Tag Archives: Choice

A glowing excursion

A few weeks ago I visited Puerto Rico with my cousin’s family, it was a trip of a lifetime. It was the celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary. We had a blast. Puerto Rico is an amazing place with some of the nicest people I’ve encountered. Most of the time we could use English, there were a few times we had to resort to Spanish. It was fun to see how much of my high school Spanish came back to me, so now I have a new New Year’s resolution (I know, I know it’s May). We took the usual tourist trips around the island – Old San Juan, the Bacardi distillery, Costco, Snorkeling, museums and the Bioluminescent Bay.

It burns!
Snorkeling was fun, and a new experience. Continue reading


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Where do you live, HEAD or HEART?

When I was in grad school one of my professors said to me, “You need to move from your head to your heart.”

My response, “I don’t even know what you mean.” He told me to just, “Sit with that for a while.”

And so, I’ve been sitting and wondering for a decade now: Continue reading


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As the ice melts

Glass Ice & WaterThere I was watching ice melt in a glass of water. I noticed something. As the ice melts the level of the water didn’t really change. I guess I knew this already. I mean this seems like something from middle school science as we talk about displacement. Or maybe it was from the “Eureka!” story about some naked guy jumping out of a bathtub in ancient Greece (Archimedes the mathematician).

But I digress…but what doesn’t catch your attention in a story more than seeing how the word naked is being used to teach something, eh?

Back to water, and ice and the like. I was driving down Lakeshore Drive in Chicago yesterday and there was this lake (Michigan to be exact) and ice. It gets cold here. The level of the lake doesn’t change much either from the summer to the winter. That frozen lake I was walking on in Wisconsin on New Year’s Day was the same way. The level in the glass or these lakes with or without ice was the same.

So what?

I have been working on my resume and helping a few people with their resumes lately. This task is tedious. It is hard to say what you need to say to show how you know what you are doing, and that you have accomplished. BUT…we are so conditioned to not be too boastful. However, we don’t do a little boasting who will? I wasn’t looked at for one job because I wasn’t explicit enough about my experience in business and on-campus (with students). I assumed the people on the committee would look at my resume and see both types of activities together and make the connection that I could combine them; bad assumption on my part.

Lesson one in job search. Help connect those dots, create a nice picture of you, and not worry about the boastful part. I think we can call this confidence – he says in an almost confident manner J.

Another thought about the experience timeline and all of the jobs that we have completed in the past may at some point look completely disassociated. Or maybe after writing and revising so much we forget what attracted us to a position and how it fits in with our talents, strengths, expertise, and follows some line of reason. It must work this way though; the common denominator would be us… right?

Back to this glass of water thing, I started with. There is a method to my madness here; it wasn’t just to get your attention. Think for a minute that each one of us is the glass of water. It can be half full, half empty, or fully full…or something we just need some water in there to start. The half-full/empty thing is a whole other blog post all together. Into this glass put some ice. You can use cubes, ellipses, half moons, crescents, or even crushed for this example.

The water (in the glass) is you. The ice in the water in the glass is your experience or the different jobs that you have completed in your life. The ice is suspended in the water. At first, we can see the ice in the water. We notice there are some experiences floating around in the water. We can see some shape. We can see the edges. Perhaps those edges show some limits to our experience. I mean, as good as we are there hopefully is some limit to what we know (or what we are willing to admit we don’t know) and time and experience helps us expand our knowledge and our edges might get soften a bit as we build more capacity.

Ice melts

Melting might seem like a bad thing. But in my example, and story here, ice melting IS the example. When the ice is melted it is all water. We are still us, but now we have new experience that has become us. We have grown in our ability and how we approach things. We look the same – water is still water – but we are different. We have experience. When we add more ice (more experience or a new job) we can see those chunks of experience again. Now we also have the addition of a new understanding. Our water is different, but we may not look any different.


This is a German word for form or structure. It is the whole. A gestalt is the summation of its component parts. It is impossible for us to refreeze the chunks of ice in our class in the exact way that we added them to the water. It is a little different from a similar word, synergy. With synergy, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Meaning together we can accomplish even more. Gestalt is a whole it is a unified whole – like our resume. I mean like our glass of water.

Why water?

You might be thinking WATER?! I want to be juice or something (did someone say gin and tonic?) a little more spicy than water. I use water for a reason. Ice in water is more water. Ice in any other beverage will dilute the experience. Our resume and our experience aren’t diluted over time in any way. Even experiences that weren’t perfect help us grow in a positive direction. We know what we don’t want to do, or how to not do that again. Besides, water is in everything. H2O makes up so much of us, the earth, the atmosphere, everything. It just makes sense to use water in the example.


When we have ice in water a lot of the time, we get some condensation on the outside of the glass. This happens in learning, experiences, and jobs too. There are things that we don’t need from many of our experiences. We can just let those go. We can shed those – if you will.

Leadership is about the accumulation of abilities and the derivation of learning from our experiences. Our leadership can be tied back to our chunks of ice in the water. Our leadership insight (or one of my favorite words – acumen) comes from the experience of being a leader and even of being a follower and participating in some way in the leadership experience. It might be vicarious, but we can still learn from the experience.

