? Can I get away with smiling and laughing today?

The answer is: yes, you can!

And know that if you are smiling and even laughing, that good feeling or spread to someone. And we all could use a little more of that.

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: 

The Ultimate Game – Travel around the giant game board, furiously completing wild and wacky trivia and team challenges in the craziest team building program ever.

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Heart King

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My mantra so far this year has been Heart King. This means that I am ruling my life from my heart primarily.

This is an interesting proposition, considering I work in corporate America, which is very much the province of the mind. Here the heart is looked upon with suspicion.

And yet, this is my greatest strength. This is the best of me I have to offer myself the people in my life, and the people I try to help with my work.

What do I mean by this? In Myers-Briggs terms my primary strength is introverted feeling. What this means is that I am best at identifying and living from my feelings and identifying the emotions of others, preferably in small groups. And even more preferably one on one.

I have traditionally worked from my second greatest Myers Briggs strength – extroverted intuition. This is much more accepted in corporate America, and is generally a safer thing to reveal and live from.

However, it is not my greatest strength. I truly enjoy it and feel energized when I use it but I am feeling called to use my greatest strength more explicitly in my work as well.

And my StrengthsFinder assessment, taken numerous times over two decades, repeatedly lists my greatest strength as empathy. This is the feeling function in action. People around me know that I can go into an informal therapist mode. This can energize me but also burn me out. People who know me may also notice that I have steadily decreased that role in the last decade or so.

I think what burns me out about it is that I have not been as good lately in aiming it at myself. Attempts at doing that I’ve been very calming and extremely helpful. I recommend it!

I am in the process of revamping my offerings and the website. My old mode would be to just try to add more things on to find more clients that are new that would be attracted to something else. I’m trying something different this time around. I am letting things go that my heart is an excited about. And I am organizing things in order of what my heart is excited about and feels is most wonderful to offer, most helpful to people.

Some people may be uncomfortable with the word heart, because after all our literal heart is just this organ that it’s pumping blood. If this is you, perhaps you could think of it in terms of the brain. The amygdala tries to keep us safe. The neo cortex wants connection. This is the neocortex in charge now, not the amygdala. It is helpful though, do you think of the heart as the metaphorical location of the neocortex. There is a reason we put a hand on our hearts as kids saying the Pledge of Allegiance. It would look a little weird if we put our hands on our heads while saying the Pledge of Allegiance. And just try giving a brain-shaped box of chocolates to your sweetie Valentine’s Day.

So the metaphorical heart is in charge now for me. If you relish this idea, I recommend taking it on today as well. I believe we are all ready for some compassionate leadership.

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.
MBTI Team Quest – Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

 

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The Innovation Play Connection

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Grim-faced, hard-eyed innovation. Misery and creativity.

These oxymorons don’t fit well together, do they? Innovation instead requires a sense of play. It delights in feeling that the stakes are low in this moment (and the stakes are always lower than we imagine). So let’s try something fun that we have never tried before.

If you want to innovate, if you want to be creative if you want some fresh ideas, start with play.

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

Innovator’s Quest – How can we inspire a culture of innovation? How can we take risks, be bold and allow for ‘mistakes’ that have the potential for great leaps in productivity?

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The Limitation/Innovation Connection – How to Put a Contact Lens In With One Hand

Here’s a great story that Dick Anderson, an inspiring harmonica player from Colorado, sent in. Happy limitation/innovation!

 

I was struck by the quote in your latest newsletter “The best art is made within strict limitations.” It came at a time when I’m experiencing some discoveries in the innovation process.  I’m preparing for a shoulder surgery which will immobilize my right arm for 6 weeks.  Since I’m right handed, I’ve begun to learn how to operate with only the left arm/hand.

Among the many tasks at which I am trying to be more proficient with the left hand, putting in my contact lenses was particularly worrisome.  For 25 years, I’ve used two hands to pull my eyelids open while I insert the contact.

