Tag Archives: commitment

The End of the Beginning

JimBioPic

By Jim Selman| Bio

Ah, January 1st, the new beginning and a chance
to finally get it right this year. Or is it?

Perhaps it is the End of the Beginning. When we began as a
nation, we were full of hope and idealism. We believed that every person could
thrive and prosper if they worked hard and learned from their past mistakes.

Today, can we honestly say we believe that hard work will
take us in the direction of our dreams? What happened to us? Where are we
going?

Our current

read more

Lake Kiowa

By Jim Selman | Bio

The Fourth of July is a uniquely American holiday. This weekend, I felt a little bit like I was a part of a Bill Geist segment on small town celebrations on CBS’s Sunday Morning show. My father is a World War II veteran. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1939 and retired after a career in the military in 1968. Yesterday, the community of Lake Kiowa, Texas honored him and 31 other survivors of the ‘greatest generation’ for their contribution.

It was a very moving experience

read more

Moods

By Jim Selman | Bio

Moods ‘color’ our experience of living. They are all encompassing interpretations of the world—especially the future—and tend to determine the quality of our lives. When we are in a positive mood, the world is bright and we ‘feel’ great. When we are in a negative mood, we typically want to withdraw from or strike out at everyone around us.  One of the most useful things we can learn as we grow up (at any age) is that moods aren’t personal.

First of all, they are involuntary. No one I know decides they will be in a bad mood (although there are a few who more or less equate their mood with ‘the way I am’, which can become a kind of self-fulfilling story and can justify just about anything). For example, I know a man who believes that he is, more or less, permanently doomed to procrastinate and put off what he knows he needs to do until the last minute. He then begins to become annoyed with himself weeks before

read more

Second-Guessing

By Jim Selman | Bio

Over the past few years, I have written about how life in our society is increasingly becoming a ‘spectator sport’. I am again reminded of this as I listen to week after week of pundits second-guessing President Obama and other leaders as if their points of view are a) true, b) somehow contributing to a civil public discourse, and c) honest and not contrived to produce controversy or provoke conflict and drama. I am not naïve: I am aware that the media is in the business of creating and satisfying audiencesand that drama, conflict and controversy sell more than relatively straight-forward information. Personally, I’ve managed to disconnect from the mainstream media channels about 90%, but even so the conversations are persuasive whether we’re getting them first or second-hand. If my observation about all of us is valid that we’re becoming spectators rather than being active participants in the democratic process, then the question becomes what can we do about it? As an example, a majority of us voted for a President and before the ink was dry we began to hear daily ‘score cards’ about his ‘popularity’ and is he doing a good or a bad job. Mostly we’re second-guessing his decisions and undermining his (or anyone’s) capacity to lead. Imagine what it would be like if you got married and then had a daily report by all your neighbors of how the marriage was going and how you were doing as a spouse. Either you’d have to stop listening or you’d end up reacting to the feedback to the point where you are a pawn of public opinion and no longer an actor in the relationship. I admire any leader’s capacity to balance sage advice and counsel from those committed to making things work and their ability to ‘screen’ out all the ‘devil’s advocates’ who have no other commitments than to destroy whatever possibilities may exist for change and/or to forward their own points of view.  Lately there is a back-and-forth argument about whether the President is being tough enough on Wall Street. Frankly, I don’t know what his longer-term game plan is, but I would bet the story isn’t finished. He is fighting wars on a dozen fronts. He must pick his battles. He must be strategic. If any president were to declare war on Wall Street, it is not clear who will win and, as has been the case with healthcare, we will, in all likelihood, lose the opportunity to correct and clean up the mess we’ve created.

There is very little (if any) benefit to second-guessing our leaders. If we have personal priorities and requests, there are lots of ways for them to be communicated. There are lots of forums for discourse and debate that are not daily ‘spectacles’.  We remember the story of Emperor Nero watching Rome burn. We forget that, for years before it burned, the population was drawn to the Coliseum to watch the gladiators live or die. They voted on the life

read more

Boundaries: Choosing Change

By Jim Selman | Bio

We’ve all experienced a situation—whether in a marriage, friendship or business relationship—where we find ourselves thinking about the other person and saying, “I love you, BUT…”. It’s in that moment we realize a particular behavior of theirs is not acceptable to us and has become a source of stress and resentment. For many, resentment almost always leads to a downward spiral of self-destructive behavior and the eventual destruction of the relationship.

I was coaching a friend recently who is in such a dilemma. She is and always has been the primary breadwinner in her marriage. Her husband is a charming, lovable, creative man who is prone to spending binges whenever he is traveling or working on various short-term projects. This usually leads to an ‘explosive’ encounter when the credit card bills arrive. These angry eruptions are followed by his characteristic pattern of apologies, remorse and promises followed by feelings

read more

Learning and Environmental Choices – Part 2

By Rick Fullerton | Bio

While I don’t have any quick fixes to offer, here are a few ideas that may have potential:

1.  As within, so without.  All change begins with me.

Recognize that who we are and what we stand for is the starting point for all significant change. Looking inside ourselves to clarify what is important is an essential step. What is our commitment to our children and grandchildren, to future generations and to other species with which we share the planet? How do we balance

read more

The Future Habit

By Jim Selman | Bio

It is almost impossible to turn on the television or read a newspaper or a magazine without encountering one pundit, expert or “man on the street” either talking about the future or trying to blame someone for something. Our media commentary is rarely about what is happening now: mostly it’s about what happened in the past or what someone thinks is going to happen in the future. Combine the establishment media with all of the blogging and chatting going on, and it is incredible

read more

Global Warming & Our Commitment to the Future

By Rick Fullerton | Bio

Recently, I have been focusing more and more of my attention on
global warming and, in turn, on understanding my own reactions and responses to
what’s happening. The results so far have been both fascinating and
challenging.

One aspect of the global warming conversation involves the role of the media in reporting scientific evidence and projections regarding the effects of carbon dioxide in heating the planet. In particular, I have learned about the disproportionate

read more

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

read more

Where Is a Genie When You Need One?

By Jim Selman | Bio

There is a widely understood belief in Argentina’s culture that “the way we are is a big part of the problem … and one of our characteristics is that we’re always waiting for a leader to come along and save us.” The first time I heard this I was giving a talk to a large event in Buenos Aires. A man stood up and challenged my ‘American optimism’, suggesting that I just didn’t understand the way things really were in ‘their’ country. My response was to acknowledge that this may be true and to suggest that, since they were all waiting for the leader to appear, perhaps he could take the job until the leader came along. That got a chuckle or two and drove home my point. We live as if the causes and the solutions to our problems are somehow outside of ourselves and that they are beyond our ability to resolve. This view of the world inevitably leads to resignation—giving up—and has us drift into a kind of spectator relationship to life and the future.

I make the same point in a different way in my Leadership in Action workshops. I usually begin by asking participants what they would to say to a ‘Genie’ if that magical being promised to grant them one wish to change something in their organization. I am always a little surprised to hear people’s innocuous and tiny wishes (such as better communication, more cooperation between departments, more straight talk, more trust and so on). Not that these aren’t

read more