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Regeneration and New Beginnings

After a day of birthday celebrations and Earth Hour festivities, I am ready to kickstart the new year. Spring has sprung and some seeds have been planted (both literally and metaphorically).

Where I live, the temperature will begin to warm. There will be more minutes of daylight every day. The plants and animals will respond by starting new growth soon. And I get to think about improving on old projects and starting a few new ones. This is a much better time to begin anew than in the dead of winter when the page changes on the Julian calendar. Spring brings a freshness that opens doors to possibilities. As the color of the sky changes I begin to realize that the sky is the limit and I can do so many more remarkable things.

The challenge for you is to begin something anew with zest, zeal and zero restraints. Are you up to it?

B

 

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Just Say It

It might sound crazy. It may be risky. It is likely outside the container. But if you have an idea to move the marker towards the goal “just say it”. I have, after considerable anxiety, blurted out outlandish solutions or small steps to social issues. I always know it has hit a chord if the response sounds like ” we haven’t ever done anything like that”.

If we are facing wicked problems they require wild responses. If the problem has persisted (some for generations) doing the same thing we have always done, louder, faster or even smarter isn’t going to change much. If we continue to manage social issues, social issues manage to continue. It may be time to blow it all up and start anew. Will there be bumps along the way – sure. Will there be critics – guaranteed. Will you feel like shrinking from the challenge – probably. Are you capable of seeding the storm with an audacious thought – most definitely.

I am suspicious that innovation in attacking big problems is helpful. Variations on a theme serve our egos well but the incremental shift gets swallowed in status quo and the increments are denigrated and blamed for limited improvement. If we don’t need evolution maybe we need revolution. I understand that even if ‘everything must change’ (and I think in some of the arenas we are struggling everything is the right approach) we create resistance if we try to swing the position 90 degrees. Would a 10 degree pivot today and another next quarter calm the anxiousness about change? Would 10 degrees get us far enough from the unacceptable present as to see other possibilities?

I heard Zita Cobb speak yesterday about moving from blindness of conformity towards a new sunrise (that doesn’t blind us but surprises us) . How can you be surprised and surprise others? Maybe it is as simple as contributing to a new generative path. Just say it.

B

 

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Erin Go Bragh !

Happy St Patrick’s Day. Make sure you share from your pot 0’gold today. Maybe you can dance a wee jig like a leprechaun and enjoy a dram or pint to celebrate (as if we need a reason). Wear some green and tickle someone who isn’t.

The Shamrock – (from The Independent) “The three-leaved shamrock is a familiar symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick, used by the Irish tourist board and almost every tourist shop in the country as a national symbol.It grows plentifully all over the country, and takes its name from early Irish word seamair óg, or young clover.”

What symbol would you choose to represent you if they were to celebrate your life? Would Saint Bob be an outstreched arm with a book clutched tightly?  Is there something that represents you so well that you could wear it on a t-shirt?

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Do One Thing that Scares You

Sometimes I pretend that I am not scared. I get stage fright but speak in front of crowds at least once a week. I have a fear of heights (fear of falling from heights, really) but I  climbed to the top of a mountain with my brothers. I get scared when I am not sure about a subject, an idea, or a myth but blow ahead and then read the response.

What scares you? Do you have big paralyzing fears or a niggling embarrassing irrational phobia? Can the fear be broken into segments – 5 minutes, 100 words, 10 steps, $25 ?

Overcoming fears is exhilarating but you may still feel scared after conquering a mountain, an audience, a barrier the next time you face it. It might be easier and more effective to take on the fear in small steps. What is the least you could do right now to face one of your fears? Are you willing to take the least step first?

Would coaching and accountability be of value? How much external accountability would be helpful? Regardless, you get to  choose what step you are ready to take.

B

 

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Pretending

Thanks Dionne Lew for your post on Medium today entitled “Let’s stop pretending we know everything”. A worthwhile read and it may spark something for you as it did for me.

How much pretending is healthy? Is it ethical to pretend? Is pretending just fantasy enacted? Is it synonymous with being an imposter?

Phew – a lot of questions. Regular readers know that I suspect reality is just a conjecture that has passed some burden of proof, today. The conjecture may/likely be refuted. The burden adjusted and a new proof recognized. The truth is malleable and iterative so therefore is pretending. It is just a different way of viewing the situation; a different perspective from a different set of neurons.  So I conclude pretending can be healthy and so can some logic.

Ethics are seen by some to be relative. I agree at some macro level but situational ethics need to be grounded in persistent and personal principles. Acting or not acting, deciding or equivocating, choosing or surrendering should be based in ethical principles that have been developed through the sum of our life experiences. Pretending the world id different than others see it may be fine but pretending that you are different than you ‘know’ you are skates over the line.  I have done and do both. I have taken a fake it till you make it approach on numerous occasions and learned the lessons I needed along the way. Sometimes, I disclaimed my intentions but often I just pretended I knew something.

Yes, I am an imposter but my conversations; honest open deep conversations, has lead me to the belief that everyone poses on a regular basis. Sometimes the syndrome blows up and sometimes it breaks a dam.

I am not sure  what level of pretending you do but I hope you aren’t pretending that you aren’t.

Make Today Remarkable by practicing some pretending,

B

Self Improvement

What are You Willing to Give Up?

