Keep Your Lamborghini on the Road

Until recently, elementary schools taught reading, writing, and arithmetic as the 3 R's. Now, in addition to these R's, some schools understand that learning about relationships and self-regulation are other important R's that children need. Some innovative programs are emerging that teach children mindfulness practices. This is a leap forward for all learning. Learning how to focus our mind is key to any learning, success, and ultimately, fulfillment.

I think of our minds like a powerful Lamborghini. The problem, it seems, is that we are not taught how to handle this powerful machine. As a result, we careen off the road when going around tight bends. We haven't yet learned how to stay on the road. Once we do learn that, driving is not only more pleasurable, but we can arrive safely at our destination as well.

Think of this month's topic, focusing, as the training manual for your Lamborghini.

When I was young, my father often told me that to complete something, you had to have “tuchus.” It was his way of saying that you had to have perseverance. That is true. But that was not enough. I could sit there but my mind wandered. How to rein my mind in so that I thought about what I wanted my mind to think about was the other half of the problem.

That part of the equation brings with it many obstacles. It is the nature of the mind to wander. However, laser focus is needed to accomplish many things. To attain laser focus, we must get clear about the obstacles—being uninterested and bored; fearing that the product would not be good enough or that it wouldn't be perfect; worrying about how your work compared to others; believing that you didn't have anything to add to the conversation; thinking your ideas were stupid—the list of obstacles our minds can create to take us away from what we want to be focused on is endless.

So, I realized early that I better find a way to focus my mind. These same skills are the ones used to keep a conversation focused. Here's how it translates:

  1. Get clear about the end in mind.
  2. Become aware of your intention for the conversation.
  3. Do your own prework.
  4. Set up the conversation using AEIOU.
  5. Follow WISHING so you follow your own focus of showing up the way you want to show up.
  6. Be present to the other. Use all of your senses to take in and understand the other person.
  7. Get curious about them.
  8. Express empathy so that you connect with the other.
  9. When your mind or the other person takes the conversation on a side road, begin to follow it if it has relevance but keep checking in to discern if it is helping you go toward the end you have in mind.
  10. If it is taking you away from your intention, i.e. it is getting into the weeds, into petty arguments, into right/wrong or good/bad side roads, get off the road and bring the focus back to the real topic at hand that you are hoping will get to the end in mind.
  11. Remember to use GIFT frequently. No need to wait to the end. When someone lets go of a side point and comes back to the main road, that is cause for a GIFT. It is helping you get to the end in mind.

As always, let us know how you're doing as you experiment.

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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