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Archive for September, 2010

It’s one of those lazy rainy fall days where all you want to do is curl up and read a book. It is quiet business wise. This is not a complaint simply a notice as in those quiet times I get to plan, reflect and to notice what’s going on around me.

A lot of SOS (Space Occupying Stuff) got sorted out today, relationships with business partners, decision about applying for CPP, planning for upcoming events. It ia all good and is great Space Management.

This Wednesday, that is 2 days from now, Jim and I begin taping the roadSIGNS show for Cogeco, the local cable network. One could say that this arose through happenstance, yet as I believe in roadSIGNS, I know this was divinely guided at some level. Whatever it is, we will tape the first five shows, a new series.

I have thought a great deal about why we are doing this, beyond having fun and being of service to our community. This probably has been provoked by the book I am currently reading called Start WithWhy by Simon Sinek. 

The ‘why’ is not a foreign concept to me, in fact I teach organizations and individuals to name their why, I am simply reflecting on mine and assessing its accuracy. In many ways it’s a larger than life concept, certainly something that one aspires to and inspires you and others.

I know that my intention for the roadSIGNS TV Show is to create opportunities for our viewers to learn more about themselves and to see the greatness that lives inside of them. I know, this sounds very altruistic, it’s just that I see things in others that they do not naturally see in themselves. You know what I mean. And I want to offer them opportunities for turning on the lights and creating an inner space that is self-loving and kind.

Enough rambling, TV shows, speaking, coaching, whatever it is  – it’s perfect. I am learning to trust everyday is lined up just as it is intended to be and that each day will bear a gift of its own. YOU?

On another note, my friends Kathy and Lucie married this past weekend and we attended the reception and pre-wedding celebration. I am so pleased for them and proud that I live in a country where 2 women can legally tie the knot. Which brings me to another topic, as of last week I can now legally marry people in Ontario. I don’t know how often I will use these credentials and judging from the paperwork involved, hopefully a limited number. I need a system to get organized with this and given all the other things on the plate, I have not created any space for weddings in my calendar yet. Good notice – if there is no space, there will be few opportunities.

My eyes grow weary and it’s time to finally curl up with that book. What pre-occupies you these days? I want to know.

Until next time,

Betty

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Black Dots

There is a saying that goes like this: Where ever your attention goes, energy flows.

It serves as a reminder for you and me to wake up and recognize what we give our energy to everyday.

For example: I was at a networking meeting yesterday. As I often do, I took a few minutes at the end of the allotted time to sit with someone I had met during the event. (These networking events can be very superficial if you do not take the time to get to know at least one person in the room whom you did not know before). As I chatted with Paul, I made inquiries about his business. He was very engaging and friendly, and genuinely enthusiastic about his work until I mentioned the issue of management. In sharing with him some of my work I described a program we are currently running designed to teach managers how to be more effective coaches and the benefits of this to the organization.

“Man, we sure could use some of that where we work. I don’t know what my manager is thinking! He seems to be able to identify the things I have done wrong and completely overlook all the wonderful work I have accomplished in the last few months. It gets me down and I have another meeting with him tomorrow to discuss my apparent performance issues.” Paul’s frustration was evident. 

I call this the ‘black dot’ phenomenon. To understand this, simply take out a sheet of blank paper, preferably with no lines. In the center of the page draw a small black dot. Put your pen down. Stare at the page. What do you see? Most of you will say, “I see a black dot” and you will be right. And, what else do you see? Again, this may be puzzling as you are thinking, is she crazy, I see a black dot! 

And therein lays the problem. We see the black dots in life and we completely overlook all the white space that remains on the page. Now that you have noticed that the sheet of paper has two things on it, the dot and the space, notice the size of the dot compared to the rest of the page. Proportionately, the white space is much larger. My point- most of us see the black dots, and forget about the white space completely. As we give our focus to this black dot, representing a problem that has arisen in some aspect of our life or, as in the case above, some aspect of performance, the dot grows. Like a dried up sponge, the energy you give it is absorbed and it doubles, triples, quadruples in size until you can’t see the white space any more. And wherever your attention goes energy flows. 

You may notice a few black dots in your life. For example, your inner critic is chastising you for not completing all the ‘to do’s’ on your lengthy list, and you find yourself ruminating about these uncompleted projects. It pulls you down. You are so focused on this black dot that the white space around it is obliterated. The white space contains all the accomplishments of your day – the projects that were completed, the meetings you attended, the interactions with co-workers or clients, your many successes. 

