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February 2008 Archives

February 10, 2008

Zen and the art of Not Pushing Part 3

A context for life and leadership.

For not pushing it seems like I have been doing a lot. This brings us to Part 3 of Zen and the art of Not Pushing: the fine line between doing and not pushing.

All of my clients who are open to adopting this Zen and Not Pushing approach to their lives and/or work ask me the same question: 'How do I know when I should do or not push?' The answer I hear myself giving is about developing awareness and discernment....

Just being in action for the sake of action has become somewhat of an epidemic in our society; both in business and personally. For most of my clients, their search for grounded abundant life in balance has made it necessary to take a closer look at what they are doing.

For example, over the past couple of weeks I have accomplished more than I have in the last 2 months. When I realized this, I had to contemplate whether I was pushing or not. Was I in action for the sake of being in action, or was I in right action? What awareness did I need to be able to make this discernment?

Because this journey into grounded abundance and a life in balance is still new for me, I developed a few questions to ask myself when I get in this situation. I pass them onto you.

  • Why am I doing what I am doing?
  • Am I clear about what needs to happen and why?
  • Am I coming from my head or my gut? Using the entire body as a sensory device to give me information that informs my actions is both critical and fascinating. See my blog Strategic Planning through Fear and Vulnerability for more on this.
  • Is what I am doing giving me energy or taking it away?

If I have the awareness to take the time and ask these questions and really listen to the answers, I can discern between pushing and not doing in most situations. And I am attracting results. Different results than when I push. Better results. Just the results I really want. I am continually amazed by the entire process.

I am finding that this whole life balance thing can be pretty simple. However, I often insist that it be very difficult. Hence the series of blogs as I work through it. Any thoughts or validations???

February 17, 2008

Zen and the art of Not Pushing Part 4

A context for life and leadership.

In my continual quest for not pushing I came across this from Linda Kohanov's new book, Way of the Horse: Equine Archetypes for Self-Discovery; A Book of Exploration and 40 cards. . It perfectly supports the whole concept. I thought I would share it with you.
Illustrations by Kim McElroy

"Card #12 Authentic Power

  • Physical Collection
  • Balance and Agility
  • Strength and Vitality in Service to Higher Goals

The Gift
Body, mind and spirit join forces to channel tremendous power.

The Challenge
True power encompasses more than physical fitness. Whether you're riding a horse, developing a new idea, or guiding a company, you must learn to tap potential without taxing it."

Wow! What a concept! This is exactly what I have been talking about. When using the words authenticity and power in the same sentence with horses, I get clarity and perspective on what the art of not pushing really means.

And from this perspective it seems that as I go about negotiating my business into a life of balance and abundance, I would do well to remember what it feels like when I am sitting on a horse.

When riding a horse, I need to reassess my whole idea about making things move. If I try to push, dominate or physically force the horse to move into action, or stop for that matter, I will never win. They are just too big and strong. However, if I practice not pushing and come from my authentic power, I can instantly see and feel the positive results I have been so sure were there, if only I could find them.

Sounds interesting, but how does this work? Especially for non-riders?

It comes down to mindfulness.

The next time you find yourself in a place where no matter what you do, you just can't get anywhere, ask yourself:

  • How centered or balanced am I?
  • Am I in the present? Or am I thinking about what just happened or may happen as a result of this present moment?
  • Am I ready to adapt to the moment? Or am I set on things being just the way I envision them?
  • Am I prepared to make decisions? Not only decisions of which I am already aware; decisions in response to what is happening in the present moment.
  • Am I welcoming possibility? Or is my current agenda the sole measure of success?

How can we be mindful of all of these things at once? As Kohanov reminds us, "...while this combination sounds hopelessly paradoxical to the human mind, horses take it all in stride, teaching us to become masters of our own bodies, minds, and spirits as we aspire to ride theirs."

I am continually humbled through being in relationship with my horses. I am so grateful for these amazing teachers. For them, mindfulness is a state of being.

For more on Kim McElroy's check out Link to Kim's site!
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