Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lighten up

So I feel like I was getting too serious there. So in this entry I am reminding myself to lighten up and embrace the moments. The fun. I actually like to laugh. A lot! However, lately I've been feeling a bit motivated to get my life in order, but not at the cost of my sense of humor.

And with everything going on in the U.S. with the most interesting presidential campaign, ever. With the economy there is lots to discuss. Last night I was watching the late night hosts, and the jokes were flying. So even when things might look a bit scary; you have to remember at least it gives us lots of fodder. It makes life interesting.

I just got a call from a friend who was deciding between class and watching the vice presidential debate. Definitely, something to think about! But you can watch it over and over again. The beauty of a media culture. So find something funny and tell me about it. I need a good laugh.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spirituality in Leadership

After my spirituality in leadership dialogue class last night I left feeling uncomfortable and a bit unsettled, until I sort of clarified what was going on by talking to my friend Curtis after class. For the past two years I've been on a path of self discovery with leadership as my compass. What I've discovered is that during that path of identifying my values and my leadership style I have become more fluidly connected to my spirituality.

I realize that the two concepts for me (spirituality & leadership) or to describe it in another way, leading with love versus fear, are interwoven. Part of this process has been about me being able to share my deepest thoughts with people and trust that they will embrace my perspective and honor my voice. And what we've created and built is a 'tribe' and solid relationships. Someone said that spirituality is what holds this learning circle process together.

For me all of this stresses the interconnectedness of us all, and the inherent goodness of humanity that exists when we can find the common ground. It was a bit challenging as I really took listening to heart, and I tried to stop thinking about my comment and instead enjoyed hearing other people share their stories.

To design your best life you need others to help guide you on this path. You need to connect and to seek to understand.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thoughts to ponder: Listen, Be Consistent

The old adage is that showing up is the half the battle. I would add that the rest of it is choosing your attitude, being consistent to your values, and finally stopping to listen, really listen. Tonight I'm joining a class called Leadership & Spirituality. This class is noncredit, voluntary. All you have to do is read the same reading, then think about prechosen dialogue questions, and finally show up, listen deeply, and respond with your thoughts building upon other people's observations and perspectives.

Dialogue is much more in-depth than discussion. Normally, we talk, but to truly dialogue requires more listening, more thoughtfulness, ability to suspend judgment, and a willingness to stop formulating your answer while someone else is talking.

The Vail Leadership Institute offers this statement about dialogue: "While dialogue is an old process, used by Socrates and by many Native Americans, David Bohm, a theoretical physicist with an interest in consciousness, brought it the attention of thought-leaders more recently as a way of developing coherent shared meaning. Bohm suggested that dialogue is a 'stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us.' When used with groups, it makes possible a flow of conversation 'out of which will emerge some new understanding.'"

Today I really tried to listen as a facilitated a meeting about mission. I tried to stop formulating my answers and responding. I did okay, but now I have something to practice and over time with consistency I will get better and better at leading a dialogue versus a discussion.

To design your best life it does require you to be consistent to your values and goals. How do you maintain consistency in your life?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Meetings and working from home

Have you ever really thought about meetings? Many times they are just another listing on your calendar. The most difficult ones are those that you attend where nothing happens. Let's be honest without a solid agenda and a good facilitator most meetings could be skipped.

Today I had a productive meeting that ended a bit early, now that's awesome. I try to ensure that any meeting I facilitate are well-scheduled and to the point. When I know it's successful is when people linger to talk and catch up afterwards. There really is an art to holding a meeting. I have learned from some of the best, so I can't lay claim to having any sort of gift. But I listen, learn, and I get lots of practice holding meetings. Sorry everyone I work with...thanks for showing up.

Yesterday our work email was down. You don't realize how much you rely on email until it's gone. Then suddenly your immobilized, because you don't get that window to interrupt you with read this, now! I always say I'm only going to check it three times a day. Someday I'll master that skill.

Like anything you have to set your priorities and eliminate distractions. Speaking of eliminating distractions working from home is one way to do it. Once in awhile, I work from home, especially when I've got two meetings downvalley. It's so quiet here that I actually get stuff done, and I get to take a break to write in my blog. Nice change of pace, but usually I like to be at the office around a great group of office mates. But once in awhile with gas prices sky high it's nice to see the aspen trees outside the dining room window.

Tonight I'm taking a walk! Then it's time to focus on my needs. I have some finances to look at, some goals to set, and some relaxing to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One day at a time

So today I'm concentrating on one day at a time. I really want changes to happen quickly, but let's be honest it's about what you commit to today that matters. This morning I went to Pilates. I'm glad that I've already got in an hour of strength, stretching and movement.

