#thIMPULSE - EDITION 03.2020 - Leap year
thoughts & impulses about change & progress.
I am a flexible, adaptable, spontaneous PLANNER.
I love to have a plan and have my agenda fixed.
Of course I am flexible, can adjust and cater for changes.
But nevertheless, I like to have a plan, be in control and on top of things.
Recently I realized how much I suffer due to this. Or better how difficult it is for me to let go of things out of my control (which are pretty much 99% of the things in life I would guess).
I have left now the corporate world for quite some time.
However the automatism still works.
When in doubt or unsure I find myself insisting on: planning, preparing and executing. In itself I do not think this is wrong. But then, when unpredictable, unplannable and uncontrollable things happen in life, it gets tough.
In these moments, crystal clear and transparent becomes unsure and unforeseeable.
Exactly here a great change mindset should come in handy.
I ask myself: Where is my great change mindset now?
I am realizing, I am not always as easy on change as I am thinking (and maybe also pretending) to be.
It is difficult for me to give up old believes and thought patterns for new ones.
It is difficult for me to get quickly in tune with a new situation or a new outlook.
I have a hard time to try something new, which does not look extremely appealing at first sight.
I have difficulties to shift my perspective when the new direction is unclear.
This is where I am currently struggling with.
Of course the miracle drug: stay in the present, breath, relax…
But then again, it is tempting to wander into the past and compare…
It is distracting to imagine and plan a bright future…
But back at square one: here and now.
Maybe instead of executing a plan for the FUTURE prepared in the PAST, the relevant question is:
How can I ensure my happiness and the happiness of others exactly in this moment? Knowing that only this moment I am able to live, experience and influence. And my interpretation of this emotion will create my perceived happiness or sadness.
All past experiences and future scenarios are NOT relevant for my life-trajectory NOW.
Hold on, yes they could potentially be, but only if I let them take the upper hand…
I have the choice…I can also just…
Happy change and progress!
Today is 29th of February 2020.
A day which is not happening every year, so a special day.
2020 is a leap-year, which is re-occurring every four years, with one exception: when the year can be divided by 100 (can it be divided by 400 a leap-year will take place, complicated).
It exists in order to balance the difference between a calendar year and an astronomical year (sun calendar). A sun year lasts roughly 365,2422 days, which is basically 365 days and six hours. So to synchronize every four years this has to be adjusted by adding the 29th of February into the calendar to avoid the seasons to shift.
Historically it goes back to Julius Caesar, who created this adjustment in 45BC.
Due to the rarity of the 29th of February, there is a popular believe that it holds a significant spiritual power.
From a numerological perspective, 29 breaks down into 2+9, which is 11.
11 is considered to be the number of awakening and spiritual enlightenment.
Many experts also believe that the rarity creates a vibration which causes a ripple effect within us.
This ripple creates an opportunity to “leap” forward.
Observe synchronicities that lead towards awakening and purpose
Focus on a cause you want to advance
Ground yourself in nature
Business Tools for free
Canva – the APP – a one stop shop for designs, to be handled entirely on your smart phone (there is also the web interface, which I do not find practical at all, though).
I love photos, graphics and designs.
In my current phase of using social media quite frequently I have a huge need for simplified tools that can support on the creative side.
For photos Canva is the perfect match.
The world of photoshop, adobe illustrator…is far too hard and complicated for me.
Canva is simple to use. You have a fantastic toolbox of modes, designs and templates. You can directly use it as interface to post.
It is 100% catering to my current needs.
AND, the basic version is FREE.
Business Idea for free
Bark free – remote control
In residential neighborhoods and rural areas, lots of people have dogs on their property. Dogs are fantastic, great companions and protectors. The only issue arises when neighbors come home late at night. As soon as the first dog senses it and starts barking, yes, the rest cheers in. For the neighbors who have a light sleep this means waking up by a dog concert.
