Thursday, January 27, 2011

The “P” and "Q" lists:

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "P":

Parchment-or:  Shows you how to wear your brand like ink on your skin
Pavement-or: Builds a road with you to wherever you're going
Payment-or: Demonstrates how to barter and exchange with value
Pigment-or:  Helps you discern shades other than black or white
Postponement-or:  Stops you from leaping before looking
Preferment-or: Offers you the next promotion or big project
Presentiment-or: Someone whose response is always "tried that..didn't work..won't work now"
Puzzlement-or:  A great partner for solving riddles and finding ways out of dead ends


Quiet Enjoyment-or: (thx Anne!)  Can sit in silence and relax while you both think
Quibblement-or:  Argues every nuance with you

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Letting someone else be the star

As an 'opinionate' person (I hear you laughing...), I often find it hard to sit in meetings and not interrupt. So as a measure of whether or not I should speak up, I ask myself "Who needs to know that I know that?" and "Is it important that they know I know this? Now? Later?"

It has stopped me from interrupting many times. Not often enough...but more often. :-)

Recently, I attended an excellent discussion on leadership and storytelling - hosted by Rick Wolfe of PostStone. The point was made that one difference between a leader and someone aspiring to leadership is the switch from being the hero of one's own story, to offering the listener the chance to be the hero.

Interrupting and ensuring that the room knows that you already knew the fact/had the idea/like the idea/etc. is about you being the hero. A legitimate part of establishing brand and sometimes necessary thing to do (especially if the guys are not listening to the lone woman in the room as can happen). However, a good leader knows when it is better to let someone else be a star. Leadership isn't all about shining brighter; it's about encouraging others to shine more effectively.

The next time I'm tempted to interrupt, I'm going to remind myself that it's better leadership to sit quietly sometimes. My mentors are daring me to try...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Define "team"

Sports, business, medicine, arts.. the word "team" is often used - sometimes to explain how many folks are working on a project (even if they never all meet or talk),  sometimes to spread blame or make a decision seem less unilateral, occasionally to create a sense of togetherness.

What is a team? A body of people who hold regular meetings? Who are united in purpose or role?

I believe a team is a body of folks united in achieving a goal for which they each hold both a personal and a group stake.

Like mentoring (and Suzanne's comment on the previous posting), you can't truly participate if you have not articulated why you're doing what you're doing for yourself, your participation and contribution won't be as effective.

But what do you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Group mentoring

At a lunch this week, with a mouth full of Soma chocolate lave cake, I managed to ask "Where does group mentoring fit in?"

Luckily, as no one else at the table was indulging in dessert, there were some spirited answers.

One person said that carefully constructed groups, with participants selected through profiling, could use group mentoring to bring projects to a new level.

Another remarked to me quietly that group mentoring was what was happening at the table at that moment - ad hoc and unscripted.

I've seen many kinds of group mentoring - some efforts that stretch the definition rather thinly... some that are tables of folks gathered once to solve a problem with or without any expectation of success.

I'm not sure where I sit with formal programs. I think the essence of group mentoring happens all the time, throughout one's community. It's the heart of peer-to-peer. Perhaps the more formal it becomes, the closer it moves to coaching and the project/corporation's needs and less about the individual's - the reason for choosing mentoring in the first place.

Maybe that's the question to be asking. Instead of having others tell us we should have a mentor or use mentoring as a tool, we should see it a natural fit for our questions we are seeking to answer. Instead of 'showing up', we need to articulate what we are seeking for ourselves in order to create more meaningful participation and solutions?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pick one thing to change

What one thing do you want to accomplish this month? Just one thing...

That doesn't mean you won't do many things. But surely there's one thing in particular that, if you got it done/learned it/changed it, would make all the others even better?

It could be setting up a project. It could be making your kid feel special for a day. Or re-organising your basement. Or simply returning a phone call for which you haven't yet made time.

We often fill our time with things others need us to do - our partners, friends, family, peers, mentors, managers... But have you figured out what you want to do this month?

Write it down. Put it on the fridge/bulletin board/in your BB. Put a reminder on the calendar: Jan. 31 put a tick beside this item!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't wait - build community

Before the job search begins
Before you can't find a key piece of information
Before you don't know where to go to bounce ideas
Before you need a favour
Before you wonder if anyone else sees the humour
Before you need a ride, a reference, a referee

Build community.

One person, one shared idea, one coffee/tea, one helping hand each day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A new year - part II

In the fall of this year, my real new year's celebration, I invited one special person to join my immediate circle. I reaffirmed that choice with the official arrival of 2011. Long ago, he taught me how to find my voice. Today, he reminds me how to love with joy and commitment.

Unfortunately, his struggle with cancer has lately had me lean upon my community - you - for support.

So if this blog gets a little patchy over the coming months, please know that your questions and search for a balanced life still inspire me. Life continues, grows, evolves and we move with it. I will move with it.

May this year bring you challenges, joys and ideas that make your life richer. May you know great love and support from across your community. May your community continue to grow. I would like to continue to be part of it.

with deep respect as we usher in 2011,


Monday, January 3, 2011

A new year - part I

For me, the 'new' year will always be September. The leaves turn; kids go back to school; adults take out wool sweaters and everyone's freckles begin to fade.

January 1 is more about affirming the choices I made in September - big or small.

I write, talk and try to live every day around my concepts of community. I believe that for every step we take (in any direction), there is a small crowd that has helped us there just as we are part of the crowd supporting others. I believe we should make conscious choices around what we do, how we participate and how we contribute.

I started this journey first as a single parent, trying to understand how to cope and make the village part of my chosen family. I continued by trying to find respectful and creative ways to merge my life as an artist with my more 'conventional' job offers. I was inspired by Mitch Nadon saying to a group of us "I'm going to the top and taking 100 of my best friends with me!" I then realized that mentoring and networking were two of the best, simplest tools I could use and/or offer. 

Every day, you inspire me. From the comments, emails and calls to the articles quoting this blog. My village in 2011 is beautiful.  Thank you.