how’s that working for you?

Photo by CloudVisual on Unsplash

Some of my worst experiences with people
had to do with me trying to convince someone else of my “great” idea.

In one way or another, I was displaying what Keith Webb calls my “know-it-all-ism”. It was not pretty, and it did not work nearly as well as I hoped it would. It often resulted in high resistance, defensiveness, or hurt feelings – none of which I intended, but I definitely caused that impact. Turns out, telling people what I think they should do doesn’t work very well for me at all.

I am reading Keith Webb’s book, The Coach Model, in preparation for a coaching training I get to attend soon. So far, the basic concepts are not brand new, but they are excellent reminders of key principles and practical helps. They have convicted me in many places and encouraged me in others. Rather than experience this range of emotions alone, I thought I’d share some of them with you!

First, a summary of the symptoms of “know-it-all-ism” – just in case you want to join me in the painful self-awareness process…

Keith explains that there are two types of “know-it-alls” – aggressive and passive:

aggressive know-it-alls:

  • are quick to speak
  • listen – until the other person takes a breath
  • have an answer for everything
  • win arguments, but lose respect

passive know-it-alls:

  • pretend to listen
  • maintain a smug facial expression
  • ask questions that subtly point out why the speaker is wrong
  • internally mock or criticize the speaker

Ouch. I am guilty of both of these.

How about you? Ever act like a know-it-all?

Thankfully, the book offers a better way. Keith Webb defines coaching as:

An ongoing intentional conversation that
empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling.

This kind of conversation eliminates the need for me to know it all. It also releases me from the self-imposed responsibility of changing the other person or correcting whatever I feel that person is not handling correctly (yet).

A coaching conversation of this type puts the attention on what God has in mind for the person and allows it to happen in His timing – not mine. There is incredible freedom in this coaching. Keith writes that freedom often feels risky – like accompanying the person on an unknown journey – but at least it will be their journey, rather than mine. I’ll have less control, but I have a feeling that will work out better for both of us.

I’m looking forward to learning more from this book and from the training. I’ll share more in a next post – stay tuned!

we deserve more

fifty shadesValentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. I have already mentioned some of the reasons why in an earlier post. This year, however, is worse than ever. My Facebook feed is full of posts about the upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” based on the book by the same name.

I have not read the book and I will not go see the movie. It holds no attraction for me. As a matter of fact, the basic idea of the content turns my stomach and makes me very angry and very sad at the same time.

I cannot avoid speaking out against this movie. Most movies would not get my attention in this way – my family will vouch for the fact that I sleep through most movies. However, it seems my WORD for 2015 is inspiring me to write this post.

I chose EMPOWER as my WORD for 2015.

All people deserve to be loved, respected, and empowered
for all the best that God created them.  

Every person is created with value, dignity, purpose and incredible power to love others and have a positive influence in our world.

One of the greatest threats to true, healthy power is disrespect, devaluing, and abuse of women. I have written about the need for advocates in the past and the amazing power that is attained when men and women work together.

Fifty Shades of Grey glamorizes disrespect, lust, abuse, manipulation, and violence of a man over a woman. The movie degrades both men and women alike, portraying self-centered, hurtful, and power-abusive attitudes and behaviors… and worse yet, the movie will premiere on a day that is supposed to honor love.

If you love yourself, your friends, and/or a special person in your life, please speak out against this movie and do not spend your time or money going to see it, not even for “curiosity”. It is not worth it.

It will not empower you to be all the best you can.

It will not empower anyone you take to see it.  

It breaks my heart to think that of how this movie – and others like it – negatively influence and distort the dreams and expectations of people searching for love today. I think of my own children and I want a very different experience for them.

As a woman who has been lovingly married for almost 30 years, I can tell you there are many greater ways to express true love. Do not settle for this low view of “love”. Both men and women can do much better than this movie. We deserve so much more.

What says love and respect to you? How do you help empower others?

powerless

IMGP1826The irony of it.

I chose my word for 2015 – empower – just a few weeks ago.

While we are still in the first month of the year, I found myself in a situation where I had no power at all.

My mother was on hospice care, and I had joined my siblings and my aunt in her end-of-life care giving.

It was a sacred time – simultaneously a sweet privilege and a suffocating responsibility to accompany her on her journey.

We wanted to beg her to stay, while at the same time we pled with God to mercifully take her quickly because she was so very ready to finish living.

We laughed with her sense of humor, we debated the best choices for her care, and we wept as we watched her suffer.

Her lucid moments provided us precious memories; her confused thoughts and agitated actions forced us to struggle for understanding and responses of grace.

Both her body and her mind were failing, but her faith, her gratitude, and her fighting spirit continued strong.

We imperfectly attempted to give her peace, encouragement, and comfort. We told her we would miss her, but that we would be ok when she chose to go.

