Tag Archives: Self

My Grandma always said

My grandma had a saying for everything; I guess that comes with being a grandparent eh? Some of them were just funny (funny ha-ha and funny quirky). She was quite the performer too. She could tell a story, dress up, do a skit, and perform at a moments notice for those at the dinner table or a crowd of a hundred. She could pull up a prop and get into character at the drop of a…well a napkin, let’s go with that. When she was waiting for something she would say, “It won’t be long now, said the monkey when the train ran over it’s tail.” When you asked if she would like to more to eat her response was classic, “Oh, I have had an elegant sufficiency, anymore would be superfluity.” Yep superfluity is a word, (noun, superabundant, excessive amount). Now I don’t know if all of these sayings were original, or if she borrowed them from somewhere else. In my world, she is a God. Oh, she would not like that analogy at all, well at least a Minor God, or maybe just a Saint. Suffice it to say she was/is pretty important to me so if she said it, then she gets the byline on life’s references page.

One of the things she would say is, “I can do anything I want to do.” As kids we would challenge her, “Ok, fly!” Her response was simply, “I don’t want to.” With this great laugh that I can hear to this day, and a twinkle in her bright blue eyes. Ah, to be with my Gram again! As kids, my brothers and cousins, we would just laugh. She was grandma and said funny stuff all of the time. As I grew older and started to think more about this, she was really teaching us something very important. We CAN do anything we want to do. We do have the ability to set our attention and intention to make things happen. She certainly did this in her own work as a seamstress/decorator. Her customers would come to her and describe a room setting, or whatever they wanted created in their homes. She would draw a picture of the description, which is amazing as a story already. THEN, she would make the vision without a pattern. Her customers would say the picture was better than they had imagined, and the final product was more than perfect. She could do anything she wanted to do. She said it. She believed it. She did it.

Recently I heard a presentation by Dr. Vincent Harding, a friend and confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was talking about a book that he wrote with Daisaku Ikeda, America will be! The title comes from a Langston Hughes poem. Dr. Harding said, “Our dreams are only a fraction of what we can do. Our lifetimes are only a fraction of what we can dream.” I tried to find if he was quoting Hughes again. I couldn’t find a poem that used these lines. But, this line reminded me of my gram’s “I can do anything” axiom. The truth is, our ability is largely untapped. If you could do anything you set your mind to, what would it be? What have you created and completed from just your thoughts? Truly, the answer to that is EVERYTHING, since all of our actions were thoughts first then carried out. We do have the ability to do anything we want. What do you want to do? When will you start?

I will leave you with two Langston Hughes poems I did find.


Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

And, this one reminds us to live NOW.

“Life is for the living.

Death is for the dead.

Let life be like music.

And death a note unsaid.”

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Linguistic Acrobatics

Linguistic Acrobatics

There is no “I” in Team….but we can find “me”

There is no “I” in team.  To have a team you have to have multiple “I”s to make it all work.  A team by definition is more than one. So, there is no “I” but we do find a ME. Let’s look at the multiples of ME that contribute to task and process of the team.

Let’s back up…

I am guessing that most have heard the saying,  “There is no ‘I” in team.”  This is a true statement of fact.  We can buy posters that say this for the office, locker room, and other gathering places.  I guess this overused phrase reminds us of the importance of working together. Perhaps it is a caution against being self-centered.  I agree that working together is teamwork.  The origin of the word TEAM is from the Old English about “animals being yoked together” to pull or drag something.  But, I am getting off the subject here.  There is no “I” in team.


