The Power of Voice to Foster Positive Progress – International Women’s Day 2015

It is an exciting time to be an American woman.

I am seeing higher levels of collaboration and mutual respect in more and more of the groups I work and lead in.

I am seeing empowerment awakening across the globe.

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This International Women’s Day I’d like to highlight three organizations that are personally important to me:

Servane Mouazan’s  Building A Better World Empowered by Women is fueling the social entrepreneur landscape.

 

Dorothy Dalton and Dr. Anne Perschel founded 3PlusInternational to support business skill development and mentorship across the globe.

 

I am so fortunate to live in Rochester, NY where Susan B. Anthony worked tirelessly to support women’s right to vote. I can only image today that she would be asking us to focus on women on corporate boards.

pic2Here are some favorite links that amplify our global celebration today.

 

 

 

  • Academy Award winning Patricia Arquette brought the house down this year with her Best Actress acceptance speech: “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” shouted a fiery Arquette. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

 

  • One of my favorite college commencement speeches is Meryl Streep’s, delivered to Barnard. “This is your time, and it feels normal to you. But, really, there is no ‘normal.’ There’s only change, and resistance to it, and then more change.”

 

  • CNN reminds us that we still have work to do as it reports the best and worst countries for women on corporate boards:  “Research proves that companies with diverse boards attract more talented employees, are more innovative and have greater financial success than companies with male-dominated boards.” Here is the latest Catalyst report.

 

  • As growing numbers of women enter the economic mainstream, they will have a profound effect on global business. The potential impact of nearly 1 billion women entering the global labor force will be as significant as the impact of the billion-plus populations of either China or India. Price Waterhouse PwC is tracking this trend: #3rdBillion.
  • 2020 Women on Boards is a national campaign to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.

 

  • Here you will find Nobel Prize & Laureates who will inspire you and for a deeper dive you can go here.
  • We get our power from the stories we are told as we grow up. These women have impacted the feminine voice in literature and our own sense of belonging.

 

  • We all know how much we love our mothers, our daughters, our teachers. Here is why we love the Girl Effect.

 

  • Today is International Women’s Day and our theme this year is #MakeItHappen!

 

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I’ve only been able to do what I’ve done because of those who came earlier and passed me the baton.Nadine Hack

The best way I can contribute to progress is to carve out my own voice in life and work. I get in life what I settle for.

Onward . . .

Jennifer

Empathy, Passion, and Progress – An Existential View of Valentine’s Day

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SenaRuna artist from Istanbul on Etsy – found from Paper Quilted Art Roundup by Agnes Niewiadomski – spotted from Jean Russell aka @NurtureGirls Facebook stream

We Found Love – Lindsey Stirling (VenTribe)

Here you’ll find a mosaic of meaning and beauty that I hope will allow and foster depth. It is my belief that the more connected one is to his/her core ~ the better one can care for their personal ecosystem.

Empathy begins with self.

1) #Love:  Why We Need Each Other “Recent research reveals that people are more capable of mental novelty when thinking on behalf of others than for themselves. This has far-reaching practical implications at every level of business.”  Thus spoke, Daniel Pink.

2) #Love: A Darwinian Theory of Beauty “Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? No, it’s deep in our minds. It’s a gift handed down from the intelligent skills and rich emotional lives of our most ancient ancestors. Our powerful reaction to images, to the expression of emotion in art, to the beauty of music, to the night sky, will be with us and our descendants for as long as the human race exists.” Thus spoke, Denis Dutton.

3) #Love: 8 Rules for Creating Passionate Work Culture  with @FastCompany highlights some key themes from Paul Alofs @Alofs Passion Capital “Creeds don’t need to be the same in order to be effective. On the contrary, sometimes they need to evolve to address a changing environment. Company leaders need to take a hard look at what the company was when it began and what it has become and make necessary adjustments. Part of being a great leader is understand when to reassess a course of action and when to stay the course.”

