Olympic Leadership Lessons
The XXXII Summer Olympics are upon us…and like everything else in the past 16 months, these Games are unlike any other. I love the Olympics when the world‘s greatest athletes come together to compete for the highest honor in armature sports.
I had the good fortune to attend the 1976 Summer Olympic Games in Montreal Canada and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Two decades apart and many lessons learned from both.
In 1976 I had never been more than 600 miles from my hometown in Florida. There I was in Montreal, where the primary language was French! People from around the globe were gathered wearing their national colors, speaking their native languages. I remember meeting people from Mongolia, Singapore, Russia, and Turkey. What an experience! The universal language was a smile. My eyes were opened that the world is a big place with so many different points of view, yet the common denominator can be a smile and...
Have you ever had a memory of someone pop into your head and wonder “where did that come from, I haven’t thought of her in decades”? That was my experience this morning and it was Bunny Johns who emerged.
One spring about 40 years ago on a solo trip to the Nantahala Outdoor Center in western North Carolina I met Bunny Johns. Walking alone on the railroad track alongside the spectacular Nantahala River, I recall how she appeared to me: confident, kind, curious, athletic, and at peace. She said, “Hello, I don’t see many people out this way where I like to walk, it’s beautiful isn’t it?”.
I was on a quest to discover myself, and it felt like serendipity to connect with a woman like her. She invited me to go paddling with her sometime and I agreed hoping she knew what she was doing because I sure didn’t.
Turns out Bunny Johns was an elite paddler of the open canoe and had earned...
Summer is generally time to take off and have some fun. While this summer is a far cry better than summer 2020, Steve and I are still staying close to home. I’m just not ready to get on a plane and travel freely yet.
My incredible 97-year-old mother in law has been staying at home these past 15 months as well. She told me recently of the joy it brings her to sit in her recliner, look out her window and see the magnolias tree with buds beginning to bloom. She has looked out that same window for 60+ years onto her wooded back yard and still even now, she is finding unexpected beauty.
Each day she shares the number of buds that have blossomed into flowers and the delight in her voice is palpable. She inspired me to be more intentional about appreciating the beauty in small focused spaces around me. It’s easy to look at a view you’ve seen a million times and not really “see” it.
It’s also easy to look at...
Why do certain groups add up to be greater than the sum of their parts while others add up to be less?I have worked with organizations around the country of different sizes and shapes. I marvel at the success of some groups and the challenges of others.
Team culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet and one of the most difficult things to put together and maintain. A Harvard study of more than 200 companies over 11 years revealed that a strong team culture increased the net income of those companies by 750%!
I LOVE Teams which is in part why I love hospice. We were the first to require interdisciplinary teams where everyone’s voice is valued.
Think about the most well-functioning teams in your organization and see if they have these components:
A shared exchange of openness and vulnerability is the most basic building block of cooperation and...
Bloom Where You are Planted
I have been pondering this phrase all week. “Bloom where you are planted” suggests we look around and see how to shine our light no matter where we find ourselves. It’s not always easy. Sometimes we are in situations or relationships or jobs where we do not want to be. And yet, here we are, and what do we do next?
The easy road is to duck and run, quit the job, end the relationship, or step down from the responsibility. And yet, we take ourselves wherever we go. If we don’t resolve our troubles or face our fears, we will continue to experience the same situations again and again, just with different names and faces.
Bloom where you are planted. There is always something to discover in all situations.
When my brother Michael was terminally ill, I didn’t want to be the one to lead him through his fears. I didn’t want to be responsible for all the things he needed, like finding him a doctor and...
Walking Through Honey
OK, I'll admit it, I sometimes feel befuddled, not every day and not all the time. But as a woman who thrived on motion, constantly feeding off the energy in an airport concourse filled with rushing people as I traveled to see clients, my world is very different now. My current reality is sitting in the same chair in front of the same computer screen for hours on end, then thinking, "what day is it?" or "what am I doing here?".
Productivity has taken on new meaning. I have a fully edited new book just waiting to go to a publisher. I have new online courses that I have been working on that are lolly-gagging around in my files. I created a new group coaching course, and I haven't let anyone know about it yet. WHO AM I?! I don't recognize this formerly driven woman!
Some days it feels like I'm walking through honey and not in a good way. Years ago, in my days as a hospice Executive Director, at a leadership retreat, we did an exercise of...
Sacrifice, Resurrection, and Liberation
People all over the globe are celebrating the Holy holidays of Easter and Passover this week. Celebrations of Sacrifice, Resurrection, and Liberation from oppression.
Today in the spring of 2021 we have had a year of opportunities to experience sacrifice, haven’t we? Practically everyone on the planet, regardless of their religious/political/economic, or cultural beliefs has sacrificed in some way.
A sacrifice is a loss or something you give up, usually for the sake of a better cause. Most of us have sacrificed our normal ways of life by staying home and social distancing this year. We have felt the loneliness and isolation of this sacrifice done for the greater good.
There continues to be uncertainty about the future, and frustration about what’s next. But if we step back and look to our ancestors, those who have gone before us, human beings have always made sacrifices for a better...
Shout with joy, it’s spring!!
New beginnings, new birth, and new opportunity. Nature has reminded me that life goes on in spite of the dreary winter or the dreary 2020. The azaleas are in full bloom in my yard and the dogwood trees have bursts of white blooms among their branches.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what’s not right in the world and lose sight of this very moment. This moment right now when you are reading this post is where all your power exists. My past will never be again, and my future has not yet arrived. All I have is right…this…very…moment, with you.
What are you doing? How are you feeling? Who are you with? Where are you sitting or standing? Look around at your surroundings.
Now I want you to focus on something nearby that is lovely or interesting or odd. Something that catches your eye, and then spend 5 extra seconds really looking at it. an object, a person, a pet, the fuzzy sock on your...
I just got back from a blissful wooded walk. We live in a beautiful rural part of north central Florida with magnolia and oak trees whose limbs are filled with Spanish moss gracefully draping over the branches that reach out parallel to the dirt road we live on. The beauty of the trees and the peace and quiet is a soul soothing experience.
I was feeling grumbly as I started out this morning about Covid and not feeling safe to travel and fly and see new sights and sounds and people.
Poor me, woe is me, it's unfair...to me.
Then I stopped at the far end of the road west of our house and sat on a stump and just sat there in silence for a while. Once I stopped thinking about ME, I began listening to the wind in the trees. It sounded like the beginning of Appalachian Spring the Aaron Copeland symphony.
Then the birds joined in as if they were the flutes and piccolos adding to the complexity of the song. Up from my phone popped a 1 minute audio from the app Waking Up...
On my walk this morning it was so foggy I could hardly see 5 feet in front of me. I have walked on the same country road for 35+ years yet today it felt mysterious and foreign. I was uncertain about who or what I might run into and I became tentative and cautious.
Foggy uncertainty is what most of the world has been experiencing in the past 11 months isn't it? Our usual path has been obscured from view and our familiar landmarks and reference points have been upended.
Over this past year, I too have had many moments of bewilderment and had to stop and pause to recalibrate my direction.
When a gymnast on the balance beam begins to fall, she doesn't just keep going, she stops, regains her balance, focuses on her next move and only then continues on.
This week I facilitated a Zoom call with 60+ hospice Chief Clinical and Operations Officers from across the US. The levels of exhaustion and frustration are still very high, vaccine rollouts are...