Finding your why

Several things have occurred recently that have led me to a similar set of thoughts.

Firstly, I bumped into a parent at Cai’s school and we sat down together and talked. Craig Zablocki is a funny man and he makes his living public speaking and using improv techniques to “get in people’s faces; in a good way.” Basically he likes to make his audience think about actions they can start now to make a positive change in their life or work.

Our conversation covered similar territory to my intention with this blog. When I write here, I am often reflecting on what makes us the best we can be. The trouble is that many times I am uncomfortable because I understand optimal behavior academically, yet I am human and I do not always take my own advice. I feel as if I have been asleep for rather a long time and therefore recognize that perhaps I am more of a sham than a shaman when I ponder the words I type. This feeling of disconnect ultimately leads to procrastination on a large scale.

While Craig and I talked and laughed I realized that he was asking me to hold myself accountable to at least one immediate action that was going to change my path. This aligns with two other sources of thought that I am currently being accosted by. The first is a book by Simon Sinek titled “Start with Why“. Sinek’s thesis is a simple one. Good leaders and organizations stand out because they do something simple yet profound; before telling you what they do and how they do it they communicate why they do what they do. We buy into their belief. If the belief (why), the actions we take to realize the belief (how) and the result of the action (what) are in alignment then people see us as being authentic and naturally trust us. Elegantly spartan, Sinek campaigns for us to consider our belief and values first and make a clear statement of them before we start to think about how we are going to make them happen and finally the measures we will put in place to know we have achieved what we set out to do.

The final thought I wish to share is a four minute talk on ted.com by a volunteer fire fighter Mark Bezos. Mark recounts an amusing story of going into a building to rescue a pair of shoes. I will not spoil the ending for you, his pitch though is worth waiting for. Again it is simple; start doing small things today.

So what do I take from all of this? Well I agree with what Tony Robbins says in his TED lecture; we live in a therapy culture, one where most of us believe that all we are is our past. Biography equals destiny. He goes on to say that decision is the ultimate power. Well here is one of my decisions, it is a small action I can start today and one that helps me a great deal. I will commit to writing this blog once a week and I will use it to ruminate and create material that I can use while teaching.

What small action are you going to take which will positively shape yours or someone else’s future.

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Meet Charlie: Tools for climbing out of bad situations

This thought began due to a chance encounter with Charlie. I had not seen him for a while and I woke up to find him in bed with me. Should I explain yet?

Cai has been sick a lot this winter and we are currently living through the second bout of pneumonia. This has meant a lot of time in the house, sitting and not doing a lot; a recipe for disaster for an adult who missed being diagnosed with ADHD because it was not an available condition when he was growing up. We are also working hard to keep Cai entertained so my acquaintance with Charlie seemed like a good opportunity for a Facebook inclusion for his benefit.

Meet Charlie: every dad of young boys needs one – a farting, wise cracking, constantly laughing alter-ego.

Where is Charlie Dad? Can Charlie come to play? If only escaping grouchiness was so easy in other areas of life.

 

So where am I going with this?

Well Charlie has been the saving grace of my relationship with Cai on a few occasions. We are both mules and like things our own way and of course I pull the adult card and claim rank. When things have been tough between us it is nice to have a get out of jail free card. Charlie is that card, he does things that dad cannot or will not do. He is also very funny, when dad is just dad.

Kimberly bought Charlie so that Cai had a friend and proxy parent when I had to head to the UK alone one Christmas. What started as a Wil replacement became something quite different. Charlie; the green alligator, becomes the person I want to be. You can imagine some of the situations. There are times when I come home frustrated after work; Charlie is my excuse to find a light heart, laughter and the focus and presence of a child. At other times Cai & I are in a Mexican standoff, both of us believing we are right and that the other needs to flex, Charlie is my way to stand down, bring laughter back into the situation and between the two us we are able to find a compromise. Basically, any time where there is a difference of opinion and an impasse Charlie is able to breathe fresh and vibrant air onto the situation. Through laughter the charge of a situation is removed, different solutions are offered up and good choices made.

Charlie laughs, it is his personality, his essence and when Charlie laughs Cai laughs. Charlie also farts a lot and Cai laughs even louder. When Cai laughs mom & dad end up laughing too. Charlie also presents a situation from the perspective of an amused observer, he is often pretty insightful and certainly speeds up dad’s processing of a situation. The thing is that Charlie is one of the few panaceas I have come across. He really is snake oil. As I think back I cannot remember a situation that he has failed to smooth over. The only thing is that I have to remember to locate and bring him out. This is why I was so happy to wake up with him the other morning.

Innuendo aside, how often do you open your eyes to see someone who makes you smile warmly. More to the point, how do I create other Charlies to help me with the rest of my life?

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