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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Corral the Wild Horses of Your Beautiful Mind

Un-Game Principle: Observation of our thinking is the corner stone of our ability to be effective in the changing face of change.

14-05-13 Corral the Wild Horses of Your Beautiful MindNo one argues with the assertion “The world has changed profoundly.” And change is faster and more unpredictable than ever before. A lot of clumsy, fear-driven responses to change abound, not the least of which are entrenched, calcified attitudes and closed minds that, in Einstein’s words, “can’t solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Closed, fearful minds, unaware of themselves, “run wild” and cause havoc, for the self, in relationships, families, community, national political discourse, and in the spreading global unrest that threatens us almost everywhere.

We are embattled. Americans, quick to act, may be uncomfortable with the notion ‘We have to evolve in how we think.’ Nevertheless…

To evolve in how we think, we must first become aware of how we’re thinking now. We have to find a way to know what we don’t yet know about our thinking. To accomplish that I’m suggesting “corralling the wild horses of the mind”, a term coined by Dr. Maria Nemeth, the founder of a fine coach training program. Corralling the mind in a nice spacious enclosure allows us to give the mind room it needs while at the same time establishing the possibility of observing and calming it. I call this process ‘mind-zengineering.’ An agitated mind is one that’s disabled. In terms of the brain, what has taken place is an amygdala hijack. When in that state, we are literally out of our mind (our prefrontal cortex is batting zero) and into our most ancient emotions poised for survival (amygdala is batting a thousand!).

Would it be all right with you if life were easier?

We see the mess we collectively make everywhere. Simply look at how Congress who represents us (really?) is chipping away at the dignity of the Institution.

So how do we get back into our mind so that we can observe it? The easiest may be to engage a coach. However, there is much you can accomplish by yourself when you’re able to make some distinctions.

First distinction: Are you willing? Are you willing to take a step back to observe, even when perhaps you don’t want to, think you have no time, don’t know how, etc.? Being willing is powerful. It signifies that you’re choosing, for the moment, a strong commitment over your feelings.

Second distinction: Do you have a framework for observing your mind? Questions to engage in are a good framework. You eventually live into the answers. Good questions are worth engaging in.

Here are three questions you can ask about how you think that can open up a world of new possibilities for observing your mind. Observation is powerful. Rather than following the—oh so American dictate “Don’t just sit there, do something.”—I’m suggesting “Don’t just do something, sit there.” Observation all by itself may be curative and get you back into your ‘right’ mind.

Question 1: Where do I play the short game of life? How? For example, in business, am I concerned mostly for next quarter’s numbers? When hearing the news of a disaster, do I focus only on the immediate disaster? In personal relationships, do I consider it extremely worrisome if my child gets a C for a grade? Do I look at the shape the world is in and just want to give up?

Many times it’s fine to play the short game. Often it’s dangerous. If you notice that it overwhelms you, makes you feel resigned, depressed, or controlling, ask yourself “Is there another way I can look at this?”

What if we did this in our family, our teams, and our institutions?

Question 2: Where do I play the long game of life? How? Or do I? For example, in business, am I looking at more than profits as a legitimate bottom line? Some businesses are seriously creating their business model on the triple bottom line (People, planet, profit). When hearing of yet another disaster, am I considering the possibility that this may be the pivotal event that changes our nation’s priorities? Do I look at my child’s grades as an opportunity to learn what excites and motivates him or her? Or use it, not as a lecture, but as an exploration of and a validation for where s/he has demonstrated perseverance and self-discipline? Do I look at the shape of the world and am I able to stay engaged and in the possibility that ‘Breakthrough is preceded by breakdown.’?

What if we did this in our family, our teams, and our institutions?

Question 3: Where do I play the infinite game of life? How? Or do I? It becomes challenging to give an example of playing at this level, but one can describe some of what we might see. People who are able to play the infinite game of life know deeply that life is a mystery; it cannot be controlled, that is, life is chaotic; things are impermanent and unpredictable no matter how much we long to pretend it’s not. Those people are curious. They assume they know very little. They are guided by values that respect all life. They are able to act in accordance with making a contribution to the greater good. They stand up for what they believe in without demonizing those who don’t believe as they do. They are focused on what matters to them. They are not discouraged by that which would routinely discourage a short-game player. They do what they do because it’s right, and while they would celebrate a desired result, their energy and actions are independent of the result. People who play the infinite game are energized, experience commitment, joy, make a difference and are eagerly watched by short and long-game players. We want that “je ne sais quoi” that they have.

It’s a human tendency to look for answers outside of ourselves. Americans are action-oriented and quick to say “We have to do something” without reflecting on our greatest impediment and our greatest gift: our beautiful, wild mind. People who are competent in life’s three games—the short, the long, and the infinite—will likely achieve the level of thinking Einstein was talking about and which we now so urgently need. Corral your wild, beautiful mind and let the observation begin! This change is both urgent and important!

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, Coach and author of The Un-Game , Four-Play to Business as Unusual, a show, not tell tool for coaches, managers, and “will do” teams, 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.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine andwww.facebook.com/coachmartine