Created: Saturday, 23 November 2013 15:08
My team and I are taking my year long communication empowerment training. And by taking, I don't mean reviewing it and saying, "Oh, that's nice." I mean taking it and letting it challenge us. I mean taking it and letting it change us. I also mean taking it and letting us change it.
The process takes me back to that moment when I deeply decided to be a player in my own life, and that what I have to say is important. It was a kind of a Helen Ready, "I am woman, hear me roar" moment. Now, today, as I reaffirm that awakening, my commitment has a much different tone. The drive - the needing and demanding to be heard I once felt - has mellowed. I am my deepest voice's most loyal listener. If no one else offers me as careful an ear, I am happy with my own listenings. I still strive for clarity to inspire synergy and communion with others. But the need for people to understand me immediately and completely and my frustration when they don't has lifted. I listen much more now. I treasure my communication skills more for the way they help others have their say than how they enable me to have mine.
My initial decision that my voice is important and my commitment to make my voice heard was a powerful initiation. At this stage in my life I enjoy the blessings from those efforts. I worked hard. I'm not working as hard at it anymore. The heavy lifting created a platform for a quest that isn't a burden. My re-commitment to authentic communication is light, playful and fun.
That's me in the pic, receiving my "Certified Speaking Professional" award in 2006. Oh, boy. Did I ever earn it!
Created: Friday, 22 November 2013 14:24
I needed to spray acrylic on an item, and since it was 12 degrees outside, I decided to do it in the garage. I was surprised how the fumes spread through the house, but realized later, that was the least of my worries. Bob explained to me that spraying acrylic so near the water heater and furnace was a serious fire risk.
After I processed that one, I went in and thanked him for telling me so kindly. He replied that what I was really thanking him for was "not being an Ahole."
"I don't need to be overbearing anymore," he noted. We went on to talk about how our fathers had been prone to slamming us for things we didn't know.
He's over needing to impose his will, and I'm over allowing that to be done to me.
I'm grateful that he told me, and grateful that he told me so kindly. The SpeakStrong Method communicates from mind, heart and will. If he had been reactive, I still would have gotten the message not to do that again. But this way, I got the message and also felt the love that fueled it.
Created: Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:49
I often receive emails I never signed up for. My newsletter (which I haven't sent out for a year - but plan to!) and blog are double opt-in. That means you don't just tell me you want them once, you tell me twice. I never add anyone without permission and I couldn't if I tried.
Permission marketing is about permission. I might withdraw that permission, in which case I will opt out. But if I never gave permission, and the unsubscribe option isn't one-click, I feel no qualms about marking an email as spam.
I recently had an associate dump a heap of political vitriol on me. I never opted in to that conversation. I'm ready to unsubscribe. And if the opt-out isn't one-click, I might have to mark him as a spammer too. Metaphorically speaking.
Are you embroiled in any conversations you didn't opt in to? Why not unsubscribe now! Time is too precious to indulge the uninvited.
Created: Thursday, 14 November 2013 15:40
Do you talk that way at the dinner table? "At this time, salt is not available for guest consumption. We will inform you when it has been released for your dining pleasure."
Sounds really weird, doesn't it?
And yet that is how pretty much every airline announcement is worded. "At this time passengers are advised to ensure seat-belts are fastened securely around your persons."
The funny thing is, I suspect most flight attendants don't even know they're shifting into Airlinese - it's so natural to them.
Like that, most of us make shifts we aren't even aware of when we speak in front of groups or sit to write. It usually isn't as obvious, but sometimes it is. Different activities and circumstances elicit different mindsets - and languaging along with it. That's normal - but keep your naturalness in the process.
Created: Tuesday, 12 November 2013 13:30
How do you keep the magic of living vibrant while operating in a mundane, get-it-done world?
One way is to invite grace in. To me, saying grace does that. It invites grace into whatever you are about to do. That opens you up for creativity, serendipity and possibilities...all key contributors to excellence. Saying grace doesn't have to be prayer per se. It can be a simple pause to re-calibrate.
I like this quote from G.K. Chesterton:
"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink."
Another way to experience grace is as a pause to shift perspective. Why not embrace Einstein's perspective? He says,
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
A moment of grace can be enough to shift from the mundane to the miraculous.
"Organized Audrey" featured these quotes in her newsletter today. Thanks Audrey!
Created: Monday, 11 November 2013 14:10
Is it our age? Or the times? It seems every time we turn around these days, Bob and I discover another friend or acquaintance has little time left in this world.
Some resist, struggle and suffer, not just from the diseases but from their shock and fear.
Others let their diagnosis be their teacher.
One recently sent out a notice filled with love, gratitude and awe. I wish I felt at liberty to share it in its entirety. I will share some highlights.
"Jane" began by referencing an experience she had in her 20's of being an eternal spiritual being. Then she shared her news in the context of this being her opportunity to further explore what she started with that experience. She noted that she does not expect to be able to take the easy way out, and expressed willingness to face what lies ahead.
She then expressed her gratitude, both for the people who have been in her life and for the hospital she had just been released from.
She closed by sharing her plans and asking for blessings and prayers.
What a gift she gave everyone she sent her notice to.
Death is the ultimate crap detector. Some face news like Jane's with ego. The dying process isn't just about the body giving way - it's also about the ego being stripped away. It took my late husband until the end to drop his ego reaction. It took many years after he died before I dropped mine.
Interestingly, the same morning I got the news of Jane's advanced illness, I had wondered how I would respond to this kind of news if it was about me. I had imagined a response much like Jane gave expression to. I don't know whether I will rise to her level of grace when my turn comes. I do know that Jane's notice is a wake-up call and a gift and an inspiration.
Created: Sunday, 10 November 2013 15:09
I'm in Cincinnati now, making my father's computer experience doable. We've gone from constantly struggling with tools to Dad being able to write about a paragraph a day, which I think is serious progress.
If I were as serious about sharing how to make small improvements that add up, however, I'd do what Paul Akers did at the MWCC lean conference. During Paul's introduction, Conference Organizer Jeff Fuch shared something he did to streamline ordering coffee at Starbucks. Paul created a video-tape about it and posted it to YouTube right after his keynote. It's below. (Yes, that's me on the left.)
Paul also made and posted a video about how to make his slides brighter after someone told him his slides were dark and showed Paul how to fix them. Then he ran off to catch his flight to his next meeting.
If I were to follow Paul's lead perfectly, I would create a video about how I put a piece of a furniture coaster on my father's laptop left-click button to keep him from pressing the scroll-pad instead. But I posted a picture instead.
Paul Akers is the CEO of FastCap - a manufacturing company. He's a busy guy, but he manages it by taking care of things right away. I'm still cleaning out and fixing a lot of past messes, but watching Paul get things done fuels my aspiration to get current and stay that way.
I love it when leaders like Paul walk their talk.