Giving Up the Old for the New

We all experience change whether we want to or not.  Regardless of our age or life experience, change is difficult. It’s not that we don’t like change or want it, it’s that we would prefer for it to happen more easily and on our terms. Unfortunately, change often requires us to give up what’s old and familiar in order for something new and better to take its place.

Just like it is hard to throw away that favorite shirt or those comfy old shoes, we somehow manage to find new shirts and shoes to take their place.

It’s a strange paradigm. On the one hand, we have this desire to build our lives around something secure, familiar and lasting.  And on the other hand, we are forever being forced to make life changes that keep us from becoming stagnant.

Giving up what previously defined our lives can be painful, yet there is a new anticipation and maybe even excitement about building a new life or new identity.

A Time to Heal

About a month ago I became obsessed with getting a puppy. I’m not sure what happened in my life or if something happened in my life to trigger this obsession – I just knew that I needed a puppy. Now.

It was almost one year ago that our dog Buster died. We went out for the afternoon and left him to romp around the backyard and sleep in the sun just as he loved. When we came home we found him dead on the patio. His dog tag had slipped into a crack and gotten stuck on our wood patio. He pulled and pulled to get free until the collar clamped down and choked him to death. My heart breaks open all over again whenever I think about it. Buster had been a part of our family like no other animal had. He had touched our hearts and opened our souls in a myriad of unexpected ways. That day, we lost so much more than a dog, we lost a best friend, a true companion, and an important member of our family. We lost Buster.

So back to being obsessed. Memorial day weekend I decided it was time. Something in me knew that I was ready, and that my family was ready. I wanted to bring some joy into our home, so I headed off to a great pet shop here in Eugene with the intention of meeting some new dogs. A part of me wanted to hold back. A part of me told myself that I wasn’t ready yet – that maybe making a new friend would be traitorous. I decided to not listen to that part of myself. That part of me hadn’t been helping me. It was time to take a new approach.

We picked up a few puppies, and like all puppies they were just adorable yet something was missing. Then I picked up Lacey. Unexpectedly, tears sprung to my eyes. I locked eyes with my husband – and anyone who knows us would not be surprised to learn he had tears in his eyes to. We had found the one that felt right.

We took Lacey home and as we watched her explore the house the grief, hurt, and self-blame we were both holding in ourselves for Buster broke out. We cried for Buster again, we cried for ourselves, and we cried because we knew it was going to be okay. As we held each other, each of us acknowledged that it’s okay… it’s really okay. We get to love again. And Buster would have loved Lacey as much as we do.

So now I want to introduce you to Lacey. She does look a little like Buster – that wonderful terrier look with the messy hair and eyes that look right into your soul. And, she isn’t Buster. She’s Lacey. She has her own wonderful way about her, and every day I let myself love her a little more.

In the past, I have heard others talk about the loss of a beloved pet, and I thought I understood because I had lost pets too and been upset. Now, I REALLY understand what it’s like.
And I understand that no matter how big the hurt or how overwhelming a tragedy seems – whether it’s losing a friend, a job, or just taking in some of the horrible stories that have been on the news this year, allowing ourselves to heal matters.

Healing isn’t easy. It’s much easier to push our feelings down and stuff them away – only dealing with them when they pop up in less productive ways like anger or when they creep up and punch us in the face. Yet we all have opportunities to heal – moments that push us closer to it, the great fortune of friends in life who reach out to us and offer an unexpected path, and most importantly the voice inside of us that wants us to heal.

So it’s up to each of us to make a choice. Do we listen to the voice that tells us to shy away from feeling anything that hurts, do we push it away and then wonder why we lost our temper or got too easily frustrated by a bad encounter at work, or do we forge ahead and let ourselves heal? We get to tell ourselves that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel, it’s okay to hurt, it’s okay to grieve, and it’s okay to love. Because when we decide that it’s time to heal we make our world better because we aren’t so focused on hiding our pain or beating ourselves up. When we make the choice to heal, we nurture ourselves and those we love, and we set an example of true, personal leadership that inspires all of those around us.

This month, I want to talk about healing. My healing, your healing, and healing in our communities.

Take the first step of your journey today by noticing what pops up when you feel upset, by digging a little deeper, and taking a moment to quietly acknowledge the pain. Let it sit for a moment. Be mindful and aware of it, and remind yourself that it’s okay…. it’s okay to love yourself.


Measuring Peak Performance Teams

Two weeks ago we introduced the idea of measuring productivity in your business in addition to the more traditional financial measurements.

Last week, we spoke about the means of measuring positivity in your business.

Now, let’s bring the two together to talk about peak performance. You cannot get peak performance from a productive yet negative team. Neither can you expect a positive team without high levels of productivity to perform at their best. It is the convergence of productivity and positivity that produce high performance teams.

