The Gratitude Legacy

I was talking to a doctor recently who didn’t like the idea of being a legacy maker. He thought it sounded somewhat superior and grandiose. In essence, he couldn’t see that what he was doing was creating a legacy.

For clarity, a legacy:

“Anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor”

(Dictionary Reference.Com)

“Consequence, effect, outcome, upshot, spin-off, repercussion, aftermath, footprint, by-product, product, result, residue, fruits”

(Oxford Dictionaries.Com)

What proceeded was a discussion regarding a real life, fly on the wall observation of the fruits of his life saving work, the patients whose lives he had saved but also the strategic and academic endeavors that would inform and lead further work in his speciality. It was clear from the conversation, that he just couldn’t see the legacy in what he was doing. We may well ask why?

It would seem the habit of constantly judging what we do against the achievements of others can leave us feeling undervalued and lacking in contribution. Ironically, if you are in the business of hanging out with people at the top of their game, being anything less than the cream of the gold top can leave us feeling a failure.

The reality is, that everyday all our interactions are the opportunity to leave an impact, or consequence on the people and businesses we work with. Good or Bad. There is a significant difference between aspiring to be the best and comparing ourselves with the best. Comparing ourselves with the best can leave us feeling demoralized and unmotivated. Aspiring to be the best ignites, leads, stretches and grows us. When we are surrounded by legacy makers the bar we set for ourselves can be constantly out of reach – but this is an illusion. Like clinicians regularly exposed to high risk clinical procedures, they stop seeing what they do as risky,  risk (in our minds) being associated with something we don’t do on a regular basis which has catastrophic consequences should it go wrong.

It would seem that our legacy makers need reminding that the value of what they do doesn’t diminish because everyone around them appears to be contributing also.  This is true whether you are a doctor, nurse, manager, cleaner or CEO, the legacy is created through the consequences of what we do and its impact.    In any context it rings true that kind and encouraging words or expressions of gratitude can change someone’s life, if not save it.  The good news is, it’s a legacy that costs nothing.

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Leading a Burnout

I was talking to a coach colleague and friend of mine yesterday. We were having a discussion about training programmes for 2015. The subject turned to proactive versus reactive management. The skill of being proactive seemed to be vital in the need not only to get things done, but necessary for preventing fires starting. Therefore the skill of proactive leadership is essential for preventing fires starting and extinguishing them should they flare up.

The metaphor of organisations as a burning platform with managers running around putting out fires is an interesting one for the health sector. It occurred to me recently that much of the resources in the NHS were spent on healing the sick, we have some of the best healers on the planet and we excel at emergency medicine and trauma care amongst many other specialists. These are some of our most skilled fire fighters in action. So it would seem curing the sick and injured in itself is the big picture burning platform, an organisation with no shortage of fire-fighters busy looking for things to fix. The paradigm shift of prevention seems to be something that we have put our attention to but it never really took off, not like the popular occupation of fire fighting. It has been asked, who would want to learn to prevent fires starting when your whole business is built on putting them out? We refer to this paradox as the turkey fattening itself up for Christmas.

What’s interesting for us as coaches is that much of what we do with clients, whether it is organisations, teams or individuals involves helping people shift their paradigms. Some call it creating a new story; some refer to it as merely letting go of the story. Maybe it’s time for something new, a brand new paradigm?

In working with state of mind, artful communication strategies and transformational coaching skills we believe that a real paradigm shift is not only possible but also inevitable. What this means is, given the right conditions anything you want to create is possible – you just have to stop fire fighting long enough to see it.

The Best Me…

I was reading today that someone thought that Tony Robbins just didn’t get it.   It being the idea that you don’t replace an old story of your life with a new one, he didn’t get that it’s not about having a new story.

Not wanting to get into a debate about whether Tony Robbins was right or wrong, it was a coincidence that I just happened to be reading Tony Robbins’ new book, Money – Master the Game – 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. What struck me whilst reading the book was that Tony Robbins was really a great teacher. The blending of teaching and coaching versus advice giving had been crossing my mind and this book contained a lot of factual information.

As coaches we are taught not to give advice, that our clients are fully equipped with the ability to make decisions and find solutions all by themselves.   It would seem our most powerful skill is the ability to ask the right questions but not before taking the time to listen with presence. As a trained counselor, I was also taught that giving information could be necessary versus giving advice. Therefore, there is a distinction to be made between giving advice and providing information. Information allows people to make more informed decisions and it really isn’t necessary for you to hang around waiting for someone to work out the hard way that they are missing some!

When I first became a coach, experienced coaches told me I should not tell my workforce what to do, I should let them find their own way. So struggling to work with this for a while, I noticed on some occasions I was giving advice, but mostly I was teaching and sharing information, information they didn’t have. What struck me without exception was that the majority of people in possession of the facts and necessary information available could make informed and wise decisions. The art of teaching and sharing information continues to be one of the most important life skills we can develop and it seems to me that Tony Robbins does a brilliant job of this. A wonderful and prolific teller of stories laced with his own wisdom and knowledge, which he enthusiastically shares.

So it occurs to me in this moment, that there really is nothing to get, just someone to be. The best me…