Tag Archives: action

Do we have an economic or a spiritual problem?

By Jim Selman | Bio

Do we have an economic problem or a spiritual problem?

My teacher and friend Dr. Fernando Flores was a candidate for the Presidency of Chile. In one of his speeches, he declared, “We don’t have an economic problem so much as we have a spiritual one…we’ve forgotten who we are…we lack a vision and purpose for our nation”. He dropped out of the presidential race, but this phrase has stayed with me. I think it is true of most nations, including our own.

There is a maxim that states, “A vision without action is just a dream

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Moods

By Jim Selman | Bio

Perhaps the most pervasive and omnipresent aspect of being alive is our moods. We are always in one mood or another. Moods are either positive or negative and they ‘color’ our experience of living, affect how we relate to others and our circumstances, and have extraordinary power to open or close possibilities. If we examine this phenomenon, we can see that our moods are portable—we take them with us wherever we go. I can be angry at home and find that mood affecting me at work or even on the golf course.

Moods are also contagious. Have you ever been in a meeting where everyone is in a good mood and then the boss or someone enters the room in a different, perhaps negative, mood and it isn’t long before everyone has ‘caught’ the new mood?

Moods constitute the contexts in which we normally live and experience our lives. But most importantly, they are almost always involuntary—they happen to us. We rarely choose what mood we will be in, especially when we get our ‘buttons

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When do we take action?

By Jim Selman | Bio

The conventional wisdom in Alcoholics Anonymous is that alcoholism is a ‘disease’ of the ego—self-centeredness. Basically the alcoholic becomes trapped in his or her own point of view and denies any other perspective on ‘reality’. The alcohol is a symptom of a loss of control and choice—a condition of cognitive blindness and a self-destructive pattern of behavior. I have distinguished that culture works the same way. That is, the ego is to the individual what culture

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Coaching and Eldering

By Jim Selman | Bio

In 1976, I was working with some government employees in Virginia trying to implement a new system for integrating human services—a kind of one-stop shop for all the various services offered at that time. I had just finished the est training the previous July and was overwhelmed with my own experience and the idea that a person could transform themselves and their relationship to everything. Until then, I had bought into the belief that people don’t really change in fundamental ways, that personalities are fairly fixed, and that it requires a major crisis to shift our perceptions of reality. It was during that period that I formulated the idea that there were things that could be managed or taught and other things that could not be managed or taught but that could be “coached”. The difference had to do with how we observe others and ourselves and how we relate to power and responsibility.

This was a time before the concept of organizational culture had appeared in the business lexicon. I don’t think I even heard the word ‘paradigm’ until about 1980 or so. Peter Drucker was about the only popular writer on the subject of management. This was a time when people thought in terms of careers spanning a lifetime and many even expected to work for one or perhaps two companies for life. Tom Peter’s landmark book, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Search-Excellence-Americas-Companies-Essentials/dp/0060548789/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228673823&sr=8-1%20

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Nothing to Fear

By Jim Selman | Bio

To continue our discussion about fear and how to master it…. There are distinctions between coping with fear, transcending fear and transforming fear. Coping is our normal relationship with just about everything in our contemporary world. Our relationship to circumstances is that ‘the world’ is real and, more or less, whatever we think it is. We interact with our circumstances based on our point of view, and our actions reinforce our point of view. The result

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The Courage to Persevere

By Shae Hadden | Bio

I haven’t lived through the Depression, or participated in a major global conflict. Compared to many people on this planet, I haven’t had a lot of difficulties in my life. But the challenges that I have faced I have been able to survive. If you’d asked me a year ago what made that possible, I would probably have said “sheer will power”. But I’m a little older and a little wiser now. And my answer today has a quality of serenity in it that wasn’t evident back then.

Viewing the future as possibility has allowed me to look at everything that’s happening from a very empowering perspective. The future has not occurred yet…it is and always will exist in the domain of possibility. And, as Jim Selman would say, possibilities are not real (if they were, they’d be examples). So being afraid of the future is simply being afraid of what’s possible. It’s up to me to choose which possible future I want to commit to and ‘make real’.

Once

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Understanding

By Jim Selman | Bio

One of the aphorisms we were given at the end of the est training in the 1970s was the statement, “Understanding is the booby prize.” It has taken me most of my life to really appreciate and mostly live day-to-day with this trueism. In our culture, understanding is assumed to be more or less synonymous with ‘knowledge’. It’s the point to most communication and a prerequisite for most commitment.

If I have acquired any wisdom over the past six decades, it is this: the purpose of learning is action and understanding is a by-product of accomplishment (not a prerequisite). When I speak to groups of people, it usually takes me a few hours for them to ‘get’ that I am not communicating so they understand me, but communicating in a way that I hope will provide them with some new possibility or opening for action. As a coach, I am very clear that

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The Wisdom to Know the Difference

By Jim Selman | Bio

Think about the positive attributes of growing older, and ‘wisdom’ will always appear near the top of the list. Until recently, I had assumed ‘wisdom’ was a kind of ‘right knowledge’. Every time someone says the Serenity Prayer, I am reminded of this attribute again.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I wonder if I do know the difference.

On one level, I have learned a degree of serenity and think I am more or less accepting of most things in life. Yet I still fret about our political leadership, the drift toward corporate oligarchy, the environment, TV programming, traffic and a hundred other things that I think should be

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More, Better and Different

By Jim Selman | Bio

The engine that drives the world’s economy is a principle that is embedded in our worldview—“more, better and different”. It may seem obvious, but when we think about consumerism, materialism or alcoholism—or any ‘ism’ really—they are all based on the idea that if we like something, then ‘more’ is good (and conversely, if we don’t like it, then ‘less’ is good). Continuous improvement demands that things get better and better—and ‘more’ better

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Unreasonableness

I spent a good chunk of my life learning to be reasonable. In business, the mantra for any proposal was always: “Is it practical?” It seemed to me that reasonableness (and its sister practicality) were virtues. People who were unreasonable or impractical seemed to be exceptions—they came across as flaky, dangerous, occasionally lucky, unpredictable, disconnected, loose canons and, above all, they weren’t team players. When I turned 50, I came upon a quotation by George Bernard Shaw

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