Image source: Architectural Digest
Wisdom is simple not complex.
Yesterday, Lolly Daskal called me to discuss one of her upcoming initiatives. During our conversation the slippery topic of my own plans for the future came up. I mentioned how easy it is to help others make plans and decisions and how hard it is to do it for myself. Her response became an open window.
“If you are a person who likes to help others…and you find it difficult to help yourself…then treat your work – your business- your problems like you are helping someone else. As you know it is always easier to help another than it is to help yourself.”
A window opener
I remember the first client I coached – a high potential manager that was stalled. Two conversations later she found herself in new ways and reconnected with her own possibilities. Somehow it’s easy to help others. Lolly’s suggestion helps me talk with myself the same way I talk with others.
I still believe everyone needs an outside voice to reach their highest potential. However, finding our own voice is central to finding and embracing our highest path.
Everyone has emotional baggage that makes them reactive rather than proactive. Lolly’s suggestion helps me become impersonal with myself. Creating “client Dan” is my chance to create and examine options with greater freedom and objectivity.
It’s a simple idea. But for me, it was an open window.
In hope of open windows
Enter every conversation wondering if someone might say something that opens a window. You never know…
Opening the window for others
One way you can open windows for others is by listening and then saying back what you heard. When people hear what you think they said, it creates opportunities to more fully embrace, reject, or rethink their own thoughts.
How can leaders help themselves and others find, embrace, and own their potential?
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I agree that advise is easier than self practice. You do not need to become leader to advise someone. Even the lazy and unsuccessful person can provide suggestions and advise, but that advise does not not work well. However, the person, who has executed, engaged and achieved from the ideas will be in better position to really impact and enable advise.Action speaks louder than words. Only words do not help but action even without words works.
So, to open window of ideas and suggestion, you have to be man of executed ideas. People should feel, see and experience of those ideas and advise in your life. So, to make advise really workable is to knowing, doing and being. It means, you should know ideas, you must have practiced the ideas and you are living in ideas. You should be living example of those ideas.
Finding your potential takes self-awareness, which in turn takes some time and tools. I find most of my juice, and the best part of my time, goes to meeting my obligations to others. When I’m left with the dregs to do something for myself, it’s hard to get going.
Hey Dan, what a stake throug ht eheart that question is. I’m not worried about how to help others – the bite is in how to help yourself. I can find a million reasons why not – here’s my best one: People like you set a dramatic rate of growth and change by most peoples standards , the question isn’t as much finding or embracing your potential – it is in being objective with what is left in the tank. How much higher can you go? What is the gain? What is the loss? Who gets left behind? When do I explode? How much chaos do I invite? What is humanly possible? What is impossible but totally imagineable!? etc…
Funnily I have a nearly completed post in draft which is titled “If you are not dancing…” a line from it currently reads: “If you find yourself gazing at the wall wondering what to do next – the answer probably should be “Go home, but first hand in your resignation because you are not doing your job”.
And Dan you are defintiely Dancing…
I should say – I am not worried about helping others, becasue I sorta know how to do that…
How reassuring to see I’m not alone here. Helping others: easy. Helping self: hard. Daily journaling helps – makes self “out there,” i.e., an other. But not enough. I’m concluding that coaches who don’t have a coach or leaders who don’t have a leader are guilty of hubris and lack of self knowledge.
I have to say I love the photo you chose Dan. I’d like to spend a day there.
Your post is timely for me. Today is one of those days I find myself questioning my own direction, even my own knowledge. For me, I have a harder time helping folks with any sort of guidance when there are too many details. Like your statement above, wisdom is simple, not complex. So it helps to strip it down to bullet points. My husband is often helpful when I need to do this.
I have to concede that this is not always popular with everyone. In fact recently I did this during some negotiations that were tumbling along a little too fast and without enough pause. “Businesses make business decisions,” I pointed out. “Get back to the core – what’s the upshot, what will it cost, what is the actual payout, and is it worth it? Listen to what this guy is asking you to do.” There were many responses focused on (as I’d summarize) “but-but, the pretty words…” from the suave marketer seeking to hedge a way in. His words were enough for most folks to overlook some of the concerning language being used, which I also tried to highlight. One person even felt I was being antagonistic. Still I felt some caution and re-evaluation was necessary (in part due to this particular marketer’s reputation in some circles). Anyway, it wasn’t my favorite experience and as I analyze it, I’m not sure they were necessarily hung up on unnecessary details, but perhaps rather their bullet points were simply different than mine were.
When I look at coaching myself, I have a harder time finding those bullet points. I sit down with a pad of paper and start breaking it down. Before I know it, it seems I have too many bullet points and instead of just a page of notes, it’s many. And I find myself evaluating my direction as my kids get closer to college age. So many of my life decisions, even in business, have revolved around the fact that I am a mother first and around my childrens’ needs. When I look ten years into the future, it now seems a little alien to me.
I am looking for a Coach! The one I know and rate is too close to home, so not sure that is the best idea for my marriage. I am definitely considering making my search global and utilizing Skype. It is always easier to be a service provider to external clients, but Number 1 I always get a bit stuck on in prioritizing. Where I am happy though is when I find something that works I grab it with both hands.
How can leaders help themselves and others find, embrace, and own their potential?
I read a quote recently that I really liked, by Merry Brown: “Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.”
I think preconceived notions, either that we apply to our self-images or to those of others, truly can be one of the main drivers in our resistance to wisdom that is out there for the taking. It is easier to help someone else destroy those preconceived notions, I think, than it is to get rid of our own. After all, our own internal preconceived notions have taken up residence in our brains and view of the world. Getting rid of some of our own preconceived notions sometimes feels like fighting aggressive weeds when you’re trying to cultivate a perfect lawn.
