People are basically good. Sure, there’s a few exceptions. Though I find that as we sit with our news feed and the dramatic headlines that cause near daily indigestion, it’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come. Let me give an example.
Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a retreat for a city council in a neighboring state. The council has a few newly elected members who are inexperienced, youthful, and excited for change. Their very presence represented a challenge to the status quo. Coupled with that, all council members are under pressure to vote in ways that represent the citizens who elected them. As we are all aware, we are living through what is perhaps one of the most politically polarized chapters in US history.
For this particular group of elected officials, the stakes are high, the pressure is real, and the different perspectives that each of them have offer plenty of room for personalities to clash. My job was to bring them to the table to discuss their difference in opinions and explore ways they could overcome those differences to make the best possible decisions on behalf of their citizens.
I found myself as a facilitator needing to set aside my own political ideals and simply focus on the person, not the politics. I am grateful that the very process forced me to find the good in each member of that group, and to help them focus on the same. They agreed that unity did not need to mean uniformity, and that differences can be discussed with dignity. It was awe-inspiring to watch the divisions melt away in a spirit of shared purpose.
The whole process was extremely successful and I am confident in this group’s ability to accomplish great things. I left that meeting with a deep sense of inspiration, based on this single thought: people are basically good. We all have hopes and dreams, fears and regrets, and long to share a sense of love with our friends and families. At the end of the day, we have more to celebrate than we do to simply ‘tolerate’.
Last night my son and I had great fun carving a pumpkin. He asked why do we carve jack-o-lanterns, what does it mean? A fan of transparency, I told him I did not know. Thus we began to consider, what is this tradition about?
Google returns many prevailing myths about the origin of the modern day jack-o-lantern. While all of them have their persuasive elements, none are so compelling as the symbol we considered of the lighted candle within the carved pumpkin. We like it because it is the most TRP explanation, of course.
No smile is complete without the fire from within. Once the fire is lit, the smile is radiant. Whether the fire is the passion of the artist whose brush strokes add the color to life, the leader who inspires her followers, or the homemaker who creates harmony for a family – no smile is complete without that fire.
So, go set the world a-fire. So to speak. Happy Halloween!
*This was originally written in October 2013. Seemed worth reposting in October 2020: a good time to revitalize that fire from within!
I have been energized and inspired to talk about MINDSET with some good friends in the last few weeks. As a society, we are definitely charting new courses and learning a lot as we go. That can be intimidating and scary at times. It doesn't have to be a bad thing though. Some of my recent conversations have given me the privilege of hearing a FRESH PERSPECTIVE. All three of these conversations feature the wisdom from TRP trainers whom I'm proud to call friends.
Long-time TRP trainer Linda Strauss talked with me about how she has "gotten out of her own way" and shared the secrets to not taking things personally when it comes to raising teens!
Rock-star TRP trainer Christopher Wilson from upstate NY was very candid about the challenges he's faced in light of COVID and what he's learned to do for his own mental health and wellness. I so appreciate Christopher's vulnerability and his openness. Listen to our conversation and you'll appreciate it too.
Finally, our friend Raq (Raquel) has a powerful tale to tell from an unexpected fork in the road which she celebrates from one year ago today. You cannot, NOT be inspired by Raquel! Oh and by the way, Raquel has been teaching TRP virtually for about 7 years now so if you need virtual teaching tips, be sure to watch that episode too!
I hope these conversations encourage you and that you find the perspective as helpful as I have. Special thanks to those featured in these videos and to all those lined up to record more videos with me. We all need to hear the good news so please do continue sharing it with us!
Just last month we launched our first ever train-the-trainer without physically being together. It's Summer 2020 and I don't know anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time in
a Zoom meeting these days. From elementary school kids to grandparents, we’re all doing it. But just because we “have to” meet online doesn't mean it has to be boring, right?
Years of experience facilitating meetings, recording videos, and teaching webinars prepared our team perfectly for this challenge. In fact, we were early adopters! Adobe was so impressed with how we used their Adobe Connect platform that they asked us to teach best practice webinars for their customers when they first rolled out the product. You’d think I was ready to go.