It seems to be human nature to focus on the negative, you need only to turn on the TV each day and listen to the news. In less than 30 minutes every human infraction and tragedy from around the globe is downloaded onto your shoulders and by the end of the program you feel assaulted by a tsunami of bad news. Is it really possible, that in the entire world, there can be only tragedy? Every once in a while a story of heroism or a random act of kindness makes the air waves, and when it does, you notice that it lights you up just a little. The focus of National News however, is to report the black dots with an occasional glimpse at the white space. 

You and I do have a choice however. You can decide what you feed yourself and what you give energy to. The next time you see yourself focusing on the black dot, ask yourself what else is on the sheet of paper. You may be surprised to see that an amazing array of accomplishments occupies the white space. 

Is it time for you to check in with you and to ask, “Do I naturally see the black dots in my life, or do I see the white space which surrounds them?” Be aware that if your focus is constantly drawn to the black dots, the things that deplete you emotionally and spiritually, you will continue to attract more of the same. Likewise, when you bring this into balance by appraising the amazing accomplishments that also fill your days, the white space, you feed yourself emotionally and spiritually. I highly recommend that you see the black dots and the white space in your life proportionately.

Until next time….

Betty

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Grow Up!

Grow up! How many times did you have a parent, sibling, or teacher say that to you? I am sure you can also remember all the times you reflected on who you were going to be when you grew up, or what you were going to do. As a child, growing up may simply be reaching your teen years, the magic age of thirteen. As an adolescent the bar is raised to turning twenty-one – ‘legal age’ – and being able to drink and vote. Now there’s an interesting marriage. Then one day you are twenty-one, or thirty-one or fifty-one, and you realize you are still contemplating who you are going to be when you grow up and wishing, sometimes with an ounce of desperation, that someone would simply tell you what it is and you could just get this growing up thing over with.

Here is an alternate thesis. What if we never grow up? What if not growing up is the perfect equation? What if growing up is overrated?

Growing up has been the conversation among a number of my friends and clients recently, and I believe that we have come to the conclusion that growing up simply isn’t in the cards for us. Imagine if you did grow up, then what? What would you turn your attention to next? What would keep you engaged and curious about life? What would drive you to continue learning?

If you grew up, would you have to stop playing? Would you inner child be left in the dust, forbidden from peaking his/her head out every once in a while? Would you have to assume only adult responsibilities?

I am thinking that if this is so, life could become very boring and quickly overwhelming. I want to propose, here and now, that we all agree that growing up is overrated! What is a grown-up anyway? Consider this for a moment. Perhaps re-visit your childhood and teenage ideas of what a grown-up was. Old comes to mind for me, hard working, tired, responsible. Hmmmm – that’s not perfect. Let’s try another definition: clear about what they want, curious, always learning something new, experimenting, knowledgeable. That description is much more palatable for me yet as I write it I realize that were I to fit this description I would have to commit to lifelong learning, the ability to change, and a desire to constantly reset my compass as I understand what it is I truly want.

I think the reason I am responding to the idea of being grown up negatively is that it feels like if I were, I would stop and stand still.; that being grown up is the end point, the destination rather than the journey. And this really is it isn’t it. You become so focused on where it is you want to land in your life, the great goal in the sky, that you forget to enjoy the ride and take in the scenery along the way. Then one day you attain that goal and you sit back and wonder, “What was this all about? I am here and I feel empty.”

I have many friends hitting landmark birthdays this year, many of whom are turning fifty, and just as many others turning sixty, including me. Without hesitation most of them are laughing gently at themselves as they realize that even though they have hit these landmark ages, they still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. And I respond great, that’s refreshing. And if they continue by saying, “One day I will grow up”, I respond with, “That’s too bad!” A few chuckle at my response as they understand that to grow up is to be in a rut (by the way, the difference between a rut and a grave is that one has a lid!), to be finished with life. Some are surprised and inquire as to my response and I gleefully embark on an explanation.

Grow up! I don’t think so. Let’s re-think this shall we. I propose we start saying ‘be alive’, implying that regardless of age, we retain a joyful approach to life, that we lighten up.

What do you think – are you ready to join me in a revolution in which we release the idea of growing up forever and embrace the idea of staying young and curious.

The conversation about growing up is one all of us have been in for a very long time and it will continue. I dare you however; to throw it aside and really decide if that is perfect for you. I have decided it is not for me. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in acting like an adult and assuming my adult responsibilities, I just want to do so with a zest for life and a craving to continue to learn and dream. In my view, growing up is fluid rather than static, it is not the end point, it is the journey. I will never get there!

What do you think? Care to join me in the sandbox of being alive, young and curious? Come on in and play with me? Until next time….

Betty

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