Saturday, June 20, 2009


I looked it up and had to look further. Synonyms used to describe pontificate are: to be dogmatic, officious, to speak pompously, preach, go on, sound off. Pompous hmmm, this got me thinking.

Words in their written form are two dimensional, just like television screens. That flat screen TV you’re watching, where objects are interpreted as three dimensional but are shown on a two dimensional surface are deceiving. Both are wonderful mediums that can be brought to life with our imaginations.

When you read you may visualize the setting and characters as multi-dimensional. The two dimensional world is simple but difficult. Words provoke thoughts and relationships, more often unsullied understanding, curious worlds and effervescent connections emerge. Still, you may have to work at transforming ideas from a flat world by pondering, pontificating.

“The World Is Flat” a book by Thomas Friedman says we’re back to a flat world because of our ability to trade, communicate and live globally. Some contest his praise of this flattened world because it’s destroying our natural, cultural and social resources.

For me the flat form is flat and it can be tough to capture ideas that are multi-dimensional through two dimensional words and pictures. To see them on paper they change form which deceives us. I’m thinking long and hard as to how to transform flat. Here are some ideas to play with:

The next time you

- facilitate a group session – create the agenda with items that represent the process (i.e. your watch for the review of the minutes). To capture ideas, have participants use tools that create a multi-dimensional replica. Send the 3-d creation back to the office as inspiration

- deliver or share an idea with your colleagues - create a model that others can play with, add to, modify, have paint, leggo blocks, balls and string on hand.

- explain and idea over the phone – have the ‘receiver’ gather items and build what you are explaining and have them describe it, who knows what you’ll end up with

- drop off a resume or go to an interview – bring three dimensional samples that highlight your style. Make them reflective of your unique nature, something related to the work you’ll be doing or what you will add to the culture of the organization. For example if you love golfing bring a sleeve of golf balls and explain why during the interview - you’ll set up a fun tournament to build cohesion.

Don’t be deceived, any situation can be transformed from flat into fat, the good kind - the HDL of living multi-dimensionally.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Personal Legend

This week wasn’t unlike others, day to day routines, constant coming and going, staying up late and getting up early (8 a.m. is early for me), taking for granted the connections that create my life story. The days and weeks and months add up to tell a story of the journey, blasé at times maybe, popping with every moment at others. However, one thing that hit home this week was that there are people who are generous and use their intuition even when they’re not sure why and even when it’s not reciprocated. Here’s what happened.

I want to upgrade my website (, so after being referred to Suitcase Interactive I checked out their website and was immediately taken by one line, they described their business as a company “focused on relationships” ( That drew me in. I found out later, little guys like me are not on their radar but they agreed to help me anyway.

When we met, the owner (a young, genuine, flipflop wearing guy who started the business in his house and grew it to a top floor office space in downtown Calgary) said, “I don’t mean to sound arrogant but I don’t know why I’m doing this.” He was a little perplexed. And rightly so, he had just met with an international running shoe/sports wear company, big business bureaucracy and high pressure. What did I have to offer him?

Being a little dumbfounded myself, my brain didn’t kick in until later when my husband suggested that I offer him my services (au gratis) in facilitation or training needs they may have in organizational culture, leadership development, exploring innovation through collaboration and/or wellness. I hadn’t thought that I could offer them anything. No brianer right? Why didn't I think of that? It’s about meaningful connections, what can I do for them, not merely what they can do for me.

I challenge others to think big, break the rules, open spaces by squeezing through pinholes, but I didn’t see that pinhole staring me in the face. It got me thinking about my Personal Legend.

The concept of a Personal Legend is central to the novel ‘The Alchemist’, by Paulo Coelho. "It's what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is...there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth." The importance of following the omens on the journey to realizing one's personal legend is passed along to Santiago, the central character.

I gave the book to a colleague who was searching for her place in the world. After reading it she left an emotional voicemail thanking me for the deep message she received, an omen. She’s now creating her personal legend. She collaborates with artists of various sorts and is “dedicated to empowering our local and global community through the healing powers of human touch, movement, art, and nutrition.” ( Very amazing and I am in no way taking credit for her movement towards success, however, each omen along the way, as this one, led her to Vintage Roots Lifestyle (VRL) her venture and the Boutique she embodies.

