Well, here we are – still getting creative on how to enjoy holidays in strange and challenging times. Our family is trying to get a little more creative this year when it comes to Valentine’s Day fun. Clients continue to tell me how their teams and employees are struggling with mental health. Maintaining a positive mental attitude is so important but can also very difficult right now. One of the best prescriptions for improved mental health is FUN!
My husband and I have been married for almost 22 years, and we officially have one teen and one pre-teen. This makes for an interesting blend of ages and interests during the holidays! It also creates different definitions of fun. We have to create experiences that we all enjoy, which can be tricky. Our family agreed to try the following:
1. Throw a Chocolate Party
Many moons ago, my husband and I had dinner at a local winery for Valentine’s Day-it was marvelous!! We are making an attempt to replicate this in a much easier way this year. I am not much of a chef; however, we are going to attempt to include chocolate in every dish! This is the perfect weekend to break out my fondue pot and dip lots of different items into some melted chocolate. And, we are going to make chocolate spaghetti Yes, it is a thing – and, it is delicious – I hope!
2. Create and Serve a Signature Beverage
I love to create new cocktails using whatever we have around this house. Good news- I still have some frozen cranberry slush from Christmas! We were supposed to go to my Dad’s so I made over a gallon of the stuff; then, we ended up staying home due to a COVID exposure. It’s time to turn lemons (or cranberries in this case) into lemonade! There is both an an adult and kid-friendly version so everyone can enjoy!
3. Binge Watch Family Videos and Photos
We have 1,000s of videos and pictures that are stuck in the cloud, on disks and in phones. It is well below freezing outside, so instead of watching Netflix – we are going to watch our family history and memories instead!
4. Blend Pictionary with Charades
My parents always believed that a family who plays together, stays together. We like to take board games next level in our house, so we get out a giant white board with Pictionary cards and draw while also using a dose of charades for clues when the drawings just aren’t cutting it.
5. Add to the Futures Capsule
I can feel us all getting a little tired of the COVID and the cold, so we are going to get into gratitude and show thanks for the wonders of life while also adding to our Futures Capsule. Instead of adding items and memories that represent the past, we create writings and ideas of what we want in the future. These include drawings, lists, goals, pictures, etc. The Futures Capsule allows us to dream while also creating family conversations focused on what we would like to do, explore, be and achieve. It’s an effective way of communicating with young adults who usually answer their parents with “stuff” or “things” when asked about their day.
Let us know about the fun ideas you have for Valentine’s Day!
As a student of strategic foresight, you learn that there are multiple futures. Typically, you learn about the preferable, probable, plausible and possible futures; however, I noticed that something was missing – the Purposeful Future.
A Purposeful Future is the path we choose to pursue with conscious intent because it is both significant and meaningful.
This is a major miss! How do I know this? The findings of my own research research on entrepreneurial learners and leaders repeatedly reveal one major finding – people are motivated by personal fulfillment and purpose. People are guided by a sense of purpose in the workplace and when buying products and services.
Purpose shapes everything in leadership and life – from our buying decisions to the ways in which we interact with colleagues and take care of ourselves. Research continues to demonstrate that people live longer, happier and healthier lives when they have a purpose.
Last week, I delivered a two-hour, online workshop for a government agency that is preparing its leaders for life after COVID, including the conflicts they might face in the workplace if people return to physical offices. We explored how conflict can be both counterproductive and productive. We also explored what they need to prepare for in 2021 – because change will continue to keep happening throughout the year.
The purpose of conflict was explored throughout the session. We also shared tools leaders and supervisors can use to help navigate the unchartered waters of 2021. More on that in a future post!
While coaching and teaching, I have noticed that thinking too far into the future is really challenging for leaders right now. Instead – my clients are focusing on 2021.
One of my coaching questions for clients lately has been this: Where do you want to be at the end of 2021?
It is not totally necessary for leaders to have only a long-term vision right now. Rather, many of them want to focus on the present as they create their future with intention and purpose, which is a fantastic step forward.
“Where” is the first step in the WILD Method of Strategic Foresight and Leadership. Download and use the Future Story 2021 strategic foresight coaching tool to help guide yourself and your teams through this important first step in creating a Purposeful Future.
Mental health and overall well-being are essential to thriving families, businesses, communities and organizations. It has been both an honor and a pleasure to research, explore and learn more about the incredible field of mental health with administrators and faculty leading the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Leadership Institute. This two-year journey provided me with new tools and techniques, which I now use in my practice. I also shared new ideas and exercises, which they use in their work. Best of all? This wonderful gift provided me with new perspectives related to the intersections between mental health, leadership development, mindfulness and coaching. The learner in me was so jazzed when discovering these connections. Bonus! This partnership also provided me with access to cutting edge research and applications that I now use to support my clients!
