Provision #225: Act Courageously

Laser Provision

Successful people know when and how to act counter-intuitively. That takes courage. Sometimes it means doing the exact opposite of what seems to be indicated. Yet in chaotic, complex, and contradictory times, such counter-intuitive action is often the key to success in business and in life. Read on for details.

LifeTrek Provision

Successful people understand the power of paradox. They know when and how to act counter-intuitively, which, appropriately enough, surfaces more often than not in today’s world.

• Want to get more done? Eliminate projects from your to-do list.
• Want to make more money? Stop making decisions based upon money.
• Want to provoke positive change? Provide significant stability.
• Want to build an enterprise? Focus on the individual.
• Want to empower your people? Exercise powerful leadership.
• Want to stop wasting time? Appreciate the present moment.
• Want to accomplish an impossible task? Tell people it can’t be done.

Many books have been written about these and other paradoxical principles including Work Less, Make More by Jennifer White (Click) and The Paradox Principles by The Price Waterhouse Change Integration Team (Click). They all point to the same truth: sometimes we have to move in the opposite direction in order to get where we want to go. Or, to quote Oscar Wilde, “the way of paradoxes is the way of truth.”

An early mentor of mine, Tex Evans, demonstrated this wisdom repeatedly in his handling of dirty jobs and arrogant adversaries. “This job is so bad,” he would tell a group of volunteers, “that we’re not even going to try it.” Soon the volunteers would be fighting over who was better equipped to handle the job. Had they been asked to do the job directly, they would have grumbled about it from start to finish. “Your health, education, and race,” he would tell a local executive, “are great accomplishments.” Soon the executive would be reconsidering his own life story. Had his self-help, bootstrap philosophy been challenged directly, he would have resisted to the end.

Does the power of paradox apply to current world events? One reader of Provisions wrote this past week to ask for help with two seemingly contradictory intuitions. “I resonate with the cry for peace, love, understanding, healing from within, and recognizing and attending to the rift in our collective soul.” But I also resonate with “the call for justice, reproof, punishment for crimes committed, and holding people accountable for their actions.”

Many readers of Provisions may feel this same contradiction. How can we embrace the demands of both love and justice? One way, observed the reader, is to “not punish innocent Arabs and/or Muslims for the actions of fanatical zealots who may share the same heritage.” That’s certainly the least we can do • although we hear increasingly common news reports of individuals who fail even that simple standard, both in the U.S. and around the world.

Another way, observed the reader, is to “intelligently combat the awful hatred, death, and destruction that find their home with terrorists.” How? “I wish it could be restrained with love and compassion,” the reader concluded, “but this is not within my experience to grasp the possibility.”

Such is the way of paradox. It seldom appears obvious or within our experience. It takes courage to move in the opposite direction of common sense. Common sense tells us that we should destroy the lives of those who destroyed life, to keep them from destroying life again. What could be more obvious? There is a solid foundation for that approach in just war theory. It’s based on the notion of restraining evil through military force within the bounds of certain rules of engagement.

But common sense may not produce the results we expect when the rules of the game have changed. Some say this game has no rules and extremely high stakes. If so, it’s not unlike the chaotic, complex, and contradictory world of modern business. Uncommon sense may be called for, more now than ever before, if we hope to make any real progress at all.

One form of uncommon sense draws upon an equally solid foundation in the theory of nonviolence, which confronts the aggressor with solidarity, negotiation, self-sacrifice, and love. It has not been tried very often, especially by nation states, but there are examples throughout history of those:

• Who stand united to undermine aggression.
• Who endure suffering to wear down their attackers.
• Who open channels of communication with their enemies.
• Who offer forgiveness as part of a just peace solution.
• Who die in order to live.

I’m not sure we’re ready for such paradoxes. They certainly take far more courage than retaliating in kind. And we have not been trained in their ways. No wonder they’re outside our experience and hard to imagine! But different times call for different strategies. Paradoxical moves are worth considering if we hope to cut the Gordian knot posed by our reader. How can we embrace the demands of both justice and love? Very carefully! Let’s pray for our leaders and all those who make decisions of life and death.

Read on to see what other LifeTrek readers have to say on the subject.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


“I do not think fear is a bad thing. All elements of courage contain a small element of fear. My fear is not paralyzing. I am not so afraid I cannot meet this enemy forever, if that’s what it takes. I think that this situation will do more to bring together Blacks & Whites forever in the United States than any other event in history.”


“This Provision was one of your best. I am dismayed that the world has not yet connected the dots that violence begets violence…and that 2000 years of fighting has not yet demonstrated that it doesn’t work. From where I sit in Australia, Bush appears to be a very dangerous man…I am hoping that he doesn’t back his words with actions, because if he does, we have WW3. It is shocking to me that people have not explored the consequences of this.”


“That was a very thoughtful and important Provision this week. I agree with you about being aware of our fear and not reacting prematurely based on that overwhelming emotion. My biggest concern in the wake of the attack is the reaction of the general public in America based on fear. I think we’ve seen a great deal of unity and pride and heroism in the past couple weeks. But as time wears on and thoughts turn from the immediate tragedy and healing, I hope that our fears do not paralyze our country, nor too quickly mobilize it for retaliation. I think the economy is key in dispelling fears and diverting our attention from striking back too swiftly and severely. I believe fear is primarily based on feeling out of control • not being able to control what happens • to us, our loved ones, and controlling the outcomes we desire. Well, we DO have certain control based on freedoms we may not all be exercising.”


“I find all kinds of emotions swelling within me as I read about efforts to humanize terrorists. I am having trouble believing that we can impose our values onto them the way I feel some articles do.”


“The implication that governments are not themselves just groups of people with their own individual goals may be part of ‘the problem.’ As long as we can corral any batch of people into any group identity, we can forget/ignore the basic life principle: power/strength is in the individual person. The power of destruction has always rested with individuals; the most destructive power is depersonalizing the perpetrator, or letting the S.O.B. operate with impunity under the guise of being anointed/appointed/elected to some titled position. It’s still just a person!

As for fear, I’ve never understood • even as a small child • being afraid of the unknown, being afraid of the dark. What’s fearsome is what’s already known to be hurtful, whether it’s a mean mommy or an angry dog; what’s unknown is potentially wonderful! Of course, another basic human tenet applies: if we can ignore reality, we can abdicate responsibility.”


“For once in a long time I am proud of our Government, Democrats and Republicans, and I pray for them every day. Patriotism was nearly non existent and now it is back. Prayer has even been allowed back into public schools. I see on signs everywhere (fast food, convenience stores, etc.) saying things like “One nation indivisible, under God” and “God bless America”. I do pray for peace but we will never achieve it by not standing up for ours and other peace loving nations.”


“The pastor of our church gave a very powerful sermon on Sunday. The most memorable line: “When people start talking about patriotism, and you’re my color [black], you’d better watch out!”



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #224: Mind Your Fear

Laser Provision

Fear should not be dismissed as a sign of weakness. It serves to protect and create life. As strange as it may sound, this Provision puts in a few good words for fear. Take them to heart, and we may avoid shooting ourselves in the foot as we go after the enemy.

LifeTrek Provision

Fear is in the air. You bump into it wherever you look. Here are a few representative remarks.

• “The relentless fear permeating the land since the terrorist attacks is changing people’s behavior and driving immediate political actions that will alter the nation’s future. All facets of life • air travel, architecture, business, entertainment, family, government, sports, you name it • will feel the collateral effects.” The Columbus Dispatch, Sunday, September 23, 2001.

• “The power of destruction has passed from the hands of the governments to the hands of small units that are invisible, powerful, hard to find, hard to destroy and absolutely terrifying,” Ray Browne, Professor Emeritus, Bowling Green State University, Popular Culture Department.

• “After all that has just passed • all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them • it is natural to wonder if America’s future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror.” George W. Bush, President, United States of America

Anger, hatred, and the rumblings of war are also in the air. No sooner does fear get expressed as it gets swept away in a patriotic rattling of swords. Would that they were only swords anymore! Our technology has so far outpaced our morality that we again find ourselves on the precipice of unleashing weapons of mass destruction • chemical, biological, and nuclear. It’s a scary place to be, perhaps more so now than during the Cold War.

Before we too quickly jump off that precipice, and as strange as it may sound coming from a coach, I want to put in a few good words for fear. Minding our fear • paying attention to it, respecting it, and transforming it with love • may even be another one of those habits of successful people that we have been trying to keep sight of during these difficult days. Otherwise we can end up shooting ourselves in the foot as we go after the enemy.

