Confronting The New

Friends Hugs Excited
As the kids are starting a new school year, I thought these welcome messages in chalk on the sidewalk were interesting and hopeful. 



Everyone needs support when they are starting at a new place or doing something they haven’t done before. 



Doing something new means opportunity for a fresh beginning and the chance to learn and grow, but it also presents changes and challenges. 



The messages the kids drew help to confront these head on asking the other students:



– What is exciting to them and playing up the positives of the new experience.



– Encouraging people to make new friends to help make the adjustment. 



– Offer emotional support with “Free Hugs” and camaraderie.



At times, we all end up in new situations and places.



We may be looking for discovery, adventure, or a chance to do something different or perhaps change our fortunes.



At other times, we may just get thrown into something and may not even be certain exactly how we got there. 



But either way, it definitely helps when we reach out to others and realize that while we are individuals, we are not alone as we go through it.  



People need each other…some more, some less…but no man is an island. 😉



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

The Art of The Fearless

This was my introduction to Wingsuit Flying.

It’s an extension of death-defying BASE jumping off of Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs) with the added feature of soaring like a bird over the most beautiful terrains.

The wingsuits are bat-like jumpsuits with material stretching between the legs and under the arms enabling a user to glide through the sky, rather than free-falling straight down to the ground.

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Essentially the wingsuit gives the human body the extra surface area to get the lift to fly through the sky without any mechanical devices at all or with the addition of small jet engines strapped to the feet for added thrust.

I am amazed at the fearlessness of these wingsuit fliers who jump virtually head first from unbelievable heights, fly close to the ground over extremely dangerous terrain, and only then release their parachutes toward the very end, near landing.

The other thing that impresses me about this is the beauty of this sport–the stunning places they jump from in Norway, Greenland, France and so on, the amazing, intricate colorful fly suits, the choreography of the stunts–alone and in groups–the spectacular filming of the events, and even the great heart-pounding accompanying music.

The talent, beauty, and courage of these sports enthusiasts combine to inspire me and hopefully you to go out and do great things (although hopefully not anything near as dangerous) with our lives–because these guys make it seem like almost anything is possible.

(Source Photo: here)

>When Butterflies Sting

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Butterfly

Stage freight (aka “performance anxiety”) is one the most common phobias.

While often attributed to children, this is really a fear that everyone experiences–to a greater or lessor extent.

Organizations like Toastmasters help people overcome their fear of public speaking by having them practice regularly in front of the group.

Yet even the most experienced speakers and performers still get that knot in their stomach before a really big performance.

We are all human, and when we go out there and open ourselves up to others, we are vulnerable to ridicule and shame and being seen as shysters and charlatans.

So it really takes great courage to go out there and “do your thing” in front of the world–for better or worse.

As the child poet, Rebecca says, “when I go on stage, it’s me, myself, and I.

What a wonderful perspective in being yourself and doing your best.

Here’s what she has to say–in a poem called Butterflies.

(Credit Picture: scienceray.com)

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Butterflies

By Rebecca

Butterflies, that’s what I feel before the poetry slam.

It’s 2 minutes before I read my poem.

I feel them tickling around my stomach making me want to puke.


My mom always tells me just imagine the audience in their underwear but it makes me feel even worse.

I told myself when I came up here you’ll do fine but, I know I’ll just stumble on a word.

Buzzing noises start in my ear.

I feel like I want to just go up on the stage and conquer my fear.

I shouldn’t care what people say because it’s my thoughts that matters.

When I go onstage it’s me, myself, and I.

1 minute till showtime.


Finally I hear my name.

I walk up to the stage unsteadily and all the lights are on me.

Everyone’s eyes beam towards me, almost as if they are watching a movie and I’m the show.

I read my poem.

I’m shaking.

I’m sweating like a dog running in the heat of summer.


I stumble upon a few words, but I survive it.

I am almost done. Just be done, already.

I read the last sentence but the time when I’m reading that sentence feels the longest.

My life is not going to end.

I’m done and I feel accomplished.

>Beyond The Stick

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Over a number of years, I’ve seen different management strategies for engaging employees. At their essence, they typically amount to nothing more than the proverbial “carrot and stick” approach: Do what you’re supposed to do and you get rewarded, and don’t do what your superiors want and you get punished.

Recently, the greater demands on organizational outputs and outcomes by shareholders and other stakeholders in a highly competitive global environment and souring economy has put added pressure on management that has resulted in

the rewards drying up and the stick being more widely and liberally used.

Numerous management strategists have picked up on this trend:

For example, in the book, No Fear Management: Rebuilding Trust, Performance, and Commitment in the New American Workplace, Chambers and Craft argue that abusive management styles destroy company morale and profitability and should be replaced by empowerment, communication, training, recognition, and reward.

In another book, Driving Fear Out of the Workplace: Creating the High Trust, High Performance Organization, Ryan and Oestreich confront how “fear permeates today’s organizations” and is creating a pandemic of mistrust that undermines employee motivation and commitment.

I can’t help but reflect that the whole concept of managing employees by the carrot and stick approach is an immature and infantile approach that mimics how we “manage” children in pre-school who for example, get an extra snack for cleaning up their toys or get a demerit for pulling on little Suzy’s hair.

As leaders, I believe we can and must do better in maturing our engagement styles with our people.

Regular people coming to work to support themselves and their families and contribute to their organizations and society don’t need to be “scared straight.” They need to be led and inspired!

Monday’s don’t have to be blue and TGIF doesn’t have to be the mantra week after week.

People are naturally full of energy and innovation and productivity. And I believe that they want to be busy and contribute. In fact, this is one of life’s greatest joys!

Leaders can change the organizational culture and put an end to management by fear. They can elevate good over evil, win the hearts and minds of their people, and put organizations back on track to winning performance.