Maine ATD thoughts, News, & Happenings

  • Tuesday, August 23, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Great thanks to this week's author ATD Maine Chapter Communications Team Member Kym Dakin 

    We spend so much time and energy running away from uncertainty. Yet here we are, surrounded by it, marinated in it, and in some cases, choking on it.

    What would happen if we embraced its value instead?

    Uncertainty on Steroids

    In March of 2020, just as it became clear that some weird and deadly virus thing called Covid-19 was not going away, and was, in fact, killing increasing multiples of humans across the globe, I lost my job. I also lost my five in-person training contracts that I had spent considerable time putting together, and that I had counted on to amplify our income. Like so many others at the time, I could no longer be in denial about what was happening, and how it made me feel. I was shocked, devastated, and suddenly dog paddling in a swelling river of financial fear.

    This was uncertainty on steroids. And no one on our planet was ready for it.

    Right now, I m reading a remarkable book The Upside of Uncertainty* by Nathan and Susannah Harmon Furr. At a time when so many of us yearn to go back to our pre-Covid normal”, the authors are instead making the case for going forward into uncertainty so that we may discover its gifts.

    As we watch working culture grapple with trying to attract enough employees to stay in business, as we witness the vulnerability of what many of us assumed were rock solid political institutions, as we become aware of an entire generation of skilled and vital people moving away from the long-established 9-5 work model, many of us are thrown back on old ways of coping with uncertainty. And many of those ways are decidedly toxic.

    The Power of a Pause…

    But instead of drinking, shopping, click-baiting, or yelling too much, we could pause and reframe what is going on in front of us. We could begin by asking questions, we could challenge ourselves, those we work with and those we love to take a deep breath and consider flipping the lens on what looks like a crisis from disaster to opportunity.

    This is not easy.

    We are wired to run from uncertainty as if it s a forest on fire. Our lizard brain kicks in and everything speeds up inside and outside of ourselves. We run from our feelings and move into panicked action of any kind, just to feel like we re doing SOMETHING. We ve heard and perhaps experienced for ourselves the stories of compound disasters when we can’t allow ourselves to feel pain and fear: the unexpected death of a spouse and the surviving husband totals the car, she loses her job and accidentally sets the kitchen on fire.

    Running away invites more chaos and pain. Just like what our moms may have told us about dealing with nightmares: we need to face the monster chasing us and make it our friend.

    Why Uncertainty is Good for us:

    The unknown is everywhere in our world, and it always has been. Exploration does not happen without uncertainty as its impetus. In the Positive Intelligence model, the ability to Explore, to get curious, ask questions and dig into deeper information is one of the five Sage powers needed to subdue our lizard brain.

    I would argue that true growth, true accomplishment needs uncertainty somewhere in the process. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Anything truly valuable that anyone has accomplished, from raising a child to flying to the outer reaches of the universe has been undertaken by taking on risk - and risk is birthed in uncertainty.

    But What if I Fail?

    Fear of making mistakes can be paralyzing. Prolonged paralysis has many possible disguises: laziness, complacency, and even the appearance of contentment with the “way things are”. One of the gifts of the energetic entrepreneurial culture, however, is the bold acknowledgement that innovation is impossible without the lessons of failure. Edward D. Hess, Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the Darden Graduate School of Business claims in a Forbes article titled Creating An Innovation Culture: Accepting Failure is Necessary:

    “Innovation requires a mindset that rejects the fear of failure and replaces that fear of failure with the joy of exploration and experimental learning. We also found that innovation organizations understand that failures are a necessity (in as much as 90% of the time) so long as the learning comes from small risk experiments. As one innovation leader stated: we celebrate success; we console failure; and we get rid of those who are afraid to try”.

    Again, thePositive Intelligence model has wisdom to add as well. By strengthening our Sage muscles, we grow our capacity to look at any failure, challenge or even disaster as a gift and opportunity to learn, amplify our power of resilience, and find inspiration in the journey.