Let’s start with the obvious: fear, like pain, is a basic emotion that we ignore or anesthetize at great cost. Any runner knows that pain means there’s a problem. Running through the pain, with the help of pain killers and true grit, usually does more harm than good. Eventually, the body takes over and prevents us from running at all.

So too with fear. If, in our attempt to get beyond the discomfort and embarrassment of fear, we too quickly get back either to business as usual or to the business of retaliation, we risk hurting ourselves even further. It’s certainly important to get out of harm’s way. But paying attention to fear, especially to its causes and resolutions, takes time and energy. Knee-jerk reactions usually just end up pulling another muscle.

That said, we can also thank fear not only for warning us of danger but also for provoking new thinking, strategies, and technology. If necessity is the mother of invention, then fear is the greatest mother of all. Nothing gets people into gear like fear. Just look at how quickly the United States government found $40 billion to mobilize its forces and respond to this tragedy. Fear can do amazing things.

Some have gone so far as to suggest that every great invention and intellectual advance represents a desire to escape from some dreaded circumstance or condition. “Education,” Angelo Patri said, “consists in being afraid at the right time.” It also consists in being afraid to the right degree and in the right way. Now is certainly a time to be afraid. If we can also manage the degree and course of our fear, we may yet produce a better world indeed.

Too much fear is debilitating. It paralyzes rather than moves people into action. That’s why Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The fear of fear cascades into crippling anxiety. We need to trust fear as a normal, necessary, and creative part of life. That’s why I shared with you Derek Mahon’s poem in the Special Edition of September 12, 2001. “There will be dying•but everything is going to be all right.” Such faith, which for me rests in God, is the best antidote I know for fear.

Wrongly channeled fear is destructive. It can quickly degenerate into vicious blood feuds. Listen to Dr. Martin Luther King on the subject, some 40 years ago during another time of great social upheaval and military conflict. “Our deteriorating international situation is shot through with the lethal darts of fear, one of the major causes of war. We say that war is a consequence of hate, but close scrutiny reveals this sequence: first fear, then hate, then war, and finally deeper hatred. Were a nightmarish nuclear war to engulf our world, the cause would be not so much that nations hated each other, but that they feared each other.” (Strength to Love, 1963)

If Dr. King is right, and if the current stakes are as high as or even higher than they were back then, we would do well to channel our fear • as hard as this may be • into directions other than hatred and war. Dr. King spoke in terms of love and understanding. In so far as we can achieve this in the current situation, before and perhaps even in lieu of striking out militarily with “Operation Infinite Justice,” it will serve us all well. Time will tell if this option gets any consideration at all.

Read on to see what other LifeTrek readers have to say on the subject.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


“Transposing is sometimes a difficult exercise, but one that is more important than ever, especially in our own country, now.  We must understand our fellow citizens, and sometimes resist them, as we once again overreact to facing the ‘enemy within.'”


“Tribal warfare has been going on for two thousand years and has now been magnified globally. Can tribal warfare be brought to an end? Is patriotism and nationalism even relevant anymore, or is this another form of tribalism? What are you and I as persons going to do about what is happening? Can we afford to let the deeper wound fester any longer? Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift in our collective soul? Isn’t this an attack on civilization from without that is also from within?

None of us will feel safe again behind the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals. There can be no safety until the root cause is faced. In this moment of shock I don’t think anyone of us has the answers. It is imperative that we pray and offer solace and help to each other. But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.” Deepak Chopra


“On Tuesday night, I left a prayer vigil at Valparaiso University’s large chapel.  It was the third vigil of the day, each filled to capacity with between 1500 and 2000 people.  All of the vigils pleaded for us to turn to prayer and not to lash out indiscriminately.  They were wonderful experiences where community was truly present.  Then, on the way home my radio had Jerry Falwell speaking.  He was speaking such venomous bile I was entranced.  I couldn’t believe he was referring to the same God that I had just experienced.  Oh, how we need to repent.”


“Of all the opinions expressed, I have yet to read one as balanced as yours. You are correct, the spiral will continue, but, as we have seen in the past 20 years in Europe and the Soviet Union, it can be made to slow. But it can only be slowed by a society that values life, personal liberty, and the rule of law.”


“Thank you for the many hours you have given to ‘coaching’ us through this crisis. I have been very impressed by the depth and creativity of all of your weekly letters. I subscribed to LifeTrek because of how I resonate with the direction you take. But this week I was deeply touched by the time and dedication you took. And again I resonate with what you are saying. We must remain level-headed and ‘level-spirited’ in our responses to this violence. It is a time to act not react and we have the choice to change the world or destroy the world.”


“The events of the past week determine that life will change, but, of course, how it changes will be a reflection of our consciousness–individually and collectively.  Is it possible, I wonder, for a whole people to be willing to say ‘no’ to terrorism and to do whatever is necessary to stop it without harboring hatred in their hearts?”


Your message that violence begets violence is timely and accurate.  It is through actions of violence that we create angry people who have nothing to loose.  Additionally, I see another component; it is the strain of fundamentalism that sees this type of killing as acceptable.  We have seen it in our country with the killing of abortion doctors and in every country in the world.  We can not eradicate all Christians for the sins of a few radicals any more than we can kill all Muslims for the actions of the extremists.  There is another alternative and that is to work on the social conditions that support extremists.  This will take time and money.  War will spend this money in the destruction of others rather than the building of them.”


“I have a deep-seated bias against hate and intolerance. I have a bias against racial and religious bigotry. I have a bias against war, a bias for peace. I have a bias which leads me to believe that no problem of human relations is ever insoluble.” Dr. Ralph Bunche, Nobel Peace Prize Winner


“I am sorry it took me this long to write. I just wanted to console you on the recent attack on the US. IT IS REALLY A DISASTER. I don’t know why some people will go through all this, just to prove a point at the expense of loss of lives. I am indeed sorry. When I was told I couldn’t believe it, an attack on the US, no way! It wasn’t until I heard it on BBC and confirmed it on the CNN website that I actually believed it. In my native language we say ‘E pele, a o ni ri iru e mo’ meaning, ‘Sorry, may we not see such again.’ May the good Lord give you the fortitude to bear the loss. Once again, I offer my condolences.”


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #223: Transpose Your Enemy

Laser Provision

This Provision contains your voices, the voices of LifeTrek clients, subscribers, coaches, and friends around the world. In the past five days, you have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to open communication and irrepressible hope. You have spoken in profound and moving ways. I hope you read to the end.

LifeTrek Provision

In the midst of this series on habits for success came the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington DC. A day later I sent out an offer of assistance as well as some reflections in which I tried to transpose the enemy. What are they thinking? What are they feeling? Where are they coming from? That is, after all, another one of those habits for success: being able to see things from more than one point of view.

Some readers took offense at the timing of this exercise (too soon), other readers took offense at the exercise itself (not ever). Having stepped outside the bounds of civilization with their wrong-headed, immoral, outrageous, and obscene action, many people believe these extremists and their allies do not deserve such accommodation. They are to be dismissed and destroyed as irrational zealots and senseless cowards.

I understand that point of view. What these people did was heinously unacceptable. As a result, military action and an escalation of the conflict are virtually inevitable. But will we go after the right people? And will the action be effective? And can the violence be contained to a tit for tat exchange? Or will it mushroom into a global conflagration?

We cannot even begin to answer those questions, it seems to me, until we transpose the enemy and come to grips with the underlying grievances • not to capitulate to their side but to understand them as a prelude to negotiating a new kind of peace. Old strategies have broken down. When that happens, in business or in life, taking the time to “walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins” • even the moccasins of your adversary • holds out the only hope I know for genuine success and peace.

This approach was reflected in an article in last Thursday’s Columbus Dispatch. The article was entitled, “Why do people hate America enough to kill?” I encourage you to read it in its entirety. It is well written and says some things better than I said them in Wednesday’s special edition of LifeTrek Provisions. Just follow this link (Click).

That said, I want to use this issue to highlight comments in the order they were received (on occasion, they have been slightly edited to work within this context). It has been both humbling and overwhelming to receive so many thoughtful reflections and replies. I have tried to respond promptly and personally to them all • an emotionally draining and yet incredibly enlightening task. Thank you for the opportunity to share with and serve you in this way.