A device which functions like a garage remote control. It communicates with a small receiver on every neighbor's dog’s neckless. Before entering or just about when the first dog barks, you press the remote control and, by e.g. dispensing an odor or sound, the dogs get to know that it is a friendly neighbor and don’t bark or cease to bark.
Of course there is the add on service which can be offered, the service of training the dogs to cease to bark when smelling or hearing the cue.
As me, living the past years on the outskirts and in rural areas, it would be the perfect product and service for my good night of sleep!
If the idea resonates with you and you want exchange…I am happy you contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Story about Culture
Yin and yang part ll.
Having explored the notion of chaos and order (in EDITION 02.2020 - http://bit.ly/3a2A4NC), which is an extremely valuable (but very hard and sometimes painful) one, there is a second offspring I got to know only quite recently:
Meet Ms. Yin!
I am Happy that Ms. Yin came into my life, although she is a tough cookie for me…
I have known only Mr. Yang so far:
intense football in my youth.
partying and traveling especially during my student times.
ambition fueled career building.
creating an international family.
up-and-down shifting, changing and joggling with ideas such as creating a company, or not, mixed with the drive for independence and freedom, infused with the wish to find joy, passion and purpose.
Most of these things were not in chronological order, but rather overlapping. And if you would have asked me, ideally: everything at the same time!
Mr. Yang on my right shoulder is nodding happily, like an approving father: Well done son! Go on!
With this behavior, Mr. Yang is representing the society or culture we are living in. People expect to have intense, heavily charged and busy agendas of DOING stuff.
Always on, always reachable, always in action.
As we have a right shoulder we also have a left shoulder.
In times of change, you try to explore all options. So I got to look on my left shoulder more and more recently. And what do I find sitting there:
Somebody who usually keeps silent, or better, is heavily overpowered by the right shoulder.
Somebody who is quite, patient and resilient.
Somebody who has all the time in the world to wait, see and observe.
Somebody who knows that one day we will notice her.
Somebody who is not meant to be appealing, as the society is not favoring her as much. Her voice has only been magnified in recent years.
Somebody who gets definitely noticed when health starts to decline, accidents or burn-out happen and suffering commences.
Somebody when these things happen, we would wish that we would have had a closer look earlier.
I think mindfulness and attentiveness help to have a look at her earlier.
When actually looking closer at her, we will see that she is beautiful and she can really take care of us:
She is genuinely interested in us, our mind, body and soul.
When we cherish her, her being and her mission, more is given back.
She can be in perfect harmony with Mr. Yang, if we are able to give her enough space, time and patience.
The formula seams very simple:
I say more often no, hold on or relax to Mr. Yang (especially for the things I do not really want but are imposed on me by society, the look of others, friends,…).
I say more often yes to Ms. Yin (especially when things get tough, challenging and stressful) by sitting still, breathing and just doing NOTHING for a moment.
What I realized, the more I listen to Ms. Yin (which is very difficult still now), the more effective I am when executing what Mr. Yang wants.
So overall it is WIN-WIN, it is actually a free-lunch….Ah, it could be, but it is so tempting for me to ignore, neglect or just overhear her silent whispers.
So here the note to myself:
1) There is Ms. Yin.
2) Ms. Yin is actually attractive.
3) When catering for Ms. Yin, Mr. Yang is even more happy with me…
But I have to start listening and leaning in to her….and that’s the hard part especially in the ACTION culture we are living in.
Impulse about Leadership
Please tell me what to do…
Most people think or verbalize this when they encounter something new or unknown.
Especially in big companies leaders are often confronted with such kind of attitude (or at least I have been…not always to be fair).
In general, we are happy when somebody takes the initiative and decides what to do.
I am happy when somebody takes the initiative and decides what to do.
Then I am feeling relieved because:
I don't have to take the responsibility.
I don't have to think.
I don't have to take a risk.
I don't have to leave my own little comfort fpr the known.
