Stop, Collaborate and Listen

I am going to get dangerously close to my professional life but important parts of it “Venn-Over” (another verbified noun of mine). Overlap, similarities, parallels, reflections… you name it, not a clear boundary between personal and professional. As part of my professional life I try to focus leadership and also personal development. A primary tool I employ with those in my tutelage is self-reflection (of course, at work, this is required, minimum of two per month, power point and not clinical aha’s, but life aha’s) and as a good teacher, I do it along with them. This adds some rigor in my own personal development. HOWEVER, there is room for us all to reflect in that other part of life, and I would go out on a cherry tree limb to say that most of us don’t take enough time for this given all our distractions in life.

Today, as I was catching up on some work email (gasp! no one ever falls behind on that inbox o’fun!) I happened across a great blog entry over at hbr.org. I quickly skimmed and then forwarded it along to my pupils for potential reflection fodder. Deleted. Paused (tug-tug when something in my mind). Then I searched and pulled it out the trash. And here I am delivering you a play by play of my thoughts.

So, what is this Jesuit practice? In addition to the HBR article description, I did some quick internet research (everything is true on the internet). Here is a nice site summing up these teaching and providing more drill down. If you wanted to take a deeper dive straying further from my blog intent, there is an excellent book, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World by Chris Lowney (the blog author). But in simple modern non-secular Megan-life terms: dedicated time to log-off from the complexities around us (work, phone, technologies, people). How might I incorporate into my life? A three legged stool!

  • Stop: Express gratitude. Chose a mechanism that is meaningful to you – might be in prayer, just unfettered thought, writing, drawing, medication.
  • Listen: Internal inspection. What went well, what didn’t go well, what could I do better? Did I stay true to myself and principles? Debrief, like any good manager would do after a project or “incident”. Derive some insight that might help in the next few hours to either right your path or keep the upward slope. Just be present, and do not dwell or ruminate
  • Collaborate: Set you external trajectory for the next part of the day, until you examen again
    • Origin of COLLABORATE: Late Latin collaboratus, past to labor together
    • Merriam and Webster: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

Sure I have it in a different order than Vanilla Ice so eloquently articulated and collaborate might be a stretch but breaking it down, everything we do invariably involves and impacts many, near and far.

Alternate blog title: Stop and smell the cherry blossoms!

Yo! It’s time to get outta here. Word to your mother!

Photos: courtesy of me in Seattle! On a walk in SODO. Garage door mural, cherry tree blossoming

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