Hopping On the Blog Tour
Last week my friend Hayley invited me to join a blog tour. Now, perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit this to you, but I had no idea what a blog tour was (please don’t think less of me), so I Googled it. It looks as if the term “blog tour” was originally associated with the launch and promotion of a book – but given that there’s no book associated with this tour, I can only assume that , like everything else in our changing world, the term has morphed and expanded with the times. It seems to me that instead, we’re taking you on tour. To journey behind the scenes and to meet some other really cool people, all answering the same set of questions. The common thread I discovered, when I traveled through the other blogs, is that everyone involved seems to be a pretty amazing, powerful woman who’s is committed to making a meaningful difference while being her authentic self – and my friend Hayley certainly fits that profile (you can read her responses here), and I’m certainly humbled to be included. Like any great adventure, I encourage you to poke around and explore. Get to know some of the other writers involved – you may just find a kindred spirit. And so my leg of the tour begins…
What am I working on?
We would start with this question. An easier question for me to answer would be “What are you NOT working on?”! This is the year I’ve committed to myself to start playing a bigger game, and so I’m working to think more expansively, which is both exciting and very uncomfortable. For the past six years I’ve had the privilege of watching people step into their power, get clear about what they stand for, and build a strategy for constructive action to get better results at work. It blows my mind what people can do when they’ve been given permission to be who they really are, powerfully – at work. For some reason we don’t do that. The stories that people have generously shared with me have been incredible – not in just what they’ve accomplished, which is huge – but also in how they experience themselves, which is life-changing. For the first time since I started this work, I can see that if I’m truly about making a difference and connecting people to their best, then I have a bigger responsibility. I need to let the work live in the world in other forms, to make it available to more people, and stop holding on to the controls so tightly.
I want to start a movement! It’s my dream that people are talking about their Super-Objective (OnStage language for purpose-in-action) in the hallways of every company worldwide. That being who you really are for real is considered critical to success organizationally, and that action that isn’t constructive becomes taboo. That people feel supported to own and unleash their gifts. That the results we’re aiming for, aren’t just measured on a spreadsheet, but they’re measured by how people feel and experience themselves in the workplace, and how committed they are to being and bringing their best selves. For if they are, the results will be immeasurable. That’s my dream.
So I’m working on doing everything I can to expand the conversation – blogging five days a week, writing a book, building an on-line tool, redesigning a workshop for larger audiences with less constraints, re-vamping my marketing strategy – and all the while, I’m continuing to lead programs in NYC and Dallas, and teach for SMU. What am I working on? Being my most authentic and powerful self in the world. It’s a daily practice.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
What a great question! So often development lies in two distinct camps. There’s the “Personal Development” camp, which could include Tony Robbins, Brene Brown, Oprah might fall into this camp now, Wayne Dyer, many of the women on this blog tour, etc. and the “Business/Leadership Development” camp, which might include Bill George, Tom Peters, John Kotter, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, Marcus Buckingham, etc.. My work tends to bridge the two camps. I don’t believe that you can be successful in the workplace unless you are developing your personal self. But so often the personal-development-conversation is focused on creating a life that is completely different than the one people are currently living. The message seems to be that you can live the life of your dreams only after you leave your company, find your passion and go off and do your own thing. And while that may be true for some people (says the girl who went off and did her own thing), I’m not sure that’s true for everyone. I think most of us want to feel like we can be our authentic selves no matter what we’re doing, whether it’s working for a company, a non-profit, or wherever our path may lead.
But I also think that the typical development conversations that are happening in the workplace are extremely limited. Teaching concepts and tools to be more successful cannot create meaningful change unless we’re dealing with what’s real from a human perspective. Business is people and I think the old thinking around being able to compartmentalize the two is finally beginning to fade. I also think that it can’t all be personally focused, as business demands that people work together toward a common goal of creating shareholder value. The problem is, so often human-needs and feelings get left out of the equation when companies try to change behavior to improve results. I look to marry the two – how can we get our core needs met at the human level as we work together to achieve great results for both both the company and the individual? The results then become a bi-product of human beings being and bringing their most powerful and authentic selves to work.
How does my writing/creating process work?
You know, I’ve tried a lot of different things, and I’ve found I’ve had to create my own process. I took this blog workshop last year that encouraged us to do “editorial calendars” – and I just hated it. They encouraged us to outline a month’s worth of topics to cover and then check them off one at a time, and my brain just doesn’t work like that. It took the fun out of it. One of the things I’m always talking to people about is the importance of figuring out what works for you – that brings out your best. All the experts who insist that their way is the right way, bug me. Their way works for them – and may work for a lot of people who are wired like them – but there is no prescribed way of doing something that works for everybody. It’s important that we learn to tune-in to what works for us. And there are so many messages out there telling people what the right way and the wrong way is, that people, in their attempt to do a good job, have lost the ability to listen to themselves and trust their instincts. They don’t give themselves permission. So I could’ve easily said, “I hate this whole editorial-calendar-thing, and since that’s what what I’m told I should do then maybe I should give up blogging.” But instead I decided, I want to blog, so how can I do it in a way that works for me?
So what works for me is noticing. All day long, every day, I’m like a detective with myself and I try to stay curious about others – I’m looking for what keeps us all from being and bringing our best. I’m seeking a deeper understanding. And when I have a huge insight, or notice something really pertinent that captures my interest, then I write about it. I get up at 5:30 and write. Sometimes I will have emailed myself thoughts and ideas of things I’ve noticed during the day and use that as my jumping-off-point. Sometimes I’ll just write about whatever shows up for me that morning. But my writing always has to achieve two things: it must be centered in something that truly inspires or intrigues me; and I have to write with the intent to spark thinking or feelings in my readers in attempts to connect them to a greater understanding of themselves. And sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. And I keep writing anyway.
Why do I write/create what I do?
I have a core belief that if we were all consciously working to be and bring our best selves – on paying attention to the impact we have on others and ensuring that we are “genuine, worthy of trust, reliance and belief” (Bill George’s definition of Authenticity) from another’s perspective – then we could redefine work. It would no longer be a place where people exchange their lives for a paycheck, it would be an expression of who they are and the realization of what a powerful and positive force a group of people can be, when working together toward a shared goal. Some people call that idealistic. I can live with that.
But I like to think of it as vision.
I’ve had the privilege of watching people realize, sometimes for the first time in their lives, how really amazing and powerful they are. It is the most extraordinary experience (outside of perhaps having a child) that I’ve ever known. Truly. I feel my emotions welling up inside as their faces and words replay in my mind. It is a holy thing. Why do I do what I do? That. It is the coolest thing ever.
And the tour continues….
And now I have the distinct honor of passing on the blog-tour-baton to my dear friend Arianne Moore-Armstrong. I met Arianne almost nine years ago, when we were both doing our coaching-training and she was assigned to be my “Buddy” for the duration of the program. We have seen each other grow and evolve over the years, as she has grown her heart-centered coaching practice helping women break free of limiting beliefs and live a more passionate and purposeful life. Arianne will post for the tour on May 19th, so be sure to sign-up for her blog so you don’t miss it!
Thanks for taking the tour with me. These have been very thought-provoking questions – I encourage all of you to think about these yourself. For even if you’re not on “tour” there’s power in the journey.
©OnStage Leadership, 2014
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