Strengthening Personal Resolve

unnamed

What to Remember When Waking  (or launching a new year)

by David Whyte

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?

 ~ David Whyte ~

Discernment & courage are the two swords I want you to sharpen and carry with you into the new year.

We need discernment as we live in a continual buffet of distraction, seduction, and complexity. How many of you can go to a lunch buffet and put on your plate only food selections and quantities that will truly nourish your vitality. I cannot. I put too much on my plate and often taste foods that are not a part of my regular diet. That is fine every once and awhile. It is dangerous if it is constant. The internet of things #iot causes us to live in perpetual buffet. Mall and shopping stores invade our living rooms, our relationships are challenged by wondering if there is a better partner a click away, we are unsatisfied with our jobs waiting for that miracle LinkedIn connection. Please tell me I am not alone in these types of choices are bombarding me minute by minute, day after day.

We need courage because all of these options can accidentally overload our circuits and we may feel defenseless against the current of the neuroscience marketing. Our inner voice needs more attention and strength. The choices your hear it ask of you may cause separation from the familiarity and an initial feeling of being alone.  That inner voice asks you to stop the madness, get more sleep, spend more time in solitude, practice simplicity, and be more full of gratitude. All choices that take deliberate effort. This is not a sexy voice, these choices do not create immediate gratification. In fact, it takes weeks sometimes to experience the benefit of wisdom over data.  We need more courage to hold onto our core in the midst of macro seduction.

Often you will see my twitter stream with #recalibration. At least once a week I circulate links and highlight individuals supporting our practice in strengthening our core and sharpening our discernment. All these aspects I circulate are part of my practice and part of my discipline. Repetition and ritual with a few habits are powerful ways to renew and revitalize our inner compass. I invite you to join me this year in seeking long view vitality over short term gratification.

Pause.

Breathe.

Focus.

Choose.

 

Cheers to your resolve ~ Happy New Year!

Jennifer

@jennifersertl

#a3r

You will know me by my lists

Charles Dubois

1)#Recalibration:  What Makes A Good Life ~ Happiness Research with Robert Waldinger

2) #Recalibration: Four Principles to Guide A Life with @ericbestonline

3) #Recalibration:  Marshall Jones clever “TouchScreen” you can find more inspiration @jonesconnects

4) #Recalibration: Align Personal Development with Business Strategy my point of view

5) #Recalibration: The Art of Letting Go with @TonySchwartz

6) #Recalibration: Want to Build Resilience? Kill the Complexity with @andrew_zolli

7) #Recalibration: 20 Cognitive Biases That Effect Your Decision Making

8) #Recalibration:  The Stoic: 9 Principles to Help You Keep Calm in Chaos via @99u

9) #Recalibration:  Why do smart people underperform? Overloaded Circuits yes, we know this but appreciate the research @MITSloan

10) #Recalibration: Map of Meaning with @saybrooku

unnamed (1)

 

Navigating Complexity – Hold onto Your Core!

Escalator_(Everyman)_(Pilgrim)_1984-1

(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

Sertl2015

A New Season ~ Personal Recalibration

0095648

Many times you have seen me use Sunday as a day for #‎recalibration and often the image I share is shattered glass as I add the quote: The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become~Charles DuBois

Yet this morning as I awake to a new season and see my yard populated with golden yellow and red leaves, I feel a sense of a gentle whisper inviting a new threshold as the seductive gates of the image above.

Perhaps change and recalibration are not as much about disruption as they are about opening a gate of possibility and actually walking through. Maybe choices don’t have to feel like breaking glass. Perhaps choices can be gentle. Oh, I wish I could find the words as I am feeling such comfort and calm about having very recently walked through this gate.

Our friction-free world is full of options. We can download our world according to our bias and preference. We talk so much about options but rarely talk about discernment. I don’t write so much to teach others but to reinforce for myself what I need to learn and especially practice.

With this new season, please be fierce in your resolve to ensure you are fine tuning your decision making criteria as you continue to expand personal and professional thresholds.

These links are keys to gates of impact I hope to open in my lifetime:

1) #whisper : Daniel Dennett’s Seven Tools for Thinking

2) #whisper: Tim Rayner @TimRayner01‘s Sage Wisdom for Contemporary Time

3) #whisper: Dr. Amit Nagpal @DrAmitInspires‘ Blue Ocean Strategy for Your Own Person Brand

4) #whisper: Jose Baldadaia @jabaldaia‘s Replace GPS w/ a Compass

5) #whisper: Saybrook University @SaybrookU’Map of Meaning

6) #whisper: Tony Schwartz‘ The Art of Letting Go

7) #whisper: Eric Best‘s Four Principles to Guide A Life

8) #whisper: Peter Vander Auwera @PeterVan‘s The End of Leadership

9) #whisper: Jim Collins‘s The Triump of Humility and Fierce Resolve

10) #whisper: My point of view for The Age of Essence

0890266

This is how leaves sound as they gently fall . . .♫

May a golden leaf gently brush your cheek and welcome you to Autumn.

Jennifer