Editing My Leadership

LL & Andrea hands

"Don't worry, it's going to be okay," I typed.

I read it over, suddenly remembering Henry Cloud's warnings against invalidating people's feelings.

[delete, delete, delete]

"I'm sorry you're feeling frustrated. It must be hard," I typed instead. Then I shared how sometimes I've been frustrated too, especially because of my own frailties and shortcomings. Ensuing conversations focused on what might be done to ease things, in time.

Did it help? I'm not sure. Cloud says that, in addition to being good listeners (validaters), we need to have a balance of...

1. strength
2. "likeness" to others (willingness to say, "I struggle with this too")
3. warmth
4. imperfection that copes

It sounds so simple on paper. Listen, don't invalidate. Be strong, yet vulnerable. Be authentic and imperfect, yet cope and be a person of effective solutions. Don't use force (even verbal force) as a means to change situations; just be competent.

All of this seems to require a lot of trust that things really WILL be okay if we strike the right kind of balance in our interactions. We just need to sit with the discomfort of not having immediately fixed others or ourselves. Which sounds, to me, like a kind of... faith.

Hands photo by L.L. Barkat.

Integrity, opening post
Being Nice is Not Enough
Can I Do You a Favor?

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This One's for You, Mr. Rupert

15 percent off cubic zirconia

Wouldn't you know it?

I wished for a coupon. The Universe answered. (Albeit AFTER I already purchased a beautiful cubic zirconium necklace for the ball.)

Never underestimate a well-set cz stone. Or a 15%-off coupon.

This one's for you, Mr. Rupert! :)

(Can you hear me with all that commotion in the mall?)

The 15%-Off Coupon photo, by L.L. Barkat.



Can I Do You a Favor?

chinese boat

Once again my kids were crying over their math. I didn't feel much sympathy, though I'm not so keen on math myself. Just do it, was my frustrated answer.

But I've always felt that when kids get to this point, fussing and crying, they're not being rebellious. They're telling us something important. So I had to step back and admit the truth: if they could just do it, they probably wouldn't be crying.

So I did my kids a favor. I hired a math tutor.

In Chapter 5 of Henry Cloud's book Integrity: the Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, he discusses how we can build trust through extending favor. It's the kind of favor that looks out for the other person's interests, not just our own. It is, says Cloud, grace.

"Leaders without grace," he asserts, "set [a] demand and do nothing to help people meet it." Like me, when my kids cried over their math and I said, Just do it.

There's nothing wrong with requiring the do it part. It's the just part we need to reconsider. As leaders, we would do well to drop the just and use these words instead: with, through, by.

My kids now do their math with a tutor. They do it by being with someone who loves math. Through the guidance of a person who has both math-patience and math-passion, they are more than meeting the standard. My Eldest will finish her course almost six months early this year and have time to do Logic and Physics math. My youngest admitted confidentially to the tutor, "I guess I really like math now."

If there's an area in your business or work life where people are "fussing and crying," maybe what they really need is a favor. Maybe you (or I) should just do it.

Chinese Boat photo, by J. Barkat.

Integrity, opening post
Being Nice is Not Enough

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I Refuse to Start Another Blog


Today I got this little nudge, "You need another blog."

It was because I have so much poetry I don't know what to do with it. And I fear putting too much on my "regular" blogs. So I felt like I should start a blog just for poetry.


I have three active blogs already (and a handful that serve more like book websites).

But I'm like a poetry teapot with more than I can hold in. I told a friend about this today, and the friend said, "So what. Put it on your blogs."

Friends are cool that way. They forget about things like audience and just want you to do what you need to do to stay sane.

Another friend sent me this little poem recently, by Samuel Menashe. It said, "A pot poured out fulfills its spout." And, hey, see the pot in the picture? Another friend sent that today.

Which is all to say, I am refusing to start another blog. And I hope you don't mind the poetry outpouring here and at my other two places. (Even if poetry is not your cup of tea. ;-)

Zombie Ontology

Why do we raise
the dead
in stories,
where half alive
they haunt us?
We run to our basements
or garage, find chainsaws
axes, mallets,
anything to bludgeon,
bleed the bodies
that chase us down,
refuse our lilies
at the tomb, where we have
wept our love for weeks,
months, years on end,
fed our hatred
of the way they come again
to eat our memories,
our very souls
that gave them, once,
a home.

Teapot photo by L.L. Barkat.

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