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Volume 5, Issue 7

July 2013 


What's your see? squeegie


Happy National Ice Cream month! T'hat's right; July is officially National Ice Cream month. President Reagan declared it so in 1984. Ice cream is part of our country's history - the first written account of colonists eating it goes all the way back to 1744. And a "goddess" named Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia patented the first ice cream maker in 1843. We still use her basic design today, although it's come a long way from the hand-crank version I remember as a kid. (Hard to believe, but we used to fight over who got to crank.) I love ice cream - and it loves my thighs - so I try and abstain. But I often give in and then feel guilty. I'm not a big fan of guilt, so I decided to challenge my "see" of ice least for National Ice Cream month. No longer is it an enemy of the thighs but an industry that generates more than $10 billion in revenue and contributes to the economic well-being of our dairy farmers. And I plan to enjoy it liberally throughout the month.


There's not much risk in challenging our "see" when it comes to ice cream. Not so when it comes to challenging our "see" about more serious stuff. I know I sometimes hang on to my habitual "sees"'s just easier. I'm grateful that I often find reminders that reinforce how vital it is to challenge the serious stuff. One such reminder is this month's TED Talk by artist Phil Hansen, who challenged his perception of limitation and found new ways to create art by "embracing the shake."


Also in this month's see-musings is a rant from Kris, our managing partner, who's had enough of snarky attacks on setting goals. As she...and Robert Browning...say - our reach should exceed our grasp, or what's a heaven for? This curation is also a reminder that we don't have to accept another's "see" of an issue, even when they're considered experts.


And finally, BoldWork principal Janice Criddle invites us to view a quick, powerful video that takes a look at challenging our "see" on a very personal level. Why is it so difficult for us to see ourselves in the positive ways others see us? Leadership requires confidence and a strong self-image. This means being more conscious of that inner dialogue of harsh, often unfair critique.


Now...why not settle in with some ice cream as you peruse this month's issue?


Boldly yours,


Jennie Ayers

Senior Partner

July 2013

In This Issue
  • Embrace the Shake!
  • Are You Too Hard on Yourself?
  • What's a Heaven For?  

BrainEmbrace the Shake!
Curated by Jennie Ayers, Senior Partner, BoldWork

Growing up, because both my parents worked, I spent most of my time with my grandmother, who lived three houses down the block from us. By the age of six, we moved to a bigger flat and she lived with us, becoming my primary playmate...which couldn't have been easy for a woman her age. She was in her 70's when I was born, although to me she was ageless. She taught me to roller skate, ride a pogo stick (which she personally demonstrated) and made sure I could play a mean game of pepper. I thought there was nothing my grandmother couldn't do. After all, she'd been widowed at a young age and raised 5 kids all on her own. As I grew up, she continually reminded me that the only limitations I faced were the ones I put on myself.


As a professoinal woman, I embrace my grandmother's way of thinking. Many of you may think the same. We don't accept limitations, we overcome them. But I'm rethinking my "see" when it comes to limitations...and starting to put a spin on my grandmother's advice...all because of Phil Hansen.


Phil Hansen is an artist who faced a crisis when he came down with a condition that made his hand shake. He felt this condition would threaten his dream of being an artist unless he found a way to overcome it. But his neurologist told him the condition was permanent and advised Hansen to "embrace the shake" - to accept the limitation.


Phil Hansen face drawing
Drawing by artist Phil Hansen
In this 10 minute Ted Talk, Hansen shares his experiences when he took his neurologist's advice. What he discovers is that, far from reducing creativity and his ability to be an artist, accepting his limitations set boundaries, closed off the more obvious routes forward and forced him to think differently. He found new ways to create art by "embracing the shake."


It made me wonder. How might our lives be different if we embraced our limitations, which could open us up to exploring different ways of thinking and doing? Could it help us be more comfortable with failing? Might it help us use the resources, time and abilities we do have more creatively?


What if we saw our limitations not as impediments, but as invitations to discover something new? When it comes to limitations, what if we changed our "see"?


Real Beauty 
Curated by Janice Criddle, Princpal, BoldWork


There's a short video I want to share with you. It's a commercial...but it's powerful and moving. I had to fight back a tear or two. I think it affected me so because the women in it are me. In the video, each woman is given the opportunity to compare how she sees herself versus how others see her. Although this video focuses on women, we think the men in our see-musings audience will welcome a little insight into the women who work beside them.


There's long-standing debate about the difference between how men see themselves and how women see themselves. Certainly, this doesn't apply to every woman and every man, but the trend is that women tend to be more critical of themselves. The following excerpt from Women and the Negativity Receptor by Aimee Lee Ball helps us understand why.


dove sketch  


"It turns out there's an area of your brain that's assigned the task of negative thinking," says Louann Brizendine, M.D., a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the author of The Female Brain. "It's judgmental. It says, 'I'm too fat' or 'I'm too old'. It's a barometer of every social interaction you have. It goes on red alert when the feedback you're getting from other people isn't going well." This worrywart part of the brain is the anterior cingulate cortex. In women, it's larger and more influential, as is the brain circuitry for observing emotions in others. "The reason we think females have more emotional sensitivity," says Brizendine, "is that we've been built to be immediately responsive to the needs of a nonverbal infant. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing." (If you want to read more of this article, click here.)


Armed with this knowledge, I choose to change my "see." I will take that compliment from my client without thinking, "They're just trying to be nice." Self-confidence is a good thing. And getting other perspectives is a great way to validate.


I hope you'll check out the video. It's only 6 minutes long and it just may change your "see."



What's a Heaven For?
Curated by Kris Campbell, Managing Partner at BoldWork


reach for the moon
It's happening more often...those moments when I have to lean back in my chair, stare at the monitor and yell, "You've GOT to be kidding me!" I read a lot of articles from well-respected sites, editorials from known writers and e-papers from highly regarded blogs. I sometimes think these authors write their pithy titles just to get a rise from us and to get above the cacophony of data-noise, to be heard and read.


Lately, the topic of Goal Setting is taking a beating and I can't take it anymore. We humans have evolved to be purpose-driven, goal seeking, mission-minded creatures. Our glorious brains turn our eyes to the horizon and drive us toward possibilities. To paraphrase a famous Browning quote, our reach should exceed our grasp, or what's a heaven for?


The line to trounce Goal Setting starts here:

reaching for brass ring What's afoot is a snarky trend to pile on Goal Setting, going so far as to suggest we stop the practice altogether. But when you read past the evocative headlines and academic rhetoric, we discover that we don't need to stop setting goals - we just need to stop setting them badly. The same logic applies - if we hurt our back, we don't stop exercising. We simply stop exercising in a way that harms us.


Goal setting can be the most powerful tool we wield in our journey through life...or one of the most injurious, inefficient and non-productive activities when we do it poorly.


Let's stop blaming the tool and put criticism where it belongs - with the individual or group who misuses its potential.


I'm sharing a series of opposing observations about Goal Setting that I think are well worth considering. We need stimulating, practical insights to sharpen and improve our capacity to aim, intend, pursue our purpose and exceed our grasp - or what's a heaven for?



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