When it came to certifying trainers, in our three-day workshop, I was not a believer. In my head was:
“The certification is 3 days, that’s waaay too long for virtual!”
“How are we going to “recreate” the intimacy that our trainer certification programs are known for?”
TRP is not about a bunch of PowerPoint slides. It’s a training that requires the trainer in training to demonstrate proficiency in the TRP approach: the unshakable belief that life is about learning and growth, and the refusal to entertain a personal victim mentality. It’s about their willingness to live this philosophy. My team must evaluate the future trainers’ ability to be a practitioner of TRP: that is as important as teaching it.
After some weeks of deliberation and much encouragement from my team members to “go for it”, it was clear that the train had already left the station; virtual was not going away anytime soon. It was also clear that I was really getting in my own way. I had to get with the program. Recognizing this, I made up my mind and I declared out loud, “I commit to being enthusiastic about this!”
It turned out to be a near-flawless event. Better than I expected, and once I had committed to it, the creativity flowed in ways I had not experienced before. Our team worked together building on each other’s skills and ideas and shared in the delivery.
What did we learn, you ask? A bunch.
I suspect I’m not the only one who’s been hesitating, and I hope this encourages you. After all, I’m a believer now.
P.S. A good number of TRP trainers are now delivering TRP training virtually. If you’d like to discuss this further with us, let’s hop on a Zoom call and have a conversation.
Welcome to what might be the most unusual Spring we’ll ever have!
So many good things are emerging in the midst of a crisis that it seems worthwhile to point out a few. We’ve launched a series of webinars focused on applying TRP. The webinars feature a facilitated discussion that allows everyone to talk about what each of us is doing to stay optimistic. The sessions have been described as “therapeutic,” “inspiring,” and “just what I needed” by those who have attended! I hope you’ll join us on an upcoming session and spread the word to others. We also continue delivering TRP virtually and been having lots of fun with it. Find info on our webinars and virtual training here.
Christopher Wilson, a TRP trainer in New York, posted the following in our Facebook group. If you’re not a member of the group, send a request to join and we’d be glad to have you. This is one of the many uplifting posts that have been started and nurtured in that group. Enjoy the below and the #gratitudechallenge.
There are about 50 of us, at my agency, kicking off a week of focusing on gratitude… I thought I would share.
Here was today's challenge, for those of you who want to play along at home: There are many things in life that we take for granted. Simple things we don't notice until they are unavailable.
I never gave hot showers a second thought until I spent 15 months deployed in Iraq. Not a week that goes by that I don’t appreciate my ability to take one whenever I want.
Unique and challenging circumstances, such as the one our country faces today, allow us the opportunity to see our lives through a different lens, focusing on what really matters and being grateful for the things we have.
Take a moment today to identify one thing that you have taken for granted. How has your perspective changed over the last few weeks? What could you do moving forward to keep your gratitude at the forefront?
Finally, we would be GRATEFUL if you’d share your story with us. What are you grateful for right now? How are you paying it forward? Can we help? Stay in touch and stay well!
This post is inspired by the fans of the Carolina Panthers and tailored just for you! Luke Keuchly is a great linebacker. In seven NFL seasons for the Carolina Panthers, he demonstrated his athleticism and team spirit on the field year in and year out. His accomplishments are many and above all, his outstanding sportsmanship has earned him great respect and admiration by teammates and adversaries alike.
While not everyone is a fan of football, anyone can be a fan of good decisions. Deciding to let go of something we cherish can be hard, and many times life makes the choice for us. Consciously choosing our next step takes courage!
At 28 years old, Luke Keuchly is retiring (watch his heart-wide-open retirement statement here). He was a player so dedicated that he literally did little else other than prepare for games. Football has been his entire focus of his adult life to this point. And while leaving the game that he loves so dearly was the last thing that he wanted to do, he knew in his heart that it was the best thing he could do. Sometimes the mark of a good decision is that we’d rather keep doing what we want, and yet we change course to do what we know is best.
