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Turning a Deaf Ear

After yesterday’s post, I received 5 emails from readers who said ” I don’t have any art to make”. This was sad and telling.

I am told, by my beloved,  that I can exhibit ‘selective hearing’ – only being aware of what I want to hear. This can be rude and hurtful if done with other people but may be helpful if you can hone it for conversations you are having with yourself.

What if my heart was screaming “say something, do something, this isn’t right” and I tuned  out the voice? If the gift of fear was warning me to “stay away from this scheme” and I ignored it, the consequences might be serious. “You are remarkable” comes into my head and I deny it. ” Bob, try again” is the encouragement I ignore.

It is tricky business selecting which of my voices I should honor and trust and which are the voices of procrastination, dishonesty, anxiety. How do I know it is anticipation speaking and not naivete?

Lewis Smedes says “Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.” It is hard  given the judgments of the world. Unless I can discern, I cannot be certain I am acting in the highest and best manner. “However, when I feel aware, expanded and full of love, I must be doing something right (and conversely, when I feel bored, impatient and regretful I am not listening to the highest voice).”~ Sal Rachelle

Discernment is an act of awareness, whereas judgment as an act of ego. Practicing discernment  is like everything else and contrary to the adage it doesn’t simply make it perfect. Practice only makes permanent, if there isn’t reflection and accountability. Doing this practice alone is possible but can be earned and learned more easily and more quickly with a coach. I know that I have been assisted by the wisdom, challenge and accountability of a formal coach and my clients have added remarkable value and insights  to their lives through feedback, accountability, courageous goals, tension  and some systems thinking.

As always, I am available and open to discussing how coaching might add value to your life. Contact bob@remarkablepeople.ca

Make Today Remarkable, by being aware rather than judgmental,

B

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Mystery

I knew I was in trouble when I made a statement, in a meeting, that I had no doubt to be perfectly crafted and assuredly true. There was a flash that lit up in my peripheral vision that had happened, and been ignored, a dozen times in the last week: A warning that I wasn’t heeding like high blood pressure.

I had become an expert again. The “Hi my name is Bob and I am an expert” kind of expert.  I was certain about everything, sure about my direction, completely confidence in my advise, remarkable in my coaching, and unbelievable in my consulting. I was the pearl in my own oyster – perfect.

Of course, none of that was real. Perception had trapped me again. I have been recovering from the curse of expertitis for 25 years but this bout seemed deeper and I was actually enjoying the spotlight even more than usual.

When I spend time with children, my grandkids in particular, I am reminded what the as yet unimagined has to offer. They zealously seek new ways of overcoming challenges. They embraced curiousity through sincere and outrageous questions. There is a zeal for exploration and risk that comes from a different confidence than the expert. They are confident that the world is theirs to explore and by turning everything on its head, they see the world anew.  My confidence was based in formulas, models, tried and true experiences, status quo. In today’s world where everything is changing, exponentially,  we all need to find the child’s position for a few hours a week. This isn’t just a provocation exercise, it serves as an innovation platform. You can launch your next ‘cool’ idea and watch it soar or sink without fear.

Take 4 hours this week (4/168 = 2.38%) to be open to curiousity, search out mystery and take something that you are so confident about and give it a good shake. I, for one, would be curious what flies out.

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Completion

What are you deeply devoted to completing today? On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being completely committed, where are you? If you aren’t at 10 what will it take to get to 10?

Is there something that you have been putting off, procrastinating about, but needs your utmost attention?
We all make lists (at least I imagine everyone else does too) and then cherry pick the easy stuff and transfer the frogs to tomorrow’s list. Take a look at your list for today (or make a list) and rank your commitment 1-10 for each item. Now tackle the biggest challenge first. Whatever you need to do to make this assignment your priority; remove obstacles, write the first line, run the first 500 meters, pick up supplies or whatever excuse you are using should be bitten off.

One of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s most famous quotes ends ” Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now” While inspirational it isn’t all that helpful.
I think the beginning of the passage “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” makes sense of the begin it now challenge.

That is why your commitment needs to be 10/10, so hesitancy doesn’t wrap its warm blanket around your shoulders. It isn’t quite as simple as saying you are completely (10/10) committed but almost. Accountability and practice will improve execution to 100% over a very short time. Holding yourself accountable -good or having someone hold you to account – better will make your statement a self fulfilling prophecy. Not stating your firm deeply held conviction can fulfill a different and dangerous self perpetuating prophecy.

Make Today Remarkable by committing completely.

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Does it Matter if the Placebo Works?

I am reading Give and Take by Adam Grant while taking in the bright sunshine and sea breeze in Oceanside< California. Goodreads, description reads;
For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
I was taken by a line on page , that I read a few days ago and continue to ponder. “Teachers’ beliefs created self-fulfilling prophecies.” Grant is speaking about some remarkable professors, in particular CJ Skender and his approach to judging capability and Skender’s remarkable record of teaching, influencing and encouraging 100’s of medal winning students that have gone on to lead successful ventures. It reminded me of Henry Ford’s “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't–you're right.” that I think applies to those we are supporting, nurturing, encouraging, teaching, loving as well.
It got me pondering – who am I under valuing, under encouraging, under challenging in my life. I espouse regularly Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that “given the opportunity and circumstances, every American will take care of himself, his family, and his community”. I have used this in speeches, debates, writing many times and follow it with “ I believe everyone is more capable than they are given credit for”. Do I live out that prophecy? I think I do with my grandchildren, all children really and I feel like that was my approach with my kids, their friends, and students in my life. Do I still act on that belief? Are there important relationships where my assessment undermines people that I get to work alongside?
Are there people you love, you work with, you care for that you believe has limited capacity or ability? Are you creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for them? What would happen if you set higher expectations for them (yourself) and demonstrated that you believe they could be exceeded? Are you willing to raise the bar, with encouragement and confidence for the next month? January only has 11 days left, would you extend the power of positive beliefs to yourself and others for the rest of the month? I am going to give it a try and record my observations. I would be interested in what you discover. Please let us in on your findings, either here in comments or through email below.