Archive for January, 2007


Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

It is 10:35pm and I have been working since 7:30 am. Throughout the day significant, immediate demands on my time appeared. I had a full to do list for the day and it kept getting bigger. All day I brought myself back to the present moment to assess where I was and what was possible. At around 9pm, I made a decision to work late and get some grip on things. If I didn‚t, tomorrow would be the same. I felt my work load was like a snowball going down a hill at high speed, getting bigger and bigger. And I was running behind it to keep up.

Sometimes I have to make a decision to push through it in order to keep up. It’s an extreme, but helps me to maintain balance. Balance is dynamic, not static. I have to adjust and readjust. Tonight I pushed with the hope that tomorrow I will begin and end the day with work managed and getting done. Perhaps I will find new methods of efficiency as work speeds up. Or perhaps only balance can give me what I need. I’ll see.

Lynn Andrews once said that the world is speeding up to such an extent that we will have to find our still point. It will not be possible to keep up. Only from a center point of balance can we move forward.

I hope my fatigue staying up tonight is worth it and tomorrow I can enjoy balance and get my work done without stress and fatigue.

Apprentice Blog: Spirit

Monday, January 29th, 2007

In the Boardroom, Sean said that Arrow Team had tremendous spirit and were selling their hearts out during the El Pollo Loco task. Arrow won. Sean’s comment makes me think about the source of their spirit. It could have been about a deep hunger to win after weeks in tents and no rewards. It could also be that their spirit stems from innate personal qualities they share.

In job interviews, spirit is seldom mentioned directly. What if someone asked you if you had spirit? How would you answer? I would answer yes, but I would stumble to provide the ingredients of it. We often talk around the periphery of spirit — a person has a positive personality, works well with others and always shows enthusiasm. But what is spirit, really? I think it is a fountain within. It is a positive outlook, belief in self and loving what you do.

None of these traits are easy to come by when you are going through the ups and downs of work. A focus on maintaining your spirit can only help you. I am going to observe myself and the Apprentice candidates to understand the composition of spirit.

System Disturbance

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I am consulting on a project that is creating system disturbance. Innovation and systems change are primary project values. We are stretching to find approaches that deal effectively with the challenges our work presents to participating organizations.

I was musing recently about system disturbance within. When I set out to change something in my life am I creating system disturbance? I believe the answer is yes. At times, I like the results of creating system disturbance and other times I do not. System disturbance can result in adventure, challenge, new experiences, discomfort, fear, resistance or pain. When I encounter the negative side of system disturbance within I often have to search for clarity. It confuses me. I am disoriented and not sure what to do. I am disturbed.

It is in coming out of disturbance that I change. I begin to orient to the new situation. I find my grounding. I begin to breathe a new air. Eventually, I feel more comfortable. The change is underway.

Reflecting on my project, I wonder if challenges are a catalyst for change. Perhaps my best consulting is to advise that system disturbance is not smooth, but in its discomfort it offers us all new and better things.

Apprentice Blog: Choice

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Last night Michelle skipped “The Boardroom”. I found this surprising and refreshing. Her team lost the task and was told by Donald they’d be coming back to The Boardroom and someone would be fired. WRONG

Michelle asked Donald if she could say something and he said yes. Michelle told Donald she was leaving the competition because it wasn’t working for her. She hadn’t signed up for living outside in freezing cold weather and working in the rain. A barrage of disagreement hit her–noteworthy were Donald’s insight that Michelle knew she was in trouble and Ivanka’s question whether she would quit if she had won. Michelle was gracious, clear and determined. I think she triumphed in one important way: she exercised freedom of choice.

Michelle’s choice was to finish what she started (which may have meant being fired that evening) or to leave. It must have been a challenging decision to make and to carry out in front of millions.

I admire Michelle’s sense of self. She said her decision resulted from realizing something was going on with her spirit ˆ she was not performing as she usually does. Michelle said she made the decision to stay true to her integrity. Yes, she was in a losing position. Yes, she may very well have been fired. However, Michelle chose her own truth and she walks away intact. Michelle exercised her freedom of choice and by doing so, she won.

When You Are Underestimated

Friday, January 19th, 2007

I am involved in a work situation where my power is being tested. Persons I work with are distancing themselves and I am not sure why. It requires me to stand up for myself and to assert my presence. I am realizing through this experience, that it is ultimately about my self confidence. I have found myself doubting my abilities at times in order to avoid conflict. Maybe they are right I‚ll think; it‚s more comfortable than standing up to them and seeing this power play for what it is.

Guess what? This is about my ability to believe in myself. I am getting there. I recently had a meeting where at times I found myself defensive inside, imagining their criticism of me. That was my issue. I cleaned it up, got a grip and reinforced my thinking and the reasons behind it. When I spoke, I knew the whys of my opinions and was confident in them. In one of our discussions, I realized they were grossly underestimating my abilities. They were trying to tell me that the ABCs of my field would solve the challenges we faced and if I knew them, all would be well. Our challenges are much more complex than ABC solutions. I answered the concerns they had and at times found myself laughing. They were underestimating my ability to read a situation and to analyze its causes.

When the discussion was over, I looked at this power play and knew I could deal with it. My abilities and knowledge of the situation would serve me well. I will have confidence in myself. Underestimate me at your own risk. I can handle this.