I would encourage you to read through to the end of these comments. Each voice is separated by a line. All are reprinted anonymously. As the days went by, I found a certain development of perspective, wisdom, and understanding that encouraged my heart and gave me hope. I hope they impact you that way as well.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2001


“Your message is clear but I feel it will go unheard. I will continue to pray for wisdom for those making decisions and protection from outside forces for those closest to the damage.”


“Thanks, Bob. (Your message) made me think and took away some of the hatred and vengeance that filled my heart.”


“I disagree vehemently with your viewpoint on this action. That said, I am willing to let others hold their viewpoints, even if I disagree. As repugnant as I find it, I would even support your right to hold such opinions. But at this point I am not addressing my fundamental disagreement with your viewpoint, or your right to hold it. I am conveying offense at your timing. To say such things at this point in the healing process is unbelievable and shows a callous disregard for those who are hurting.”


“Thank you for the inspirational message. Your points help to bring some order in this time of chaos.”


“You’ve turned your platform into a political statement. By ANOTHER perspective, this was a “premeditated purposeful and COURAGEOUS attack.” In what perspective other than that of a madman, I would ask?”


“I cannot over-state how deeply I am aligned with what you stated in your most recent electronic newsletter. Violence does beget violence and we will only create more evil by responding in kind. I am disturbed by the need for “revenge.” A compassionate heart for all involved, including the perpetrators, is the only way out in my view. I know this is not a popular viewpoint and it does not condone what has happened • but economic sanctions and political pressure are called for • not additional violence.”


“I’ve been waiting for someone to utter those truths, and you did so eloquently. I’m afraid our leaders, on both sides of the aisle, are not likely to own up to those truths any time soon, so all we can do right now is weep with our Savior over poor Jerusalem.”


“Amid a flood of conflicting emotions, tears, sadness, and grief, and in the numbness of the moment, we pause to pray for peace within our own nation and among the world’s nations. Inspire our quest for national unity, Almighty God and Author of Life, with an equal measure of respect for human diversity. May those who govern people everywhere pause to remember that the primary function of government is to provide for the security and well-being of all people. May the peace we are praying for be marked by a commitment to justice and compassion for all the world’s people.”


“It is so sad and difficult to know that our world still holds such anger, hate and violence.  It is now our job, to do what we can, to keep the aftermath of fear and violence from the innocents in our countries.  The Arab and Muslim populations, throughout the world will, and already are, suffering at the hands of an angry world populace, even if they are innocent, proven guilty out of fear and anger, simply by their heritage or beliefs.  It is our job now, to do what we can to hold the space and heart of peace in all that surrounds us.”


“Many liken it to Pearl Harbor almost sixty years ago. Some are saying that Osama bin Laden is responsible or perhaps Saddam Hussein. Whoever is responsible, I fear that retaliating against them will not end the threat. Is this a war worth fighting? Can it be won on earth?”


“The sound of the blast has not yet faded • but soon we will hear the roll of the drums. And what will be the response on the other side? Destroy Israel! The missiles are already in place. The chemical and biological warheads ready. The joint battle plans of Iraq and Syria already drawn. The commitment made. Israel too is ready. No longer will Bush be saying to Sharon • “Restraint!” The only thing that can “save” Israel from being overrun or wiped out by chemical and biological weapons is nuclear. God forbid it goes that far.”


“I have to admit that yesterday my first reaction was a poor one. Frankly, I was ready for war and even told people to protect themselves for such. Some people mistook my advice to mean, “Take guns to the streets and riot.” Yikes. After the fact, I realized that *the* most important thing was to remain calm and get back to business as soon as possible. I have been urging everyone to do so.”
 


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2001


“How can people possibly take the view that terrorism in any form is somehow an understandable act of reprisal? I have heard that opinion expressed before by god-fearing, anti-government wackos and find it incomprehensible.”


“One of the most chilling comments I heard was from John McCain who said: ‘It’s because they’re bad, and we (Americans) are good.’ My grandfather was in the Navy in World War II and was one of the first people to arrive in Japan after the atom bomb was dropped. You probably know how badly the Japanese treated our American POW’s. Well my grandfather supervised Japanese POW’s in building barracks for American troops. I asked him what they were like and he said that they were like everyone else. They had Mothers and Fathers who loved them.”


“I’m aware of the mixed feelings that come with such a situation. The desire for peace cannot respond to this incident with passivity. The Gospel is never passive, nor are we expected to be passive. However, blind retaliation and reprisals are not the answer either. To respond in such a manner places us into the same category as the soulless cowards who perpetrated the acts of terrorism.

My greatest concern is that a witch-hunt not happen. I hope this country can learn from our mistakes about perceived patriotism and ethnic heritage. I have served with Muslim soldiers. Their loyalty to this country is without question. I continue to pray for peace, and that people through out the world who truly want peace will rise up together and say, ‘Enough!'”


“We are told that the appropriate response to the despicable murder of so many innocent people is to… murder more innocent people. That is not justice. It is vengeance. We all desperately desire to see the perpetrators brought to justice. Yet raining down missiles on some other population is not justice. We must say no to such injustice being done in our names. Justice, yes. War and revenge, no•.”


“A moment of silence for those who perished. A prayer for those who grieve. A prayer for America, that the bricks and mortar of her pride and determination will be rebuilt in each of us as we move forward from this day hand in hand…one nation, under God. May the light of Liberty burn forever strong.”


“I live in DENMARK, des is en TRAGEDY in NEW YORK, i file for you, over dere, i am not so good to ENGLISG.”


“While I understand what you are saying, I respectfully disagree. The only position and ideology I see is hatred, no matter what the reason. I can accept that there are peoples in the world who do not like the US, whose values differ greatly, or who are jealous, or who feel oppressed. But I must protest when you imply, and I get this implication from your message, that the US must take some of the blame for what happened yesterday because of our “position and posture” in the world. I believe that THESE people were part of an egocentric, self-aggrandizing cult whose only ideal is harming those more powerful than themselves.”


“Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall–Think of it, ALWAYS.’ Questions to Ponder: What thoughts and observations do I have about this idea? How can I conduct myself in a more love-filled way?”


“Derek Mahon’s poem ‘Everything is Going to be all Right’ jarred me. I don’t know if you’ve been listening to our national leaders, even our media people • it does not seem to me that much of anything is or is going to be all right. Insanity is a strong word but it seems to me to be close to the target • no one is asking ‘Why did these people do this? Why are people willing to sacrifice their lives? What should we learn from this disaster?” So I cannot imagine, ‘Everything is going to be all right.’ God can bring good things out of the worst, and I hope and pray that this will happen, but many things are not, nor are they going to be for my foreseeable future, all right.

How inadequately we have learned from Francis, Mohandas, Dorothy and Martin. They, along with so many others, teach us that whenever we accept, condone, or participate in injustice, we provoke, we sanction violence. Whenever we (divide) the world into ‘we’ and ‘they’ the seeds we sow result in someone’s death. I was privileged to actually hear Martin say it. I confess my failure to incarnate it profoundly enough.

Part of the tragedy is that we can never agree on the starting place. Each retaliation is motivated by a previous grievance. The cycle will only stop with us if we have the strength and courage to stop it • much more strength and courage, I dare say, than hiring someone with a bigger gun or longer-range missile.”


“We continue to dream of ‘Peace on earth’ and pray that our ears, hearts, and minds might be opened to hear the cries of anguish of the world and pray that we might in some small way extinguish the consuming fires of rage. Save us, O God, from the need to retaliate turning into a new form of rage. We pray for all who are victims and those who are bound to them in friendship and love. In important ways we are all victims and need your healing and your succor. Amen.”


“The attacks were not ‘courageous’ and there was no ‘sacrifice’ because these people place no value on life, including their own…in fact, they think they will be rewarded in an after-life for their commitment of mass murder and mass destruction. These people are not suppressed…in fact, they are fully funded. They are brainwashed to hate and kill everything western (particularly as it relates to U.S. and Israel) from the time they are children. I am a peace loving person….but, appeasing terrorists will only lead to more terrorism…their aim is to destroy us…this was not just a scare….now, it is a matter of survival, and the U.S. will have to do what it has to do.”


