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January

2020

 
"Reframing the Mountain"

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

 

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Reframing the Mountain
(click for podcast on Soundcloud 6:31)

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” - Confucius



False Narratives

This is actually an incredibly important, useful observation. Most of us know it’s true, and yet on a day to day basis, we forget. There’s something urgent and immediate about that mountain in front of us, and yet again, are we sure that urgency is real?

We humans tend to write elaborate narratives around things. It’s one of the things that differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We’re not going to find a 3-legged dog spending his life bemoaning what he can’t do anymore, or how hard his life is. He’ll start from now and move forward, making the most of what’s in front of him. Very smart.

These narratives create drama and excitement, and offer us explanations of things we couldn’t possibly understand. We invent motivations for others based on assumptions or projections, and then write narratives based on them.

This intersects with forward momentum when we’re faced with that metaphorical mountain of things to do, and it stops us in our tracks.

We look at the entirety of this mountain, and it seems untenable. The stories start getting written immediately. “There’s no way. Impossible. I don’t even know where to begin. I don’t wanna. This is stupid.” Meanwhile, time ticks by, and we’re still staring at the mountain.  


Starting the Reframe
The first thing we need to do in this situation is recognize it for what it is. Just as we learn to recognize cues of stress, and look at that stress, rather than just reacting, we need to catch ourselves staring at the mountain; feeling frozen. Once we recognize that freeze, we can start a new plan, based on being conscious and aware. We can step back from our “actor in the world,” and inhabit the Witness, to get a bit of objectivity.

You’d be surprised at how useful merely recognizing our being stalled can be, when we don’t add a narrative to it about impossibility or our own failures. This can be a cue of its own to start a new process.

This moment of awakening from the reaction lets us remember all the lessons we’ve heard, but aren’t implementing.

What if the mountain was actually a big pile of pebbles? It still looms in front of us as this massive amount of material, but instead of a singular obstruction, we can see it as a collection of small, manageable pieces. This is the beginning of the reframe that Confucius was alluding to.

 
Taking Action
Now that you’re looking at this giant pile of pebbles, the impossibility factor has been removed, and you’re ready to get started. Even if you don’t feel like you can prioritize or make a great plan of attack, you can get started, which will energize you, enabling you to get some momentum started.

It takes inertia to go from standing still to movement, and that’s the largest hurdle. Once you’re moving, momentum is much easier, as it takes far less energy. If we’ve exhausted deadlines or dependencies as a “filter” for prioritizing, we just need to get started somewhere.

In “Kind Ambition,” I mentioned looking for something that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, as finishing anything gives you an energetic and emotional boost, simultaneously reducing the “pile.”

Past this, “carrying away” a few stones is all we need to focus on. To give yourself a way to break up the mountain, you can make it about time-chunking. Carry as many buckets of pebbles as you can in an hour or a 90-minute period, and then stop. Go do something completely different for between 15 and 30 minutes, which is like refreshing computer memory for us. Then move another few buckets of pebbles. If you have five major projects at the same time, just rotate through them.




I call this “Nibble and Graze,” rather than gulping. Erosion works far better than explosive action followed by exhaustion. Many thin coats works better than one thick coat of paint or varnish. When we marathon our work, we get so burned out that we don’t want to do anything else afterward, and lose many hours of productivity. Never forget that the Grand Canyon started out as a riverbed.


If you want to reach higher altitudes; catapulting your communication and relationship skills, give me a call or
email me. We can design a tailored program to fit your needs and desired outcomes. There's no limit to how high you can fly.


     - Ian J. Blei

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Quick Tip:
Time-Chunking

One of the most powerful time management and productivity tips I've discovered is the power of time-chunking. Our brains have limited attention spans, and even the most focused of us can't go more than 60-90 minutes without our minds drifting. It's just a fact of life, and fighting this is pointless.

Instead of fighting it, and marathoning through our work, we need to take advantage of this seeming challenge. It's a proven fact that if we work on something for 3 hours straight, we're less likely to want to do anything else afterward. We're simply too brain burnt to start something new. If we stop after 60 minutes and do something else, then go back or work on another project for an hour, and keep this going, we could easily increase our productive time from 3 hours up to easily 6 hours (double!) That 6 hours of productivity may take 8 or so hours, but so would getting half that amount done in marathon mode.


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.

Sincerely,

Ian J. Blei



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Resource Links:


Podcasts

KG Stiles: "Conversations that Enlighten and Heal"
Ian Blei on Kind Ambition and the Integram (TM)

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition



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The Optimizer
Ian Blei,
Director of the
Institute for Integral Enneagram Studies and
President of
Optimized Results
415.826.0478

 

 

Kind Ambition

Click HERE

 

 

 

 


Kind Ambition:
Practical Steps
to Achieve Success
 Without Losing Your Soul
 

 

 

Kind Ambition
Fan Page on
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Kind Ambition is about you having the tools to slide over to the driver’s seat of your own life.  Circumstances will always be changing, seemingly thwarting our plans, but we don’t have to be  thrown around by them. You can be in charge of your choices and actions more than you might imagine - yet.

 

Kind Ambition is written for you, as a practical guide you can use right now.  It is a collection of  insights and actions designed to help you move forward and get more out of your life at home and at work.  The chapters hold to a formula of first giving you a new way to look at things, then offering you tangible Action Steps to try them out, and finally some things to notice when you do.

 

 

 

 

Kind words for “Kind Ambition”

 

"If you are interested in success, whether it is in running a large organization, a small business, or leading a satisfying life, you will find a right blend of rules, wisdom and wit in a digestible fashion that will serve to accomplish your objectives. The notion that kindness can be blended with ambition and made to work and serve the "bottom line" is enlightening, uplifting and satisfying."

-Steven Kiefel – CEO, Red Pill Media

 

 

 

“An easy to use guide for anyone who wants to achieve real  growth and success. His sensible and practical tactics solve age-old challenges with real, how-to solutions. Best of all, Ian lives his work!”

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 Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters

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“A scientifically-based, spiritually-awake, (and smart and funny) guide to making the most of your life.  Ian Blei provides the know-how, the inspiration, the structure and all the tools you need in  this straightforward and inspirational book.”

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