Maine ATD thoughts, News, & Happenings

  • Tuesday, January 17, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In this morning's program with Jen Hart, we talked about how we show up in times of change and how our voice and presence make a difference.

    It was beautiful to hear each person's perspective on that idea, to consider where we all stand and what we all see from those spots.

    More it was wonderful to see each of learning something--each person brought something, and each of us took something away from those other perspectives--how we all left with more than we came.

    Each person in the conversation made a difference.

  • Tuesday, January 10, 2023 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did you ever read the book Eats Shoots and Leaves?

    I loved it the moment I saw it! I'm sure it was partly my unwavering love for the Oxford Comma and my fond memories of the School House Rock video for Interjections! (Love me an exclamation point!!! or 3!!!)

    Punctuation matters.

    Certainly it matters in writing, but it matters in time, too.

    Think about meetings--or parties or weddings or funerals or your day...

    I love the punctuation holidays give us in a year. Those months without a single holiday just feel vast.

    I'm sure there's some deep psychological reasoning, there, but the feeling is tangible for me. Is it for you?

    The fresh page of a New Year holds so much hope and fresh energy. The indentation of a new year gives that "ready-set" to the "Go!"

    What does your New Year hold?

    What are you looking forward to? What are you happy to shed?

    If you could have anything in the world happen this year, what would it be?

    How will you fill your blank page, and how will you punctuate it? 

  • Tuesday, December 20, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I love the concept of "Checking In."

    Brené Brown's organization has started using a two-word check-in at the beginning of meetings where participants give two words to reflect how they are. I love the idea that someone can be "stressed and relaxed" or "happy and anxious" because that gives permission to be more than one thing. (I think the two word limit is a helpful time-saver, though. #WeAreComplex)

    I like the idea of checking in in our groups, whether at a meeting or with friends & family or with ourselves (I often feel like a group--especially lately!). I like how it enriches the relationships, how it fleshes out the members of the group and helps them (us) all feel better seen.

    Well, at least gives an opportunity to feel better seen.

    In Halima K. McWilliams' program this morning, she talked about seeing people, hearing them, and believing them. (Were you there? I hope so!! It was SO good! She does such a lovely welcoming job of giving truth and creating a brave space for participants to be and to grow. Whoosh!) and she gave us a beautiful tool to check in with about privilege.

    It's a helpful check-in tool, at least for me to check in with myself. I'd add a pie slice about family of origin/support system because recently it occurred to me what a blessing and privilege I've experienced having parents who think I'm the bee's knees and who gave me a lot of power to grow while invisibly protecting me from more danger than I could manage. Being able to build that kind of confidence has been a definite privilege I didn't realize (until recently) that other people don't necessarily have.

    Sometimes, I wonder how folks get out of bed with the psychic weight they carry.

    We've all got stuff, and AND I hope to be more tuned into others' stuff going forward.

    ^That is part of my Solstice Check In this year. I'll be doing a bunch of Sun Salutation A repetitions on the Solstice to meditate on "And What Else" (#AWE) I've learned or thought about in 2022 and what I hope for 2023.

    What about you? Whenever you do your annual check in, what are you reflecting on or looking forward to or questioning or seeking?

    Consider our chat on the LinkedIn group a Brave Space where you can add comments or reflection. Or if you're looking for a buddy to reflect with, please consider our ATD Maine population.

    As we head into the shortest day and then out toward more light, I hope you find light in your world and head for it! Wishing you all the best!


  • Tuesday, December 13, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Isn't it?!

    Just how fast it goes sometimes and slow others and how it bends and folds and spreads before us and vanishes into the abyss.

    I'm clearly having one of those wibbily-wobbily, timey-wimey moments. (Although once it's brought to your attention, how do you not have them? Thanks, Doctor!)

    Since February, I'd been posting weekly here on the blog, except while tromping around the Alps (#AwesomeTrip!), but now I see my last post was FOUR weeks ago! How is that even possible?!! 

    AND it's the end of 2022?!!  What?!!


    So, how are you doing, right now? 

    (I know: let's don't get started on that concept of "now"...)

    When you look back at the last year--and the last two years and 10 months, perhaps--How do you feel? What do you think? What makes you feel proud? gives you solace? bugs the daylights out of you? makes you laugh? gives you hope?

