Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.Vivien Greene, British writer regarded as the world’s foremost expert on dolls’ houses
Recently, I was in conversation with a few fellow coaches, and one of the members asked, “Describe a time that you took a stand and it cost you?”
Out of the six of us in the conversation, all but one shared a story that cost them their job. Wow!
And before that, I read a blog from another friend who asked the opposite question: “Have you ever done your very best to blend and morph to meet the mentalities in a room instead of showing up as 1000% yourself?
So, which choice is a cost and which is a benefit?
I have learned over the years that when “we” are responsible, rather than “I” am responsible, we all get a better outcome.
And the fantastic days are when team members are engaged and authentic in creating the best day. And the ‘not so good days’ are when something is going awry, and no one says anything.
Yet, there is no guarantee that the result of being fully engaged and authentic will result in a fantastic day or result in taking a stand that costs you.
So instead, many of us (perhaps most?) choose silence. Does this come from a place of respect for the leader? After all, it is “their meeting”; it’s up to them to “fix it.” And when there is a series of “it’s up to him or her or them to fix it,” we can quickly go from a ‘not so good meeting,’ to a ‘not so good day’ or week and ultimately a ‘not so good outcome’ for the business.
All of us can be both leaders and followers in our daily lives. And sometimes, we need to step up and take a leadership role in the moment, even when we are not the official leader. The next time you are in one of these moments, here are a few questions to consider as you perform a cost/benefit analysis of the situation:
- If something is amiss in a meeting or a moment, and I stay silent, what is the potential cost to me, the group, or the business?
- If something is amiss and I speak up, what is the potential cost to me, the group, or the business?
- In a fair and bold cost/benefit analysis, what is the best and bravest choice for me to make?
Clients in transition have one goal in common: to live their purpose. And each person pursues this goal in their own unique way.
Most commonly, people choose to pursue their vision while physically staying in the place where they are.
On the other hand, for some, the draw is to explore; their pivot to something else may also include a desire to pivot somewhere else. And for those who currently live in a different place than where they came from, that somewhere else could be a return home.
What drives these three choices? While different for each person following are some common themes I hear.
- My network is here
- My family is here
- My community is here
- I am comfortable here
- Moving is expensive
- I want to explore
- I want to experience other cultures
- I want personal growth
- I want to get out of my comfort zone
- It may be less costly to live somewhere else
- My family is there
- I feel a cultural attachment
- I feel a sense of belonging
- Quality of life
In the end, the choice is deeply personal. What resonates for you?
The first nationally recognized Labor Day celebration was in 1894. The AFL claimed this day with a street parade sending a message of “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations.”
According to the BLS, union membership in the U.S. peaked in 1954 at almost 35%. By 1983, the share of U.S. workers who belonged to a union had fallen to 20.1%, and by 2022, membership had dropped to 10.1% of U.S. workers, declining from 10.3% in 2021. And 33% of union members are public employees.
Yet, nearly every day, we read about another vote for unionization by workers in well-known service companies.
Is the press giving us an unbalanced view, or is there a trend yet to emerge in the data?
Economists and human resource professionals tell us it’s the latter. Economists say prices are increasing faster than wages, and people are organizing because they can’t keep up. People often feel that being part of something gives them agency. Human resource professionals say that a lack of effective two-way communication leads to a lack of trust, leading to organizing.
Regardless of whether unionization is a trend, Labor Day is still with us. We celebrate it as the mark of the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. As with all transitions, it’s a time for reflection. In this case, it is an opportunity to reflect on how we show up.
- As a leader, what can I do tomorrow to learn what drives each person on my team and create an environment where each person can pursue their passion while contributing to the team’s success?
- As a follower, what can I do tomorrow to add additional value to the success of our company while being true to what matters to me?
We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.John Dryden, poet and playwright, England’s first Poet Laureate in 1668.
For those living in Maui or who haven’t been and may have wanted to go, the tragedy there is a sad reminder — if something or someone is important to you, seize the day; tomorrow may be too late.
If you listen to the doomsayers, the world may end soon, either from climate change or AI control of the markets, atomic mishap or, or, or…fill in the blank.
While the pessimists will tell you there is no way out, the optimists fervently believe it will all sort itself out. Regardless of which point of view you align with, the fires in Maui did happen, and the death toll is still unknown.
