cycleBirth. Life. Death. These are linear events and yet together they make up cycles.

Religion. Education. Careers. All cyclic, and within them they condition us to cyclic behavior.

Some cycles, like the 24-hour cycles our days run on, are easy to see in their entirety and not difficult to get a complete understanding of the behaviors within that one cycle.

Then there are cycles that happen so fast and often, we can be completely unaware they exist until someone takes the time to share with us a simple model of our mental processes when we encounter a problem.

Other cycles can be so long that it is hard to even identify them as a cycle, let alone try to grasp the complete picture or Continue reading

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the golden ruleImagine you are back in kindergarten. Your life is very simple, half a day of school with plenty of drawing, snacking, and of course recess! There are rules, but one sticks out above the rest, the golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

This golden rule gets expanded and expanded as we grow and start to learn how to navigate through the world. Sadly, the more we are exposed to the “reality” of working in a competitive, corporate environment, the harder it seems to follow that one golden rule.

Imagine now a world where Continue reading

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multitaskingGuest Post by Cathy Laffan

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Cathy Laffan again to this blog. Cathy is an innovative executive with a global financial services firm. She shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Cathy at the end of her post. Enjoy.

Have you raised your awareness of your multitasking behavior since my first blog post about it? Were you able to catch yourself doing it? Did you catch yourself before you did it? Have you begun to understand the truth about why you’re doing it? I hope so.

Today, let’s look at the impact of our multitasking behavior. Instead of considering the impact on us and our own activities, let’s consider how our behavior is impacting others.

I caught myself multitasking during a call with a colleague, and I let it continue a bit so I could learn about my behavior.

What I realized is that my speaking pattern Continue reading

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look beyond the labelI have become hyper-aware of the inputs around me. Last week I wrote about what I want, and how to make choices instead of decisions.

So I got to thinking about choices and became almost overwhelmed by the number of choices we are presented with every day.

Then I took it a little further and started thinking about how many choices we have that are more of an illusion of choice than something that Continue reading

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responsibilityGuest Post by Mark Roberts

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Mark Roberts to this blog. Mark is in management in a security services company in London, England. He shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Mark at the end of this post. Enjoy.

Choosing responsibility is a mindset — it’s awareness and it’s a choice that can change the course of an outcome in an instant.

I recently noticed that when I don’t act with responsibility, it has a negative effect on not only me but also my team and our goals and targets.

That stands out for me, especially since being on The Leadership Gift™ Program, a program that is teaching me the art of taking responsibility.

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multi-taskingGuest Post by Cathy Laffan

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Cathy Laffan again to this blog. Cathy is an innovative executive with a global financial services firm. She shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Cathy at the end of her post. Enjoy.

Most of us know what multitasking is – we do it all the time or know someone who does.

There are certainly pros and cons to multitasking.

In my reading, I find that most articles look at it from the perspectives of productivity and time management.

In this two-part blog series, let’s look at multitasking from the perspectives of The Responsibility Process™ and the impact it has on relationships, as well as options for a new way of being.

The Responsibility ProcessOver the past few months, I’ve been writing down my experiences with multitasking.

Here is what I’ve come to realize: there are some people for whom multitasking has become such an integral part of the way they operate that they don’t even realize they’re doing it – a clear case of Denial.

A person in denial is no longer aware of the extent of their multitasking. If you confront people by asking them not to multitask while you’re talking to them, they’ll often tell you to go ahead and talk because they can listen and read email at the same time, and yet you can tell they aren’t hearing you at all.

Some people believe that the reason for their multitasking behavior is the fault of someone else – this is where Blame comes in. They’ll assert that they multitask because their boss has assigned them too much work, their kids have too many activities, or their elderly parent is too demanding, and so their multitasking habit is the fault of those other people.

Still others believe that there are valid reasons for their multitasking habit – sounds like Justify to me. I’ve heard these people justify their habit by saying that they do it during boring meetings to make good use of their time, they do it during their kid’s school play because their kid wasn’t on stage yet, or they can text and drive without problem.

Some people are actually aware of their multitasking habit, want to stop, but keep doing it and then berate themselves for their habit – this is Shame at work. If you talk with this person about their habit you’ll hear them say that they know they do it and they want to change, but rather than focusing on options to help them change, they focus on their perceived failures at changing.

