Human to Human is a daily blog. It’s journalling and learning in public, Monday through Thursday, in which I post current learnings (taking sporadic weeks off to write longer pieces or to rest). Posts are 300-500 words, often with photos, intended to be read in five minutes and inspire reflection, individually and communally, on varied aspects of participative leadership practices, insights, and human to human depth.

Start Again — Thx Rupi Kaur

I admire the beauty, this time of year, of the purpled and blued lavender. Lavender takes a while to blossom where I live. But when it does, it is abundant. And when it does, the bees come aplenty, which seems to be a good thing these days.

I admire the beauty this time of year of the purpled and pinked morning glory. Yes, it vines its way through most everything. Impressively. Morning glory opens most vibrantly in the start of the mornings.

The writer Rupi Kaur offers in her book, the sun and her flowers, “never feel guilty for starting again.”

I am lifted by the encouragement to keep starting. Sometimes the starts are the simple beginnings of the day. Get up. Out of bed. Celebrate. Journal. Meditate. Contribute learning and invitations. Sometimes the starts are bigger, more seasonal. Exercise. Move. Let go. Wander. Take hope, again. Be in the all of it, puzzling or comforting, as openly as possible.

It’s not just the outcomes that are the main point of things here. It’s the starting again. The waking to loveliness. The remembering life energy. The moving with intuition. The kindness of a first next step (rather than every detail after that).

Yup, never feel guilty about the energy of starting again, big or small. For me, welcome a joy, unapologetically, of a step that starts the heart again.

Purpled, blued, and pinked.

Some Guided Journaling Questions

After hosting many people in forms of direct conversation together, I love to mix in a little deliberate inner reflection.

Last week, it was placed toward the end of a three day gathering, so as to give participants a little more convergence energy, some clarity of what they were leaving with. And, it was at the end of a five month cohort leadership development program that I created and hosted with my colleague and friend, Glen Brown.

I put on some music. I invited people to write sentences, or to make notes, or to draw images. For each question, three minutes.

  1. In the spirit of “used to be but now I am”, how do you feel your leadership has changed over these five months? (Change)
  2. Who are the people that you know you wish to stay in touch with, to keep learning with? Is there a wild card person in that? (People)
  3. What are three important learnings that you want to carry forward with you? (Learning, Practice)
  4. What is at the core of the gift that you bring to leadership? What is the growing edge? (Gift, Edge)
  5. If you had full permission to be kind to yourself, what would you do daily, weekly, monthly? (Kindness to Self, Kindness with Other)
  6. What inspires you most about being in this industry? (Inspires)
  7. What is the commitment you can make today to continue your growth as a leader? (Growth, Commitment)

This was a context explicitly offered as leadership development. So, some of the questions are deliberately pointed back to that purpose. However, slight shifts in these questions bring out growth and commitment and practice as a human being also.

I love pulling people into these moments in which their commitments to job intersect with their commitments to humanness. I love seeing people open to a deeper inner that then carries them into the many forms of outer.

A Cafe on Continuous Improvement

I’m grateful to have learned World Cafe many years ago from Juanita Brown, David Isaacs, Meg Wheatley, Toke Moeller, and Bob Stilger. These were people who were practicing simplicity of guided connection in form. I’m grateful to have continued to learn and practice with many others over the years. Again, connection with some shape — flow within some river banks.

Last week I co-hosted a simple cafe that was centered on continuous improvement. With a group of people that work in a rather complex operational context. We offered this focus and format with intent to cultivate improvement energy and commitment.

Something like this.

  • A little setup about this format for Cafe, moving tables, learning with the people in front of you, contributing and listening for insights, etc.
  • Round 1: When have you experienced contributing to or participating in an improvement? What do you think you need to stay in that mind and heart? (Yes, this is a lot to ask for a 20 minute round, but our point was to lift up the energy of improvement — not complete fixes.)
  • Popcorn harvest to hear a few snippets (not from everyone).
  • A little set up about the courage to “disrupt” and to “start”.
  • Rounds 2 and 3: Is there a “disrupt” and a “start” that you need to improve your leadership, in the name of continuous improvement?
  • Post-it Note harvest from each to the wall. Some slight groupings. Reflecting out loud as a group on what they see in the post-it’s shared.

Grateful for such simple format to bring such important learning forward — and of course, behind it all, to restore and reclaim formats for learning with heart and belly together.