Monthly Archives: November 2010

Does management care or not?

I was at a networking function the other day and one of the people there lamented the fact that businesses were not at all interested in the plight of the individual worker, whether they were top line managers or the worker on the factory floor (so to speak).

The comment was that the management culture was focused on everyone toeing the line and fitting in. That there was no room in organizations for individual thinking or any creativity.

I begged to differ. The experience that I had of organizations was that there was always someone who arose who was willing to call management, (nicely), on a better way of running the company.

So many organizations I originally worked in then later on saw from the outside in, were able to be open to possibilities. They were able to hold the tension between maintaining the status quo “for the sake of security and comfort”, yet were still able to examine new options and give them a chance to have a life within the organization.

My awareness has been that it is not a company culture in general that is the real issue here, but rather the personality style of the CEO, or business owner.

If that person has insecurity issues then to admit that there is another way that may be better than their way is a major challenge to their leadership.

Whereas if they are of the participative style of leadership they are not threatened by other options but instead are thankful for them.

I suppose the question is. What is your leadership style?

Do you actually know and understand why you make the decisions you make?

What is your motivating drive?

Have you ever been able to stand back and observe your decision making process in action?

It was a rude awakening for me when I first stood back and observed mine in action. I was in complete denial. However, it was an uncontested situation for I could see for myself what was happening and it was not pretty.

If you are in this situation then the choice is to continue the farce or to put your hand up to ask for help. That is what I am here for.

Raise your hand and I will offer you a lifebuoy. It is never to late for a new beginning. Life and business are very forgiving, as long as there truly is a new beginning.

Do You Really Know Who You Are?

Okay, alright already, your right. I know you know who you are. You are Joe Bloggs, male, 45 yrs old, married 2 children, carpenter, owner of one house with a mortgage. Or whatever Your equivalent of that is.

BUT, is that who you really are?

I went to a Kinesiologist the other day and he made an observation that he believed that I was not much good at dealing with issues unless they had a system, an index of how I was to work my way through them.

Then he went on to say that as long as the chaos was held at arms length I was exceptionally good at assisting others to find a system that would help them move through their chaos.

Interesting, I was hopeless at sorting out my own chaos and needed someone to assist me put a system in place to sort it out but I was exceptionally good at helping others put a system into sorting out their chaos.

What an embarrassment. I was hopeless at doing the very thing that others were willing to pay me for to help them.

I thought I had me worked out. Well maybe it would be more honest to say I had developed a process that allowed me to turn a blind eye to my own inadequacies. I only thought I knew me.

I worked with a client who assured me that they were a very good Manager, caring for the staff and encouraging them with very positive and affirming words.

When I talked with the staff, they were very quick to affirm that the Manager did give positive feedback, however, it was always given just before there was a tirade of frustration and anger about how they weren’t giving their all to the business, thus letting the manager down.

When this was explained to the manager, there was disbelief and obvious hurt form the comments, yet in the end when manager and staff had finally come together in a without prejudice manner and allowed open communication to happen, the great Aha  occurred and the manager became aware of the way they were responding to their staff.

I may believe I have your best interests at heart, however, if I am unwilling to share my beliefs with you and have an open, nonjudgmental conversation.

Shall I say there was a time when I did believe that I knew who I was, however in a moment of weakness I was willing to hear what someone else thought and at least attempt to understand how they saw who I was.

Funny, they saw me differently to how I saw me. Who had it wrong. Maybe no one, maybe we were both a little deluded. I saw me through my lens, they saw me through their lens. What could be done to find total objectivity.

I remember Dr Keith Rayner, an Anglican priest who was Archbishop of Melbourne and Primate of Australia, saying, “….we need to be open to the truth in other peoples error, but also be aware of the error in our own truth…..”

I will learn to know me better when I listen to the thoughts of others, they may be wrong but at least, if I am honest, I will be willing to entertain their comments objectively, taking on board those things I can appreciate contain some aspect of truth.

I may never know exactly who I am, however, by being open to others, I may continue on the journey of better understanding who I am.

“I am an Island.” Or am I?

“A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.”

These words were part of Paul Simon’s lyrics to a famous song back in 1965.

I was a student studying for the priesthood in the Anglican Church. I had reached the time when students were required to give their first official sermon. In front of a potentially highly critical audience. I chose these words as the premise for my sermon.

I was attempting to demonstrate that an aspect of our being preferred to be isolated from the rest of the community, yet that aspect was indeed contrary to the awareness that Maslow put forward that after survival and safely, people sought out love and belonging.

There appears to be in this observation of Maslow that once the very basic needs are met that we all crave to belong.