At Edge of Change we offer the Team Diagnostic Assessment to businesses we work with. This incredible tool has foundations in the latest work on Emotional Intelligence, Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, change management, and team research that has been conducted at leading universities.

Using the Team Diagnostic Assessment tool, Edge of Change will guide your team through a five-step process that creates alignment and personal responsibility for maximum effectiveness. Your team members develop the mindset and skillset for creating and sustaining a fully engaged, inspired, high performing team.

To learn more about the assessment process and how Edge of Change can guide you through please visit our website here. 

Strength Through Positivity

Last week we spoke about measuring productivity in your business in addition to the more traditional financial measurements.

 This week we want to introduce you to another hugely important measure of the strength of your business – positivity.

 Healthy measures of positivity lead to productivity and profitability improvements. Additionally, by increasing the the measures of positivity within your business you can reap all these rewards:

  • Increased employee retention
  • Increased receptivity to communication
  • An inspired and motivated team
  • Easier conflict resolution
  • Greater risk taking by individuals, teams, and your overall business
  • Increased stakeholder buy-in and goodwill
  • Process improvements and product innovation through nurtured creativity
  • Increased organizational vitality
At Edge of Change, we use a team diagnostic assessment to measure positivity in a business. We have identified seven different markers of positivity in business and score the health of a company based on these strengths.
How would your team stack up? And even take this out of the workplace and ask how your family measures up, your community, and even on the personal level – where do you stand with these productivity strengths?
  1. Optimism: The team has an inspiring shared vision. They are enthusiastic, forward-looking, and appreciative of each other. There are low levels of cynicism, pessimism, helplessness, hopelessness, or dwelling in the past.
  2. Trust: It is safe on this team to speak your mind, openly without fear of reprisal. We can count on each other; we are reliable. We tell the truth even if it is uncomfortable or unpopular.
  3. Respect: There is an atmosphere of mutual respect and genuine positive regard. Contempt and hostility are not tolerated. We empower other members of the team to contribute their best.
  4. Communication: Clear and efficient communication is valued over less direct approaches such as politicizing, gossiping, or stonewalling.
  5. Constructive Interaction: Conflict is seen as providing an opportunity for discovery, growth, and creativity. The team avoids criticizing, defensiveness, and finger-pointing. Giving and receiving of feedback on this team is specific and timely.
  6. Camaraderie: There is a strong sense of belonging to the team. The team celebrates and acknowledges accomplishments. Empathy, playfulness and humor are present.
  7. Values Diversity: The team is open-minded and values differences in ideas, backgrounds, perspectives, personalities, approaches, and lifestyles. Diversity is considered vital.

A Better Measure of Success

Measurement of your success in your business or personal life can rarely be accurate using the bottom line numbers alone. An individual may be deeply in debt after fighting a battle with cancer, yet feel a deep sense of appreciation for life and a re-commitment to their dreams. Their bottom line wouldn’t offer the full picture for this person.

Nor does the bottom line alone offer much insight into the health and vitality of an organization. A business can be in the black after making significant cut backs to stay afloat, yet be further from achieving their dream than at any point in their history.

In order to know where you really stand, it’s important to keep score in multiple areas. At Edge of Change, we measure the strength of companies using financials as well as business culture strengths.

One of the most important things we can measure is the level of productivity at a business. A lean, mean workforce will not benefit a company in the long run if the productivity of the remaining staff suffers. A large workforce that has low productivity unnecessarily burdens a business with extra costs and generally more red tape.

At Edge of Change, we use a team diagnostic assessment to measure productivity in a business. We have identified seven different markers of productivity in business and score the health of a company based on these strengths. How would your team stack up? And even take this out of the workplace and ask how your family measures up, your community, and even on the personal level – where do you stand with these productivity strengths?

  1. Goals and Strategies: The team has clear, challenging objectives; there is alignment on strategies and priorities. Objectives are linked to recognition, rewards, or compensation. The team is highly resilient and not easily defeated in their goals.
  2. Alignment: There is a sense of common mission and purpose. The team values cooperation, cohesion, and interdependence. The team collectively owns their results.
  3. Accountability: There is clarity of roles and responsibilities with higher follow through. When problems arise the team responds. Team members actively hold each other accountable for team agreements.
  4. Resources: The team clearly requests, obtains, and manages adequate resources and training to meet its objectives. There is sufficient expertise to accomplish the team’s objectives. This is an atmosphere of “win-win” rather than “when one person wins, it means someone else loses.”
  5. Decision Making: The team has clear and efficient decision making processes, which have proven effective over time.
  6. Proactive: Change is embraced and seen as vital to this team and to the larger organization. The team is nimble and flexible in addressing opportunities for change, responding positively and creatively.
  7. Team Leadership: There is a strong sense of team leadership; team members take initiative to provide leadership as the need for initiative arises. The team leader or sponsor’s role is clear and supportive of the team as a whole.