The power of appreciation is not limited to the good times. It’s all good if we just have the eyes to see. That’s not to say there aren’t problems and challenges in life. It’s rather to say that we can find good stuff to celebrate even when times are tough or not going our way. That’s the orientation of those who have made appreciation their standard mode of operation. We have to feel it in our bones if we want good things to come our way. That happened on our way to the Philippines, and this Provision tells the story. Read on to join the journey.
As I write this I am flying across North America on my way to Manila, Philippines via Nagoya, Japan. My wife, Megan, and I are facilitating eight workshops at a 4-day Administrators’ Conference sponsored by the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools. For those who are interested, or who may want to bring our work into other settings, here are the titles of our eight topics:
- Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation At A Time (Bob)
- Trust Matters: Leadership For Successful Schools (Megan)
- Stress Proof Your Life (Bob)
- Building On Our Strengths: Using Appreciative Inquiry In Schools (Megan)
- Building Capacity For Change Through Compassionate Communication (Megan)
- How Agile Is Your Leadership? (Bob)
- Fostering a Positive School Climate (Megan)
- Designing Schools: Innovation In Action (Bob)
Phew! By the end of all that, Megan and I will not have any thoughts left unshared. 🙂 The Conference has come along at a perfect time, following closely upon the heels of our just-completed manuscript for a new book on how coaching can better serve the cause of school transformation. We have developed tons of new material and we are looking forward to sharing it with others.
Of course, our coaching methodology builds on the work of many others. It is hardly a new creation. But we do work from a strong, well-referenced research base and we do integrate theories into the practice of coaching that have not been brought together and explained in just this way before. So we are hopeful that the book, due in bookstores next June, will make a real contribution.
We know people are interested because we have received about a dozen inquiries in response to our announcement about a pilot coach training program, based on the book, that will kick off next April. People are already signing up, which will be limited to a total of 15 people. If you want to learn more, to ask any questions, and to let us know of your interest, visitwww.EvocativeCoaching.com.
The training program may be of interest even to those who work in settings other than schools. The principles of Evocative Coaching are relevant to anyone who has the responsibility to facilitate the growth and development of others, or even one’s own growth and development. There’s a reason that the words “emotion” and “motion” are so closely related. We ply that connection in our book and in our coaching model to bring out the best in life and work.
That certainly happened today. The miracle of flight has me feeling appreciative in more ways than one. To think that this enormous plane, 10 seats across, with hundreds of people on board can actually get off the ground is amazing. To think that I am sitting in a chair in the sky is incredible; it defies what human beings had long thought was possible. For thousands of years people could only dream of flying through the air. Now, millions of people do it on a daily basis as a matter of course. Amazing.
Even more amazing to me, today, was how the supporting ground logistics worked out. Our first flight, from Richmond, Virginia to Detroit, Michigan, was delayed by about 45 minutes due to a mechanical problem. They actually had to bring in a whole new plane. That would not have been a big deal, except that our scheduled connection in Detroit was only 58 minutes. So things did not look good.
Before the flight we talked with the pilot and the flight crew about our predicament. The pilot smiled and said, “I’ll see what I can do.” Now there’s not much that he can do, given how much is controlled by others including routing and flight speed, but he made it to Detroit in record time. And then, as if by design, our plane taxied up to one of the closest possible gates to our connecting flight.
It was still quite a haul, to get from Concourse C to Concourse A in Detroit — those marathon-ready legs of mine really came in handy • but we made it. And the flight to Manila ended up being delayed due to a roster and luggage complication such that our luggage actually managed to make it on the flight as well. How good is that! What started out looking rather grim and hopeless turned out just fine.
It’s all good! That’s what I mean by the power of appreciation. As we sat and waited in the Richmond airport for our replacement plane to arrive, I had a tremendous sense of appreciation that no matter what happened it would all be good. Whether we made our connecting flight or not, I would have a wonderful story to tell in Provisions and we would, in the end, even we did end up with a 24-hour delay, make it to the Philippines in time for our first session.
So the power of appreciation resonated throughout my body. Instead of freaking out that we were possibly going to miss our plane, catastrophizing a worst-case scenario, I found myself playing with the possibilities one way or the other. No matter what happened: a night on the plane or a night in Detroit, there was still plenty to celebrate and appreciate. I felt that in my bones, and it brought me a peace that passes understanding.
There’s a famous line from a jazz musician that goes something like this: “If you don’t feel it, it won’t come out of your horn.” That’s my message in today’s Provision. It’s not enough to talk about appreciation. We also have to experience and emotionally connect with its radiant energy. We have to feel thankful for the gift of life and all the little twists and turns that come along the way. Until and unless we actually feel appreciative, it won’t come out of our horn.
For that to happen, it helps to have appreciative practices. These are the things we do, be they little or big, intermittent or routine, that reinforce the feeling of wonder. Mindfulness is one such practice, where we consciously pay attention to what is happening in the present moment, including both internal and external happenings, with a sense of wonder. There’s no judgment in mindfulness, and no fear as well, there is only appreciation of life. It’s all good.
That’s not to say there is no stress or strain in life, let alone no evil or terror. Those things exist, but they do not have to define our reality. We can look for both-and solutions that recognize the ways in which life can be better as well as the ways in which life is perfect, just the way it is.
Another appreciative practice is consciously reflecting after the fact on the things that make life wonderful. Those things can always be found, no matter how difficult our situation might be. Some people like to write those things down, in a gratitude journal, others just like to call them to mind. However you do it, it becomes a practice when you do it routinely. Not just randomly, if you remember and get around to it, but habitually, as a matter of course.
Some people have developed the ability to see and celebrate the good in the present moment, no matter what, on a consistent basis. It is their way of being in the world. And that is my hope for you. Whether the connection works out or not, whether you spend a night in Detroit or go on to Manila, it’s all good. Feel it in your bones. Appreciate the best of what is to discover the best of what might be. When you connect with that energy, when appreciation becomes a felt sense rather than just a good idea, that’s when it will finally come out of your horn.
Coaching Inquiries: What practices do you engage in that assist you to cultivate an appreciative spirit? How can you deepen those practices and make them stick? How can you resonate more fully with the power of appreciation? Who could become your appreciation buddy for life?
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 to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click Here. Top
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 love the YouTube video “piano stairs.” Ever since our coaching together the words that came out of your mouth, “Maybe the meaning of life is just to have fun,” have stuck with me. I want to be an inspiration and catalyst for more fun in everyone’s life 🙂 Thanks for always sharing your best with us!
Thank you for the work you do and for allowing us to benefit from it without a fee. You can be sure that I share as I can with people sent my way who also cannot pay a fee. More power to you and your team.
PS • This is truly serendipitous. After sending you a first-ever reply as a reader of Provisions, I clicked on your training programs and have just read that you will be here in Manila, Philippines this week! I am here in Manila and would like to know what is possible. (Editor’s Note: I hope so too! What a wonder-full world.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
Address: 121 Will Scarlet Lane, Williamsburg, VA 23185-5043
Phone: (757) 345-3452 • Fax: (772) 382-3258
Skype: LifeTrek • Twitter: @LifeTrekBob
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