We live at a time when we are interconnected in so many ways. At any time we can access information from the internet, check our email or video connect with a person on the other side of the world. Amazing isn’t it? This hyper-connectivity can elevate us or overwhelm us. How do we make it work best for us? How can we be our best self in this 24/7 anytime interconnected world? There are 3 areas to seriously think about:
Being our best self is about embracing our gifts and staying open to criticism. Criticism is not an absolute judgment with 100% accuracy. It’s just someone else’s opinion. So, we need to discriminate the value of that opinion. All criticism is not worthy of your attention. Some are extremely helpful. Others should be chucked. But if we are to soar in this world, we must be willing to see with open and honest eyes. At its best, criticism is a knock at the door to help us see that we are off track from our best. It can serve as a supportive nudge to not hang on to something and choose to stay open to change.
Experiencing vulnerability is rarely a pleasant journey, but it is honest. And that honesty offers freedom to the person. Freedom to breathe in her own truth and to feel 100% acceptance of herself. It is beautiful. Even if it lasts for but a minute. It’s a doorway to her true self. Once experienced, the courageous can not help but return to venture through this doorway again. When we learn to shut this doorway, we shut down our truth. As we shut this out from ourselves, we shut this out from others in our life. Before you know it, we’ve created a society where everyone dons “the life mask”, dancing in a dance that sometimes is so far from our own. I find this particularly true for the overachievers, the “successes” in our society.
My daughter talks about this older Caucasian man, in a Patriot’s sweatshirt, who came abruptly to the table my mother and daughter were sitting at as they were finishing their lunch and declared, “you guys are finished and you need to leave”. Both stunned, it took my mother a bit of time to respond, in her accented English that they were not yet finished. This gentleman barked back, “in this country people leave when they’re done eating…
After my leadership workshops, individuals who approach me tend to ask one fundamental question, “how do I get my boss to notice the work I do?”. A deeper question they’re asking is, “how do I know if I really matter?”. Each one of us who breathes wants to know we matter. We want to know that we are cared for and that our life means something. It is a fundamental human need. We will act in outrageous ways to fulfill this yearning. No one is exempt.
So far, none of my coaching clients have ever told me they don’t believe in cooperation. In fact, they believe collaborating with a colleague or working with another team is the right thing to do. No doubt, this is what most would say when asked. So why is true cooperation so hard to do? Here’s my hypothesis. Cooperation is a great idea but real life cooperation requires us to face our vulnerabilities and fears because the only way to collaborate with another person is to recognize we are better with someone else, which means we are not enough or we are not perfect. And who likes to admit that?
When I coach non-Americans, especially Asians, to interview effectively for a US job, I emphasize the need to express their “passion” for their work or their “deep interest” for a potential job. Nine times out of ten, when I ask about this passion, I see Asian students searching my face, seeking clues to provide the right answer.
I have a love-hate relationship with planning. I think it all started when I had my first job when we were all introduced to the Franklin Planner. Notating priorities, deleting done items, forwarding unfinished items. Let me be clear that I strongly endorse planning, planning systems and the like…if they work for you. The world is inhabited by people who love to plan and people who love to live in the moment. Neither is good nor bad. Both has its merits and downsides. As with all things, let’s take all this in moderation.
These tragedies offer observers like us the opportunity to re-assess if we are serving life, if we are living what matters most. Coupled with being close to year-end, it is indeed, a well-appointed time for reflection.
Team effectiveness is driven more by EQ and CQ (emotional and cultural intelligence) than IQ. Why? Because it’s the interpersonal skills that will draw out the fullest intelligence of the team. Setting operating principles, protocols and clear team goals are critical processes to ensure team members from varying backgrounds and preferences are truly engaged.