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In a workshop a few years ago, the facilitator asked us about our superpower. I think I can safely say that I'm an encourager. Always an encourager.
I grew up between my older siblings and my younger one. As a middle child, I learned early on how to get along with everyone. I also learned that it's best to see the positive side of being a middle child, take whatever is handed down and be grateful for small allowances from infractions.
As a I grow older and worked in many workplaces, I use positivity as a strategy for coping, building up resiliency, addressing issues, and also building people up as well so that they could achieve their full potential.
The best encouragers that I met in my life were some of my family members and close friends. They saw the potential, passion, and dedication in me. My early teachers were formative. They believed in me before I have formed an healthy opinion of myself. And my life experiences proved that building relations is what matters most in the end. Okay you got the job done, got the award, got the business, or moved ahead in life, yes to that! But real success is really about lifting others up too and building them.
With mental health issues on the rise, inflation and economic pressures on many households, long-term effects of the pandemic, people are looking for ways to maintain their sense of boundaries and protect their sanities and peace. My superpower as an encourager is highly valuable and in-demand. I guess it's time to be more busy in this area.
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I was in an online connections meet-up of a social enterprise eco-system network for the first time. What was my biggest take-away in a matter of half an hour talking to a group of strangers was the fact that at the end of it all: they were no longer strangers but good friends.
Building connections is not as easy as I thought it was. This problem is compounded during COVID19 where lockdowns increased social isolation and the mental health issues that come with it. Nowadays, for many, it seems that 'building connections' is seen as a luxury not as need. It's easy to work with colleagues over Zoom but building interpersonal connections is almost impossible or nil at this point. It's very easy to say that you don't have the time, when it's actually about prioritizing and valuing it.
I maybe immune to this at some point because I work alone and I'm basically to myself for many working days. To me, connecting is like breathing air. If I haven't connected meaningfully to another person, colleague, network member, client, prospect, or to anyone in my circle, I will be totally down for the rest of the week. As opposite of energy suckers, I long for energy booster communities which I can fully show up as a person, not just a professional and be embraced by them. In return, I show up and engage actively. There is no real substitute for that kind of community.
As I ponder on this today, I note that integration and connection requires discipline, strategy, and intentionality for these things to take place. Building it and they will come is a surefire for lackluster results. It's those things that are always taken off the plate when events get tough.
Instead of seeing it as burdensome or work-requirement to connect, note that you needed it as part of the humanity. We need to connect, belong, and share with one another, trusting and relying on each other to succeed in life.
With that Zoom community call today, I felt revitalized than ever. It provides levitation I need for the rest of the week. More of these, then I will feel like am really where I belong. Right here talking with people without any agenda but to connect meaningfully.
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I have heard this several times, and every time I know exactly what's going to happen next.
But, your rate is high.
But, I just don't think it's the right timing.
But, we are having a major reorganization right now.
But, we just hired two people full time for this.
But, I just don't know if we have the budget.
But, I can't guarantee you she would give you time to meet.
But, I'm not the decision-maker here.
But, we hired two consultants recently.
But, I have to consult first, figure out what we want and get back to you.
But, the Board decided we will do x,y,z first before taking this process.
Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. When you don't want to buy, there are many reasons. Some are valid enough, and some are concoctions to get the person out of the door. It boils down to trust.
For the seller, build trust no matter. Relationship comes first.
If they're not the right buyers, walk away with your head high.
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I was speaking to a group this week. We polled them if they have a positive outlook during the pandemic and less than half confirmed that they had. They also reported that their supervisor supported them a lot. This showed that even their supervisors might not be feeling positive as well.
We can only surmise.
Positivity in the age of post-pandemic emergence is a pre-requisite and it's the basic quotient to have before you can build along changes that come into your life. I know for a fact that this is not easy. But I chose to be positive, persistent, and hopeful, despite several setbacks I experienced last year.
We can never know what other people are experiencing. If you can count the people in LinkedIn that have critical illnesses, jobless, with family and personal challenges, you will know that your troubles aren't comparable to these situations.
It's better to go beyond resilience: benefit from shocks, stresses, raise the bar, and go along with changes and welcome ambiguity. Cultivate opportunities even in the midst of trying conditions and know that you're not alone. You can be in a lockdown but isolation is a choice. You can still be connected in the deepest, most humane way if you choose to be.
I can say that the distance between our efforts and what we have as external impacts is our positivity equity. Increase that positive equity now and as you move up, lift others along the path to your recovery.
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A few years ago, when I was jumpstarting my practice again, I attended a local community organization's meeting made up of different providers for networking and to get to know the burning issues of the day. One lady questioned my presence and intimated that I might be in a 'wrong meeting' because am in the consulting business. Presumably, she thought that their group should not be a 'target' of my marketing.
Like in many of professions, as a professional and a person, we come with many hats. Because I was seen as the 'consultant' ready to take their monies and hard-earned budget, I got an inquisition. But if you come with an open mind, a consultant can be a guide, an expert, another connector, and could be an ardent supporter just like any other individual. I can also write a cheque if I want to!
