Friday, March 23, 2012

I Became Picasso

"My mother said to me, 'If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.' Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso."
Parents always seem to see the best of possibilities in us as children. I am sure almost all of us have heard our parents say you can be whatever you set your mind to be.
I now watch my two young granddaughters and wonder what each of them will grow up to be. I love seeing the wide-eyed curiosity that is a daily occurrence with our three and a half year old granddaughter and we are witnessing the newness of life with our six week old granddaughter. I heard yesterday all the joy in our family when the newest member of the family smiled at grandma for the first time. I see in each of them their different personalities emerging and what kinds of things seem to ignite the passion in them, even if for the six week old, cuddling and food seem to get her the most excited.
Reese, the three and a half year old, laughs constantly. I read an article that suggests that laughter is healthy for us and that a child laughs over 300 times per day and an adult less than 17. What is it that took the laughter out of us adults? I do find myself laughing more when around Reese. I saw a quote from Michael Pritchard that said, “You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing."
Reese also is at that stage where she asks WHY about a thousand times a day. She asks why out of pure curiosity and no fear that she doesn’t have the answer. She feels no shame in not knowing something. And I am learning that the older I get, the clearer I am about how little I know. Maybe I can get over the embarrassment of asking why! In our leadership coaching workshops we teach leaders to try and avoid why questions because it tends to set people on the defensive. Maybe I should bring my granddaughter with me to co-facilitate some of our workshops.
I hope for my granddaughters that they will become the Picasso’s they feel the passion to become. That they will laugh as much when they grow up as they do as children. That they play as hard as they do now and that they love as openly as they do as the wide-eyed children they are. And may I finish out my career helping many people realize the Picasso dreams they had as young children.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Dangerous Conversations

Reading the local paper this morning I saw a piece that talked about how “Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has apologized to Mick Jagger for derogatory comments he made about the lead singer in his 2010 memoir, Life, which caused a rift within the band. In comments reported by Rolling Stone magazine, the two rock ’n’ roll veterans agreed it was time to move on.”
The article continues to tell the story of how the rift between Keith and Mick goes all the way back to the 1980’s. Some may find it hard to believe that these two closely related people had held on to such a concern for almost 30 years! Or maybe it is not such a surprise.
Dangerous Conversations is one of the key component parts of the Leader As Coach workshop I facilitate. What we mean by a dangerous conversation is simply that the outcome of the conversation is uncertain. It is because of this uncertainty that many of us avoid having the conversation at all.
Back in the 80’s Mick Jagger took on managing the business of the Stones. He felt no one else was showing any interest in handling the business side. Mick thought he was stepping into handling the biz side of the Stones and didn’t know how Keith felt until he read it in Keith’s book in 2010!
Any of this sound familiar to you? How many conversations have any of us thought was important are left unspoken and left inside with the other having no idea? Many relationships have gone sideways with one or both parties saying, “I never knew.”
Significant relationships will be so much more when all parties involved can step into dangerous conversations on a timely basis. How are you doing with the conversations you need to have? The one that you may consider the most dangerous may be the most important to step into. What is the cost of remaining silent?
Without Mick and Keith finally braving the Dangerous Conversation, their up and coming 50th Anniversary Tour would likely not become a reality. What great possibilities may never become a reality if you stay on the sidelines and keep the Dangerous Conversations to yourself?