Just say “No Straws, Please” [There, That Wasn’t So Hard!]

With apologies to the companies around the world that make straws, we need to break up. Let me explain:

Plastic Oceans gets it. There are Texas-sized gyres of garbage floating around our oceans. That’s our fault. They’re not entirely comprised of straws, but just like sorting our recycling, saying “no straw please” when in restaurants may literally be the least we can do to combat our unhealthy relationship with plastic.

Do you know who gets it beyond Plastic Oceans? Vancouver’s new amazing, inspired social enterprise, Zero Waste Market.

The get it so much that they’re promoting tonight’s screening of A Plastic Ocean in Vancouver. And they’re demonstrating what makes them awesome as a market.

You can RSVP here, it’s free!

Ultimately, when people are harmonizing and optimizing their work-life-vocation-volunteering balance, which is the core of Path Consulting, it’s easy to skip the straws. It’s easy to align our working lives with our values.

And organizationally, when we have a pretty high bar for progressive values that improve the world, through a social enterprise or otherwise, it can be pretty simple to ensure our activities and our broad stakeholder relationships do more than just ensure sustainable economic activity!

It’s easy to be impressed with Zero Waste Market. I was last month. And you will be too.

Go see the screening tonight. And begin the trend among your people to make “no straw please” go viral!

I’m at ebStrategy.org.

Wonder Woman, Pregnant Women, Heroes and Equality

https://i0.wp.com/pbs.twimg.com/media/DBeZ6AaXsAA9WE0.jpg?resize=337%2C445&ssl=1This has been my week. Let’s make it everyone’s!

When we are developing our own expertise and counting all the people who’ve got our backs, and all our intentional and accidental mentors, proteges, heroes and anti-heroes…we need to keep in mind that we shouldn’t assume everyone else already knows what empowerment looks like.

(In)secure: the Future of Working, A Tyee/SFU Joint

We're not in Kansas anymore!
We’re not in Kansas anymore!

(In)secure: the Future of Working, a Tyee/SFU joint on May 25 examined the nature of the precariat. I had many thoughts!

As individuals and organizations we need to become far more intentional about the nature of work, relationships, fulfillment and the social contract.

THAT is why I’m a Path Consultant and an Organizational Soul Consultant.

Here are my tweets from last night. Do they resonate with you? Then we need to talk. We need to build a game plan for you or your organization to make this a more intentional century for you. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll have a real advantage over people who don’t really understand all this yet.

Call me. I’m at ebStrategy.org.

What Are Your Power Anthems?

Regardless of what you do, you are a brand.

Sure, this may sound weird, but with all your hats as employee, innovator, activist, volunteer, expert, mentor, and/or protege, you can’t be unintentional about how you present yourself, just letting others define your scope and relevance in the world.

So you have to manage your identity, integrity, expertise, excellence in all you do at work, among your people [friends, family] and in all your other vocations and passion activities. You are the CEO of the thing that is you. Just maybe without the massive salary and titanium parachute.

Companies have whole teams of people who stickhandle their brands. You have just you, and the people who support you, and those you support. But that’s OK because you’re already pretty good and managing your posture. We have all [perhaps sometimes just inadvertently] developed some skill here. But probably not enough.

And what about your organization? Your business, non-profit, world-changing activist crew, co-op, social/hobby group that enriches so many people’s lives. Organizations also have souls. They cannot be left to drift about. We need to be intentional, and that means finding music that reflects the greatness that comes from everyone’s shared energy, vision, passion and frankly, idealism.

So one of the things we need to do to solidify how awesome we are is designate our fight songs. Our anthems that invigorate us and help remind us that we are pretty tremendous.

I was reminded of this when out of nowhere, Ed Sheeren’s new song “Castle on the Hill,” clobbered me with brilliance, reminding me of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.”

Castle has a powerful narrative, bold music, a solid baseline, deep human themes, decades of living and the pathos inherent in great literature. So does “Born to Run.”

Some of my other power anthems of awesomesauce and world dominance include Tina Turner’s “The Best” and “Better Be Good To Me” and Kathleen Edwards’ “Change the Sheets,” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ the Free World” and “Crime in the City,” and the Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century.” And that mystical thing that happens in those few precious early seconds when U2 begins to play “Where the Streets Have No Name” in a live concert.

These are the songs on my playlist that fill my ears as I start on a bike ride that involves a 10-20 block uphill.

These are the songs I fill my head on my way into a speaking event.

These are the songs that I play while I’m debriefing my time creating new universes with Path Consulting clients and organizations embracing how to intentionally enrich their souls. After these genius-birthing times when I’m reviewing where we came from, what we did and where we’re going, these songs re-affirm how we can jump and reach the bar. And bar! How we can enter a Spartan Race and not just finish, but beat a bunch of people.

So you.

What are your anthems that elevate you to greatness?

What songs help make you feel whole?

And have you built a playlist that you flick on when you are about to enter the realm of the gods?

In Path Consulting, we build these soundtracks. We play them when we are winning and when we are struggling. We forge new memories of growth and triumph, much like those fond memories you have from childhood when you feel in love with a new song.

We don’t have to struggle with just holding onto past moments of song bliss. We can create new ones that will help define us. For the rest of our lives.

Se get busy!

I’m at ebStrategy.org.

No More New Year’s Resolutions! Whew.

There are far too many people studying whether New Year’s Resolutions work or not. I’m not one of them.

As someone who has either attended or taught in K-12 and university for 40 years, January 1 means little to me. Labour Day is the start of my new year. Even in years when I wasn’t teaching or attending school, I would have trouble sleeping on that Labour Day Monday night, electrified with anticipation of the coming semester.