Let’s look at the word T–E–A–M, and we can find the “ME.”  It takes some spelling acrobatics to manipulate the letters to form the word, Me.   But, after the obvious statement that we can’t find an “I” in team the letter shuffle is least of our worries. Who is the me in a team?  By definition the team has to consist of more than ONE (which coincidentally is the Roman Numeral I).  This concept of ME in a team considers a grouping of individuals (which does have an “I” by the way) to accomplish the work of the team.  In fact one of those posters we can hang in the office also suggests that T-E-A-M  is an acronym for Together Everyone Accomplishes More.  Without the collaboration in a group (perhaps even a Team) of MEs they couldn’t accomplish the work.  This synergy of working together requires the combination of strengths, talents, and gifts that combines to create a critical mass of energy to complete THE work.  The metaphor of 1+1=3 catches our attention due to the improper math equation. At the same time, it illustrates that my work with your work can create a greater sum of work than just what each of us can accomplish on our own.

Abilities of Me

The power and ability to do or act is increased through the collaboration of the many that are working for a common purpose.  Through Transformational leadership we know that at times Me #1 has a strength or talent that will come to the forefront, while the others assume a supporting role.  At other times Me #X will possess a new talent or skill that could be used by the team for the common goal of the group.  Andrew Carnegie
said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. [It is] the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

An individual can have leadership qualities.  We can recognize a leader among people as a quality of personhood, or through their actions.  But, that recognition comes from someone…or even a group of someones.  I submit that generally this comes from a group, an office, an organization, a team of some sort.  The group in some manner probably shares the role of leader.  This will happen through sequential rotation through an office.  It can happen through shared leadership, or a network of leaders.  It can happen through delegation.

In short, there is no “I” in team, there has to be a bunch of “I”s in there to make it all work.  Do the acrobatics.  See the multiples of ME that contribute to task and process of the team.

When did you know that you were a leader?  Was it related somehow to a group or working with a bunch of other leaders?

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Why raw ability?

When I decided to start blogging I had to think of a name that would allow me a little flexibility to think, write, publish, and put myself out into the universe. I also wanted a space that was true to how I thought about my ability and what I think WE all bring to the table.  Yes that proverbial table that doesn’t really exist, but at the same time is a metaphor for so many aspects of our lives – the board table, the conference table, sharing ideas over a meal-table, in a meeting, the classroom table, our kitchen table…in short the metaphorical table of sharing ideas The meta table.

My raw ability

I have some thoughts and things to share.  I think about theory and practice.  I think about the interplay between perfect practice and the theoretical.  One of my strengths is connecting the seemingly unconnected in ways that I think they make sense.  Often times they do make sense, sometimes in the immediate as they leave my mouth or fingers, and sometimes after a bit, more thinking.  One overall name for my blog posts was – I was just sittin here frettin’.  Which maybe a cool post at some point, but it is a little constricting for a whole theme.  It seems rather angstie (is that a word? probably not) as well.  Angst isn’t raw.  Angst is drama. Drama is probably what interrupts action, power, talent, or strengths.

I think.  I am analytical.  I am conceptual.  I am social.  I collect.  I connect.  So, my raw ability connects to my strengths – Strategic, Learner, Input, Context, Intellection, and Ideation.  I like to see where they came from and how they evolve.  The order, pattern, or connections within the chaos of life, sometimes it takes some time to notice.

Others raw abilities

We all have strengths, leadership, thoughts, ideas, and contributions to share at this table.  At times how the group (however that group is constituted) thinks and works together may seem to be at odds with each other.  I think, in general, when people come together they are really trying to propose ideas and suggestions that contribute to making the group better.  That is transformational leadership.  The challenge of working as a team or as a unit for a common purpose for the sake of collaboration can sometimes seem messy.  Periodically different thinking seems to be at odds and may contribute to the storming part of group dynamics.  However, it doesn’t dismiss the ability of any, or all, of the people working together.

So this means

Ability connects directly to our personal power and the capacity to do what we intend.   Raw ability is the culmination of the gifts we all have and bring to the table.  Raw ability is about the mix of talents in an organization, leader group, business setting, or team.  The feedback we get from others in these groups contributes to a better understanding of our own raw talents.  This will be refined and presented later in life, at the next table; it is the cumulative effect of which we are… a personal evolution, maybe a personal revolution (depending on the feedback of course).

What are your raw abilities?  What do you bring to the table?

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