Think about your chunks of experience. Can you pull out the direct lessons from those chunks? Are you a different person now after having been exposed to the new ice chunks floating around in your glass of water?

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Choice instantly becomes part of you

Let’s go for a walk to the beach. Upon arrival, we find a sea of gold coins. YOU WON. You are free to dip into the sea and take some. Magically a container appears to hold what you will take from the sea. How big is your container? Here is another opportunity to ponder. You won the lottery, a drawing, and a cash prize, something of that sort. When you open the envelope, what’s the amount of the check? What have you won?

I have no idea of the size of your container at the seashore, nor the amount of the check you won. I would assume that most of us would bring a bucket, perhaps a 5-gallon paint bucket. The sum on your check I would guess is also some moderate amount. Perhaps it covers your mortgage, your overall debt, or your car balance. A simple question is – Why the self-imposed limits?

Others might think we are greedy if our container is too big, or if we have multiple containers. And too much money on that check may inflame a similar feeling. What do you really need to be comfortable? If it’s too much – whatever that means – we are being greedy. Some may not feel like we deserve it. I mean, come on, duh…greed is one of the seven deadly sins, right? We have committed a sin (if you believe in sin) if we take too much of our self-imposed winnings. I am guessing here, but I believe the sin is about excess or materialism. But who says you will use this money frivolously? Who says you wouldn’t share the wealth and make the world a better place if you won.

‘Tis better to give than receive?

If you could give someone a gift, is it more than what you won? If these scenarios didn’t carry the connotation of money – for some reason that feels evil – how much of it would you take or give? You WON. My point here — why do we create limits on our ability? When can we create and make this fortune?

A riddle

What is, but quickly isn’t?
What will be instantly turns to what was?
What’s in the future then happens, and poof it’s past?

What is your first guess? Put your first guess in the comments. I am just curious.

Before writing this riddle, I couldn’t find much on this next topic. A demonstration of how slippery this concept is. The answer to the riddle is “now”. What is now? Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now, centers on living in the present. In counseling, we teach the importance bringing the story or situation into the “here and now.” We live in the present – the now. Maybe it isn’t a question of what, rather it is a question of when? I found a quote by blogger/author, Jarod Kintz, “I put the ‘now’ in knowledge. Well I will, probably tomorrow or tomorrow’s tomorrow.” This is good. Knowledge is about the NOW. The realization of the learning’ happens after the fact. It is likely that we don’t realize it until NOW becomes THEN. At times, we even procrastinate our learning, or the realization of our learning until tomorrow or beyond.

There is a concept of flow (theory of optimal experience) developed by Dr. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi. This flow is about the human experience of joy, creativity, or the process of total involvement in life. It is described in his book (Flow); I relate this flow to being in the NOW. In this state, we are so involved that nothing else seems to matter. We lose track of time. The exhilaration of NOW, consumes us. All of this is related to another favorite word, Phenomenology. Just saying it is fun, right?

(Side note: When you say it fast it seems like you should have a chorus of Muppets singing backup – da do dah dude a loo, da dude da dude da due due DO! Maybe it’s just me.)

Phenomenology is the study of experience or consciousness. Isn’t this really what we mean by this precious concept of Now? No matter if now is this second or this week. This is a passion for living and being alive NOW.

When now becomes then doesn’t it seem to create wisdom? Either from a “wow, that was a lesson I won’t forget!” to “Whoa, let’s do that again!” We have the ability to win what we set our mind to, in the moment we decide to do it. Next…

To thine OWN self be true

Finally, what is own? We own things. Some of these things are material and some are innate abilities and talents. What we really own, is really our own. Whoa…deep LOL. When we die, our legacy is what we own. It carries our short time here into infinity.

It relates to the self, the individual and how we take control of our own lives. Shakespeare writes, “To thine own self be true.” In the play, a father is pleading with his son to live his dream with a sense of values. We each own our strengths, our gifts, and our approach to the world. From Emergenetics we understand that we approach the world through thinking and behavioral preferences (nature and nurture) that are truly our own. We bring our initial set, from chaos theory, into every situation. This initial set is who we are (experience and baggage) when we show up. Our ability to contribute and to live our own passions is all of our own doing and being. It is also important that we own up to who we are and how we present ourselves. This is credibility and consistency.

Won, Now, Own

Notice anything? The same three simple letters make up every word, an anagram. Now, this isn’t quantum physics, magic, nor is it even coincidence. But I do submit this – Everything we do was first a thought and then an action. We have the ability to dream and create what we win. We own the ability to create our sense of now that influences where, or how, we will go. Cause and effect are in motion. In leadership and working with people, owning a vision that is communicated now creates an attitude for accomplishment. So after the fact we can say we won (I had to work it to get the right tense in there).

There once were three words that came from one.
The three letter shuffle it’s all anagram fun.
Context and meaning discern,
Connect one to another we learn.
Related we see are now, own, and won.


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May 29, 2014 · 4:28 pm