May 10, 2017 was 50/50 Day. Around the world, people gathered to watch a 20 minute film by Tiffani Schlain. Viewers then participated in conversations using a well-crafted discussion guide. The guide encouraged groups to discuss equity, power and the arc of women’s history. It ends with an invitation to “pull the next one up”; an invitation to overcome challenges together. [Read more…]
Over 250,000 people walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain last year. Walkers from all over the world came to experience this sacred trek.Their range of motivations included exercise, culture, religion, nature, and adventure. Throughout human history various cultural and religious groups have conducted pilgrimages. Now, pilgrimages attract walkers who just want time and space for reflection.What would it be like if you integrated a pilgrimage into your professional development plan this year? Consider a local pilgrimage as a way to integrate more reflection into your personal and professional growth.
SET INTENTIONS: A pilgrimage should be more than a good long walk for exercise in an exotic place.The idea is to set intentions with a focus on reflection more than fitness. Some walks will have spiritual underpinnings, many will include themes of disconnecting from technology, creating space for transformative thinking, connecting with nature and realigning with more meaningful work with colleagues.
In sacred pilgrimages, walkers set their intentions around healing, penance, thanksgiving, worship or enlightenment. In a reflective growth pilgrimage, you set your intentions based on what is most pressing for you at this time in your life. Pilgrimage themes include peace, justice, gratitude, hope, transformation, leadership and service. Walking with fellow pilgrims interested in one of these topics will allow you to have space for reflection and shared insights.
PLAN THE TREK: Planning the route of your pilgrimage needs to be intentional. It does not need to be an expensive international trip. It just needs to be a place that inspires and energizes you. Consider a route that inspires and challenges you both mentally and physically. What natural or built environments could lend metaphorical meaning to the trek?
I am helping a small group plan a local pilgrimage with intentions that focus on hope and gratitude. One of my wiser colleagues said during our planning stages…”gratitude is the engine that drives hope”.
We will begin our trek on a quiet beach in a cove that is protected by giant shade trees. Our first intention is to think about a time when we were in a dark place and found our way into a more hopeful path. We will walk in silence to begin this reflection. We will then share our experiences with a partner as we climb up out of the cove to the top of the sunlit ridge above.
From there the walk will move into other themes of hope and gratitude. Our plan is to walk across a local bridge as a metaphor for the transition into hope. We will finish at a cliff overlooking the ocean. At this spot a group of people have slowly been building a labyrinth one stone at a time. We will end there with our reflections on gratitude and contribute our stones to the pathways of the labyrinth.
DISTANCE: Pilgrimages can be any distance. Ours will be 12-15 miles as we wanted to experience the different shades of light: morning, mid day and late day light. Pick a distance that will support your goals. Take your time. Walk slowly and appreciate each sight, sound, and smell you encounter. Breathe deeply and keep returning your thoughts to the intentions you set for the journey. Stay open-minded and be willing for the unexpected to occur. Don’t try to force inspiration to come. Just relax and allow it to emerge within you.
Start Thinking and Planning:
What would you like to focus on during your pilgrimage?
Who will be your fellow walkers?
Where would you like to walk?
Look at your calendar, when will you walk?
Meet 13 year old Eagle Huntress Aisholpan. This young woman trained with her father to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter in the Mongolian steppe. In this documentary, viewers watch a determined daughter and father overcome cultural and physical challenges. Together they journey into the mountains of Mongolia to capture an eaglet and train the bird to hunt for their family. The film ends with Asiholpan competing at the Golden Eagle Festival. At times the film’s story line is oversimplified, yet this is a compelling story of young women who’s father was her true believer. He believed in her talents, even when others doubted them. He created opportunities for her be a successful Eagle Huntress.
Who has been your true believer? A parent? spouse? colleague?
In an earthquake, rocks move past each other along fault lines. These shifts are often explosive in energy and can result in minor to major changes to the landscape. In organizations, we often experience the same slips, slides and shifts. In the last 4 months, I’ve come across multiple teams who are struggling to find their way. They became very fractured during our recent political season. Should we find ways to address the divides or is it best to adopt the “we don’t talk about politics in the office” stand? [Read more…]
Are you being sucked into workplace drama? Are you being pulled into a problem focused management style? Drama can drain the energy right out of you. Infact,
- Managers can spend up to 40% of their time focusing on workplace drama.
- U.S. employees spend 2.1 hours per week involved with conflict, which amounts to approximately $359 billion in paid hours (based on an average hourly earnings of $17.95), or the equivalent of 385 million working days.