“The enemy is not Islam, the enemy is fundamentalism in any form. Beware of the prophet who proclaims: “I and I alone have the truth. Follow me and we will set the world straight.” Islam happens to place more emphasis on political involvement that other western religions, and Islam has been “militant,” bent on conquering the world in the name of Allah. But as any Moslem will tell you, true Islam is a religion of the heart, of conversion to God, and submission to His Will. Islam has been hijacked by its fundamentalists, with devastating consequences for the world. This is a dark day in American history, but it is also a dark time for Islam, a religion of a God who is compassionate and merciful, and in no way a God of terror or reprisal.”


“If my creator is the one God then my earthly neighbors are more than 6 billion of all faiths, actions, thoughts, words, dreams, and fears. If I love my God with all my heart, and my neighbors as myself, then I must pray: That I love the attackers • and my mind wants them punished with God-like swiftness and certainty. That I love the dead and injured ones • and my body aches with their God-ordained pain. That I love the families, coworkers, and friends of the dead and injured • and my heart breaks with their God-longing sense of loss. That I love the rescue workers • and my spirit soars with their God-serving compassion and effort. That I love the leaders • and my will and resolve bends and stretches to bend and be molded by their God-guided wisdom. God loves us all • even when we aren’t lovable to ourselves or each other. God love us and help us love each other through this, the past, and the future to come.”


“Unless I misread what you said, you have assigned a moral equivalence to the bombings and “the spread of US policies or multinational corporations around the world”. Even if one concedes that US polices or corporations are wrong (and there are those who would not), there is no way credibly to assert such an equivalence.”


“Firstly I want to thank you for taking the time to respond to my (initial reaction to your special edition). Upon reflection it was one filled with outrage, emotion and I guess the typical knee-jerk reaction that will do nothing to solve the problem and cause behind terrorist action such as these. Events here (Australia) in the last couple of days have demonstrated the dangers of such widely held beliefs.

Yesterday, here in Brisbane, a Muslim school bus was stoned taking children to school. Mosques have been set alight and verbal abuse against the Islamic community has increased dramatically. Negative community opinion is even being voiced against arriving Afghani boat-people (those escaping the injustice of the Taliban).

I am aware of the kind of US led foreign policy (fully supported by the Australian Government) that breeds the kind of hate seen in this attack (sanctions in Iraq, plight of the Palestinians) and embarrassed that knowing such things I can be whipped up in the overwhelming community frenzy calling for revenge and lethal force. On television our politicians (not surprisingly 2 months before a federal election) are fully supporting the call to ‘war.’ I only hope that the delay before deploying such force will be enough time for others to consider the voice of reason (as you expressed it) and ponder the implications of such actions. I apologize if my ill-thought opinion offended and thank you for the advice and ideas your column delivers every week.” 
 


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2001


“As I was listening to the many radio talk shows (here in Canada), and listening to so many people talk about how the tragedy in New York has changed their lives forever, I realized it hasn’t changed mine and this bothered me. But I have now realized a number of things: 1. No single event, no matter how horrible, could cause me to feel more sympathy, more empathy than I do everyday. I am blessed, or cursed, with such a strong sense of empathy for anything living that I can’t imagine it being stronger.

2. Why are we so touched by the recent events? Why aren’t we as ‘changed’ when there is an earth quake in Italy that kills thousands or a war in Ethiopia that kills/maims/abuses thousands or when we hear of hundreds of homeless people die in the streets in the winter?

3. All the people who said they were ‘changed’ all spoke about it in the negative. No one talked about how they will spend more time with their families, start volunteering, or do things to help others. No one spoke as did the CEO of the investment firm who said his company’s vision and goals would be forever changed and the company would now dedicate their resources to helping the 700 families.”


“This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.”


“I’ve found that the overwhelming amount of constant information about this horrible event has impacted me in emotional, psychological, and physical ways that I would have never imagined and in ways that I’m sure I am not even aware of. I’ve grieved so much and been so inundated with so much information and so many visuals, over and over again, that I and many people are in a very dark and scary place. My advice to myself is to turn OFF the TV, radio, and Internet and spend a whole lot of time thinking about those things I LOVE most in life, because many of them are still there, haven’t changed and likely need our attention.”


“Religions mingled together, and colors, beliefs, and politics…and now their dust has been scattered together in the wind. Boundaries are gone in the truest sense. We are one again. We were brought to this terrible place, not by a nation, or a religion, or even by a belief. We were brought to this garden of grief by the acts of individuals. There is a dark and dangerous desire to lash out in blind fury. What’s worse, what is terrible, is we have it in our power to do so. We can make it so. We can turn the land to glass. We can become like them. We can scatter people as dust on the wind • as has been done to thousands of us. Dust for dust.” 
 


SATURDAY • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15-16, 2001


“I am from Bosnia. I want you to know that the whole world cares about this very much. Everyone is watching what you will do. I trust that America has the wisdom to respond to this in constructive ways. God bless you. God bless your family. God bless America.”


“I went in to DC Wednesday night to meet friends for dinner.  It was a conscious effort to get on with life, enjoy friendships, and at the same time demonstrate our freedom in this democratic nation.  As I left my house to go downtown, I wondered how I would feel as I went in to the city.  I feel no fear, and while I am angry, I harbor no hatred.  But by far, the biggest sense I have (and had as I headed downtown) is a strong feeling of pride.  As I crested the 13th-Street hill, the city opened up before me. Never before had I been so moved seeing the acres and acres of concrete and domes that were spread out before me.  And I was immensely proud of the strength, perseverance, faith, sacrifice and freedom on which this country was built.  There is something very deep and pervasive at the core of this country, and that is kindness and compassion.  Sometimes it takes tremendous tragedies such as this to unleash and realize the depth of it.  Something tells me that much of the compassion evoked from all of us this past week is here to stay.  And that is wondrous.


“From the moment I understood the severity and enormity of Tuesday’s events I have understood the opportunity they present to all of us to recognize what matters most in life.  My intention since that hour of destruction is to realize what is most important in my own life… and then LIVE it!”




May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #222: Everything Will Be All Right

I arrived home last night at 9:45 PM, having given a pint of blood which was flown to New York this morning by the American Red Cross. I don’t enjoy giving blood. But there are situations, like my father’s bypass surgery and the tragedy in New York, that move me outside my comfort zone. Solidarity and mutual aid with those who suffer are two of my core values. It was the least I could do.

It was also hard to imagine the events of yesterday, as I went out on my morning run today • with the sun shining and a fresh breeze blowing. There is, in life, a certain mercy that comes with the rising of the sun on a new day. May this be a better day for all.

Yesterday was a hard, horrific day. The news media as well as many coaches flew into action. As the day went on, I received about as many reflections on the news as I received news reports. People will be processing this one for years to come.

One of the organizations to which I belong, the Christian Coaching Network, organized an emergency coaching response team. I was happy to lend my name to the cause. They have notified 500 media outlets about their coordination of free coaching opportunities, to assist people through this difficult time. Feel free to give me a call, in the United States at 757-345-3452, if you want to talk.

As part of the healing / reflection process, I would offer the following remarks and invite you to reply. With more than 9,000 subscribers in 65 countries, this community of readers can share ideas and offer support in unique and wonderful ways. As they come in, I promise to put selected ones together in next Sunday’s newsletter. Many are stronger than one.

That said, here are my opening remarks, many of which I have not read elsewhere.

1. We begin, of course, with an expression of solidarity and compassion for the victims. There has been a great disturbance in the unity and sanctity of life, as so many lives went up in smoke. There is no way to get those lives back. One can only feel the pain and lift it up to the Great One. I’m afraid there are tears this day, in both heaven and earth.

2. We move on to the recognition that violence begets violence. The killing did not start yesterday and it will not stop yesterday. The United States is sure to retaliate. What else can it do other than to show the world that it will not sit idly by in the face of such attacks? From there the spiral of violence will continue to grow. I am reminded of Dorothy Day’s remark, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth make for a sightless and toothless world.” Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.

3. Violence takes many forms. It is not just overt acts of deadly force, such as we saw yesterday in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. It also takes the form of injustice, oppression, racism, and economic exploitation. People suffer and die everyday in this world as a result of these forms of institutional violence. And, from time to time, the victims of such violence strike back. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.

4. Yesterday’s acts of terrorism were not just “cowardly, senseless acts of violence.” They were “cowardly,” because the victims had no way to defend themselves. And they were “senseless,” because they will not stop the spread of US policies or multinational corporations around the globe. But, from their perspective, these were premeditated, purposeful, and courageous acts of violence. Their people worked long and hard to pull off a very effective operation in which 3 out of 4 planes reached their targets. At great personal sacrifice and with a definite design, they attempted to make a point. And they fully expect US retaliation. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.

