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Would you be able to fathom in an age of Positive Psychology, that I grew up in a family environment who believed that when you praise a child, the evil ones will steal them or cause misfortune to befall. Mine is not the only family.

Children have names like pig, dog, or demeaning names, as dogs are not cute well-groomed poodles in a culture which eat them for food due to poverty.

Learning to affirm someone is hence, not a familiar trait to most of us. I could not help notice the irony when my Spanish Mentor Coach, was giving me coaching feedback about my lack of acknowledgment of my client, and spending 95% of our time together telling me where I needed to improve. 5% rushing through where I did well, before our 1hr session ended. Thankfully, I’m well trained by my culture to appreciate that I’m paying for her to tell me where I can improve, rather than being affirmed. (My strength is ideed Perspective taking.)

As an educator and coach, parent, we can acknowledge the people in our area of influence. Acknowledging my students in the virtual classroom for stepping out of their comfort zone and asking questions or attempting the answers. Even if the answers are not correct at first attempt, can I acknowledge their effort? Can I acknowledge their willingness to get out of their comfort zone, or even to clarify their learning?

How can I improve on “acknowledging” and “affirming” others? Here is a short list of what to watch out for, in acknowledging your “target”:

🍋 Accomplishment/ Achievement/ Awareness/ Appreciation

🍋Boldness/ Bravery (I’m hearing bravery/courage to try something new)

Commitment (I’m wondering what will you commit to today?)

Determination/ drive/ resolve/ desire (I hear your determination, I can see this is really important to you)

Effort ( Or you can acknolwedge the emotion. I can sense some emotion, I’m wondering what’s happening there)

One last thought is that “whatever you pay attention to, you will encourage more of”. If you want to encourage a positive behavior, expand on that. How true is this belief?

What are your thoughts on “acknowledging” and “affirming”?

How are you acknowledging yourself?

As my mentor coach pointed out, “thank you” – which I do a lot of – is not acknowledging someone.

What are some practices which you try out and would like to share with us in this space?

Remember, sharing is caring.

Sharing this beautiful song – Royalty

Like a brush in the hands of an artist
I am Your masterpiece
A thought before life ever started
You took Your time on me

A friend shared this insight. Does a brush know the intentions of the Master Painter? Sometimes, dark paint is used. Sometimes, empty spaces -silence. Other times, bright paint on the canvas of life.

At times, dabs, blobs to create texture. A brush does not know and cannot comprehend the final painting but trusts completely that the Master Painter will bring about a final picture that is full of glory.

Today, are we willing brushes? As humans, we have choice to use or not use our skills and where to use them.

Do you believe you are a mistake, accident? Or do you believe that your life is co-dependency with a Master Painter who wants to work with you and share the blue print of your life.

Recently a phenomenon that’s become global and a big headache for companies is the “the great resignation”. Since April, a record number of US workers, the overwhelming majority in low-skilled jobs in the service sector, have quit, no longer concerned that they will struggle to find a new position. (ST, 10 Dec 2021)

Who is affected? Which sectors are affected? Types of jobs?

What is the cause of this great resignation?

What can we do to mitigate this?

When I say “we”, I’m referring to both companies, as well as career counsellors, government and even individuals in our job search.

Understanding the cause or reasons can help in the most important question, solution.

Traditionally, labor economist look at demand and supply conditions, say the economic recovery, and the short labor supply, and conclude that salaries should increase. This is true.

But is that the only perspective?

A very useful piece by Jeremy Engle to look at this Great Resignation as a discussion piece to brainstorm critical thinking in class which I’m using in my 3rd year Human Resource Management course.

Some have called covid-19 the “The Great Realisation” and the number of deaths and surreal happenings have pushed people to either an emotional meltdown or treasuring relationships more than status and significance in their career ladder.

A friend of mine, decided to move his family back to Canada, to be near his aging parents and help his young son enrol in a better education experience. Both him and his wife decided that they will put in their best efforts to make changes in their career.

Reflections

What are your thoughts on the Great Resignation?

What can companies do to help employees navigate this Great Realisation of work-life harmony?

How will this impact the Future of Work?

A recent HBR article dated 21 Sep 2021 proposed some retention measures, what are your thoughts on these measures? Do they resonate with you? Any that you might suggest instead?

‘No Regrets’ Is No Way to Live https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-regrets-is-no-way-to-live-11643385936

The last two years of pause, unearthed deep reflections in the way we live. Some, celebrated the brevity of life. Others, deep regrets, especially with relationships that grew apart or is no longer possible. Business which fail, opportunities lost.

