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Control

For me this is the hardest thin g to let go of; control. Control of the timing. Control of the people. Control of the outcome. Control of the process…. And I really have very limited control.

Even in those times when I had 100’s of people reporting to me, I had limited control. They had roles and responsibilities but most often imperfect metrics were used to measure productivity, quality, initiative. Some succeeded, wildly succeeded playing a different game. Some failed, dramatically failed trying to game me and the system. Most fell into mediocrity because of the struggle between my trying to control and their inability to march to their own drum.

Daniel Pink says people are motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose after they are receiving sufficient income to cover their needs and some of their desires (about $75k). I don’t know what order they need the three things (I suspect purpose is first) but I have witnessed remarkable changes when I have stepped aside and let coworkers, direct reports, colleagues, family, friends figure out how they wish to proceed after they understand the parameters and expectations.

In the grand scheme of the universe, I only have control of my actions and I am often skeptical about how much control I really have. In my personal life I get to make hundreds of choices and take hundreds of actions every day, most of my own design. In collegial or relational situations I now understand I have way less sway than I once thought. Knowing doesn’t make it easier to let go but I am continuing to figure out ways to make it less stressful.

Make Today Remarkable, by giving away some control,

B

 

 

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Are Some Goals Unachievable?

Generally I would say all reasonable goals are achievable but just like the serenity prayer I have a discernment problem.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,The courage to change the things I can,And the wisdom to know the difference.  My problem is that haven’t mastered the wisdom part.im possible

I have been chasing some goals, that I still believe are reasonable but progress towards them has slowed or ceased. For example, I set a goal of running a sub 25 minute 5k. Seems possible even though 2 years ago I was running around 35 minutes and that I am not 61 years old. In the first few months my time fell and my pace went up. I plateaued at 30 minutes for a while and took up some coaching to break the next barrier. I can run under 29 most days and ran 27:35 in an October race but haven’t broke 28 minutes since.

I understand that there are so many circumstances at play – rest, nutrition, elevation, motivation, injury but I am disappointed that the progression hasn’t been on my schedule.

Should I let the disappointment deter me from chasing the goal – I don’t think so because the happiness is actually in the pursuit of stretch goals. (there is another circumstance – should I stretch before or after or both). Maybe what I am learning is that my other goals that I easily achieved were too easy.

How about you? Are you chasing goals that exceed your immediate grasp?

Make Today Remarkable, in the happiness of pursuit,

B

 

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The Future isn’t the Past

I think it is worth restating, the future isn’t the past. Yet, so many clients conversations lead to the opposite conclusion. ” I know things are changing but why can’t it be like it used to be?” or less overtly ” It is getting so hard to keep up”.

The recurring theme is that we recognize change is upon it – don’t like it much, can’t comprehend the pace and speculate that tomorrow will be a variation on today. The first to don’t matter and the third is likely wrong.

You can not like change all you want but it doesn’t slow or stop it. It only slows or stops you and will eventually leave you behind. It will leave you behind way faster than you imagine. If you think it will take a year for something to take a foothold – it will be adapted and adopted in a month. If you believe that you have 5 or 10 years for your work, product or service before it becomes obsolete – think1 to 3 years. Tomorrow will only look as much like today as is necessary for us to accept the paradigm shifts. Technology allows and encourages new models (AirBnB, Uber) that have become normal and then be usurped by the next shift. We are storing up memories in placeholders like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so we are ready for the next iteration that completely surrenders biological to digital (or something stored and represented at the molecular level).

I am choosing to embrace and play with as much of the changes as possible. I am choosing to see the apps and intrusion into my life as cool. I am choosing to look for the next wave so that when the big next earthshaking transformation happens, I might be able to stay on my feet.

The future isn’t the past. Three years from now there will be elements of our lives that we are living comfortably in ways that we can’t imagine today. In the 5 minutes that it took you to read this, someone had an idea that will make how we do something today seem like we are cavemen. The difference is that it won’t take millennia to make the change a reality.

Make Today Remarkable, by embracing something radically new,

B

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I Lost It – What is It?

Have you ever felt like you have lost something but can’t put your finger on what it is you have lost? Has the premonition invaded your dreams and had you scurrying searching for some article or ‘treasured’ belonging? Is the feeling and the dream symptomatic of some other loss?

Questions I am wrestling with this morning as the result of a fitful night and a couple days of anxiety. I am anxious this morning about what element, idea, goal, or relationship that I have let slip. Did I make a commitment and have not honored it (to someone or myself)?  Do I have a deadline looming that isn’t in my calendar? Have I neglected to respond to someone important and/or dear to me.

In previous situations I have found myself by taking time alone to contemplate life in some unrelated activity but a 10k run yesterday didn’t break the seal.

Do any of you have any ‘tricks’ or processes that release the subconscious and allow it to speak to you clearly?  I would appreciate any suggestions or good ideas.

Make Today Remarkable, by helping someone,

B

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Sunshine, Fresh Air and Exercise

Sunday; a day of rest for some. A day to regenerate and get ready for the week  for others. A day I suggest you get outside for at least an hour – push away from the TV, the computer, the table and turn off your devices and leave them at home. Walk, run, bike, paddle, ski, snowshoe or create movement in some other way. Get moving for an hour. Let the rhythm of the activity clear your head and then your brain can begin healing your body and soul.

Take today as a gift and unwrap some fresh air and adventure.

B

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Is Busy an Excuse?

When asked “how are you doing?” do you respond with something like ” Good, busy but good.”?  What does that mean? Is it a ‘pat’ answer? What are you busy at?  It seems busy is laudable. Busy is respected. Busy is expected? But is busy meaningful, productive or healthy?

