Newsletter by Barbara Mintzer

Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey

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January 2006
Finding Solid Footing From Within When Everything is Changing Around You

Here we are, at the beginning of a new year. My best wishes to all of you for a peaceful and purposeful year. One of my favorite things to do over the holidays is to read books that I have bought during the year, but have never found the time to read. One of the books I read last month was a compilation of favorite quotes by the late Erma Bombeck. I have used her quote "Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving" in many of my presentations, and I have now come across one I like just as much:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope
that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
"I used everything you gave me."

Most of us want to use the talents and skills we were given, but we don't know the direction to go in to make that happen. Throughout my career, my fervent prayer has always been "please put me where you need me" when I can't figure that out for myself. However, I am aware of how resistant I am when the place I am needed causes me to have to go through change. I may have to change the thrust of my programs, or come up with new programs altogether. I may have to change my perception of what I personally bring to these programs, and what would be of most value to my clients. I may also have to look at what motivates me in my work, and what can I do to make me feel valued and nurtured as well. In other words, what motivates the motivator to do the work I do.

Many of the organizations and associations I have spoken to have told me they want me back, but they want a new program. They want new ideas, new stories, new jokes and new perspectives on visionary leadership. So, I am proud to tell you that I have come up with a new program that has special relevance to me, as it is reflective of my journey and challenges with change, and I believe it will be a powerful message when customized specifically for your organization or association. The program is tentatively entitled Finding Solid Footing From Within When Everything is Changing Around You. Visionary leaders have core strengths and values that give them a sense of direction and meaning to their work, even when all hell is breaking out around them. These core strengths allow them to move their people through change without sacrificing the purpose and productivity of the team.
If you can think of another title for this program, please e-mail me with your ideas ... I am open to all suggestions. If I  use your title, I will send you an autographed copy of my book "Thriving in the Midst of Change" to say thank you for your suggestion.

This Newsletter and each Newsletter for the next five months will focus on one of six inner core strengths visionary leaders call on to help them deal with the change and uncertainty that permeate the workplace today. As always, your thoughts, insights and feedback are welcome and appreciated. We are all in this together! For this Newsletter, we look at the first inner core strength:

Understanding the Journey through Change

Change is a part of life, and no matter how hard we resist or resent it, change happens. It is far wiser to learn how to harness change and make it our friend, than to fear change and look at it as our enemy. Change is not easy, for it uproots us from our sense of comfort and security, pulling us away from the "known" which is safe and secure. However, if we look at the world and our lives just 10 short years ago, who could have imagined what would have happened. We have had the technology explosion which has completely changed the way we do business. We have been through 9/11 which has changed the way we look at the world and that seminal event has knocked us out of the complacency we had in thinking nothing like that could happen to us. As a nation we have become more vigilant and self-protective, and as individuals we are looking to find meaning and purpose in our lives more than ever before.

When change is thrust upon us, we have two choices. We can run away from the change and insist on doing things the old way, or we can embrace the change with optimism and faith that new opportunities will open up for us that will enable us to use our talents and skills to our best advantage. Nothing in life remains the same, and we have to change with the times to make the work we do relevant and of value. I have a post-it note over my computer that I see every morning that is very helpful to me, and I'd like to share it with you.

Fear Face
Everything Everything
And And
Run Recover

This helps me enormously when I am facing a situation that is causing me anxiety, and what I really want to do is run away from it. This is true in my personal life as well as in my career.  When I have to make changes and correct the course I am on, when I am in unfamiliar waters, the above is very comforting to me and it gives me a sense of purpose. In order to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life, we must continuously re-invent ourselves and search deep inside for what else we have to offer the world. Many of us have talents and skills that remain untapped all of our lives. I think the best thing we can do is face the fear of change, acknowledge it, and then move on with our lives anyway. I would love to share another quote with you that speaks to this issue:

"It's not so much that we're afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it's that place in between that we fear ... It's like being between trapezes. It's Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There's nothing to hold on to."
                                              Marilyn Ferguson
                                              American futurist

I find when I am in this in between place, I need to be kind to myself. I may be confused and unclear of my next step, however, this is NOT the time to beat myself up for it. Clarity takes time, and I need to give myself the time to sort things out and put things into perspective. I hope you allow yourself the time and space to do the same. I read another terrific book over the holidays called "Sabbath" and it is all about the need to take one day a week to rejuvenate and re-energize ourselves so we have the strength and inner fortitude for the journey ahead. Whatever day your Sabbath is, it is a wonderful time to spend some quiet time to reflect on where you are going, where you have been, and to ask for guidance to see you through the journey. If you can't devote a full day, then take whatever time you can to have the peace and quiet you need to re-charge your batteries.

Finally, when you are dealing with change, bite one small piece of the elephant at a time. Sit down and write out the steps you need to take to work through the change. A large change is overwhelming, but if we cut it down to bite-size pieces, it is much more manageable. You may wish to start a journal through change and put a heading on the first page that says: "For this week, here are the steps I will take to help me move through the change." Put down a few small steps and accomplish them. Success breeds success. When you have successfully completed these steps, you are on to the next, and the next until you move through the change. If you feel comfortable, share the change you are going through with a trusted friend or confidante, so when you feel discouraged or disappointed he/she can be there to cheer you on.

If you have a strategy you use that helps you deal with change, please e-mail me. With your permission, I will share it with the other readers of this Newsletter. It would be very helpful to all of us. We have almost 600 people reading this Newsletter and your idea or strategy could help many people in their journey through change.

We have had a lot to think about in this Newsletter. If you wish to pass this Newsletter along to a colleague who may find it of value, feel free to do so. If that person would like to receive the Newsletter, e-mail me with the address, and I will put it on my database. If you know of an organization, association or corporation that would benefit from my message, please let me know. Thanks so much, and have a wonderful month. NOTE: We have now updated my Website and you can find all of my past Newsletters by subject and date on the Website.

About the Author

Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables and can be a master of ceremonies for your event... a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.

Phone: (805) 964-7546
FAX: (805) 964-9636

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