    Business as UN-usual…

    Are you working in an organization or a business that is having difficulty attracting employees? One of the unexpected lessons that the pandemic drove home is the palpable discovery that people need meaning and the opportunity to grow in their jobs, personally as well as professionally. This requires risk on the part of a business to look more closely at job requirements and to begin to listen and embrace what employees need and want. Could a position be a work from home hybrid? Could there be job sharing for employees caring for small children or elderly parents? How can you design a particular job so that it is not boring and repetitive? Reimagining what specific jobs could look like requires us to wade into the waters of uncertainty, but once we do, we will be on our way to hiring and retaining truly valuable employees.

    The necessity of informed, human-centered strategy is stitched throughout the ATD Talent Development Capability Model. The need to embrace a certain amount of risk is at least strongly implied if not directly addressed in these three elements:

    Lifelong learning: Sometimes called continuous learning, agile learning, or learning drive, this is marked by traits such as self-motivation, insatiable curiosity, and intelligent risk-taking.

    Talent Strategy and Management: For an organization to realize its potential, talent development should be integrated into all components of talent strategy and management.

    Organization Development and Culture: To remain relevant, organizations must continually develop capability and capacity.

    For all of us in these times, we are called to develop our “capability and capacity” to learn, to grow, to evolve our ways of thinking and the actions we take. We cannot make the changes we so desperately need in our world without embracing uncertainty.

    So - How do we do THAT?? 

    Here are 5 simple steps you can take just for yourself as a way out of paralysis, stasis, boredom or complacency, so that you can reap the benefits of uncertainty:

    Move Your Body: You’ve heard it before and it’s true. Think of your body as a different kind of brain - one that feeds you information through your senses and perceptions, one that needs to move in order to do its job. I’m experimenting with seeding different kinds of movement throughout the day as a way to transition from one activity to the next like: 10 minutes of yoga on an app like Down Dog , a quick round of 5 Tibetan Rythms, or just a quick walk around the block, the building, whatever is outside your door. My husband and I started getting conscious about daily walks and daily yoga at the start of the pandemic, and these practices continue to nourish and fortify us.

    Find a Healthier Routine: When the world loses its bearings, that doesn’t mean you have to. A morning ritual can help.There is value in being conscious of whatever your actions may be that start your day.  Does your alarm wake you up with a loud clanging sound? Maybe you prefer to start things off that way, but there are alternatives that make for a sweeter experience. Do you then scurry to the shower, throw on your clothes, grab a cookie for breakfast, charge out the door…and still expect the rest of your day to go well? Let’s consider what might happen if you got up one hour earlier and made choices about what would provide a healthier and even more joyful start to your day. Find some great ideas here.

    Be Open to a Silver Lining: The Positive Intelligence model, along with so many other coach programs, positions a “glass half full” attitude squarely in the center of mindset resilience. No matter what may happen to us on our lives journey, if we can manage to actively seek for a gift or opportunity in the event, we can almost always find one. I realized that the “gift” of the pandemic was Time. For the first time in my adult life, I had unstructured time - hours and hours of it. I decided to write a book about Head Hands & Heart listening, published by Routledge Publishers and on sale in early 2023!

    Follow a Curiosity:  Think about it. Try to remember a time when you were simultaneously very afraid and very curious. Apparently, these two emotions cannot exist in our psyches at the same time.  Allowing yourself just a little time and space to follow a curiosity can produce excitement and hopefulness where there was boredom and burnout. Next time you feel anxiety, get curious as to how this plays out in your body. Take some time to ask questions and consider alternatives. My curiosity got piqued with an invitation to join a women-only class in creating an online product - and the result was a bookmarking app for online meetings called Nugget - which sold for a nice price this past December!

    Ask for Help: If you’ve got resistance to asking for assistance…. do yourself a favor and get over it. Please recognize that your mindset has been hijacked by our culture’s toxic myth of the “self-made man”  - when truly, there is no such thing and there never was. We are all of us grappling with many flavors of uncertainty right now and much as we would love to blend them all into a delicious stew… this is not always effectively done on one’s own. Help could be as simple as an in-depth talk with a trusted friend, taking a class in a subject of importance to you, or signing up for a sample coach package. My clients have found it helpful to find out which of the 9 Saboteurs impede their progress and fuel their toxic response to uncertainty. Sign up for a free Saboteur assessment and one hour coach session with me to explore how these uncertain times can better work for you!