5. None of this is to justify or condone yesterday’s despicable acts. It is only to put them into the larger perspective of history, politics, and society. These terrible things did not happen in a vacuum. The United States is not isolated from the positions and postures it takes in the world. If we had any doubt about that before, we should not now. Violence anywhere is violence everywhere. Until we get this truth, the spiral will continue.

6. But there is, even in the midst of this God-awful tragedy, another voice that can and must be heard. It is the voice of those who care, love, and yearn for the truth. It is the voice of those who emerge from the ruin and the rubble with heroic acts of kindness and even more heroic hearts. It is the voice of those who see beyond the pain, violence, and chaos to a day when this too shall have passed away until all God’s children live in peace.

So I close by bringing to you such a voice in this short poem by the contemporary Irish poet, Derek Mahon. Mr. Mahon lives in a country that knows all too much about violence and injustice. He is no stranger to the terror of yesterday. And yet somehow, as one who knows a truth that explodes more forcefully than even a fully loaded jet-liner into a skyscraper, Mr. Mahon looks upon that horizon and proclaims, “Everything Is Going to Be All Right”

How should I not be glad
to contemplate the clouds
clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide
reflected on the ceiling.

There will be dying,
there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.

The poems flow
from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source
is the watchful heart.

The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities
are beautiful and bright.

I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the daybreak
and the clouds flying.

Everything is going to be all right.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #232: It Makes a Difference

Laser Provision


What does it mean to be brave? For some people • on both sides of the conflict in Afghanistan • it means fighting for their cause. For others it means questioning the war and finding alternative solutions. This week’s guest Provision makes you think about where you stand and how to make a difference.

LifeTrek Provision


Last week I announced the start of a new series of Provisions around the acronym for BRAVE. My hope is to balance the series that I just completed on the acronym for NICE. I want us to end up with an understanding of leadership based on backbone and heart. The combination of BRAVE and NICE does that for me.

As part of this series, and before I get started on what B-R-A-V-E may stand for, I want to share with you a guest Provision written by the Rev. Dr. Arthur “Bud” Ogle of Chicago, Illinois. Bud has lived and worked for 25 years in inner-city America with the problems of homelessness and hopelessness, of poverty and pain. During those 25 years he has also traveled the world, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, making connections in the cause for justice and peace.

As an ordained minister with a Ph.D. in history who has dedicated his life to living the hard truths in which he believes, Bud shares an important perspective on what it means to be brave and to make a difference at this point in time. If you would like to respond to this article directly, or to subscribe to Bud’s newsletter, you can contact Bud via email by writing bud@goodnewspartners.org

LifeTrek Guest Provision

I’m sure it makes a difference that I have been there, that I have Afghan and Pakistani friends. Our experiences shape our judgments. I love their wildness, their fierce independence. I’m in awe that they take their faith so seriously • that despite the fact that nearly 50% of their homes were destroyed in the Soviet war no one went homeless (contrast this with the burgeoning industry of sheltering America’s homeless • a condition this “Christian” culture accepts); that all the passengers on busses pour out onto the highways to pray at the appointed hours, willing to risk death by strafing and bombing because their priorities are clear • Allah is great and Koranic teaching is to be obeyed. While I disagree strongly with some of their interpretations, the fact that they try and base their lives from their faith, this I admire. And I still cry remembering the bright-eyed limbless children undaunted by war, eager to learn.

I’m sure it makes a difference in helping me recognize the nearly perfect mirror-image role reversals. Osama bin Laden believes George Bush is, at the present moment, the world’s number one terrorist. Al Qaeda believes it is embarked on a protracted war of good vs. evil. Taliban leaders are convinced theirs is a just cause, a holy war. And many Afghan people, a majority of whom did not vote for their current leader, have rallied for weeks patriotically in the face of horrific destruction and the slaughter of innocents. Now, as Afghanistan evolves into yet another new political configuration, I have asked over and over, “what do we celebrate?”

I’m sure it makes a difference if we celebrate victory or revenge. One celebrates the possibility of women being free, terror being diminished, and the possibilities for true justice and healing emerging. The other celebrates a successful military retaliation for crimes committed. But do we celebrate the honest questioning of our premises • is war a necessary evil? Must some be losers for others to be winners?  Are there other, perhaps more difficult but lasting, ways to peace? What do we celebrate?

I’m sure it makes a difference that for the majority of the homeless and oppressed people with whom I work in the inner-city of Chicago, September 11th does not change much about how we see the world • innocent people still suffer, leaders pretend to know a lot more than they do, insecurity and terror are ever-present, the poor and discriminated still struggle to survive. From this position, it is hard to believe that people really care.

I’m sure it will make a difference if we try to understand rather than simply eliminate our enemies. For those whose model is World War II, we must first defeat the enemy and then help rebuild the society to prevent the conditions for another Hitler, Mussolini or Tojo. For those whose model is Viet Nam we need to respect why our enemies are so determined. Bin Laden may be as crazed as Hitler. Their 19 “martyrs” may be part of a lunatic fringe to be rejected out of hand. And/or perhaps Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Afghan people, and the Moslem militants, have a perspective we need to see.

I’m sure it makes a difference that Jewish prophets like Martin Buber, I.F. Stone and Joshua Heschel saw today’s problems coming, all the way back in the 1940s. Unless there is a true and just peace, there can be no peace. Palestine is somewhere between Wounded Knee and South Africa. So long as the US gives Israel reason to believe that there can be anything less than a just solution to “the Palestinian problem” that is respected by Arabs, so long as the US believes that being a super-power means it doesn’t have to submit to a world order based upon law and compromise, recruits will flock to “the terrorists.”

What kind of bravery do these times call for? Some, surely, will rush to the flag, the President, and the military without question. As some should surely do. Others will challenge, question, doubt, and suggest alternative ways to address and solve complex problems. As some will surely do. To whom will we listen and to what end?

I’m sure it makes a difference.

Bud Ogle
Good News Partners
bud@goodnewspartners.org.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


For those who may not buy the art of being N-I-C-E, let me offer this. “In my vulnerability lies my strength.” WHAT!!!? Be vulnerable!!!? Yes • it makes your ‘opponent,’ who in the coaching profession might be a reluctant, cold, recalcitrant client, open up to you because you are obviously in the receiving mode. It forces you to be soft, accommodating, but most important, open to the other person, who will in turn open up to you.

Your power may then be expressed with the simple reflection of what you heard. Very often, the coach as sounding board is the most powerful way to get the other person to see themselves as others see them. You cannot tell them what they are • they have to see it for themselves to believe. Once they do, then the barriers to their understanding or their progress, whatever it is you are trying to help them overcome, start to crumble. Thanks for the insights.


This nation, this melting pot of humanity, this free republic, must be preserved. The idea of America is important enough to be defended. Fought for. Even die for. The enemy fears what we have, for if their people ever become liberated into a free society, tyrannical dictatorships will cease and they will lose power.


This much is true: It really is possible to love our country and value our freedoms and still believe the government is full of fools, prevaricators, and BS artists.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #230: Employ Etiquette

Laser Provision

Etiquette has gotten a bad name in this day and age. Who has time for etiquette? We grab our fast food and claw our way to the top without much concern for social graces. That’s no way to be nice! Yet the “E” in N-I-C-E stands for Etiquette because etiquette benefits one and all with the gift of a wonderful life. And etiquette is a choice. We’re not born with social graces. We learn them and choose to use them. If you want to make a mark in the world, then it helps to employ etiquette.

LifeTrek Provision

I had to laugh this past week. I was talking with one of my readers who noticed that we had added Afghanistan to the list of subscribers. “I can see the headline now,” quipped my friend, “War Ends! Taliban and Al Qaeda Decide to Be Nice!”

Now this was, of course, spoken in jest. But stranger things have happened than people changing their minds about how to treat others. That should, in fact, be our fervent prayer. That the war would end, that peace and justice would come, and that people would find new reasons and ways to be nice to each other.

One thing my friend’s jest illustrates is that being nice is not a personality trait • it’s a choice. We’re not born nice. We decide to be nice. Some personality types may be more hostile and aggressive than others, but even the angriest person can decide to treat others with civility and respect.