What would happen if you change the response? What if you said ” Good question. Let me think about that.” ” I am really enjoying my time at work and feeling like we are accomplishing all our goals. I get to spend time with family and friends and much needed time alone. My health is good and I am in a great place emotionally.” Too much? Maybe, but certainly more meaningful than ‘busy’.

busy

My confession is that I don’t feel busy. I don’t strive to feel busy. I love the pace that I am able to live life at. Am I missing anything? Likely, but in this moment I get to treasure the blessings and look forward to opportunities. Will I regret not being busier? I doubt it, when my time comes I hope there aren’t any regrets.

Can you become un-busy? Easy to say, harder to do. In this case(maybe in most cases) saying it is the beginning. Try not saying the B word for a week and see what unfolds itself. Observe where your priorities shift. Is watching another reality tv program or checking Facebook again still as urgent? Did you find time to get important stuff done and find time for you to enjoy the blessings in your life?

Make this week remarkably un-busy,

B

 

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Do You Love It?

Are you accurately representing who you are to the world around you? Is what you say and write true to your values? Do you love what you are saying?

There seems to be so much pressure to conform. Pressure to be something that you are not – not radically different (at first) but tilted slightly away from your core. Being, thinking or acting differently should be an advantage but in many arenas, individualism is becoming a disadvantage.

I blame (tongue firmly in cheek) American Idol etal. No matter how amazing an individual talent is, if it doesn’t fit the narrow band of judgement (read conformity) you don’t move on. Eventually, it all sounds like minor variations on the same theme.

Television has mastered conformity. Law and Order, NCIS, Chicago Any Emergency and the similarity between all the reality programs leads to echo thinking and deadens creativity. That is likely why the formula of ‘popular’ culture makes money is that it feeds on the pressure to be the same.

You have a remarkable, ingenious, amazing gift waiting to be set free but it is trapped behind the facade of agree-ability; how well can you be seen to agree with the norm. If you don’t love what you are saying, say something else. If you don’t love who you are seen  to be, be someone else. Let your gift shine for you and keep it shining in the face of any resistance (external or internal). By loving what you are saying, you get to love who you are becoming.

Make Today the Remarkable You Day,

B

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Generalist or Specialist

How would you describe yourself? Are you a master in one field with deep knowledge and skill acquired from education and experience? Or do you have a general understanding of almost everything borne out of curiousity?

In an uncertain world, I am not sure which has an advantage. Generalists seem to be in high demand in dynamic workplaces. Those who can pick up a file or assignment and follow it to completion all the well adding value across many departments seem to avoid right sizing. Specialists who find a niche and continue to advance their knowledge seem to move from one opportunity to another.

I remember thinking that I would like to be a buff – a history buff, a civil war buff, a ornithology buff but realized that it would be a tone of work to be that proficient. My tendency is towards an array of interests and then finding a way to synthesize them into my worldview and base.

There  are hundreds of subjects that fascinate me but none so much that I might devote the next 25 years becoming an expert. Is there something that you are passionately questing to understand as completely as possible or are you  seeking to understand enough about a whole lot of stuff?

Make Today a day to learn something either deeply or broadly,

B

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Status

I was down at the marina in Oceanside last night, just after last light (amazing stars and clear sky) looking for a black crowned night heron. We found him on the fishing pier scanning the shoreline for a late night meal.

Most nights a resident group of sea lions can be found on the docks near the Oceanside Police Department, Last night there was a group of 25ish (hard to count when they are piled haphazardly).  I at and watched the interactions that took place between individuals and groups as they shifted and jockeyed for position. Not unlike a workplace or other social group, there were troublemakers who seemed to find it difficult to stay still and/or quiet. Every few minutes they shifted or flipped and provoked a neighbour (sometimes it seemed intentional). There were barks, moans and feinted nips. The intruder was attempting to move up the pecking order and was mostly put in her place.

sea lions

There were older sea lions with established positions who didn’t seem bothered by the commotion; they had nothing to prove today and ignored most of the action. If a peers became too aggressive or disruptive, one quick bark in their direction settled the argument.

The alpha male had his spot, somewhat separate from the group where he rested comfortably with the chosen female (of the day). She was protected from and excluded from the skirmishes. Being his favorite had privilege and I expect responsibilities. Last night all we witnessed was  the leader getting his head rubbed and offering a comfortable, obliging subordinate.

I realize that the exercise was pure anthropomorphism  but still enjoyable and enlightening. Does your workplace resemble a raft, a rookery, a harem? Are their alphas with betas who are secure in their position? Are the gammas and omegas trying to move up the ladder?

Make Today Interesting, by observing the interplay,

B

 

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Are You Adding Value?

What is your contributions to the conversation? Are you adding to the relationship? Is your performance value enhancing at work? Do you stop to consider how you impact each situation or are you droning through each day oblivious to your responsibility?

I encounter far too many, well educated, blessed Americans and Canadians who don’t see how they subtract and detract from opportunities by being unaware of the consequences they are creating. Today, I am not suggesting that you change any habit, reverse any decision, act any differently. I am just suggesting that you take a moment (no longer) to consider how your decisions, actions and choices impact those around you. I am not asking you to consider butterfly wings and the weather in Japan but rather the small squalls and potential tsunamis that you are willingly inflicting on family, friends, colleagues and neighbors.

Take a moment to consider how slamming a door in someone’s face (either literally or metaphorically) impacts them. Think about what consequence arises when you cut someone off in traffic rather than give way and space. were the words you spoke necessary, necessary now and spoken in kindness?

We can all do better and considering the other. When we do, we reach the acme of Maslow’s pyramid and begin becoming fully actualized.

Be considerate today,

B