I am also going to work on my schedule, and I'm trying to be more realistic about what I can accomplish in a week. Instead of overbooking myself so completely, I am planning my schedule with a more holistic view in mind. For example, work is just one section. I'm also planning in taking care of myself with exercise and with other activities that I enjoy. It seems simple, but often gets out of balance.

The other thing I'm putting in place is that I want what I do to reflect my priorities, which hasn't always been the case. This requires again a daily commitment, and it also requires me to say no. Saying no hasn't always been my forte. So I am practicing, and even when I want to automatically say yes, instead I stop and say that I need to think about it before making the commitment.

How do you keep your life in balance? Or is it possible? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting there

There really isn't anything like a spa retreat weekend. Last Sunday I was so relaxed I truly didn't know what to do with myself. Even the drive to Colorado Springs for a prevention summit didn't faze me. Then I spent three full days at a conference, which brought me back to reality. Then one day in the office. Why bother? Then Friday it was off to the Youth Leaders Council's hut retreat at Francie's Cabin in Breckenridge.

The hike and the opportunity to become a team with the adult leaders and the young adult leaders was awesome. And it is in such a beautiful setting over 11,000 feet. You definitely feel like you're on the top of the world. The moments that you remember, being hailed on and trying to catch it in your hands. Wow!

So Sunday I did have a mini-breakdown, but after recovering it prompted me to get moving. So I finally decided to go ahead and purchase my ticket to Australia. I was thinking of not going, however, I decided to go realizing that I won't see all of it, and I can return. Providence must have been smiling on me as the tickets were a bit cheaper then before, and everything fell into place. So now I'm officially heading to my fourth continent in November. Yeah!

What a difference a spa retreat and a day makes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finding time to relax

I have sort of been like a pinball lately zapping from one thing to another. For example, this week started out with a busy Monday, yesterday I had an early meeting, and I drove to Denver for an eye doctor appointment. Then I drove back, and I went to my part-time job and hung out with 12 kids. It actually was fun!

Today I barely had time to breathe. (Jason from across the hall sort of accused me of talking to myself.) I was part of the full-office cleanup crew in the morning. Next I had a two-hour meeting. I got back to the office and prepared for youth leaders interviews (along with various other tasks). Then I interviewed some awesome youth leaders who are really going to be great, finishing work about 8:15 p.m. Whew! Tomorrow will hold more of the same, however, I'm out by 3:30 (at latest ). I am heading out to relax in private hot springs and stay in a cabin.

Then Friday I am headed to a spa retreat in northern New Mexico for my friend Mary Anne's bachelorette party. I'm not sure that this retreat can get here quick enough. Right now I'm writing in my blog instead of packing, but everyone knows that packing last minute is just the way it works. The truth is that I've had massages, done yoga, and hiked, but never as one full weekend. I think I'll love the combo.

I just talked to my friend Amy, and I told her my cell phone is going be turned off. No work calls, well actually no calls for me. Remember the good ole days when we didn't have cell phones? Wouldn't kids be amazed to know that we did survive without them, happily. (Okay, I admit I do love my cell phone, but taking a time out is also wonderful).

The only other question I'm asking myself is that if you have to pack up your relaxation into three days to make it work, does that still mean you aren't getting it? That you're not running your life, but it's running you? Whatever, I'll take the three days, and maybe this stretch of bliss will inspire me to build in more daily time for me. Can't wait to tell you all about it!

How are you living your best life?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Design your best life

How can you design your best life? First to design mine I am going to embrace my unique talents and gifts. I feel most alive when I'm in flow and when creativity is taking me in new directions. To design my best life I have had to take a moment to recognize where changes are necessary.

For me those changes involve choices that I'm making. It is the small choices that matter. For example, did I chose to exercise today? Did I make good food choices. Did I take time for myself? Did I spend money that I should not have spent? Second I consider whether the choices I'm making are in line with my long-term goals.

It seems simple like common sense, really. What is needed is success along the way to keep you on the right path and a way to deal with setbacks. How to get there? Start again each day and set stretch goals to make it happen. You need to know your direction and where you're headed, otherwise you'll get well, nowhere. This time I want to get more concrete results. I have made progress, but so far not nearly enough.

So this week I am recommiting to my health: physical, financial and mental. With each area I am setting goals and figuring out my plan to reach those goals. Each week I will assess what's worked, what hasn't and make adjustments, accordingly. I know it could happen as I've always naturally done this with my career and finding the right the right place to live, and now I'm ready to apply it to my whole life.

How are you going to design your best life? Please share your thoughts as we can accomplish more together than apart. And remember, (I sometimes forget) have fun along the way! Today I had fun taking a walk after work, reveling in the setting sun.