Most people that I’ve spoken with about their multitasking habits are convinced that they must multitask because it’s an expectation at work that they always be connected or available – clearly they believe their habit is an Obligation.

These people will tell you that their boss expects certain things, or that the amount of work that is assigned is impossible to complete in the time allowed without multitasking, or that the very nature of today’s work environment requires you to do it to compete with others.

When a multitasker reaches their breaking point, you’ll hear them say that they can’t go on working like this, or they can’t deal with the demands of their personal life and work, and that something must change – people who have reached this point are at Quit.

They see no way out other than to remove something from their life: change jobs, quit their favorite hobby, stop doing community service, and so on. At no point will you hear them consider that multitasking and the feeling of ‘quit’ is actually a signal that it’s time to Confront the situation and Look for the Truth.

Can you see how multitasking is a ‘below the line’ behavior, anything but taking Responsibility?

Are you a multitasker seeking some alternative? Between now and my next blog post, why not try this:

  • Raise your awareness of when you multitask and ask yourself why you are doing it. Make a few notes.
  • See if you can catch yourself about to multitask and then choose not to do it.
  • Note where you are in The Responsibility Process when you are multitasking.
  • Don’t judge yourself or make an effort to change just yet, just collect information.

In my next post, we’ll consider the impact of multitasking on relationships and options for choosing a new way of being.

Cathy Laffan

Cathy Laffan is a member of  The Leadership Gift™ Program and recently accredited as The Leadership Gift Practitioner. She is a Managing Director with 24 years of experience working for a leading global financial services firm. She has 20 years of experience in the project management field and is certified as a Project Management Professional.

A champion of flexible work arrangements, Cathy has been working remotely full-time for 4 years. Cathy is also a Toastmaster and has earned the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.

Attention business executives and supporting partners — Do you seek proven exceptional solutions for leadership development and culture-shaping? See Partnerwerks approach to sustainable change with measurable results enterprise-wide.

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what do you want?Starting this week in New York, I woke up and got on a bus that took me to a subway. My trip ended with a short walk down Madison Avenue.

I found this beautiful atrium that felt like a calm, nature-filled sanctuary tucked in between the concrete.

It is hard to miss the storefronts all decorated and aiming to influence the passerby to come in and purchase something. Brands everywhere are trying to claim their spot in the beautiful clutter that is this city.

It can be overwhelming to stop and get present in the midst of all of the surrounding input from the sights and smells, the sounds, and even the breeze as a truck flies by.

All of these things, including countless others, are influencers in my life. It got me thinking about the hardest question (in my opinion) out there:

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Guest Post by Mark Roberts

Christopher Avery here. With pleasure I welcome Mark Roberts to this blog. Mark is in management in a security services company in London, England. He shares a love for responsible leadership. Read more about Mark at the end of this post. Enjoy.

We’ve all done it — I know I have. Over the years, I’ve found myself hiding from one thing or another, looking to escape the paradox of my choices in my mind.

I’ve been falling “below the line” of Responsibility, going through all of the stages of The Responsibility Process™, but that is now beginning to change.

Since joining The Leadership Gift™ Program, I’ve begun to learn that hiding from the place of responsibility is like hiding from yourself. You can’t — Continue reading

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how to apologize the right wayA successful apology signals responsibility and learning, not subordination or shame.

Do you know how to apologize so the person you are apologizing to will get it fully and get it the first time?

Do you know how to apologize so you are complete and both you and the other party are ready to move to resolution?

Not many of us know how to apologize with complete integrity. Most of us apologize with an attitude. We are either reluctant to own it completely, or we grovel unnecessarily.

The reluctant apologizer Continue reading

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stabilityI have convinced myself of something that simply is an illusion. In the past, I have talked about safety being an illusion we convince ourselves of with the help of our parents and society.

As we grow up, that illusion starts to change. As toddlers we are taught about “stranger danger.” As teenagers and young adults, TV shows riddled with murder, abuse, and every other form of fright to condition us to believe the world is a terrible place.

The truth is – there is no such thing as safety. Only I can create a sense of safety for myself.

Recently, I realized this concept applied to Continue reading

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