I’ve recently been reflecting on the Lesley University Sonnebend Fellowship Lecture that I attended earlier this year. The guest lecturer was Dr. Daniel Goleman. For those of you not familiar with Dr. Goleman, he is a prolific author whose book Emotional Intelligence was labeled one of the top twenty-five influential business books by Time Magazine.
While Dr. Goleman covered a great deal of ground in his brief lecture, I’d like to focus the attention of this blog on focus. Throughout Goleman’s remarks he shared multiple stories that had us reground ourselves in the present.
One example he called upon was a parable where a Native American elder is speaking to his grandson and says, “I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One is anger and the other love.” The child asks, “Which will win?” To which the elder says, “Whichever one I feed.” A comment that Goleman made to support this story summed it up wonderfully, “The world is full of everyday acts of kindness, it’s just not news.” So much of our world has been focused on what’s wrong, what’s broken, what’s not working and, the more we pay attention to those issues, the more of them we will see. Conversely, when we actively look for, and contribute to, acts of kindness (large or small), the more our perspective will change. I’m not talking about putting on rose-colored glasses or pretending that issues don’t exist, rather I’m suggesting that we each find ways to become part of the solution.
This time of year is naturally one where individuals, and organizations, re-focus their attention. This may be driven by New Year’s resolutions or the fiscal calendar; the reason is less relevant. The opportunity here lies in where we focus that attention. As I mentioned in the Talking Business Advice Series, reflecting on what went well – what we’d like to see more of – opens up thinking and creates possibilities; whereas, reflecting on what went wrong – what we’d like to avoid repeating – narrows thinking and creates a defensive posture. Since I offered organizational examples in that piece, I’ll offer an individual example here. In fact, I’ll offer a personal example. As the director of the center, one of my goals in building the brand of the center is to publish. Last year, I did meet the established goal for manuscript publications, but was inconsistent with other writing vehicles (such as blogs). I could spend my time focusing on why not, but a far more productive exercise is to ask myself what I learned, what worked, and what can be leveraged to increase success this year.
And, with that, I’d like to invite you to this process. What have you liked about these blogs? What would you like to see more of? What other topics have these blogs made you think of?
Most importantly, which wolf will you feed in 2016?