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Beer Summit
Creating our own Reality
Archives (NEW!)
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Why Clarity.....
....and why now?

HDClarity is an e-zine for those wanting to develop more trust, understanding and camaraderie in their work environment, and their life in general.  A smoother running team is a more profitable team.  They get things done faster, for less cost.  If you'd like to discover methods for reducing struggle, resolving conflict, improving relationships, or just plain relieving stress, please read on. 
"I feel like I got a pile of cattle chasing my ass, and I'm peddling as hard as I can to stay in front of 'em. I'm looking behind me driving like hell."
                                                             Rusty Wallace                                     
Transmissions, 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd gear

Going fast (and safely) is a great metaphor for how we live our lives.  Some puddle around the neighborhood and some fly the Interstates.  Some never leave their hometown and others can't grow roots.  Some drive the speed limit while others routinely flaunt their disdain for any limits.

Some of us grew up aware of three-speed automatic transmissions (D, 2, 1).  If we're old enough, we recall the "three on the tree" manual transmission in our father's pickup truck or sometimes old General Motors or Ford products.  If you were into performance cars, you heard about "four on the floor"!

 three on the tree
                                              Three on the tree                                           
Recently I've taken to the idea of using a "transmission" metaphor for getting clear about where we're going in life.  And cars, at least for my generation, have been the vehicles for living.  Clarity is the goal here, and I can see Clarity as the end point....sort of the "zone" of life.  We don't often get there, but most of us have experienced it and know it when it's happening to us, don't we.  Tiger Woods can be in his "zone" whipping everybody at the recent (and final) Buick Open by three strokes.  LeBron James (or Michael Jordan, or Larry Bird, depending on your generation) seems to be in his "zone" any time he steps on a basketball court.  Rally Drivers are in the zone when they are on a specific race section where they, their race car, and their co-driver are just clicking and they're maximizing every turn and jump to come off the stage totally elated, and with the best time possible for them (hey, that's all you can ask, right?).
The cars that compete at the highest levels of any motorsport are not usually limited to 3 forward gears.  The competent rally cars today are currently using highly technical 7 speed transmissions (with 8 speeds on the horizon).  Why so many gears?  To answer that question we have to ask what a transmission does and how it works.
First, a transmissions is used for getting the POWER of the engine to the ground in a fashion that it propels the car forward....it translates horsepower to speed.  Most race engines produce the maximum amount of power in a relatively small RPM range ...say from 4000 RPMs to 6500 RPMs.  (RPMs are revolutions per minute....that sound you hear from the engine as you accelerate faster and faster).  With the engine running slower than that (under 4000 RPMs, for example), there's not enough torque or energy to move the car forward powerfully.  You probably recognize this as "lugging" in a gear that's too high for the RPM range.  Conversely, revving over 6500 RPMs, and you're both operating over the top of the effective torque range AND risking blowing up your engine.  You're stressing the machine.   So the different gears are designed to keep the car pulling effectively moving ever faster while keeping the engine in it's most efficient and effective operating range.  A little technical, but I hope it helps the reader understand.
Back to the transmission metaphor for getting Clarity....
Getting off the line in 1st Gear is the toughest part of getting the car moving, right?  Especially with a manual transmission.  In 1st Gear, I picture recognizing the "struggle".  We've been accepting our fate long enough and something gets us upset and we realize "things aren't as good as they could be".  When you were learning to drive (if you were fortunate enough to be learning on a manual transmission and you realize some look upon that as a good thing), starting out in 1st Gear was tough....a little gas....let off the clutch slowly.....LURCH!!!!  SCREECH!  Try again.  Similarly, it's not a simple thing to recognize that this existence your currently living, or the level of performance your company or team is putting out isn't maximized.  Perhaps you wandered past an Army recruiting poster "Be the best that you can be", and don't want to enlist in order to obtain that status.  Struggle is stress producing. 
Staying in 1st Gear too long results in over-revving the engine and potentially blowing it up.  When you reach the top of the torque range of your engine, you have three options: 
1.  Slow down. 
2.  Shift up.....or..... 
3. Blow your engine. 
We suggest shifting up, but slowing down is always an option.  And slowing down here means failing to recognize the struggle.  Or ignoring it.  But isn't that what we've always done?  How's that working for us?
Top of 1st Gear.  Clutch in.  Lever clicked into 2nd Gear.  Clutch released.  It's a very purposeful action.  One that you do deliberately.  You WANT to shift up so you move faster and don't blow up your engine.
2nd Gear, then, is when you start to figure out what you WANT.  Status quo's not working (you discovered in 1st Gear), and now you reach the point where you WANT something different (notice I didn't say "better"....not my call...."different" will do for now). Let's say you WANT to weigh 30 pounds less.  Or maybe you WANT to take a three week vacation with your wife and WANT to re-connect so you're not just passing in the hallways of your house.  It's the "if-only" list.  If only I could:
            Make more money
            Move to New York
            Land the Bank of America contract
            Meet the Dali Lama
            Make my quota
            Have more kids
            Get rid of kids
            Quit smoking
            Shoot under 80 (for 18 holes!)
            Be the top ranked widget company in the country
            Get promoted
            ...your "if-only goes" here....
While a rather whimsical look at the subject, the 2007 Morgan Freeman/Jack Nicholson movie "The Bucket List" is not a bad place to start (the so called list of things one WANTS to do before kicking the aforementioned bucket).  Mostly, though, the things we identify while motoring along in 2nd Gear are more critical than that (unless you have days to live, of course,then they are immediate!).  They are things that we want to change in order to live a happier, more productive life, or manage a more trusting team in our company, or develop higher levels of understanding and camaraderie (like rally drivers and co-drivers do).  In general these WANTS fall in the categories of reducing struggle (staying out of 1st Gear, that is), resolving crisis, improving relationships and reducing stress. 
Perhaps you've identified some personal shortcomings that you "hide" from your world.  Or possibly you see that there are people in your organization who are not contributing what's in the best interest of your mission.
You can actually use the InterNet to help with this....there are several websites that help list and track (and solicit feel-good support) many "bucket list" items (www.your100things.com; www.43things.com; www.superviva.com; www.reaperlist.com).
These list helpers can assist you in putting huge lists of WANTS together in a short period of time.  And I totally applaud that exercise.  My experience (and those of my coaching clients) is that focusing on ONE or TWO WANTS at a time give a better chance of success.  That does not mean that the ONE you pick should be the 'easier' one or the one you "should" do...let's remember this is a WANT category....not a SHOULD category. 
It's pretty important to examine your WANT and make sure it's not somebody else's SHOULD (and most of your SHOULDs are most likely somebody else's SHOULDs....they come from your Knower/Judger...from your past and Knowledge base which you inherited from someone else). 
You've got the WANT.  You're at very high revs in 2nd Gear.  You've got 3 choices....same three. 
1.  Slow down. 
2.  Shift up. 
3. Blow your engine. 
Again, I suggest we shift up....we're going pretty fast now.  If we've got "three on the tree", we're pulling into top gear, right?
3rd Gear.  What's getting in your way?  What's stopped you in the past?  Here we are in 3rd Gear and I want to know what's stopping you?.  3rd Gear is all about identifying the impediments, the potholes, the speed bumps that prevent you from accomplishing this particular WANT.  Is it money?  You can't afford it?  Is it time?  You just can't take the time away from your (pick one...kids, wife, house, lawn, garden, job, church, bar, hobby, Mom, etc.)?  Is it fear?  You're afraid of (pick one...losing your family, losing money, you might hurt yourself, you might hurt someone else, you might not do the "right" thing, you'll look stupid, it won't look dignified, it's below you, it's above you, failure, success. etc.).  You're in the top gear your car. Even if it's an automatic, your engine is at 6800 RPM......6900.....7000.  Whining. Something's got to give.  But here you only have two choices.
1.  Slow down
2.  Blow your engine.
Or are there only two choices?  Maybe you can find an "extra gear".  Remember the performance cars with "four on the floor"? 
Here's where some of the concepts brought up over the past months (click on Archives below) start to become evident.
For the most part what's getting in our way is our past.  It's usually NOT the company, boss, wife, husband, situation, luck, etc. that stymies us.  It's our Knower/Judger (as opposed to our Learner/Researcher).  The K/J "KNOWS" that
 "you're not capable of making THAT much money";
"it's wrong to talk to strangers";
"it's not polite to discuss what YOU want in public";
"asking for help is childish";
"hugging is for women only";
and "toilet paper comes off the top of the roll"....period. 
Can you see how these messages we've chosen (and I truly believe we've chosen to internalize them, even if they came from our parents, mentors, and previous experiences) get in our way?  I co-drove for a Rally driver who discovered he had a message bouncing around in his head that he was a "loser".  Can you see how that prevents one from winning?  I know people in sales management positions who can't make cold calls because "it's not polite to interrupt someone's day".  I know an executive who can't release employees because he believes that the total responsibility for each employee is his.  These are "rules of life" we've been endowed with that simply get in the way sometimes.
To be sure some of our "rules of life" serve us well.  When we're driving, stopping at red hexagonal signs with the letters S-T-O-P on them serves us well.  Not knocking on doors to find new customers because it's not polite will probably leave our sales career muddling along in third gear....requiring us to slow down (as opposed to shifting up).  It's this understanding of how things are that sometimes lets us only use.....three gears.  We have more.......

four on the floor
Four on the floor?
Beer Summit
On Thursday, July 16th, a tired black man, returning to his home discovered he did not have his keys.  I've done that.  What did I do?  I broke into my basement window.  Hey.  It's MY basement window, right?  Nobody called the cops.
But on July 26th a little after Noon, a guy was seen trekking around the porch of a house in fashionable district near Harvard in Cambridge, MA trying to break in to the house.
A 9-1-1 call was made and the rest, as they say, is history.