There was nothing else I could do. I could not control the process. I could not choose the final moment.

I could only remain present, serve, pray, and love.

Those days there was One with great power in charge of the time… and it was not me.

(My amazing mom left us to live eternally with her Heavenly Father on January 19, 2015.)

There are times when power is a gift, and we are accountable for our strength and our influence. There are times when our greatest power is in submitting to another.

It may be that one of the most important elements of empowering others is helping them to discern the difference.

What has been your experience with power or empowering others?

 

My word for 2015: Empower

It did not take a lot of thought to pick my word for this coming year. The idea was on the forefront of my mind almost immediately. In the years past, it has sometimes taken more time and consideration, and I have picked words for attitudes or growth that I needed personally: authentic (2012), courage (2013), and fulfill (2104).

rocket IMG_9382This year I want to focus my energies more towards others. I have received great development, encouragement, and blessing in the last few years. I want to share that with others. So my word for 2015 is EMPOWER.

My husband read this great quote and sent it to me. It fitly describes the purpose for my life efforts this next year.

As we look ahead into the next century,
leaders will be those who empower others
.
                                            Bill Gates

I’m not sure what “empower” will look like for me, but I can guess that it will include a few of these things:

Investing time coaching and mentoring others.

Asking more and better questions and “preaching” less.

Saying “no” to doing anything someone else could do.

Controlling less.

Encouraging more.

Humility.

Paying attention and observing others.

Resourcing others with materials, trainings, and assessments – anything that will build confidence and competence in others to do and be their best.

Praying for others more.

Believing more in others’ abilities and expressing my belief to them.

Celebrating with others.

I envision in-fueling people (family, friends, other leaders around the world) with whatever they need to go places and do things that I can’t even imagine.

I look forward to seeing what they will do. Bring it on 2015!

What do you think EMPOWER looks like? What is your word for 2015?

facing future challenges

googleAlmost two years ago, my organization made a major shift to Google for our email client and file and calendar sharing. It has been a painful headache for some and an immense joy for others. I fall more towards the joy side, although it has been a steep learning curve for me too.

I am a learner, and I love systems that help me interact with others – even globally – while getting work done, so Google has won me over. I think Google has figured out some key principles that can make a big difference for the future. Here are a few of them:

  • Power has shifted from the organization to the client/consumer, and expectations are higher than ever. We can’t offer a sub-par product, at least not for long. Bad reviews trump clever marketing. Today, great products win. 
  • Most organizations today set up to minimize risk, not maximize freedom and speed. We tend to hoard information and restrict decision-making power. We need to move and change faster. We need to let go and empower.
  • We need more “Smart Creatives” – people who combine technical knowledge, business expertise, and creativity. They can do amazing things and have big impact. We need to recruit these people and provide an environment for them to thrive.
  • Smart Creatives like authenticity, small teams, plans that offer freedom and fluidity, involvement in decision-making, LOTS of communication, crazy goals, prototypes, and freedom to fail.

Communication is as important as decision-making,
and like decision-making,
it is something that most leaders think they are good at.

They are mostly wrong.

These principles challenge me when I think about my work and how I view the ideas and opinions of the coming generations… even my children.

If you want to think more about these ideas, you will enjoy the following SlideShare presentation. It is the basis for my content above.


What do you think are key principles for leaders and organizations as we move towards the future?

fulfill – a word for 2014

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. The last two years, I have picked one word to represent how I want to focus in the next year. It is a great exercise to consider what is happening in my life and how I want to grow. I encourage you to try this too!

dream!
For 2014, I have picked FULFILL.

The verb fulfill means to fill a need or want. To fulfill yourself personally means to follow your inner passion no matter who thinks it’s silly.

There are various aspects to this definition. The first idea is to bring to completion or reality; to achieve or realize something desired, promised, or predicted; to carry out a task, duty, or role as required, pledged, or expected. I believe God has created me for a specific purpose, and I want to fulfill that role.

“The place God calls you to is the place
where your deep gladness
and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
― Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC

The second idea is to gain happiness or satisfaction by fully developing abilities, potential, or character as much as natural ability or gifting makes possible.

“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else
is to be known in our full humanness,
and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else.
It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are
and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth
in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.”
― Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets

Too many times I have let other people control what I can dream or what I can do. I have allowed others’ opinions of me determine who I feel free to be.

This year, I want to believe in and act on all that God has created me to be.

I also want to do all that I can to encourage, empower, and resource others to be all that they are created to be and do. No holding back. No limits. Just fulfilled.

I sense a great adventure coming on… 🙂

What word will you pick for 2014?  I’d love to hear about it!

(** For other ideas, feel free to check out some of my words from other years…
2013 – Courage or 2012 – Authentic.)