Sunday, October 30, 2011

In Light of This, As I've Lived on Board This Boat

By Johanna Skibsrud (From "I Do Not Think That I Could Love a Human Being" without permission)

It was, then, the way I like it best:
made, as I was, by weather, so aware.
By the contrast of the sun and cold,
each so separate on my skin.

It's nearly always like that.
In the excess or the absence of a thing that I
appreciate it best. The way I wish I always
could. By plunging myself deeply into it, I mean,
and taking up, within it, all the space I can.

Looking back, it's just, there always seems to be more
room within each moment than, originally, I'd thought.
So that it's only, then, in retrospect, that I
explore each moment, truly; only then take that great pleasure,
and that's so sad.

That I do that - and, I do.
Imagine my moments, as I first possess them,
to be so small that I just splash right through,
and don't notice at first, or particularly,
the space available to me there,
which only later I realize I can fill.

In light of this, I want always to
live as I have lived on board this boat.
To be, always, like this: tired when I sleep,
humgry when I sit eat, and when I love I want to love
as recklessly as this: when I've been,
in my loneliness, desiring.

Monday, June 13, 2011

catalyst

lyrics to consider.  imagine U2 with Bono singing it?

you wake up and see the same pain of yesterday
you drink your coffee and mourn the need
you long for Sunday, for rest, for time to heal 
you feel tired like a part of you has died but you do not bleed

you have a list of all you would fix and how
you won't let the wrong sit, but where to start
you are no one important, no one in the right place. 
you ache for change, the change is in your heart

the change you become, the change you will be 
the world needs your mind, and your vision to see

you're a catalyst, you leave a legacy
your voice echos on and on and on into eternity

I don't know where to turn and look for help
my money leaves a trail of blood and pain
the way its made, the toil required
my heart aches thinking of the stain

my distance, my desire, my needs they take
my quest is to replace, replenish and give
how can we stop our rape of the world
how can we find our balance and live

the change you become, the change you will be 
the world needs your mind, and your vision to see

you're a catalyst, you leave a legacy
your voice echos on and on and on into eternity

you know there are things to make right
I am scared to speak out and talk
you know we need to continue the fight
I have to lead the way and start the walk

I can change the world by talking to one
You can shape the future by telling the story
I will share my thoughts and then its begun
You will plant a thought and watch it grow

the change you become, the change you will be 
the world needs your mind, and your vision to see

you're a catalyst, you leave a legacy
your voice echos on and on and on into eternity

we need hope that we will learn from our mistakes
we feel the love of connecting with one another
we know the earth responds when we stop the bad
we know deep down we are sister and brother

we can start the train that changes tomorrow
we have the power to change now 
we want people to be around forever
we will shout our dreams out loud 

the change you become, the change you will be 
the world needs your mind, and your vision to see

you're a catalyst, you leave a legacy
your voice echos on and on and on into eternity

the change I will become, the change I will be 
the world needs my mind, and my vision to see

I am a catalyst, I leave a legacy
My voice will echo on into eternity


the catalyst, written by Dale Clark


Now I just need the music to go with it and can hit the road. Simple chords please with a YouTube tutorial perhaps? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

4 kinds of officer

I listened to Stewart Brand on CBC Ideas the other day and he mentioned that when he was an officer in the US military his trainers held the belief that there were 4 kinds of officers. I found it very interesting.

From best to worst:

Brilliant and Lazy

Brilliant and Industrious

Lazy and Stupid

Industrious and Stupid


I loved how "Brilliant and Lazy" was better than "Brilliant and Industrious". He said you needed someone to come up with the best ideas that required the least amount of resources and therefore he's "... striven to be lazy ever since."


Ditto.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

recipes for success - professional development

After two days at a professional development forum I am reminded of yet another recipe for success, take the time to for professional development.  

While we regularly have opportunities to improve our skills for our job, we also need to take the time to improve our overall person and see out opportunities to stretch ourselves. We need to be reminded that working with people, data, information, concepts, etc is something that is always changing and improving. We need to hear and read how other people think so we can reflect on how we think about the same things. 

After we take the time to develop ourselves we then need to share that information with others to further develop ourselves and contribute to the same of others. 

