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Where Does Hope Fit In… September 29, 2010

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, Hope, Life Coach.
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One of the things I found most interesting about our last presidential election was the campaigning on Hope and Change. These are two very abstract ideas. One thing I’ve found over the years both in running organizations and consulting with organizations (and individuals as well) is change is not a welcome thing.

People fear change because it comes at a risk and an uncertain future. People think, “At least with the status quo I know where I stand. If everything is changed what does that mean for me?” One thing I have learned through working on feature films is that the primary task is problem solving. Then comes flexibility because you may find yourself suddenly pressed into a role you never meant to play.

In my last film “Abandoned” I was the Executive Producer. One day I walked on the set in a suit (very odd for L.A. I know) and the director grabbed me saying we need a guy in a suit in this scene. I quickly realized I’d worn the wrong clothes that day and found myself on the other side of the camera acting in a scene in my film. Was that natural for me? No. Ask my wife. I’m no actor but here I was staring change and flexibility in the face. I pulled it off and didn’t end up on the cutting room floor.

So, we don’t like change. Now the other item is Hope. Hope is a very ephemeral thing in most people’s minds. Kind of like a wisp of smoke. Now I teach about hope as a real, tangible and measurable thing. C.R. Snyder spent years researching hope while at the University of Kansas and I became very familiar with his work. For hope to be real you must have well articulated goals. A true vision specific enough to help create a community vision. The founding fathers had such a vision and it was indeed a shared vision by a large part of the colonists living in America.

To have hope you need a goal then a way to that goal. You also need the will to do the work. With these three things working you feel hopeful. Take any one away and hope goes with it. Those most successful at living hopeful lives are those who aren’t thrown off-balance by change and remain flexible as to the means to obtain their goals.

Right now we are definitely in times of change. We can’t get a grasp on what this change means to us personally or in a corporate setting so this leaves a lot of people feeling hopeless. Remember, you are the master of your life. With uncertainty all around us we can still set goals and work to obtain them. We have choices we can make. One of them is to  let yourself become completely distressed about the current conditions (feeling hopeless). The other is we can move ahead. Create a vision (goal) and work toward reaching it. Know that flexibility is needed now. Understanding this, keep your hope alive.

Work is Organic September 17, 2010

Posted by wooddickinson in Change, Systems Thinking.
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As I have worked with businesses I constantly find that companies (managers, owners,whoever) look at themselves like they look at machines. Even the term “drive change” is a mechanical term. Really, we drive cars. The thing I’d like you to ponder for the next few days is how work and life are really organic in nature. Like in nature, everything starts small and if it isn’t properly cared for it will die.

How much change and innovation has been lost in your place of work because people view work as putting a screw in a hole and adding a wing nut to keep it secure? Change is an organic thing. It must start small but be shared by a few people who have the vision to try something different. Trees learn, grow, change and adapt to the conditions it faces. Why can’t we do the same? Just think about your job this way for a few days and then I’ll dive a bit deeper into it.

Walking the Talk September 15, 2010

Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Life Coach.
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Recently on one of the many Internet groups I’m connected with the question was asked, “Do you walk your talk?”  This was a discussion among consultants who teach different life skills and personal coaching.

What I took away from all the comments was the imperative nature of having the integrity to walk your talk and own your failures so those you are working with understand that we are all human. Failure is part of life. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t have to go to confession a few times a year!

My biggest failure is my weight. I have struggled with it for years and now I must take control. The question is how. Diets are iffy and fad programs don’t last. What works is controlling what you eat and exercise. I know there has been a lot written recently about exercise not helping in weight loss but it sure makes you feel better. Also being less fat feels better. I know these things but still excuse myself from taking control.

What I do know is my weight problem was created by me and can only be fixed by me. Again how? Here’s my plan. I’m going to take the “one day at a time” approach. I’ll promise myself that tomorrow I will follow a certain eating plan and exercise plan. Just tomorrow. Then if I am able to do that I will make the promise with myself the next day.

Internal integrity is just as important as external integrity. More so really. I must walk my talk. The guiding principle here is failure is not an excuse to give up. Keeping promises to others is critical. Why would it be any different with yourself?

So here I go. I’m going to start tomorrow (09/16/2010). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Walking your talk is essential to your credibility with all those you meet. As Dr. Covey says, character and competency make you trustworthy. Only then can you be trusted. That works inside and outside yourself. It has to work inside first before you can succeed with others. Join me if you wish. What is your failure that needs correcting?

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