Thursday, August 26, 2010

Authentic Inspiration: Who's Your Maita Vende Ca?

Imagine 1999

Not sure what you were doing, but I was a single gal contemplating a move to Spain. I'd traveled there two times in the previous two years and was convinced a future awaited me there.

It was on my final trip before deciding to move that I bought the above CD - "No Hay Luz Sin Dia" ( There is no light without day/morning) by Maita Vende Ca.

The title song was the hottest song in all of Spain that winter. You could not go anywhere without hearing it. I fell in love with the entire album immediately.

Lately, I've been experiencing some minor setbacks and as a result have lost some momentum on several fronts that I was flying on earlier this summer before my injury.

Nothing that a few hours of Maita Vende Ca can't solve.

You see, for me, Maita Vende Ca represents hope, adventure and tremendous courage. Why? Because at the time I met this music group, I needed all those things to pack up my comfortable life working for the Chicago Fire Major League Soccer team and living in Oak Park to go to Spain.

Whenever I doubted my vision or my direction - I'd fire up Maita Vende Ca and all was well. My heart rate is accelerated and my mind opens up to do what I need to do to arrive wherever I needed to go. That strategy has served me over and over thru the years.

Guess what is newly cued up on the iPhone? Un Punao de Exitos de Maita Vende Ca!

What about you? What do you do to fire yourself up when you need it most?
Take a listen to my favorite song

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fight, Flee or Stand in Troubled Times

Wouldn't it be great if all "trouble" in our lives arrived dressed in this t-shirt?

You'd be forewarned.

You'd see it coming.

You could run the other way.

You could size it up upon its approach.

 Alas, it does not.

In fact, most "trouble" is not all that obvious at a glance.

Some "trouble" slowly creeps in and stakes a campground where and when we least expect it.

Other "trouble" comes in like a tsunami leaving many things destroyed in its wake.

The question is how do you deal with "trouble"?

Do you ignore it until you no longer can? or  Do you run at it, full speed?

"Trouble" in life is guaranteed, moving forward through it is optional.

When faced with trouble, I don't fight or flee. I hold my ground.

I've been plagued lately with physical trouble and the residual inability to do all I'd intended in the last 5 weeks. It stinks. There are moments when I just want to weep or scream at the top of my lungs. And I've done both (many times) and felt better when I finished.

That's how I've been dealing with my trouble.

I am allowing it its season. I am not fighting it. Nor cheating it.

I am living it and embracing the stretches it's providing to muscles (the irony) I rarely use.

I am also planning and strengthening so I can prevent this specific "trouble" again.

I am determined to be better and stronger when this trouble passes.

How about you?

What do you do with "trouble" in your life?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Relationships Matter Now

Last week, I attended the Global Leadership Summit hosted by the Willowcreek Association (WCA). Almost 7 days later,  I am still processing all I learned.

Thanks to WCA and you can find summaries at this link.

While all the talks were fantastic,  my personal favorites (with the leaders) were:

Opening Session - "Leaders move people from HERE to THERE" - Bill Hybels
"The Upside of Tension" - Andy Stanley
"What Motivates Us: Not What You Think" - Daniel Pink
The Leader to Leader Video Interview with Jack Welch

Please go check out the summaries to see why.

However, I came away with much more than inspiration, hope and fuel for my leadership (and entrepreneurial) engine. I came away CONVINCED that my path, my life's work, Relationships Matter Now will be a key ingredient to progress on our planet.

3 reasons.

1. Anything good in life start's with a conversation - Daniel Pink

The backbone of the Relationships Matter Now movement is leading the conversation on strengthening relationships. Every day, on our Facebook page, my Twitter stream and soon, on our website - we are talking with folks about how to better their relationships.

2. Every speaker, which included Super Bowl Winning Coach Tony Dungy and dynamite Australian evangelist and fighter of global human trafficking Christine Caine, mentioned relationships in their talks. Some multiple times.

Relationships are critical to anything we want to accomplish in life. Be it as light as to win a championship game or deeply moving as stop human trafficking - we must build and grow our relationships to progress on our planet.

3. The "someone" is me and the time is now.

Will you join me?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

3 E's Of A Great Brainstorm Session (Also Good For Relating With Others)

In prepping for a quick coaching session for a friend on how to lead a great brainstorm session, it occurred to me that the same "ingredients" for a great brainstorm are also good to pour into our everyday relationships.

1. Enthusiasm

You must feel the topic and transfer that feeling to the participants. The feelings must be positive and strong. For a brainstorm, it's easy - you're usually assembled for a specific time and topic. In a relationship - be it a work or personal one - you have to work to stay inspired and keep your enthusiasm real. One way I do this in my relationship with my kids is to daily think of 3 ways to encourage each of them and positively reinforce them in their areas of enthusiasm (ie. both kids play instruments so I ask to hear the latest song they are working on).

2. Energy

Keeping a high level of positive energy is critical in drawing the best ideas out of others. Smiling. Being silly and pouncing on every positive vibe keeps a good brainstorm session flowing. Clearly, there are moments of negative energy but the key is to keep them at a minimum - acknowledge and live them but  do not allow them momentum of any kind. Our relationships are no different. In fact, I would say that energy is great indicator of the overall health of a relationship. My best advice for keeping positive energy flowing in relationships is to adopt "an attitude of gratitude." Think of why you are grateful for the people you choose to do life with. Can't find any positive energy? Then it's time to move on.

3. Expression

Every participant in a brainstorm session "brings something to the party." The key is getting them to express it to the group. An experienced brainstorm leader knows that this requires super hero-like expression skills to draw each individual into the conversation. Lots of reading non-verbal cues. The confidence to let the room go silent to get participation without losing everyone in the process. Again, not unlike relating to others in our life. We must encourage authentic expression, without judgement.
Some times we must forgo our "right to express" in the best interests keeping lines of communication open for all.

It's amazing how taking the time to dissect these for my brainstorm coaching session was a sweet reminder of three excellent areas that contribute to helping us relate better with others.

Can you add more E's to this list?