Build a future on what you value now

When I ask people what they want in their lives, they immediately think about the things they don't have. I have to remind them that much of what is in their lives now, they want to protect and grow in the future.

It's hard to build a compelling vision of your future with blocks you've never seen. It's easier to lay a foundation with the things you know you value. It's not just about being grateful. It's about knowing that your best chance to a future that satisfies you is to build on what is already working.

Take some time and make a list: there are things and people and experiences and feelings and skills that you have now and want to continue to have in the future. These are your building blocks. Once you know what they are, you can decide how to arrange them and what to add. Then you'll have goals that satisfy you even before you achieve them.

Does it have to be fixed?

If you break your arm, it needs to be fixed. If it is not fixed, it will heal, but it may not heal properly. There may be complications.
If you break the screen on your cellphone, it may have to be fixed. If the crack is inconspicuous, you may choose to continue to use the phone.
If you break an egg, you can make breakfast.
Some breaks open up new possibilities. They don't need to be fixed. They need to be used.
When people come to one of my courses, they often assume that if something has broken, it will need to be fixed. It will need to be made whole and functional again.
But sometimes, they have cracked an egg. They need to stop trying to fix it and learn how to cook.

Managing frustration in a Toronto February

This is how February feels in Toronto. If you're not from a northern city, remember this picture as you read the rest of the post.
Those of you who love #nlp might have noticed something in the sentence above. I said that the picture could show you how February feels (not how it looks).  As I am writing, February looks like a bright blue sky shining on clean white snow. It's postcard pretty.  But it's not how most people are feeling in February.
Here's a short story about how February becomes the month of frustration. It's cold and icy and still quite dark, so people stay inside. They don't get out to see as many people (the people at the mall or the park make a difference even if you don't talk to them). They don't move as much (who wants to go for a walk when the temperature is below zero, the wind is freezing your face, and there is ice underfoot? They are often slightly chilled (building heating is imperfect) and surrounded by people who may be car…

Difference is the Difference That Makes a Difference

John Ginder is one of the founders of NLP (neurolinguistic programming). He has said, "Difference is the difference that makes a difference."  What does that mean?

It means that before you can grow or change, you need to let new information into your system. But your system (your brain/mind/body all working together) automatically filters out most new information.  It takes will power to pay attention to something you don't already expect.

Which brings me to the picture above. Canada Reads just launched its books and their defenders for 2018.  Maybe you will take the time to read the five books and play along when the debates start. I will.  And I am pretty sure already that I will not like all five of the books. That's sort of the point.

You might get stronger by confirming biases and over learning what is already familiar. But you won't grow. You won't change. You won't open up new possibilities.

Reading someone else's choices is one way to let diff…

New conversations lead to new possibilities

Sometimes you need to get people talking so that they can generate new conversations. Within conversation, it's possible to share beliefs, energy and facts in ways that lead to new thinking and new results. So how do you set up a productive conversation?

Often, I work with people who do not yet know each other. I warm them up with a combination of slightly surprising perspectives and the larger surprise that someone is paying attention to them. I set them up with a question to explore or a story to tell and instructions to practice. And then they have conversations. Their phones stay on the table, and their eyes get brighter, and the noise and the energy in the room builds. They get curious and engaged and then they get satisfied. Because real conversation satisfies the need of the human animal to connect and move.

Sometimes I work with people who already know each other. That's much harder for 3 reasons:

It's hard to warm them up because they are paying as much attention t…

Do the important thing

If you're like me, then 2017 already feels like a long time ago. Your eyes are looking deep into the new year, and you've got more to do than you know how to manage. Your days are crowded with too many tasks and too many commitments. And what you really feel like doing most days is to crawl under a duvet and wait for the weather to warm up.

How do you stay on course when you're feeling the stress and the time crunch? You might think it's all about managing your time better. If you just stick to those 15 minute increments in your crammed agenda, you'll get everything done. You've probably got an app for that, or maybe a book or two with different systems for staying on task. But if all that was working for you, you would not be reading this.

You're reading this in the hope that one more post will give you one idea that actually works so you can keep your head above water and stick to your plans for the new year. And I'm going to give you just one idea: …

Celebration is a choice, not a calendar alarm

I made all the cookies in the picture, although I had some help decorating the gingerbread men. From the frenzy of your holiday, year-end preparations, you might look at this and think "there's someone with a lot of time on her hands."
In fact, I don't have much time. this year, I decided to make some. I made it by making cookies, by volunteering, by wrapping presents, by spending a half day being a tourist to enjoy Christmas in my own city. I made time, knowing that there is business to be done and that I will be up far too late getting all my marking done before January 3. I did it because this year, I am choosing celebration.
Are you old enough to have forgotten how many days you worked too late, got up too early, and ached with the fatigue of carrying everyone else's expectations?  Me, too. This year, I am choosing celebration.
You can choose celebration, too. You can choose to do one thing today just because it brings back a good memory or makes you feel go…