    Are you able to take some time this winter for settling and reflection?

    I'm taking two weeks off of work, but within that time, I do want to set aside time to reflect, to sit with those reflections, and then--and only then--to plan. 

    Do you do that thing I do: plan and then plan some more, and then plan more still, without necessarily completing, much less reflecting on what was done?

    I'm working on it--if you want to work on it together, let me know! I love a buddy or a team!

    This year, my fellow blog writers and I spent a good bit of time looking at meaning through a few different lenses. I think meaning with regard to talent development is important and valuable from at least a few perspectives--participants want learning ops to be meaningful to them; providers want participants to find meaning, hear the meaning in what we offer; meaning increases the chance that we're making the world a better place through learning so we are better aligned with our values.

    What do you think?

    Where did you feel meaning in 2022--either as a creator of it or as a beneficiary of it? 

    What made it meaningful to you? (I hope you'll share in the LinkedIn conversation)

    I need to do some reflection, alone and with the Communications team, but I think some of my future posts will look at culture, specifically the conscious building of culture and what is involved in that.

    Do you have thoughts about that area of conversation?

    If you do, will you please share them? You can post them in the LinkedIn conversation or send them to Whether you want only to participate in a conversation with another person about it or you want to publish a blog post, I'd love to hear your take, your insights, your perspective.

    In case time gets away from me these next couple of weeks, I want to wish you well during the winter holidays! I hope the end of year provides you the joy and closure you wish for to launch you into the new year just the way you want.

    All the best wishes from Dawn and ATDMaine

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We live in Magical Times!

    How do you even take a picture like that?!

    And look at everything in it!! How many people--so small we can't see them, but you know they're there! And all of the things imagined, designed, built by people!! And all of the things we can do with and in those creations!!


    And we're so powerful these days!

    You know, except when we're not.

    I think I don't handle disillusionment well. Do you? If so, how? Is it resignation or acceptance of something disappointing? 

    I want to use all of my hopeful tropes:

    and I do. I use my native Pisces skills to turn around that 360 degrees to find something where I can make a difference. It's a strategy that has worked a long time.

    But sometimes it feels like in the Man of La Mancha where his friends and family hold up all of the mirrors surrounding him with "truth"--my friends and family are kinder than that, but the news--well, the news.

    What do you do? What is your strategy? Where do you find success or at least purchase to hold onto your confidence?

    Let's find meaning--make meaning--together.

  • Tuesday, November 08, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you voted today?

    Decal I Voted oval sticker

    Or maybe you voted early?

    I hope so--it's our primary superpower in this country, right?

    I'm listening to Brené Brown interview  Anand Giridharadas about his most recent book The Persuaders, and whoosh! I started listening to it as I walked to the local high school to vote. I like to vote in person when I can to feel part of the community. Of course I passed enough political endorsement signs for "the other guys" that I was not feeling very much a part of the community at all by the time I arrived. Ugh. So, I was glad to have my girl Brené (she doesn't know, but we're quite good friends. :D) in my ear.

    It's a really interesting interview--surprisingly slow-paced, but perhaps that helps process the information to make it my own. Among the things that have grabbed me by the throat in this are first the idea those "Russian bots" we've heard so much about in the last 6+ years went after us by using our own building disdain and disgust that are building between us and second the idea about creating on-ramps to the super-highway of understanding by meeting people where they are.


    The two ideas really work together--creating those on-ramps by meeting people where they are and giving them access to the journey to reach desired destinations will help us avoid feeling disdain and disgust with our fellow humans.

    They further talk about not being able to replace someone's beliefs, but you can displace them by helping them walk around the table to see the world--and themselves--from different perspectives. 

    It actually requires our recognizing others as not-unlike-ourselves to have compassion and working to understand about where they are and where we are and how do we come to understand, so we can all build a sense of belonging.

    What feels better than a sense of belonging?

    What does it feel like to you?

    How do you create a space where others feel welcome and like they belong?

    How do meaning and persuasion contribute to and result from belonging?

  • Tuesday, November 01, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I get all mushy in November.

    I like to believe I'm consciously grateful throughout the year, but I think it's the empty trees with the occasional lingering crisp brown leaves, the cooler temperatures, and the air of inevitability that this year is nearly done that makes me pause to consider what I'm grateful for at all levels.

