New Year Reflections

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Is New Year your time for big plans and new initiatives – or is it an ideal moment for reflection?  I love this picture, taken in Devon in November, as it seems to offer a visual metaphor for perfect stillness, hinting at both clarity and hidden depths.  The question I like to ask myself and other people at this time of year is ‘Looking back over last year, what is one important thing you discovered about yourself, and how might that impact on you in 2018?’  I wonder if you have a reflective moment now to answer that question?

An important discovery for me in 2017 was about joy, as mentioned last time.  So reading ‘The Book of Joy’, a series of discussions between the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been perfect timing, as it is a profound exploration offering valuable and practical insights, not only into joy, but into improving every aspect of how we think about life.  Like this: “…the three factors that seem to have the greatest influence on increasing our happiness are our ability to reframe our situation more positively, our ability to experience gratitude, and our choice to be kind and generous”.  For a moving glimpse of these two great men together do visit http://bookofjoy.org/  What is one book from 2017 that made a difference to you – please write and tell me, we could create a great list together.

I hope that 2018 has begun well for you.  I’m glad we have a TTT UK Collegiate day soon on the 18th and I must add in April we meet on the 19th, not the 18th as mentioned before.  My schedule for this year is the fullest ever, with courses throughout the year in Dublin, Belfast and London, all here: http://bit.ly/2vKvzXn.  Do come!

Choose Joy, having considered all the facts…

I heard this from Nancy at a recent TTT Collegiate here in London.  You won’t be surprised to hear that she always brings something fresh and often remarkable to this growing group of Time to Think practitioners.  Some of you are currently on your own path to qualification, others already attend – and others might like to think about taking that step in 2018: http://bit.ly/12miZpu  I look forward (with joy!) to seeing you at the UK Collegiate in 2018: dates will be Jan 18/ April 18/ July 12/ October 11 in central London.  I’m also looking forward to Collegiate dates in Ireland next year – a very welcome first! – and maybe meetings elsewhere in Europe too.

Choosing joy is a practical way of appreciating what’s good and possible, whether past, present or future – I wonder what has been joyful for you during 2017?  We know that focusing on the real often small positives in our daily lives is a recognised way to develop resilience, to lift our capacity to think well, and is at the core of Appreciation as a key principle of the Thinking Environment way of being.  Mike Robbins offers some thoughts on this here: http://bit.ly/2zQTrq7and I hope you will enjoy your personal experiences of Appreciation over Christmas, and during 2018.

You Think That What You See Is All There Is

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Daniel Kahneman, Nobel-winning author of Thinking Fast and Slow says ‘People are designed to tell the best story possible. So WYSIATI means that we use the information we have as if it is the only information there is’. So what’s WYSIATI? It’s believing that What You See Is All There Is, aka the root cause of so many of our biases, assumptions and misjudgements.  Which is why understanding the component of Information is vital to creating a great Thinking Environment: supplying the facts can change everything.  Supplying the facts while being aware that facts are double-edged, with the power to surprise someone into fresh possibility, or startle into denial. (Just think about annual reviews, 360’s and so on).  For more on the power of  WYSIATI have a look here http://bit.ly/2hap9Hd. There are lots of good clips on You Tube too: http://bit.ly/2zIs9W4

Information always has potential – it’s the great potentiator of our surprise and enthusiasm, of our shock and denial.  Discovery of facts can change everything, including the creation of a Thinking Environment.  What have you discovered recently in your TE practice that surprised you – do tell me!

Finally: 2018 is now within reach and you’ll be planning your CPD.  Do please check out the website for courses, and my first UK Alumni day on 19th January here: http://bit.ly/2yzOhlx.  I would be delighted to hear from you.

 

Why Diversity matters

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There is always something fresh in the Thinking Environment way of approaching a topic, and I truly believe we are never ‘done’ in our explorations of what people need in order to think well and for ourselves – which is a really challenging thing to do, particularly right now.

One of the answers is awareness of Diversity and on last week’s Facilitator course we really focused on that.  We talked about the groups we belong to, the stereotypes associated with that – and the ways in which the world holds back some of those stereotypes.

So I was thrilled to watch this: bit.ly/2fWmctg. Thrilled, because it is beyond rare to see and hear a leader be so explicit and direct about honouring diversity, and also because it’s in the context of the US army.  What a great role model for the US right now.  For all of us, in fact.  And if you’d like to do a little consciousness-raising about your own awareness of Diversity (by which I mean stereotypes, and our assumptions about those stereotypes) have a look at this, a renowned test from Harvard used to explore just this: bit.ly/2xtNQUS, and then have a go. Quite frankly, ouch!

My final suggestion is about Alumni days – new in 2018 and ideal for refreshing the context of the Thinking Environment, the aim is that you would go away re-inspired about the possibilities and principles of this unique way of being bit.ly/2yzOhlx.  Let me know if you’d like a place.

Always time for a Fresh Start

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This startling image feels like a great metaphor for the energy of fresh starts- which may be a slight exaggeration of this annual Autumnal ‘back to school’ moment – or not.  I can’t think of anything more inspiring for this time of the year than poet philosopher David Whyte’s recent TED talk, ‘A Lyrical Bridge between Past, Present and Future’, it’s a joy to watch and listen to: http://bit.ly/2wkpBLB.

How much time are you allowing yourself for reflection, and how do you do it?  It’s a tough question these days, even for those of us who offer that valuable service to others.  As a Time to Think consultant I’m committed to at least one Thinking Partnership every week, and sometimes in the rush even that feels like too much time to give to my own thinking.  Which is ridiculous.  How do you guarantee your own thinking time, and does that include having regular Thinking Partnerships – if not, how would it be if you set up a regular slot with a thinking buddy?

Which leads me to suggesting you have a quick look at next year’s programme of courses and Alumni days, where you might find all kinds of inspiration, and new Thinking Partners.  The Alumni days are for practice, reflection, connection and fun, and they are new for 2018. It’s all here: http://bit.ly/2vKvzXn

Summer ideas for a Thinking Environment

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Even though some people may not get away in July and August, many will, and this picture holds so much of what a good holiday might bring… peace, beauty, perspective – and good wine!

Before you go I’d like to pick up on the theme of listening, a perennial favourite, by offering you two very different  videos.  First and briefest is the ‘Power of Why’ creator Simon Sinek with a heartfelt plea to leaders to ‘practice being the last to speak’ http://bit.ly/2s8XrTf which is both pertinent and inspiring (despite the cheesy music, why do they do that?!).

And then there is the pure joy of watching Indian village children getting to grips with the internet with no training whatsoever –just by listening and watching. This is astonishing, humbling and uplifting in equal measure http://bit.ly/2tM3T2R, with vital messages about education and learning.

Then a little light reading.  Nancy Kline has been developing some fascinating ‘Fine Points’ about her understanding of the Thinking Environment principles, available here http://bit.ly/2sEYx4C.

And if that inspires you to further thought about developing your own interest by taking a course with me, that’s always welcome, and always available here http://bit.ly/2o0IqvW, I’d be delighted to hear from you.