Sunday, May 29, 2005

Affecting the Quality of the Day

“It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day----that is the highest of arts.” - Henry David Thoreau

This past week, a time of radical change both in government and leadership, one of my past client’s support staff looked at me when I walked into the room and said “You’re like a drug”. I looked at her puzzled, and said “I’m not sure that’s such a good thing” (smiling) and she answered “YES! It’s a wonderful thing. The minute I see you I calm right down and know it’s going to be a good day after all.” Well, I don’t credit myself to having the magical ability to change a day, however I am honoured she looks as me and the work I do in a way that helps her process the chaos and make some sense out of it. In that respect, I believe I did affect the quality of the day.

Regardless of what is going on around you, you always have the ability to smile and say a kind word; to acknowledge what you appreciate about someone. That too not only affects the quality of the day but how a person processes that one and the next, the next, and the one after that. The ripple effect is far reaching. All it takes is a moment or two. Are you taking advantage of those moments that come your way?

Donna Karlin

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Stress....The Body and Mind's Response

"Stress is the body and mind's response to any stressful pressure that disrupts the balance in the mind or body. It occurs when our perceptions of events don't meet our expectations and we don't manage our reaction to the disappointment. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration, that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out-of-sync and stressed-out." - Doc Childre and Howard Martin

What magnifies stress even more is when one dwells upon that which upsets them in the first place. Rather than create a future that you want, you dwell on that which you don’t want, starting off a downwards spiral.

For some in the political world, these past few weeks have been a constant unknown. Day to day threats of the opposition bringing down the government, or, at the very least paralyzing it, was the norm. Change right down through the ranks took place hour by hour. For those in positions of leadership, it was a professional living hell.

My role was to work with them to see the perfection in the chaos. No matter what happened, they were challenged to look at the situation as living ‘history in the making’. An exciting time. They would deal with the outcome no matter what. These are intelligent, resourceful people. Rather than dwelling on whether or not they might have a job a few weeks or months down the road, what could they concentrate on that was in their control? What were they learning about themselves in the process what would prove invaluable throughout their lifetime? Then we started to play with the scenarios. Stressful attitudes turned to “I’m up to anything that comes my way and then some” attitudes. They were pumped, focused, energised by what happened moment to moment. My questions almost demanded that they look at themselves from the perspective of what they wanted not what they were getting. How could they build and create their future based on the choices they made right then and there?”

The difference between reacting and responding might be a matter of 10 seconds. Reacting is an immediate answer based on fear, tension and stress. Choice is not a part of the equation. Responding to the same situation is taking a proverbial step back, looking at what's occurring from a global perspective and making an informed choice based on the information you have at that moment in time. It’s positive delay….taking a few moments to calm your thoughts, looking at all perspectives and moving in the direction you need to go to deal with that situation. Responding all but eliminates stress because you have more control.

It grounds you….helps you focus…and from that paradigm you choose and invent your future.

"Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment. That is what's real." - Sara Paddison.

Donna Karlin

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Political Chaos

All week long I’ve grappled with how to write this blog. I’ve been watching and living in the midst of chaotic political mess in a country not used to such things. I don’t have to have a particular party favourite to look at a group of representatives of the people and wonder what got them into power in the first place when none of them show any leadership whatsoever. It’s more like watching children fight with each other in a school yard and play manipulative games to see who will come out on top. Why they want to come out on top still remains to be seen as what is happening on the Hill doesn’t seem to have anything whatever to do with the will of the Canadian people.

If our party leaders cannot get along, how could we expect it globally? The world is in turmoil. Toss in natural disasters, unrest, poverty, disease and in a country that is usually one of the most peaceful, the leaders are at war with each other.

I know…in a perfect world they would sit down in a locked room and come up with some plan of action that would work for us all. As a Shadow Coach I would love to be there to “do my thing”, however they would need to be open to the possibility that what each of them is doing is unacceptable to the people at large. Do they see that? I would hope.

Chaotic is the perfect definition of what is happening right now. Def. a state of extreme confusion and disorder. It’s also the place where creativity begins… “In simple terms chaos is order without predictability. That is, there are systems, physical and social, that are well understood and yet are fundamentally unpredictable. Thus, chaos is not anarchy or randomness. Chaos is order, but it is order that is "invisible." - T.J. Cartwright

Chaos is creativity in process; the place between the breakdown of the old, and the formation of the new. No matter how we look at what is unfolding, this will be the creation of the new in some form. Watching it happen is history in the making. As a citizen, it’s not an easy thing to watch. As a Shadow or ontological Coach, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch.

There is chaos and then there’s the principle of chaos within leadership. Leaders welcome this kind of chaos because they anticipate the creative process that isn’t far behind. Leaders hone skills within that chaotic environment so they can master the resulting creativity, watch the effects of various outcomes and use them to know which areas to focus on and which to let go of.

They key word here, however is leader.

To use an old cliché, time will tell all.

Donna Karlin

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