4) #Love: The Four Loves  “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis

5) #Love: Perspective with @TeresaFritschi “There is, someplace, for each of us a soul capable of seeing ours as clearly as their own, whose beginning and end can be found at the end of both sentences and fingertips, the realization of an unwillingness to compromise as manifest in human flesh that protects and nurtures and transcends dimensions. This love, no more perfect than any other, is perhaps the most illusive.  Maybe because it is so rare is why we value it so highly when the universe opens up and places it squarely in front of us.

  

6) #Love: Empathy is a muscle and can be strengthened and developed like any other muscle. One way to foster empathy is through the reading of robust fiction.

“Psychologists David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, at the New School for Social Research in New York, have proved that reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions, a crucial skill in navigating complex social relationships.”

7) #Love: We have gone from the “need to have” towards the “need to share” and the collaborative economy has passed its tipping point. An early voice of this movement is Jeremy Rifkin who was the very first to frame the phrase “empathic civilization” — (RSA) (transcript) “A new science is emerging whose operating principles and assumptions are more compatible with empathic ways of thinking. The old science views nature as objects; the new science views nature as relationships. The old science is characterized by detachment, expropriation, dissection, and reduction; the new science is characterized by engagement, replenishment, integration, and holism. The old science is committed to making nature productive; the new science to making nature sustainable. The old science seeks power over nature; the new science seeks partnership with nature. The old science puts a premium on autonomy from nature; the new science on re-participation with nature.”

8) #Love: While we talk about empathy and moral codes of behavior – there are limits to what we are capable of. Christian Keysers is helping us understand these limits  The Empathic Brain by Christian Keysers  “ Where neuroscience is interesting, is by showing us the limits of our natural empathy, and helping us devise ethics that are compatible with how our brain works. For instance, our work shows that we feel what goes on in others by projecting what we would feel in their stead. In this context, ethics that suggest ‘treat others as they would like to be treated’ are harder to follow than ethics that suggest ‘treat others as you would like to be treated.”

What kind of passion do you have? Great question posed by Deloitte’s @JohnHagel “Passion, performance and potential – these three weave together into a seamless web.  Whether we come at it from the perspective of achieving more of our untapped potential or from the perspective of driving performance to ever higher levels, passion is the necessary foundation. Without it, our potential will remain exactly that – latent within us, something that we can only imagine but will never experience.”

9) #Love: Still resonate after 2002 Fast Company article and way before the API landscape Love is the Killer App by @sanderssays “The most powerful force in business isn’t greed, fear, or even the raw energy of unbridled competition. The most powerful force in business is love. It’s what will help your company grow and become stronger. It’s what will propel your career forward. It’s what will give you a sense of meaning and satisfaction in your work, which will help you do your best work.”

10) #Love: I am a realist and know that we have work to do in the areas of fostering empathy, strengthening our capacity to collaborate, and understanding the new levels of isolation the digital culture fosters. I want to end this series with the shadow side of the conversation Lethality of Loneliness: How it Can Ravage Your Body and Brain “At a deeper level, though, loneliness research forces us to acknowledge our own extraordinary malleability in the face of social forces. This susceptibility is both terrifying and exhilarating. On the terrifying side is the unhappy fact that isolation, especially when it stems from the disenfranchisement of the underprivileged, creates a bodily limitation all too easily reproduced in each successive generation.”

 

Here is my Valentine to you:

“When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Love & Light,

Jennifer

Navigating Complexity – Hold onto Your Core!

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(Escalator ~ Copyright 1984 Scott Mutter used in this article with permission from Bob Mutter)

I am a pilgrim on the edge, on the edge of my perception.

We are travelers at the edge, we are always at the edge of our perception.

 ~ Scott Mutter

As I launch 2015, I am thinking of all the tools we will need to navigate change in these complex times. Having a discipline to journal is a tool that I want us all to sharpen. Some are intimidated by the idea of keeping a journal and don’t really know how to begin. Here are some ideas that I hope spark action and insight.

There is a deli in my office building that has several Scott Mutter prints. Recently I was eating lunch and writing in my journal I had a visceral experience of feeling the water at my feet and the tug of the current.  What is so poignant about Mutter’s image is that I believe we are all in an identity crisis: a crisis between nature and technology, a crisis between capitalism and collaboration, a crisis between big data and intuition, and finally, a crisis between influencer, seduction, and our own solo voice.

