The Wall

A wall is a door. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most powerful experience-based initiatives in my toolbox is the Group Wall. Its a good initiative to do with groups when they have reached a plateau of either thinking “we’re good,” when egos are still at play or the group is still not collaborating well. Done well, it demonstrates the need for humility, understanding, communication, critical thinking, patience and ultimately, the need for one another.

“If you hit a wall, climb over it, crawl under it, or dance on top of it.” – Unknown

The challenge is to get everyone over the wall safely before the tsunami arrives! Spotting is paramount! You have to give support to get support. A key to success is begin with the end in mind. In other words, there will be one person left who needs to come over the wall and the way the group approaches getting the final person over will have to be different than the first person over!

What gets you to the dance doesn’t keep you at the dance. – Unknown

Usually the debrief is powerful. We discuss the assumptions approaching the wall, including the negative thinking as in “there is no way we are going to open this door!” We discuss the experience – what was working and what was not working. We talk about what was learned and how what was learned could be applied back in the work setting. I like to ask three questions; How is the wall a door? How is the wall an opportunity? Explain how this wall you just faced could be your door to a better future?

I’d appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this initiative with POTUS and Congress. I believe we could move the conversation to getting everyone on board with a compromise that works and gets government back to work. Perhaps it would change the conversation from wall building to bridge building?!

We build too many walls and not enough bridges. – Sir Issac Newton



Got New Year Resolution(s) for 2019?

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. While my intentions may be good, I find that if the resolution is not specific, clear, focused, relevant and has a deadline for achievement, it is not going to happen. In other words, making New Year’s solutions is like bacon and eggs. I have found I make resolutions from the position of the chicken, involved, and not the pig, committed. I know that I need to shed about 15 pounds (drink less beer!), that I need to unplug from screens more (set timers, stay off screens one day a week and perhaps go on a week long retreat minus screens!) and increase my education by auditing a college course or two.

The last several years, I have been picking a word or letting a word pick me for focus and guidance. I find THE WORD for the year helps me to connect with my purpose, especially in how I wish to be experienced. THE WORD touches my mental – as in how can I grow; my physical – as in how can I take better care of myself; my emotional as in how can I be more relational with others; and spiritual as in how can I have a better affair of the heart and soul. THE WORD guides me in my work, in my relationships, my well-being and getting out my comfort zone. Bottom line, it helps me to seize the day!

THE WORD that has my attention for 2019 is community. Community is the capacity to give one’s self away for the sake of the other. As I have gotten more involved in the work of inclusion and equity and how this intersects white privilege and white supremacy, being in community is generous connectedness to others. Community asks to transcend differences and be generous to others. If we continue acting without creating community and not being merciful to one another, I believe we’ll continue this hell on earth. I believe to live into community will cause me to more attentive to others rather than myself. Who knows, perhaps my joy will move to a higher level. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you updated on how community impacts me in 2019.

How about you? What word is reaching out to you in 2019?