Koketso Sachane interviewed Colin about how one’s energy impacts all one’s outcomes.
Cut open an apple.
How many seeds are there in your apple?
This is a simple linear challenge – anything from 5 to 8 seeds. A child can do it easily.
How many apples are there in each seed?
That’s a different, non-linear challenge. The number of apples in each seed depends on a whole lot of unpredictable variables; time, money, water, space, soil fertility, diseases, pests, and …. and ….
We are becoming more and more aware every day that we are living simultaneously in two quite different worlds.
The one is the world we know.
The predictable world; the stable, the repetitive, the safe world.
The other world is almost totally unpredictable, uncertain, full of infinite variables, and potentially very scary.
We always have lived in both worlds of course, but we couldn’t see the second, and it certainly didn’t challenge us until the absolute explosion of technology in the last 20 years.
The Internet, Facebook, Apple, GPS, Google, Amazon, IPads, Smart Phones and literally thousands of free Apps have invited us – or forced us – to admit to this exciting but infinitely uncertain environment in which we can fly; or swim; or sink.
This new world requires a totally new way of thinking, of doing and of behaving.
The key to this challenge is the ability to THINK and to THINK TOGETHER.
High energy individuals in high energy teams do both really well; provided they have developed really high levels of TRUST.
Different behaviours are essential but are not easily learned!
Our focus at Learning to Lead is on ensuring that individuals and/or teams Think, and Think Together in High Energy and High Trust relationships.
The school my son attends in Johannesburg has a wonderful ritual and tradition of rewarding outstanding behavior, or exhibitions of leadership, or demonstrations of sincere humanity. They call it “knight of the week”, and it could be awarded from a show of honesty, bravery, courage, discipline, giving, forgiving, empathy, helpfulness or Leadership.
The reward is simply a recognition, and most people respond well to some form of recognition. But there is a catch. As the recipient of such a reward, one is not supposed to know the real reason for its awarding. The point is, that you don’t do something just to get a reward, you do it simply because it is the right thing to do.
Now I have only been a parent there for nearly six years, but I can’t remember if anyone other than a pupil has received “Knight of the week.” It is with this in mind that I write this reflection.
For every day of the past six years we have been greeted with warmth from the Pridwin ground staff. They have waved us in with open arms and lit up the way with their smiles. They have ushered our most precious treasures safely across the roads and have helped them carry their bags if necessary. They have turned school drop off from a chore to a pleasure, and they have always tried to make it as efficient and convenient as possible.
And yet, often their reward is a blank stare, or even a frustrated glare when drivers are asked to be patient as someone else’s treasure is ushered safely and lovingly to the safe side of the lot. I have seen parents park where they like, as even in gym kit, the thought of walking ten extra meters seems deplorable, or a ten second wait for a car to pull out means that some suit has lost out today on their race to the top. I pitied what the energy might be like in the ivory towers on these days.
But my beef here is not with the parents – we are all guilty of various forms of ignorance or abuse, however light. My fillet is with the staff. And particularly today.
On the coldest and most miserable day of the year (so far!), the troops were out in full force. The smiles were even brighter and through the driving icy rain, the orchestra of parking attendants were waving their arms and conducting the flow of traffic. Some had brollies, others didn’t. Some had rain suits, others had beanies, but despite a lack of resources and horrible conditions, they were out there doing their very best, and doing it with humour and with warmth.
Is there a better lesson for our boys to learn than this? Is there a better example of resilience and responsibility? That when things are tough there is still work to be done, and when there is work to be done, we might as well do it properly despite the poor taste of the passing traffic.
In the race to the South Pole, Amundsen marched and Scott blamed the weather. The rest is history, and today that story stands tall in a pile of analogies and examples of Leadership.
Whilst it may have felt a bit like the South Pole today, thankfully we didn’t have to go there on a school outing debited to our accounts to learn a few lessons.