Are you moving towards a change or contemplating something new in your life? Do you need to read more, exercise better, study, make more calls, find a solution … Are you jam packed and struggling. Maybe you are too busy. Too busy with meaningless activity or trapped in a spiral of day-to-day-today.

We all believe that we can handle more if we schedule better or get up earlier. But the reality is that we can only carry around 3 +/- 3 things and be effective. I have habits that no longer serve my agenda. I do things that don’t serve by preferred future and are likely moving me away from important opportunities. If you recognize some meaninglessness in your day, what are you willing to give up?

Today and tomorrow make an inventory (hand written) of all your activities that take more than 5 minutes of your time. It is best to pause for 30 seconds at the top of each hour and write down Activity and Time. After two days ask yourself ” what do I notice?” Out of 48 hours, did you sleep 16? Roughly 32 hours awake – how did you use the 384 five minute blocks? Are you aware of how long five minutes is? Do you know how much you can accomplish in five minutes? Is it possible that 1 5 minute block or 100 blocks can change your life.

Learning how to manage our 5 minutes helps us mange our 168 hours and our 29,220 days and it begins with taking inventory and then figuring out what you are willing to give up.

 

B

 

Self Improvement

Is Planning Crazy?

The world changes so quickly and the variables that impact us and our lives are so interconnected. Does this make planning ahead (more than 168 hours) utter nonsense?

I have meetings booked into July. A vacation is booked for next January. I am looking at financial requirements for mid 2017. We have been discussing goals for 10 years from now. Is this all just to quell anxiety or is it helpful in shaping the future?

A few years ago, I would have said ” it is  essential to lay the groundwork and make specific plans for the future”. Everything seemed so predictable then. Predictability has been shaken. Two economic downturns in ten years. World conflicts bubbling everywhere. Political partisanship and pandering is the order of the day and thousands of variables that I don’t recognize are banging into each other and creating and recreating trajectories.

I obviously am still planning, even if it with less certainty. In uncertain times having a preferred planned future appointment or direction creates a bit of a frame around all the tomorrows. Today I need that range of possibilities or fear I would be paralyzed by the undetermined and erratic possibilities.

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I suggest we all continue to lay out the future with the understanding that adaptation and evaluation may be our most important tools. Planning may be crazy but it is also crucial and constructive.

Make a Plan Today,

B

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From Strategic Monk  “It is easy for us to get focused on mastering the puzzle by finding the solution. There is something seductive, almost addictive, about knowing the right answer. When we decide we have the answer, we stop look and stop asking questions. We close our hearts, and minds, when we already know.We experience more when we are asking questions, before we decide we know the solutions.What are the questions you most deeply want answered today?When will you ask your next question?”

I do think we need to focus on solutions to our big wicked problems but in general and in relationships, I agree with the monk.

When was the last time you were curious to understand? To learn something just for the sake of learning something? To be interested in something frivolous just because it is fun?

Be curious, not judgmental.
~Walt Whitman

I am passionately curious about so many things that I have a breadth of information but not so much depth. I have accepted that I won’t be an expert on anything and probably don’t want to be one. I still have a thirst for new subjects and read and take notes on stuff that has no practicality in my current life. Somewhere knowing some of this will be beneficial but it will mostly just rattle around and synthesize to some other gem that I hear or find.

Make Today Passionately curious,

B

 

 

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Off the Beaten Path

Rules, rules, rules. Don’t walk on the grass. No running. Sit up straight. Pay Attention. When I was in elementary school there were rules to be obeyed without question and you got to make your freedom in other ways. Kids got hurt and sometimes hit each other. We imagined heroic acts and stared pretend danger in the face.

Now every institution has policies, procedures, bylaws and guidelines. There are general ‘expectations’ of a certain kind of behaviour.

This weekend I am taking the path of imagination whenever and wherever I can. I am keeping my eyes open for new experiences and watching for opportunities that I haven’t tried before. Even though I have been away from home for a couple of months, it feels like I am in a rut so it is time to kick some dirt around.

B

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Free to Be Me

It takes commitment and courage to be yourself in the face of the coercion of  conformity. Not looking like everyone else or at least looking the same with minor alterations is fearful for many. As I walk through the halls of academia or the corridors of business it is weird to see how uniform we have all become. When I encounter someone who is showing an individuality it is so rare as to be noticed. Where are all the characters? They can’t have all moved to San Francisco.

Have we become so obedient to orthodoxy that we have stopped expressing ourselves as ourselves? If we can our costumes are all the same how can we have our own values, ideas, actions? The bandwagon towards a homogeneous mass seems to roll along picking up willing riders. The parade gets started and people jump in the queue  without really knowing where it is going. Once in the line, dissent becomes difficult or impossible. ( see what happens to people who challenge a speaking point at a Trump rally. or a Clinton rally, or any ideological institution).

Conformity has become madness with a pathology towards predictability and standardization. We hear a ” be a team player” but understand do like we are doing. The pressure is extreme. All the media outlets (especially TV) preach the right way to dance, sing, act, play, dress, by creating and recreating caricatures for us to emulate. Our friends lean with the mass and we feel alone. It takes commitment and courage to be yourself in the face of the coercion of  conformity. Are you courageous enough to commit not to conform, just one time, today?

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Make Today Remarkably Unconventional,

B