"We never know the worth of water until the well is dry."

Thomas Fuller, 1732
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The Wisdom of Water 
What water can teach us about leadership.
There are days when connecting and motivating others seems as easy as walking a tightrope. Blindfolded. Holding a refrigerator.

At those times, I remember what I've learned by watching water, whether it's a gentle stream or a majestic waterfall.

Be focused. Be clear. Go with the flow.
This is the nature of water.
It moves forward relentlessly, but with an ease and grace that belies any resistance. Water's essence is to nourish life, to intermingle with other forces (earth, rocks, wind, etc.) and to move forward.
Imagine if we learned to lead the same way.

Be focused 
How often do we walk into a meeting with three agendas, ten tasks and four crises rolling through our head? Water has one goal - to go where it needs to go in that moment, in concert with its environment.

So consider this: rather than slogging through another mind-numbing 3-hour meeting that leaves everyone exhausted, schedule 15 minute meetings with one agenda item per meeting. Everyone commits to discussing that item ONLY and to reach consensus on the next action step. It's that simple. Not easy, but simple.

Remember, no complex issue will be resolved in 15 minutes, but a sincere, focused effort can define the most appropriate next action on any situation. 

Be clear 
Muddy thinking is the greatest detriment to moving forward. Clarity comes from asking powerful questions like "What is the real issue here?" or "What fear is holding us back from resolving this problem once and for all?" or "What industries that completely different from ours have tackled a similar challenge and succeeded? How did they do it? What are the lessons here that we can apply to our situation?"

Go with the flow 
No this isn't new-age hype, man. It's the essential lesson of water: move around, not through boundaries. Find an opening and fit your (expectations, resources, goals) into the available space. Blocked flow means pressure and eventual destruction. When flow is restricted, you have an unhealthy build-up that leads to frustration, resentment or worse, the feelings of helplessness and apathy. 
A free flow of ideas, open communication and shared resources creates new possibilities. 

A new appreciation for water 
Japanese new-age healer Dr. Masaru Emoto considers water to be a living being, with eons of wisdom and spirit collected in its molecular and sub-atomic structure. 
He posits that water "...is sensitive to the vibration of words, their intent and energy.

Next month we'll continue to explore the mysteries of water and Dr. Emoto's provocative and controversial research into how water's sensitivity can have a profound impact on the people we are and may become...


Mental Notes is Evolving
In the coming months, dear reader, you and I will explore the psychology and neuroscience of perception and how it informs our approach to business and life.
Mental Notes 
will continue to evolve to complement my roles as a national speaker, trainer and consultant. I welcome your comments and questions along the way.