They were right there in the school parking lot – being handed out for free by unsung heroes.
They are my Knights of the week.
My passion is “HUMAN ENERGY” so I asked him what gave him most energy, thinking he would choose either a study project or an outdoor activity.
“Gaming” was his spontaneous response. Then he went on to say, “I can game for hours and hours. My brain seeks to devour and enjoy all the possible moves, decisions and outcomes”.
My brain had shut down when I heard the word “gaming”. My picture of young people gaming was so negative. I always think of them as “having nothing to do” or as “idle layabouts”.
But Ross made me think differently, and then I remembered a short piece from “Conversations With God III” by Neale Donald Walsh.
“Think of the Cosmic Wheel as that CD-ROM. All the endings already exist. The universe is just waiting to see which one you choose this time. And when the game is over, whether you win, lose, or draw, the universe will say, “Want to play again?”
Your computer disc doesn’t care whether you win or not, and you can’t “hurt its feelings”. It just offers you a chance to play again. All the endings already exist, and which ending you experience depends on the choices you make”.
Imagine elevating current boring strategic planning processes to gaming!
Looking at infinite possibilities; making decisions; and watching outcomes as new, lively and immediate calls for more choices – perhaps very different choices – and even more choices ad infinitum.
What lively sessions those would be!
If I am in CapeTown over a weekend, I almost always have Saturday breakfast with old friends, Ghani and Henri Kuiper. I love their company…we have the same breakfast every time because it’s a good English breakfast….and I love the drive over Sir Lowry’s Pass and Houw Hoek.
I always give lifts, though people say I shouldn’t…and I don’t take the R10 and R20 notes they offer! I like their company, and I like to hear their stories.
Last week I dropped Lydia off at Bot Riviera. She is from Zimbabwe…many of my lifts are. Zimbabwe or Malawi or Zambia, even D.R.C. and Cameroon! All over Africa, in fact.
Lydia works at the Bot Rivier hotel…and she told me that all the people who work there, “have swum the Limpopo”. They are all from over our borders! That means that the Bot Rivier High School has failed to produce one employable graduate for the local hotel!
In my language, those who have “swum the Limpopo” have got “oooomph” I call it. They have enough personal energy to get here, find jobs here, keep jobs here…even create jobs here…while most of our matriculants, just don’t.
Experiences like those with Lydia, and most of those who are seeking lifts from me, strengthen my resolve to do something useful for our students…redouble our efforts to get our e-learning “Personal Energy Journey” program out there into our schools.
On another trip, Eddie got in at the Engen garage, beyond the turnoff to Stellenbosch, and asked if I was going to Bredasdorp! Eddie was from Zimbabwe, I couldn’t imagine why he was going there…another 15 minutes and you are on the beach at Arniston! He didn’t look like a beachy kind of guy.
“Why are you going to Arniston?” I asked…”what on earth gets you all the way from Zimbabwe to Bredasdorp?”
“I collect second hand truck and car inner tubes…and then take them back to Harare, where I sell them…to feed my family”.
Another Zimbawean with enough oooomph…energy…to swim the Limpopo.
An impressive entrepreneur….who deserves to thrive!
What is wrong with our Education System? Where are our “Eddies” I keep asking myself…and what could I do to help?
Wildlife tracking – “one of the oldest sciences in the world”.
Tracking represents the perfect combination of the left and the right brain. A good tracker has to remember stuff from 40 years ago, this is all a function of the left brain. This is fundamentally essential for a good tracker, but, an excellent tracker also uses the right brain, the intuitive sense.
For Steve tracking has been an analogy about what it is that we track in our own lives.
If energy is crucial to the things we track, then what is it that is going to get my energy up if I am going to be a good tracker?
Ultimately, if we have no energy, it is very difficult to track anything.