Poet E. E. Cummings says it beautifully: To be nobody but myself-in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make me somebody else – means to fight the hardest battle any human can fight, and never stop fighting. In the midst of so many tugs of war, abstract thinking, critical thinking, and introspection have never been more important muscles to strengthen.  A lot of money is being spent to have you feel emotions and buy things that have nothing to do with who you are at your core. In addition, as social creatures, we are deeply impacted by our fear of being judged or experiencing shame. Every choice you make, every word you use, every “like” or “RT” becomes a node on a grid telling a data story about who you are and what you care about. It is more important than ever that you know the story and claim it as your own.

Introspection is the sword you have to fight this battle. You must, by design, get to know yourself under the shell of saving face. There are many ways to practice and explore self-knowledge.  The practice that has offered me the most personal insight has been keeping a journal. I have been keeping a journal since I was eight years old – so it is a well-worn habit. There are three exercises I give my clients to help them build introspection and begin the discipline of journal writing.

  1. The first practice is called “Plus + /  Delta Δ”.  The discipline of “Plus +  /  Delta Δ” invites you to write, once a week, a situation that you are proud of – where you describe the situation (context), the task at hand (what you were required to do), the actions you took (choices you made), and the result. In this exercise you also write, once a week, a situation that you wished for a do-over. Thus the delta Δ – which is the symbol for change. You follow the same formula of describing the situation (context), the task at hand (what you were required to do), the actions you took (choices you made), and the result.  In addition you describe what you wished would have happened, and any choices that you could have made as an alternative, to create a different outcome. The premise here is that we are better and learning if we have a chance to celebrate and anchor what is working and why and also build in the capacity for scenario planning of alternative outcomes. Just because we have an experience, doesn’t mean we will learn from it. The discipline of “Plus +  /  Delta Δ” makes the learning explicit, accessible, and scalable for future preparation.
  1. The second practice is called “Recalibration.” “Recalibration” is a writing exercise that I suggest to individuals and companies when they are going through significant changes, feeling lost, or feeling overwhelmed. Like arrows in a quiver, these questions can provide wonderful guidance on how to sequence events and how to establish priorities:

Where have you been?

What have you learned?

Where are you going?

What is required?

As you can imagine, these questions can be answered on a page or may extend into a two day working strategy session within a company.

For those of you who need more structure I offer this guidance:

  • Where have you been? (7 observations about past landscape)
  • What have you learned? (10 bullet point lessons/scars and what you hope to remember going forward)
  • Where are you going? (7 observations about current/future landscape)
  • What is required?  (3 mental muscles you need to strengthen, 2 skills you must acquire, 3 resources you must engage)
  1. The third practice is called “Shadow Dancing.” “Shadow Dancing” is a discipline that requires a six week commitment to create 30 minutes a day of writing. The theory behind “Shadow Dancing” is that we each have very strong internal critics and we judge ourselves. Often what insights we may need or truths we may want to discover about ourselves may be deep, deep within our psyche. By creating a disciplined practice of writing over a long period of time – new thoughts, insights, and perspectives may come to the surface. In my post Individuation of Ideas  I suggest that having insight isn’t so much about being intelligent as it is about being present. Even if you don’t know what to say and write – create the space and time anyway. Write “I am bored” or “I have nothing to say,” again and again. Just preserve the time and write. Perhaps, in the disciplined presence, a great idea will have the stillness required to land.

In this era of information overload and complexity – the one thing that will stay constant is who you are at your core, what you value, and your own discernment. Please take the time, by design, to strengthen your own voice so that you can hear the wisdom of your intuition, anchor and reinforce learning from the past, and support your personal resolve against the seduction of the macro.

Here is a talk I gave to innovators for global event called Hatch A Better World where I go a bit deeper on self-protection in the midst of macro seduction.