Daniel Pink’s latest book “No regrets” is a recommended read as we think about opportunities, gains and losses.

Pink cites experiments by Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California who found that writing about negative experiences or talking into a tape recorder about them for 15 minutes a day substantially increased people’s overall satisfaction and improved their well-being. Better than merely thinking about those experiences.

Reason according to Pink is that using language, whether written or spoken, forces us to organize and integrate our thoughts. Describing regrets converts abstract feelings into concrete, less fearsome words. Language captures emotions in our net, pin them down and begin analyzing them.

I just may pick up journaling again. It also explains why I always feel lighter after a group prayer session where I say out prayers rather than think through prayers by myself.

Pink also cites Tina Seelig who found , “The act of documenting your errors allows you to move on much more quickly, as opposed to dwelling on them, and results in a lower likelihood that you will repeat the same mistake,”

“The act of documenting your errors allows you to move on much more quickly, as opposed to dwelling on them, and results in a lower likelihood that you will repeat the same mistake,”

Another useful activity is “Psychological Distancing” whether through time travel or social- through using third person perspective or physical and cultural distance.

Whether we deep dive like a scuba diver or to zoom out from problem like an oceanographer, changing lens helps reframe a problem and see opportunities.

Finding a coach helps this white-board reframe of a problem/ concern.

Lastly, move forward. What lesson does it teach? What would you advise doing next? Now follow your own advice.

Unlocking creativity, shifting mindsets by Michael Roberto

Time travel into your future self

What would your future self want to see? Jeff Bezos and Amazon staff use ” time travel” frequently to stimulate innovative thinking about new products ane services.

Andy Jassy of AWS explains that developers do not begin writing software code for a new project until they have drafted a hypotetical press release for their new product offering. Of course these press releases are not actually published for months or years.

Process is described as working backwards.

How do you shift perspectives?

Recently, I conducted a 20 yr future self visualisation at a workshop. If you are interested, link can be accesssed here.

Some participants fell asleep. Some younger participants had a peek at themselves at 40 yrs old and assured that all will be well, yet chose to keep future a mystery to be discovered.

One of my clients, Patricia, who was in her fifties, visualised herself in her seventies.

She later shared that her mother in law was currently in her 90s. Alive but flat on bed. She was so weak that she cannot sit up on her own and needed help with her waste disposal. She was on many pain relieving medication. Not knowing how to read or write, her days were spent lying in bed watching television, most of the time with deep anger and bitterness. She had no religion to provide comfort nor to deceive her.

Patricia learnt from this activity that if she were to have an active lifestyle in her seventied, she needed to plan for the unexpected possibility that her days might be longer than we hope for. When we say “life is short”, and live with expectation that death comes swiftly, the irony with modern medicine is a long slow death in spirit, emotion and body.

It changed her perspective on the investments she planned to reskill and keep in touch with active age-rs.

What short term, long term, infinite term planning are we willing to put in?

#future self visualisation

#short term

Happy New Year 2022 to you.

How fast time flies. 2 years we spent in Covid. Is it time to emerge?

As we start the new year, may I invite you to reflect on how Yr 2021 has been for you? Exciting? Purposeful? False starts? 

What were your biggest time wasters in 2021?

What would you like to have happen in Yr 2022? Perhaps:

  • 22 goals for Yr 2022
  • 22 min on your goal every day.  
  • How do you want to show up? What’s in your control?  

My biggest time waster, surprisingly, is not social media but forgetting my goals and procrastination. Eat that frog, I can almost hear Brian Tracy whispering. Listing my goals and referring to them consciously keeps me focused. Social Media time is more fruitful for me.

Bundle goals

I am also able to bundle several goals together. Example, when someone is late for 45 min for our 1 to 1 meeting, instead of getting upset, I work on my goals in the space, grateful for the “reclaimed” time. Just this week, it has happened twice. Being more flexible (I’m a J in MBTI lingo), assess many nice-to-have goals, make better informed choices on what to let go.

Another example of a 2022 goal is incorporating wellbeing prompters into my curriculum. A reminder from the universe when my (RMIT) university organised a TTT aligned to the cues I picked up:

Positive Education: An educational approach to student learning and well-being

Why do I need approval or affirmation from someone else that this is a worthy goal? The universe is kind, and know I’m taking baby steps. It doesnt take much time, but I do need prepwork and give my brains lots of time to re-wire.

