How Todays Trinity of Extremes Affects Us All

Yes, we live in a fast paced world. Yes, we are often at tipping points of stress. Yes, we can do better.

“We are all in it together and no one wins unless we all do.” This mantra sounds good, however, for most of us it sounds naïve. Sometimes the world seems to be spinning out of control and the issues are too big and a single individual, a mere speck in the universe, is too small to make a dent in the issues.

The trinity of today’s extremes are:

Poverty
Climate
Violence
As I listened to the speakers at the Clinton Global initiative I was bouncing between hope, anger and depression.

Hope won.

Magic Moments Best When Unexpected

Got on the bus. Waited. Got on another bus. Waited even longer.

Had a bad feeling this paid in advance tour was going to disappoint.

And it did.

Almost.

Tours to that revered site in Rome, the Vatican are expensive and seemingly necessary. Otherwise the lines can be hours long.

The Vatican is a must see in Rome. Regardless of religious background or preference there is a majesty to being in the presence of some of the most amazing art and sculpture the world has to offer. And looking up at the Blessing Window where the Pope stands and then pivoting around to observe what it must be like to look out at huge numbers of appreciative and reverent individuals is a stunning moment.

However, that is not where the memorable magic happened for me.

Powerful And GUTSY

I have a birth to announce.

Beautiful babies come in various packages. Some in the warm skin of an infant son or daughter. Others as works of art, music, photography, dance, the written word.

Joan Scharff just gave birth to a wonderful book of poems and pictures. I met her several years ago when she was at our GUTSY Women weekend. Then a year later she completed our flagship Total Leadership Connections program.

Now she has taken two of her passions, photography and poetry and has birthed a beautiful book “Lessons I’ve Learned from a Flower.”

I am so awed by what she has done I want everyone to know about this beautiful new book.

I am including one of the poems. It was sparked by what she learned when she was requested to explore her family history, her Sankofa Map, to see how it connects with her present life at work and home. It is a deep probing of the intricacies of generational connections. Here she used incredible and sensitive language to show how women, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts give and get from each other. I have printed the entire poem here for all to enjoy:

Leadership Lessons How To Raise Healthy Kids To Be Excellent Leaders

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

The Power Of Film And Film Stars: Thank You Jim Carrey And Leonardo Di Caprio

I sat through the Golden Globe Awards hoping to see and hear something that would stay with me emotionally. With all the sixth grade humor about butt holes, alcohol and sexual innuendos I was able to multitask and get some work done on my new book, “Every Word Counts.”

I kept thinking “When did we lose the elegance of wanting to elevate and help people grow?”

Toward the end of this fluffy and superficial evening I was just about to give up and turn off the tube. And then Jim Carrey came on looking majestic with a super cool beard. It was clear he has done some good personal work when he talked about “being Jim Carrey who has won two Golden Globes and falling asleep thinking about becoming the Jim Carrey who will win three Golden Globes hoping will complete him.”

It was done so simply, so subtly that I wondered who got the message behind the message. It is also what we discuss with business leaders. No matter how many awards you win, no matter how well recognized you are, no matter how much money you have, you cannot fill the deeper place inside you with outer trappings.

I said a silent “thank you” to Mr. Carrey.

Honoring Our Veterans: Each In Our Own Way

I sat in silence listening to the stories of battered trucks driving down dirt roads and blowing up just a hairs breath from soldiers on duty. I heard about the pain, angst and often guilt that is part of physically fighting someone into submission or fear being killed.

The vets all said, in their own way, “war is hell.”

While I know our soldiers have risked life and limb to keep us safe, I was sitting in a room and listening to the war stories that brought the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and Viet Nam, more deeply into my own safe and simple world.

Here is how it happened: Our retreat center in Northeast Pennsylvania is set way back in the woods and no one just shows up to walk around. Except, one sunny day a tall, muscular man was there, checking out the grounds. He heard a rumor the retreat center may be for sale and he was looking for a home for the veterans who needed to heal from the wounds of war.

The man, Mark Baylis has become a dear friend and rather than talk about selling we ended up talking about helping.

How To Get Heard After You’ve Been Whacked Upside The Head

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I know you think that we can all transform our negative patterns. I have my doubts. You see, I read your book…twice! And I still have a serious problem.

I took the Pattern Aware Quiz and know I am considered a persecutor/bully. I have worked hard to change my style from being sharp and caustic with my team members. The transformation from persecutor to visionary just ain’t working!

Right now my job as team leader is on the line. My supervisor has put me on a performance improvement plan since three team members said I am negative and judgmental.

Help!

Signed,

Sweet and Kind Underneath

Dear S and K,

Always remember, the menu is not the meal! While you have read my book…twice…it takes more than reading and agreeing. It takes ACTION. And for many of us, it often takes a wake-up call to begin the hardest part of pattern transformation.

Knowing the patterns is not enough. Even understanding where they developed (hint: most likely in your original organization, the family) is not enough. It is the strength training of daily decisions to redo your communication with others that is the key to success.

Your supervisor has given you the gift, a whack on the side of your head which may get you going.

Stuck Plumbing?

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I am a newly named director in a major tech company. We have been around for many years and have so many systems in place. However, what cannot be programmed (wish it could be!) are the human beings who surround me.

Here is my dilemma: my boss is a mixture of a micro-manager and a hands off do-it-yourself type. The combination is crazy making. She is, in your pattern terms, a persecutor always looking over my shoulder to see what is not being done right, and an avoider who hates conflict.

Now I have studied your patterns and I am a bona-fide avoider, especially of speaking up to power. And my boss is very powerful. They even say she could be the next CEO. I am working at transforming my avoider pattern and becoming an initiator and it works with many. However, with her I tread lightly.

Example: If I ask her for help when I have been at a meeting and I need to report back and I am not sure what to do she always says “I was not there so I can’t help you.” And with that she waves her hand and dismisses me. I do not think she has my back and I am fuming inside.

It makes me nervous to say something to her and I feel all my upset at her and at myself, backing up inside. Suggestions?

When Patterns Of The Past Show Up In The Present

I just finished reading a speech Vice President Joe Biden gave at Yale University.

It brought tears to my eyes and I was compelled to read it again. This time I grabbed the tissue box, stopped what I was doing and sat wiping freely flowing tears away and sat looking out at the fully blossomed spring trees.

Thunder was in the air and I imagined all the preparations for Beau’s funeral, all the expected things that have to be done. I thought about the widow and the children.

The thunder intensified.

Losing his wife and daughter in a terrible car accident decades ago should be enough. Now his son Beau to brain cancer. And yet he is the model of a jovial, gentle natured man with such love for his wife Jill, children and grandchildren and the importance of family first.

I have often thought that he would be, as the Native Americans say “good medicine” for President Obama who did not have the presence of his own father in his life.

And as I sat thinking about tragedies I began to ruminate about the sudden death of my father from a heart attack when I was fourteen.

RUMINATE

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