Leading Innovation in 2020 and Beyond
One of the areas our team has been focused on is leading innovation. The monumental wildcard of COVID has forced universities, as well as every other sector of business, to change. This requires both bold leadership and the capacity to collaborate in innovative ways that can help us create a purposeful future that may be totally different than where we were heading before 2020.
If you would like more information on how lead innovation and create collaboration in the era of constant change and challenge we are experiencing right now, then contact Wild Innovation for additional resources. We are here to help create a more prosperous future for everyone!
The main idea of this post was originally shared in on Memorial Day in 2014. I wanted to share it again in the time of COVID. While it is true that we find ourselves in challenging and uncertain times, we can get through it. I am also sharing this post because the ideals Ewing Marion Kauffman shared with the world were very helpful to me when deciding whether or not to leave my twenty-five year career. His words ran through my head a million times, and I ultimately decided not to be content with what someone thought I was worth – especially when it was $158,000 less than the man who held the position before me.
I don’t believe the demise of the United States is an inevitable outcome. I believe there are many futures, and we have to decide which one we are going to choose. The politics of this whole COVID situation are very real, so make your own decisions about how you want to live your life. The one thing I have learned? Always question those who tell you to be satisfied with what you have or where you are in life – they usually think they are more entitled and valuable than you – and, that you should be there to serve them in some lower-level capacity.
You have the freedom to choose, and people died for that freedom. Now is the time to use it.
To the Brave & the Fallen: Thank You for Freedom!
We have much to be grateful for this Memorial Weekend. Thank you to all who have lost their lives bravely fighting for the United States. And, thank you to those who have served and passed, the families who have sacrificed more than most can imagine and all who defend this great nation. While I realize today is for the fallen, I also want to thank our living Veterans, Military personnel and their families. You need to be recognized and remembered whenever possible for your dedication and service to this country. I also want to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us.
Thanks to our great military heroes, one of the unique gifts we have in the United States is the gift is FREEDOM! The Declaration of Independence guarantees all of us “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This means we are free to pursue our lives and our vocations in any way that makes sense to us. Freedom and opportunity are already available, now we need the confidence to pursue our dreams!
Freedom is what makes America so great. What we do with our freedom is up to us. It is our choice. Freedom is our grandest opportunity and should be protected, especially in challenging times. The importance of the freedom to choose is demonstrated by the story of Ewing Marion Kauffman.
After serving in World War II, Ewing Marion Kauffman started working as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company and was extremely successful. When he started making more money than his boss, he found that his sales territory was suddenly limited. Mr. Kauffman’s boss limited the sales territory on purpose. After all, an employee couldn’t make more money than the boss!
Mr. Kauffman made a decision after his boss limited his sales territory and income. He quit his job and vowed never to work for anyone else again. He started his business in 1950 in the basement of his home. He generated $36,000 in sales and $1,000 of net profit in his first year. By 1989, Mr. Kauffman’s business made over $1 billion in sales and employed over 3,400 people.
Mr. Kauffman wanted to give back to the world and used his knowledge and wealth to form the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a foundation designed to support entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr. Carl Schramm, the former President of the Kauffman Foundation, wrote The Entrepreneurial Imperative. In this book (one of my absolute favorites), he notes three things all Americans should remember in the face of gloomy times (p. 81):
1. Never bet against the American system.
2. Know that being an American is your very best asset…
3. Finally, never count on anyone but you to create your own destiny.
The American system is designed so that we can pursue our passions and dreams, especially in challenging times. Our ability to pursue our dreams and create our own destiny is what makes our country so great. We all have the freedom to choose what to do with our lives, and we have the freedom to help one another. We have the freedom to pursue our ideas, our dreams and our passions. We have the freedom to create our own destiny.
People like my Great Uncle Jack realized this and helped protect the freedoms we have in the United States. Uncle Jack was a fascinating man. When I was young, all I knew about him was that he was great at hunting night crawlers. In fact, he taught me how to hunt them. We lived in the apartment above my parents’ TV and appliance store. It was located on the main street of a rural community and did not have much of a yard. Luckily, Uncle Jack lived only a few blocks away and had the perfect yard for gathering night crawlers. When it rained at night, we would walk down to his house with our flashlights and buckets. Dad and Uncle Jack would help us kids hunt night crawlers so we could use them as bait when we went fishing.
There is actually a trick to getting your night crawler. You have to shine the light on night crawlers to find them while they are above the wet ground. And, you have to be quick! Too much light scares them back into the ground. You have to remember where they are and grab them quickly yet gently. Then you have to slowly coax them out of the hole a little bit at a time. If you try to force them out, they break.