You claim you opened a window with creating “client Dan” < To me…. it really sounds like you have opened the door to the kingdom.
So proud of you my dear friend!
Looking forward in sharing the stage with you< (setting the intention)
Positive foreshadowing? 😉
Props Lolly! Enjoyed surfin’ over at your site today.
Hi Dan. I suspect you have hit on the achilles heel for a lot of us. This concept of self help and self introspection clearly is a struggle for me and has been over the years. I believe the problem boils down to holding ourselves accountable to us. We tend to have more latitude, and be more forgiving when we don’t meet our expectations albeit we get angry about it. This is in contrast to giving and helping others where the urge to perform is so much greater given the tremendous gratification to be received. Coaching myself is an ongoing drama. I have narrowed the scope of my personal “stretch” to forging “baby steps” where the likelihood of success is greater hopefully storing motivation for my next failure so I can get up again and continue. Admittedly the journey takes longer this way but at least my vision tends to focus ahead more often than looking at the rear view mirror. Fortunately for me I have a personal coach at home which we all know frequently lacks objectivity but having someone cheer you when you win and encourage and support you when you lose is not perfect but a blessing just the same. Then there is always my faith that’s a bedrock of forgiveness and the necessary haven of solace so sorely needed during the “dark” times. I have never explored the possibility of a coach but am inspired by your comments and perhaps the time has come to rest from my inadequacies and difficulties with my self-accountability and let a “good hearted” stranger guide me towards my goals both internal and external. Gratification for the coach and a shorter trek for me. Cheers! Al
Wonderful comment on many levels thanks Al, Richard
Thanks Richard your affirmation comforts me and encourages me. God bless, Al
This is a great technique to use, acting as your own coach. I suggest it to my clients – “If you were to coach yourself, what questions would you ask yourself? What might you suggest?” Sometimes it really helps them, especially if we’ve been working together for a while and they have my voice imprinted on their brains.
Like you, however, I’m not as great doing it for myself. I need a coach to remind me of my blind spots, to give me feedback, ask questions, broaden my perspective. Thank goodness others are willing and able to support me to take care of myself.
Some amazingly powerful advice from Lolly. Glad you shared it with us too, Dan. I discovered her blog through your link and I’m loving it. Curious about your plans for the future too. Too early to lift a corner of the veil? 🙂
Don’t cha just hate it when Dan goes opening the window and it turns out to be a mirror!
Back climbing in the ‘skree’ on the mountain, seems some days it is a half step up and slide back two, but even there is progress and coaches/mentors lend that perspective and reframe we can’t see.
What does it take to shake out the cobwebs, to ID where we are stuck and don’t even realize it. Gazing at the wall as Croadie clearly put it…gotta start dancing again, new music to listen to.
Have to wonder too, if those outside voices are not there sometimes even in every day life, we are just not tuned to that frequency. Time to retune the instrument and listen better? Every observation you make for others, does it apply to you?
Requires a getaway, change o’ environment, physical and otherwise. So, I have 3 nickels, get a fourth and I can do a paradigm shift. (sorry bout that, late in the day, a bit punchier than usual.) However, given that this was at the end of Dan’s post, I am not too out there… “Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)
* Discussion: What’s YOUR Plan During the Zombie Apocalypse??”
HAHAHA! Now Doc, that cracked me up. And shhhh… it’s a secret!
Hey Doc late at night and no power big storm n trying to sort out your message. cryptic but that is cool. “work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody is watching.” Now how is that with candle light and responding to your dancing comment. You see Doc darkness does not exist for people here in this community, there is always brightness if one has their eyes open and knows where to look. Salaam AD
Thank you for sharing your personal conversation and insights. You’ve given us all a great gift. For me these are the best blog posts. Why? The message is personal and more relatable. I can see myself in what you shared. And you know what? I know that I’m in good company.
Great article, Dan,
What an interesting concept – open windows. When I saw the title of the article, I thought it would be similar to opening doors….! At least twice a year I sit down and talk with myself, in third person, just like a conversation with another person. I ask myself questions that I would ask my team members on leading, growing, goals, milestones, etc. This helps – by speaking a conversation out loud, I hear myself talking of the future and then go on to meet those goals and expectations.
If a prophet is without honor in his hometown, what is he in his own head?
Thanks for sharing, Dan.
I really enjoy the concept of always be open to a shift in your thinking, especially from a public health point of view. People frequently make snap judgements based off their own inherent bias and being able to keep yourself open to new lines of thinking will enable us to stay flexible and compassionate. What comes to mind most prominently is how our public health professionals interact with the transient population. It can be easy to dismiss these people or become frustrated, but they are in even greater need of our listening and compassion than most. It can be easy to get annoyed, especially as transient people are more likely to use emergency departments unnecessarily or not adhere to a treatment regime but there may be more to it than our immediate bias could imply.
Personally, I think looking at your problems from an outsider’s point of view is great advice, but there comes a point afterwards where you must follow through. Knowing what needs to be done and having the courage to do it are two very different things. The input of others is a marvelous gift! It is amazing to be stuck on a problem and then have someone casually suggest a route that you had not even considered. I think that the public health system does a good job of facilitating this outside influence. Collaboration and communication are paramount parts of the system we, as students, are learning to be a part of. While finding the best solution for a selection of people may be difficult with so many outside influences, I think that each person works as a checks and balances within the system to make sure the widest variety of options is considered. From this angle, it could be interesting to occasionally get opinions from people outside the health field entirely to keep us reaching our highest potential.