Sunday, 21 March 2010

Simply STOP what you're doing

In the book I've written Stop is the first step out of the creek and getting back on track. The more I work with people and talk on the subject the more important I realise Stopping is when doing anything in life.

It's easy to understand metaphorically when we're up the creek that stopping would be useful. It's easy to understand that to not continue to move up the creek any further might be useful. It's easy to understand that stopping might provide time to assess the situation and understand what direction to take in the future. It's also easy to understand that going around like a headless chicken isn't helping. It just doesn't seem so easy to do it and STOP. It's as if the one thing that would help - ie stopping is the one thing we're unable or unwilling to do.

What I realise is stopping is important at any new turn in the river not just when we're up the creek. That is before committing to taking a particular course in the river stop and reflect on what's driving the decision and understand how it aligns with your passion and purpose in life. It's only then that you can ensure you start to avoid the creeks in life.

Love and Acceptance

Please find below highlights and insights from a solo Transformation Game with the intention 'I intend to love and accept myself exactly as I am'. Further details of the process used can be found in the 'Transformation Game' article found on the list of articles on the RHS of this screen.

Please note the Transformation Game is used with a personal rather than business audience. Some of the language and examples used therefore are more appropriate for a personal audience - I have however chosen not to translate nor amend the notes here. Instead I invite you to simply amend any words or ignore any examples that get in the way of your learning and any insight taking place.

I have used a game played on behalf of a character from my forthcoming book and facilitated by her coach. Anne is 35 and got divorced three years ago. Whilst everyone else thinks she's doing well she's constantly tired and certainly isn't as happy as everyone expects her to be.

For Anne the challenge with loving herself exactly as she is has been the constant need for development and belief that there's a perfect state of being that she needs to attain. Which meant she realised that she would only love herself when she achieves that state of perfection and not before!

What about you? Before reading further you may wish to spend some time considering your own relationship with the intention. Do you love and accept yourself exactly as you are? If not are there certain times or certain people who help you to do this and others who hinder? How would life be different if you did? With that in mind please consider your reaction to the following cards, and where helpful Anne's interpretation (Playing a game, whether on your own, with others, facilitated or not would of course add a depth of exploration we've not been able to share here):

Angel: of Delight :-).
For Anne this was a reminder to enjoy the journey of life not make it about continual improvement. Which of recent times seems to have reinforced a belief in the lack of perfection rather than see the perfection in simply being.

Insight: You are able to point out a friends lack of awareness without appearing judgmental or making them feel inadequate or inferior.
Which prompted her coach to ask Anne if she can do this with others why not herself? A reminder that she wasn't inadequate nor inferior even if she had things she wanted to change.

Setback: You are setback by your infatuation.
The dictionary describes infatuation as 'a foolish or exaggerated passion'. They wondered in this context whether that meant that passion for perfection is foolish? Of course the key is understanding how that sets us back and for Anne it was the procrastination that comes from not doing things until she's got better or reached perfection! As Anne remembered a time when she did this then she realised it's also taking a lot to energy to hold herself back from doing all those things she wants to do in the world. No wonder she was tired!

(If you're exploring your own relationship to the cards you may want to identify and fully describe a time when you were set back infatuation too. This is the case for all setbacks as connecting with the pain involved may help release the setback.)

Angel: of Purification.
For Anne connecting to this energy felt like a release of all the beliefs that she had that had kept her infatuated with perfection. "A bit like turning off the PC and turning it on again when we've tried everything else to resolve a problem!" she said.

Insight: You meet the needs of others as though they were your own.
When Anne thought about doing this, because her focus was on being of service to the other person, she forgot about the unhelpful beliefs and just accepted that who she was enough.

Setback: You are set back by your resentment.
Yes resentment of all those people who Anne thought had achieved perfection and who she'd put up on a pedestal! The real setback was resentment took up time and energy and resulted in lack of focus on what she wanted to be doing. So a reminder to start taking the initiative and also be grateful and appreciative when she saw people clearly doing what she knew she wanted and could do.

Insight: You stepped out and crossed over the line beyond your dreams, beyond your drama and into the truth of life.
Anne loved this card. She said "It's such a great reminder to just blinking get on with it and stop faffing about!". Life could be so much more than it is and Anne realised it was only herself stopping her doing that!

