Deepak Chopra said that what we call coincidence is a sign of being "on path." If so, this is a story about path.Read More
I've been thinking a lot about the work of Carol Dweck about two contrasting mindsets-- the first is the growth mindset where we think that intelligence and other ability is malleable. And if we keep working at it we will do better.
The second is what she calls a fixed mindset--where we think talents and intelligence are pretty much a given. Fixed. And when I hit a setback it means I'm not as smart as they tell me.Read More
A few days ago, working with leaders from nonprofits who serve elders, I opened with a poem. When we took a break, one of the executives whose leadership experience before entering eldercare was in the military, asked me "Why don't you leave a moment of silence after you read a poem?"
I was startled. And appreciative of his question. I'm a great proponent of the power of silence--as you can see in the poem of mine that follows--but with poems, especially my own, I have a hard time practicing what I preach.Read More
One of the practices that I use in various leadership programs is what I call "soft-ball" questions--questions to which only the person we are asking could possibly know the answer, And once we get the answer we can't possibly second guess the person. They are the complete authority on their answer. Questions like: "When did this first begin to trouble you?" "What have you thought about doing?" These questions which come from the hundreds of year old Quaker tradition of the clearness committee draw out the wisdom of the other--or as Parker Palmer says, they"listen the other person into their own knowing."Read More
Turning points and steppingstones
The turning points,
As some adversity
She said that
With a depth of
From her life—
Out of the blue
She would see
They had created—
But in the moment
Or grief, uncertainty
Her words still ring:
The turning points
In life oft show themselves
As some adversity
Or unexpected opportunity.
And those to come?
Judy Brown, May 5, 2012
-from Stepping Stones to be released Fall 2014, contact us to reserve a signed copy.
A further thought in line with the poem: A gift of a quote from a colleague from a Portuguese proverb that the French love to use--"God writes straight on crooked lines"--profoundly true in so many things that happen that may seem bad but actually turn out for the best.
This last week a group of twenty-five of us met for the third and final week together in our leadership program. As has been our tradition, we began and ended our gathering with a check-in/check-out process, what we have begun to call a "fire circle". Round-robin, one at a time, we listen to each others musings, and reflections on what is most on our hearts and minds.Read More
The January 30th NY Times had an intriguing article by Thomas Freidman suggesting that something called PQ and CQ could be more important than IQ in a world in which increasing numbers of folks have open and low-cost access to information, education, and news via I-phones, IPads, and I-everythings. (Not withstanding the observation you and I could make that people of struggle may not have the I-everythings to access all this abundant resource.)Read More
If you have goats you will have goat problems.
Last year my friend Grace said in passing, when I was worrying out loud about something or other, "Well if you have goats, you will have goat problems." Not that I had goats, but she had spotted that I seemed to talk a lot about problems. Problems associated with various things in my life. My schedule. My travel. The ability to meet deadlines. And I was working very hard at problem solving about those things.
The question of how to lead people through the uncertainties and fears of tough times has long fascinated me. It is an inquiry which I have carried across all sectors, many fields. So I particularly appreciate the invitation to share with leaders in the field of aging services, what seem to me to be a dozen critical leadership practices for such times.Read More
A friend tells me that when there are no words and still we know we must persist, we are in the presence of the transcendent. That is perfect territory for a poet, for whom words are at the heart of the matter, and yet for whom the act of writing is always, like following the tracks of a small animal in fresh snow, an effort to point toward the elusive, the paradoxical, the transcendent.
I ask you to join me in that process.Read More