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Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Child is the Father of the Man: Reflections on Setting Up Conversations That Matter

Un-Game Principle:  The very moment we see that which has been indistinct for us… is pregnant with the power to transform our life right then and there…forever.

My grandson, Ian, is practicing to be an adult, and as expected, he’s a bit uneven. He thinks he’s too old for some things but seeks refuge when adult behaviors are uncomfortable.  I texted a request to him recently. No response. I resent it. Still no response. Wait a minute. Has that happened to you with an adult? Have you ever done it yourself? I can say “yes” on both accounts. So what’s going on here that’s worth talking about?

I imagine saying to Ian: “When I was in high school, we read a poem by William Wordsworth. There was a line I just didn’t understand, and it drove me nuts. No matter how the teacher explained it, I wasn’t getting it. The line was ‘The child is the father of the man’. Impossible, right?” In my mind’s eye I see him nodding.  He understands something about that. He’s just now beginning to try out abstract thinking.

As a metaphor for life, “The child is the father of the man” could mean “How we are today creates how we are tomorrow.” Maybe I didn’t understand Wordsworth’s line in high school because even then I strenuously objected to the assertion that the past HAS to create the future. But don’t many people, accept that as truth rather than as a belief that can be explored and exploded? And if that’s your unexamined belief, then “The child is the father of the man” becomes truth for you.

 I fantasize telling my earnest grandson: “Ian, what we practice becomes our practice! No response IS a response.  Ignoring another’s request when it’s uncomfortable or inconvenient becomes the practice once we do it often enough.  Are you curious about having more than just this one option?”

Ian might say “No,’ I’m not curious, Omi (that’s German for Grandma), and I won’t fall into the trap of telling him, “Well, you should be.” He’ll probably be curious later if my meta-message is “It’s up to you whether you want to have more choices…and thereby more power.”

Employees, colleagues, someone you report to, and even someone at home may not want to engage in a conversation that could challenge their closely-held beliefs either.  However, when you respectfully and age-appropriately ask them to engage with you around an issue that concerns YOU…who are a fabulous asset to your organization…most will say yes. So you set up your meeting for your hoped-for course-correction conversation.

A course-correction conversation is a potentially life-changing opportunity and a point of power for all involved.

  1.  You empower the other to become conscious of what they have previously seen as unassailable truth. And …
  2. If you stay open, receptive, and flexible, you might even be willing to look at and examine your own closely-held beliefs, opinions, and conclusions.

Yes. I will have a conversation with my grandson to offer him a course correction. “If the child is the father of the man,” then let’s let the “child” be the practices we establish that support us in becoming effective, powerful, adult communicators. In my next blog, we’ll look at a distinction whose mastery sets up a course- correction conversation that enriches your relationship and supports a successful outcome.  I welcome your comments and questions.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.ingridmartinelifecoaching.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.  .

 

Barnes & Noble Book Signing Attracts More Than 40!

A seasoned educator and corporate coach, Ingrid Martine of Bosque County has recently released her new book, The Un-Game:  Four-play to Business as UN-usualThe Un-Game:  Four-play to Business as UN-usual.    While the book targets corporate managers, it has tools for everyone to unchain the brain, dispose of mind-clutter, challenge conventional wisdom with innovative approaches to solving problems, tap not sap energy reserves, etc.     Martine’s study of how we learn led her to structure the book in a fiction format to make the message not only more readable but more memorable.  Each chapter ends with questions designed for the reader to focus in on the lessons learned by the protagonist.    A recent book-signing event at Barnes & Noble in Waco turned out over 40 readers, many from Clifton and the surrounding area.  For more information see http://www.ungamebook.com/.

Information-Bloated, Wisdom-Starved (Part 3)

The second thing you can do to practice self-observation may look on first blush as if it has nothing to do with  an experience of information glut or the scarcity of time. I wish I could take credit for this brilliant exercise , but I heard it from my coach first and then from some Unity Church congregants next. Take on the project of giving up complaints for 21 consecutive days! Put a reminder wrist band on one wrist. Notice how well you do. If you slip, no problem. Just put the wristband on the other wrist and start again.  See what you notice and what you learn. I’m doing this myself. So far so good, but I’m only on day one. It’s fascinating what I’m observing and learning.

A third thing you can do to hone your self-observation skills is to ask the powerful question “Who am I longing to be at this season of my life?” On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is most important), how important is it to you to be an effective manager? A visionary leader? A successful communicator? A loving family member or friend? A great mentor? A contributor to my community? A successful business owner? Entrepreneur?  Fill in the blank. Not who should I be?  No. Who I long to be! Not what do I long to do? But who am I longing to be? Be interested in your 4 and 5 scores.

When your daily activities are a demonstration of the purposes that give your life meaning, they warm your heart and nourish your spirit. You create goals that are a demonstration of those purposes. Hard work is not struggle. You effortlessly make the next play on goal. Your activities give you energy; they don’t waste it. You act in harmony with your natural wisdom which tells you you’re making the unique contribution that’s yours to make now. You might find different purposes important to you a year from now. This is just for now. Be here now.

Would it be useful to be curious about the purposes that give your life meaning now? You can’t find out by problem-solving. Nor can you find it out as a “once and for all” answer to a question asked just once. Keep asking the same question and listen to your heart’s longing. Listen  to that small, still voice of wisdom that ventures out and becomes stronger when you decide that inquiring may yield information that’s worth having and gives you the means to discard information that blinds you from seeing what really matters to you. Inquiry will lead you to what you need. Perhaps you need support in setting goals that are a demonstration of one or more of your longings. Perhaps you’re excited about ways to demonstrate your intentions, and you just need some encouragement. Whatever comes out of your inquiry, you will have supported your quest to act on behalf of what truly matters to you. May wisdom grow within you one observation at a time. And may you enjoy the experience of sufficient time.

I’d love to hear what you’re learning about yourself that makes you a better self-observer. I hear that it takes the average participant 7 months before they can go 21 days without complaining. What about you? And what are you learning about yourself and what you find valuable to spend your time on? Is self-observation a practice worthy of your time and attention? Are you gaining wisdom? In what way does that help you make the contribution you’re here to make?

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.ingridmartinelifecoaching.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.  .