A couple of years ago, I made a decision to purchase a property that I could renovate and possibly on-sell some years later. This was a great idea, many people I know where and are doing it as a viable option for creating income.

This was probably about 3 years ago. Since that time after much procrastinating, nothing has happened.

I don’t have any idea about how to proceed. Where to start and then where to go next. Part of this is that I don’t seem to be able to pinpoint what the finished product will look like. No vision, no creative awareness of the possible outcome for the place.

After many dry gullies I finally spoke to a friend who I have come to realise is very creative. I met with them and a compatriot today and was asked a pile of questions that I had not even considered were an option.

Suddenly the future direction of this venture has taken on a very rosy perception.

What happened? I say to myself. What was different today to yesterday?

The only answer I can come up with is that I gave up the idea of being totally an island, alone in this world, needing to be the sole provider of answers to all my issues.

Instead I become part of a community, suddenly I belonged, these people had skills that I did not possess. Which is quite interesting as I work with one of them as their business coach. I provide a perspective with them that on their own they are not able to find.

I have something of value to offer them that they need and they have something of value to offer me that I need.

They were overjoyed that they could be of service to me and assist me in my weak link area. Fully open to be aware that I was helping them in their weak link area.

Something in my was more than happy assisting others to achieve their vision, their desires for their business. Yet something in me did not want me to reach out for assistance.

Yes, I have dealt with that and now moved on, yet, this unwillingness directed life for quite a while. Interesting, maybe my desire to be an island, a recluse, pandered to my need to not be vulnerable, “I was okay, I had it all together, I knew it all.

Now I realise that I have grown tremendously. I have moved to the next level, I had shared my dream with someone else and that completed the dream where my vision fell short.

Alone I was highly limited in my ability to deal with certain decisions. Combined with others I was highly leveraged to actually deal powerfully with these decisions to satisfactorily bring them to completion.

As I am writing the whole synergy issue pops up. 1+1=11.  “Two heads are better that one”.  The acrostic for TEAM.

Together Everyone Achieves More.

I am built to be a community person. We are built to be community people.

I am not alone, I am part of an incredible community. I need to stop and allow myself to be vulnerable within this community, and that is okay because the others in the community are just like me, they don’t really enjoy the adventure of becoming vulnerable either. Yet at the same time they have the same awareness as me. We have a built in need to belong and when we do we actually achieve much more than we would have done alone.

My uncontrollable Brain

Well at least that was how I felt things were.

As I sat still, as I lay down to go to sleep, when I woke at 3 am. There it was, going 90 to the dozen, flat out.

Giving me all the things that needed working on. Pointing out all the things that I was not succeeding in achieving. Reminding me that there was so much I had to do and that I had done so little of it.

Assuring me the ultimate disaster of being financial broke, alone, out on the streets was only a few days away, if I managed to live that long.

I could begin to get a handle on why, so long ago, I had contemplated escaping from this overwhelming expression of what I saw as my uselessness. Yet, I had learned that escape may have solved my problem but it would leave behind a pile of other problems. Also in hindsight I was now aware that there was life after despair.

As I looked back, the issues that had been the cause of my despair back then, had all ended up being resolved, resolving themselves or actually never existed in the first place, being the product of my fertile but worse case focus mind.

And more to the point, I was here now, I had “survived” that “end of the world” event quite well and gone on to quite a few excellent successes.

Yet here I was again, going through exactly the same scenario of events.

Now I know that I am not unique in this experience as I read and hear about the rise in the number of people who express their frustration with where they are in life and the seeming impossibility to do anything to make a difference. More and more are choosing to use of antidepressants, some end up adding to the rising suicide numbers. Others as Thoreau is quoted as saying, “Lead lives of quiet desperation”. Bottom line–unhappy.

If you are not one of these then I’m sure that you at least know someone like this. However, don’t be fooled, many times we/others are able to put on a broad front and not allow the thoughts & feelings to be seen by others. I can assure you that for many people with whom I meet, very few would not think of me as a person who totally has it all together. My clients do because I allow myself to be totally vulnerable with them where needed.

So here I am doing confusion at this moment but not surrendering to it. For the last few days i have been able to create a very powerful meditation time with very strong visualisations of my vision for my life. Whilst these are my focus the reasons why it won’t work that the brain throws up don’t get much of a look in, other than to thank my brain for caring and attempting to protect me.

When it tells me that I don’t have a chance of achieving, I am able to say thanks hen note that we still have time for it to occur.

Read a book by Robert Fritz, called “The Path of Least Resistance” where he talks about living in the tension between where you are now and where you want to be.

