Focus On Winter, 2015 – Zen Leadership
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focus on winter, 2015

Comfort and Joy!

“Glad t-i-iidings of co-o-oomfort and joy,” we are wished in this holiday season. We’re so used to packaging these two together – comfort and joy, after all, they both feel good – that we may think they’re sort of the same thing. But I would offer that they are more like opposites. They make us feel good for very different reasons, and while one can make our life smaller, the other can help us grow.

Comfort is what we’re already used to. It feels good because it’s familiar and doesn’t demand much energy from us. Holiday traditions are rich in comfort because we build them around the same food, music, decorations, etc. year after year. There’s nothing wrong with comfort as an outcome. The problem is when we use comfort as the organizing principle for our life. If we do only those things that are comfortable, we do a shrinking subset of things over time. Picture how as some people age, they become caricatures of their younger selves, until only a few of their most dominant traits and habits remain. The walls of our comfort zone can become a prison.

“Do something that makes you uncomfortable,”Tanouye Roshi used to say. To train people to be uncomfortable, he was particularly fond of a branch of Kendo called Hojo. It contains 4 sword patterns (i.e., kata) requiring various energies, and he could see how they would challenge any type of person to get out of their comfort zone. Each kata was named for a different season: Spring had a bursting forth energy, in Summer you had to roll back before entering; Fall called for rapid changes, while Winter held energy deep inside. For those of you who know the four energy patterns, these forms must sound familiar, for they would bring out the Driver, Collaborator, Visionary and Organizer energies, respectively. And so it is that the patterns are a good way for any of us to expand beyond our comfort zone and develop the agility that life will most assuredly call for.

Which brings us to joy. We don’t feel much joy when we’re failing, when we’re afraid, or when life is getting awayfrom us and we don’t know where
to turn. Yet that’s what happens when we won’t make ourselves uncomfortable and our comfort zone is too small for what’s happening. The patterns give us a way to stretch our comfort zone by doing uncomfortable things in a relatively comfortable way. While WHAT we practice stretches us into a weaker pattern, HOW we practice can leverage our familiar, Home pattern strengths. For example, if we’re strong in Driver, we can set goals and keep score on our practice. We can do activities with friends if we’re strong in Collaborator. If Organizer is Home, we can build on our discipline and make time for practicing a weak pattern. For Visionaries, it can all be a grand experiment to explore oneself at new limits. By using the patterns to bridge the familiar and the new, we add to our agility in style. We keep growing. Visit for more on the patterns, including how to get certified or help your people in Targeting Leadership Energy.

Which brings us to more joy. If you’ve been trying to learn something new, struggling with it and – click – suddenly you get it, the joy is unmistakable. If you are in the flow of challenging activity and giving it your best, joy arises. If you are unselfconsciously being yourself, loving other people, or playing with life, joy arises. Joy is a pretty good litmus test of when we’ve gotten out of our own way, and are non-neurotic and natural.

So my glad tidings for you would be to take comfort as it comes, and let joy be a good litmus test in your life. May you work with the energy patterns in you to keep your comfort zone flexible, your responses agile. And may you ever enjoy nature passing through you as your own nature shines brightly in the world. Wishing you joyful holidays and a joyous New Year.

– Ginny Whitelaw

FEBI Applied: A Year of FEBI from an Internal Perspective

As many of you know, this past year I took a job as an internal Leadership Development I’ve had much learning myself in this past year of internal consulting. It was only here that I discovered the real need for the now popular workshop, Targeting Your Leadership Energy. I developed this
workshop out of a necessity to bring FEBI to much larger groups than I would be able to do in one-on-one coaching. Early this Fall, we trained a number of FEBI-Certified Coaches to deliver this workshop in their own practices, and we’re now hearing of the impact this is having in other organizations through their work (contact me if you’re a FEBI-Certified Coach and are interested in this training).  consultant, while continuing my work supporting the FEBI-Certified Coach community. This meant I had a chance to see on the inside the impact FEBI can have, not only on participants in a workshop, but on achieving organizational goals. What I’m seeing one year in, is that FEBI is now a core framework used effectively across the organization. For example, just last week a senior leader utilized FEBI verbiage to shift from the hurry-up Driver approach his group would normally take to solve a problem to stepping back into Visionary thinking, which led to a much better solution. These moments energize me, as I really see how effective leaders can be when they take a Whole Leadership approach.

I continue to be energized seeing the patterns of FEBI create profound shifts in leaders, and the impact that has on their teams and organizations. As our community of FEBI-Certified Coaches continues to grow, so to does our reach in bringing this impact to leaders around the globe. Wishing you a most energized New Year – and the right energy at the right time.

– Anthony Attan

Free FEBI Webinar: Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI

Interested in using FEBI in your own practice but not yet Certified?  Join us on January 11th for this free 1-hour webinar. Energize Yourself, Energize Your Business with FEBI® is a lively, interactive webinar where you get to meet the energy patterns in you, learn how the FEBI assessment can power growth in your coaching or consulting business, and learn how you can get certified without losing a day of work or getting on an airplane.

Register HERE for the webinar.

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