Every team is a mix of Pioneers, Drivers, Integrators and Guardians according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review. Authors Johnson-Vickberg and Christfort, write that every team is a mix of these four personality types. Their article in the New Science of Teamwork issue makes the case for “pulling your opposites closer” by encouraging unlikely pairs to work together.
This work is grounded by the research of Helen Fisher. Her research on the “brain systems that that drives human personality, attraction and love” is now a cornerstone of this new team science. Her work helped shape Match.com and now is the foundation of a tool used by Deloitte. The tool gives managers a common language for understanding how people work. The theory is that by understanding the unique personalities of workers that leaders can better manage their staff resulting in higher performing teams. [Read more…]
Bombogenisis! A weather term that seems to be used quite frequently this winter. California experienced the “pinneapple express” version of a bombegenisis where rivers of moisture intensified into massive rainfalls. Today, the east coast is waking up to a rapidly intensifying storm as it passes over the ocean and brings extensive snow to areas that were already teased into spring fever. Bombogenisis meets Nor’easter. What does this weather phenomena have to do with your workplace? [Read more…]
Perhaps you remember the Mary Tyler Moore show theme song…”Who can turn the world on with her smile? ” Indeed, a silly 1970’s TV show song and yet, I can still recite every word. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Minneapolis where Moore was a bit of a folk legend. Or just maybe, Moore’s character of an independent working woman planted the seeds of finding a career that made me happy. Mary Tyler Moore recently passed away and was remembered throughout the press as a “positive, optimistic, and charismatic woman.” She role modeled a smart, professional, happy career woman for a generation of girls growing up in the 1970s.
I once had a boss who wanted a Mary Tyler Moore poster on his wall. I secretly made fun of this request but just maybe, he was on to something? Happiness is now a research topic at major universities. The University of Pennsylvania has the Authentic Happiness Center to help us understand happiness at a deeper level. Positivity Psychology is a trend in organizational development and “happiness speakers” are all the rage at conferences.
The University Penn site is a wealth of information to help you assess your happiness factor at work. There are even a variety of a questionnaires to analyze your authentic happiness at work and home. [Read more…]
If your body had a fuel tank like a car, what would your tank say? Is it full? Half a tank? Almost Empty? Beeping at you with red lights because it’s so empty? Take a moment to think about how full is your personal energy fuel tank.
Listen at work and you might hear a colleague or friend say: “I’m so tired but I’ve got so much work to do, I just can’t stop for lunch” or “I worked all weekend” or “I feel so depleted”. These are all flashing lights that your fuel tank is moving towards empty. Clearly, sometimes we just have to push through a big project, but can we push smarter and think more intentionally about our energy? [Read more…]
David Emerald (Womeldorff) wrote the book Power of TED to help individuals and teams move away from the “dreaded drama triangle” and towards empowerment. In his short fable on self-leadership, Emerald offers readers a pathway to shifting away from the drama triangle. It is a fast, easy read with big ah-ha moments.
Think about a recent drama in your workplace or home. For example, think about the “kitchen” at work or home, a frequent drama location. There are certain people who tend to clean up and others that pile up. Let’s say you are the clean up type. One day you arrive in the kitchen and there are dishes piled up, no coffee left, and the counter is dripping with a sticky combination of sugar, yogurt and spaghetti sauce.
You start cleaning up while grumbling to yourself, “Why am I always the one who has to clean this up?” The cycle has just begun and you are the victim. Ten minutes into cleaning up a colleague comes in and puts a dirty cup by the sink and says “Wow, I really need a cup of coffee”. One of your just washed cups is filled and a trail of cream, sugar and coffee drips are left behind. All of the sudden you become the Persecutor….”Great, have a cup of coffee, I’ve just spent the last 10 minutes cleaning up your mess and because of you I’m late for a meeting. Couldn’t you just once clean up after yourself?” Zoom… you shifted from victim to persecutor. The next employee walks into this escalating drama and says….”Hey, let me help out here, I’ll do the dishes, no worries, I’ve got you both covered. Go on to your meetings, I’ll clean up”. A rescuer is born and then sends out an email to everyone…” I spent 30 minutes cleaning the kitchen this morning. If you have left anything in the refrigerator claim it today because at 5pm, I’m dumping everything as our kitchen has turned into a mold experiment.” The rescuer became the victim and the cycle continues.
This type of drama cycle happens in our homes and workplaces. What story line comes to mind for you? [Read more…]