What are you practicing? I am re-reading Richard Sennet’s ” Together” ehere hr investigates cooperation. He takes us through an historical journey back to the early 16th century. When discussing chivalry as a cooperation technique he offers that chivalry is the practice of restraint and the maintenance of honor. The idea that knight’s practiced restraint was incongruous until he explained the they were practicing sexual restraint so as not to assault or rape women of the court.Seems an outrageous state when not raping someone is the most chivalric thing they could do. But the idea of practicing prompted some personal questions.
What am I practicing? Am I practicing perfectly and am I seeing improvement? I am not thinking about the running and weight training that I do almost every day which has provided improved health and fitness. It isn’t the practice of learning that takes me through a routine of reading, writing and inquiry. I isn’t the practice of healthy eating that makes me food conscious.
I am wondering about a less specific set of practices. Do I practice generousity? Am I taking intentional steps towards joy? Is there a planned routine to curiousity? kindness? restraint? improvement? cooperation? persistence? mediocrity? excellence? stubbornness? reflection? The list isn’t comprehensive but was meant to prompt me to think about what I am rehearsing by my attitudes, intentions and actions.
The path to achieve awareness is in the doing and the recognition of the doing. Becoming self aware requires honesty, transparency, reflection, and willingness to adapt. Is my practice working or is it bad practice fostering bad outcomes.
I have been dwelling on the tribalism of politics in my head, heart and writing and need to let it all go so I don’t break. Instead I am choosing to practice joy and look for ways to improve being joyful.
Mei Mei Fox of MBG wrote a post a couple of years ago entitled ” 40 Ways To Practice Joy Every Single Day“. It seems like a great place to begin. While I can’t undertake all of them every day – it seems that progress could come from trying/doing 10 each day.
For today I am making the following my own joy exercises.
5. Listen to the wisdom of elders
6. Cheerlead someone to greatness
8. Speak to yourself with kindness
13. Spend some reflective time alone
15. Pause to say thank you – and really mean it
20. Make someone smile
26. Re-gift something
29. Dress in brightly coloured clothes
37. Connect with nature
I am hopeful that you will take a look at the 40 and choose your own and practice them i your own way or write your list and make it habitual. The ingrained outcome comes from persistent practice and improvement.
Make Your Practice Remarkable,
Being the best you can be requires that you listen to critics, hear what they are saying and don’t take it personally. Easy to say much harder to do. I have been accused of taking everything personally? Do you hear that refrain from family, friends, colleagues, strangers, or adversaries?
Assuming a neutral position in the face of negative (or positive) feedback requires significant commitment and ongoing practice. The chaos inside all our heads takes sides very quickly and either rushes to confirm the input or jump into a defensive posture. Ego is involved either that clouds the moment can evaporate. way. You are puffed up by praise (well deserved I am sure) or pounded down by criticism ( undeserved I am sure). But if you can breathe in the assessment without ownership, just recognition that is there then the drama can be held in abeyance. Holding the feedback lightly flushes the crap and opens a place for honest reflection. But again easy to say harder to do.
I am reading a book by Pedram Shojai “The Urban Monk” that is beginning to clear up some of the muck and helping me connect with the inner me that lives in the outside world. I love the idea that I don’t need to go into a hermitage or off to a mountain top to begin to find peace in all situations. I will keep you posted as I learn, struggle, and practice.
For today why don’t we both just continue to be aware of our breath and our stress and see if we can breathe into the gap.
Make Today Remarkable,
I just started reading Wayne Stewart’s new book ” Live to Lead; The Missing Link in Leadership Development” which I will review next week. He reminded me of Kouzes and Posner’s Five Practices of Leadership from ” The Leadership Challenge”.
- model the way
- challenge the process
- inspire shared vision
- enable others to act
- encourage the heart.
My take on the the practices will take a few posts. Generally I think they were right on the mark although as always 5 seems arbitrary (maybe 4 or 8?).
Model the Way is more important today than in the past as more and more people have lost their ability to see the way forward. Conformity, bubble wrapping and an exponentially changing world now makes it difficult for all and impossible for many to figure out the next steps. Leaders need to model the way, for today and into the future. They need to model expectations, style and balance for those observers who are looking for someone or something to follow. Modelling takes courage; leadership courage. Rather than waiting for an easy or obvious path, leaders often need to forge their own and make it wide enough for others to begin following and adapting their journey along the new track.
Modelling the Way is more than management or maybe not management at all. It is setting out a vision, expectations, norms and actively encouraging others to take that pattern and make adjustments so that it fits them. Modelling can take a frustratingly long time to achieve and there will be a temptation to just ‘tell’ people how to behave but in this case patience will be rewarded.
Are you modelling what you want others to see in you? Are you offering a pattern that you would want others to use?
Make Today Remarkable, by using your strengths to strengthen others,