 

Onward in the rigor,

Jennifer

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Family Dinner Depth & Warm Holiday Wishes

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Regardless of the faith you practice this season, it is a universal time for family, personal recalibration, and a collective #pause from the hustle and bustle of survival. For some this is the only time that three generations are together for an extended period of time.

I believe leadership is transferred through the limbic system in addition to cognition. This means that the smiles, the stories, the hugs all transmit collective and historical scars and lessons.

The links I share this holiday are all topics that will be discussed and explored in the Sertl family. It is my hope that your dinner table be willed with laughter, music, memories, deep conversation and good questions. Perhaps a prayer or two as well.

Inclusive of all faiths . . .

Love and light,

Jennifer

 

  1. What principles guide your life? Don Miguel Ruiz’ The Four Agreements https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/376130-the-four-agreements-a-practical-guide-to-personal-freedom-a-toltec-wis is a wonderful exploration as is Eric Best’s Four Principles to Guide a Life
  2. In an age of oppulence – learning to simplify becomes a discipline of choice. A great touch stone for the question “what is essential?” is Matthew E. May’s Laws of Subtraction 
  3. History always makes a great topic of conversation. Sarah Caldicott  blends past, present and future as she fosters innovation. One of her most recent posts was on the history of the first Christmas lights.
  4. Movies are fantastic teachers. Here is a list of some great holiday classics. The best family movie I saw this year is Words & Pictures a liberal art major’s delight. It is also fun to see Reel Wisdom a compilation of existential moments across 40 films.
  5. Fostering a culture of reading is fundamental to success. Here is a crowd-sourced compilation of the 51 of the most beautiful lines in literature one of my favorites is John Steinbeck’s: now that you know you don’t have to be perfect, you can simply be good.  ChristmasTreeLibrary
  6. A modern deep dive into the exploration of faith ‘My Bright Abyss,’ by Christian Wiman and the subtle sensations of faith also explored by David Brooks.
  7. The most significant life experience I had to date was a hard lesson on “letting go.” End of life discussions are difficult but necessary.
  8. The holiday season is not joyful for everyone. In fact for many it is a season filled with lonliness and depression. For that reason I think it important to create space for mental vitality.
  9. The importance of developing a network of friends and relatives who you can share your emotions with How Optimism Creates Resilience via @BigThink.
  10. We are more creative at solving other people’s problems than our own. Which is why peer learning groups are so effective and also why we need each other. Daniel Pink says “recent research reveals that people are more capable of mental novelting when thinking on behalf of others than for themselves

To make a difference in the face of all that stands in the way of making a difference

~ Don Michael

♫Looping on our playlist is Sara Bareilles

Amen,

Jennifer

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The Faces of Innovation ~ Visionary, Game-Changer, Spotter

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(Artist Alexa Meade courtesy of Zeev Klein & photographer Jensen Sutta)

Candor still reverberates in the Silicon Valley from Patagonia’s Vice President of Environmental Affairs Rick Ridgeway with the bold statement “It is important to lead a reflective life. Once you lead a reflective life inevitably you will realize that you are doing harm. Once you know this, you can make a positive difference.” This was one of many powerful calls to action at the recent Social Innovation Summit.

Arriving early I spent some time in San Francisco at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. There was a powerful portrait exhibition of Arnold Newman and the way he made historical icons, either fragile or accessible, by his use of light and prop placement. Rarely do I spend an hour and half merely studying people’s faces. Yet the time flew by and I was greeted at Social Innovation Summit by a presentation by Los Angeles based artist Alexa Meade, who is best known for portraits painted on the human body that turn real life people into seemingly 2D works of art.  I had no choice but to take away this year the theme The Faces of Innovation. From over 200+ potential individuals to feature the faces that made the most impact on me were the faces of the visionary, the game-changer and the spotter.