How does this apply to each of us? We all face Moments of Choice every day. Big life decisions are not every day, but deciding what to do with the precious minute in front of us can be a major choice too.
A friend, Lauren, relayed this story to me. She boarded the crowded train, as she does every weekday morning on her commute to work. She sat down in one of a few open seats, put her headphones on, and closed her eyes. One stop later she felt someone take the seat next to her, the last open seat. They were seated shoulder to shoulder. The woman next to her was crying. Not just crying, sobbing. As they rode on she could feel the woman’s body shaking against her. She felt annoyed, her quiet moments of relaxation before work were now spoiled. She tried to pull away but there was no room for personal space on the over-crowded train. Trapped with nowhere to go, she dreaded the long ride ahead.
Lauren reached into her purse and pulled out her pack of tissues. Taking her headphones off, she held out a fresh tissue to her neighbor and said, “Are you ok?”
That moment, more than a year ago, was an unplanned meeting between two strangers. Today, they are great friends because Lauren pulled out a tissue. They meet routinely for dinner and enjoy each other’s company. Lauren could have just as easily passed up that moment of choice. She could have stood in the aisle and put the headphones on, leaving that woman alone. But she didn’t. She harnessed the power of the Moment.
We never know what the next Moment of Choice will reveal to us. Be on the lookout for it and be ready to make the most of it!
We each have many strengths, some that are similar, some that are different. A well-cultivated strength on display is a thing of beauty. Like Simone Biles breaking world records this summer in her incredible gymnastics routines; there is nothing like it! Now imagine a strength or talent like that amplified through a co-creative process!
Co-Creation is the intersection of two or more talents. It can produce results that were previously unknowable. Co-Creation is something we actively seek at TRP, and when we can find it, the journey is unique, organic, and always powerful.
We’ve crafted a recipe – time tested and consistent! It has just three ingredients. Combining these ingredients in the right order can produce a result that will satisfy the heartiest appetite for quality! It starts with genuine interest, followed by truly listening, and then engaging. Repeat, repeat, repeat. We’ve been using this recipe again and again – it works every time.
Recently we delighted in the recognition that our friends at Liberty Resources received. It highlighted the co-creative project they undertook to transform their culture, with TRP as a partner. When Chris and Sarah traveled from New York to North Carolina last year, we began to learn about their goals and aspirations, and helped them learn the “recipe”. They were inspired and took action! Certifying them to teach TRP began their creative process of learning how the TRP training would empower their organization to stay positive, productive, and effective in ways that went beyond what they imagined possible. Read about their work and be inspired by what they are doing in their award-winning culture change initiative.
Chris and Sarah share a common interest – they love their workplace. They are genuinely interested in finding ways to leverage the talents and passions of others. They continually listen to their workforce and to their leadership while engaging in building the positive culture that was envisioned. We at TRP have been privileged to co-create with them during their journey over the last year. Their co-creative efforts are helping leaders provide the kind of example that others want to follow. This strengthens the organization and has a direct, positive impact on those they serve.
Meanwhile, here at home in North Carolina, Ann and Tracy at Forsyth Tech got co-creative with us in their Leadership Excellence Program. Check out the video of our co-creative process and share it!
Please share with us the results of your co-creative recipes! What will you create today?
It's been said that "minds work best when open." The same has also been said about parachutes. No one would attempt to use a parachute that wasn't fully open. Sadly, this is not always the case with our minds.
Many of us go through life with a mind closed off to certain possibilities. It takes courage to be open towards what we don't understand, or to listen to a point of view that is different from our own!
I recently visited a non-profit organization to learn about the services they offer the community. I will soon deliver training to them on resiliency and wanted to learn more about their work. This organization serves children with behavioral issues; they seek to help these children grow, and they partner with their families to empower the parents with needed skills. It is very meaningful work, and challenging at times for the staff. While visiting, I witnessed a young girl act out very aggressively towards one of the therapists. The therapist quietly removed the child from the group and began to address the behavior. It was so common an issue that the therapist had trained herself not to take the behavior personally! She simply moved right onto the solution, which in this case, was to lovingly give an appropriate consequence so the child could learn to change the behavior. It was deeply touching to observe this.
