Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

The Soul of a Project #30: Dealing With Shame!

by Gary Monti on December 4, 2012

Ever have someone melt down right in front of you for no apparent reason? Or, has someone dug in unrealistically? What about another person feeding the gossip mill in a rather vicious manner working to get people to side with him? On the flip side, there’s the person who shrugs her shoulders blind to the destruction caused by her last decision. These individuals may all have something in common – shame. Shame as used here refers to situations where a lack of self-esteem has been brought to the surface and the person tries behavior that is meant to provide some form of self-protection.

To learn a bit more about it the etymology of shame may help. At the core it means, “to cover.” So, when someone takes on an apparently irrational behavior it may be an unconscious attempt to protect, to cover the sense of being defective. The irrational part puts it in the realm of a coping mechanism, which is an unhealthy response learned or created to try and deal with a problem, real or perceived. The word “irrational” is a tip that the current events have triggered something from the past about which the person experiences an irrationally low sense of self, a sense of shame.

For example, you might be working with an extremely good engineer who gets angry and belligerent when asked to speak in a formal setting with clients. He might say he has plenty of work to do and insists sales should be pulling their weight and earn their commissions instead of relying on the people who do the work and have to reach billable hour goals to also have to sell the project. No matter how much you talk with the engineer, saying how good his work is, this is a chance to shine, etc., it all seems to go nowhere.

In some consulting situations like this I’ve had to dig deeper (working with a therapist) to find out a grade school teacher in front of the class ridiculed the individual. No other adult was sensitive to or helped this future engineer work through the situation in a healthy way. He was left thinking it was his fault and that he was (and still is) defective. Consequently, he covered the problem by avoiding formal speaking situations and, when needed, through belligerence.  For what it is worth, I run into shame-based problems with some regularity. They typically are a main contributor to the difficulties the organization is experiencing. You know what I am talking about, the person who limits their career or gets fired over something they just can’t get beyond.

So what can you do in such a situation? First, offer compassion, acceptance, and empathy. Be honest and state the problem as you see it and the challenge the individual faces. It is being a friend and, in the words of Carl Jung, “If everyone had good friends there’d be no need for therapists.” Keep in mind you aren’t their mother so limits are required. When that limit is reached it is time to escalate, which can be very uncomfortable when a friend is involved. It is the best thing to do. Without honesty in the situation a cost is incurred which has price tags associated with it, ranging from money to stress. It might be good for an outsider to come in and look at the situation and be the “bad guy” who pushes for needed changes.

In any case, simply riding over it and trying to pretend the irrational behavior can be absorbed or ignored will just drive everyone else crazy and provide no help for the person feeling the shame. On the positive side, as difficult as the situation is, when genuine friendship is extended and a healthy confrontation occurs, if the person with the difficulties really wants to do better, he is eventually appreciative. The situation can get better and profitability has a better shot at going up.

Gary Monti PMI presentation croppedThrough his firm, Center for Managing Change, Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gwmonti@mac.com or through Twitter at @garymonti
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As the Paradigm Shifts #N: Noticing

by Rosie Kuhn on July 20, 2011

Noticing is the most powerful tool for cultivating awareness and for bringing valuable spiritual concepts to the workplace. Most importantly though, is having the intention to notice, in order to notice whether you are noticing or not.

Notice, for a moment, what is occurring within your work environment. Notice the lighting, the sounds, the smells and what the space looks like to you. As you are noticing, notice what senses you are using to notice. Is it just your hearing, sight, smell and your touch? What other senses are engaged through noticing? What’s happening inside your body, what emotions or sensations are present in this moment. Notice sensations, such as hunger, fatigue, stress, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger or aggravation. Notice where are you putting your attention. Notice if you are avoiding, distracting and delaying and what it is or who it is that you are avoiding, distracting yourself from or what specifically you are delaying. Notice, too what it takes to be you in this moment as you notice and bring awareness to your reality.

Lot Going On!

There is a lot going on, isn’t there? By bringing attention to your reality you are able to get clear about what it is that you are creating. By gaining clarity you are then able to notice what choices you are making and the results and consequences that ensue. What’s the quality of experience you are having in this moment? Is this the quality of being you’re wanting to have throughout your day?

Bringing spirituality to the work place is an inside job. It starts with noticing how you be who you be, then deciding whether this is a reflection of the environment you wish to create. Ask yourself this question: Do you really want to be the change you wish to see? If so, what needs to shift within you, then begin to notice how you, yourself is in alignment with that you wish to create. You can only change what you are conscious of, and you can only become conscious by cultivating awareness through noticing.

On a Similar Note

My sweetie and I were playing Backgammon the other night, which we do on a regular basis. This particular evening we noticed that when rolling the dice, there were a phenomenal number of doubles. The odds were against us for rolling as many doubles as we did. Something was being brought to our attention – we couldn’t help but notice it! We played six games and all of them were filled with vast amounts of doubles.

After Backgammon we decided to play some cribbage. Again, we couldn’t help but notice that Todd’s hand or mine had consistently held three of a kind – again, way beyond the odds of it happening. There was no logical or rational reasoning. We had to go outside our current paradigm to understand the phenomenon that was undeniable.