 

The Face of the Visionary

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(Zeev Klein Founder of Social Innovation Summit courtesy of Zeev Klein & photographer Jensen Sutta) 

Zeev Klein founder of Social Innovation Summit  the face of the visionary.  Beginning in 2007 Klein and his company Landmark Ventures began a series of events called IT For Good held across 14 cities. The cities that generated the most synergy were New York and Silicon Valley.  During those events Klein began to notice significant shifts in the giving economy; “the trend went from the concept of charity, to philanthropy to what we now know as social innovation.”  Klein observed that what used to be a one way conversation of donors and NGO’s had become much more dynamic and more like a dialogue. A conversation that Klein wanted to enable and accelerate.  Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, “wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire; be the fire and wish for wind.”  While perhaps not inventing the term social innovation, Klein has been wind to the #socinn fire by coordinating the bi-annual prestigious Social Innovation Summit.  Entrepreneurs, NGO’s, and Fortune 500’s spend two dedicated days sharing outcomes, discussing needs, and finding partnerships .

 

The Face of the Game-Changer

 A chemical engineer from Shell, Mandar Apte is the face of a game-changer. Inspired by a rat trainer who loved rats and wanted them to be perceived as helpful animals rather than vermin, Bert Weetjens found rat size and intelligence ideal to sniff out TNT and has trained over 800 of them. Mandar noticed that turning a rat into a noble animal was not only problem solving but truly game-changing. Mandar leads Shell’s Game Changer Social Innovation program that invests in programs that not only solve social and environmental challenges but that also create transformational value for local communities and society at large. Another way Mandar is transforming the innovation landscape is through the EMPOWER program that has taught over 2000 Shell employees how to meditate. “To navigate complexity, people need to have more awareness. Innovation comes from awareness.

 

The Face of the Spotter

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(Nivan Mullick photo courtesy of Zeev Klein & photographer Jensen Sutta)

Many of you might have already heard of Caine’s Arcade. Nirvan Mullick hands down is the face of a spotter. Spotting is a new leadership core competency of being able to highlight and amplify people, content, and trends that have significant impact in the macro. On a random trip to a privately owned hardware store, Mullick noticed a nine year old boy who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes. Boldly the boy approached Mullick and asked if he’d like “three tickets for $1.00 or a day pass for $5.00.” Mullick paid for the day pass and was inspired by Caine’s creativity. As Mullick complimented Caine’s father on his son’s ingenuity, the father said, “You have been his only customer all summer.” Wanting to acknowledge the creativity, Mullick aggregated 200+ friends for a flash mob that became the documentary “Caine’s Arcade.” The video has been seen over 9 million times.  Mullick’s organization the, Imagination Foundation, has engaged over 250,000 kids in 60 countries in creative play through their Annual Global Cardboard Challenge. Great ideas and great people all need a spotter who is leveraged to amplify and scale.

I am reminded by Albert Camus “real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the   present. “ Perhaps the face of innovation is you.

This article can also be found in Huffington Post Impact

Gratitude for A Community of Learners

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Loaves and Fishes

This is not

the age of information.

This is not

the age of information.

Forget the news,

and the radio,

and the blurred screen.

This is the time

of loaves

and fishes.

People are hungry

and one good word is bread

for a thousand.

– David Whyte

from The House of Belonging

©1996 Many Rivers Press

I have such a beautiful community of learners and change makers. I thought I would dedicate this particular post to those who have nourished my mind over the past year.

  • Michel Bauwens has been dedicating his time and his work to foster the Peer2Peer movement. The Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy played a significant role from the “need to have” toward the “need to share.”
  • Tim Rayner makes ancient philosophy accessible and relevant. The discipline of contentment with on-line shopping interrupting our lives continually has never been more important. That is why once a month I remind myself by reading and re-reading See Like A Stoic An Ancient Technique for Modern Consumers
  • Peter Van Auwera travels around the globe aggregating the most interesting change-makers in #FinTech and organizational behavioral. I’ve been lucky enough to be included in his global scoop and have met the most exhilarating people. Changing systems from within as a catalyst is what perhaps he does best as he reminds us about The End of Leadership.
  • Nadine Hack from the cover of Rolling Stone to the White House has been championing cause based leadership for a lifetime. She has created the #beCause global network scaling great people doing meaningful work. “When I was young, I believed it was a sprint and we would change it all right then. As I grew older, I realized it was a marathon and I had to pace myself to be in it for the long haul And, then as I grew even older, I realized it is a relay race.” ~Nadine Hack
  • David Wilcox is the one who pulled me into the epicenter of social innovation. From charity, to philanthropy to social innovation – there as a conversation between business, NGOs and entrepreneurs and it is something to pay deep attention to How Three Quiet Seismic Shifts Are Changing the Social Enterprise and Social Innovation Landscape
  • “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it and I shall move the world” says Archimedes. That lever is social media and is being well executed brilliantly by Servane Mouazan founder of Ogunte. Servane is dedicated to the development of women leaders in social businesses across the world.