A bit like the hen laying an egg and you or me expecting chicken for dinner tomorrow. There is a tension set up that would have us get impatient and deal with the egg before it has had time to morph into a fully crown chicken on one hand to even give up on the thought of having chicken for dinner on the other.

My “uncontrollable” brain has only an awareness of what did not work, it’s memory of what was successful is very flimsy.  It only wants to protect us from another lot of failures.

However, I have learned that I can observe that brain and get an understanding of where it is going and what motivates it. In my observation I can acknowledge the input that I receive and then put in place other strategies that I believe will produce far more satisfactory results.

I was able to tell it that the world was not coming to an end. That I could work better with my finances to give me a much longer time frame, even if nothing else changes. I can actually exercise and meditate better so that I create a bit more space for the positive stuff and affirm to the negative stuff that its okay, just because I have stuffed up in the past it doesn’t automatically mean that every future venture will fail.

I was able to talk with my wife and share my feelings at the moment so I was better able to observe what was going on inside of me. As I listened to my clients I noted that they were sharing similar thoughts, as I listened to them and asked them to qualify their journey, I saw my own get clearer. I shared with my coach and noted that when I became more proactive in creating my futures, then my action appeared to override my frustration.

Maybe I will never achieve all the things I would want to achieve in one life time, so I can understand my frustration, however, by dwelling on the frustration I note that actually achieve very few of the things I want to achieve. The longer I stay there the less I achieve.

So, for me the answer. To develop the art of listening to my brain as it rambles on, to observe what it is attempting to do. To acknowledge it for its concern and thank it. Then to decide what I actually want to happen and put the things in place that are needed to ensure that outcome. Continuing to maintain the monitoring so I learn to exercise a contol over my brain.

It seems that if I don’t learn to control it, then it will control me. I have experienced that and I don’t really enjoy it so back into the game it is with my brain taming skills abounding. Knowing that in the future I may take my eye off the ball and begin to question my ability once more, knowing that I have reinforced my awareness of the actions that I constantly need to take to stay on top of the game. To stay with the tension knowing if I keep on keeping on then it will always work out well.

Great learning Austin

Found naked!!

I suddenly found myself with a whole group of naked people. Exposed so those who were watching could see them as they truly were. Buck naked, such that I could see them “warts and all”. I was very uncomfortable as I was not at this time naked myself. Somehow, I still believed that I had something to hide. That it was not okay to be seen naked, exposed unclothed.

Where on earth could this incredible exposure occur, so as to not have us all thrown into jail for indecent exposure.

I was in a major book shop. I had gone in for a coffee and a browse.

I had recently had a session with my coach and was aware that there were a pile of events in my life that I had not seen as great moments, as significant events where I had commented about situations or circumstances and not realised the universality of the comment. I was challenged to observe my feelings, to listen to my words and observe how I chose to respond to life. In other words, to define my philosophy on life, that which has kept me present over my many years and to see how willing I was to share these experiences with others. As I looked at the books in Boarders, I could see that the writers were people who allowed their thoughts and awareness’s to be exposed to the general public.

They were people who were open to be seen by a wider audience. They were willing to be naked to be completely vulnerable.

Here were ladies who were quite willing to tell stories of their sexual escapades to the world. Men who were willing to tell about their darkest hour

People, who were willing to expose their total and complete inability to handle a situation, yet somehow did it and survived. Yes, not only survived but achieved.

People who were willing to tell about their inability to reach the goal that they had set for themselves, and in some cases never achieved that goal, however who were able to completely expose their failure to the world.

As I read the synopses of this variety of people, I became aware that whether they succeeded or failed in what they were doing, people appeared to enjoy reading about them. I was not the only one browsing the shelves, there were dozens of people.

Different ones of us gravitated to different styles of author. Some enjoyed the successes, some enjoyed the failures, some enjoyed how the writer made their success happen and others enjoyed seeing what the author did that brought about their failure.

This helped me realise that we as individuals all learn in different ways. For me I enjoy seeing that the things that I have done that did not work are similar to what others have done that did not work for them. For me it is good to know that people I look up to have also failed along the way.

In the same breath however, I also want to see what those who succeeded did. For this gives me an awareness of where I actually need to go to get to where I want to be.

This led me to a deeper awareness of what I appreciate in others.

  • I want to know what you have done that did not work for you.
  • I want to know what you were trying to do just prior to realising that it was not working for you.
  • I want to understand at what point you decided to call it quits and move on.
  • I want to understand your feelings at that point of time.
  • I have a need to understand where you moved to next.
  • What led you to this next point?
  • How easily did this transition take place?
  • Were you able to identify it or did you just find yourself in the new place?