Setback: "I'm not willing to put myself out there unless I'm 100% sure"
A GREAT reminder that this belief still has the capacity to stop us in our tracks! That stepping out beyond our drama means putting ourselves out there NOW.

(What about you? what could you do today to put yourself out there? Whilst reading our interpretations might be useful finding your own relationship with the cards will help you understand any actions you could be taking.)

Insight: Tough assignments are only given to the best students.
:-) - A reminder Anne could handle it.

Setback: You are set back by your defensiveness.
Anne got very defensive when discussing this card. As she connected with the feeling of defensiveness she realised she stopped listening, started defending and justifying and just dug herself into a big hole. A hole that took some time to get out of once the reason for the defences had gone. Not that helpful really she realised.

(What are you being defensive about?)

Setback: You are set back by your attachment.
Anne realised she was attached to 'developing' and that attachment was driving a lot of behaviours which were getting in the way of being in the moment and enjoying the journey. Which continued from the last setback on not listening and added: not noticing, not enjoying, not exploring, not laughing, not.. not... not... mmm which sort of defeats the object she realised!

Which Anne summarised when she said "I'm making it much too much hard work and I need to get into that energy of Delight, Transformation and Magic that I talk about often not this constant not being enough anal gazing!"

Insight: I love and accept myself exactly as I am.
They did laugh when this card emerged as it seemed to be suggesting Anne was nearly there even if she still had one more insight to go. The 5 awareness tokens (rather than 3 for most insights) that came with the card were a reminder of the benefit to be gained from truly embracing this affirmation. Anne started to understand how life would be different as a result and how happiness was in the moment not something to be found when certain criteria where achieved.

Anne's last card was
Insight: I forgive everyone, I forgive myself, I forgive all past experience. I am free!
Which seemed to be about forgiving herself for the past and fully connecting with the angel of delight!

(What about you? How do you relate differently to the affirmation ' I love and accept myself exactly as I am'? What actions have you identified as you read these notes - when will you take them? Do you need to share them with anyone to ensure they get done?)

The process, insight, setback and angel cards used here are from the Transformation Game copyright Innerlinks

The Transformation Game can be purchased from Amazon and Findhorn. Facilitated games are available worldwide and games for 1-12 people are currently available in Scotland with the author and other UK locations and worldwide if you want me there in the future.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Business values - time to wake up and smell the coffee

As a business owner do your business values reflect your own personal values or do they additionally include values that ensure the sustainability of the business? As a manager of an organisation are the values consistent with still being here in a year's time?

In the preparation for a session I facilitated I had to explore a variety of business values statements and I was surprised with what I found. Values statements are intended to reflect the values that will ensure those working for the organisation know why they're doing what they're doing and how to do it.

Lets just compare 3 organisations stated values:
Integrity, Honesty, Openness, Personal Excellence, Constructive Self Criticism, Continual Self Improvement and Mutual Respect.
Body Shop
Against Animal Testing, Support Community Trade, Active Self Esteem, Defend Human Rights, Protect Our Planet.
Innocent Drinks
Natural, Entrepreneurial, Generous, Commercial, Responsible.

I'd suggest looking at the values statements that Innocent Drinks is the one that has taken seriously the need for the values to reflect reality and to include the need to sustain the organisation in the future.

A real eye opener for me and a reminder that my business isn't me and needs to have different (or perhaps just additional) values that are more entrepreneurial.

When did you last turn your mobile off?

..and I mean for more than an hour for a meeting? Asking people this question has generated such a great response with lots of "Yes ...but" excuses and yes I mean excuses. Is anything so important 365 days a year to mean we can't have just one day without access to the phone?

I went to Islay the other weekend and had 5 days without turning on my PC. Yes no LinkedIn, no Twitter and no blog for 5 days!! However despite intermittent reception I never turned my mobile off - now that would have been a step too far!!

However it was in one remote part of the island where I could hear nothing except nature (water, wind, seals, birds etc) that I finally got it. I could feel myself letting go of all the constant doing and I relaxed and of course life seemed a lot different from this more grounded place.

The first step out of the creek is Stop and it really means STOP. Take time to ground and feel connected to nature and the living world around you. It's only then that you can be certain that decisions made are not based on fear.

So if your response to me suggesting you turn your phone off is "that's cool and a great idea" you don't really need to. If your response involves any excuses I'd suggest you do.