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  • Ramona Pringle created @Rdigitalife a platform for us to better explore how technology changes our relationships. I learned about Ramona first by reading Sherri Turkle’s Alone Together where she is quoted “I’m done with smart machines. I want a machine that is attentive to my needs. Where are the sensitive machines.” Since then we’ve collaborated and I’ve been lucky enough to be in the series on well being.
  • Otto Schamer has been fostering the power of presence for a very long time. I was on his review team at @BKpub. There has never been a better time than now to shift from Ego-System Economies to Eco-System Economies.
  • “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”–Anain Nin. Last Thanksgiving I spent with a very special friend Teresa Fritschi who in now on a personal adventure in Croatia. She is an aesthetic who writes about emotion, beauty and philosophy.

To all in my community I thank you for being a part of my circulatory system and helping me carve out who I am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blake

Daylight Savings & Personal Recalibration

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What to Remember When Waking

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

By David Whyte

*************************************************************************************************

While we are changing batteries and clocks – let us take some time to review our life trajectory and ensure we are on course and on purpose for our long view.

Haunted by ‘the rub’ that I know is my greatest learning curve – the art of letting go:

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Charles DuBois

Pause.

Breathe.

Focus.

Choose.

Don’t forget to take a dose of courage with your multivitamin.

I am leaving you with links to posts that force personal #recalibration.

In the rigor while listening to ♫ Emma Rossum ♫,

Jennifer

1) Familiarity Can Be Dangerous why I work hard to confront my reality.

2) The Laws of Subtraction with Matthew E. May.

3) Four Principles to Guide A Life with Eric Best.

4) Align Personal Development with Business Strategy my life’s work.

5) Manage Your Energy Not Your Time with Tony Schwartz.

6) How Serious Are We About Learning? with Cameron Norman.

7) Chasing Eden with Teresa Fritschi.

8) The Flight From Conversation with Sherry Turkle.

9) See Like a Stoic: an ancient technique for modern consumers with Tim Rayner.

10) Map of Meaning with Saybrook University.

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All Hallow’s Eve & Identity

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Halloween is a time where many dress up and get the opportunity to try-on a suit or a persona that allows for fun, expression, and exploration of self. As an existential philosopher I thought it would be a good time to take a moment to reflect on identity. Ironic that the most significant issue right now in information technology is #authentication. Ensuring whoever is the user is in fact a person – not a bot- and does in fact have integrity to name and place is of most importance in the age of digital. Authentication makes me smile as I realize how can you authenticate someone who infact doesn’t even know who he/she is. This is a business platform so that is as far as I will go.

In the spirit of our authentic I am sharing my list of links that support our clear knowing who we are and what we care for.

1) Impact is Not an Option: Every “like” or RT or endorsement both subtle and explicit is telling a story about who you are and what you value. Are you proud of what that aggregate story says about you, what you value and your capability? Your auto-autobiography is being written by simple responses on social sites. Whether we like it or not, stories are being told about us based on analytical data and doors are being opened or closed. We can let that happen or we can claim some control of what our data points say about who we are and what we care about. The place to regain control is to reverse engineer the qualities you would like to leave behind. Write your story now and live into it. Thought leader Clay Shirky gave us a nugget of wisdom: it is not information overload, it is filter failure.

2) Beyond Brand You: Reflections on Social Authenticity: “Self-affirmation is a matter of affirming your unique, personal value. The key to self-branding online is to become ‘extraordinarily/noticeably good at something of use/significance’ in the real world – to become something and brand that. All the online self-affirmation in the world – through tweeting, posting, pinning, +1ing, following, liking, favoriting, and sharing – won’t make you worthy of branding unless you are someone of worth. So be the best version of who you are. We all have our superpowers – what are yours?” says Tim Rayner.