Henry Gates
Two grown men lost an opportunity to interact in their Learner/Researcher modes (click on archive June, 2009 below to learn about Learner/Researcher vs. Knower Judger) and created a media dream of racial profiling and cop bashing. 
The victim's (Professor Henry "Skip" Gates) K/J told him (from his history) he was an underdog and had to fight for his rights as a human being.
The persecutor's (Police officer Sergeant James Crowley) K/J told him (from his experiences as a law enforcement officer) that anything can happen in any situation and that it is in his best interest to remain "in charge" of the scene under no matter what transpires.
Oh, we sold a lot of newspapers!
Then the following Thursday at a press conference President Obama missed yet another opportunity to bring "presence" to the fray by suggesting that the Cambridge Police Department acted "stupidly"....clearly from his K/J.  It was his personal opinion without a clear understanding of the facts based on his "history" with his race and his personal friend, Skip Gates.
More papers sold.
The funny thing about this triumvirate is that all three participants believed in their heart of hearts that they were "RIGHT".  The concept of "Right" and "Wrong", of course, is all based on our historical perspectives (our K/J) and has no necessary logical connection to the present.  In my coaching sessions I prefer to use the term "in the best interest of" instead of Right/Wrong judgments.
So re-phrased, each participant felt that their actions were in their own best interests.  Not the other persons, just theirs.  Gates felt his rage was in his best interest. Crowley felt his force was in his.  And Obama felt his judgment of stupidity served him well (although I can't for the life of me figure that one out!).
What's missing here is the concept of the greater good.  The altruistic concept of calming the waters.  What's in the best interest of the country...the wounds of racism...the general angst of the population? 
It's at this point that President Obama pulled the trump card. And I give him tremendous credit for doing so.
Observe it as a lesson in getting out of your K/J mode (that which pits your knowledge base against someone else's....or your judgment of "right" against someone else's judgment of "right") and into the L/R mode (where we take into account the actual real data, not the filtered "spun" stuff the media likes to trundle out).  
He suggested, artfully,.....the BEER SUMMIT (although I'm under the impression even the term "beer summit" was generated by the media).

Beer Summit
Just days before, these Gates and Crowley were probably headed down the path of a Supreme Court Case....and President Obama's move put everyone, including himself, in a position to see the data for what is was....a guy who lost his key and a cop sent to investigate a break-in, neither of whom could stay present (in their L/R mode). 
What are the situations where you have trouble staying present....staying (or getting into) your Learner/Researcher mode as opposed to demanding your Knower/Judger is "Right"?  Reprimanding a direct report?  Dealing with service at a restaurant?  Challenging the guy (or gal) who just pulled in front of you at the exit ramp?  Is that in the best interest?  Do you have all the data....the true, actual data?  Or are you just in possession of the "spun" data. What damage do you leave in your wake when you operate in automatic mode from your K/J?
Creating our own reality. 

Remember the basic premise of Ho'oponopono (archive issue)?  We are responsible for our own reality.
Enter Chris Hrabik.  Chris emailed me last week.  I haven't met him yet.  Chris wants to become a rally co-driver.  And kimdemotte.com popped up on his Google search as a resource for helping him do that.
Actually this kind of karma happens to me all the time.  Chris, it turns out, lives just down the road from me in Farmington, MO.  And, unlike most people who email me about co-driving, Chris has a fairly extensive recent experience in getting familiar with the sport of Rally Racing here in the US.  He's volunteered as a marshal at the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood...twice.  He informed me that he's going to be traveling up to Bemidji, MN next weekend to work the Ojibwe Forest Rally.  So the guy's already got more going for him than 90% of the people who contact me.
Then he informed me that I shouldn't be shocked when we meet in Minnesota that he's in a wheelchair.  He's decided that actually DRIVING a rally car is out (but we'll talk about that as it's already been done!) and is determined to become a co-driver as he sees no apparent roadblocks to doing that.  In fact Rally America's Production Class Champion Co-Driver for the past two seasons is wheel-chair bound (oh...I HATE that term) Jody Zedril.
It seems Chris's enthusiasm for going fast found him in a rolling tumbling pickup truck about 5 years ago.  When the dust all settled....nothing moved.
Making a long story short, Chris spent months in China receiving Stem Cell treatments and now has full use of his right arm and hand and most of his left.  All is still improving.  So what is the "reality" Chris has created for himself?  Read his blog.  Inspiring young man.  Can't wait to meet him.

Chris Hrabik and Travis Pastrana
Chris and Rally America Champ, Travis Pastrana

Get present.  Today.  It's your choice.

Kim DeMotte
Power of NO, Corporate CoDriver
(877) 245-8250