Monday, January 18, 2010

New Beginnings!

Kasim Reed, newly elected Mayor of Atlanta, GA giving his inaugural address at the Civic Center on January 4, 2010. This was the last stop I had before I headed to the airport to return to Chicago, IL. I wanted to be present on that historic day. I trust that his tenure will be a blessing to the citizens of Atlanta and for him.

Kasim Reed being sworn in by Justice Carol W. Hunstein, Georgia Supreme Court. His parents appear at his right with their hands also on the same Bible that Kasim has his hand on. I love the symbolism.

Dare to Claim the Sky! - Maya Angelou - Her words say it all!

New Beginnings
A new year always gives me such motivation to begin anew, new projects and new ways of thinking and being. Sometimes it is the small things that get us ready for the bigger things. Already I have organized my apartment by putting up venetian blinds and curtains in my bedroom and the office. I have organized a cork board for my earrings. I have replaced my broken watch and begun to repair my scratched CDs with a gel designed for this purpose (it actually works!). I have purchased a couple of photo albums to hold photos that I need to return to their owners along with apologies.

Probably the biggest initiatives I have undertaken are: counseling, voice lessons, singing lessons and joining the gym. All of these efforts reflect my commitment to self care. I have no concern that I will drop these endeavors because with the exception of the singing lessons which I have not begun, all the others are well under way. The sense of exhileration I feel escalates my sense of well being. I am grateful for small things. So while I have not been elected Mayor as Kasim Reed recently was I am off to a wonderful beginning for 2010.

Yet, some individuals have difficulty making a difference in their own lives, let alone in the larger world. Sometimes the problem is figuring out how to make the difference stick. I have included excerpts from a book that I would like to pass on. I am usually very good about sources but I do not seem to have the authors name or the name of the book. If anyone is familiar with this information please send it in to me. I highlight the author's work with with minor edits from me on ways to approach decision making in your life:

Raise Your Awareness
- Mistakes have to be: common, identifiable, preventable. We have to develop the ability to recognize poor thinking and second rate decision making in ourselves and in others. Incomplete information and a lot of uncertainty leads to poor outcomes. How many times do we have to go down the same path before we finally realize the outcome is always the same?

Put Yourself in the Shoes of Others - Successful leaders are empathetic! Kasim Reed did not get where he is by being a poor listerner and leader. By putting yourself in the shoes of others, not only will you develop the ability to empathize but you will become more aware of decision making processes employed by individuals that you can add to your repertoire. The very act of emphathy allows you to pay more attention and extend caring behavior to others which allows individuals the ability to open up, thus providing insights for you. It is a win win situation. It will also allow you to live more deeply in your own life by having developing a greater appreciation of others and their struggles.

Recognize the Role of Skill and Luck - Skill is the only part of the equation that a person can control. Luck is outside of our control. Know the difference!

Get Feed Back - Timely, accurate and clear feedback is helpful to ones growth. Start a decision making journal whenever you make an important decision, write it down and how you came to that decision and what you want to happen. Note how you feel physically and mentally. The journal allows you to audit your decisions. It allows you to see patterns. The helpful patterns you will want to continue. Those that are not productive you may want to get rid of.

Create a Checklist -Errors are often the result of neglecting a step, not from executing the other steps poorly. For example, rates of death dropped by half when doctors used checklists.

Perform a Premortem - A premorten is an analysis of a decision after the outcome is known. You assume you are in the future and the decision you made failed. You then provide plausible reasons for that failure. You try to identify why your decision might lead to a poor outcome before you make the decision. Research shows premortems help people identify a greater number of potential problems than other techniques and encourage more open exchange.

Know What You Can't Know - In decisions that involve systems with many interacting parts, causal links are frequently unclear. That is, we cannot always discern what the outcome of a particular decision is until we begin to put it into motion. Do you have an exit strategy that allows you to correct the decision or do damage control?

Blessings! Rev. Q.

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