  • Tuesday, August 09, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dog days of summer?

    What does it mean?

    It's the question she always seemed to be asking--maybe because it's the question I am always asking so I interpret her inquisitive look with my own question? the question we all have asked forever, right?!

    For whatever reason, I was wondering what the Dog Days of Summer means this week. Probably delirium from the perpetual heat! 

    It's never been a pressing question for me--I've always associated it with baseball, something I spend very little time thinking about, sorry America's Pastime devotees!--Boys of Summer : Dog Days of Summer--> same : same.

    BUT they're not!

    (I know you knew that, but go with me)

    Since I woke a-wondering, I looked it up (we do live in magical times!) and found the reliable National Geographic explanation:

    For many, the “dog days,” evoke those summer days that are so devastatingly hot that even dogs would lie around on the asphalt, panting. But originally, the phrase had nothing to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer. Instead, the dog days refer to Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means “big dog” in Latin and is said to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs.

    To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the time Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun, in late July in the Northern Hemisphere. They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe

    Humans are awesome! We love a good story, and if the world doesn't give one to us, we'll make one up for ourselves! 

    What is the meaning? What is our interpretation? Why does it matter? How can you ask?!! How can it NOT matter?

    (Yes, it is noisy in here! Isn't it also in there?-->"here" = my head; "there" = your head)

    What are you thinking about? What are you interpreting? What are you giving meaning to for yourself? for others?

  • Tuesday, August 02, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I've been listening to Malcolm Gladwell's Talking to Strangers on Audible--and specifically chose to listen rather than read a hardcopy because of his innovations with the audio book format--and Whoosh! Communication is such A Thing!

    That reminded me of Loretta Ross' TED Talk from just last year. She was at TEDMonterey with the topic "Don't call people out--call them in."

    What is more meaningful than taking an opportunity for growth--for all involved--than to try to understand and to be understood? 

    Here, watch Loretta J. Ross, a professor at Smith College, who studies human rights and white supremacy, as she talks for 14 minutes about Calling In.

    Happy August!

  • Tuesday, July 26, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today's author is Communications team member Kym Dakin! 

    What’s your morning routine?

    Have you thought about it? Do you know why you take the same actions consistently to greet the day? Are you aware of how you feel when, for any reason, you can’t complete them?

    My summer morning routine involves the following: start the kettle boiling, wipe off the chairs on the deck, get the cushions for said chairs from the garage. Set the tea bags brewing for 5 minutes, do the 5 Tibetan Rhythms, remove tea bags, bring books, iPad and tea out to the deck, connect with my goals for the day through my Best Self journal.

    When I have an early morning work commitment, which means I can’t follow this protocol, the day doesn’t go as well. It just doesn’t. So I’ve started getting up WAY early on those days, just so I can do my morning ritual.

    Rituals and Meaning

    I’ll define the word “rituals” here as the actions we do over and over to reinforce meaning. Many of our rituals: birthdays, holiday celebrations, anniversaries, were easily taken for granted, and/or begrudgingly tolerated in our achievement-driven culture.

    Then Came the Pandemic

    Suddenly those actions that connect us as a species were ripped away. And a profound loneliness, a jagged disconnection, took their place. We were taught a painful lesson about the value of ritual.

    Working Rituals

    In the workplace, we have rituals too: inductions, promotions and retirements are only a few of the more familiar. (Although, in trying to find a graphic for this post – a search under “workplace rituals” offered all these photos of guys shaving…really. ) And again, we may find ourselves impatient with having to make time for these rather arcane protocols, but they do connect us, one to the other.

    This makes me curious… what would it be like to work in an organization without meaningful rituals?

    What would be missing? Plenty, as it turns out.


    I’m on the board of a local branch of an international non- profit. We get together to create consistent, organized public events. There is a structure and a sequence to the actions needed in producing these events, so the ritual in how things get done is very clear. It’s like baking, right?

    The ingredients and the process is predictable and reinforced over time. You can vary the recipe, improve it even, but if you vary it too much….. it’s a different animal altogether.

