Monday, May 24, 2010

“Do you have a black belt?”

One of the most influential movies in my life is The Karate Kid. It continues to resonate to this day. Every once in a while, I dig it out and watch it again and take away something new each time

Beyond the iconic “wax on, wax off” mantra, lays a message about how to live and how to treat others.

I watched it recently and was admiring the choice of settings to further emphasize the difference between teaching styles of Kreese at the Cobra Kai Dojo and Miyagi.

The Cobra Kai trained in a stark white square space with a defined hierarchy led by a tyrannical dictator. Driven by fear, the student’s achievements are hollow, lacking the characteristics to be a real person. Kreese’s message of “No mercy,” limits the range of feeling and intent of his art.

Miyagi’s dojo was the everyday locale of his garden, the lake, and beach or around his house. Daniel’s lessons resonate across the spectrum of life and are not limited to the karate. By showing Daniel the purposefulness of movements and the ability of those to transcend the physical, Miyagi provides a way of living a fuller life.

What type of environment helps you learn?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Forget the Joneses

I have questions on some of my business cards. One of them reads, “Whose life are you living?” This is tapping into that unneeded competition of trying to stay ahead of your neighbors. Your life is yours; so focus on it.

It is easy to look at others and think they have nicer things or a better job and all that. All the while downplaying who you are. We compare ourselves to the point of detriment sometimes.

You do not need to measure yourself up to others in that way. Let them live their lives and explore your own. Like what you like because you like it and not because your neighbor does. Do what you do because it drives you and not something someone else thought you should.

Are you doing what you want, or doing what is expected?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dog Pile

When I was a kid, we occasionally would spontaneously tackle someone and the rest would jump on with the battle cry - “DOG PILE!”

Little did we know this was a lesson at the time. There are moments when we feel blindsided, laid out and buried.

In the day-to-day events of our lives, we can let things heap up and bury us but there is a way out. Unlike the randomness of child’s play, we usually see the mass building. Regardless of job or tasks, we see them plainly.

When we see it coming toward us, we have time to prioritize and prepare. Unfortunately, we get inundated because we missed something or we get a surprise deadline.

In these moments we may start suffering from anxiety and think we are being dog piled. This is the time to assess the situation and feel for a way out. Those items close at hand may not be the ones needing the most focus, but they are right in front of you – take them out. Either you push them aside or finish them off.

The key is not let the pile make you give up. Systematically approaching the load and deliberately removing the pieces bit by bit will get you there. One thing to keep in mind is to be flexible to any more bits added to the existing hillock. Let them come and decide if they need to be tackled now or later. Slowly you will come out of the pile and use the items to build a foundation on which you can structure the items coming in where you want them to be.

Have you dug yourself out? How did you do it?

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Fear

Holy cow! This is a big one with many facets. Whenever we consider something new or a shift in direction, we start hearing that voice of trepidation. It rattles around our head knocking at the plan.

We get comfortable where we have established ourselves and rattling the cage can be scary.

It is good to have the fear. It can be a check to assure us we are on the right path – it’s that inquiring voice. The flipside of that is it can also hold us back when we need the change most by asking the wrong questions.

Internalizing the fear can lead to you talking yourself out of whatever you are considering. To avoid this, get it out of your head and tell someone. Speaking your idea to someone can lessen the fear and help you realize you are moving in the right direction.

A side effect of this depends on whom you tell it too. This can lead to fear transference and suddenly you are affecting more than your life. Heavy!

The “how-will-your-decision-affect-me,” kicks in with the other person. This generates fear in them. They have an investment in you and the deeper the connection, the more palpable the fear. If you know deep in your heart that your passion is driving you on the correct course, then they will see it and stand with or behind you. And if they don’t, perhaps it is best to leave them behind.

Have you felt that trepidation?

Did it stop you?

Did you plow ahead regardless?