Chaos, Clarity and Courage

Churchill

My friend Terry gave me the following lesson a couple of week's ago:    

    Chaos can produce clarity, which then will challenge you to take courage.  If you take courage, you can speak clarity into the chaos.  Then you will have calm and a clear view of what must be done.

Obviously, a very difficult art, but a fine example of leadership.

A Prophet

Any amateur prophet can predict the future after the future becomes the present.  The professionals predict even while they face the storm of criticism and isolation.

Makes you wonder who and what we're listening to.

What Do You Mean by Life-Long Learner?

Overheard a lady today talking/complaining about the difficulty in finding a job.  I don't know if her lack of employment was due to attitude, or the business cycle.  I felt for her.

What struck me though, was her statement that she was educated and that not being able to find a job made no sense.  Don't know what level of education she was speaking of, but she seemed confident of it's ability to garner a good job.

The expectation of completed education providing a well paved road to a job is a problem.

In the age (early 21st century) we live in you'd be well served to be a life-long learner.  I define this as someone who continually seeks to gain knowledge-formal or informal.  Life-long learners seek to apply what they learn and they understand the art of "process."  The art of process is the idea of no arrivals or destinations. 

Here are some tips for becoming/staying a life-long learner:

  1. Expect challenges and don't get comfortable.
  2. Explore areas you wouldn't normally seek out.  For example, buy a book on economic cycles over the last 50 years.  By doing this you'll gain understanding on how our economy ebbs and flows.  Who knows you might stop connecting your future career condition to Obama and McCain.
  3. Be diverse.  Go find others with different lenses than yours.  You don't have to agree with them to learn from them.
  4. Find your destiny.  Not enough time to go through that process here, but those that know their destiny tend to see the importance of learning.
  5. Don't be event minded.  Just because you go to the seminar at work doesn't translate to change.  And we all know that change should equate to learning.

The Art of Not Forgetting

In our frenzied business culture, the tendency is to fly through.  We do this thankful we made it on time to the next meeting.  But what about the forgetting?  You know, the thing you thought was spot on.  This happens way too often to leaders at every level of the organization.  Kind of makes sense when you think of all that comes at us.

If we're not careful, we'll find ourselves scratching our heads wondering what happened to our work and lives.  We'll find the unimportant to be great and the important to be good.  Turned around to be sure.

Is there a way to cease from the madness?  One way is to have a set group of values and become a slave to them.  For example, let's say your kids are your #3 value, but your career always causes you to miss the important events.  In this case, I would recommend you find a different career.  Your values should have good alignment with your employer-really.  Anything less is a mirage.

I see the following as great practice for the art of not forgetting:

  1. Your spouse has stuck with you for ten years-good times and bad.  Who else has done this for you?  Once a week for the next three months, spend five minutes reviewing all the ways he or she has been there for you.
  2. Maybe you're super successful in your career.  Success is almost a given for you.  Do same exercise as in #1 and think about when you needed help double-bad.
  3. Maybe you have friends that surround you.  Everyone wants to hang around.  Do the same exercise as in #1 and #2, and think about how many people would stick around if all you had was your name.

The above will create a habit of not forgetting, and maybe more importantly create an attitude focused on humility.  Isn't that what you want?

I started to write this post as a one sentence remembrance to those who lost their lives on 9/11/2001.  The sentence went like this:

    "I haven't forgotten 9/11/2001 or the people who lost their lives."

Seems the art of not forgetting is more important than I first thought.  

Writer’s Block and Your Story

I've been grappling with writer's block lately, so sorry for the infrequent posting.  I won't write unless there's something in my heart that needs to come out.  Not sure what that says about me.

See Sting's clip on Fields of Gold for a great example of art imitating life.  I love how the director (not sure who) uses Sting's body to reflect the character's past story.  The video, and song, really communicates well how a story is unfolding inside each of us.