Archive for the ‘free the humans’ Category

Small Rock; Big Tumble; and Bigger Questions

June 23, 2011

Who knew such a small rock can instigate such a big tumble – not to mention even bigger questions?!

The background: Very early this morning, I set out on a little run before work. It’s been a while since I felt like running because I’d been fighting a cold, feeling tired and a little off my ‘mojo’ of late. But in the last couple days I felt a return to my old self. With some deliciously-renewed energy and enthusiasm I headed out for a run. Ahhh, all was well and I was feeling great.  As I ran (super slow), I noticed the birds, gardens and my mind blissfully wandered…until I tripped, crashed and fell. Ouch.

In a nano second, I was on the ground, the world spinning, nauseous and with an aching ankle and a bloody knee.  What the  @#@# (expletive)! That was my first reaction. I looked over and saw the culprit: an iddy biddy pebble. That little, modest thing somehow got under my foot and tripped me! Such power! Stupid, bad rock! Stupid me for not seeing it! Now I’m going to miss my golf, not be able to run….yada, yada, yada….let the whine’n’worry fest begin!

I heard my little (coaching) voice inside me whisper: Is that all y’a got? Maybe there’s  another way to experience this?

Y’a think?

I had no way of going back and reversing that fall. But I did have a choice in how I’d deal with it – right then and there. So yeah, I decided to look at this tumble in a new light. Accidents happen (and thankfully this was just a small one).  Recently  I’ve been paying more attention recently to a more soulful and spiritual way of approaching my work and life. Well, no better time than now to apply that philosophy. I reminded myself that I can do better. How I look at ‘the stuff that happens’ in my work and life has much more impact on how I actually experience my life  than the actual events and circumstances.  Living and working a meaningful (tgim) life means we have to navigate these ‘tumbles’ and falls in a moment by moment way.  The tough part is remembering to do that in the moment.  But I did, kinda.

You see I’ve just started to tune into a powerful series of teleseminars put on by Jennifer Mclean. Jennifer has interviewed 24 of the world’s most renouned experts on topics related to living and working more soulfully, joyfully and authentically (yummo!).  James Redfield, Dan Millman, Wayne Dyer, Marshall Goldsmith, Sonia Choquette, Hale Dwoskin – to name just a few.  Chock full of tips, lessons, wisdom, these sessions remind me of the choices we have and lessons to be learned in our ‘moments’. I just listened to the first few this week, so fresh in my ears I looked at this tumble in a new light and with new questions.

There are lessons in everything that comes our way in life (the good, bad and ugly). As I brushed myself off from the tumble I wondered what the lesson was from this fall. I reflected on this as I hobbled home. I noticed I could walk but couldn’t run. Was the universe telling me to slow down? Maybe.  More lessons started to bubble up as the day wore on because I stayed in the question (and particularly, as I write this post – writing helps us reflect!).

Being of service to others — people can be generous and kind and it feels as good to give as it does to get.  Well, it was a quiet street but one gentleman who was tending his garden saw me lying on the ground. He came to offer help. I was okay (ish) by then but was so grateful that someone was there to offer help. I told him so. We had a nice chat as I tested out my ability to walk. Two strangers connecting and some gratitude shared. I think we both felt better for it.

There are no coincidences: I asked this gentleman his name. He said it was Patel. Hmmm. My “patella” (knee) was bleeding.  Coincidence? Perhaps? But James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy) says there are no coincidences in life so if that’s true, what was the significance of this? I don’t know yet, but as I look at my knee in the next few days I will be thinking about this and I have a hunch it won’t be about the bruise, scab or swelling. I think there might be something more here at work….those lessons perhaps, still unfolding?

All we have right now is the present:  It’s good to make plans and to have goals. I’m a huge advocate of that. But if we only focus on what’s next, we miss the ‘now’.  I started off worrying about my future golf, running, mobility, etc. But I quickly shifted to focus on what I could do ‘now’: to ease the swelling of my ankle;  AND to reframe my thinking so that I can be resilient from yet another potentially ‘mojo threatening’ event, ruining my day. The result was much better. Not only did I take care of the ankle (less swelling), my mojo is just fine!