Night crawlers and people are similar in this regard. If you force individuals down a path they do not truly want to pursue, they eventually break. Humans must find their own paths and pursue their own destinies with passion and purpose in order to live their best lives.
I did not understand much about Uncle Jack until I was a young adult. He was a World War II Veteran and served under General George S. Patton during the Battle of the Bulge. Absolutely amazing! He was a World War II hero and I thought he was awesome because of his ability to catch night crawlers!
Uncle Jack and his family sacrificed when he served our country. As Americans, we must remember that our freedom is not free. Many men and women have died, been injured and sacrificed a great deal to provide us with the ability to live our lives with freedom and choice. Taking our freedom for granted dishonors our troops and veterans. It also dishonors their families, who have sacrificed more than many of us can imagine. These people have truly sacrificed for all of us and our great nation. We should honor and salute them everyday because they have given us the gift of freedom and choice. We get to choose how we spend our time and our lives.
The bottom line: Cherish your freedom, protect it and use it to create your destiny!
Freedom is foundational to entrepreneurship, business development and the future. We must protect freedom for our future generations. My daughter’s birthday is this time of year. Happy Birthday Raquel! As a your Mom, I will do whatever I can to preserve your freedom so you can pursue any dream you choose!
Coaching Challenge: Participate in a Memorial Day Activity and show your gratitude for our Veterans and Military families!
Now may be the perfect time to either establish or revisit your core values.
In a time of drastic change, it can be helpful to either establish or revisit and renew your core values. Why? Core values are what we stand for and judge to be right. They serve as the guiding principles that influence our beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and cultural norms.
The COVID pandemic is a Wild Card that has changed many of our habits, beliefs and behaviors. I have written and talked about Wild Cards for years in my work as a Futurist; however, I want to remind readers about my definition of Wild Card.
Wild Card: Unpredictable, unforeseen happenings that impact our present and future.
Wild Cards can and do happen. COVID is an example of a global sized Wild Card with very long-term, history making and future-changing consequences. Wild Cards can also happen on a smaller scale. We might lose a job or have an unexpected health emergency. We might inherit a large sum of money or land a big client. We may find ourselves needing to revamp our business while practically homeschooling our children (sound familiar?) We don’t know exactly when Wild Cards will occur or how they will impact the world, our businesses and our lives. As leaders of our lives, families and businesses and communities, we need to deal with Wild Cards and the changes that come with them now and into the future.
Wild Cards are a part of business and life. As leaders, we have to learn to deal with what comes our way.
Establishing or renewing your core values can be a valuable first step in transforming your business and life.
One of the clients I have been working with relies heavily on customers physically visiting their property. It is clearly a time for them to pivot, and they wanted a new strategic plan that helped them rethink what is possible in a time of long-term business uncertainty. After the initial in-take and assessment, I recommended that they establish their core values. We start at two levels 1) Each individual employee should establish their core values, and 2) The company also creates core values for the organization.
I have also been “assigning” a core values exercise to my individual coaching clients. There are a number of core values lists out there you can use to establish your core values; however, I prefer that businesses and leaders create their own core values. It is really important to get excited about and connect with your core values. You also need to own them. So, have a little fun with this as a person, family, team or business and create something that energizes and excites you!
The coaching tool I am giving to you all as a download in this blog post is typically used for teams or small businesses. However, you can use the same steps as an individual, family or group of leaders.
5 Simple Steps to Creating Your Core Values
Core Values Uncensored: Forget the Norm & Bravely Brainstorm
Create a “Top 5” List
Work Together to Make the Core Values Better
Reflect, Revise & Test to Find the Best
Choose How to Use Your Core Values
Download the FREE “How to Create Core Values” Coaching Exercise Below!
Core values are the beliefs and principles that help guide your present while laying the foundation for your future.Consumers are increasingly loyal to businesses they can identify with, relate to and believe in because they want a sense of purpose and connection when buying goods and services.
On an individual level, core values represent what we believe, how we behave and who we are. Our values influence everything ranging from how we show up at work to who we choose as friends.
Think of core values like this: An apple has five chambers at its core. Each chamber holds a seed that possess important elements for the regeneration of future apple crops. Seeds hold the keys to a healthy and thriving future. Core values are similar to seeds in that they can help individuals and businesses regenerate themselves to grow the future they desire.
In both business and life, core values should serve as foundational guidelines we use to make decisions, guide behaviors and influence strategic directions. Core values establish both the present and the future when it comes to business, leadership and life.
Go Wild & Have Fun Creating Your Core Values!
Download the FREE “How to Create Core Values” Coaching Exercise Below & Join Wild’s Email List to Receive Coaching Tools, Exercises and Ideas Designed to Help You Create Your Desired Future!