OUR LATEST E-LEARNING COURSE:
Is a search to understand and master, on a sustainable basis, our own energy. We start by becoming aware of the crucial role that our energy plays in ALL our outcomes. We work better, play better, dance and sing better, drive better – even sleep better – when our personal energy is high. But when it is low, we slump.
Inevitably we then see just how infectious human energy is. Yours affects mine, just as mine affects yours. And together we affect others, near and far away.
Three questions then emerge and demand and deserve credible and well-researched answers:
1. Why does energy play such a fundamental role in all our outcomes?
2. Where does energy come from?
3. How do we master it?
The Energy Journey takes us to sound answers to all three of these important questions.
WHAT’S IN THE COURSE? Over 106 lectures and 4 hours of content! Fellow travellers will become aware of the importance of high personal energy in the rest of their lives, and they will have useful tools and understand how to use them.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Nothing but your/their desire to learn and grow
WHO SHOULD ATTEND? Anyone who can read and write, and who wants to live life more fully.
Every now and again I find a book that absolutely fascinates me.
“The man who tapped the secrets of the universe” by Glenn Clark is the latest. The hero of the book is Walter Russell, an American of whom I had never heard. Apparently an incredible man! A sculptor, a painter, a musician, a champion horse rider, a figure skater and a thinker of note.
“You will be amazed when I tell you that the compensating principle of balance which really reloads you with renewed energy after you have expended all in some creation, lies in those very simple qualities of your consciousness which we know by the names of joy, happiness, enthusiasm, inspiration, intuition, effervescence and by that climaxing word of all words, ecstasy.
Think of it, how simple it is to know that the joy of an achievement recharges you with the balancing energy for the next achievement. If you have no joy or happiness in your work, finding it to be drudgery instead, you will fatigue from the devitalizing discharge of the energy which caused the achievement.
As the years go by your mind becomes dull from its constant devitalizing draining of energy and the body disintegrates prematurely. At the period which should begin an ascent of greater vitality you have become a walking dead man.
The greater the joy within one’s inner consciousness, the greater the force of the recharge of energy within one; and that is why I have climaxed my defining words with the word ecstatic. The ecstatic man is the most dynamic, the most silent and the most undemonstrative of all men.
By ecstatic I mean that rare mental condition which makes an inspired man so supremely happy in his mental concentration that he is practically unaware of everything which goes on around him extraneous to his purpose, but is keenly and vitally aware of everything pertaining to his purpose.
He who cultivates that quiet unobtrusive ecstasy and inner joyousness can scale any heights and be a leader in his field no matter what that field is”.
I was reading through some old blogs we posted seven years ago, and as is patently clear, things have not improved:
If it is true that human performance is directly dependent upon human energy then it’s not surprising that these depressing times are affecting outcomes. As the economic and socio-political climate gets greyer by the day human energy plunges – as well as human performance. Poor exam results can be expected from schools, employees are being laid off, businesses are struggling to stay alive and service levels are dropping.
My wife had to go to the Home Affairs Department, the counter clerk told her about the mayhem they experience there when Eskom switches off the lights. The department has no generators to supply electricity and therefore everything comes to a standstill and they have to eject the waiting customers and close the doors. Can you imagine the effect upon the energy of these customers?
Recently, for the second time, one of our employees joined the queue to licence a motor vehicle – he waited in vain, because the system had “gone down”. The counter clerk was in no mood to be helpful or even polite and at 10h30 she slammed her cubicle window closed and went off for tea. She is what we call disengaged – her feet were at work but she didn’t bring her energy (or her manners). And you can be reasonably certain that she has had plenty of lectures on customer care and customer relationship management!
If it is also true that human energy can be enhanced and sustained at the individual and team level then we have no excuse not to seek an understanding of “how to do it”.
With high levels of personal and team energy we can grab market share and hold it. Low energy teams lose it.
At “Learning to Lead” we specialise in enhancing the energy of individuals and groups and believe that “when my energy is high, I can fly”, but, “when my energy is low, I crash”.