A Trip Around Denali – Looks Can Be Deceiving
I had the gift of spending time in Alaska last week. I was on a cruise to Southeast Alaska this past summer and enjoyed Glacier Bay and other beautiful sights. This time wasn’t with thousands of my nearest and dearest cruising partners. This time it was me, my friend and his dog in the small town of Talkeetna. I believe the show Northern Exposure was based on this town. The street my apartment is on is bigger and longer, so I imagined, than the length of this town. Quiet and small was the name of the game. A sled dog's howling was one of the only sounds we’d hear.
Then things got even more interesting. It was a gorgeous day, unusual in sunlight and lack of clouds. We took the opportunity to take a ‘bush plane’ to Denali. Within 10 minutes I was face to face with Mount McKinley, Mount Foraker, and Mount Hunter. Epic. White. Majestic. Five of us and a pilot in a Piper aircraft. 90 minutes of mountain. Not from afar, which is another amazing view, which is what you saw with awe from the town, but now, up close and personal.
Perspective is everything. As you come toward the mountain it is overwhelming. Its scope and girth is grand. Then you curve around like an Imax movie and see the ice on the glaciers below, the sheer face of the rock on specific sides, the North Face’s shadow, smooth snow, ruggedly choppy rock, and all the time the perspective changes, constantly. Over and over. And yet it is the same Alaskan range. Still grand. Still awesome.
We often view things superficially from just one angle. Our limited ability to see the big picture and the little pictures gets us in trouble. We need flexibility of focus. There is so much more to it...all the time. Robert Marshak’s book, Covert Processes at Work: Managing the Five Hidden Dimensions of Change reminds us of what we don’t see. What is outside our limited view? “Covert processes are often out-of-awareness or unconscious. Covert processes such as
Feelings, emotions, and needs regarding power, inclusion, authority, intimacy, attraction, trust, or anger.
- Fears, taboos, conflicts, and disagreements.
- Aspirations, hopes, dreams, or spiritual values that are considered too far out or pie-in-the-sky.
- Beliefs, norms, and cultural assumptions that guide and limit possibilities.”
As the plane flew to the ‘other side of the mountain’ away from Talkeetna the temperature gets colder, the climbs get more challenging, the faces aren’t so bright. And yet, it is the same mountain. So complex. So much more than we thought.
What aren’t we seeing from where we sit?
If you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions, please feel free to call me, 650-868-1916 and we can Face Time, Skype me at jenniferabrams, or email me at Jennifer@jenniferabrams.com and we can set up a time to talk voice to voice. I look forward to hearing from you!
My colleagues, Bena Kallick and Art Costa, are speaking at the Global Mind Ed Conference in June 2015. It is a ‘convening of the world’s greatest minds in education, industry and government.’ I think we as educators can learn so much from others outside our field and Denver in June is lovely. Check it out.
A big shout out to my Alaskan friend, colleague and facilitator extraordinaire, Tonio Verzone. His website, ‘co:’ says his work is “empowering through transformative learning experiences. He is the consummate learner and supporter of others in their learning.
On my shelf, but should be at my bedside, Great By Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck --- Why Some Thrive Despite Them All. Jim Collins is said in this work to be “classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.” What a cool endorsement. I wanna to be like Jim.
Each month I will share with you information about a few of my upcoming trainings.
If I am going to be in your area, contact me so we can say hello, hopefully in person!
Having Hard Conversations &
Collaborative Communication Basics
ISACS Annual Conference
Using Actionable Feedback &
Having Hard Conversations
LAUSD – ESC East Principals’ Session
Los Angeles, CA
Powerful Presentation Skills
Stanford Hospital and Clinics
Palo Alto, CA
Having Hard Conversations
English Speaking School Boards of Quebec
Gatineau, Greenfield Park, Quebec, Montreal
For additional upcoming events, please visit my Web site.
Until next time!
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