3) Be Human: Heidegger and Online Authenticity: “Heidegger coined the phrase ‘being-in-the-world’ to encapsulate this vision of the human being. To be human is to be absorbed in a world of practical action, a world that we understand intuitively, without needing to reflect on it. The ‘world’, in this case, is not just a place or location full of people and things. Worlds are defined by a way of life or being. Worlds reflect community traditions; therefore they are not private, but social and shared. We ‘know our way around’ a world by understanding the way that we are expected to engage with other people in it.” again dear friend Tim Rayner.

4) Man’s Search for Meaning: “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.” Timeless wisdom from Viktor Frankl.

5) Four Principles to Guide A Life:

1. Clarify the Intention 2. Defind the Sacred 3. Understand the Commitment 4. Act to Be “These four principles are easy enough to remember and say aloud but challenging to apply. They are valuable insofar as you make them about you and your life, day-to-day, week- to-week, personally and professionally.” Brilliant from friend, writer, strategist Eric Best.

6) Finding the Value in Being Human: Being human, is kind of messy in that there isn’t an on and off button of feeling and emotion. You may be really knowledgeable about certain things but you probably have dragons that you need to slay and no matter how much intelligence that you have, you haven’t been able to resolve certain conflicts. I was honored to be included in the @RDigitalife segment on Well Being & Balance. Ramona Pringle’s platform is tracking the relationship technology has on how we life and how we think.

7) Are People Basically Good or Bad? : I have been deeply impacted by Eric Hoffer’s haunting words: It would be difficult to exaggerate the degree to which we are influenced by those we influence. Our need to belong is much more fundamental and primal than our need for excellence. There are subtle ways in which we sabotage our own success for fear of envy and/or our fear of being alone. Every community has thresholds for truth, intelligence, success. It is vital that you pay more attention to who your colleagues are, what they beliefs are and their decision-making criteria. You are impacted in subtle and explicit ways.

8) How Great Leaders Inspire: I was lucky enough to have a coaching session with Simon Sinek and it deeply impacted my practice. When I was younger I felt horribly in the way. I knew that I had blue eyes and if I could get an adult to look me in the eye I felt safer. He suggested that I rename my company “My Blue Eyes” as it represents taking something authentic and natural and leveraging it to create macro value. That is what I do for the companies I serve. It was brilliant advice that I have not yet had the courage to execute. It fits in the identity steam however. My favorite line for Simon’s TED is “there are leaders and there are those who lead.”

9) Authenticity~ The Way to the Millennials Heart: We believe that authenticity can be considered to be one of the ten values regarded as most essential to Postmoderns. The academic literature suggest that one good way to look it is to view it from two perspectives: constructive and existential. Constructive authenticity refers to the cultural context of what is considered to be authentic. Social media has enabled Postmoderns to communicate their true feelings with much less anxiety about being personally judged. It also gives them the ability, however, to distort information to fulfill an agenda without much consequence. Facebook, Twitter and other social media/networking sites provide an outlet for endless self-expression” contributes Forbes writer Professor Karl Moore.

10) To Thine Own Brand Be True: “An exercise in self-reflection can help any startup founder achieve better insights into their consumer’s point of view. At some point in your life, I am sure you have taken time to reflect: you’ve thought on what you want out of life, what your personal virtues and flaws are, what you have accomplished to date, and what you would like to contribute to the world. Such contemplation is crucial to your personal growth and development–and to that of your brand” says Fast Company writer Megha Desai.

Lest you think I am too serious, I am dancing to my favorite Halloween song I first heard at my alma mater University of Colorado : ♫ Shriekback-Nemesis

I wish you a safe and fun Halloween.

I wish you a safe and fun journey towards your authentic identity.