And when things go south, I can’t be blamed. Very important!!
The big question I am asking myself…
What is my value add in this case?
And, what will I learn with this behavior?
And in the case of being a leader and my employees are having this attitude, I ask myself:
What kind of leader does this make me?
What is the value add of such an employee?
What will the employee learn?
What kind of culture does this attitude show?
I came to the conclusion that with this attitude real growth is impossible.
I came to the conclusion that with this attitude:
Companies can’t successfully grow,
Leaders can’t do their job,
Employees can’t thrive,
Individuals can’t learn nor be really motivated nor satisfied with what they are doing.
Having worked in the corporate environment and now as a coach and consultant, I came to realize there is a need for a different leadership pattern.
Very early in my career, I had the chance to work with a boss who gave me lots and lots of responsibility.
For me this was very tough in the beginning. Also for me my natural go to was to ask for a solution, a decision or even an “order” from my boss.
However due to time constraints, missing face time and his style of leadership I was forced (and was actually quite happy) to try-out myself, experience on my own and just do it. Additionally I got the opportunities to explore and make mistakes - of course not twice the same mistake, but surely once.
When then being myself in a leadership role, I reproduced especially the parts I liked.
My general focus was – as so often in work and life – COMMUNICATION.
I think the key is that employees need to feel safe around asking any question and feeling to get support anytime (it does not mean having access anytime but having the feeling of support).
When the employee takes the courage and steps forward to ask a question, then things get interesting.
First, that’s a good sign.
The employee comes, trusts and asks: “How am I supposed to continue...?”
Now there are two ways of approaching this question:
1. You give the answer or you try to give the answer…
Unfortunately this means we are returning to the more classic management style. The boss, the omniscient, lets his employees run independently (which creates motivation), but if they no longer know what to do, he grabs his scepter again. He knows the result or supposedly knows and gives input. The employee is happy, returns to continue his task and has learnt, when in doubt, the boss knows.
What could be an alternative?
2. Rather questions than answers…
asking simple guiding questions (e.g. where to find the information, who has additional information...).
changing the answer (that is known) into a question (e.g. the sales channel retailer would be interesting vs. Have you ever thought about other sales channels? Which one do you think of? Which do you think would be interesting?).
This gives the employee the opportunity to think about the possible options, consequences and results themselves.
The employee analyzes and evaluates.
Within this process (which of course can take a little more time), the employee is suddenly able to decide.
Now the icing on the cake:
What if the employee thinks he/she has chosen the right path but you as the manager know or think you know better?
I think at this moment you can perhaps ask another question of understanding or initiate another analysis. If this still leads to a mismatch (which is not known to the employee), how about trusting the employee?
There is a risk, but the upside might be: profound learning, enhanced motivation and growth (especially when the employee is right).
In today’s leadership language there is this concept of the “servant leader” (“A Servant Leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.” Wiki), which I think is very relevant these days and close to what I am considering good leadership. I just call it “coachant leader”.
The coachant leader is not considering him/herself the expert, nor the decision-maker but rather as a sparring partner (or as a coach):
He/She trusts his employees.
He/She is convinced that the employees know better the circumstances, their daily business and most likely the correct answer.
He/she knows that by empowering people, they will step up to the game and take on the responsibility of the task in hand and the decision.
He/She understands that the world is not about him, but about how to achieve results in the most effective manner with his team. Namely, by giving responsibility, the benefit of the doubt and motivating employees to take it on and stand up for the results produced.
Impulse about Change
A new approach to FREEDOM.
Freedom is one of my top values.
I want to be able to do anything at any time.
I think individual freedom is one of the world’s greatest achievements.
As it is written in the American declaration of independence:
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.“
I am feeling rage when people are dined freedom as one of their birth rights.
But what do I actually mean with freedom?
“Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint.” (wiki)
So I consider freedom as having the possibility to choose from anything anytime?
