Coach’s Challenge for 9/20/10 “Spirit”

Good day, team,

This week, I’ve received two messages that reinforce each other, one from a client and one from a speaker whose lecture I hope to attend.

In our coaching session this past week, one of my clients said, “I don’t see myself as a particularly spiritual person, but I’ve been working on changing my attitude. I’ve decided to choose to be more positive at work and to see people and difficulties in a more positive light. I think this will help me psychologically and spiritually at work.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

My client’s use of the word spiritual makes a lot of sense in this context. The word “spirit” derives from the Latin word “spirare,” meaning to breathe. So one interpretation of the word spirit is to breathe life into something. When we are inspired, we are likely to have more breath in us. For example, when we see something beautiful, we gasp and say “Ah, that’s so inspiring!” When people say, “It took my breath away,” what they actually mean is the inspiring event stopped them in their tracks and then filled their heart and lungs with energy.

The most inspiring leaders or managers are the ones who breathe life into their teams and projects. They do this by expressing their enthusiasm or confidence in the team, posing a difficult challenge, executing in a spectacular way, or just being particularly compassionate or appreciative toward the people they work with. These actions give their teams a boost and encourage them to re-engage.

I found the other message in an announcement about an upcoming speech by Ellen Raim for the Women’s Center of Applied Leadership here in Portland: “Work happy: Your success depends on it.” She’ll focus on three areas in her speech:

• Working with the attitude, outlook and mindset for success

• Framing difficulty in a positive light

• Building lasting relationships and connections in the office

Again, I see a similar message: choosing to be happy and framing difficulty in a positive light. One of my consistent aims in dealing with others is to assume positive intent. This tenant has helped me more than anything else to see people in a new way, regardless of what has happened in the past. Of course, the difficulty is that often our behaviors do not match our intentions, and in dealing with our own and other peoples’ behaviors, our greatest challenges arise.

This week, try choosing to be positive rather than negative about whatever you’re working on. There is always a silver lining in what appears to be an ominous cloud, and finding that brightness can inspire you in your own life and lift the lives of others.

Have a good week!

Kathleen

Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

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