Studies show that doing so can help you live longer and better. Everyone knows that feeling and acting angry can momentarily increase your blood pressure. “Calm down!” we say, “before you burst a vein.” Clinical studies have now established a long-lasting connection between anger and heart disease. It pays big dividends to be nice • physiologically, psychologically, and socially • and it all starts with a conscious choice.

Since the pioneering work of Friedman, Rosenman, and Byers some 40 years ago, many people have heard about Type A and Type B personalities. Type A being the more aggressive, impatient, hard-driving, easily-angered, and time-pressured individuals with Type B being the more appreciative, polite, relaxed, easy-going, and time-plentiful individuals.

What many people do not know is that Meyer Friedman got into this line of research in part because he was himself a Type A personality, headed for significant cardiovascular health problems, who decided to become a Type B personality. It was a lifelong journey, but those who met him later in life never suspected that he was once a Type A personality. He had successfully made the transition to being a nice, patient, polite, and calm man.

What kind of person are you? Are you headed for trouble • physiologically, psychologically, and socially • or are you happy to be alive? The choice is yours to make.

A strong ally for overcoming the Type A personality are the social conventions known as etiquette. That’s why I’ve decided to make the “E” in N-I-C-E stand for employing Etiquette. The pleasantries, practices, and procedures of society are meant to be virtual assistants in the conduct of life. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If we take etiquette seriously we will be pointed in the direction of Type B behaviors.

Take something as basic as table manners. In this day and age, where people so frequently eat on the run or in the car, we have lost all sense of what table manners even are. Who knows the secrets of a formal place setting or what you can eat with your fingers? Most people just wolf down their food in order to get back to business as quickly as possible. We don’t chew our food properly or make good table conversation.

Or take the practice of handwritten thank you notes. In this day of instantaneous, electronic communications, handwritten notes are going by the way side. But there are times when nothing else will do. They make a huge impact on the recipient. Keeping a stack handy can make the difference between taking the time to be nice and never quite getting around to it.

Employing etiquette slows us down and makes us pay attention to the impact of our behavior on others. When we talk through a mouthful of food, for example, we risk making our companions uncomfortable and biting our tongue. Etiquette is a lubricant that both greases the wheels of society and assists us to live more wonderful lives. The next time you get a chance, you may want to dust off those old etiquette books • or search for etiquette on the Internet • in order to gain one more resource in the journey to nice.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I can’t tell you how much I enjoy watching your subscriber numbers grow. I was particularly interested to see Afghanistan now represented on your list. I’m sure that your views will be very interesting to them. Have you heard anything from them?


Don’t kid yourself. I don’t think anything that we say or do is going to change how Muslims think about us or their religion. But it sure would be great to see a change • a meaningful change.


I’m not sure we have any “blame” here. Don’t we get up and try to do the best we can each day? I do. “Hind sight is always 20-20.” I must concentrate on the good I can do today. Trying to figure out blame or dwelling in self-pity because of things beyond our control is a waste of time. Make today count. Tell the people you love how you feel. Make a contribution.


I look forward to your Provision on Monday mornings. Thanks. Do you have articles that you may have done on coaching people through change? We are introducing many changes here and I want to help our teams through them.


How long do you try and nurture a strained work environment or tortured family relationship…to be connected with these people…how do you look past the fear and anger when someone is roaring with pain…how long do you try new and effective strategies before realizing there is no connection? And then are you not being “nice?”



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #229: Feel Connected

Laser Provision

There’s no way to be nice without feeling connected and compassionate to others. Without a sense of connection we’re part of the problem rather than the solution. That’s what the “C” stands for in N-I-C-E. Feel Connected. As long as we feel separate, superior, disconnected, intimidated, and frightened by others, we cannot and will not be nice. Once we feel connected, we can often find new ways of making a real difference in the world.

LifeTrek Provision

This Provision begins with a troubling, heartfelt request from a Nigerian. “How can I relate to Muslims and make them happy?” he writes, “because thousands are killed by them every year in one pretext or another in my country. I want this coaching because I want to relate to them and I want my country to be peaceful.”

“In my country, Muslims kill Christians for just about any reason. How can we love these people and try to understand them when love from an unbeliever is an insult? How can we love them when they want to root out all contrary things? How can we love them when the only thing they will accept is American conversion to fundamentalist Islam? I agree that there are many beautiful Muslims who one will be happy to be around. But it’s not easy to live as a minority with a large Muslim community. I need practical suggestions.”

While others will no doubt have their own suggestions, I respond with the most practical suggestion I know: be nice. It may seem impossible that being nice can effectively counter hatred and hostility • but it’s the only thing that ever has. Forced conversions, to any religion or system, sow the seeds of future aggression. Being nice, whether to win converts or to emulate tolerance, sows the seeds of future understanding and peace.

This is as true in the workplaces and homes of North America as it is in Nigeria. If you want people to treat you right, you have to treat them right. If you suffer for treating people right, then suffer with the knowledge that your nice behavior is the seed of something great. One never knows how that seed will grow and where the fruit will ripen.

Many readers will remember the classic tale of Androcles and the Lion. In the days of ancient Rome, a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest, only to face an even more horrific adversary: the king of the jungle, a roaring lion. Androcles ended up face to face with this mighty beast, despairing of life itself. To his surprise, however, the lion was roaring in pain due to a thorn in his paw. Androcles mustered the courage to get close to the lion and pull out the thorn • thereby winning the lion’s undying affection.

Long after that day a number of soldiers came marching through the forest; stumbling upon Androcles they took him prisoner and brought him back to face the authorities. Androcles was condemned to death in the Roman arena, where the lions would make him a public spectacle as a deterrent to others. As fate would have it, however, Androcles faced the same lion he had met in the forest. Recognizing Androcles, the lion licked his face and protected him from the other lions • whereupon the Roman governor, having never before seen such unusual behavior from these ferocious beasts, set both Androcles and the lion free.

The story of Androcles and the lion is an archetypal story that speaks to the power of being nice. It is not just a fairy tale. It indicates the reality of what can happen when we allow ourselves to feel connected and compassionate with our adversaries. Androcles had no reason to think that the lion would not turn around and eat him after removing the thorn. But he took the risk • and the dividends were huge.

If the “N” in N-I-C-E stands for acting Neighborly and the “I” stands for being Interested, then the “C” stands for feeling Connected. As long as we feel separate, superior, disconnected, intimidated, and frightened by others, we cannot and will not be nice. We will put them down, attack them, and ignore their pain. We will disrespect and dismiss them. We will protect our interests rather than extend ourselves for others.

We see this all the time in the context of world events. There is tremendous jockeying for position. Everyone spins the news to serve their purpose. The face off is between “us” and “them,” the “good guys” and the “bad guys,” with nary a sense that we are all connected as residents of planet earth and as siblings in the human family.

We would do well to nurture this feeling of connection in every area of life. Whether it is in the context of a strained work environment, a tortured family relationship, or a competitive athletic competition • let alone of a dangerous hostile enemy • the feeling of connection will enable us to see beyond the anger and fear in order to find new and effective strategies for moving forward. Is someone around you roaring in pain? It may be time to get connected and pull out the thorn.

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


Last week you mentioned the importance of helping and encouraging others. I agree it does enrich life to do so. I worked the Columbus marathon last week, and as I was stopping traffic on my designated corner and cheering for the runners, so many of the runners said “thank you” and “thanks for coming out.” As I yelled to passing runners words of encouragement, “good job”, “looking good”, etc. many of them made eye contact and smiled. I felt great the rest of the day. It gave me such a lift to think that maybe my applause and cheers helped someone keep going to achieve their goal.


Four planes hijacked and deliberately crashed.
The Twin Towers toppled, the Capitol smashed.
We must blame ourselves, not God or Fate,
For the warning cry we heard too late.


Reinhold Niebuhr reminds us that nations are held to a different standard than individuals • yet whether we know God most profoundly as Allah, YHWH or Jesus Christ, we know that God calls nations, communities, and individuals alike to righteousness (establishing right relationships in and with all). No one grows when one demands and expects the “other” to abandon all dignity and self-respect.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #228: Be Interested

Laser Provision

To act Neighborly • the first principle of nice • requires the second: we have to be Interested. Whether it’s at work or home, with colleagues, neighbors or friends, being interested in other people will make you much more attractive and successful. The more we take an interest in the experiences, welfare, and accomplishments of others, the more likely it is that they will take an interest in us. What goes around comes around, and that’s especially true when we are genuinely interested in what other people are saying and doing.