Jennifer

@jennifersertl

Lego

Leadership Lessons from Sibos: Discernment, Connectivity, Proximity

Sibos is an annual conference organized by Swift  for the financial industry. This year’s conference was held in Boston at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). In attendance where over 7,000 decision makers from over 212 countries debating the future of money in particular global finance, crypto-currencies, payments, securities and trade issues.  While much of the conference was geared to financial institutions and multinational corporations, there were messages and lessons discussed that can help all leaders across sectors be better prepared and should be scaled. All leaders will navigate sea-change better by strengthening discernment, building strong networks, and ensuring a more robust toggle between local and global.

KrisLovejoy(photo of Kristin Lovejoy GM, IBM Security Services Division courtesy of JoAnn Healy of Swift)

“People focus on protection when we really need them to focus on detection” says Kristin Lovejoy at the Cyber Security Panel.

Attacks are inevitable and there are significant things that can be done to support “digital hygiene.” Many individuals may feel that protecting themselves against cyber crime is a loosing battle or that the elephant is too big to eat. That may lend itself to learned helplessness or a sense that these are “not my issues.” Lovejoy believes cyber war is an issue that impacts governments, organizations and individuals and the onus is on everyone to help in this battle. Citing a hand washing study done at the University of Colorado which reported that hand washing as a habit increased student vitality and reduced absenteeism, Lovejoy believes that there are similar habits regarding digital care that increase security. Simple examples include ensuring every device has a security code that changes frequently and enabling two step authentication.  Everyone has a role to have good habits in protecting personal systems at the micro and corporate systems at the macro. Along with these habits is the skill to detect. Sense and gut feel increasingly have a role to play as fundamental core competencies. When asked the mission critical business skill she seeks to hire, without hesitation the answer “discernment.” She continues, “we talk a lot about intellect and at the end of the day it is discernment that makes the biggest difference on my team.

Swift has an internal innovation lab called Innotribe, which is a group of individuals who travel globally to collect innovative thinkers to bring to Sibos to help bridge the gap between protection and innovation. Two speakers in particular made it very clear that competitive advantage today requires individuals build robust relationships across business sectors. Peter Hinssen,“if you understand networks, you will understand the future.” Things are more relational and less hierarchical. There is too much to know and individuals can no longer be single point sources. Those who will have the best sense of reality are those who live and foster relationships in robust networks. So many people like to be with individuals that are similar in lifestyle and expression. Yet, navigating complexity requires people to be more interested in what they have to learn from one another than what it is that they have in common. Similarly Ann Badillo urges that rather than think of a network as a community, think of it “as a rainforest.” She says,“we need to go beyond building networks to building eco-systems.” This requires a much more robust inclusive design around friends, clients, customers, shareholders.

RainforestRules

Sustainable innovation and entrepreneurial growth come from ecosystems, not mere assets. Ecosystems are environments designed from the bottom-up to foster serendipitous interactions. The ecosystems are nurtured by several key cultural traits: connectivity, diversity of ideas and talents, deep levels of trust, motivations that rise above short-term zero-sum calculation, and cultural norms that encourage dreaming, risk-taking, and paying it forward.

Penny Hembrow, VP of Global Banking at CGI Group, Inc. was an exhibitor at Sibos. When asked about today’s competitive advantage and navigating complexity, she gave a large smile and let out a sigh, “At the end of the day we must never forget that consulting at its best no matter what you do is about problem solving.”  One of the biggest challenges we have right now is how to be globally minded yet serve our local communities. We have to toggle all the time between global and local. We might have large global networks, but at the end of the day most transactions are really made in person face to face. Even though it might be difficult, one has to find a way to have one foot planted in the macro and one planted in office in the life of the person you are serving. Hembrow refers to this as “the art of proximity – bringing global relevance at a macro level to the front door of the person you are serving.”

Regardless of changes in technology and changes in the economy, navigating change comes down to discipline and choice. We must not be lazy and keep good hygiene for whatever craft we are in. We must not only sharpen our intellect but also sharpen our wisdom. We must invest in nurturing and fostering a cross section of relationships across the business ecosystem. And we must never forget no matter how vast our global community intimacy still is our golden lever.

Onward in the sea-change . . .

Jennifer