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Oct 19, 2011



Beautiful piece. Seems like what's more important than the meaning we infer, is the choice of action we take base on the choice of meaning we infer. So, will we take a debilitating injury as a gift or a burden? A difficult relationship as a curse or a lesson? And in the workplace, how do we act upon the inferences we make about people, and how is that action--fully produced by us, not some event--affecting our results, health, and relationships. This taking responsibility is risky stuff, for it puts the burden fully on ourselves.


Thanks, Denise--I completely agree and appreciate both the feedback and the insights, particularly your emphasis on choice. One important aspect of the meaning we ascribe to a situation or interaction is that it can have such a big influence not just on the subsequent actions we ultimately choose, but on the range of actions we believe are possible at the outset.

All that said, as much as I seek to highlight choice and ownership in my work with clients and students, I also think it's important to make space for and accept all the negative feelings that arise when bad things happen. (I'm not suggesting you're not, by the way.) While it's important not to collude with what Robert Hargrove calls the "rut stories" that clients can use to trap themselves, I think it's equally as important to empathize with the feeling of being stuck, the feeling of having no alternative.

Thanks for encouraging me to think a little further on all this!

Holly Ross

Ed - I love this piece.I think I've been living this problem! I have a terrible habit of making my actions more significant than they are. I think I have to be at the meeting for things to be run well, or I think that someone's poor performance is a result of my bad management. By putting myself at the center all the time, I both hold people back, and keep them from being held accountable. And yes - I hate thinking they can have that weekly meeting without me, and that it might be better!


Thanks, Holly--I think we all live this problem! :-)

And I think your realization that when we as leaders operate this way we both hold people back and keep them from being held accountable is right on target.

So then the question becomes: How does the knowledge that it's not all about us free us to lead and manage differently?

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