So when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve never been compelled to use this month as a petri dish for the new me, or a new version of me in all my work, family, friend, life relationships.

So instead of encouraging the high stakes of making your resolutions work, or encouraging you to not beat yourself up for failing to achieve them, let’s think about process.

Let’s think about optimizing your work-life-vocation-volunteering balance, which is my Path Consulting model. And not just this month, but going forward. Because frankly, it’s not like you have never addressed your balance!

And even though it is January, working on optimizing balance in your life doesn’t have to be tainted with the “New Year’s Resolution” baggage.

You don't have to portage your canoe on your own! I've got your back.
You don’t have to portage your canoe on your own! I’ve got your back. [“End of the Portage” – Winslow Homer]
That’s why Path Consulting exists year-round. Take a look at the what goes into Path Consulting, and let’s roll up our sleeves to smooth out the bumps in your life.

But the better metaphor is portaging. You paddle your canoe, but when you hit the rapids you need to portage: carry it beside the rapids until you get to smoother waters. Or when you’re canoeing over long distances, from lake to lake, you need to portage over land. But you don’t need to portage on your own. I’ve got your back!

Embrace The Curvy Life Plan!

I love your life plan.

It’s informed by greatness, inspired by passion and based on your best assessment of how life could roll out.

And of course, it never follows a straight line, like you probably think it will.

I started university studying commerce and organizational design before I had a vocational crisis, let my inner poet flower, and became a high school English teacher. But since then, I’ve left teaching, and become a researcher, professor and…wait for it…a Path Consultant and organizational design consultant.

No straight line. More like a corkscrew, since I looped back to something I explored in my early 20s. Plus, a number of right angle turns.

The Folly of a Linear Life Plan

This graphic, above, has been whipping around social media. The whole thing is below, currently not clearly sourced from the author “♥ Julia”. There is so much going on in it!:

  1. There is a presumption of linearity.
  2. There is a presumption of things going up, because up is better. Why not a circle, implying sustainability.
  3. There is a presumption of a steadily flowing path.
  4. These presumptions are rational but rarely play out.
  5. But in real reality, the reality graph on the right has a number of features:
    1. On the surface, it looks very ornate and even flowery. This reflects that a straight line growth path in life may be pretty boring.
    2. It is not efficient. And that’s great.
    3. It curves back on itself quite a bit. And that’s the reality of growth, since we often need to learn lessons and achieve success through multiple trials.
    4. It also suggests completely bailing on certain paths and re-directing in other vectors.
    5. The best part is that right at the beginning, there’s a pretty massive failure. But, there was a pretty healthy recovery almost immediately!

So where to go from here?

In my Path Consulting work, I help people integrate their work-life-vocation-volunteering balance.

Since we seem to naturally assume progress life, work, and vocation to be linear, many of us need help rationalizing how non-linear it all is when it gets curvy.

It’s important to balance your work and integrate it into the key elements of your life. But since your broader vocation is likely much wider and deeper than your paid work, we need to find ways to satisfy your broader “work” interests without having to quit your job randomly.

We can cut down on some of the baffling inefficiency of circuitous life flow by augmenting our day job with other vocational pursuits.

Further, people feel rich connections to communities by volunteering: giving to activities out of your over-abundance.

Optimizing all four–work, life, broader vocation and volunteering–allows us to have a much richer and thicker line of life flow.

And the goal isn’t to turn the graph on the right into the linear illusion/delusion on the left, but to make the curvy graph less stressful and traumatic.

That’s what Path Consulting is all about. And from an organizational point of view, healthy organizations help their staff and members come closer to self-actualization and broader fulfillment.

Why not make your organization more effective by helping your people be more satisfied in their lives? It certainly moves you ahead of your competitors who care less about their people.

I’m at ebStrategy.org.


CELEBRATE! The Six Month Post

It’s just after midnight, January 8, 2016.

E~B Strategy is 6 months old today.

It’s been a wild ride as a lean startup, filled with happiness, struggle, some confusion, growth, surprises, many boxes ticked, and much to look back on, as I now look forward.

The Pivot

So despite what Edna Mode thinks, it’s good to look back. Just not obsessively.

Reflecting back, I’m happy to see the community-building and growing relationships from working with…

  1. Someone else’s new lean startup
  2. Non-profit activist, service and arts groups
  3. Boards seeking development
  4. Brilliant social enterprise concepts
  5. People finding the co-op structure fits them
  6. Truly inspiring and motivated Path Consultant clients
  7. Designing and running workshops for professionals seeking enriched vocations
  8. Speaking to groups wanting to get from here to there
  9. Even some pro bono time shared out

And 2016 has more in store along these lines.

So as I gather my people and cut the half-year cake, it’s good to reflect on these first 6 months, note the lessons, celebrate the gains, list out how I levelled-up in wisdom, then pivot…to apply all that to the future, where Edna Mode lives, even though she thinks she lives in the “now.” 🙂

Join me; it’s a fun ride!

I’m at ebStrategy.org.

I’m very excited to announce…!

Last week I started a new project, E~B Strategy: keynote speaking, Path Consulting, organizational design and development, member/stakeholder/employee engagement, and hybrid projects. Find out more at http://ebStrategy.org!

Path Consulting is particularly engaging because it goes past just working on your work-life balance. It is executive coaching for indespensible innovators and visionaries, optimizing your work-life-vocation-volunteering balance.

You work, pursue your vocation, volunteer to make the world a better place. And you need to balance all this with your life. Your Path is all about optimizing all of these facets of your life. When you hit the rapids, that’s when you need to portage.

That’s where I come in.

I’m at ebStrategy.org.