Sunday, April 24, 2011

Balance and beyond

Ok, Happy Easter to all of you who graciously read this blog.  It has been a wonderfully warm and sunny day.  My big lesson in balance today:  don't walk a lot in shoes you only wear a few times a year.  Ouch.

So, let's synthesize.  Being off balance and facing challenges for a while is good.  It makes me, in particular, grow and get stronger.  Being off balance and facing challenges all the time?  I don't think that is so good.  Recovery time, down time, and just being is really important to the whole cycle.  It's like taking sneakers along for the long walk after looking good in the fancy shoes.  No down time, no just being for a while, ouch.

Now beyond,
I have been trying to use some of the tools I found for The Toolbox Conference, and through reading that I have been doing.  This past week I haven't felt like I have been taking many small steps and although I seem to be spinning wheels I don't see that I am going many places metaphorically speaking.  So, when I look at a list of my passions I see:
observing peoples' behavior, then asking them questions and finding connections with my own experiences;
connecting people;
inventing experiences or activities and then making them happen;
designing games that encourage people to think outside of their boxes, and then to have transformation.

And, I have these passions because I believe I can help people feel more confident about what they do for a living.   I can help them feel special.
I believe people thirst for confirmation of their personal value.
I believe that this is essential to the success of a business, or school.
People need to balance a high level of self esteem and self regard with the importance of using their talents whole-heartedly.

Being a nice, decent person is part of my fabric.
I think that bullying is a damaging activity that can grow into actions that can hurt entire institutions.
There is a difference between being a tough but fair teacher or supervisor and being a bully.
People, whether peers, friends, coworkers or just people, have no right to bully others.  It hurts them, hurts the people they are bullying and ultimately hurts the larger group.

It works better for everyone if people are working toward improvement.  But the definition of improvement and progress has to evolve from what people really care about.  Sometimes that is in the context of a job, school or greater challenge.  Who says a janitor can't inspire an entire company or school?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Balance has been a continual topic in my personal life, and it seems, in the areas I am drawn to.

It is easier to wake up to find my expectations being met; no one likes to be startled awake to find that immediate action and response is necessary.  But, if things go too smoothly it gets boring and then some unexpected excitement which tips the boat is welcome.

I grew up in a small, orderly town and at a young age felt hemmed in.  I have always sought another leg on my journey.  I think I must have had ancestors who traveled.

Homeschooling has not been a balanced endeavor, but I truly believe it has forced me and my family to learn and look at learning in a different manner.  I think I rarely give my kids a learning situation where they are just told what to do all of the time.  I have recently craved a few days where they would mindlessly follow my directions, but alas, it is too late for that to happen.  They are thinkers for sure.  Not always good on the organization and follow-through on academic assignments but certainly engaged when it comes to situations they care about.  I wonder what Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were like as students.  And, don't get me started on those Wright brothers.  However, I am trying to improve those organizational skills.

I've been thinking a lot about the continuum of bullying.  It starts in school, or even at home.  We hear lots about cases in schools and colleges.  Sometimes in the military.  What about when someone grows up and goes on to work in a company or institution like a hospital or university?  What happens when that person is responsible for other peoples' money, or lives?  Part of bullying is keeping others off-balance, right?

What about people who do a lot of good, but get off balance?  Today, while I was cooking dinner, my husband read in the newspaper that Greg Mortenson was being "investigated" on Sixty Minutes.  Big surprise for me!  I have read both of his books.  I have used the Pennies for Peace curriculum with my kids.  I think building schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan are really important actions.

I listened to the report with my daughter.  I talked with her about what the report said.  I'm wondering what the ultimate truth is.  Have I ever heard of some person who committed their lives to doing something that seems to do so much good getting in over their heads?  Yes
Have I ever heard of projects that are described so vividly not really being as perfect as they were described?  Yes
If a tv reporter approached me, with a cameraman following him, asking if I would talk with him in the middle of a book signing, would I say "yes"?  Not if I'm smart.

What balance is not:  a sizable portion of the world's children not having opportunities for education.
What balance is not:  bullying.
What balance is not:  the status quo?

Would I grow and evolve if my life is always balanced?  To be continued...