I will try to write more and at to this but I wanted to share this before I forgot. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

recipes for success - what is missing?

OK,  so someone is stuck. You, or someone you are assisting, has the making of a simple problem you can't seem to get unstuck from. You need a quick practice to assist yourself(s) to finding the answer that likely already lies within the deep reaches of your mind. This tool is another I have learned that helps you to figure out what is missing from your plan to achieve success in the situation.

The challenge is to break down the situation to determine if what is missing is

a) your willingness to get done what is necessary to pull through to success or
b) your skills, abilities, aptitude, understanding, knowledge of the subject matter at hand or
c) the circumstances, situation, environment, schedule that would enable you to reach for success.

If someone is not really willing to put in the effort require, sometimes called commitment, then the discussion that follows is around determining why?

Skills and abilities can be the easiest of the three because it comes down to finding a plan to get those skills through training or some other course of learning.

For the environment, it might mean redefining the rules and talking with others about the situation to layout the space to succeed.

A couple examples:
My kids participated in a athletic program which started off with success but after a few evenings there seemed to be a problem with their participation. When I applied this practice to the situation I determined that they had the skills to participate, the environment for success but they were not 100% willing to put in the effort to make it work. In this case they thought if they didn't participate they could instead play video games. Once they realized that the other option instead of participating would be less fun than the program, and not video games, suddenly their commitment was back.

Later we experienced another lull in their participation and what I found that time was that they were still willing, still skilled but in fact now the circumstances in the program had changed. The instructors had slacked off their early rigour with a solid schedule to more of a "guys hanging out" kinda program where they bragged about their accomplishments. For our kids who were hoping to do cool things sitting around listening to cool stories was boring. I spoke to the instructors, and their boss, and in a very short order the kids were excited to be participating.

So, what is missing, the will, the how or the way?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

recipes for success - relationship * possibility * action

One of the most powerful concepts of the coaching practices that I have learned is to think of our interactions with the idea of three types of conversation: relationship, possibility and action. There is no script for each of these conversations to happen but rather the practice of seeing your conversations through these lenses has helped me consider where I am at with the person.

Relationship 
A conversation that is about you getting to better understand the other person. Its not about becoming friends or buddies but rather finding out what are the things that are affecting and influencing them. How do they think about issues, how do they shape their decision making and what styles of leadership, communication and connection works for them and doesn't work for them. You will find that the more you learn and the more connections you have in your relationship the more possibilities you will find emerging.

Possibility 
This conversation leverages on your relationship, what is possible now that you know more about the person. Who they are and what they can do that you have discovered in the relationship building helps you understand why they are the person for "the job". Your collaborative relationship building has created a possibility that they can live into because you understand them better. For example, I find when I am working towards connecting a technical person with a client that part of the relationship building is finding a common language about the work to be done. That relationship building has now created the possibility that they can talk action because the language barrier of the technical terms and business terms is gone.

Action
Finally the conversation you have been waiting for, a conversation about action.  Its the conversation about doing stuff and having gone through building a relationship and building possibility now that action is far more likely to result in success. Now if the request for action is not well received maybe you need to go back to the conversation about possibility or maybe even further back to consider the relationship but in either case you have somewhere to go. I find this much more comfortable than the situation where I need action from someone or expect it from a friend or peer but because there is limited possibility its easy for both sides to take it personally.

I  am amazed at how this simple practice can help me in solving a problem or helping someone or figuring out where to go next in a conversation.


Ben Zander has a taken on creating possibility and I will leave you with one of the videos that captures part of his view on it:

recipes for success - an offer to share what I have found or learned

Engaging in discussion with people that are very passionate about their work (paid or otherwise) is incredibly stimulating but also at times exasperating because of the tendency not find opportunities for collaboration let along finding consensus towards some good results. With that in mind I wanted to share some ideas that I have taken in since a couple years back in a coaching practitioner learning event in which I took part. The coaching practices shared with us were not about getting some credentials but rather about us regular folks learning new ways of thinking and doing things.

Over the next while I will post the recipes as I have time to type them and share them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

in the "business" of saving the world?

thinking out loud, again.....