Our world is full of events like this and they are occurring far more often than ever before. We are being asked to look and notice what was once inaccessible to us. The cultivation of consciousness comes when at first we least expect it. Now more than ever we have an opportunity to witness a paradigm shift right before our eyes, at work, at home – everywhere. There is no doubt that this phenomenon is world wide – Universe wide.

Each generation that has gone before us has facilitated a greater and greater degree of consciousness. Many of you have heard, I’m sure that we are standing at the precipice of a paradigm shift. We are generating this shift and at the same time it is being foisted upon us by cosmic activity far beyond our wildest imagination – at least for most of us. Cosmologists – scientists who study the cosmos, totally understand what is causing such a rift in our world. It all makes sense to them.

There’s two ways one can respond when considering this unfoldment of the Universe. We either allow ourselves to be scared out of our wits and bury our heads in the sand, or we watch the extraordinary evolution of our time with fascination and curiosity. Some call it the time of the apocalypse, when we will be paying for the sins of our fathers and their fathers before them. Some call it the end times, but perhaps it is the end of the concept of sin and fear and war and sickness. Perhaps if we take on a practice of noticing we can begin to see the many opportunities to participate in this shift – cultivating awareness that will bring about a different way of being human; shifting from a fear-based paradigm to one based on our essence of being – love, kindness, compassion and creativity; one that inspires each of us to empower others to live into their fullest potential – no holds barred!

Rosie KuhnThis article is contributed by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, founder of the Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, author of Self-Empowerment 101, and creator and facilitator of the Transformational Coaching Training Program. She is a life and business coach to individuals, corporations and executives.
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We are rarely 100% committed to what we say we want.

I’m assuming that because you are reading this that to some degree you are committed to the concept of bringing spirituality into business. On a scale of 1-100, where would you put yourself in relation to the degree to which you are committed? If you were 100% committed there would be nothing to stop you and you’d be fulfilled in having reached your desired outcome. However, generally speaking, there are underlying or conflicting commitments that create obstacles to us moving forward towards our stated desires.

These conflicting commitments are in alignment to a desire to remain invulnerable and avoid what we consider undesirable. In essence we want to remain secure and stable within our comfort zones. The degree to which we are committed to our conflicting commitment is the degree to which we use avoidance, distraction, procrastination and denial as strategies; this keeps us doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. What occurs is a dilemma, the consequence of which is a feeling of being stuck, confused, doubtful and lost. The bottom line is that we are confounded by the dilemma with which we find ourselves.

Dilemma

I’m prematurely slipping in a D word here, because this is where life gets sticky. How one chooses to be with dilemmas will contribute to the inevitable outcome.

When we distinguish what we are committed to from our conflicting commitment we can see that we are at a choice-point. So, on the one hand we want change; on the other hand we want to avoid the undesirable consequences that accompany change. Hence, we have a dilemma. How do we choose? How do we choose to choose what we choose?

What most of us do, because we are unaware of our choice-making process that has brought about this dilemma, is to compromise our stand for what we say we want, at the same time compromising our stand for what we don’t want. We become professional fence-sitters. If you are interested in creating transformation or a paradigm shift within yourself or your organization it won’t happen by using compromise as a strategy.

What becomes clear as you sit with this dilemma, at this choice-point, perhaps with a thinking partner who can see the bigger picture for you, is a couple of things:

  • First, either choice will require surrendering or relinquishing your attachment to the outcome.
  • Second, the consequence of either choice will mean being confronted by vulnerability and loss of whatever you are attempting to hold onto. This is the nature of cultivating spiritual practices within the workplace. It is an allowing of the unfolding of the natural course of things to occur in service to what you say you want. This is also when the practice of faith kicks in, as you begin to consider the possibility of crossing the threshold, anticipating that first step required of you in order to begin this journey.

What’s at Stake?

What I like about working in corporations is that there is far more at stake for individuals, departments and the organization itself to actually walk its talk. The risk is greater and so is the reward. Not unlike any other institution and group of individuals, there is a culture and that culture has rules – some are spoken and some are not. Always – always we are walking the line between cultivating an environment that supports us and one that protects us. Again, if we are looking for a paradigm shift we have to surrender our attachment to this walking-on-a-fence approach to change and really challenge ourselves to practice acting in alignment with our speaking. What’s at stake will be different for each individual and organization. Generally though, we are afraid of losing what we have.

The distinction between business coaching and transformational coaching is that transformational coaching requires you to step into your commitments; to expand your comfort zone; to confront beliefs, interpretations, expectations and assumption that may not serve you or your organization; and to create a practice within which you exercise muscles that support cultivating consciousness and compassion for yourself and all beings impacted by the current paradigm shift. Transformational coaching requires you to be with the BIG-FAT-BE-WITHS that challenge current interpretations regarding personal gain and loss, as well as death of a way of being that no longer serves the highest good of all. It also requires a different way of choice-making in support of your commitment.

To choose to shift the degree to which you are committed by even one degree is enough to allow even baby steps to be taken towards your desired outcome; it’s enough to empower you to be with the anxiety and discomfort that comes with letting go and letting a higher power provide support, the consequence being that the process unfolds effortlessly. This is where the spiritual rubber meets the three dimensional world.

