The Wisdom
Exchange

With Patrick Mosher

3 Steps to Retain Personal Power

Have you ever stressed out about what someone thinks about you?  Yep, I've done it too.

After my divorce, I all too often wondered what my ex-wife was telling my daughters about me.  Was she saying good things?  Disparaging things?  I wondered and worried.  It really ate me up inside.  I thought about being direct and asking her, but would she tell me the truth – especially if she was telling them icky stuff?  And I must admit, there was enough icky truths to tell them, too!  Should I ask my young daughters?  Aargh…this was SO frustrating!

We worry about what others think.  Every time you think about what another person is thinking, you give that person power over this moment in your life.   Is it worth your mindshare, your energy?  If it's not worth it, you leak energy and personal power!!  YIKES!

So how do you prevent leaking personal power?  I analyze these situations with three simple...

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Asking the Exact RIGHT Question

We traveled a long way to get here.  Delphi, Greece.  The place where Pythia, the Delphi Oracle, received pilgrims seeking answers to questions related to their most pressing issues.  Politicians, kings and philosophers traveled the arduous journey to the Delphi Oracle.  Why?  Because they believed she spoke Truth. 

What question would you ask, if you had complete faith the answer would be absolutely True?

I call this the Delphi Oracle Question (DOQ).  I use this metaphor in my events and programs.  When I prepare for big events or ceremonies, I brainstorm my DOQ.  Review and revise it.  Imagine if you could receive absolute Truth, wouldn't you hone that question to get it just right?  The process of honing my question is a habit and I'm amazed at how the question is always answered!  Perhaps not in the way or timing I expect, but always answered.

Well, here I was at the actual site of the Delphi Oracle!  Magnificent...

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Avoiding Failure

I was talking to a Senior at my alma mater, Purdue, recently.  He was graduating with a four-year graphic design degree.  Wow!  Think of the hard work.  The many classes.  Drawings.  Computer Programs.  Tests.  Projects.  4 years of hard work.

"What do you want to do when you graduate."

His answer surprised me.

"I'm not sure I'm qualified to take a full-time job so I'm thinking I'll take a part-time job to learn what I need to do a good job."

I looked at him.  Stunned.  Here's a young man who has worked hard for 4 years and doesn't have the confidence to put his hard work into practice.  I guess he's suffering from the "Not Good Enough" syndrome.  Ever caught that dis-ease?

I launched into my story from my Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering and how I had seen many failures along the way.  One particular one sticks with me today.  You see, I flunked second semester Organic Chemistry in my second...

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You Don't Like Me

I was working on a project in Canada.  My client counterpart was fabulous.  She knew her people.  She was incredibly supportive about the capability we were building in her organization and was overjoyed about the skills this initiative would build in her people. 

About six months into the project, our relationship began to erode.  She delegated important decisions to her direct reports.  She stopped showing up for meetings.  To keep the project rolling, I went around and above her to get decisions made.  And eventually, she avoided contact with me altogether.  I couldn't figure it out.  Things were getting ugly.

I went to the partner in charge of the project for advice. 

Virginia wasn't high on the EQ scale.  In fact, she bemoaned her lack of people skills.  Introvert and driven, she delivered hard messages somewhat …. Indelicately.

And yet, she gave me perhaps the BEST people advice I'd ever received in my...

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Organization Shaman

When I was a Chemical Engineering Coop student at Corning Glass Works, I was assigned to a project in Medford Massachusetts.  The problem:  micron-sized holes etched into teeny tiny beads were not uniform.  These beads hold substrate used to test blood for disease.  Don't sweat, I'm not going to talk about the science of Radio-Immuno Assays (RIA).

There was a man named Blackie.

I needed to test samples of glass pellets in a HUGE oven, an industrial sized oven.  The inside of the oven is probably the volume of your kitchen.  Yea, that's one BIG oven!  The only non-production oven that size was "on the hill" in our Research & Development Center.  The only way access that oven was to review your plans with…Blackie.

Blackie had a reputation.  He had been in the industry for over 20 years….or was it 200 years?  I can't remember.  Anyway, the guy was ancient to this 21 year-old.  If you didn't have your...