How come organizations suffer from myopic perspectives and ill-thought actions? Because they insulate themselves from outside voices and perspectives that can actually enrich their work and challenge their assumptions. Within the confines of the comfortable existence, a few of them dare to venture to reach out or be accessed by people marginal to their operational logics. Innovation is relaxing controls and embracing the creative diversities from resources and talent around you.
Don't be too quick to say no to people from unlikely origins, with backgrounds different from yours just because of the prejudices and biases against/for these people. There is always a treasure hidden behind a job title or a strange name or a weird hairdo. If you dismiss these people arbitrarily, you're literally leaving money on the table. For a non-profit, this attitude is suicidal.
Be open to possibilities and be surprised with your findings.
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How many organizations in the on-purpose sector are scrambling to get the best member?
You want the world to know your impact.
You want the world to see you've made these dents and about to accomplish more.
You are innovative and leading the way for others.
You need great members.
A newly minted organization is asking itself what is the best positioning in a world where competition for belonging, attention, and value is high and unyielding. When talented people are redesigning their lives versus to fit and to belong to just anything. When time outside work and family is precariously limited.
To get the best you need to be the most differentiated or at least try to be.
Ask yourself, what's the driving force behind your differentiation?
Don't just be different from the mold, create a new paradigm.
Ask them, what affiliation would best meet their needs?
Don't just provide the obvious and standard. Raise the bar.
Educate the public. Educate your network. Educate your team.
If what you want to be doesn't excite or scare you. Rinse and repeat.
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I would like to thank all the women in my life, past, present, and future.
To my mother, grandmother, great grandmothers, and all the previous generations of women in my life, thank you for being great role models of hard work, perseverance, wisdom, determination, and faith.
To my daughter, sister, aunts, cousins, nieces, comadres, ninangs, mentors, coaches, teachers, girl scout leaders, and all the women leaders that shape me, thank you for showing the way.
We celebrate you today and every day!
Impact is now, impact is us together, lifting each other up
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When you think about it, really, relationships are everything.
Everything and everyone is interrelated and interconnected. The survival of one is dependent on the survival of the system to which that organism belongs and vice-versa.
When complex issues are taken together systemically, new insights appear, normally, unseen and oblivious to the decision-maker.
It sounds like a cliché, but what goes around, comes around.
In reality, what comes around, goes around faster than ever before. We know that serendipity is not that unpredictable. There's no such thing as chance encounters.
Interconnections and interlinkages shouldn't just be in our social relations.
In many instances, the best innovation starts within the interstices of divergent and contrasting approaches and disciplines. Take the case of a watch that does tell a time but also act as monitor for abnormal heart conditions. These permutations are bridging what we conceptually think as 'irrational and weird' combinations.
Ideas are everywhere.
Systems collide and coalesce, depending on forces that impinged on or that works within. As I write this, many systems are failing us, and new systems have yet to be imagined and invented.
Where will you be in the post-pandemic world- what systems are you trying to resuscitate or have you thought of leaving the old one for a better alternative?
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Everyday my daughter and I would walk outside in the snowy yard and do all kinds of fun games.
She likes to walk and create new tracks which she would then connect together.
We need to connect our actions with what's going on with the world, the natural environment, and people systems.
We need to connect what we're thinking with our customers and adjust service offerings with their needs.
We need to connect with other people and actors in our space not because we need them, but we can help and find synergy.
We need to build linkages with other sectors and industries which normally do not work together or seem to be opposite or in direct competition. These are areas to be mined for opportunities to provide a win-win solution.
We need to connect as leaders and managers to our self-awareness and tap into the potential for creative expression inside and outside of our work.
There are many reasons to feel connected and be connected with. If you're in isolation, look into the mirror.
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Yesterday, my car got stuck in a muddy part of our acreage. With all the wheels spinning deep into the mud, I had no choice but to leave it to the expert. I called for help.
I wonder how this situation is transported in many scenarios in our lives and careers.
How many times we refuse to call for help when we should and not 'game' or 'risk' deepening our being stuck in the mire?
Most of the time:
We thought we can do it. DIY is always the first choice, anyway. Good for learning and making sure you get what you want. Safety, time lags, and wasted monies are consequences for poor planning and execution.
We thought we don't need to bother anyone. On the contrary, before we get more into debt or trouble, we should call them now and not tomorrow.
We can survive and overcome. When was the last time, you flunk the interview/exam or going into a meeting completely unprepared and acting tentative? There are clear consequences for misfires and trials. Learn from the experts, become an expert, or completely walk away, because it's not your strong suit.
The expert drove the car down in a slope and shared some kind words of instruction. He said, "Some people drive purposefully in a mud, but with not with you."
We need experts and friendly allies to help us, remind us of the things we easily forget, and steer us in the right direction.
But it all starts with asking for help.