Day 4

Day 4

It was a fab day in Auckland, not so in other parts by the look of it. So, surprise, walking. Beautiful relaxing walking.

Today felt almost normal, and in many ways it was. Nice breakfast, good walk, lunch, some personal admin, relaxing, dinner, Country Calendar and – this has been a long time coming – Season 3 of Ozark.

I’m a big fan of Country Calendar. It shows a life that reminds me of Uncle George’s farm, my own place in the country and thousands of kilometres of road trips. For me it’s the Kiwi life at its idyllic with lovely countryside scenes, filmed beautifully. The perfect anti-anxiety fix.

Ozark, not so much! It’s beautifully filmed too, but tense, gripping. It’ll keep me going for a few days of evening Netflix, as long as the internet doesn’t break which we’re told it won’t.

This coming week is a big test. How will we go for a whole working week at home I wonder? Routine will be important as will focus and mindfulness. Giving ourselves a break, both actual and and emotional. Some days we just won’t feel so flash, I’m sure. Remembering that it will all pass.

So I’ve tried to rate myself for this weekend.

A Herald journalist tried to give everyone a scolding for treating the Home-D like it was a holiday at home, using a narrative that we were in an apocalyptic, once in a lifetime state.  That we shouldn’t just think we have to “stay at home”, that it’s vital we do our bit. And don’t even think about trying to make anything good out of it! We get it I think. We also get it that there’s strong and serious messages. I’m not sure why the media need to yell it at us like it needs their amplification. How about some other news, some insight and critical thinking? An uplift at a critical time is nice.

We're not completely broken!

My weekend gripe, but beyond that I feel I’ve come out stronger, more resilient and good to go. It wasn’t so bad.

Only thing is thinking about the weeks ahead, creating stress by worrying about the future. Can I survive?! Kind of where I started on the night before the Lockdown. Somehow I need to put that little voice to bed!

Which is precisely where I’m headed, ready for the working week. Let’s call it week 2, and congratulate ourselves on a first – first weekend nailed.

Stephen

 

Day 3

Day 3

The weekend! I heard the weather forecast and wondered whether we could do without it. Does it even matter now?

A walk (yep the weather matters!) – got the sweats up today –  chats to family and friends, although not face-to-face. The roads were quiet, but not completely clear, although I got this shot of one of the busiest roads in New Zealand on my walk. The prison in the background. Every hardship in perspective.

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I started a new audiobook – Getting Things Done – by David Allen on my son Thomas‘ recommendation. As the world changes we all need to find new ways of working and finding fulfilment.

I broke my Facebook Amnesty – a tool from my last book – Deep Work by Cal Newport which has unexpectedly prepared me for my Home-D. Unsurprisingly, Facebook hasn’t changed, but the mood seemed to be of compliance with the new emergency lockdown and almost unfettered power to the police. Questions about approach appeared to burst bubbles (not the home bubble I hope!) of reverence to those in power. It worries me that there is so little critical thinking on where we’re going. I’m not saying we’re not doing the right thing, but in Leadership, embracing all alternative viewpoints provides a richness in decision making. Think Appreciative Inquiry, Strategic Thinking, Ladder of Inference and BXT. When we embrace views contrary to ours we do our best.

I obsessed slightly about the rates of COVID-19 infection and impacts. Cases went up in New Zealand as expected, by about the same as the day before, although the numbers in ICU doubled – from 1 to 2. Global cases passed 600,000 with deaths at 27,500 and those in serious or critical condition at 23,500. Ninety-five percent of cases still active are in mild condition.  Italy and Spain have extraordinary large numbers of deaths per million of population (151 and 110), then there’s a group in the 20s and 30s (France, Iran, Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland), a few countries with rates of 5 – 10 per million and the bulk well below.

Practiced some Windfulness today on my walk – focussing on the surroundings and stillness, although there were plenty of people out exercising. I used the time to bring my thoughts in closer, to focus on what I can control and lead. It helped.

Anxietyometer: Started higher today, but down after the walk and focussed mindfulness.

Season 3 of Ozark is out! 

Stephen

 

 

Joy

noun a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.

It’s a word that’s been top of mind lately. As authentic leaders we strive to provide an environment where those we lead can perform, grow and reach their purpose, or meaning.

I have had an internal debate about whether I look for purpose or meaning. Whichever one it is I strive for, lately I’ve noticed that unless something brings joy, I’m hesitating.

A colleague and I engaged in a coaching conversation today. We challenged each other on blocks that people have to finding joy. It is the nature of the work? Is it too much work? Or is it just a mindset.

