Crucible: a situation of severe trial, or in which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new.
In the midst of challenging situations and times, do your thoughts turn to the possibility that a crucible is happening and will create something new? It could be helpful to do so. When you experience challenges, it is natural to focus on the difficulties you are experiencing – they are real. However, you benefit from developing the practice of looking at situations from various angles, crucibles being one of them. Doing so, allows you to open your mind to other possibilities and to weather crises more evenly.
Next time you face a severe challenge, try looking at the possibility that it is a crucible that will lead to something new.
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When something “hooks” me, either in a good way or bad, I find it useful to ask myself “does it matter?” The reason I do this is that some experiences and situations can knock me off balance and my response can be out of proportion to what is happening.
The next time you have an experience that creates a strong reaction, try asking yourself does it matter? Doing so allows you to gain perspective and respond from a place of power. Asking the question centers you, allowing you to get through experiences in control of yourself and to avoid creating messes you have to get out of later.
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In the early days of the coaching profession there was focus on the stories we tell ourselves. These stories impact our perspective, emotions and actions, as we build our careers and work every day.
Do you have a “story” that you tell yourself? Perhaps the story is that you are trapped in your current circumstances, that the world is against you, that there is no place to go or that you are underappreciated. Or, perhaps your story is that there are no limits, that you can do whatever you put your mind to or that the world will support you in your dreams. See the difference?
What stories do you tell yourself?
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Always, there are multiple ways to view things. Keep this in mind, when you get into a difficult situation. Take a moment and step away. Identify the lens you are looking through and try out other ways of looking at the situation. Stepping back and identifying multiple ways to view a situation allows you to breathe, to innovate and to find your best path forward.
How do you use your alone time? Alone time can just happen for you or you can create it. However it occurs, there are benefits to reap from your alone time.
Alone time leaves you with yourself, allowing you freedom and perspective. Some of alone time’s benefits: you gain space for your thoughts and emotions, your creativity thrives, you get a broader view by stepping away, your mind and physical body calm and slow down, you become free of the influences that normally surround you and you grow to be more comfortable with yourself and who you are.
When did you last have some alone time? When will you create some alone time again?
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Indigenous cultures use a circle as an image for life. Circles are continuous, with no beginning or end. What does your career or organization look like, when you view it as a circle?
Think of the differences between a circle and a line. Circles allow flow. One action leads to another. You cannot separate one event from another. Everything is connected. The center of a circle is surrounded by the elements of the circle. The center of a line is one point.
Why write about this in The Managers Hub? A change in the perspective with which you view your career or organization can lead to insights, innovation and positive change. If you use a circle as your reference point, what looks different in your career or organization?
photo: alexis doyen, lifeofpix.com
When overwhelm sets in or a path is not clear, try another perspective. Rising above a situation is always helpful. Doing so, creates distance between you and the situation and gives you another view. From there, you can decide how you will proceed.
What are some ways to rise above? A first step is to move away from the situation – physically, mentally and emotionally. Find your center and create some quiet. Or, do something completely different and engrossing, so much so, that you completely separate. It’s as if you are flying into the silence of the sky above. Then, observe how the situation looks from a distance. Is anything different? Is a way to handle it clear?
It is difficult when you are surrounded by the cacophony of a situation to find harmony. Rising above gets you away from the noise and often provides a beautiful view!
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When I was in college, a professor said to me “You are mature to the extent to which you realize how your actions affect others.” That advice has stayed with me. How you communicate falls into this. Effective communication has to be heard the way you want it to be by the person you are communicating with. It is not just how you say it, but how they hear it.
How a person hears you is influenced by a myriad of factors – how they feel at that moment, their perspective on your subject, their personality and temperament and how what you are saying could impact them. So what do you do? Conduct a labyrinthian analysis of the emotions and perspective of the person you plan to communicate with? I don’t think so.
It really is about your ability to observe and understand. If you develop your emotional intelligence and keenly observe the reactions of others to what you communicate, you will develop the ability to communicate effectively with them.
We are not a uniform human race. Our diversity is our strength. The challenge lies in realizing this, getting out of our own box and relating effectively to the perspectives and experiences of those to whom we communicate.
photo: jesadaphorn, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As a manager, you bring your individual perspectives, values and judgments to your role. It is natural, but also has an impact that you may not recognize. You’ve heard the phrase rose colored glasses? It is about just that – you see things through the lens of your own experiences. What lens are you looking through as you carry out your responsibilities as a manager? One of my previous blog posts looked at the impact of your point of view on your managing.
Taking this forward, your individual point of view can feed the creation of assumptions regarding your role as a manager. Assumptions are things that you accept as true or as certain to happen, without proof. These assumptions can grow over time, without your realizing they exist. They are a natural part of you. However, it is good to be aware that the influence your assumptions have on your managing can be significant.
Some examples of assumptions are: people are only out for themselves, you have to manipulate people in order to succeed, you cannot trust others on your team to come through, you have to keep things under control or if I do a good job, I will be rewarded.
Take a look at the individual perspectives, values and judgments you have formed over the years. Have they led to your making assumptions that directly affect the way you manage? What influence do your assumptions have on you today as you manage your team? It’s worth a look. The better you know yourself, the better your chances of success as a manager.
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It does not serve you or others to lose it. What’s important is not whether you are justified or unjustified in losing it. As a manager, you face more than enough situations where you have every reason to lose it. What’s important is that losing it has consequences. It can harm your reputation, hurt others, set back your progress on projects, or worse.
When you’ve had it, get away before you lose it, so you can gain perspective on the situation. Sometimes, it is good to get away fast.