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Choosing Fear or Freedom

Have you ever woken up and remembered your dream?  I did this morning.  My dream was both unnerving and satisfying.  I don't remember a lot of the details and as the day unfolds, I'm forgetting more and more.  It's a fascinating journey to record your dreams.  You might want to keep a dream journal on your nightstand!

 In this dream, I was in prison.  I was talking to another inmate, consoling him.  I remember clearly that I woke up with a sense of serenity.  Almost happiness. 

 That's weird, right?

 My Dream Coach often said remembering your dreams is a gift from your subconsciousness to your consciousness.  We often remember images, but feelings are as important to remember from our dream as the images. 

 I could go all over the place with interpreting the prison part of my dream.  Feelings of overwhelm, stress, not living fully into my purpose, daily pressures I put on myself to get stuff done,...

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YOU are a Conduit for Wisdom

Paul's wife, Eva, called with bad news.  Her mother's health took a turn for the worse.  For the rest of the day, our conversation focused on family, parents, children and grandchildren.  We talked about our responsibilities as good sons, as good parents.  

My fondest memories of growing up in Chicago are watching Saturday night horse races with my grandmother and Aunt Marie.  Dad built onto our house so they could stay with us.  When my maternal grandmother, Mims, was ill, she stayed at our house in Cincinnati.  In both instances, I was too young to understand how my mom and dad felt about their parents staying with us.  One thing I know for sure, though, is that taking care of their parents was just what they did. 

Too often I hear stories about old folks being a burden on society.  When did we adopt a mindset that our parents are a burden?  Gee, when you were 2 years old, do you think you were a self-sufficient being? ...

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Cool Confidence

What happens next when something goes wrong in your organization?

Over my 30-year consulting career, I've seen PLENTY of miscues, difficulties, challenges and interruptions.  They aren't exceptions.  They are the RULE!

Leaders typically respond in one of two modes when things go awry: 

  • Shoot-from-the-Hip Action, firing at anything that stands
  • Cool Confidence, leading calmly through the fire

I'd like to think I've led my teams with that Cool Confidence, but you'd have to ask my teams to validate.  Certainly confidence comes from a leader's demeanor or mindset.  I could talk about meditation, confidence and leadership traits.  Instead, here is a pragmatic strategy to BUILD confidence BEFORE everything goes awry!

There's plenty of project management processes and tools on Contingency Plan and Planning.  Look them up.  Use them.  All good stuff.

My approach is different.  I'll begin with ….. a story

A Wisdom Story about...

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A Wisdom Story about Table Manners

Do you remember setting the dinner table when you were a kid?

Table Manners was a high priority in our household.  Setting the table, just so.  Forks, spoons, knives and napkins all in their right place. 

Sitting at our dinner table, I can still hear my Dad's remarks bark across the table:

  • Get your elbows off the table
  • Your fork isn't a spoon
  • Sit up straight at the dinner table
  • Get the hair out of your eyes
  • Did you ask to be excused?

We didn't get dessert until everyone finished the main course.  Sometimes I fidgeted at the table as each person finished their meal, just ACHING to jump from the table to continue playing with my Matchbox cars! 

Ah, but I found a twist!  As the youngest of four children I discovered I could use that rule to exert my power over the entire family.  I learned how to eat REAL slow, all three of my siblings glaring at me.  Yes, 16 chews on this spoonful of peas is about right.  Chew.  Chew. ...

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The Portal Wisdom Story

The Portal Shows Up...

I was in a modern dance company with my friend Philip who turned professional after college.  He was in the national company of Norway and came through my hometown of Minneapolis on his way to participate in a one-week Lakota ceremony in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  He asked if I wanted to go with him.  And I said, 'Sure! '

It was the first time I'd ever been on Pine Ridge Reservation and the Black Hills.  First time I'd ever done a sweat lodge.  I mean, it was just magical!  At the end of the week, he said, "I'm leaving from here to go to a three-week ceremony.  Why don't you come with me?"   I told him I couldn't call up my corporate job on Saturday to tell them I'd be gone for another three weeks.  I'd have no job.  He responded, "And that's a problem?  Why?"  I explained again how important the job was to me and that it was rare in the corporate environment to take three weeks off. ...

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