This past year, I’ve been consulting for a company and one of its contractors on a big project. Since this big project requires close coordination, a large part of my work has become helping the two teams work better together. And this has not always been easy. The scope of their project is massive with matching stakes for success and failure. The deadlines are aggressive. The stress level is consistently high.
Max Hermann begins his famous poem, "Desiderata," with this piece of wonderful advice: “Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
How many of us have paused momentarily in our frantic schedules to think that same thought? How many of us feel pressed by the busyness and noise and long for more peace and silence in our lives?
So, as it turns out, Aristotle may not have actually said “we are what we repeatedly do.” Or, he may have said something along these lines in Classic Greek, but it doesn't quite translate into English. Whatever the origins, this quote is oft used by people who are trying to get others to examine their habits, their actions, and their lives.
Just yesterday, I was walking down the office hallway of a corporate client when I made eye contact with one of the employees. “You know,” she said to me after I stopped to ask how she was doing, “what you really should be teaching is anger management.”
It’s been a great summer for sports. The Euro Soccer championship, Wimbledon, and the British Open. The matches seem to get closer every year, and the athletes always seem to find some new level of athleticism and grit. Serena Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title with her 7th Wimbledon title. And at 34, this is her 9th Grand Slam win since she turned 30. At the British Open, Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson delivered what is being called “the greatest Open ever.” And the Olympics haven’t even started yet.
One vexing question I’ve been thinking about lately is why, even with all the research going on related to reducing stress, stress in the workplace (and, frankly, at home) is ostensibly as high as it has always been. For instance:
A few months ago, Steve Scanlon wrote a great article/horror story on rewiring our thinking in the context of airline travel. Today I want to write about commuting by car and how it actually shapes the way we think and act once we arrive at our destination. In a few months, someone will probably write about the subway or trains, and then we can have our planes, trains and automobiles trifecta. In the meantime, let’s rewire how we commute!
In last week's Wireboard article, I outlined numerous amazing benefits to practicing mindfulness. Given all of these benefits, you would think that all of us looking to be more productive and healthier would be taking 10 to 30 minutes a day for a mindfulness practice, right? Well, it turns out that sitting still and “quieting” the mind is simple…but not easy. We live in a culture that worships busyness, action and doing, and so many struggle to find the time and the justification to stop doing and thinking for any amount of time.
In today’s Wireboard article, I want to:
Last week some 60 of us gathered in Coronado, California for the purpose of a further Rewiring as individuals and as a group. It was truly a remarkable few days -- evidenced by its lingering and lasting effects on those who came and participated.
Author's note: This idea originated with "Rewire Advisory Sage At Large" Lindon Crow. For those of you that don't know Lindon, he's one of our favorite people at Rewire. He owns a company called Productive Learning, and his company's workshops are truly transformative experiences that are well worth your time if you have a chance to attend. This idea originally came from him and has captivated my attention over the past few months. So, much thanks to you, Lindon!
I rarely do “Part 2” articles. I understand that most people read things like this, glean something from them (or not) and then move on. I am making it a point this year to focus more on understanding articles and books rather than the commitments of years past to “plow through” a lot of them. The application of a given topic is often heavy lifting, and with our perceived lack of time, we do not often make the time to really understand and apply the thing we just read (or heard or watched) to ourselves. Well, I’m trying to change that.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the crucial role that paradox plays in high-performance culture. Today I want to tease one particular paradox that is absolutely necessary if we want to get better as individuals and teams in our work: