1041 Chapters
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Medium 9781523084616

CHAPTER 5 Braking Your Mood Elevator: The Power of Curiosity

Senn, Larry Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.

—JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI

Throughout this book we’ve been using the metaphor of the Mood Elevator to describe how our emotions rise and fall. But of course there are countless real elevators in use around the world every day. Experts say that passengers take more than 18 billion elevator trips annually in the United States alone. Why is it that you never hear about elevators plummeting to the basement? That only happens in horror movies and nightmares because, in addition to being safely built and inspected, all modern elevators have a series of automatic brakes that prevent them from falling, even if a cable snaps. Thanks to this ingenious system (invented by Elisha Otis back in 1852), riding in an elevator is actually far safer than taking the stairs.

In a similar way, you can learn to activate a brake on your Mood Elevator. There’s an automatic system designed by nature to catch you before your emotional state falls too far and too quickly—provided you choose to employ it.

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Medium 9781609948252

Epilogue: The Butterfly Effect

Miglani, Bob Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The shocks of a life in chaos destroy any notion of the ordinary. Chaos tears down and strips away any notion of human institutions of order, civility, expectation, structure, or perfection, leaving us with the only truth—ourselves in chaos, as life has always been.

At first we oppose it. Fight it. Complain about it. Reject it like antibodies fighting an infection, offering up feeble attempts to control. Exasperated, we cry, shiver, and fight until we can’t anymore. We find ourselves frustrated.

Then we let go, give in, and ultimately accept. We stop overanalyzing, overthinking. We can’t overthink when there’s nothing more to think about than the moment in front of us. We finally stop asking why and turn our attention to the now.

At last, we start trying. We start smiling, breathing, and living. Touching, smelling, feeling, trying, working, serving. We begin moving forward.

Relying on our long-suppressed instincts, our positive nature deep inside, pulled forward by an unknown force, we begin adapting and start realizing that this isn’t so bad. The obstacles we encounter become stepping-stones to great things. Tiny steps become unanticipated leaps. Randomness and chance become gifts that nourish us on our way forward. Time flies, and when we look back we realize that, although not everything in life goes as planned, it is a great ride and things do work out in the end.

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Medium 9781576756300

A Master Teacher in Disguise

Crum, Thomas Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Angus settled into his office. His unfamiliar sense of lightness and ease was soon fogged by concern over his meeting regarding his project team, of which he was head. He realized that he needed to reestablish his credibility when he met with Harold today. His performance and his attitude were being scrutinized. And today he could understand why. He recognized an unproductive pattern in himself. He often was uncentered, full of anger and blaming. The truth was that he did doubt himself. And the more he doubted, the more he had to justify.

His thoughts returned to the morning’s strange events. What if he tried the “centering” that the old man had showed him? Maybe it could help him relax a little. He settled into his chair and closed his eyes. At first it felt a little contrived and analytical. But after several breaths, he felt his anxiety relaxing. After a few more breaths Angus noticed that he was able to detach himself from his analysis and simply witness his thought process. There were “the thoughts,” and then there was “the person who was thinking those thoughts,” the observer, who could simply watch without getting attached or reactive. Angus realized that, rather than getting plugged in to his thoughts, he could be watching a play, one in which he was the director and actor at the same time. If he wanted to, he could cut and do a retake, choosing an entirely different role for himself.

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Medium 9781605098258

6 Hitting My Stride and Taking Control

Seddiqui, Daniel Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Memories of rednecks, four-wheeling, shooting guns, and grilling corn ran through my mind as I crossed the border into Indiana. It had been only two years since I last visited the state, and I was eager to experience it all again. One thing had obviously changed: The town of Milan, where the movie Hoosiers was filmed, had become a metropolis — at least in my eyes. When I last visited the Tush family in Milan, located in southern Indiana, I couldn’t fathom living in such a rural hamlet. But after staying in even smaller places in Wyoming, Montana, and Oklahoma, Milan didn’t seem so tiny after all.

I was in Milan to visit Amy Tush, the former track coach at Northwestern University in Chicago, and spend the weekend with her family. I had been Amy’s assistant coach a few years earlier, and we had become close friends. Her family knew I was excited by my return to Indiana, and remembered how much I enjoyed four-wheeling the last time I visited, so they prepared another weekend of wheels for me. As we drove together to their friends’ backyard ATV course, I was once again struck by the endless parade of pro-life billboards and American flags. Along the way, we saw children fighting over whose turn it was to play with a wheelchair, an odd but telling reminder that cars, motors, and wheels seem ingrained in the culture of Indiana. When we arrived at the enormous farmhouse where the Tushes’ friends live, they strolled right over to offer us cold beers. “How ya been, Danny?” Marvin asked. “We’ve been following you on the news.” “Doing great! Looking forward to riding again,” I replied. Though he was a grown man and father, when it came to motors, Marvin was as excited as a kid.

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Medium 9781605098869

13 Live Your Vision

Muchnick, Mark Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

IF YOU’VE EVER been on an airplane, you probably knew exactly where you were going. You didn’t just hop on board and say, “Let’s see where we wind up.” In life the mission is more ambiguous. We don’t always know which direction to head, and occasionally we may question whether or not we’re on the right course. Without a clear destination in mind, life is tough to navigate.

That was the way my wife and I felt when our first child was born. We were so excited to become parents, but we had no idea how to make everything work in terms of maintaining our careers, taking care of our newborn, and still having quality time together. My wife put her fulltime job on hold to stay home with our daughter while I continued traveling for business and basically living out of a suitcase most of the week. When I got back from a trip, I just wanted to decompress and have quality family time before jetting off again. My wife, on the other hand, was totally exhausted from being up every night with the baby and just wanted to sleep or have a minute to herself. She loved being a mom but felt like she was doing it all alone and in the process losing her husband and professional identity. I loved being a dad and enjoyed my job but felt like I had become an absentee father. This was not the life we had envisioned.

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Medium 9781605092751

Chapter Five: Take Off at Full Throttle

Tracy, Brian Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

There can be no great courage where
there is no confidence or assurance,
and half the battle is in the conviction
that we can do what we undertake.

ORISON SWETT MARDEN

You have decided on your destination, arrived at the airport, boarded the plane, and taken your seat. You are now ready for the most important step of all: the takeoff, the launch, where you step out in faith with no guarantee of success. This is the turning point in your life and in the life of every successful person.

The plane taxies to the runway, gets clearance for takeoff from the tower, and starts down the runway. This is the critical moment, the takeoff that is the true beginning of your journey toward your destination.

Once the plane has clearance, the pilot gives the plane 100 percent full throttle. The plane begins moving, slowly at first, and then picks up speed, going faster and faster down the runway until it lifts off into the air. This is the moment that pilots call “wheels up.” It is the official beginning of the flight.60

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Medium 9781576755846

7 The Right Thing and the Right Way

The Arbiner Institute Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

“Okay, first of all,” Lou began, “I asked whether it makes a difference in a conflict if one side is in the right and the other in the wrong. So I ask you again: doesn’t that matter?”

“Yes,” Yusuf replied, “it does matter. But not the way you think it does.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, Lou,” Yusuf responded measuredly, “have you ever been in a conflict with someone who thought he was wrong?”

Lou thought of Cory and the boardroom meeting with his five mutinous executives.

“No,” he answered coolly. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not.”

“True,” Yusuf agreed. “But you see, no conflict can be solved so long as all parties are convinced they are right. Solution is possible only when at least one party begins to consider how he might be wrong.”

“But what if I’m not wrong!” Lou blurted.

“If you are not wrong, then you will be willing to consider how you might be mistaken.”

“What kind of twisted riddle is that?”

