Monthly Archives: December 2010

Time Zones

Ask: Often, workshop participants ask whether someone can exist at two times on the Team Clock at once. Recently, I found myself at 12:00 and 6:00 simultaneously.

Apply: December 15th. I had just finished clinching an exciting engagement with an innovative organization when my phone rang with tragic news of an unexpected loss. I was about to grab the same phone to share the news of my new opportunity when the incoming call beat me to the punch. In an instant, my business life was soaring and my family life was sinking.

The paradox is common. Things at home are great while things at work are unraveling. Work is challenging and stimulating while a parent, spouse, child or friend is struggling at home. Everyone shares a similar balancing act. You’d love to devote all of your energies in the segment of your life that brings the most satisfaction but reality demands the opposite. It’s the classic 80/20 rule: the majority of your time is consumed by the most intense minority.

Consider your last crisis. Although you’d like the world to stop spinning for a short time in order to collect thoughts, express feelings and manage priorities, life keeps pressing forward. However, if you’ve lived your life with appropriate investment in others, reciprocation comes to your aid in moments like this. Family, friends, neighbors and colleagues surround you from all sides to offer love, assistance, resources and support. Strangers become friends. Politics are shed in lieu of a greater calling. Your anchors maintain your stability while the environment threatens change. The change occurs and your resilience is called to duty. We adapt, we grow and, in the end, we’re better for it.
Apply: 12:00 and 6:00. Attachment and loss. One doesn’t occur without the other. The greater the attachment, the greater the loss.  The deeper the investment, the richer the reward. Acknowledging the inevitability of separation ignites unlimited permission for connection. We all make choices each day about the degree to which we engage with others and in the goals and aspirations we share. The extremes aren’t dichotomous; they are equal shares of the same choice.

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The Band Played On

Twenty-five years after the original formation of the band, the music continues to evolve despite numerous changes in membership. While merely a no-name garage band, the group has evolved into a fascinating blend of talents over the past quarter-century. Twenty-five years of age separates the bass player from the lead guitarist. Only 50% of the musicians have survived the band’s personnel changes from the original cast of characters that gathered in the keyboard player’s basement for the first time in 1985. Over the years, job changes, re-locations, divorces and illnesses have threatened to break up the band. Yet, month after month, year after year, the players gather to create new music.

It’s not always pretty. Everyone notices when one of the musicians is too loud, plays off-key or gets out of sync with the rest.  Eye rolls, deep sighs and sulking sometimes communicate frustrations even though everyone tries to behave professionally under stress. Band members occasionally leave a rehearsal less happy than when they arrived even though the reason for the group’s existence is purely to be creative and have fun. Feelings get hurt and apologies are exchanged. The music carries on.

In the end, the pleasure always trumps the pain. Like any friendship, the matrix of relationships ebbs and flows from crisis to opportunity. The power of the music insidiously parallels the strength of the interpersonal connections as if our thoughts and feelings are being directly expressed through our instruments. Silent eye contact acknowledgments capture magical musical moments for eternity.

Invest, trust, innovate, distance…repeat.