My Take Away: Today’s tumble reminded me that I have the power to choose how to be with the seemingly irritating stuff that happens. Today’s accident wasn’t about the fall at all. Today’s accident was a metaphor for all the other stuff that bugs me in life or appears to set me back  such as the work deboggles, the lack of time, the unforeseen challenges – and more.  It’s not always the big things that are going to derail us. The small stuff can – if we let it – take us away from experiencing the good in life (it was such a small rock afterall….and just a little fall).

So to echo the teachings of James Redfield (Celestine Prophecy) and others – there are no coincidences or accidents in life.

So thank you to “Patel” for his generosity and Jennifer and her panel of experts for her series. And mostly, to that little rock for pretending to get in my way and reminding me how to see the bigger picture.

To a TGIM work and life

Eileen

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Are you doing good work or GREAT work?

April 12, 2010

Last week I was walking around in a fuzz. I felt like I was spinning in circles and not getting anywhere. Despite that ‘feeling’ — on Friday, I looked back and saw that I did manage to be fairly productive and do a whole bunch of “good work” thoughout the week.  But that didn’t really fire me up. I knew I was wanting more than ‘good’. I committed this week to doing GREAT work! That means working more on stuff that truly matters and bringing more of my creativity, resourcefulness, passion to it!

And to inspire me and remind me of this, I happened upon a wonderful video, produced by Michael Bunguay Stanier of Box of Crayons. I know Michael from my coaching community and know him to be  an incredibly talented coach. His message is truly right on the mark.

Have a look. Then have a look again:)

To creating a great day — every day this week!

TGIM work-life!

Eileen

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Midlife crisis OUT – midlife transition IN!

January 26, 2010

Midlife crisis is so passe. Much like the old version of retirement is, well….old.  Today,  boomer mid-life is all about transition and new beginnings. 

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what others ‘in the know’ are saying. According to an article in ScienceDaily, adults in their mid-life years really do face the ‘best time to flourish and grow’. Second acts are possible!

Butterfly by Eileen Chadnick - freedom, transformation, beauty!

Prof. Carlo Strenger of Tel Aviv University’s Dept. of Psychology co-authored an article with Israeli researcher, Arie Ruttenbergfor the Harvard Business Review and Psychoanalystic Psychology. 

Somehow this line has been drawn around the mid and late ’40s as the time for a mid-life crisis in our society,” says Strenger. “But as people live longer and fuller lives, we have to cast aside that stereotype and start thinking in terms of mid-life transition’ rather than ‘midlife crisis’.

If you make fruitful use of what you’ve discovered about yourself in the first half of your life, the second half can be the most fulfilling,” he adds.

Read my full post here — posted at my UNretiredLife blog.

To a TGIM work-life at any stage of life!

Eileen

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It’s Mental Health Week. How Are You Feeling?

May 5, 2009

It’s Mental Health Week in Canada. How are you feeling?

A survey released yesterday confirmed what most of us already know. The recession is taking a toll on our emotional wellbeing.

No wonder. People are either overworked (the survivors) — or have no work at all (unemployed). The stress is hitting folks on all levels: Emotional, financial and physical.

overwhelmed

The Desjardins Financial Security National Health Survey sponsored by Desjardin and the Mental Health Association revealed that as a result of the strain, absenteeism and disability are on the rise. Presenteism too — that’s when folks show up but aren’t really engaged and giving it their best…in some cases they barely even give it anything at all. 

Bad for people. Bad for business.

Michelle Nowski from Desjardin Financial Security says: “By investing in their workers, companies are investing in themselves. A mentally healthy workplace typically has fewer disability claims, lower absenteeism and better productivity,” said Nowski. “It really becomes a partnership between employees and employers because employees also have a responsibility to manage their health and stress levels.”

Well said. I agree the accountability is on both sides. Employer and employee — each have enormous stake in keeping their employees hearty, resilient and well.

There are many ways to help employees and employers deal better with the uncertainty and challenging times: communicate often and meaningfully; allow for some flexibility (i.e. perhaps some telecommuting, etc); foster team spirit and a sense of community at work; show acknowledgement and appreciation for the hard work people are putting in — and generally find ways to be supportive to colleagues, direct reports and anyone you are connected with in your work and life.

Another powerful strategy  is to develop coaching skills in leaders (see last post). Having a coaching culture at work with leaders as ambassadors of a positive culture with an appreciative approach to work and developing people -not just pushing projects – can go a long way in good and tough times.  I do a lot of work in this area.

