5/17/10 “Renewal”

Good day, team,

This week, the message of renewal and regeneration is coming through loud and clear. It started mid-week when our daughter delivered her second baby. Upon holding him in my arms, seeing him for the first time, I marveled at the miracle of new life. Nine months had passed, and here was this robust and beautiful baby boy, arriving with all the hope and expectation that only a newborn can bring.

This weekend, I found myself herding a mother turkey and her 14 newborn chicks into a safer place after a truck passed by and sent all the chicks running to and fro on the road in a panic. Again, I marveled at how quickly these precious little chicks were adapting to their new environment and how vulnerable they are to life’s perils.

This morning, I read in the Sunday paper about the explosion of Mt. St. Helens that took place in Oregon in 1980 and the regeneration that has occurred since then. On that day 30 years ago, a column reaching 15 miles above the Earth pumped out volcanic ash for more than nine hours and darkened the skies for more than 100 miles. Today, the emergence of plants and animals from that destruction has amazed scientists and biologists alike.

Finally, I read an excerpt from a graduation speech President Obama gave at Notre Dame University. He said, “Ours is a history of renewal and reinvention, where each generation finds a way to adapt, thrive and push the nation forward with energy, ingenuity and optimism.”

So, having gotten the message, this week’s challenge is about renewal.

Here are some thoughts on the topic from the book “Leadership and the New Science” by Margaret Wheatley.

“Renewal is a time to tell the truth about what is so, and then to face that truth. It is the time to heal our selves; to remember who we are. And when we remember who we are, we bring our authentic selves forward.

“Renewal is a time to surrender what is no longer useful. There is often an aspect of death in renewal, as letting go may require the end of a way of thinking or operating, the end of a product line, closing down a factory, letting go of a dream. The very act of renewal is a surrender of doing. Renewal may or may not be experienced as struggle, depending on how attached we are to that which no longer serves us. Edith Weiner, in ‘Six Principles for Revitalizing your Planning,’ explains that ‘the initial key to effective strategic thinking is not learning, but rather forgetting. It requires unlearning and the shedding of old, misguided assumptions.’

“Once we let go, we often experience a sense of release and new energy. We also experience a sense of spaciousness. The often irresistible temptation is to fill that space immediately, as not knowing may be very uncomfortable. This space is best used as a time of questioning and allowing. This space may last a moment, a week, or several months or more in time. This space is the rich, fertile ground out of which true vision emerges.

“Here are some of the most common forms of support that exist during the renewal process:

–Collegiality and cooperation: friendly association with co-workers who are cooperative in their actions and constructive in their observations

–Acceptance: acknowledgment and approval

–Advocacy: backing and endorsement

–Permission to fail: leeway to make mistakes and learn from them

–Information: news about the business and the organization

–Feedback: data about one’s abilities, prospects and reputation

–Flexibility: options to tailor a job to one’s own strengths or circumstances

–Stress relief: reducing anxiety and tension by accommodating family and other outside demands, and preventing on the job hostilities

–No limitations: allowing people to take on as many challenges as they wish and to support them in stretching themselves so they are no longer limited by false ideas about what’s possible for themselves, their teammates or the organization.”

This week, your challenge is to apply some of these forms of support that naturally occur during the process of renewal. See where you have the opportunity to create something new, either in its own right or by transforming something old. Spring is a wonderful time for creating new life, new ideas and new approaches. Our ability to renew and regenerate ourselves and others is infinite. Take advantage of the season at hand and, as the president suggested, push forward with energy, ingenuity and optimism.

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

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