The Lost Art of Conversation – 5 Steps to Mindful Communications

by | Article

Last week we had an unusually warm winter day and I decided to go out and enjoy the lunch hour at a favorite local restaurant. As I walked toward the door, I was reminded of the power our senses have over our experiences. Smells of spices wafted through the air and made my stomach gurgle long before I crossed the threshold. I was ushered to a table by the head of the family that has owned the place for generations. It all felt welcoming and warm…until new guests arrived at the next table.

The new guests were a well-dressed mother and daughter, the child was about 9 years old, and clearly looked happy to be at the restaurant. As they sat down and were handed the menus, the girl started chatting about her choices for lunch while the parent immediately pulled out her phone and began to text. At some point, the girl stopped talking and reached in her backpack for her own phone. They never put them down again until the food arrived, and even then, would occasionally pick them up between bites.

This is not an unusual situation these days, but it left me feeling sad. The connection that could have been made that day was lost and the modeled behavior gave preference to texts over family. Texts do not substitute for human connection. Communication is multi-faceted, and mere letters on a screen do not convey warmth, sorrow, joy, the pure connection felt from a human being’s presence. The art of conversation is not a ‘nice to have’, it is critically important to our growth as human beings.
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Finding the Space to Lead in China

by | Licensed Affiliate Update

As the New Year approaches, we are happy to update the newsletter community on our shared success in launching the Institute’s mindful leadership trainings in China.

Over the course of 2018, our mindful leadership offerings included the groundbreaking Finding the Space to Lead workshop, which has been delivered to individuals and organizations in various fields including education, justice, finance, and consulting. The workshop was welcomed with much interest and positive feedback. Read More

Working with Change

by | Article

I was awakened very early this morning by a distinct chill in the air. Fall’s cooler temperatures had tapped me on the shoulder. Another reminder of the fact that everything changes, I thought, as I sleepily reached for another blanket. Summer had slipped away. It was time to meet a new season.

Of course, it is easy to see and feel the season’s changes. If we live in a climate with deciduous trees, for example, we notice the green leaves give way to beautiful colors, and then we get out the rakes! And we know that different seasons require us to meet them in ways that are unique to that time of the year. As fall approaches, we find the sweatshirts and sweaters, and we put away the shorts and flipflops.

We have come to expect these changes, and we prepare to meet them as they unfold. Read More

Leadership Excellence: Ride the Wave

by | Article

Leadership shortcuts don’t end well…for you or for those around you.

In my work here at the Institute, I am regularly engaging in conversations with successful professionals at every level of an organization. Although each person has a unique set of circumstances, there are common threads that show up time and time again. One of those threads is a sense of being overwhelmed, juggling the demands of work and home, and trying to find time for self-care. There simply isn’t enough time or space in the day. And so, the responsibilities spill over- into the night, throughout the weekend, and even your vacation (if you take one). Sound familiar?

With our list of to-dos’ ever increasing, it is no wonder that we are constantly looking for shortcuts. We find ourselves multitasking, skipping or working through meals, lessening sleep and being connected to our laptop and our phones 24/7. Of course, none of these ‘shortcuts’ work in the long term, and none are sustainable over the long haul. And as leaders programmed to “get it done”, sometimes this is the best we can do at the time, and it feels a little better in the short term to ‘check the box’.

There is, however, no shortcut to developing leadership excellence. Read More

Freedom of Choice: A Leader’s Perspective

by | Article

There is so much about summer to be grateful for. Fresh vegetables from the farm, blooms in the garden and lazy afternoons spent with family and friends. The season feels ripe with opportunity to reflect on who we are as individuals, as community members and as citizens of the world. A quick google search of national holidays illuminates an interesting parallel. In the first two weeks of July alone, several countries around the world will celebrate their independence- Burundi, Cape Verde, the Bahamas, Canada and the United States. Regardless of where you sit, these holidays present a reminder of our struggles, achievements and continued progress in assuring one of our core rights as human beings- the freedom to choose.

Freedom of choice can be as simple as hopping in your car and going wherever you want, when you want to. Or complex- how do you deal with a shortfall in revenue, a marriage that isn’t working or the deepening sense that work, life and the world are out of sync? My experience has taught me that leaders feel these imbalances deeply and their ability- or freedom- to choose is critical to their own wellbeing and to those around them- at home, at work and in their community. How do we choose? Who will be impacted by our decision? Who will celebrate this choice? Who may be hurt by a new direction we may choose to take? Read More