Happy to hear from you, your thoughts on Goals for 2022.

Fruitful 2022 to you. 

Majulah (Onward)

Joanne

The Art of Happiness by His Holiness Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

This very well written book and easy to read, has so many parallels to another teacher, Saul-Paul.

Dalai Lama considers “the turning toward happiness as a valid goal and the conscious decision to seek in a systematic manner can profoundly change the rest of our lives”.

1. First step in seeking happiness is learning (p38). Learn how negative emotions and behaviour are harmful to us and how positive emotions are helpful.

Paul of Tarsus – Galations 5: 22

“The fruit of the Spirit is charity (love), joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self discipline (self-control)…”

Learn about the different mental states, classify them according to whether they lead to happiness or not. (p39)

Dalai Lama considers Constructive vs Destructive emotions such as hatred, fear sense of insecurity.

Personally I think its wise to learn about different emotions especially after I underwent coaching training, I begin to realise that Ps 128 talks about fear of the Lord, when I read the Hebrew word, it translates to “awe, reverence, wonder” and not the paralysing fear we talk about.

I agree with Cutler’s point that rather than classify mental states, emotions as “greed is sin” or “hatred is sin”, Dalai Lama classifies emotions as positive or negative to whether they lead to our ultimate happiness.

If happiness is simply a matter of cultivating more positive mental states like kindness, why are so many people unhappy?

Dalai Lama’s advice is that various techniques such as developing positive motivation:

“I will use this day in a positive way. I should not waste this very day.”

“Did I use this day as I planned”

Yes, rejoice.

No, regret and critique the day.

Although Dalai Lama claim these as buddhist practices, they are not solely, and are found in Catholic/Christian texts and Chinese philosophical texts. But what Dalai Lama is excellent in doing, is use scientific research, eg neuroplasticity of mind to underpin buddhism text.

Psalm 1 talks about how your social company can influence your ways. In Chinese proverbs, the saying goes that when you immerse silk in red ink, it becomes red. When you immerse it in black ink, it becomes black.

Through training, meditation practice, we can transform our mind, says Dalai Lama.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 (Paul)

How do we renew our minds? Do not be conformed to the patterns of the world and with supernatural intervention. Although it is not fully explained in the Bible, as Christian Bible is limited to 66 books. Where Christian text differs is the belief that God has given the Holy Spirit.

Usefulness of Compassion

Dalai Lama: once you accept that compassion is worthwhile, realise its deeper value, then you immediately develop an attraction towards it, a willingness to cultivate it… Once you encourage thought of compassion in your mind, then your attitude towards others chsnges automatically….. But without the attitude of compassion, if you are feeling closed, irritated or indifferent, then you can be approached by your best friend and you just feel uncomfortable.

Paul: (Charity, Lovingkindness) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. … And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor 13

Further reading on cultivating compassion, joy, read Theresa of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila “The Interior Castle”.

With covid 19 and the rise of loneliness and depression, Cutler’s question to Dalai Lama on whether he felt lonely seems useful to me. (p70). Unlike investigators suggestion that the strategy to overcome loneliness is to work on improving social skills such as self disclosure, picking up conversational skills, Dalai Lama’s strategy is to bypass social skills and work on cultivating compassion.

Practice: Meditation on “our dependence on others”.

Do you wonder how many people are involved in making your shirt? The salesperson who sold the farmer the tractor, the people who grew the cotton, who sewed the cloth. Virtually every aspect of my life is the result of others efforts. Before we use the word “supply chain” and logistics realise our interconnectedness.

Although I was raised in a Buddhist family, with my grandmother and aunts living in temples and monastery, Dalai Lama’s interpretation is so different from what they taught in buddhism. I can only say his text is closer to Paul of Tarsus and influenced by his personality and staying outside of Tibet.

Cutler cites intimacy as being important in maintaining good emotional health from psychoanalyst Erich Fromm that humankind’s most basic fear is the threat of being seperated from others (p 79). Experience of seperateness and rejection is the source of all anxiety in human life.

Dalai Lama’s approach and that of St Paul, hands the locus of control back to the individual. Unlike American or French definition of intimacy as passionate, sexual relationship or attachment, it is a compassion of honor, respect, tenderness towards the other person.

Having heard the Dalai Lama over the internet, I can only guess that like Milton Friedman and the great saints, he possess an ability to cause trancelike state beyond human logic. Over the internet, I had difficulty understanding him and needed the help of translators like Ripoche. This has spurred me to learn more about NLP and how I can change my communication style to lessen others suffering, and if possible to bring joy.

