Leadership

good morning...

Good morning! It's gonna be a great week. My nurses are here this week- a cohort of 20 senior leaders graduating after being with us in a leadership program for 3 years. I'm gearing up for the next four days of wonderful insanity by sipping some turmeric ginger green tea out of my favorite mug from the local coffee shop Green Bean Golden Gate.All good things- giddy up!

phfffoto

Comments

new things.

In order to get something different you have to do something different. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I have been in the learning curve space recently, and lots of new and challenging things have come into my path this past year. Getting out of our comfort zones is one of these cliche things we hear platitudes about and don't give a second thought. But actually BEING out of the comfort zone on a regular basis in several different areas of life- whew! The learning curve is something we talk about in my work with people on their leadership journeys, where we see our growth over time, then a plateau... we can either grow again and learn something new, which dips us down into a valley initially, but we end up higher than when we started, or stay where we are, comfortable and content. If we choose continual growth, the cycle repeats and we go through valleys, and then new, higher peaks with each new area we develop.

This is embodying a growth (versus fixed) mindset (Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization). Being in a growth/learning phase can be uncomfortable! Tonight for example, I went to an event alone. I just realized coming home that I went to an event alone and sober on New Year's Eve! And it was no big deal! There were plenty of people there that I knew so I wasn't the least bit worried. I got a migraine today and so drinking was out of the question. My favorite place in this area was having its last show ever tonight, and I knew it was the right place for me to be so I went. Didn't think anything of going alone, until several people mentioned it and questioned me on it (when asked why, they said, because they never go places alone). Sure, there were a few awkward moments and me just standing around, decidedly more sober than everyone else present. But I just did my thing anyway- why would I let a little social awkwardness get to me? Everyone is awkward in some way or another.

Towards the end of the night when I was getting my coat on to leave, I ended up in an unexpected and really nice conversation with someone that would not have happened had I not ridden through those awkward moments. I ended up rambling on to this person about all the growing pains I'm experiencing from the stretches in my life currently, and even talked about the learning curve effect, and how my confidence has been shaken a bit in certain areas. To steal a line from Meredith in a recent Grey's Anatomy episode, "Progress looks like a bunch of failures." Yes!

I talked to my party companion about how happy I am currently with my own company, and how I realized doing my biannual New Year's letter today all the growth that has been transpiring, and how when I let go of something that kept me squarely in the comfort zone (which can be so hard to get out of, because - its comfortable!) it opened up tremendous space for movement in my life that hasn't stopped coming!


I don't really know how to fake things, truthfully, particularly in conversation... but what you will get from me is genuineness. I don't know how to put on an act or play a game. I am just me at face value, and I "put things out there" as the saying goes. While it can feel unnerving sometimes for me, I'm thinking that maybe it is a good quality to have (we really suck at being insightful in any way towards ourselves). I've been saying a lot lately that the coach needs a coach! And tonight I was pleasantly surprised to have one. I brought up the saying that we are most like the 5 people we spend the most time with, so choose wisely... and we discussed trusting our instincts with people. I left with a smile on my face and inspired to write this post. Not bad for an evening out, alone Happy.


learner-know-thyself-27-638
This quote reminds me of something my friend Cat says that works for her- you want to find the sweet spot where you feel both Safe, and Brave. Don't you just love that? My word for 2014 was Change and my 2015 word is Courage. So I hope to introduce them both even more in the New Year!

clampitt-figure-1-jan-2002

Comments

Mr. Roy Williams.

On this world HIV/AIDS awareness day, I recognize the most influential teacher and mentor I've ever had. Mr. Roy Williams was a beautiful soul, kind, loving, fun, thoughtful, encouraging, and supportive, among many outstanding qualities. These are my friends that I came to know well with him, and cherished our special time together in our youth, playing brain games, pushing each other, and relishing this safe space he created for us. I remember being so excited when we all worked together to surprise him on his birthday Happy He wrote me COLLEGE recommendation letters, even though our time officially ended in elementary school; we always stayed connected. He came to my piano recitals, games, and always wrote lovely notes in his memorable penmanship.

Losing him at such a young age spurred my activism and involvement in HIV/AIDS work, and in health care in general- I can only hope to bring a small piece of his beautiful legacy and compassion to my work. He has touched so many people's lives as he did mine. I'm forever grateful for the impact he has had on me and am thinking of him and his family today.
❤️  He is STILL inspiring me, just thinking of him today and seeing his writing, his powerful words which shaped me and gave me confidence I needed and still need- I'm inspired to go do and be more right this second. That is a powerful legacy.

Mr Williams

Comments

the journey.

I am taking part in a program that greatly enriched myself last year, serving as a mentor for black and Latino youth. We chose images that represented where we were at the beginning of our journey, and one for where we are headed. I found this simple exercise to be very powerful and it evoked strong emotions in me, as the mentoring experience has overall, learning more about myself than I could have imagined.

I chose the image of the girl with the suitcase for where I was at the beginning of my journey. Curious, innocent, a deep thirst for travel and adventure, and ready to get on the road and see the world at a very young age. This describes me well-- when I was age 10 I went to England alone to visit family and felt ready to move out on my own after that, empowered and with a strong taste for independence.