    It's easy to call on my family and friends, work I enjoy, good health, financial stability, and general peace, but this is when I like to dig down--even to break apart those "easy" things to the specific parts that make them worthy of my gratitude and appreciation. What is it about each of my family members that makes me appreciate her or him and how they make my world better? What is it about my work that makes me proud to do it? What is it about being healthy that I'm grateful for--specifically?

    I read a post yesterday by Scott Galloway where he looked at how it's so easy to slide into horrible bit by almost-indiscernible-bit without noticing--certainly without stopping the slide because it doesn't seem like a big deal--until SUDDENLY it IS a big deal!! And then what?!

    He included this quote:

    I have the feeling that we let our consciences realize too late the need of standing up against something that we knew was wrong. We have therefore had to avenge it, but we did nothing to prevent it. I hope that in the future, we are going to remember that there can be no compromise at any point with the things that we know are wrong.

    — Eleanor Roosevelt

    I think conscious gratitude can help us not wait until too late. That it gives meaning to our world by bringing our attention to what makes that world good and meaningful and as beautiful as it can be. It highlights for each of us how we can lift others up as they've lifted us in ways we so appreciate. It draws our attention to those things we want to support and to reinforce and perhaps makes us more sensitive to the things that are slipping a bit in time for us to correct our slips with compassion and understanding rather than needing to avenge something that has gone too far.

    Gratitude is a gift. Appreciation is a gift. It needs to be expressed, ideally expressed directly, specifically, and promptly, but time does not run out on appreciation. It's also a practice at which none of us needs to be perfect but where we can all make progress.

    Who can you give some appreciative feedback to today? You can practice in the comments section! ❤️

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today's program was really good! 

    Generally, I think most of our programs are really good, but I guess I'm not always writing a blog post after them, so there's that.

    Today, Kathleen Kerr gave us “Moderating vs Facilitating – Learn the different skills needed to be an effective moderator,” which really got me thinking!

    I've facilitated a lot for a long time--and both facilitated as in content-neutral, process guide and as in learning facilitator with some expertise in the content. So, the distinction between the roles was really interesting and created new facets in my "Crystal Palace"--OK, wouldn't it be cool to be one of those Sherlock-y people who visualizes the complex relationships to that degree? perhaps "Crystal Cottage" is more accurate! :) 

    Anyway, all of that thinking about the roles and nuance resulting from purpose, was joined by the prospect of building a panel. I guess until she said it, I assumed panel moderators were brought in just to moderate after the panel had been assembled by someone else. I don't know who I think I am. I have only worked in the non-profit/education sector where there has never been enough money to toss around to have two or more people do what one person can do by herself, so obviously it would be the same person, but...

    The prospect of building a panel really got me! Then, already primed by the facets of my Crystal Cottage regarding roles and responsibilities of Moderators and Facilitators, I suddenly saw the kagillion facets of humans and the x to the 10th power or that in their interests/perspectives, and Whoosh!

    Imagine being a moderator who is assembling a panel of people to talk about a hot button topic. Consider all you must consider:

    • what is our context?
    • why are we looking at this topic in this group?
    • why is it hot?
    • what are the different perspectives of this topic?
    • which of those perspectives must we include in our panel?
    • how big/small should our panel be?
    • what voices do we need to represent for it to be taken seriously?
    • what voices do we need to represent to serve the topic and the group?
    • who has those voices?
    • what does each of those people bring?
    • how does each of those people connect?
    • and on and on

    I work with volunteers, and so this idea of finding people who don't just fill a role, but also bring value to the role is wonderful! I love the idea of being thoughtful on all sides of the invitation to help--whether on a panel or on a board or with a troop of Girl Scouts:

    • Is this role right for me? +Is this person right for this role?
    • What will I get out of this role?    +What will this person bring to this role?
    • Who will I/this person be serving and serving with?
    • How will that work?

    So many things!

    People are awesome and wonder-filled and weird and difficult and mysterious and brilliant!

    That's what I loved about today's program, too! It was offered by Kathleen, who is chapter member and a volunteer for ATD Maine! AND she came on the heels of Richard Parent and Sheila Adkins, also both members and board members for our chapter! Our chapter is a treasure chest of brilliance and insight and experience and opportunities for discovery!