If Nothing Else

If nothing else, cultivating awareness through the practice of noticing will inevitably create profound shifts. Consciousness generates a greater capacity to change, to create and to generate from an empowered stand. This stand is grounded in a conviction to follow through with intent. It is far more powerful than just wishing and hoping for change to occur. A fascinating phenomenon that is challenging to grasp from a logical/rational perspective is that by intentionally increasing your awareness of what you are wanting, and bringing yourself – your being into alignment with your intention creates a vibrational modification in yourself and your environment. This in itself generates profound shifts beyond your wildest imagination. What isn’t in alignment with that vibrational state will either shift or it will disappear. Transformation at its finest!

Consciousness results in self-realization that we hope will translate into self-actualization. Without acting in alignment with our realization – well, all things will remain the same except for the fact that we know more then we use to. As I said above, if you shift how you are being to be more in alignment with your highest knowing, this in itself is transformational. You don’t have to overtly attempt to change your world or your organization. Just notice, shift and allow. This in itself is bringing spirituality into business.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM.

Rosie KuhnThis article is contributed by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, founder of the Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, author of Self-Empowerment 101, and creator and facilitator of the Transformational Coaching Training Program. She is a life and business coach to individuals, corporations and executives.
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Flexible Focus #39: The Principle of Gratitude

by William Reed on February 3, 2011

The roots of inflexibility

One of the hardest lessons of flexibility is letting go of the ego’s attachments. Pride prevents you from achieving flexibility, because it insists on being right, being first, or being better than others. It’s companions are alike, inflexible, stubborn, righteous, and condescending. These attitudes have ruled and ruined empires as well as personal relationships throughout history, and of course are equally evident today.

The ancient Greeks called it hubris (hybris), excessive ambition or pride leading to a fall, or to total ruin. In Asian tradition, pride is like the brittle stick which does not bend, but only breaks. The inflexibility of mind, also known as the hardening of the attitudes, is ultimately the cause of the problem. It is better to be flexible, like bamboo.

Unfortunately, pride can be deeply rooted, and actually leaves visible traces in your posture and bearing. In Japanese there are many expressions for the body language of pride and its many moods: high nose (hana ga takai), big attitude (taido ga dekai), bent mouth (kuchi ga he no ji), twisted navel (heso magari).

We must become the change we want to see. ~M. Gandhi

It takes discipline and awareness to restore the flexibility you had as a small child, to be simple and natural. And there is a faster way to flexibility, based on a Mandala Principle from Buddhism, the Principle of Gratitude (慈悲喜捨 Jihi Kisha).

This 4-character compound contains the keys to that principle.

(Ji) Kindness, Love, Benevolence. Giving other people happiness or abundance.

(Hi) Compassion, Mercy, Charity. Offering support, or a helping hand.

(Ki) Celebration, Joy, Empathy. Feeling happy for other people’s happiness or success.

(Sha) Giving, Releasing, Forgetting. Giving freely without strings attached.

These four attitudes, or four gratitudes, will quickly open your eyes and your heart to a deeper level of flexible focus. Instead of looking for things, you will see and notice them, as well as understand exactly how you can help people in each situation. As a reminder, you can download the Mandala of Gratitude, and start using it in your daily life.

There is no limit to how far you can take this. But even if you do not approach the depth of gratitude and awareness of Mohandas K. Gandhi or Mother Teresa, the very intention to shift your awareness toward gratitude can change your life. It will certainly improve the lives of the people around you.

A new model for coaching

While the term Jihi Kisha comes from Buddhism, the importance of gratitude and giving thanks is universal to all religions and even in secular life in all cultures. Even the master of human relations Dale Carnegie, author of the world’s bestselling classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, said that the key to human relations was “to be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” For a great summary of other Dale Carnegie wisdom, visit My Choices, My Life.

Why not apply this to your own relationships, particularly those in which you are supporting or coaching another person, whether it be a family member or friend, or a coaching client?

While it may seem difficult to strive for high character ideals, the Mandala Chart gives you a structure and a tool that you can adjust and apply to your own situation. Using any of the PDF templates in this Flexible Focus series, or the Mandala Chart for iPad, you can start with eight key questions or points of focus, or you can create your own, and you will have a coaching tool with far more flexibility and functionality than a mere list of bullet points.

When you start doing this, one of the first things that you notice is that you are not the only one in trouble, and there are lots of ways that you can help other people, starting with those around you. The more you do this, the more good things come back to you, unless that was your reason for doing it in the first place. Give without strings attached. Give because we are all connected.

Lose the scarcity mentality and replace it with one of abundance, and make the world a better place. It all starts with you!

William ReedWilliam Reed specializes in applying practical wisdom from Japanese and Asian culture to solving the problems of modern business and living. He is the author of the Flexible Focus column on Active Garage, the syndicated column Creative Career Path and the book A Zoom Lens for Your life. William is also a Representative Director and Co-Founder of EMC QUEST Corporation, which provides Coaching for Communication and Change, World Class Speaking™, and Accelerated Action with GOALSCAPE™.
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