Afterwards I reflected on the symbol that the interaction seemed to represent. How quickly we can get caught up in a dead-end way of thinking when things do not go as we expect! If someone else disagrees with us and voices their opinion, it’s so easy to take it personally! What if we just didn’t give ourselves permission to take it personally? If that were not an option, we would move right onto solutions, and open our minds to new possibilities.
May this story inspire you on your journey. And as a bonus, enjoy this new video and the quick tip to staying open-minded (it's the first video on the page). Like the video? We’re putting new ones up every week. Visit our YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe!
The Black Eyed Peas new single Be Nice is an awesome song with the perfect TRP message. The catchy lyrics and steady beat will get you bobbin' your head and make you want to smile. So do yourself a favor and watch the new single in the video below, which is going viral fast! Then bookmark NBC's new television show, Songland and watch Season 1 Episode 2 featuring will.i.am to learn how Be Nice was created. The show is fantastic! It's the perfect blend of collaboration and creativity, all done in the spirit of paying it forward. Aspiring artists "pitch" a song they have written to award-winning producers + one special performing artist, for the chance to be featured as a new hit-single. To get into that hit-single spot though, the artist has to be open to feedback and willing to see that song - that beautiful work of art that the artist has poured their soul into - EVOLVE. It is a study in creativity and openness with layers of TRP lessons. In the meantime, enjoy Be Nice!
My friends and I enjoy a lot of the same music. We can listen to and love the same songs for the same reasons – we have this experience we share and understand, together. Now, try to explain that to someone who doesn’t like the same music. It’s almost impossible! And yet, we can appreciate that this other person may have a similar experience with their own favorite music.
Music is a metaphor for connection. A colleague told me a story from a recent trip that illustrates this.
Her family was vacationing in Florida over the Holidays. While the kids played, she slipped away to an outdoor pavilion for a little time alone. Quietly enjoying herself, she hardly noticed the clouds that had gathered until the skies opened with a sudden burst of rain. Vacation-goers scrambled to get under cover and her seating area quickly became crowded. Looking around, she was surrounded by people who looked nothing like her, people she would not ordinarily associate with. She noticed an elderly couple catching their breath and, as is typical of her character, she graciously got up and offered them her seat. She was thanked by them, as well as another couple who observed this kind act. Conversation followed, and the normal pleasantries were exchanged. A television in the background played national news and caught the attention of one of her new-found friends. The conversation suddenly turned to less-pleasant but ever-present topics we see on the news.
Our friend found herself aware that she had entered into a discussion with someone who didn’t just have a very different viewpoint from hers, but was deeply passionate about that viewpoint. In fact at several moments, she could have easily become offended by the colorful comments she heard. Instead, she chose to listen respectfully, seeking to understand. When the timing was right, she began to ask some thoughtful questions. Together, they discussed difficult issues, seeking to separate fact from fiction. They discussed news outlets and how each “side” is always influenced by its own agendas. It became the kind of conversation that leaves one thinking deeply about one’s own point of view from a bigger picture, and feeling as though you’ve been treated with respect because you chose to show respect.
As the conversation drew to a close our friend said, “My hope for 2019 is that we can all be more courageous. It is my sincere wish that each of us can ask questions that help us understand other points of view. If we only listen to what we want to hear, we will not know the other side of the story.”
She had built a bridge where one was needed. She did so not by seeking to change them, but to come together with each understanding the other a little better. While they may have been on different sheets of music, they found a connection between the notes, each enriched as a result.
She had enjoyed and learned from the encounter, so much so that she had to call me to relay this tale. And now, I’m passing it on to you. May we each be courageous enough to step out of our comfort zone and hear another other point of view. May we get to know our neighbors a little better in this New Year of Opportunity.
As president, Daniel leads the team at TRP Enterprises to help inspire and uplift through world-class training programs.