Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Yukon, A Magical Place

In my wildest dreams I never would have imagined I’d be writing you from the Yukon, but here I am. We drove yesterday……and around every bend the most extraordinary vista would appear before us. We’d stop, walk around, take pictures that could never do this magical place justice. So many times I’d say to my friends “How could we ever capture this on film?" Lakes that stretched for miles and miles on end with snow-capped mountains seeming to rise from them. The water turquoise or green, looking more like the ocean water in the tropics than fresh water lakes in the North.

From Emerald Lake to the smallest desert in the world we were in awe at its beauty. We stopped to speak to a wonderful woman in an isolated Post Office post in the middle of nowhere on the shores of one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve ever seen. She was thrilled to have company as she couldn’t leave her home/post all day and only had her two dogs for company. We talked and shared a bit of what we’d felt about being in the Yukon, even for a very short time.

It really is a wondrous place. We could drive for an hour without seeing another vehicle or person. The peacefulness permeates your entire being. It hit me how in times of crazy schedules, running from meeting to meeting how the quiet was so welcome.

This opportunity fell into my lap. For a split second I listed in my mind all the reasons why I couldn’t take the time to come up here. I’m glad I didn’t listen and quickly dismissed it. If you ever have an opportunity that sparks your imagination, don’t even think of not jumping at it. It might never present itself again. And you might miss something you couldn’t even conjure up in your wildest dreams.

I mean where else would someone tell you to drive slowly because there’s probably moose wandering around? : )

Donna Karlin

Emerald Lake - Yukon

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Communication or Lack Of…

I love to listen, to observe, watch how people communicate or don't. It never ceases to amaze me when people think you can read their minds, know how or what they’re thinking or feeling without them uttering a word. For some reason they think we’re clairvoyant and can read their minds, when in reality, we can’t do any such thing.

It’s impossible to learn, find out more about people who intrigue you, when there’s silence. The first building block of communicating is when you feel every person is unique and has value. In feeling that way, you automatically listen to what they have to say because deep down you believe they know something about something that you don’t know and want to learn. Whether it’s information or intangibles, i.e. how they interact with others and bring energy to a conversation or relationship or drain it, you learn from both. It’s next to impossible to learn anything especially when there is no communication at all, or, in other words, silence.

As Dale Carnegie stated “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic but creatures of emotion”, he hit the nail on the head. People think with their insecurities, confidence, and from past experience. They don’t think with facts. Their first reaction to silence is to feel insignificant; unworthy of basic acknowledgement. Instantly they react and either close up so they won’t feel that sense of inadequacy any more or get angry and possibly (if this mode of communication or lack of continues) sever the relationship altogether.

In a work environment it could make the difference between success and existence. In a personal relationship it almost always results in its inevitable end. No matter what the dynamics of a relationship, it takes two people to make it work.

Remember, the most complimentary thing you could ever do is ask questions of another person and be interested enough to listen to the answer. The most devastating and demeaning thing you could do is ignore them.

I leave you with a Japanese proverb to make you ponder: “One kind word can warm three winter months”.

Winter is coming. Who can you touch today in some way to make them realise you value their presence in your life?

Donna Karlin

Monday, September 13, 2004

Past Present and Future

To create a future you love you have to be in the present…to grow each day, do the best you can right now and to be open to the possibilities as you make choices, not for five, ten or fifteen years hence but today.

To live in the past is to be so wrapped up in the “what was” that you lose sight of what you’re experiencing in the present. To be so focused on the ‘what might be one day’, is to miss all the opportunities that will fall in your lap if you were only paying attention. Besides which, who knows what tomorrow might bring? Best laid plans can be tossed to the wind as a new path appears before you. That path might be the one you were meant to take after all.

Enjoy the journey.

Donna Karlin

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Paradoxical Commandments

Ron Huxley posted these commandments in his wonderful blog . Many thanks, Ron for this reminder.

The Paradoxical Commandments - by Dr. Kent M. Keith (© Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001)

"People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.

Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway."

Ever since reading it, I’ve been thinking about how often we allow outside influences, i.e. people, circumstances and experiences to dictate what it is we do in life, for ourselves, others and the outside world. Many sabotage their own success for the simple reason they feel guilty to succeed when others close to them have failed.

When we act based on everyone else’s values and ethics, we compromise our own. Just as one person should not be held responsible for the actions of another, we should not determine our choices based on others’. Acting and living from a basis of personal integrity should be our guide. Adopting the philosophy, “do it anyway” gives momentum and strength to act from our convictions. Only then will we learn what is possible for us in our lifetime.

Donna Karlin

Thursday, September 09, 2004


Power - def. Possession of controlling influence

All the definitions of the word are impressive in themselves. A powerful individual is commanding. That same person demonstrating power with people is extraordinary. Not only are you a force to be reckoned with but now have a group who are helping increase momentum.

I was talking to my brother yesterday as we sped through the streets of Ottawa. He is a world renowned surgeon, unobtrusive in his manner, always looking to make things better. We discussed egos and the difference between power with people and power over people. Many in medicine and corporate worlds alike who are of the old school mentality believe that putting the fear of God into the students, or staff will make them tow the line, revere them and never question the status quo.

That scenario doesn’t create anything powerful. It’s using power destructively rather than constructively to build a viable, strong and growing organization. When the heads of any organization use power over others, it breaks down creativity, knowledge and growth and eventually, when these people retire, there is no one in any position of power or strength to take over.

"The path of leadership transformation is a journey from control and domination to one of inspiration and service." - Kevin Cashman

Are you a true leader?

Donna Karlin

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Who Will Be You?

If we are incapable of finding peace in ourselves, it is pointless to search elsewhere. - Francois de la Rochefoucauld

The same goes for happiness and contentment. Once we find peace with who and what we are based on our own truths, values and integrity, we can find that centre of quiet peace. The first step is in accepting ourselves no matter where we are in life. From that perspective we can build and grow into our dreams and aspirations. When we are continually fighting ourselves, then we are so wrapped up with what isn’t working, we run out of energy to continually grow as individuals.

This is also true for those who approach others from the perspective of what they think the other person wants or needs in a friend, colleague, partner or relationship rather than who they truly are. How can one ever build a relationship built on illusion? Your ‘true self’ will always surface, especially in times of crisis. Once that happens the relationship doesn’t go back to square one. It morphs into something completely different without trust or a solid foundation. Generally, within a very short time, the relationship breaks down.

Something to think about when you think you’re ‘fooling the boss’, ‘pulling the wool over someone’s eyes’ or going into a personal relationship based on deception. If you’re always trying to be someone else, who will be you? How could you ever find peace within yourself if you’re not being yourself? Once you accept yourself with all your strengths and weaknesses, everything else will seem to fall into place. It really is so much easier to live your life that way. All the energy you save in trying to be someone you aren’t can be channeled into becoming exactly who you choose to be. Which do you think will work better for you in the long-run?

Donna Karlin