For me, the message in all this is to pursue a life that focuses on what matters to us. I often ask my You Pivot™ Clients to consider not what they think should matter but what actually does matter to them. And then, go after it, create your Tomorrow Story, and figure out what life changes are required to get from here to there.
Sometimes getting started is hard. People often feel selfish, putting themselves first. They have others they want to please or feel an obligation toward. Yet, every time we fly, the flight attendant reminds us that we can’t support others if we don’t put our oxygen masks on first.
As a writer, I’ve pondered this question off and on.
I’ve played around with ChatGpt, asking it to draft a story that I edited extensively or giving it an outline and asking it to turn it into prose. Frankly, I’ve not been overly impressed with the result and concluded that ChatGpt is suitable for generic writing tasks, e.g., condo rules and standard letters, not creative and inspirational writing.
Last week I asked ChatGpt to write a 200-word blog on the value of reunions. Below is the blog it wrote. It’s good! So good it caused me to wonder, does writing have a future in the era of ChatGpt?
As part of my pondering, I’ve been reading about the impact of ChatGpt in schools. In particular, I read that the college essay is dead. Some teachers have stopped giving writing assignments at all.
On the other hand, there are teachers who see ChatGpt as an opportunity to challenge students with a more difficult task. These teachers ask students to use ChatGpt to write the essay, and then the assignment is to fact-check and critique what ChatGpt wrote and then revise the ChatGpt response (students turn in their critique, the ChatGpt composition, and their own).
So maybe the better questions are:
- How will writing change in the era of ChatGpt?
- For those of us who seek to inspire with our writing, how do we ensure our contribution is unique?
- When is it ok to ask ChatGpt to write for us and then share, with attribution, what it wrote?
Embracing the Joy of Reunions: Connecting Across Time and Distance
In a world where time races ahead, and life’s demands pull us in various directions, there’s something undeniably magical about reunions. These gatherings have an uncanny ability to transport us back in time, rekindling memories and emotions that have been tucked away. Reunions offer us a chance to bridge the gaps that time and distance have created, allowing us to connect and cherish the bonds that define us.
The anticipation leading up to a reunion is like a crescendo of emotions – excitement, nostalgia, and a touch of anxiety. As the familiar faces come into view, it’s as if time melts away, and we’re left with a profound realization that some connections remain unbreakable, no matter the miles that separate us.
Reunions are not merely events but windows into our past, present, and future. They provide an opportunity to share stories, reminisce about shared experiences, and catch up on the latest chapters of each other’s lives. Laughter reverberates, tears are shed, and hearts are warmed as we celebrate the beauty of human connection.
In a digital age where virtual interactions often dominate, the physical presence of a reunion is a poignant reminder of the significance of face-to-face connections. The joy of holding a friend’s hand, the warmth of a hug, and the unspoken understanding that passes between loved ones are experiences that can never truly be replicated through screens.
Whether it’s a high school reunion, a family gathering, or a long-awaited meeting with friends, reunions offer us a chance to rekindle bonds that time and distance may have momentarily obscured. They remind us that despite the challenges life throws our way, the ties that bind us are enduring and precious. So, as we gather once again, let’s embrace the magic of reunions and savor every moment of connection they offer.
Most of the time, we have an agenda, whether it is to close a deal, persuade others to “see the light,” or simply to win.
- What if, instead, we let things unfold at their own pace?
- What if, instead, we seek first to understand?
- What if, instead, we invest in understanding where they are and meet them there?
- What if, instead, we recognize that our stakeholders are individuals for whom “there” may be a different place for each of them?
But wait, you say, isn’t it all about having a plan? Isn’t the goal to win? Perhaps it is, and I wonder if our chances of winning go up when we stop trying to orchestrate the outcome.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.Kurt Vonnegut, American writer and humorist
One of the life lessons I learned early in my career as an executive coach is the answer is in the question. By asking better questions, we enable others to come to their own resolutions. The truth is, only when someone deeply understands their issue will they take action.
Most of us in business are problem solvers, and the answer to someone else’s problem or challenge often seems obvious, so we rush in with advice without stopping and asking questions. What I have learned, and continue to be reminded of daily, is that by asking more poignant questions, the resulting answer may not only be better, but it may also be different than what we perceived as evident before we asked.
When we ask the better question, we offer the other person the gift of self-exploration, and in return, we may have the privilege of witnessing a transformation.