Shifting Your Lens

At the risk of setting off a Geek Alert:   I read Popular Science magazine. In a past issue Erin Biba’s article, “Not Just the Facts,” really touched a nerve. Biba explains that we largely favor scientists whose conclusions match our own existing beliefs. Think U.S. Climate Change debate. Otherwise rational people, it seems that “selective perception” rules us – if we let it. Walter Lippmann, a Pulitzer-winning journalist and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient in 1964 said, “We do not first see, then define, we define first and then see.” Bibi makes me want to add "hear" to Lippmann’s statement. Being Human Means Using Selective Perception Selective perception is very human. We put facts through a personal lens that is so influenced by our own beliefs, our own worldview, that even in the face of incontrovertible evidence we’ll distort what we see and hear to conform to what we expect, what we already believe. Bias, stereotypes, or just plain mindlessness – selective perception can hurt us. It can limit how well we connect with others. Our decision-making capacities might be hampered. It may stop us from reaching our full potential, our joy in … [Read more...]

5 Practices to Cure Worst Criticitis

“Oh @*#+!” I berate myself just prior to taking a trip recently. Why did I put off some work I wanted to get done before leaving? Why did I wait until the last minute to buy gifts I wanted to take with me? “Oh joy! You procrastinated,” proclaims my meanie-in-mind, “I get to run wild right now!” My meanie-in-mind uses words like "always" and "never." It lies glibly and smoothly. It takes its show on the road too. No doubt about it, procrastination exposes the worst critic I have: ME. Worst Criticitis If we're honest with ourselves, we may find that we're procrastinating to create situations that give us a rush of adrenaline and a chance to feel super successful:  Procrastination, after all, generates a problem that we then get to solve.  There are a zillion pieces of advice on time management, on doing what's important not what's urgent. I love the thought of saying "no" to free up my time to say "yes" to what really matters most. But if you're anything like me, the real danger procrastination presents is not that you don't get things done, that you don't produce great results. The danger is that procrastination promotes 'Worst Criticitis,' a term I'm coining to … [Read more...]

Lead With Kindness: You’ll Get Better Results

What happens when we put kindness at the center of our leadership? There's plenty of hard evidence that kind leaders get better results. Emma Seppala, Ph.D, a Research Scientist at Stanford University and the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, details several studies in Being a Kind Boss Pays Off: A kind leader may actually be good for "followers" hearts. In fact, a study out of the Karolinska Institute conducted on over 3,000 employees found that a leader’s qualities were associated with incidence of heart disease in their employees. Employees feel greater trust with someone who is kind. Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth—even before establishing their competence—are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust. Employees are inspired by kindness. Jonathan Haidt at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. As a consequence, the employees feel more loyal and … [Read more...]

Show A Little (Self) Love

A new week is before us, a week of possibilities not just outside us, but inside us too. Good Choice Last week, my 4-year old nephew looked up at my Mom and said, “Good choice.” She can’t even remember what the context was, what she recalls is how “good choice” stopped her in her tracks and made her smile. We’ve been giggling about that all week and saying "good choice" throughout the day to ourselves and to others. It is amazing how uplifting something as simple as stopping and saying “good choice” is! Don’t Take Yourself for Granted   Write down: "Today, you will be kind to yourself. You will pause and show yourself kindness by recognizing and acknowledging yourself for little things and big things.” Make a conscientious decision to not take yourself for granted. Take the time to be your own best friend! Your reminder note could be as simple as “Today, you’ll stop and say ‘good choice’ when you make one.” Put that note in one of the first places you look every morning, a self-kindness reminder note to YOU. Launch the Day Differently Instead of checking Facebook, watching the news, or reading the paper first thing in the morning, launch your day with something … [Read more...]

MLK Day Challenge: Speaking Out & Standing Up for Human Progress

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Martin Luther King, Jr. Ordinary women on Main Streets across America are a lot like MLK. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to advance human progress, sometimes on a very public stage, sometimes in private meetings; often with success, sometimes dusting themselves off to speak another day. Mainstreet Women I interviewed have spoken out and stood up for justice in innummerable ways: Beth (MS) led efforts to get a Foster Parents Bill of Rights passed into law Diane (NM) threw herself at barricades, protesting the Vietnam War and advocating for civil rights Heidi (MT) persistently called her Governor's Office until a townhall meeting happened to stop a mining company from setting up operations near Yellowstone National Park Donna (TX) stood up for staff in a law firm, sometimes backing lawyers down the hall with two fingers on their chests Elizabeth (NC) advocates for her daughter with a learning disability, facing education system challenges and … [Read more...]

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