I resolved to try with only the left hand while learning how not to blink when I inserted the lens.  To my surprise, I found a new technique using only one hand in which I slide the top of the contact under the upper eyelid and then continue to press the remaining surface to my eye.  This works much better than my old method and my “first try” success rate is even better than with the old method.

Your note about limitations/constraints resonated with my experience.  My old technique for contact lens insertion was not the best, but it was not until I was limited to one hand that I discovered the better method.

It also seems to be the case for group creativity exercises in which the tool or material is limited but the objective is difficult.  By reducing the number of degrees of freedom, we naturally dig deeper for methods which might have been overlooked when a custom tool is available.  (If the only tool you have is a hammer, you might find ways of using it as a plumb bob, a screwdriver, or an apple picker.)

Thanks for the great newsletter and thanks for listening….

-       Dick Anderson, Colorado

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

Innovator’s Quest – How can we inspire a culture of innovation? How can we take risks, be bold and allow for ‘mistakes’ that have the potential for great leaps in productivity?

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Practical advice from jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel

“You must be continually finding yourself, because it is always changing. It may not seem like it but that is practical advice.” – jazz guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel

(This quote was in response to an interview question asking for advice for young musicians.)

We pride ourselves in being practical, and who couldn’t use some practical advice? But what if continually finding your true self as it changes is the most practical thing to do? This quote inspires me to be practical and do just that.

For those of you who know young musicians or anyone learning something they hope to use for the rest of the life, here’s the full quote to share:

“I would say to them to just stay focused, go deep into the music, have faith and work as hard as you can! You must be continually finding yourself, because it is always changing. It may not seem like it but that is practical advice.”

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

Music of Teams – Music of Teams links music and the effective team and transforms your people into musicians of their work.

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Can’t decide? Let Your Heart Do The Work

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There are times where I just cannot decide what is the best course of action, what the best choice is. I can become paralyzed with indecision, weighing pros and cons, and worrying I may not be making the right decision.

Lately I have had better results – by far – by simply letting my heart decide.

What I mean by that is taking two or more things that I could potentially do and simply asking my heart which it is most interested in out of those things. The criteria could be delight or enjoyment or something undefined.

I always get a clear, strong choice, one that I feel like I can strongly stand behind.

My worried mind might get scared about it, but a deeper knowing realizes it is the right move for me. My worried mind may also wish that it could happen a little more quickly sometimes, but unless our physical safety is being imminently threatened, there is always more time available then we realize to make a decision.

If this sounds attractive to you give it a try. If this sounds too woozily new age-y for you, just wait until you are deadlocked any decision, and then give it a try. Sometimes extreme times call for extreme measures.

Here’s to good decisions you can stand behind, and here’s to your increased happiness from deciding with your heart.

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.
MBTI Team Quest – Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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To Waken An Old Lady By William Carlos Williams (Pocket Poem)

To Waken An Old Lady

By William Carlos Williams

 

Old age is

A flight of small

Cheeping birds

Skimming

Bare trees

Above a snow glaze.

Gaining and failing

They are buffeted

By a dark wind—

But what?

On harsh weedstalks

The flock has rested,

The snow

Is covered with broken

Seedhusks

And the wind tempered

By a shrill

Piping of plenty.

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Quix Picks: Hell or High Water Movie Review

A ‘high water’ mark in modern day westerns that would make Cormac McCarthy proud. Directed by Scottish director David Mackenzie and written by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario – a movie I do not recommend), they give us a real feel of west Texas – complete with a posse of pickup trucks chasing the bank robbers, just like in the old west. Chris Pine (the thoroughly enjoyable Kirk in the Star Trek movies) takes us deep, and Jeff Bridges excels as the severely flawed Texas Ranger. From the first panning film shot that tells so much wordlessly, to the last pan around and down into the sun-drenched Texas tall grass – it’s a crisp emotional delight. A word of warning though: a dear friend whose opinion I value hated this movie for what he saw as a lack of originality (seeing it as a homage to No Country For Old Men is putting it kindly) and a glorification of an often mean-spirited ethnocentric view. So, point/counterpoint. If you watch it, I’d be interested to hear your opinion.

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