Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Me, Me, Me – A Lesson From My Cat

Modine, the large, grey cat I belong to, never says meow. He sticks with the first syllable, me.

Me, me, me. That’s all he ever says. No apologies, uh uh.

Most of us see that as selfish, maybe even bordering on rude. We were raised to think of others, to give, to focus out.

Well, yes, that’s true. But I’ve been spying on Modine, and I think he’s onto something.

When he is tired, he sleeps.

When he is curious, he watches.

When he’s hungry, he eats.

When he needs help, he asks for it, “meeee”

When the sun is shining, he finds a nice patch of sunlight and stretches out to enjoy it.

When he wants love, he gives it.

When he’s feeling playful, he plays.

And, when he’s tired, he sleeps. (yes, I did already say this but you know cats).

What if, even for a few minutes a day, we were more like Modine? What if we twirled if we felt like twirling, clapped our hands along with the music, drove fast on that cool spot in the road while shouting woo hoo, walked away from the computer and stretched out in a patch of sunlight? Would that make us selfish? I don’t think so. I think we would have and be more fun and be more at peace. We would be more whole and have more to give.

I’m being the cat, “meeee”.


Listen to He’s A Cat, if you like sassy jazzy tunes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The End of Blame is the Beginning of a Great Organization

What do people fear most? Criticism. Put another way, blame.

In his book, If God Stops Working, James Dale forwards the theory that many concepts of (G)od were created in order to have someone to blame for the mishaps and tragedies that we can’t logically explain or don’t want to accept.

I think he’s right. People want a reason. Who can be held responsible when things don’t go as planned? “We don’t like the outcome. Who’s to blame? Whose stupid idea was this anyway?”

And then there’s pre-blame, “That won’t work.” Followed by the blamer’s mantra, “I knew it wouldn’t work. Told you so!”

Where does perpetuating that age-old bad habit get you as a leader? Inactivity, while stuck in the “safe”, comfortable ways of doing things. No innovation. No growth. No productive thinking. No risk taking. No success and no fulfillment.

No fun.

Don’t confuse not reaching goals (factual) with being blamed (emotional). Can you take the blame out of your group or company?

What if you said, “Nice try. Now, what did we learn?” Or maybe, “Don’t stop trying the new things. If we stop, we’ll get buried.”

What if you said that, and your actions and other words showed you really meant it? People would step up and be the leaders you hired them to be. Those people would get out of bed ready to accomplish something every morning.You’d be leading the groups or organization you always wanted to be a part of.

And you would keep and attract the best.

In his book, Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about having “bad idea” sessions. Bring your worst ideas and throw them on the table. Thing is, there’s always at least one good one in there.

Without the threat of blame, those hidden ideas come to the surface and get used.

Find the way to encourage and welcome criticism in your organization. Forget the blame.

Leaders accept effort, risk, and creativity. They shoulder the responsibility for encouraging “outlandish thoughts” and make impossible futures a reality.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No Greatness in Making Anyone Feel Small

Today I previewed Kevin Hall’s new book, Aspire. I admit that, coming on the heels of more than 20 self-help, I can be anything I want type-books, my enthusiasm and attitude were a little limp. I mean sheesh, I’m living in the now, the secret is no longer a secret, and I can meditate and mantra right along with the best of them.

I’m not making fun of anything here, except for the fact that when I decide to do something it’s with a vengeance. While the last 18 months of searching, trying new concepts and growing have been wonderful, the fact that I went at it with such velocity is kinda like missing the point, right?

Back to Aspire. The Forward, by Stephen R. Covey, seemed to go on forever (yawn). I fast forwarded to chapter one. I am hooked.

Hall has identified 11 words whose deepest meanings can cause us to be the kind of people we aspire to be, maybe are born to be. In chapter one, we meet Pravin who reveals one of the words, Genshai. Here’s an excerpt:

Genshai (pronounced gen-shay) means that you should never treat any person in a manner that would make them feel small. As children in India, we are taught to never look at, touch, or address another person in a way that would make them feel small. If I were to walk by a beggar in the street and casually toss him a coin, I would not be practicing genshai. But if I knelt down on my knees and looked him in the eye when I placed that coin in his hand, that coin became love.

Genshai also applies to treating ourselves small. How often in a month, a week, a day do we dishonor ourselves? Forget our greatness? How often do we view ourselves through judgmental, foggy glasses instead of with a clear view?

Today, I learned a new word, Genshai. With it comes the responsibility to treat myself big. I can do that.

Promise to never treat yourself small. Will you do that?


Friday, June 4, 2010

The surprising truth about what motivates us

A while back, a group of friends and I were discussing our need, not just a want but a passionate need, to do something that matters. To put good into the world.

I assumed this need to make a positive contribution was due largely to the age of the folks in the group, all 40+. And, that we were all well into our careers and have had positions, at one time or another, that were for an economic good, rather than the common good of people. It seems that my assumptions about what drives our need to do good was a bit off the mark.

According to Dan Pink's animated video, Drive, as the days of top-down management are winding down, and the era of innovative, creative thinking across organizations is upon us, people of all ages everywhere are motivated by giving, accomplishing, doing good stuff - and all without monetary incentive or reward.

When you have 10 minutes, watch Dan's video and let me know you thoughts. Dawnya

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Being, Doing, Having

I once wrote a quote which, at the time, I thought to be brilliant and unique, Be More, Don't Have More. OK, so it might need a little polishing but you can see where I was going, right?

Years later, I stumbled across a wonderful book (that had been written years before my clever quote) called Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.

She said, "being, doing and having are like a triangle where each side supports the other. Often people attempt to live their lives backward - they try to have more things or money, in order to do what they want, in order to be happier." I think she's onto something! "The way it actually works" she continued, "is the reverse. You must first be who you are, then do what you need or want to do, in order to have what you want." Isn't she the clever girl!

Today, if you have a few spare moments do a quick bubble graph (come on, it's fun and you deserve a few minutes just for you). On top of the page, list and circle all the things that describe who you want to be (mine says things like positive, fun, present). Next, list and circle what you want to do once you are being who you want to be (mine includes write songs, help people, make short movies). And last, list in bubbles what you want to have (I was surprised by how short this list was, but mine included things like eat excellent food and have fun and funky clothes for performing).

I want to hear what you come up with and see if there was anything that surprised you.