Some of you will know that I spent some time with Michael Neill at the Supercoach Academy recently – he teaches The Three Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness.
One of the insightful teachings at the heart of the principles is the fundamental understanding that as humans we are inclined to being emotionally affected by what goes on around us through our thoughts. That the quality of our thoughts is alone responsible for the quality of our experience. This in itself can be a hard pill to swallow, especially for us action people, who love to go around helping and fixing anything that’s broken – in the world of the form (physical) that includes broken bones, injured bodies, the sick and the organisations that care for those in need of repair. It would seem that our emotions and feelings come about as a direct result of the quality of our thoughts, which ones we give energy to and which ones just flit in and out of our conscious awareness, are all just choices we make. Given the gift of conscious awareness, we get to observe and choose our thoughts.
The analogy of the pill is a great one to use here. We have all heard of the placebo. The placebo tricks the mind into believing that a cure or palliative intervention has taken place and somehow our symptoms disappear. We get better because we expect to. There is a plethora of evidence to support this – so clearly it would seem that mind really has an influence over matter. This is nothing new in the world of self-improvement or medicine. The preference for medicine over non-clinical interventions is a debate for another day. Just maybe it’s a pill that’s just a little difficult for the power brokers to swallow.
When I first heard that maybe I was responsible for my own crappy day, I wasn’t best pleased. Then something really amazing happened. Along with the responsibility came freedom to choose, at any moment in time I got to let go of those negative thoughts and create space for a much more resourceful presence. It turns out I didn’t need to go looking for a pill to swallow I just needed to learn to let go.
Over the last few months I have noticed that blogs written in a more ‘towards’ something better rather than ‘away’ from something undesirable, seem to generate much more interest from my readers.
Now this sounds pretty obvious when put this way, that people prefer to read and be inspired to generate a more positive, optimistic view of the future ahead. Focused on what we would like to create versus dwelling on what we would diminish appeals to most of us.
There’s a well-defined stream that runs through the world of self-improvement that is common to all. The idea that you get more of what you focus on. When we think about our goals, our plans and our strategy it helps to formulate a direction of travel and to focus on the journey ahead. At its simplest, when you focus on your problems, you appear to have more of them. When you focus on what’s good about life, what’s good about work and what’s good even about the taste of our coffee in the morning, we feel a sense of gratitude that softens our world.
So, take a moment…consider how much time is spent dwelling on what’s not working versus creatively planning a new and more colourful scene. As Walt Disney is famously quoted:
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Keep on dreaming, keep on creating and keep on believing. You can do it!
This game keeps popping into my mind recently, because sometimes when observing how we do things, it can feel like this way. If you are not familiar with the game, it involves a picture of a donkey without a tail. The participant is blindfolded, spun around and expected to pin the tail to the correct area on the donkey. The one who gets the tail nearest to the right spot gets to win the game. I am guessing as with anything else in life, you could improve your performance with practice.
It occurred to me recently that sometimes we get to play this kind of game, attempting to get a result even when we are not sure where the donkey is, never mind his rear end. We sometimes delegate the task not really knowing how skilled the person is or even how often they have played the game. Often this works and at others the tail gets pinned but not quite in the place we had hoped. The results will depend upon the level of orientation of the individual.
In the current financial climate, educating people in donkey tail management can seem like a luxury (hope you are still with me here). Education and training especially for non-professional team members can be affected. The potential downside of this means that you have less people available to allocate the task to, they may also be less skilled and had less training than is ideal. The paradox is, with less people skilled in tail management, the more skilled the ones you have need to be. If we don’t get this right, the skill of managing a disappointed donkey (and it’s tail handler) becomes more of a priority than the skill of making sure the tail is in the right place.
If none of this makes sense to you, what I am pointing to suggests that without the training and development of our teams, they get to fumble around in the dark, through trial and error or by chance, we may get the results that are required. It’s a shortsighted strategy that results in much of our time being spent managing disappointment. So let’s play a new game, one that involves getting it right first time, and if you think this isn’t possible, ask Toyota. They might introduce you to their Lean donkey.
The Book Notes on Nursing a Thought by Paula Goode, available at goodeinsight.co.uk
In conversation with an Executive Director of Nursing recently I had commented on a trip to one of the health libraries. I was researching contemporary healthcare leaders. Unfortunately on this occasion the assistant couldn’t point me to the section on contemporary leaders. This rather peaked my curiosity. The really obvious ones were there, but they weren’t actually alive.
I started to ask colleagues of mine who they though the current leaders in healthcare were, the living ones. A few names came up, but not many. This started to really peak my interest. I followed this up whilst continuing my research into leadership. After all, there are a plethora of books written on the subject, you can even have a master’s degree in leadership.
Whilst pondering this, something new occurred to me. Did people need to know who you were in order for you to be a leader? Then I began to notice around me, everyday leaders. Their acts were in some cases small and others somewhat warrior like. I wondered if, in a world that is slightly celebrity obsessed we somehow expect the leaders to be high profile and if they weren’t splashed across the media they didn’t exist. That celebrity and riches was the societal reward for achievement. The irony, a truth that revealed a paradox.
Therefore, if you want to find a healthcare leader, you don’t need to go to the library, switch on the TV or Radio. You won’t necessarily find them studying an MSc in Leadership Studies. They work at all levels of the organisation and most work without the need for recognition.
Now that we know that leadership isn’t some enigmatic, charismatic, phenomenon there really is no reason not to begin. We get to make a choice are we a leader or are we a follower? Start today, nobody needs to know…show up when you’re ready.