    In this group however, I am keenly aware of the absence of interpersonal rituals that make people feel part of the effort. It’s rather ad hoc; people do things that they are used to doing and everyone rallies when problems come up, and then…. it all comes together. So the product gets produced, but there are no rituals for anything having to do with group cohesion. There are, for instance, no established protocols for welcoming people into the group and/or assisting them in finding ways to be helpful. Even members with prestigious titles or who represent valued partnerships do not necessarily get introduced or welcomed. No one is acknowledged for doing good work or making a special effort in specific areas, and the “post mortem” after each event is largely focused on what went wrong and what needs fixing for next time.

    If this Organization were its own Planet:

    Stay with me here – the landscape would be rather bleak, murky, the available resources not immediately obvious.

    The “Natives” would not express much curiosity or interest in someone from outside their known world, and it would be up to the visitor to actively observe any clues; language, behaviors, appearance etc. for how one becomes part of this group. Kind of what Seth Godin might describe as Planet “Inertia”….

    If this organization were a for-profit entity, how would this absence of ritual effect the working culture? How would it impact morale, retention…. the bottom line?

    Reinforcing the ATD elements:

    Research done by Terrance Deal and Allan Kennedy regarding the impact of ritualistic culture on the profitability of nearly 80 companies determined that the highest performers had in common one clear  factor: all of them applied intentional rituals to reinforce a desired company culture.

    Four Benefits:

    Paolo Guenzi, author of “Leading Teams – Tools and Techniques for Successful Team Leadership from the Sports World” and Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., author of: Nine Things Successful People Do Differently cite four general benefits of workplace ritual.

    Stimulates Emotions:

    Reduces Anxiety: Heading into a nerve-wracking session with a client, making a pitch, asking for a raise, you can help yourself by doing one of Amy Cuddy’s Power Stances, and your team can get galvanized to clinch that deal by creating a ritual like a “group shake” everyone shakes themselves all over while shouting “Shit!” at the top of their lungs. The resulting laughter stimulates breathing and better breathing is good for the brain.

    Helps us Focus:

    Mindfulness practices are especially prevalent in Asian cultures, as well as multiple religious traditions around the world, because they prove highly effective in boosting individual productivity and decreasing interpersonal stress.

    Creates Shared Identity:

    Inter-company sports competitions are particularly effective in getting people to bond quickly as a team. An extreme example? Denmark’s Grundfos Olympics, engaging 1,000 employees in 55 countries.

    Many of the foreign participants are welcomed into employee’s homes, further cementing employee relationships across the globe.

    Reinforces Desired Behaviors:

    Bosch Automotive wanted to spur more innovation and risk taking in their Key Account Managers. But in a largely hierarchical culture, many of the KAMs were notably reticent to speak up much in meetings. In order to engage their input, Bosch put together a color card ritual: saying nothing in a meeting gains a KAM a yellow card, if the same thing happens the next time, s/he is issued a red card and not invited to the next meeting. The message was strongly reinforced: “Don’t come to the meeting unless you are willing to speak up.” Over time, this ritual stimulated input from some of the most reticent KAMs, who often had the most valuable ideas to contribute.

    ATD Chimes in…

    As a learning entity focused on employee engagement, development, and education, the Association for Talent Development (ATD) refers, at least tangentially, to the importance of these elements in The ATD Capability Model in the following aptitudes, found under “Impacting Organizational Capability/Organization Development and Culture”:

    • Knowledge of the principles, policies, and practices associated with programs and initiatives designed for organizational well- being
    • Knowledge of strategies and techniques for building, supporting, and/or promoting an organizational culture that values talent and learning as drivers of competitive advantage.
    • Skill in designing and implementing employee engagement strategy.

    Another Take on Ritual:

    McKinsey & Company’s Marvin Bower commented on the ritualistic “style” of working companies that he described as “the way we do things around here”. I knew instinctively what he was talking about, though my reference was from another world entirely. In theatre performance, “the way we do things around here” is known as “Style”. The world of the story gets reinforced through specific behaviors, clothing, pace, and communication patterns. A theatre company worth the price of admission would spend considerable time determining and reinforcing the stylistic rituals that define the culture of a particular play. Just as my non-profit board culture would benefit from defining the elements of our own group “style” and, even more importantly, how to graciously communicate it to prospective members.

    I hope this post sparks some curiosity about “the way you do things” wherever you find yourself in these long hot summer days.

