Monday, March 19, 2007

Everything is Data.

Have you ever wondered why things are the way they are? Any question that begins with "Why" has been with me since I first learned how to formulate words (and probably before I could even articulate them).

I've always been obsessed with finding answers. As I've gotten older (and wiser) I think I'm much more interested in the questions than in the answers, so my questions have gotten a bit deeper; however, many of them still start with that three-letter word "why."

So this morning some new questions were dancing around my head as I thought about two of my friends who have cancer. Instead of thinking "why them?" my question this morning began as "why did cancer pick you?" That got me thinking about why our life situations - from death to birth to disease to anything we might consider eventful - picked us.

I believe that everything is data, as Dick Richards taught me in his Genius workshop. If we can see absolutely everything that seems to happen to us as simply data, what might we create from that? Why did death pick one of my friends who lost both of her parents way too young? And why did life pick the same friend as she and her husband are now expecting a baby after years of infertility? Why did cancer pick the people it has picked? What is the data we can accumulate?

An even more interesting question, I think, might be "why did I pick cancer?" or "why did I pick my parents?" or "why did I pick whatever situation I find myself in?" How might that shift the focus of our lives?

Everything is Data.

How does that shift the focus in our workplaces? I learned, over the many years of my career, that I didn't have mean bosses - they were simply giving me data about myself. Had I had enough courage to invite dialogue WITH them instead of ABOUT them, I may have found myself in an entirely different place within those careers. But why didn't I understand that earlier? If everything is data, I can see now through more objective eyes, that had I not gone through what my 20/20 hindsight shows me, I would never have been in the place I now am, growing a business dedicated to supporting others in getting this understanding sooner in their careers, and transforming their work situations into joyful and abundant centers of happiness and prosperity (I'm just now looking at Alexander Kjerulf's book Happy Hour is 9 to 5, which I plan to dig into this week). Alex is living proof that this is possible.

So, how might each of us examine the data our lives are providing us and see what lessons are there for us? Where do you find yourself frustrated or upset? Where might your strengths, gifts, and genius be stifled? I learned several years ago that there are only three reasons we become upset: 1) Our intentions are thwarted; 2) Our expectations are unfulfilled; 3) We are stopped in our communication (we don't say something we want to say). The only thing those three reasons has in common is ME. So what might I do with that data?

Remember the quote from Gil Bailie? "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do that. The world needs people who come alive."

What makes you happy? Do more of that. What makes you sad? Do less of that. Open a dialogue to find out more. Use these three magic words: "Help me understand."

You already know this stuff. You really do. Don't sell yourself short. Do more of what's working and less of what isn't. It really is that simple.


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