Omens, I need a boot in the butt every once in a while to pay attention so that I can continue my lifework, and to value it so that I can share through collaboration. I gained insight into my Personal Legend this week, that of creating soulful connections that are meaningful. I’m on the lookout once again because when I get too focused on one thing I need to continue to look further and step back to see. It’s not that there’s more (that’s another topic in itself), there’s deeper.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Disruptive Innovation and New Einsteins: a world of new

You probably have favourite websites that you visit regularly, use as your homepage and that are saved as bookmarks, so when was the last time you moved outside those familiar sites, search words and patterns?

In the last month I happened upon a whole new world of discussions, information and thought and I’m not quite sure how it happened. I’ll spare you the details, no it’s not Second Life, but that’s a wild world (just spent some time at a Web 2.0 session where they discussed how Second Life is used for education, interesting spin on a virtual world). I came across disruptive innovation and new Einsteins.

Disruptive innovation is the stuff that makes epic change, it’s at the far end of the spectrum, then there’s the other end that’s the stuff of smaller changes. Both have been argued to have the spotlight and both have their obstacles. I’m of the mind that either/or, and all along the innovation spectrum are and need to be supported.

We’ve an opportunity, always will and always have, to move ideas. Think about Harry Potter, nothing had been done like it before. Think about Bugs Bunny, in its time, nothing had been done like it. Einstein, Plato, your dad, my sister, all move ideas. We move these ideas within systems.

A colleague and I were talking about the impact of systems and how we can create systems that open spaces for creation or that confine. As I’ve recently this new-found community, I see new ways, systems, that are opening up for the new Einsteins to emerge. Finding them, starting them and supporting them are within reach. All we have to do is encourage, question, dream, support and play.

If we recognize the systems in place and dig into deeper connections that truly resonate with our values will this lead us to the creation of ideas and systems that will shape a world of new? Maybe it’s disruptive Einsteins that are going to push us to new system innovations in a world of deep values. Or could it be that new world disruptions will connect Einstein innovations based on deeper systems?

Monday, June 1, 2009

The longer you’re out of it the harder it is to get back into it.

It’s been ten months since I went for a run and yesterday I headed out again. To be perfectly honest it felt absolutely awful, glad I did it, but it was gut wrenching!

This leads to another initiative I’m working on that includes a bit about meaningful connections taking time.

There’s an underlying assumption of insufficiency deeply entrenched in our society. The notion that we don’t have enough (time included), more is better, and that something takes time away rather than giving it time, are common, unconscious messages that surround us. We continue to perpetuate the idea of insufficiency.

By turning an insufficient mindset into one of sufficiency, we can shift from “not enough, need more” to “self-sufficiency, sharing and gratitude.” The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist talks about sufficiency as a way of being. A fund-raiser for The Hunger Project, Twist says that if we continue to give abundant aid to ‘the needy’ rather than coming from a place of believing and knowing that more is not better, that our world is sufficient, and that we are able to make a difference with what we have, world hunger will continue.

The self-fulfilling prophecy of poor, helpless people that need our help, is realized when the focus is on insufficiency. We continue to give more rather than honouring what is and turning the corner on world hunger.

An intentional shift from going after more to nurturing what we have is counter to the competitive nature of business and to what the majority of us have been duped into, more is better. Yep duped! Philanthropic programs and sustainable approaches are building steam, fantastic, so are we turning a corner?

That brings me back to the idea of the longer you’re out of it, the harder it is to get back into it. The longer you stay in the cycle of getting more, more money, gaining more status, producing more, more, more, the harder it is to get back into fulfilling and meaningful lifework.

With regards to meaningful connections, give them time to grow, honour and nurture them. Know that it might be tough at the start just like getting back into running, because you’re no longer part of society’s drive for more. You’re outside the whirlwind norm but when we get back into it we feel better and begin to connect on a more meaningful level.

Thoughts turn into words,
Words into actions,
Actions develop into habits,
Habits contribute to character,
Our character leads us to our destiny.
(source unknown)

What is your destiny?