LifeTrek Provision

What does it mean to be nice? Last week I suggested that the “N” in N-I-C-E stood for acting Neighborly. Being nice means extending ourselves for others in ways that make them happy. That’s important in every arena of life. This week’s dimension stems from the “I”, which stands for being Interested. Simply put, nice people are interested in other people • their ideas, passions, welfare, problems, and pursuits. They put themselves aside long enough to pay attention and listen to others.

Earlier today, I experienced this dimension first hand while leading the 4-hour pace team, along with one another pacesetter, Steve Campbell, at the Columbus Marathon. We had a delightful time, on a wonderful course, with great weather. Together we successfully brought our pace team in, just under the 4-hour mark.

After the race I hopped on my bike and rode back to join one of my clients, who after six months of coaching and training realized her long-held dream of running and finishing a marathon. She had flown in from Chicago two nights before, with a healthy share of pre-race anxiety. Today, everything came together just perfectly. Congratulations, Nancy!

One comment made by Nancy as well as the members of our pace team was simply, “Thank you. It was so nice of you to do this. You did a great job getting us through the race.”

A lot of things made our actions nice. For one, we set our best time aside in order to help others achieve their best time. We also spent a lot of time watching the clock, answering questions, coaching runners, and lifting spirits. Nancy experienced this as a client for the past six months. The pace team took advantage of a similar opportunity for 26.2 miles.

There’s a lot of work involved with being a pace team leader. There’s no going into the zone here, leaving the crowds behind in order to focus on running your perfect race. As a pace team leader, you’re on call for 26.2 miles. At the beginning of the race you’re holding people back; at the end you’re pushing them on. They both take effort. One man followed me elbow to elbow the entire way. By the end there was a bond of appreciation and accomplishment: the man, after several tries, had run his first sub-4-hour marathon. It was a thing of beauty.

Another way to interpret the comment, “How nice of you to do this,” is in terms of being interested. By volunteering to play this role, we took an interest in the welfare and accomplishments of those who wanted assistance to realize their dreams. By interacting with them throughout the race, listening to their aches, pains, fears, and temptations, we encouraged them through to the end. By paying attention to what they had to say, entertaining their questions, concerns, aspirations, and dreams, we helped to make those dreams come true.

That’s what being interested can do for people. It can brighten their day and make dreams come true. It can also make you much more attractive and successful. This is not rocket science. People like it when others take an interest in them. Paying attention to people, listening to them, giving consideration and respect to what people have to say, what they’re going through, and what they’re doing, will produce huge dividends both for them and for you. It can actually change lives.

Unfortunately, many people fail to get this simple truth. Even if they acknowledge it intellectually, they may not be able to stop thinking and talking about themselves long enough to take an interest in others. Then they wonder why people are put off. I know many a relationship that’s ended in divorce over this issue. One person feels they do all the listening and giving, while the other never takes an interest in them. Eventually, this lack of interest • this lack of being nice • takes its toll.

At its best, being interested is a reciprocal relationship. One-sided relationships tend to be either co-dependent or condescending relationships. Mutual relationships experience the ebb and flow of interest, information, and energy. People take turns being nice because it makes a difference in theirs lives and the lives of others.

Remember that book by Robert Fulghum, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?” Well this is one of those things. Take turns. Take an interest in others and they will take an interest in you. Don’t do all the talking and don’t do all the listening. Find a way to be acknowledged and to acknowledge. There’s no other way to be nice and no better way to live.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.


The person who wrote last week, describing the perpetrators of the crimes against America as “animals” without “a soul” is taking the same extremist view that led to their actions against us. When will we learn that all people are created in God’s image and should be treated accordingly?


As an Australian, I was interested to read people’s comments, especially the Vietnam veteran. What a good point he makes. Every time I hear your President speak from such a place of righteousness I am saddened a little more.


You quote from Luke, which is in the Bible, but what is the Qu’ran? I know of the Koran but have never heard of the Qu’ran. (Answer: a more culturally sensitive spelling of the same sacred book).


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the past few weeks. It’s been hard for me to focus. My ambition has suffered. I’ve meditated a great deal on what’s happened, what I’m doing, where I’m going and what really matters to me. It’s taken this much time for the fog to lift and for me to gain clarity. Now more than ever, we need to strive for our best. We need to dig deep within ourselves to become the best we can be. We must be courageous. We must be steadfast.


I question whether we want other countries to respect us the way school children respect a bully. Is that our role in the world? If a bully is what we want to be then we must be prepared to face the same consequences that a schoolyard bully faces. On the other hand we cannot tell the world “leave us alone.” Isolationism is not what this world is built for.

America and the West must acknowledge our role in helping to create monsters in the world, find ways to contain these monsters without hurting more innocent people, and then redefine our role in the world. I think we must move from seeking to be respected for our military strength to being respected for our moral strength. We must focus our foreign policy on what is good for the world and how can we do the right thing to help the world become more peaceful.


I went to an interfaith meeting recently which was truly amazing. There were American citizens there born in Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, and many other places. We heard heartfelt admissions of how Muslims feel they are misunderstood and how the schools often do not accurately portray who they are. A librarian asked if she might work with them to get more factual literature in the school libraries, offers to surround them with protection and safety for their families. One woman explained that her child is the only Muslim in her school and that they have been receiving vile messages on their answering machine saying horrible death threats and profanity from “Christians.” 

It was truly an evening of spiritual wonder, with the remark that even in tragedy God is in our midst and working through it all to bring many good things, even as we were experiencing together. It was a meeting that I will never forget.


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #227: Act Neighborly

Laser Provision

Being nice is not a state of mind but an active lifestyle. It’s a matter of acting neighborly with the people in our lives • at work, home, and school, in our communities, associations, congregations, and neighborhoods. In other words, it’s a matter of leading and living by the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. When was the last time you acted neighborly? Why not do so today?

LifeTrek Provision

Remember the “good old days,” when people took the time and made the effort to get to know their neighbors? A new family would move into the community • perhaps in a house down the block or an apartment upstairs • and people would take the initiative to meet them, bring a housewarming present, or drop off a note. It was important to both know your neighbors and to act neighborly.

Ironically enough, that spirit may be coming back to many neighborhoods during this time of instability, as people seek to know their neighbors for security purposes. One of our neighbors recently circulated a directory of everyone who lives on our block • including the names and descriptions of everyone’s pets. I was sad to admit there were many names on that list I did not know.

If it means anything to be nice, it certainly means to be neighborly. That’s my interpretation of what the “N” in N-I-C-E stands for. Extend yourself on behalf of someone else. Get to know them. Do something they will appreciate, enjoy, and remember.

Some have called this the heart of religion: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). The Quran puts it this way: “Do you see those who deny the Judgment to come? They are the ones who repulse the orphan and do not encourage feeding the poor. Woe to those worshippers who neglect their prayers, who want to appear holy, but who refuse to supply even neighborly needs” (Al-M••n, 107:1-7).

I love that combination of words: “even neighborly needs.” It brings the whole proposition of being neighborly into perspective. We’re not talking here about giving everything to the poor and being a saint. We’re talking about ordinary acts of kindness; about doing simple things that people appreciate.

There was a time when doing “random acts of senseless kindness” was all the rage. Bumper stickers, Web sites, and bracelets appeared to promote the cause. An instructor at Coach University once gave the following assignment to his class. Drive around town until you find an address that, for whatever reason, strikes you as being a good candidate for a random act of kindness. Write down the address. Go home and send the occupant a note, along with $20 US, wishing them a great day.

If we can do that for a total stranger, how much more can we do for the people we know at work, home, and school, in our communities, associations, congregations, and neighborhoods? Being nice is not a state of mind. It’s an active lifestyle that supplies neighborly needs to the people we know and love. It’s not enough have love in our heart. It’s not even to wish people well. Unless we do “acts of kindness,” unless we supply “even neighborly needs,” we’re falling short of the mark.

Think of the people in your life right now. Do you have a colleague, subordinate, or boss who needs a lift? Why not do something nice for them. Offer to help with an assignment. Present them with a surprise card or gift. Do you have a spouse, child, or parent who means a lot to you? Find a tangible way to express your appreciation and affection. Don’t just think about it and don’t procrastinate. Take action! Right now.