    Kym Dakin is a Public Speaking Coach, a certified Mindset Coach, ATD member and published author.

    Her book: “Using Head, Heart & Hands Listening in Coach Practice will be published by Routledge Publishing in October 2022. See more at

  • Monday, July 25, 2022 3:39 PM | Richard Parent (Administrator)

    Goodwill Northern New England is looking for 3 new team members to join the Staff Training and Development team. Our mission is to invest in people who need support to achieve their life and work goals. We believe that everyone can achieve and maintain personal stability with the help of Goodwill’s holistic approach to services and employment.

    Leadership Development Specialist: This high-profile role will work directly with front line managers to senior leaders to develop management and leadership capability, deliver best-in-class leadership development programs, consult with business leaders on leadership challenges, and leverage data and insights to design learning opportunities that build competence, confidence, and knowledge.

    Learning and Development Specialist: This position will partner with leaders across the organization, as well as subject matter experts, to develop and deliver engaging and effective courses that improve the efficiency of the organization and ensure colleagues have the knowledge and tools to succeed and realize their potential.

    Learning & Development ESOL Specialist: The Learning and Development ESOL Specialist has a unique role to play in advancing our mission and realizing our vision, providing staff across our Agency with a wide range of English language instructional experiences and activities that support fluency, confidence, and workforce readiness and success.

  • Tuesday, July 19, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you taken time this summer for meaningful rest? 

    The image is from an article by Molly Shea (the pic is also a link to that article, if you're interested) in which she summarizes work by physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity.

    (Isn't there a lot of amazing work in the world?)

    I appreciate the simple graphic--partly for its simplicity and partly for the checklist it gives me when considering my rest--whether that rest is tucking in for a weekend of good sleep, with just enough exercise and healthy food or a trip to three countries for a hike around some mountains. If I'm calling it "rest" or "vacation" or whatever, I can check to see if it is giving me the refresh I need all around or if I'm missing a part that I'll need to take care of before I get back into my everyday.

    Have you ever come back from a vacation exhausted? or maybe physically and mentally refreshed but socially or spiritually dissatisfied? or vice versa?

    And how does that affect your finding meaning going forward?

    (I'm really asking. I don't have good answers on this.)

    Meaningful rest is the ultimate self-care--perhaps in a Venn diagram, they are the same circle! And that circle is like a little trampoline from which we can launch ourselves into meaningful work and meaningful relationships and all the rest!

    What does meaningful rest look like to you, this summer? Is it all in one or will it have parts that fit together? What will it avail you to do?

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

    How are meaning and happiness related?

    These rules for happiness were shared with me a million years ago, though in a different order, which I know because they became a bit of a mantra:

    Something to do.

    Something to hope for.

    Someone to love.

    Only in recent years have I realized what a privilege each of those parts is:

    How lucky to have something to do!

    How luckier still to have something to hope for! to have hope in and of itself!

    How very very lucky to have someone (human or otherwise) to love!

    **Extra special bonus to feel loved.**

    How does all of that privilege affect our sense of meaning?

    Is my work more meaningful because I have the foundation for happiness?

    Am I happy because I make a meaningful difference in the world to someone?

    Where are the intersections for you? or are there intersections for you? Do you see them as distinct and separate notions?

    Tell us more.

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Early in this series, we mentioned looking back at our days to see if there was meaning, if they felt meaningful.

    Looking back is valuable--especially when we do that healthy "What went well? What were the challenges? What do I want to try next time?" review, with some notes for "next time." 

    And those plans for "next time" are wonderful for looking forward, for reminding us what we already know, what we can stand on to continue to learn and grow. How do you use that resource? 

    B.J. Fogg talks about using the Maui Habit, starting each day by saying "It's going to be a great day!" following the prompt of your feet first touching the floor. (and then giving yourself a high five for remembering to do it #Celebration!) He talks about how starting your day with an intention like that is small, but it makes a difference in how the day unfolds--even when lousy things happen. Maybe making that decision early, sets you up to look for the greatness even in the lousy.

    If our definition of "greatness" includes some meaning, perhaps it will also help us see the meaning or find the meaning in our days.

    What do you think?