What could be a formula to freedom:
On the one hand there is the aspect of opportunities to chose from. The more opportunities I have the more freedom I might experience as an individual.
If we make this practical one could say:
I experience freedom when I am in charge of deciding which shirt to wear in the morning.
I feel freedom if I have the choice of which breakfast cereal to eat (or not to).
I consider myself free, if I can travel wherever I want.
As nowadays the landscape of opportunities is getting bigger and bigger (thanks to internet, globalization…), of course, also the offer for making choices gets bigger and bigger. We have access to everything anytime (e.g. via our smartphones), the freedom of choice gets infinite.
The second crucial aspect is the interaction with others that might limit our freedom.
If I now consider the aspect of me living in a community or within a social group (e.g. family):
How about the freedom to decide when to wake up in the morning? If you are single you might be free to do so but how about me being married and having kids?
How about the freedom to work whenever and wherever you want? If I am self-employed I could potentially choose where to work from but how about when working for a big company?
Also this list can be extend endlessly.
Of course what we see is that the more we interact with others, the notion of freedom might become less and less obvious, or we might even consider being unfree.
So we have the vast amount of opportunities to chose from and we have the interaction with others that might limit our perceived freedom.
If we now consider one more aspect within our equation for freedom, the psychological aspect of FOMO (fear of missing out). This anxiety is increasingly present within most of the social reference groups thanks to social media. It is triggered by the display of endless opportunities mixed with the arising jealousy and anxiousness as we compare ourselves to others that actually make use of the endless opportunities.
In times where it is more important to count the places you have been too, rather than having lasting memories regardless the place you are in.
In times when the objective to do something is not anymore the experience itself but the possibility to showcase this achievement to a maximum of social media followers.
In times when the instant gratification (a like) gets more important than the long-term savoring.
Are we then experiencing freedom?
Recently I read a great quote which made me think:
“Freedom is not the absence of commitments, but the ability to choose and commit myself to what is best for me.” Paulo Coelho
Honestly speaking, once I reflected about this concept (Mark Manson talks about it, Jordan Peterson talks about it….) it really made sense to me, especially in our fast paced, opportunity rich and always changing environment.
“My commitments create my freedom”.
If I really commit to one person, one house, one sport, one holiday destination, one friend, one work, one passion…the probability of experience freedom for myself is far higher than always seeking more then one.
So I think it is worth changing the focus and consider:
Committing to fewer but things that really matter.
Speaking our truth rather than staying vague.
Deciding rather than keeping all options open.
Saying yes or no rather than maybe.
Sāi Wēng lost his horse (塞翁失馬)
“Sāi Wēng lived on the border and he raised horses for a living. One day, he lost one of his prized horses. After hearing of the misfortune, his neighbor felt sorry for him and came to comfort him.
But Sāi Wēng simply asked, How could we know it is not a good thing for me?
After a while, the lost horse returned and with another beautiful horse. The neighbor came over again and congratulated Sāi Wēng on his good fortune.
But Sāi Wēng simply asked, How could we know it is not a bad thing for me?
One day, his son went out for a ride with the new horse. He was violently thrown from the horse and broke his leg.
The neighbors once again expressed their condolences to Sāi Wēng, but Sāi Wēng simply said, How could we know it is not a good thing for me?
One year later, the Emperor’s army arrived at the village to recruit all able-bodied men to fight in the war.
Because of his injury, Sāi Wēng’s son could not go off to war, and was spared from certain death.”
After having worked on targets, the next two questions will circle around values (our guiding principles):
What are five situations in your life you are really proud of and why?
Take one page per question and describe the situation in detail. Afterwards explain why these situations were so important in your life. This should take no more than 20 minutes.
Afterwards have a look at your five stories and try to critically assess which values are described within. Write them down and reflect on if you can identify yourself with these values. If there are more that come to your mind, feel free to add.
Thanks for reading until the end...I feel humbled and grateful!
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Impulse about Change