Yusuf smiled. “It only seems like a riddle, Lou, because we are so unaccustomed to considering the impact of what is below our words, our actions, and our thoughts. There are two ways to seize Jerusalem or to engage in almost any other strategy or behavior, as Avi discussed with you. Which means there is a way I can be wrong even if taking Jerusalem is the best—even the right—thing to do. If I don’t remain open to how I might be mistaken in this deeper way, I might live out my life convinced I was on the right side of a given conflict, but I won’t have found lasting solutions.

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Medium 9781626567771

10 The Courage to Choose Wisely

, The Center for Courage & Renewal; Francis, Shelly L. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I want my inner truth to be the plumb line for the choices I make about my life—about the work that I do and how I do it, about the relationships I enter into and how I conduct them.

—Parker J. Palmer

Greg Eaton, whom we met in chapter 8, faced a difficult time as a business owner in the years following the 2008 recession. “I was constantly stretched by the reality of living through ’08, ’09, ’10, when the economy was so tough. Wanting to keep the company healthy and profitable and also care for the workforce I care so deeply about, as so many things are shifting . . . Talk about tension.”

In his business organizing corporate meetings and incentive trips, Greg wanted his employees to be as productive as possible and to enjoy what they did—because when they did, it showed. “We clearly are in business to assist clients at a high level of excellence. But what do we do internally for the people here who give the best hours of their day, year after year, to this work so that they feel engaged and know that they’re cared about? That’s what kept me awake during those lean years.”

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Medium 9781523094073

5. ARE: Anchor, Reveal, Encourage

Fleming, Carol Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

THE CURE FOR “BUT I NEVER KNOW WHAT TO SAY!”

So there’s a fellow standing next to me with available eyes and an open posture. Perhaps we’ve already smiled at each other, said hello, shaken hands, and introduced ourselves. Now we begin the kind of small talk you dread: from a cold start with a Them (as far as you know), with the goal of turning this stranger into an acquaintance. Here is where most people panic because they are unprepared to perform this act of human alchemy.

Luckily, there’s an easy enough formula to walk you through this process: Anchor, Reveal, Encourage.

1.   Anchor the conversation with a neutral topic from your shared reality.

2.   Reveal something about yourself regarding that topic.

3.   Encourage the other person to talk by asking them a question about that topic.

Designing ARE patterns is something you can do in advance (before you leave the house) so you don’t have to be creative when you’re the most uncomfortable. Take some time to review some possibilities: the occasion or aegis, the music, food, decorations, or the weather. Imagine in your own mind how you can build your opener:

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Medium 9781576754757

chapter four the second secret: leave no regrets

Izzo, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

—Bertrand Russell

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

—Harriet Beecher Stowe

What is the one thing we will NOT regret at the end of our lives? I am not sure how I would have answered this question before having these conversations, but I am certain that now I would answer differently.

Regret is possibly the one thing we all fear the most; that we might look back on our lives and wish we had done things differently. In my experience from the last 30 years, validated in these interviews, death is not what we fear the most. When we have lived life fully and done what we hoped to do, we can accept death with grace. What we fear most is not having lived to the fullest extent possible, to come to the end of our life with our final words being “I wish I had.”

So, if we want to find true happiness and purpose in life we must embrace the second secret: leave no regrets. To leave no regrets we must live with courage, moving toward what we want rather than away from what we fear. To leave no regrets we must overcome the inevitable disappointments that life hands us.

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Medium 9781626560956

4 Look Out the Window

Smith, Seth Adam Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

How much larger your life would be if your self
could become smaller in it…. You would break
out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your
own little plot is always being played, and you
would find yourself under a freer sky.

G.K. CHESTERTON, ORTHODOXY

Looking out the window of his home, the Giant saw a little boy who was unable to climb a tree and join his friends.

The little boy’s eyes were full of tears. At the sight of this, “the Giant’s heart melted” and he “crept downstairs and opened the front door quite softly and went out into his garden.”

