Friday, April 26, 2013

Carmen Brickner: Take the Time to Learn About Your MIND!

Sometimes we get surprising gifts in unexpected places.  In fact, they are often the best.  The other day I was at Barnes and Noble and hit the 'reduced rack' at the front door.  I picked up "My Stroke of Insight" by Jill Bolte Taylor (check her out at, "4,000 Years of Uppity Women" by Vicki Leon (short tidbits about women who made a difference between 2500 BC and 1899 AD), and "Leadership Secrets from the Bible" by Lorin Woolfe.

Each has been such a gift.  

I believe the most important tool any of us can learn more about is our mind.  We take it with us from team to team, job to job, relationship to relationship.  It determines how much we choose to learn, grow, give, and change.  

I have a most wonderful client company whose owner/president shuts down quarterly and brings all 30-plus people together for a half day of development.  Each session we ask them what they want to learn the next time and I get it ready for them.  It is always about health relationships in one way or another.  They wanted to know about the brain and how it works so they can use it better.  WOW!  Talk about enlightened tool makers!  Then again, they are used to thinking from the inside out.

For three and a half hours we learned about how we make learn, make decisions, bring our unique viewpoints and gifts to work.  We talked about amygdalae and hippocampi.  They rocked!  We learned how some people just can't remember what they read while others just hear "wah, wah, wah" in company meetings on results.

Thanks to Jill Bolte Taylor's observing and sharing in plain language the journey through her life- and brain-threatening stroke at 37 that almost destroyed her entire left brain, I learned so much and was able to share it.  We had a wonderful learning and team-building day.  They appreciated each other more, laughed more, cut each other more slack when they disagreed.  

'Uppity Women' has reminded me that we didn't invent strong women in the 1970's when we fought so hard for women's rights in the workplace. Nor is it uniquely American.  It is easy to grow a full wardrobe of hubris when we are so lucky to live in such freedom, as if it is a given. It is good for humility and full of humor.  Heroes and heroines come in all ages, walks of life, and locations.  But they all have somethings in common - vision, willingness to take risks to follow their own path, and the ability to look at life with an unusual take on things.  Good advice for all change makers and leaders.

Which brings me to "Leadership Secrets from the Bible."  This is not a 'religious' book, but a leadership book.  It quotes modern moguls of note as much if not more than 'the Good Book'.  Chapter headings read like a list from every major leadership seminar I've ever attended: Honesty and Integrity, Purpose, Kindness and Compassion, Humility, Communication, Performance Management, Team Development, Courage, Justice and Fairness, and Leadership Development. My highlighter is running dry from the great quotes from Jack Stack, Jack Welch, Konosuke Matsushita, and on and on.  Tons of good stuff packed into an inch.  

My overall lessons from this one?  You can do well while still doing good.  Great leadership transcends time.  The bible is riddled with obstacles no smaller than those we face in business, or getting Apollo 13 home safely, or rebuilding how we take care of our aging population.  They fought for keeps back then and whole nations were at stake, no less than today.  Examine your values - put words to your inner purpose, your rudder, so that you know it, not so that you can plaster it on walls, and steer by it through all the storms.

And pick up some discounted book and unwrap a gift.

CLEARbrick, Inc. is dedicated to working with individuals and organizations willing to create healthy relationships and develop the culture, skills and processes necessary for sustainable innovation and financial success for all stakeholders.

Carmen Brickner is the founder and principal of CLEARbrick, Inc. and has recently expanded her service area by opening an office in Tampa, FL in addition to her current CT based organization.
(860) 478-9465

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