For me, to better have answers to these awareness’s really does allow me to see that I am not a total failure but that others have struggled as I have struggled to find meaning and significance in where I was at any moment along my journey.

That I am not stupid, and in fact the way I do life is cool. It is just where I am at the moment.

Others who I look up to as role models also do life just the same way that I do it. They have felt confused and lost at times and that is okay. In fact they have had multiple attempts to make it work and not given in.

I am just like every other human being. I am not perfect. I am just working at doing my best and that is all that I have to offer, even though it may have ended in failure this time.

By acknowledging and owning my failure I open myself to having another go and I come to see that it is not the end result that matters but that I am totally involved in life with all its ups and downs.

The whole gamut of books that I looked at at Boarders validated my approach to life. Whether they be biographies, autobiographies, adventure stories, romantic novels, stories of sexual intrigue or even cartoons and comic books, there was the same lesson, life happens, how we choose to see that life is our choice.

We can judge it or we can learn from it.

As I saw this variety of stories, I could see my own journey. I could see how I was tempted to judge those who did not fit into my perception of how it should be, however, I was also challenged to see that in many ways they reflected back to me the content of my own life.

Suddenly I could see the value of my life and its journey. Not right or wrong, but just the way it had developed.

Then I realised that just as these stories had value for me, maybe my story may have value for others. It was not up to me to decide who would be interested in my story, anymore that those who I had perused wrote specifically for me.

I write, I put it out there, if anyone finds value that is a bonus.

What about your life. Could something you tell in your story have value for someone who reads it? You will never know, however, it is absolutely critical for the future of thought that you at least put your awareness’s of life out there. The story of how you have done life. So that others may have the benefit of your unique journey.

If you believe no one would be interested, you are wrong. I am interested, for your story may help me better understand my journey and thus make decisions that better help me find my potential and own and live my passion and I am only one of many.

Start today. Begin to observe yourself and then note that observation until those notes become your story for

Is it ever to late??

Here were a large group of people every day pinning onto a wall those things that they wished for.

There would be many that would see that as a fruitless exercise. A total and complete waste of time.

I witnessed the interaction between a variety of people who had beliefs about how valid this  sort of activity was. Some were total believers and others were total skeptics and a collection of others in between.

I was watching a movie called “Letters to Juliet”.

In the process of collecting the messages that had been placed there one day, a message was found that had been hidden for over 40 years.

The content of the letter was of a young ladies profession of love for the person she was leaving behind.

The finder chose to respond to the letter writer, suggesting that she should return and search for that lost relationship.

She arrives with her grandson who is the ultimate skeptic and begins the search. (with him constantly suggesting that they return home and stop this stupid journey).

The search is fun but when all avenues seemed to be exhausted they take one last turn and find the person she was searching for. Both had been married now both had lost their partners and fell in love again once they saw each other. They ended up getting married at the vineyard that he and his family ran.

She had postponed following her heart for all that time and yet once encouraged she took up the journey again and against all odds she found her dream.

How many times have I been tempted to give up when something did not seem to be working. Just last week I was tempted to toss it all in because there were so things that I wanted to achieve that were just proving “impossible” to do.

Fortunately for me I have learned that just because one door had just shut, that didn’t mean it was the end.

So I chose to say what I had heard somewhere in the past,  “Interesting Evolutionary Experience”, “Where too now”.

Also what one of my Sunday school ditties said, “Pick myself up, dust myself off and start all over again”. Accompanied by actions of crouching down and jumping up, dusting off and spinning around.

This was all I needed to remind me that there is always another opportunity to have a go.

For me whilst I draw breath it is never too late, this was to be written on the weekend, however it is here now.

Aesop’s Fable about the “Tortoise and the Hare”, proves that, how often could the tortoise have considered that it was to late to be a winner. Yet as he found out it was never to late. He won, just because he chose never to give up.

When have you ever considered dropping your bundle and giving up only to find that by keeping on you actually got there in the end.

Last weekend in Rugby Union in Hong Kong the clock had signaled  full time, however, the game is not over till the ball has gone dead and Australia scored to draw even with New Zealand only to then go on and convert the try.

As a player one could have decided when the game ended to just stop, but no, they kept on and achieved their goal. Purely because they would not accept that it was too late.

When did you last decide it was to late and now have no idea what the future might have looked like if you had not decided it was too late?

I don’t believe it is ever too late; whilst there is breath in my lungs. You too can share this tenacity.

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