    Where does your brilliance lie? What interests or insights or experience might you share with us? And how would that sharing serve you?

    Let's dive into that next week.

  • Tuesday, October 11, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It turns out that there are a bunch of rules of thirds!

    Go figure!

    There is the one for art where you divide your field into thirds both horizontally and vertically and place important parts of the picture along the guidelines and at the intersections of them.

    Lighthouse Painting: Example of Rule of Thirds (with grid)

    And then there is the sports rule of thirds Alexi Pappas mentions in her book Bravey. A coach told her 

    “When you're chasing a big goal, you're supposed to feel good a third of the time, okay a third of the time, and crappy a third of the time...and if the ratio is roughly in that range, then you're doing fine.”

    I like the picture for that one, too:

    But I'm really thinking about a whole other rule of thirds! My colleague Suzanne opens many presentations with the reminder to participants that they are critical to the success of the workshop as she explains that the topic accounts for about a third of the session's quality, the presenter another third, and the participants the other third!

    I love that!

    Haven't you done presentations that were spectacular, and you knew that you'd been your regular level of awesome, but the participants were engaged and engaging? And surely you have topics you prefer to present than others. Obviously you do a great job with the duds, but some topics just sing for you, right? And of course, some days you just aren't on as well as your normal brilliance. It happens. I know all of those situations have been true for me many times!

    Lately, though, I've been wondering about other opportunities to apply this rule of thirds. 

    I posit that it applies anywhere one is involved.

    If I'm a member of a club, I find more meaning from that club if I put more energy into it with the other members.

    If I'm a member of a community, I appreciate the community more when I'm invested in it with my neighbors.

    I love that feeling of "we're all in this together!"

    What about you? Where are you invested, with whom? and What do you get out of it in return?

    Where else would you like to test that rule of thirds to find meaning?

  • Tuesday, October 04, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did you know: (I'm sure you do, but just in case) The MerryMeeting Bay is one of four confluences in the world.

    Three are famous, having loomed large in the histories and economies of their regions: the Sacramento, San Joaquin delta in California; Tigris, Euphrates delta in Iraq; and the Ganges, Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh. The fourth is Merrymeeting Bay in Maine. It is unfamiliar to most people, even within its immediate vicinity. (source)

    (If you haven't gone to give it a look lately, do it this autumn--straightaway to see it at peak--by going out SR24, which starts as Elm in Topsham, then becomes Middlesex at the rail overpass. Keep going past the Cathance Road a couple of miles until you notice a cemetery on your left. Look to the right to see a stunning view of the MerryMeeting Bay. The book about it at the link above is really interesting, too.)

    I love that idea of "confluence"--the merging of similar but apparently distinct parts. I often notice it in things I read and listen to, noticing how an article, book, or interview has so much more meaning because of another I've recently read or heard. Or maybe because of a project I'm working on.

    Right now, for example, I'm preparing workshops for a conference. Coincidentally, a podcast I listen to interviewed Woo-Kyoung Ahn about her new book Thinking 101, which is based on a class she teaches and includes lots of ways we short-cut thinking with biases and assumptions. I promptly got the book and read it. (OK, listened to it on Audible, but...)

    Then, I read a blog post by Fox Wizard--Dr. Jason Fox--on Smuggling Insight wherein he looks at "slipping past the gatekeepers," referring to the ways we resist new information! THEN, in another podcast, I listened to Dr. Erika James & Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten discuss their book, The Prepared Leader, in which a central theme is how we need to get out of our ego and to prepare for something unexpected to happen and mess up our timeline! (This book is next in my queue!)

    I needed the messages in these three sources right now. 

    Of course I've been building and offering workshops for a long time. I have a degree in education and another in psychology, so I should know this stuff, right?


    And isn't it lovely when things come together in a way to shine a new light on what we "know" to challenge us to look at it from a different angle or two (or 360)?

    Each of these in their own way took me back to more recently reminders in Adam Grant's Think Again, Carol Dweck's Mindset, and Brian Grazer's Curious Mind--and others! 

    Aren't there a lot of smart people "out there" with so many amazing insights?

    What confluences are you noticing in your life, now or as you look back?

    How are you drawing on those to find meaning?

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