Monday, July 29, 2013

What Inspires You? Part One.

Inspiring a Shared Vision is key practice of exemplary leadership from Kouzes and Posner's, The Leadership Challenge. Good leaders recognize the importance of inspiration. They nurture inspiration. They tune into inspiration.

 LinkedIn has a channel entitled, What Inspires Me. Many different people have shared. See

It got me to noodle. I discovered two categories for my inspiration. Here is part one of What Inspires You?

Five things...

TED Talks. Here is where I find the law of abundance! Magnificent wisdom, incredible creativity, and expansive thought that opens my mind and heart to possibilities. The diversity of presenters is amazing. The diversity of topics is astounding! Presentations are short and to the point. It's a great place to get ideas for books to read. Best of all, is only a couple of clicks away on the Internet and it's free. If you are not familiar with TED, begin with  Side note: TED is a great place to learn how to use PowerPoint correctly!

Haywood St. Church, Asheville, NC. A true community that accepts people just as they are. Judgement is left at the door. I get goosebumps when I attend. My gratitude jumps. I get renewed hope that it's possible for people of all walks of life to come together. Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, Rush Limbaugh and Jodie Foster would be welcomed!

White space. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in the late 1700s wrote “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.” One hundred years later, Claude Debussy said it in a slightly different way, "Music is the space between the notes."  In the age of big data and big distraction, I find inspiration in the white space. When I still the "chattering monkey" in my mind, I find inspiration in the calm. This becomes the "thin place" where sacred intersects with the conscious. To have the body, mind and heart align is to be in a pinnacle experience, perhaps beyond Maslow's self-actualization, maybe nirvana and definitely heaven on earth. White space becomes sacred space.

Commonplace Book. This is a moleskin in which I write down verses, proverbs, quotes, stories, poems, summaries from inspiring books, wit and humor and what to do upon my passing from this earth. This book reminds me of what is important, lessons to-be relearned, studied, marinated and digested. It is a source to go when I'm crawling through the dry-desert-of-bones. It is the one book I'd make sure to grab if our house was on fire.

Our home. It never fails. Whenever my wife or I come home from being away, Jackson, our dog, greets us with exuberance! I can have a lousy day, and Jackson is there to remind me life is good! Welcome home! Jackson is unconditional in his love. He reminds me of the  bumper sticker, "Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am!" Perhaps his gratitude comes from being rescued. 

After I get inside, I enter a sanctuary. My wife, Terri, is the creative source of making our house a home. It is a place of nurture, healing, recharging and inspiration. Some homes are furnished, others are decorated. Our home is a source of living into being.

It's your turn. What inspires you?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Tale of Two Doctors

The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown him. 
                                      - Sigmund Freud
                                                                  Earlier this year I experienced back pain like I'd not experienced before. I went to my medical doctor. He felt that I had pulled a muscle. I did not want pain medication so he suggested I try a chiropractor. 

I found a chiropractor. I made an appointment and went. I was examined and x-rayed. I was given an adjustment and suggested I return in a few days. I did return a few days later. I was shown my x-rays and told of all my structural imperfections! He recommended I come in for a series of adjustments, so I could sleep better, so I could stop taking pain medications, so I could have better digestion. I looked at him in amazement! I go to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. I doubt if I finish a small bottle of aspirin in a year. And digestion, well without giving TMI, I'm fine! He asked no questions. He made a whole lot of assumptions and didn't really address why I had come to him!

When I told my doctor I couldn't afford the treatment, he offered to touch-up my X-rays. - Henny Youngman

My wife had a swollen eye and had sought the advice of an eye doctor. He prescribed something but a couple of days later, it had gotten worse. I took her to the ER of our local hospital on a Sunday morning. The ER doctor came in and immediately sat down next to my wife and introduced himself. He then proceeded to ask thoughtful questions, taking notes and asking follow-up questions. He looked at me and began asking me challenging questions as well. He was trying to understand lifestyle, behavior, where we had been, what we had been doing, what was abnormal, what was new. He was a medical Colombo! He examined my wife's eye as well as skin around and near her eye. He surmised she had a reaction to an insect bite. He prescribed treatment. AND 24 hours later HE called my wife to find out how she was doing!

The difference between the two doctors: one asked questions, built trust, created a connection; the other made assumptions, forged distrust, created uncertainty.

Think about your leadership, your relationships, your salesmanship, your connection to other people. Do you ask questions or do you give advice? Do you try to connect by being interested or do you try to connect by being interesting? Do you tell or do you ask? Is it about you or is it about others? 

The real insight from these questions will be to ask others about your behavior. It could make a difference in your life!

 The more ignorant, reckless and thoughtless a doctor is, the higher his reputation soars even amongst powerful princes. - Desiderius Erasmus