Thursday, March 15, 2007

Turning On The Light

'There are two ways of spreading light...
To be the candle,
or the mirror that reflects it.' ~Edith Wharton

Although I don't do a lot of set training anymore - by that I mean training that follows a specific curriculum - there is one program I do conduct on a somewhat regular basis. This Job Relations training is part of the Training Within Industry program that was developed by the U.S. government during WWII to keep production up when the workers went to war and we had to train new workers quickly. Consequently, it's not new training by any stretch of the imagination, but it's new (again) to us in the U.S. because we exported it to Japan as part of the war recovery effort, and then essentially forgot about it until the past 4 or 5 years. (If you'd like more information about JR, I'll be speaking about it at the TWI Summit in Orlando June 5-6.)

So, although this training is set to follow a script, I've noticed in the past 6 months or so of delivering it, that the people in my classes have been ready for a deeper conversation. The training gives supervisors a 4-step method for solving problems with people they supervise. But as we focus on the problems, we keep bringing the problems up. The training also includes another focus called Foundations for Good Relations, which sometimes gets overlooked as we try to solve the problems. The people in the classes recently have been much more open to talking candidly and openly about the coaching aspects of their supervisory responsibilities and thus are much more open to sharing ideas.

One thing I have begun doing in this class is to turn off the lights in the classroom so we could talk about what could possibly be happening in the dark. Our minds can really imagine lots of fearful ideas - reminding us of when we were kids and worried about the monsters under our beds. But as soon as the light is turned back on, we are able to see our surroundings, and our fears are no longer real.

I think this is true in our outside-of-work lives as well. I'm currently reading Debbie Ford's Dark Side of the Light Chasers, and I'm learning a lot about the shadow side of our personalities - that part we don't want to identify with because it seems "bad" or "wrong." Yet in keeping those dark sides of ourselves hidden, we keep ourselves stuck in negative behavior patterns or in situations which keep us from living our capacity.

Where might you be playing it safe at the expense of your genius? Where might you be ripping the world off by denying your family, your friends, your co-workers, the opportunity to see you at 100%? Let's build the dialogue and start playing big with our small talk!

And plan to come to Fargo in June for our Bigger Small Talk Summit (watch for details to follow in upcoming posts).


At 2:54 AM, Blogger Scott said...

It's amazing how many people don't get Small Talk! Pity we are so far apart I'd have enjoyed the summit. Check out my article about Small Talk:

At 4:12 PM, Blogger Jodee said...

Scott: How great to have a comment from across the pond! Great article, by the way. I understand there is a place and a time for small talk, but I think we can work to elevate it, especially after the initial encounter. One way is to think of new ways to ask the questions: "How are you?" and "What do you do?"

Thanks for visiting!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger CB said...

I'm very guilty of "compartmentalizing." I separate my life into various spheres, with my family being in one, friends from high school being in one, friends from college being in one, and then my friends from work being in yet another. I've found that my personality changes just a bit when I'm with each different group, and it's actually difficult for me to be at ease when people from one sphere are in the same social setting as those from another sphere.

Why? I think it's mostly because I'm used to being the observer in a crowd. I'm definitely an INFJ -- I like to watch other people, look for patterns in a group of people, and I hate being put in a position where someone else is able to do that to me. I find it easiest to avoid that when I am able to move from compartment to compartment.

The question I now need to answer is why I don't give 100% of my personality to each compartment, since it would certainly be easier.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger Jodee said...

CB: Here's something we don't allow ourselves to believe: It's supposed to be easy! I really believe that figuring out this authenticity piece and allowing ourselves to be 100% US in any setting is a LOT easier than this little dance most of us play (and which you've described so eloquently).

All I ask is that we all think about how our lives are working. You've said it would be easier to be 100% in each area - so there are other ways to be. That's all bigger small talk implies - there may be a better way - and invites others into that dialogue.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here! Come back again!


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