Tag Archives: Courage

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Clarifying purpose. Being mindful. Cultivating resilience.September 13, 2017

 

I have been trying to find purpose and meaning in my life for a long time. Looking back, I would say at least since high school. What is it that we, and in particular I, am here for? What is it that will bring me passion and fill my heart? I searched for it in my Mechanical engineering studies and found bits and pieces. I also looked for it in during my MBA, but didn’t find too much there. (more…)

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Are You Focused on Outcomes That Are Too Small?August 25, 2017

 

As aspiring individuals and coaches alike, we are often inherently biased towards short term outcomes. Maybe as a coach, you’re looking ahead at six sessions where you are committed to quickly impacting your client’s life. Or, perhaps you’ve committed to six months to making some more substantive changes in your professional context and are eager to see the results. Or maybe the challenges you’re grappling with are changes that will inherently take you the next two years of concerted efforts to generate. (more…)

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Notes from the Field: Presence as the Ground of True PreparationAugust 14, 2017

 

As a psychologist and political scientist, I always felt drawn to two “acupuncture points”;  engaging systemic structures and causes that give rise to deeply challenging societal conditions, and serving individuals in their own evolution into “being for life.”  In my work right now I’m addressing both of these expressions through several new and exciting projects in societal development, conflict and negotiation? (more…)

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Want to Change? Go Further UpstreamMay 10, 2017

Recently I was hired to work with an intact team whose presenting issue was poor communication, with associated breakdowns in collaboration and decision-making. They knew they “needed to communicate better,” and by all accounts, they were absolutely right. (more…)

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Feedback Fuels Our GrowthMarch 14, 2017

Twenty years ago, I made my debut as an organizational psychologist.  Perhaps influenced by academics and my former life as an accountant, my envisioned ideal was a neutral, even stoic, helping professional.   But I failed spectacularly; I have always had preferences and get very passionate around values, ethics and methods in organizations and leadership. I’m also sensitive to dynamics and emotions in the room, find myself contracting when conflict and stress arise, and become deeply touched by the lives of my clients. (more…)

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Free To Go Off ScriptFebruary 15, 2017

I needed a breakthrough. Two important group facilitation events loomed in my near future. While I felt excited about them, I also felt terrified. As a lifelong writer who is more comfortable in the writing cave and in one-to-one mentoring situations, the very thought of guiding a group of writers gave me a chill. This was something I had veered away from religiously. But now, doors were opening and I felt called to step across the threshold. I could no longer say no. (more…)

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Facilitation can set you freeMay 15, 2015

When I facilitate, I’m usually scared. Excited, curious, engaged. But definitely also scared.

Scared of being obtuse and failing to deliver what the group needs. Scared I’ll offend someone. Scared something will happen that I can’t handle and I’ll freeze, revealing my incompetence.

In short, I’m scared I’ll get booed right off the stage.

Standing in front of a group of people is evocative. Whether you love the adrenalin or you hate it, there’s always a spike when you find yourself look out across a sea of faces that are all staring back. At. You.

So I’m just going to come out and say it: people are scary to me. Not all of them equally or in the same way. But in a very real sense (as we often talk about in the Integral Facilitator program) it makes sense that we might be scared of other people—historically, humans were many times more likely to be killed by another human than another predator.

And yet despite the obvious statistical risk of annihilation, I find myself drawn to the practice of facilitation like a dainty moth to its fiery demise.

And that’s not just hyperbole—my “demise” is actually waiting for me on the other side of that threshold of fear. The demise of the scared little Lauren who wants to have all the answers, avoid uncertainty, perform, and be liked.

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The Betrayal of Authentic LeadershipMarch 6, 2015

Authenticity is a popular topic that I frequently hear discussed in a number of different contexts. In personal growth, relationships, professional development, leadership and performance—authenticity shows up as a highly desired trait. This widely pursued aim is especially prized in hyper-individualistic cultures where every individual’s uniqueness is one of the unquestioned goals.

Whether you’re at home with your partner and your family, at dinner with friends, pursuing the next athletic win, or in the office leading and managing the next steps for organizational success, this idea of being more authentic, and the cultural preference to be authentic, often seduces us as “the way” we should or ought to be able to show up.

While being more authentic is a popular frame of reference for working on ourselves personally and professionally, most of us fail to clearly define it. It remains a nebulous, unexamined term that can, and often does, change.

In our drive to be more authentic we often are captured by two unexamined assumptions. Both of these assumptions are mistakes if we value adult development and growing new capabilities.

First: Authenticity is not the same as competence

The first assumption sees authenticity as some way of being that is more competent than you currently are. Unfortunately, authenticity and competence are not synonymous, although many of us would like them to be. (Authentic leadership is not necessarily more effective leadership, it’s just leadership that feels more “at home” to you.)

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