AND…Never before has fluency in emotional intelligence (EQ) been more important. Empathy, Optimism, flexibility, perspective, resilience, independence and teamwork…..equally important for employee and employer….for the leader…and the worker bee.

EQ fluency (for individuals and organizational cultures) and coaching skills for leaders:  These are the areas that I focus on in my coaching practice at Big Cheese Coaching. Yes, a resounding self-promotion (but hey, personal marketing is ‘it’ in today’s economy).

If you are wondering how you can shore up your own EQ or help those you work with cope better with stress and pressure associated with work and life — get in touch! As well, there are and will continue to be resources here with tips and strategies. So stay in touch…

To a TGIM work-life (in all economies)

Eileen

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What Do You Think About Email Free Days?

February 29, 2008

I’ve been reading a lot lately about organizations that have implemented email free days. It’s got me thinking about my fairly recent but avid attachment to my Blackberry (see earlier post) and about another post a while back about humanizing the workplace. In the latter, I had referenced a talk by Tod Maffin who spoke about the impact of technology on people and organizations from a social and ‘human’ perspective.

cat-at-computer.jpg 

(Photo courtesy of Sage on Flickr)

As I wrote in an earlier post work isn’t going to get any less busy – rather, we’re going to have to learn new habits to cope. Malcolm Gladwell has been quoted as saying (Globe and Mail article): “I’m quite prepared for the possibility that the next revolution is not going to come from a machine…..it’s going to come from creating a more thoughtful work force and giving people the opportunity to be thoughtful.”  

Given that, I think the idea of an email-free day is an interesting possibility to help develop those habits of reflection and working a little differently now and again. What about you? What do you think?

Would an email free day…

-Offer an opportunity for more meaningful reflection?

-Encourage people to communicate differently and better  (i.e. like actually pick up the phone and talk now and again!)?

-Bring more ‘humanity’ to workplaces and/or specifically to your personal work experience?

– Lessen the distraction factor and reduce that frazzle factor?….recognizing that while there’s a whole lot of meaningful and important use of email there’s also a whole lot that we can live with out.

I suspect that for me it would take some time to self-manage my own email habits and mindset to get a real benefit out of an email free day. I have my own long list of “yeah buts”. For one, I work independently vs with one particular organization; Another ‘yeah but’ is that part of my biz is within realm of communications, I can’t imagine turning off for a whole work day. I also have clients who work in PR and well…..I suspect they’d say a whole day each week seems real unreasonable for their biz. 

Still….something there to consider, don’t you think? If a whole day each week isn’t feasible, what about an email-free hour or two or three or four……? Or what other possibilities can there be to pause….?

In any case, whether this idea is the right thing to do or not….and/or whatever it looks like (full day, just hours or something different all together) I do applaud those companies who are trying to find ways to help humanize their culture.

To a TGIM worklife…..with or without email!

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This just in: Free the humans!

August 20, 2007

If you read my post yesterday, I ended with a call for ideas on how to ease towards and back into September and work mode….with more joy and less angst. Well, this just in: Two colleagues in the coaching world that I respect very much are starting a movement called “Free the Humans” — and kicking it off on Labour Day with a “Free the Humans” be-in picnic!

 According to Darlene Russell and Charmaine Sherlock — the co-founders of this event and social movement — “the intent is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous Summer of Love and to mark our reluctant return to work”.

Darlene says on their blog: “We thought this would be the perfect occasion to introduce Free the Humans, the new social movement committed to freeing the human spirit and liberating the imagination at work.”

Very coooooool. So if you are anywhere near the Hamilton area on Labour Day – mark your calendars and check it all out at their blog: http://freethehumans.wordpress.com/

And if you’re not from the area…..stay tuned in because as Darlene said, this is about much more than a one day event: it’s a social movement and they inviting others to help co-create a new way of being at work.

Gotta like the sound of that!

Also worth noting, Darlene and Charmaine are also offering a fantabulous program for organizations wanting to perk up their people with their unique coffee breaks. If you’ve ever witnessed Darlene in action with her creativity, well, you’ll know you’re in for something special!  It’s all on their blog – so check it out!

To freeing the humans and a TGIM work life!

Eileen