“Bob has clearly demonstrated to senior military officers the fundamental relationship between successful leaders and their ability to generate compelling stories and instrumental in identifying our communication weaknesses.”
Susan Higgins, Deputy Director Naval Post Graduate School
I resolved over New Years to go to at least one network meeting a week. This is more difficult than it sounds. I have a touch of Acrophobia.This makes me want to run away from densely packed rooms filled with people screaming to be heard. But I take my resolutions seriously.
The other night I went to a mixer sponsored by ideablob at a local bar. Ideablob is a site where entrepreneurs are encouraged and rewarded for coming up with great business ideas. The bar gleamed with hard and cool aluminum surfaces. The mirror polished floor glared out at me. Voices bounced off walls and floors to create a modern Tower of Babel. Bodies were so tightly packed and distorted it looked like they had been compressed by the oversized tire of a Texas u-haul.
At first I watched what was happening from the safety of the sidewalk. All I wanted to do was “Go Home” What finally helped me hold my ground and enter the fray was something I heard Ira Glass say. Ira is the creator of This American Life and is a national treasure, as far as storytelling is concerned. When Ira was beginning to write in journalism school his professor gave him the assignment of going to a local high school and interviewing “interesting students” Ira was perplexed and asked the professor how was he to find these students? His professor replied that he should go to the school cafeteria during lunch and simply watch and listen. Ira was instructed to ask himself “Who are the most vital people in this room?” “Where is the energy coming from?” Once Ira had determined who and what was vital he would go to those people and start asking questions. To his amazement he found that the more he got out of his head and paid attention the better his interviews.
I applied the wise professors advise to the bar situation and not only found interesting people to meet but turned a miserable situation into a blast.
Here are seven steps I use to prepare myself for networking events: * Before stepping into the room take three slow breaths from your abdomen * Feel the ground under your feet * Feel connected to the earth as you move thru the room * Let go of the voices of judgment in your head * Watch and listen to the whole room * Go to the area of greatest vitality * If you are feeling anxious, tired or unhappy repeat the steps again
This is the first thing I’ve seen or heard about the current meltdown that actually gave me an honest smile – Jon Stewart’s take down of Jim Crammer was more a knowing leer for me.
This is a good example of what Bob is talking about in his last post. A person telling their story – songs are quintessentially facts wrapped in emotion – and reaching out across the net to a larger community in order to effect change. Hope you like it. If so, pass it on. A good story is a terrible thing to waste.
Josh Tickell grew up in a place where you could fish in nearby streams and cool down in the bayou across a shady lane. This was a place of abundance and beauty where neighbors served up mouth watering stews from local waters, then laugh and say “We eat everything that don’t eat us first.”
Things began to change. Josh watched the streams turn to sledge and the clear waters became so poisonous that most of the fish died and the ones that survived were too toxic to eat. The air turned the color of tar and stunk. Everybody got headaches and some become sick and a few died. Everyone knew what was going on. The government did nothing more than put up a few signs warning not to fish or “Water unfit for swimming.” Oil refineries had come to Louisiana and Big Oil money kept politicians wealthy and silent.
These events deeply angered Josh who made a terrific film called Fuel. His anger motivated him to find alternatives to Big Oil. He spent his life documenting the rise of bio-fuels like corn, algae, solar, wind and ocean currents. He bought an old van and installed a diesel engine and fueled it with used vegetable oil he recovered from fast food restaurants. He drove across the country spreading the word about a cleaner way to power up.
What’s most gripping about Fuel is watching Josh change. Anger is a powerful motivator. It moved Josh to take action against Big Oil. Anger can also fuel wars. Bush/Cheney were able to harness the anger over 911 and use it to convince American’s to attack Iraq even though Iraq was not involved in 911. Sustained anger has a price. It causes burn out, apathy and depression. So Josh changed his strategy. “I stopped fighting from anger and I started looking for partners.” Maybe that’s what we all need to do. Share our personal story of hurt, betrayal, and rage. Next reach out beyond our hurt and connect with a community of partners and take action.
For at least the last 20 years we have all been living in a
giant ponzi scheme and our greed has devoured our ability to see the
consequences of our insatiable appetites for more stuff. Now we are paying the
Under this enormous sense of loss come feelings of fear and betrayal. We
are hyped up to find the culprit who brought us to our knees. We point in every
direction away from ourselves to find a scapegoat.
Maybe the time has come to ask “how can I be more real?”
rather than asking “what’s in it for me?” Now is the time to shift our thinking and inquire in these areas:
is all this frantic consumption and blame keeping me from seeing about
uncomfortable thoughts and feelings are trying to arise such as fear,
guilt and shame and how am I not letting them be heard by stuffing them
can I get real and share what I am feeling openly with a community of
people who want to pull together and not pull apart?
Master of the Universe life is over. I have been seen as the emperor with
no clothes and instead of running into my silo and hiding I can take a
breathe and ask how can I become more real, more authentic and more useful
to my family, friends and colleagues?
There is a little piece of Bernie inside each of us.As long as we act entitled and imperious,
that little piece of Bernie will grow into more self-delusion.We will perpetuate our fraud. When we have
the courage to stop and look at ourselves in the mirror we have the opportunity
to learn and change.