One day two little boys were playing, and one asked the other, “Wouldn’t you hate to wear glasses all the time?” The other little boy responded, “No-o-o, not if I had the kind Grandma wears. She sees how to fix a lot of things, and she sees lots of nice things to do on rainy days, and she sees when folks are tired and sorry, and what will make them feel better, and she always sees what you meant to do even if you haven’t gotten things just right. I asked her one day how she could see that way all the time, and she said it was the way she had learned to look at things as she grew older. So it must be her glasses.”

What glasses are you wearing these days? Do they help you see the things that will make people feel better? And if you see these things, do you do anything about them? The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. That’s one of the first things to realize about being nice. Nice people do nice things for others. They act neighborly. May it be so with you.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)


Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Reader’s Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. These selections do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. They do reflect the diversity of those who read Provisions each week for support and strength on the trek of life. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob
 


“NICE • now there’s a word, as you say not used as often in our language as it could be and certainly not practiced anywhere near as much as it could be for when it is, the results far outweigh the tiny amount of effort that is used to be NICE.”


“I downloaded Life Trek from AvantGo earlier this year out of curiosity. What serendipity! You do an inspired job. I look forward to incorporating your provisions in my-all-too-hectic-life each Monday. Godspeed and keep up the good work!”


“How do you respond to today’s news from the bin Laden camp that their Muslim men love death as much as American’s love life (or something to that effect)? Therefore, many more will be sent into planes, etc., (today’s news on all channels). And their call for all Muslims to rise up in “jihad,” a war against the rest of us I suppose.”


“I agree with the notion of being ‘nice’ as it relates to life in general, and business more specifically. But one must proceed with caution as often the most heinous threats come veiled in the overt kindness and smiles of the perpetrators. One of your readers suggests that we go after the root causes of terrorism to solve the current crises. This thought is very ‘nice’ but in practice this makes little sense. These animals acted very ‘nice’ and neighborly until they decided to get on a plane and kill themselves and 6,000 others. Being ‘nice’ to these people is not an option. That option only presents itself when the opponent has a soul, or at minimum, the capacity to accept something different than themselves and reason a common solution instead of destroying anything remotely different.”


“I’m confused. I’m a Vietnam veteran and they told me it was wrong to kill people in order to resolve a conflict. Now the same people who called me a child killer are waving the flag and saying, “Bomb the S.O.B.’s!” Why is it so right to kill people now when it was so wrong in Vietnam? Just because the conflict came over here? Just because it was our building instead of their building? Our people instead of their people? This sleight of hand leaves me feeling not only confused but troubled.”


“Your last Provision, Be Nice, brought me up short in the context of world events. Can we be nice to our enemy? Won’t they just take advantage of our being nice, and kill us all? Maybe there’s a time to be nice and a time to be nasty. Jesus may want us to be nice to all people, all the time (‘Turn the other cheek. Love your enemy. Pray for those who persecute you.’), but does that really work? I’m not sure the American people have the stomach for that, even if it is what Jesus would do. Thanks for making me think about this.”


“What is needed in both the short and long term is a sense on the part of the American populace and its intellectuals, on the right and the left, of the non-universality of our formulations of fundamental religious and human rights. We need to begin a major national debate about the quality and effect of our presence in the world. With a new level of self-awareness of our ideals and practices, and their effects on the rest of the world, we would be a much better partner in the encounters that are needed to deepen mutual comprehension among the world’s religious and secular peoples.”


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services

Provision #226: Be Nice

Laser Provision

“Be nice.” That may sound like the admonition to a two-year old who’s having trouble with antisocial behavior, but I’m persuaded we all need to take that advice. In our busy-busy, rush-rush, in-your-face, performance-driven world, being nice has fallen by the wayside. It’s time to change that; it’s time to remember our people.

LifeTrek Provision

Long before the events of September 11 and all that has ensued up to the current day, long before I started my series on the habits of successful people, perhaps as much as six months ago, I decided to do a five part series on being nice. World events have made it hard to stay on track with the habits of success. There’s more to say in that regard. But I’ve decided to come back to that topic in six weeks, rather than to finish it now. Our world could stand a healthy dose of civility and compassion. It’s time to talk about being nice.

Being nice has gotten a bad rap. It’s certainly not discussed in the context of world politics. Many other domains are equally skeptical. People disparage being nice as wimpy, timid, and cowardly. I know business people who pride themselves on not being nice. “I don’t care if people like me,” they say, “all I care about is the bottom line.” Such people wear their “take no prisoners” attitude on their sleeve as a badge of honor.

But is that truly the way to maximize the bottom line? Jennifer White suggests not in her excellent book, Drive Your People Wild Without Driving Them Crazy. “The place to start isn’t with results,” she writes, “the place to start is with your people. Unless you can harness the collaborative power of your people, you won’t get any results. Unless you’re able to get your people inspired by their work, success will elude you. Unless you stop acting like a schmuck and start honoring your people, you won’t achieve top performance.”

In other words: be nice. There is a place not only for civility but also for compassion in the workplace. And it needs to be a forethought, rather than an afterthought. One of my clients, in Manhattan, shared with me her frustration at the broadcast e-mail that went out from the CEO on the afternoon of September 11. In the wake of the day’s events, the CEO indicated that people were free to take the next day off work. If they did, however, he indicated it would be charged as a personal day.

You can imagine how people received this communication, at ground zero of the disaster. The CEO had to backpedal and tell people, in a subsequent communication, that the day would not be charged as a personal day. But the damage had been done. Productivity was impacted negatively because the CEO failed to be nice.

What does it mean to be nice? I love the dictionary nuances. It obviously means to be pleasant, but it also means to be courteous, of good character, precise, skillful, and intense. We can have a nice time, be a nice guy, make a nice gesture, demonstrate a nice sense of style, work with a nice bit of craft, and feel something as nice and warm. If more people were nice in the world, we’d have a lot fewer problems and a lot more accomplishment.

So how do we be nice? Over the next four weeks I plan to take the word apart. The letters N • I • C • E will each standard for a different initiative that’s part of being nice. From my point of view, rather than being a mealy-mouthed, limp-kneed, fatuous approach to life, being nice is one of the toughest challenges we face. It is easy to get so caught up in the pressure to perform, produce, and prevail that we forget all about being nice to the people. We run rough shod over friend and foe alike, and then we wonder why the going gets tougher rather than easier.

Perhaps it’s time to change course. Perhaps it’s time, like Jennifer White says, to put people first. Perhaps it’s time to be nice. Go with me on this journey, and we’ll see.

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


“If all we do is kill the killers we just create more killers. We will never end terrorism by only eliminating the symptoms. To eradicate any evil • whether it be cancer, child abuse, drug addiction, gang violence, child neglect, or terrorism • we must solve the problems that cause it. When concerted efforts by police, DEA, victims and communities like ours finally dismantled one inner-city street gang, other gangs took over, because the underlying causes remained. So it will be with Osama bin Laden. Terrorism is only the strategy, the symptom, the response, a horrific life-denying way to respond to something considered unacceptable. God give us wisdom.”


“I have tried to formulate my take on the events of 9/11 but right now I’m biased and can’t make a clear judgment…We work at ground zero. It is worse than you could possibly imagine there. You are biased too….you haven’t been there. You’re doing a good thing with LifeTrek. Anything positive is helpful, we will be stronger than before. This I am sure of.”


“People who don’t understand the value of liberty (and who take it for granted) are the ones most likely to give it away at flea market prices to the first buyer that comes along. Those who do understand the true price of liberty won’t sell it at any price no matter who asks. Benjamin Franklin said it best: ‘Those who would give up a little freedom for a little security will end up with neither.'”


“It strikes me as inescapable truth that we all have an inherent RIGHT to be here and that one day mutual respect and love for our fellow humans will become the norm. We’re a long way from the vision right now, but unless we start viewing each other and treating each other in this way … giving each other the benefit of the doubt and the room and permission to be different and still be part of the whole … we will never get there!

So I ask you to join me in moving in the direction of this vision … to make a commitment in your heart to stop viewing this world as an US vs. THEM proposition … to let it no longer be a matter of our nation vs. your nation … and to begin to regard ALL of our kindred people as siblings in spirit … siblings to be valued and cherished and respected … rather than as enemies to be feared and hated and killed. WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, and I just feel compelled to say so.”


“I am struggling with what to do about Halloween this year in light of the current events. Should I tone it down this year in respect for what’s happened or go at it with the same energy as years past for the kids? What are your thoughts?”


May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
Mobile: www.LifeTrekMobile.com
Subscribe/Unsubscribe: Subscriber Services