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#11 Bright spots

#11 Bright spots

On my mind

I've been a little obsessed about feedback latey. I'm worried that people have stopped telling each other what they really think. I see this in our wider society and in our workplace. When things go unsaid, hurt festers; it's easy to assume the worst; problems can escalate quickly; disconnection reigns.

So I've been wanting to encourage more feedback, especially among our team, and specifically of the radically candid kind—where we challenge directly because we also care deeply. But I realized this week that I'd gotten too caught up in the challenge part—first we need to focus on caring deeply.

I think we sometimes forget that giving positive feedback (when it's specific and genuine) is an important way to show we care. Only when people feel cared for, seen, and appreciated can they receive criticism in a useful way.

On my nightstand

I finally pulled Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard off my bookshelf the other evening and started reading. It's as good as I expected, considering the number of brilliant people who have recommended it to me.

Of the many simple, actionable perception shifts the book recommends, one feels particularly helpful right now: bright spots. In summary: when you enter a seemingly intractable situation, with deeply ingrained, systemic problems, you look for places where things are going much better than expected. This could be the few kids thriving in a community of widespread malnutrition, or the few highly engaged employees at a company struggling with low morale.

Once you've identified a bright spot, analyze exactly how it happened and use your findings to drive a similar outcome more widely. I'm finding this useful even at a very personal level. When something seems impossible, I force myself to think of just one time it was achieved, then excavate exactly how and mine that for insights.

A Tarot card

The Prince of Cups, as described in The Tarot Handbook, represents "the capacity to simultaneously move forward and let go." A symbol of emotional mastery and maturity, this card is more broadly about the ability to do two seemingly contradictory things at the same time. In order to transform ourselves or a situation, we must move toward our desires while also letting go of what's no longer serving us. In order to create a new reality, we must allow ourselves to dream of a perfect state, while also bringing those dreams down to earth and persevering through imperfection.

A question

Think of something you're struggling to do. Now think of one time you managed to do it, even in a small way or for only an instant. What allowed that small instance to happen? How did you feel just before, during, and after?

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