I have struggled with thinking through an issue raised on a web site I check in on from time to time. The issue is a matter of forming alliances for financial purposes with the intention of collaborating on successfully working to eliminate poverty. Article: Uncultured Project Appeal to Readers

In my paradigm the only time money can be moved in a charitable way is when there are clear organizational lines drawn in the frame of a framework that is transparent to those donating or granting the funds. Shawn, the guy behind the site and the actions, is an individual working towards supporting the elimination of poverty but he is not part of any organization. In his bid to form an alliance with another group to collaborate he has met disappointment and I think its because he is not part of an organization (charity, non-profit) that has a framework that is transparent and governed. However, Shawn makes the argument that a for-profit company could technically do the same thing and I wonder at that thought.

I suppose technically its possible for a business to choose to have multiple streams of cash flow and one of those could be put to some charitable initiative,  the other streams being traditional profit driven. Technically the business could accept donations to be part of their initiatives, sadly they cannot be tax deductible to the donors (tax laws state that the org must be non-profit). In theory the business could form an alliance with a charity who would accept donations and then partner in projects with the business in a way that contractually ensures the non-profits transparency framework is not compromised.

Let's talk sand water filters (which was an interest of mine and how uncultured became one of my links in the past) and the fact that a business here that perhaps does construction projects has the capacity to easily create the hardware for a household filter.  Let's say they agree to build them and find a non-profit that uses its financial resources to cover the shipping of the product and the setup in the country of need. Technically the owner of the business needs to ensure that there is enough money to keep the business operating as well as the time and materials for the work on the sand filter. The alliance with the non-profit could fund the materials or the business could donate them or the completed filter to the non-profit making for a charitable donation for the business which would offset some taxes. ( I am no tax expert) There is lies the challenge, that capacity for charitable work could be put to profits for the owner and so the only gain to his financial plan for his business is the potential maximum tax savings and potentially the reputation and marketing success in sales. My assumption is that the free capacity for this work could only be a small portion of the company outputs as there is no business so profitable in its products/services that it can both maintain market share and spend a large portion of their time on charitable work. I suppose an individual could be a high end consultant and split their time between consulting and charity work but much of the world's needs are more than people talking.

Is it even possible for a for-profit company to have a long term future that includes most of its effort being spend on giving its time and resources to eliminating poverty?  Maybe, if we had a poverty credits system whereby countries and companies had to show a portion of their profit going to eliminate poverty than you could have a company in the business of building frameworks for the elimination of poverty in parts of the world stuck in the vicious cycle of it.

Dude, the world is a matrix of rules,cultures and selfishness and I wonder at the most efficient ways to change that.

EDIT: I like my charitable deductions at tax time and here is the skinny on how that works for an org in my country:

"Purposes that are not charitable at law

Organizations established for the purpose of making a profit will not qualify for registration. To qualify for registration, an organization must be non-profit and have purposes (also called objects) that are charitable at law. "

Sunday, January 23, 2011

the house as mirror of self

We're on the house search wagon again... Although it's easy to conjure up a list of pros and cons for a house - price, location, size, age etc - the most powerful factor is self-image. Who will I be in this house? Who will my family be in this house? How will we be perceived by outsiders? by friends? What life path will this house take us down? These are questions that only the rich get to answer. The poor only get practical questions.

Advertisers know it.

Detergent A takes out stains better than Detergent B.

Compact A gets better fuel economy than Compact B.

These aren't image-maker, story-teller bilines. They're get-through-the-day sellers.

For the rich like us, Advertisers know what to do. We get life-style sellers; extensions-of-personality sellers. Luxury items.

This is who you will be if you wear this watch.

This is how you will feel if you drive this SUV.

Our house search often descends to these depths. Its a sign that we're too rich. We can afford to make choices based on our desired life story, not simply safety, shelter, economy and possibly comfort.

These story-making mental rabbit trails have the ability to distort reality. I will actually be an athlete if I wear those shoes - even though I never work-out or play sports. I will become more Canadiana if I live in the country, chop wood and have a veggie garden. This acreage is a dream come true! How easily reality is ignored...

I hate long commutes. I hate spending big $ on a house. I have never had time for a veggie garden. I barely have time to mow the lawn (and that's my puny City lawn).

The romance is dead.