  • Tuesday, June 28, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author: Communications team member, Kym Dakin

    When was the last time you felt truly curious about something? What did you do about it? Did you: 

    • Ask that question, research for factoids right then and there? 
    • Record it on your smartphone, or write it out intending to get back to it? (And did you?)
    • Or did you tuck it away in the overstuffed library of your brain for later? (Did “later” ever come?)

    I have discovered, for myself at any rate, that something I am curious about (different from “distracted by”) often opens doors to creating a meaningful day. But for so many of us, it’s hard to recall the last time we could answer the questions that started this post.

    What happened to our ability to follow something where curiosity takes us? Where did our natural inquisitiveness go? Some would say Adulthood happened. 

    “Curiosity is for Kids – Right?”
    I am still in disbelief that I actually heard this said in a workshop a few years ago. My mouth may have dropped open, but no one else around me appeared to be stunned. I asked him – I’ll call him Adam – to elaborate on that statement, and he named some pretty valid reasons for this belief: 

    “Kids are the ones who have time to dig into what intrigues them.” It’s ok, in fact it’s expected that kids are not “experts” and don’t know a whole lot. But this is harder to acknowledge as an adult. Nevertheless, genuine curiosity, when expressed in adult interactions, is critical in building strong connections, whether personal or professional.

    “I’m so busy trying to build my business, and drill down into those requirements, that anything else just feels like distraction.” It’s understandable that a focused, driven business person would feel this way. But at some point, people will need to connect with what you’re selling or your business will fail. Conveying genuine curiosity is essential to building trust. Trust is at the foundation of a successful client interaction. When I brought that idea into the room, Adam smiled. “Right”, he said. “Now you’ve given me a reason to get curious!” 

    No Time to Be Curious

    We often act as though creating true relationship and exhibiting genuine curiosity takes too much time. But when it comes to building meaning into our days, that time is well spent.
    Expressing curiosity requires vulnerability, especially in professional settings – you have to call attention to yourself as you ask a question. Not everyone is comfortable with questions.  And what about those times when you have to ask what might feel like a “stupid” question? You can just imagine the smirks from your highly competitive colleagues sitting around the table.  Not-happening-no-way!  But as Brene’ Brown says “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability are the real badasses.” 

    ATD Capability Model

    I got “curious” about what the ATD Capability Model might say regarding curiosity, and though it’s not mentioned per se, I believe it is implied, especially when it comes to employee engagement under “Impacting Organizational Capability”. These four strategies in particular resonate with authentic curiosity. 

    • Knowledge of how employee engagement and retention influence organizational outcomes.
    • Skill in assessing and evaluating employee engagement.
    • Knowledge of strategies and techniques for building, supporting, and/or promoting an organizational culture that values talent and learning as drivers of competitive advantage.
    • Skill in designing and implementing employee engagement strategy.

    To design and implement employee engagement, authentic curiosity is key. How else can we build effective programs and strategies unless we take the time to ask questions that reveal the underlying truth of one’s experience, needs and motivations?

    Positive Intelligence (PQ) Model

    One of the aspects of the PQ model I have come to truly appreciate is the Sage Qualities. These are skills that are essential to living an engaged, productive and meaningful life. In my experience, the qualities progress from Yin to Yang in this lineup: 

    • Empathy: Having and demonstrating empathy for oneself and others.
    • Explore: Expressing genuine curiosity about the underlying story, issue, facts and influences that impact our experience. 
    • Innovate: Once we discover, through empathic curiosity, the information we need, we can then begin to create and develop new possibilities to address issues.
    • Navigate: Here is where we build perspective: what are our priorities? What strategies do we need to make sure we address what’s truly important? What, if anything, are we creating that will be effective and meaningful over time?
    • Action: Once the first four qualities have been considered and acted upon, only then can effective action be taken. 

    Of course, the “Explore” quality is all about curiosity, and as it follows “Empathy”, they often go hand in hand when truly engaging with clients and employees grappling with a whole range of issues. But again, we may have to deal with our reluctance to take the time to sit down and ask probing questions. And we may have to overcome our fear of doing so. 

