This morning, my son Jeffrey suggested we meditate together. “Great,” I replied, “where should we sit?”
“The view is nice from the hotel window, let’s just sit here.” I looked out the window in incredible disbelief. “What the heck?” I thought. And then I said, “What I like about you, Jeffrey, is you see the positive in everything, even parking lots and the backs of buildings.”
He said, “Allow me”, and he pushed the drapes aside a bit more, and gently took my head in his hands, redirecting the way I was looking out the window. Yes, we had two very different views from our hotel room, as his included a sprawling Arizona mountain landscape.
“Wow,” I said, “I could have left this hotel and never realized we had a view!”
I feel like this happens so often in corporate America. Last week I was having coffee with an executive and he shared with me a conflict that had occurred in his office recently.
The client retold that he had said during a meeting, “I think we might be agreeing with each other.” When that didn’t work, he said, “I don’t think we are very far apart here.” Both are statements of finding commonality, and understanding differing points of view.
Unfortunately, and the reason we were meeting for coffee, is that two members of that group were already too incensed and upset to listen. They were unable to have their vision “gently redirected.”
What do you miss when you don’t allow yourself to be “gently redirected?”
In my work, I hear it a lot…
“I’m 40 years old, I’m not going to reinvent myself now.”
And then there’s…
“I am going to retire in a few years, so let the new kids learn that stuff.”
And what about…
“My father died when I was six,” or “My wife had an affair and left me as a single dad with three kids,” or any number of other comments followed by: “This is just the way I am.”
Translation: “It’s the way I am, and it’s the way I am going to stay!”
Other times, I hear employees say it about their peers. “She’s too stuck in her ways to change,” or “He’s at the end of his career, so why would he change now?”
I have to admit, whenever I hear these types of excuses, my reaction is one of sadness.
I think of the head of oncology who operated on my brother. At the end of a full day of surgery, my brother was pronounced cancer-free and given more years of life — hopefully many more years. But, what if that oncologist had said, “He has pancreatic cancer. Few people survive. Why bother?” How did he know that my brother had a chance to live a longer life? He didn’t. He just never gave up.
I suspect the oncologist operates often and has many failures.
But what about the successes? What do the successes and failures have in common?
We can be relatively certain that without intervention, the cancer patient will die.
Without intervention, we can be relatively certain that those saying change isn’t possible will be right.
It is true that we cannot change others. However, we can ask them, “Is this the way you want to stay?” “Is your current behavior helping or hurting you?” “Is your current behavior contributing to the situation in a positive or negative way?”
In our role as change agents, we must constantly ask how can we improve ourselves? How can we help others to improve? We cannot give up on the human potential to change and grow.
Hold onto hope, and don’t stop asking deep, provocative questions. Let me know about the people in your life whom you have seen grow and develop. I love success stories.
The Loves of My Life…
In other cultures, there are multiple words for the various kinds of love that we experience. I am told that there is a word for romantic love that is different from the word for the love a parent has for a child, and another word altogether for loving an activity like eating or walking on the beach…
I could Google this and learn about it, but I think that it would be more fun if you, my blog readers, would write to me and tell me about your many loves.
I use the word “love” all the time!
I love my kids with such intensity that I can feel it in my bones. I love my house. I love my friends. I love pizza and french fries (I like a good salad but I don’t love salad). I love my husband so much that I refer to him as “A lover” in my contacts list on my cell phone.
AND I love my work!!
When I think of work, I think of anything we as humans do that is productive. If you are a student, that is your work. If you are caring for a loved one, that is your work. You may have two (or more!) jobs.
So, I love feeling productive. I love helping clients. I love being creative. I love my colleagues. And I have memories of things that I loved about previous jobs. I will share mine, if you share yours!
A project that I loved doing…what project did you love doing?
A work group that I loved being a part of…what work group did you love being a part of?
Something about my workspace that I loved…what is something about your workspace that you loved?
A technology that I loved…what technology did you love?
A favorite restaurant near work that I loved frequenting…what restaurant did you love near work?
A stretch assignment that hurt, but after the fact, I loved…what was your favorite stretch assignment?
A boss, or mentor I loved because of how he or she believed in me…what boss or mentor believed in you?
A colleague I loved…what colleague(s) have you loved?
A piece of clothing that I loved wearing to work…what article of clothing have you loved wearing to work?
I can’t wait to hear about your work-related loves. If you tell me yours, I will tell you mine!!