February 19, 2007

Good day Team,

For the past few weeks, I’ve been observing what appear to be opposites
co-existing, that is, seeing bad occur in good and good
occur in bad. They say that the most beautiful roses have the largest
thorns, and so, in nature we can see many examples of this.

We often see opposites occurring simultaneously in business as well as
life. For example, years ago my mother and step-father owned a real
estate business in So. California. They were very successful until the
bottom fell out of the market during a recession in the 1980s. Their
belief that the market would turn around led them to invest their
personal savings into the business. Eventually losing everything – they
suffered greatly and were forced to scale back in all areas of their
lives. However, as their wealth disappeared, their lives became simpler.
They learned how to save money again and live on very little. They
became happier when they had less ‘stuff’ to manage and more time to
spend with one another.

Now, they are much older and my step-father has experienced
several years of serious illness. Because their income is low, they have
qualified for Medicare. All of their medical expenses have been paid
for. If they had not lost most of their money, the medical expenses
incurred would have left them bankrupt. However, because they have
learned to live frugally and grown to enjoy the simpler things in life,
they have made the best of these years despite the hardships.

When I work with teams, I often see how one or two people in the group
play the role of the devil’s advocate. They disagree sometimes out of
habit or because their instinct tells them it’s important to resist the
direction of the rest of the group. As a facilitator, I often find this
irritating since I want the group to work harmoniously.

However, upon reflection, I have to admit that it usually makes the
group stronger when they encounter resistance and work through the
obstacles by the time the session is done. I’ve come to see that what I
think is bad for the group is often quite good. I just try to let go of
my desire to control the outcome and let it work itself out.

I have an elderly Mexican friend named Panchita. She
frequently says, “Bueno, bueno, bueno…malo, malo, malo”, meaning,
good, good, good…bad, bad, bad.” It’s a reminder that in all things
we find good and bad and thus, the balance of life is maintained. If we
ignore this possibility and act based upon a belief that things are
either purely good or purely bad, we are often disappointed by
unintended consequences of our “good deeds” and surprised by the
positive outcome of a “bad” situation.

Your challenge this week is to try to accept what is… whether it be
good or bad. Try seeing how in all things, there is balance between
positive and negative and how they often interact to make a better
outcome. When confronted with something bad or destructive, try allowing
it to manifest before making your attempt to change it or re-construct
it into something good.

As the poet Ranier Maria Rilke wrote, “The most wonderful aspect of life
still seems to me that some course and crude intervention and even
blatant violation can become the occasion for establishing a new order
within us. This is indeed the most superb achievement of our vitality:
that it interprets evil as something good and quite actually inverts the

Have a great week!


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

(c) copyright 2007 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights

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