    Curiosity vs. Fear

    Genuine curiosity is the opposite of fear. You hear that love is the opposite – but in actual experience, love is too big a stretch. All kinds of people can claim they “love” the disabled or Muslims or old hippies, but in that context, the L word is almost meaningless. Genuine curiosity on the other hand, feels much more like love’s qualities in action. Curiosity starts from a place of mutual regard; This person’s ideas, values, responses, are worth eliciting. And it begins with trust; This person will not harm me simply for asking about their experience. 

    Googling someone, is not the same as actually looking them in the eye and asking “How are you – really?” “How do you experience what’s happening on our team?” “How do you feel about what she just said?” And truly listening for the answer. 

    Our resistance to doing this because it takes too much time away from what we have labelled our priorities – is one of the obstacles to talking through differences or simply encountering each other in a mutually respectful way. Enough of this resistance compounds into a culture and we end up with family fracture, silo’d workplaces, and the election season circus that we experience every four years…. so many of us shocked and awed at all the rage. That degree of anger and blame can only happen when we lose the ability as a country to be curious about the “Other”, whatever that term may mean for us. 

    Think about the last time someone showed genuine curiosity about you or something you were involved in. How did it make you feel to have someone truly slow down enough to ask you a question that demanded more than just a glib, off-the-cuff answer? Chances are, your connection with that person strengthened simply because they expressed genuine curiosity and offered you a question that truly made you think. 

    Curiosity is defined as: 1. “the desire to learn or know more about something or someone”, or 2. “something that is interesting because it is unusual.” The Curiosity Quotient is a term coined by Thomas Friedman and broken down into the Curiosity Values. You can hunt and peck around, as I did, for an actual “Curiosity Quiz”…. It was revealing to see how so many of our daily habits and rituals are determined by how much curiosity we possess.

    Follow that Question

    Here’s a very brief and easy exercise as a way to make room for more curiosity in your day. 

    Sometime during the day, get outside and take a 10 – 20 minute walk. Bring a notebook with you.  As you observe your environment, begin to identify between 3 and 5 objects, businesses, fellow humans, natural phenomena, etc. that intrigue you even just a little bit. Write down a single question about these “curiosities”. When you get back home, or back to the office, identify one question and allow yourself the tiny slice of time it requires to google it.  After a few days of allowing yourself time to follow small curiosities, assess whether you’ve discovered something that surprised you, or gotten an idea out of nowhere for fixing that pesky problem, or just maybe your feeling a just a bit better about your life in general. If so, congratulations! You’ve created more meaning for yourself. 

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Communications Team Author: Kathleen Kerr 

    WHEN MY DAUGHTER was young, we often played outside. One spring, I remember chasing her around the trees, when I noticed the caterpillars and called a timeout so we could check them out. We watched them in the trees as they lay there looking as green as the new growth on the branches. I recall telling my daughter that one day this caterpillar will be a beautiful butterfly and able to fly from the ground to anywhere it wants to go. She paused to ponder what I was saying. Then she responded, “How sad that it will stop being a caterpillar.” What is the point of this story? There are two; 1) each of us placed meaning on the transition process and 2) neither of us questioned the transition, accepting it as a natural, normal function. Transitions are a natural, normal cycle of life AND the meanings we make about them determine how we experience the wonderous and often radical process of change.

    Free Macro Photography of Butterflies Perched on Lavender Flower Stock Photo

    Change occurs all around us, even within us, all the time. The meaning we assign to any changing situation is what drives our experience of it! However, when the meaning we make about something blocks our path forward, spending time in the “Space Between” is necessary for any growth to occur. It is like when the caterpillar spins itself into a silky chrysalis in preparation for its own transformation into a butterfly. New learning in the space between has multiple steps before transformation occurs. First, we must acknowledge and accept that something has ended. Trust that everything up until now has been in preparation for what is next. It is here in the space between where we begin to realize that choice is power. The power to choose meaning, for meaning is what allows us to see and experience things differently. Our thoughts and feelings offer insights to our beliefs and during times of transformation, it is important to re-examine our beliefs mean to us. For it is our beliefs that drive our thoughts and feelings – and thoughts and feelings are fuel that drive action. It is action that is the fuel needed to emerge from the chrysalis transformed into the butterfly we were always meant to be.

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