Did you notice in the grocery produce section that they sell those naturally imperfect fruits and vegetables? There is nothing wrong with them.
They weren't squeezed or plucked during the process but naturally looking ugly or simply not that 'pretty sight' to see-with pockmarks, dents, and unusual coloration.
There is nothing wrong with how you look, how you talk, how you walk or how you move when these are all natural, as in your genetic predisposition. What is wrong is the over-reliance on how other people's comments and opinions about your looks, your speech, your movements dictate your overall perception about yourself and negatively affect your well-being and healthy sense of self.
Turn around, there is no such thing as perfect human being. Enjoy what you have, improve what you have, and believe in your fundamental goodness and completeness.
We are all frightfully and wonderfully made!
This week, I hosted and facilitated a strategic conversation with business owners, entrepreneurs, and executives of associations and service programs in Central Alberta.
Riding the waves of recovery is a fascinating subject, but combined with the insights of surfing, it generated more visual appeal than anything related to riding on the waves. I am not a surfer by any means but there are clear and compelling insights about surfing that can be applied in business and life.
For beginners, you need to consider the following:
1. Health- you need to be in good shape, young and old can quickly adapt to the physicality of the sport. Some sports like snowboarding and swimming are already in the league . In business, your fundamentals must be in good shape. If 'cash is king,' know how to get short-term cash by extending your value to your customers, increasing your offering, and getting better at repeat business.
2. Skills and capacities-you need to be a good swimmer to be safe and have fun doing the sport. Knowing your capacity will help you upgrade your skill and learn to remediate. You can't fake your way into the game unless you have the capacities to deal with different scenarios, starting small and learning as you go. Same is true with business owners who do not have the basic skills in marketing, branding, asking for the sale, and management of key staff and assets. Do you have the right team aboard? Do you keep abreast of current trends and information about your target markets?
3. Go where the waves are-go where the waves are but stay away from crowded areas. You need to go where there are less people to practice your work and allows for quick feedback that can improve your performance. Staying safe and having fun while learning is the best environment. In tough economic times, look for opportunities that are occasionally missed because they are not 'sexy' or normally considered a profitable segment or niche.
4. Best tools you need-is it for gliding and recreation or is it for meeting big waves? There are tools you need to be able to perform properly and optimally. Some of these are equipment and tools and some are expert advisors you need to have so that you get the best information that is catered to your unique needs.
5. Judging the opportunity- a skilled surfer they say should be familiar with waves, how they are produced, the effect on the ocean, and the kinds of safety measures you have to do to maneuver into situations that are not expected. As Dixon would say, "surfers are alert for the unexpected at all times." Experienced ones can be on top of the waves one minute and can stay back, holding their ego in check when conditions are not favorable.
Riding the waves of recovery is a science and an art in itself. Instead of accepting that a wipeout is looming and that you will be at the bottom of the ocean again, consider using these strategies to take control and navigate the complexity of the situation on your advantage. Positivity as a mindset is contagious that it can create a better environment for your team and your workplace.
An unexamined life is not worth living- Socrates
A lot of what happened in our lives, careers, and organizational lives happened for a reason. Some of these reasons were unbeknownst to us from the beginning. In hindsight, it unraveled with greater clarity. The speck in our eyes got dusted off and pretty soon, with honesty and candor, we began to search for real meanings.
The unexpected successes that we have cannot all be credited to luck. Luck is product of being in the right time, in the right place, presenting your best, in worst and glorious conditions. For example, walking along the cafeteria, you met an old friend and started having a conversation, and before you knew it, he gave you a piece of insight that helped you in your current project. Who would have thought that it could turn out that good? Not expecting it would be an understatement.
We live in an interconnected world that is hard to ignore. We are all part of the system, whether we like it or not. We belong to a small whole, that is part of a bigger universe and so on and so forth. Luck is being prepared when the right opportunity comes -- come snow or high water.
With that in perspective, it is easy to brush off a one-time issue, problem, or challenge. When it gets repeated with same results, you better get down to it. It's a pattern that can be corrected or if positive, maximized or that is a symptom of far greater thing you can't possibly handle all by yourself. You might need a telescope rather than a microscope. You might need a rheostat than a thermostat. You might need a nimble, light approach rather than CAT scraper.
Depending on the situation, examine your accidental prosperity, favor, or success. Let that give you the fuel to seek what is right around the corner, and seize the day with vigor.
My three-year-old daughter claims that "she pressed the wrong button" and apologized for making a mistake or making a minor infraction. I don't know about you but I find this to be very apt.
We have a lot of buttons in front of us all the time. We try to press the right button but that doesn't mean that we do it with 100% accuracy. We do the balancing act: searching for understanding in light of uncertainty and complexity, looking for commonalities and broad-based agreements, pursuing the high road.
Understanding the right cues and contexts, and ensuring we practice empathy, active listening, and regard for others is always good at any situation. But sometimes, we misread people and situations, we overreact or become stone-walled, or sometimes react badly with the slightest provocation.
Making mistakes is part of our humanity in the context of many buttons. We have to stop incriminating ourselves, instead treat mistakes as a vehicle for learning and evolution. It is never fatal unless, it becomes an ego issue.
Defiance is better left to more substantive issues of the day.
How do you welcome a new year?
-Do you make those silly resolutions that fail after two weeks?
-Do you jot down key goals and share these to your loved-ones and accountability partners?
- Do you start with positive attitude knowing that this year can be better than the last or exceed your expectations/
-Do you start a new habit right after the eve and pronounce war with resistance?
-Do you become cynical about making changes in your life that what you want to do is to just get ' that one thing done at a time?'
These are not trick questions meant to make you feel inadequate but to provoke you to consider adopting the road less travelled. The road less travelled is not easier but it works because you are not fighting against yourself or against the odds that are bent on crushing you.
It is about harnessing your greatest strengths because those things can elevate your performance from 'good enough' to 'excellent.' If you are good in writing, focus on writing. If you are good in marketing, perfect that marketing proof or that material you want to develop. If you want to have a stab at innovation, start leading an innovation camp within your organization. Don't try to be something you are not destined to be! Go where there is the natural flow and let that take you places you don't imagine exist.
Try to look at areas in your life that are not developed enough but have the potential to fulfill your spirit, increase your joy, build efficacy, and maintain your discipline. These areas are evidences that you can be better at something without going overboard and breaking your bank and back. Furthermore, this exercise can give you the added nudge to move in parallel to where your priorities are for the year.
You can only start from what you have, not what you don't have. Consider moving in areas where there is the least resistance and get a big dollop of satisfaction from accomplishing them.
Now that the year is ending, a perfect vision emerges.
Here are some of the top questions to guide you to reflect on the year that is ending very soon.
What had we accomplished this year and what didn't work?
What were the accidental successes and what were the unexpected failures?
Should you do more with ___what?
Should you do less with ____ what?
What should you build?
And what should you be forsaking?
What breakthroughs could be imminent?
What was the most positive feeling felt and when did that occur?
What was the most frustrating feeling felt and when did that occur?
What would be the strongest and most breakthrough resolve you can make next year?
Think about these questions whether in your personal, professional, and organizational life, and get back to me.
This is better than therapy shopping, I tell you!