Practice: Meditation on Compassion

1. Visualise a person who is acutely suffering, someone who is in pain or in an unfortunate situation. Reflect on the individual’s suffering (3 min).

2. Relate to yourself thinking “that individual has the same capacity for experiencing pain, joy, happiness and suffering that I do.

3. Allow your natural response to arise, natural feeling of compassion to that person.

4. Think how strongly you wish for that person to be free from suffering.

Comment:

I have difficulty releasing forgiveness. However, starting with thought of how the person is suffering releases me from having negative feelings to that person. In truth, we all have suffering. Difficult to believe that Bill Gates has suffering. That he causes others to suffer is easier to believe.

The difference is the starting point of what we believe and our thought pattern which sets us free.

Through lives of Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, Marcel Proust, Mozart, Charles Darwin, Greene creates 48 laws of achieving Mastery.

My second time reading it after 10 years with fresh insights from self reflection. In my first reading, this book was too heavy. Now, with reflections, many of my challenges make so much more sense.

Seven deadly realities: Envy, Conformity, Rigidity, Self Obsessiveness, Rigidity, Laziness, Passive Agressiveness and Flightiness

Social Intelligence: Speak through your work. Craft your appropriate personna- if you are not careful others will attribute qualities of you that correspond to what they want to see, See yourself as others see you. Suffer fools gladly. It is part of human comedy, nothing to lose sleep over. Neutralise the harm they do by keeping steady eye on your goals.

Creative-Active: have the patience and discipline to endure an extended apprenticeship. Focus deeply on problems and ideas.

Although children are naturally creative, they never lead to inventions and substantial discoveries. Why so?

My 3 intentions:

1. Absorb as much as I can, from books and beings

2. Discipline and Diligence

3. Playfulness and experiment. Dont be defensive.

Beware of emotional pitfalls: complacency, boredom and arrogance

1. Connect to the Environment -primal powers

2. Play to your strengths – supreme focus

3. Transform yourself through practice – fingertip feel ( or 10,000 hrs of muscle memory)

4. Submit to the other – Inside/Out. Get inside the brain of the people we are trying to understand. Listen.

5. Synthesise all forms of knowledge – Jung’s Universal Man/Woman

Rodial

Not another self help book.

For the entrepreneur in social media world with influencers like Kadarshians, MH is an entrepreneur and guides readers how to build a brand from product creation to personal branding.

Helpful How tos at the end of each chapter. Her recent books are now available as eBooks. She is certainly using her covid downtimes very efficiently.

#Rodial #entreprenuer #start up #career

As I was walking to the neighbourhood stores, a thought struck me. What if I do the boring stuff, ie visit the same place 30 days in a row.

I started thinking, what if I visit the library, 10 mins walk away and borrow a different book every day.

And so my adventure begins, without taking a flight. Of course I can borrow eCopies from the digital library. But physical store has the pleasure of flipping through aisle by aisle.

Road less travelled, expand my mind. Books I normally will not pick up. Easy to read.

The first book I found using “coach” as key word was “Vladimir Putin: Life Coach”.

Seeing with new eyes

Except for what I read from American newsfeed, I do not know much about Russia. Granted, I studied history in school, have visited Siberia twice and been on trans-Siberian railway.

Written tongue in cheek, eg “Show your gentle side”. To win respect, you must be ruthless. To win love, you need to show a soft side. Putin’s approach is to help his country’s cutest animals at every opportunity.

He’s been photographed feeding a baby elk outside Moscow … and shaking hands with a walrus in Vladivostok.

Be more Vlad. If you’re known as a workplace meanie, show your colleagues you’re actually quite nice by booking a day off and hiring a professional photographer to join you on a trip to the petting zoo. Then share the photos far and wide with plenty og squidgy emoticons. Be sure to wait at least twenty minutes before returning to your hardass persona. (Sears, p119)

Rob Sears, the author, writes comedy. I cant wait to read his book on “The beautiful poetry of Donald Trump”. I can see how this experiment of picking up books I normally would not read, will help “re-imagine me” as Humour is not on my resume. If I were to teach “leadership topics”, this book will help inject a bit of humor on the complexity of leadership behavior.

#coach #humour #Russia #80books #TIME #Treasures #NLB #leadership

Highly recommend: 🦋🦋🦋🦋🦋

Category: Humour, Leadership