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Work won’t always bring us joy. Sometimes it’s just hard. Our personal objectives won’t always bring us joy. Getting there can be hard.

But on the way through I reckon we should be finding some joy. Not just from reaching a purpose, finding a meaning, or even reaching a goal. But on the way through.

Reminding ourselves “these are the good old days“.  Making it a daily challenge to find the mindset that brings joy to us is not easy, but worth a try for our own sense of purpose or meaning, and our teams.

 

Stephen

The night before

It has a night before Christmas feeling tonight with the Authentic Leadership Programme commencing proper in the morning. All the pre-work has been done by us and the new participant leaders and the room is all set up.

We’ve done this a few times of course so we know more or less what to expect. But it won’t be the same as ever before. Refinements have been made and we’re trying out some new things and new locations too.

But more significantly, each of the 20 leaders on the Programme will bring with them their own leadership opportunities, challenges, personalities, hopes and aspirations.

Like you experience when leading people.iStock-644997626.jpgSo in the morning there’s some time spent getting to know each other in a meaningful way, developing ways of working together over the next six months, exploring our personality profiles, reviewing 360 feedback, and sharing stories. It will be a very full first day with some time to reflect too.

One thing we’ll say tomorrow but we’ll say again several times is that everything we do on the Programme is transferable back at work. You won’t notice that unless you’re mindful. Which reminds me, being present will be vital!

Stephen

Nothing happens to us in the future

We’re readying ourselves for the start of another Authentic Leadership Programme. A new venue, new faces and some new ideas. An invigorated Programme.

We’ve been looking forward to this for some time and a lot of hard works has gone it to get prepared and today it arrives.

Planning is incredibly important to get us to where we want to be, and if we don’t plan and execute we can be reasonably confident we won’t get where we want to.

Slow living concept. Inspiration motivation quote Be here now.

However, in leadership development, it’s important to recognise that new insights can often be immediately put into practice and that’s what we’ll be encouraging our seventeen participants to do from today.

As a friend of mine said recently, “you don’t die in the future, it’s now”. Sobering, but a powerful reminder of taking action now, when we can.

Stephen

A winter mojo

Maybe it’s a general malaise, winter, too much work or not enough on reflection time. In a moment of escape from the intensity of work it occurred that I’d lost my mojo. A colleague said it wasn’t anything that a holiday wouldn’t fix.  He’s probably right.

It got me thinking about why and how we lose our mojo. Paris on stephendrain.comIs it one thing? Work perhaps?

Experience tells me it’s never one thing, not often just two things but a combination of too much and too little.

For me too much of the same, too many deadlines and too little reflection and things that add meaning to be personally.

The last bit is it. Meaning. Which is why for me the first blog in two months. A place I went to, to start getting my mojo back.

What will you do?

Stephen

Celebrating success can be hard

I think I was one of only two people in the Koru lounge this morning who clapped when Oracle successfully defended the America’s Cup.  I was one of a handful who clapped when Team New Zealand crossed 44 seconds later.

Oracle had a stunning success. No doubt about it. Caught cheating, they paid the price for their crime which almost wiped them off the course.  Aotearoa was fast, very fast, and importantly faster than Oracle for the first week. But Oracle dug deep and made its boat even faster.

Would this have happened against the other challengers?  Probably not, Oracle would probably have won on their slower boat anyway.  You might think its a rich man’s sport, their toys on the world stage. Might be. The All Blacks aren’t playing a poor man’s sport,  but we don’t accuse them of the same.  Without the power of Team New Zealand and Oracle in competition we wouldn’t be seeing the technology, the innovation and the outright excitement of these boats.  Think of the Pumas in the Rugby Championship – there to get better from playing us.

My son Thomas graduated this week in a ceremony with 500 or so others.  All successful.  In different ways.  But Thomas was the most successful person there for me!  Well done mate!.  He drove himself to success by building higher steps to climb (and he’s got more going on now).

I hated and loved this America’s Cup all at once. I hated the stress of the last few days.  Hell! Their boat really is faster!  Oh no!.  But the beauty of the boats gliding, the work of the crews, Barker’s graciousness and maturity, that New Zealand was behind much of all of this, including Oracle’s boat and crew.  That’s success.  All of which we should celebrate.

I felt the grief of losing.  Felt for Barker actually. The shock, the anger, the resentment but then the acceptance and hope. Hope for more of the same, another America’s Cup please, but I’ll be promising myself to enjoy the moment as much as I enjoy the prospect of NZ winning.  That’s my little promise to myself.

What a journey. Got to enjoy it on the way.  Even if we can’t now, we will when we look back.