The Giant was able to abandon his solitary confinement because he had seen the suffering of another. He looked out the window of his lonely world and saw a world beyond himself.

The first step toward liberation is as easy as looking out the window of your own life. See how others might be suffering, and then open the door to go out and help them. My sister Shannon gave me a key that helped me open my door—actually, she gave me a keychain.

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Medium 9781622500291

At the Department Store 1

Saddleback Educational Publishing Saddleback Educational Publishing PDF

name

_________________________________________

date ____________________________

AT THE DEPARTMENT STORE I

A. You probably know what items you would find for sale in the women’s

shoe department. This exercise lists some department names that might be less familiar. Circle the item that does not belong in each department. Use a dictionary if you need help.

1. millinery  bonnets  berets  bathrobes lingerie  bras  baseball bats  briefs

2. notions  tennis shoes  thread  thimbles

3. fine jewelry  pearls  pants  pendants

4. cosmetics  nail polish  night cream  nightgowns

5. men’s accessories  ties  tie tacks  tables

6. hosiery  sweat socks  silk stockings  sweatshirts

7. costume jewelry  plastic pearls  real rubies  imitation opals

8. accessories  belts  beach balls  bandannas

9. linens  towels  tires  tablecloths

10. stationery  pens  paper  pots

11.

B. Write one or two additional products you would be likely to find in each department listed in Part A.

1. millinery: ______________________________________________________

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Medium 9781576757567

6. Heart Science, Heart’s Mystery

Barasch, Marc Ian Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I will take the stony heart out...
and give them a heart of flesh.

—Ezekiel

Man will become better when you show him what he is like.

—Anton Chekhov

WHAT IS THE HEART, BUT A SPRING?” ASKED SEVENTEENTH-century materialist Thomas Hobbes. He wasn’t waxing poetic about upwelling waters of gladness or a season of tender buds but making a case for the heart as a gearworks—a mechanism that, however marvelously constructed by that intelligence he called the “Artificer,” was as devoid of sensibility as a clock.

This view has held sway for centuries, though it’s deeply at odds with our felt experience. When psychologist Carl Jung, on one of his perennial quests, visited Chief Mountain Lake of the Taos Pueblo, the tribal elder told him he judged the whites to be quite mad.

“They say they think with their heads,” the chief said.

“Of course,” said Jung. “What do you think with?”

Mountain Lake pointed to his heart: “We think here.”

I’ve always taken this idea—the wisdom of the heart and all—to be a metaphor albeit a charming one. But in cultures the world over, it takes on a peculiarly literal cast. Among the Sufis, the physical heart is a container for al-aql, the intellect, and al-fouad, a second, “sensitive” heart that can see into the hearts of others. Aristotle claimed that the heart was responsible for “the power of perception and the soul’s ability to nourish itself.” In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the heart not only is a human being’s emotional core but is identified with the mind. Similarly, the Japanese have two heart words: shinzu, the physical organ, and kokoro, “the mind of the heart.”

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Medium 9781609948092

6 The Art of Insight in Organizations

Kiefer, Charles F. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Anything we’ve discussed in previous chapters can easily be put to use at the office. Now we are going to focus specifically on teams and larger groups. TAOI can be added to virtually any existing organization process or procedure with great benefit since few things don’t benefit from looking and listening for insight and a good feeling. Sometimes it’s best to lace an existing procedure with short applications of these methods. Other times it might make sense to completely revise a procedure and base it on insight.

Our aim in this chapter is to give you a few examples to spark your imagination and leave it to you to figure out the best way to apply these methods in your situation. We are going to recount a number of stories from the various settings where we have employed TAOI. Some of the applications may seem too big a leap at first, and generally it’s not a good idea, nor is it necessary, to replace existing processes until you have some experience.

The Art of Insight can be applied in all sorts of meetings in the normal course of business. What you should look to do is

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Medium 9781609940577

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Izzo, John B. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

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