Saturday, October 11, 2008


I had a thought this morning as I reflected on an electronic conversation I had yesterday. As I sat working in Cody on our Body of Evidence document, I noticed it was snowing outside. I texted this back to Guernsey to find out it was sunny there. For some reason, it made me think of how perceptions can differ greatly in the same situation. Now, I realize we were in two widely separated geographic areas, but for some reason the analogy was there.

The stock market "corrections" is another example of how a persons' perception of things can determine how they feel about situations. One could look at the falling prices as an opportunity to invest in solid companies with good fundamentals at a time when emotion is overtaking the market. On the other hand, losing 40% (or more) of one's net worth may cause some to feel panic or confusion about what to do. I do understand as well that a person's situation will have a bearing on perception because someone who is relying on their savings and investments to live out retirement is in a different place than someone just starting out in their career. However, our perceptions will still determine whether we look at the glass as half full or half empty.

We do have a choice in such matters, and I believe we should exercise that choice in a positive manner. It reminds me of the elderly gentleman who was moving to an assisted living facility when asked how he thought he might like his room. "I love it," he said, without having seen it yet. Wake up every day with a similar thought - "it's a great day" (notice I didn't say "it 'will' be a great day") and the day and all that goes into it, will indeed be great.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Personal or Professional

A comment in the last post asked the question about personal vs. professional growth. As I thought about the question, I found myself thinking along two different lines. Reflection is so important for growth and I don't think most of us do enough of it.

The one avenue of thought I had was comparing personal and professional growth. I don't believe there is much of a difference. If it is true growth, I don't think there is. One might argue that a person could grow professionally and not personally, but to truly grow, there is only one way, and that is personally. Along those same lines, I don't think a person can help an organization grow if that person don't grow in some respect him or herself. This is how organizations can become stuck in the status quo. To me, it is similar to Einstein's comment about not being able to solve a problem "with the same mind that created it." If, as a leader, I don't grow (change) in some aspect, I don't think I can create the environment for growth or change in the organization.

My second line of thought had to do with perceptions. Our world is shaped by our perceptions. We see the world as we want and make judgments about what is happening around us based on that. I am reminded of the story of a man getting cut off in traffic who becomes irate and cusses and gestures at the person in the vehicle. Would his reaction have been the same had he known it was a family member rushing to the hospital? Would his perception of the situation change his reaction? More thoughts on that later.