The outstretched hands are where I’m going, even though I fight it sometimes with my own self- deprecation (fear of success thread)-- I am a reluctant role model, teacher, healer, even though something tells me that I’m already well down that path and there’s no turning back.

In my secret heart of hearts I want this. I want to be the life force that a few very special people were to me, who have inspired me and saved me beyond belief. I want to “give back” in this way.

At present, I walk the tracks between these two-- the girl with her suitcase, and the wise, soulful woman. I embrace this journey.

Comments

enfp

In Myers Briggs land, I am an ENFP. Formerly an ENFJ, with some J holdovers for sure, like list-making and calendars and scheduling. But I also do these things to calm and combat my naturally raging P. I find that most things I read on ENFP's are pretty right on, both in strengths and potential areas for growth.

If you haven't heard of this assessment, I would encourage you to check it out:
www.16personalities.com. It isn't for everyone, and not all find things that speak to them or that they strongly identify with. For me, probably because I score highly on most of the 4 measures (what the letters stand for), I find it to be a pretty accurate descriptor and a useful tool in better understanding myself, and improving my interactions with people. It's good to know what others are in your life too so you can see where you rub- awareness is the first step, and then learning to self-modulate and be adaptable to other's personality types is the goal for relational harmony. Understanding and valuing difference goes a long way towards this.

I've worked on this quite a bit over the last few years. I value knowledge and wisdom, so I enjoy learning and personal development. Working at an organization committed to helping people better understand themselves and their leadership potential, I am exposed to these assessment acronyms regularly, and they have rubbed off on me to say the least. There are plenty of other assessment tools besides this one, and they supplement each other nicely to give you a fuller picture.

Learning what gives and drains you of energy, your preferences in relating to the world, how you make decisions (heart or head, very crudely), and how you control and act gives you power to navigate life in a more intentional way.

This is a classic ENFP quote - I can relate! Happy
IMG_2587

Comments

compassion

I loved this recent article in the July/August issue of Ode Magazine:

The compassion instinct:
Research shows that a compassionate attitude towards others improves mental and physical health. ~ Larry Gallagher

Too bad you can't read it online Sad. Are they trying to thwart my paper hoarding tendencies?? Happy But here's a readable one with many of the same info and sources: Click here to read more

It's a really interesting idea, and I love the sounds of the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley!
Comments

resiliency.

I work at a neat non-profit where we dream up ways to help others be better leaders all day. Mostly it’s just a job just like any other, but sometimes it taps into what is at the core for all of us-- how to be a better version of ourselves. How to get to know ourselves. And better yet, how to be our most authentic, best selves.

This is the part where my ears perk up as I work to embrace my true nature, from a time in my youth when I was truly just Me, before disease, popularity, fitting in, conformity, non-acceptance, jealousy, depression, loneliness, bills, jobs. I was pure curiosity and sheer joy, inquisitive, investigative, fun-loving, entrepreneurial, and had a true zest for life and all it’s details. I Lived In The Moment.

At work we were talking about a health & wellness component to one of our programs, and someone suggested that it be worked as Resiliency instead. I loved the ring of that word. It was only Tuesday, but the week had already felt 3 years long, with work weighing me down, boyfriend, friends, health issues, all seeming to reach pivotal stress points simultaneously, and I was feeling left with very little left gas in the tank. I’ve cried enough to fill a river this week thus far. I’ve given 110%, and was in a position to realize (again) that in the end, it is every man and woman for themselves.

When a friend of mine told me this years ago when I was literally on my death bed from this disease and feeling full of despair, as cold and isolating as that thought sounds, it actually gave me some power and hope. She is a very wise woman, my friend Lauren, who has been through many battles herself at her young age. It gives me a strange feeling of comfort to mull this over. Mostly because it is in such stark contrast to my usual sociologist’s desire for an interconnected, interwoven, loving, full-of-people and support based life.

It takes me back to why resiliency has struck a chord, probably mostly because though I need others to make life bearable sometimes, I ultimately only
need myself to survive at the base level. I’m not saying thrive, no. But survive. And that is an empowering thought, knowing I can make choices and do what is best for me, regardless of how it effects anyone else, make my decisions based on what’s in my heart, and climb any mountain I choose and breathe in the air from the top. I don’t need anyone else to tell me that I am a beautiful, wise, funny, sensitive (in a good way), happy, thoughtful, kind, loving, incredible person.

I’m more comfortable looking to the external world than giving these things to myself, but I’m learning. I don’t need someone to tell me that I deserve the best, everything life has to offer and more-- after all, it is the pep talk I would give to someone else- it is just old habits and patterns that have my mind defaulting to reject this.

If I keep the mantra in mind of “what would I say to my best friend?” when talking to myself, it is overwhelmingly insightful and powerful. I’m working on closing the gap. And supporting myself and my hopes, dreams, goals, visions and aspirations, all the while remaining strong and resilient.

re·sil·ience noun \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\
Definition of RESILIENCE
1:
the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Lauren and I before my surgery, Dec. 2002
Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 8.39.27 PM 1665
43512853666 piccsy.com

Comments