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Welcome to the Ten Dot Spot - Our Blog!

Sunday
Nov272016

Brick Walls, Adversity and Perseverance

“Brick walls aren’t there to trip us up. They’re there so we can prove how badly we want something.”

Professor Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture

A recent team functionality workshop delivered by Ten Dot began with a short YouTube video clip featuring Professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University.  Billed as a lecture on achieving one’s childhood dreams, the video was selected to set the overall tone of the session, and to provide inspiration post-session as attendees began to face the challenges and “brick walls” associated with the operationalization of the topics explored during the session.

This notion of brick walls being opportunities to show how much we truly want what we’re after struck a chord with the Ten Dot team.  To look at obstacles as opportunities to confirm our desire for whatever it is we’re working so hard to achieve … that’s what purposeful mindset, and mindfulness, is all about. If we’re going to go to all that effort, let’s make sure we know why.  Why?  Because it’s knowing why that helps us persevere when the going gets tough.  And when we combine mindfulness with perseverance, we’ve got the makings for success no matter where our brick walls may appear.

Ever had a brick wall that sounded like the world’s biggest critic?  That one person that never seems to have a good thing to say about anything we do?  That parent/boss/colleague that’s always riding us, looking for ways we’ve messed up so they can take a couple jabs at our self-esteem?  Professor Pausch suggests embracing our critics as individuals that still care enough to invest their time, energy and wisdom into our success … the ones that haven’t given up on us. 

Most of us have experienced disappointment … we’ve worked hard, sacrificed, asked others to sacrifice on our behalf … and we still didn’t get what we wanted.  If we saw experience as something we get when we didn’t get what we wanted, would we give up any of the experiences we’ve had?  Have any of our disappointments led to other discoveries and experiences we would never have had if we hadn’t encountered the brick walls we did? 

For sure there are painful experiences, hurtful moments when it can be difficult to find purpose and joy no matter how many brick walls we climb over.  Just ask Randy Pausch.  Ask him about pancreatic cancer, and death sentences, and feeling unlucky.  Then ask him about dreams, and choosing to spend what time he had remaining making his dreams and the dreams of others come true.  

Professor Pausch’s story about brick walls, adversity, and perseverance, is one we can all learn from. For his story is not just a story about challenge … it’s a story about triumph, and the human spirit, and how we can choose to see our difficulties as experiences that lead to even bigger and better things for ourselves and the people we touch, even if we’re not always there to share in the experience.

Our Grama always told us to keep our forks, for the best was yet to come.  If you haven’t yet heard Professor Pausch’s Last Lecture, thank Grama and grab that fork … one of the best is here.

Wednesday
Jan282015

"Kids' Rules, Pa-It-Forward, and Buckets: Simplicity and Goal Setting"

Happy January!

So here we are ... new calendar on the wall (hidden, perhaps, behind the Christmas decor boxes still stacked by the back door), a boatload of digital photos from the holidays to catalogue, a few resolutions still dancing around in our heads, and annual goals to hammer out.  Yippee!

If you haven’t quite gotten your New-Year-Fresh-Sheet-Of-Possibilities-Awaiting-My-Magic-Wand goal sheet in front of you yet, we understand.  January is one big exhale for us as well, so this month we’re keeping things simple.

Being the performance ninjas that we are, we must speak briefly about the importance of creating an annual Mindful Aspirations Plan capturing the things you most want to focus your energies on in 2015.  This map flows from our Purposeful Performance Model, and the clarity, alignment, commitment, execution, evaluation and celebration that leads to the development of robust action plans.  To help get you in goal-setting mode, we’ve have gathered up some of the things we’ve found helpful in our own search for mindful life enlightenment.  We hope you find the stories you’re about to read the kind of inspiration that leads to some seriously awesome goals and aspirations for yourself.  It’s good to remember that  sometimes the smallest and simplest of things gives us the insights we’re most hoping for.

 A couple weeks ago, the “Kids’ Rules” sign you see pictured above arrived in our mailbox.  Grama had sent it, and while the negotiating continues on a couple of the rules, we found the notion of daily living as suggested an exciting proposition.  Beyond the obvious, we love what these words communicate about quality of life, and how easily we can remain energized, engaged, and present in our daily moments if only we live by these rules.  Using our outside voices inside isn’t just about volume ... it’s about authenticity, and being in sync, and bringing our “recess” energy into our “classroom” spaces, and having fun personally and professionally ... so many things that lead to a richer, more satisfying life.

All of us have time management challenges, and the thought of working “purposeful” into our lives can seem daunting.  Like the kids’ rules, however, it’s often the simplest of gestures that can provide the kick-start we need to get our mindful game on.  Take this story about a young boy who finds $20 in a parking lot, and decides to give the money to a service person and his family that was dining in the same restaurant.  A simple gesture of kindness, and the world tilts ... so inspiring!  Check out Miles’ Snowball Express charity, and enjoy making the world a better place!

 You’re likely familiar with the idea of bucket lists, but have you heard about bucket filling? The thought that we can replenish our own gratitude buckets by doing kind deeds for others has been beautifully articulated by author Carol McCloud in her book, “Have You Filled A Bucket Today? A Guide To Daily Happiness For Kids.  Whether you call it a bucket, a bank account, or a gas tank, there’s something about spreading joy around that speaks to our innermost passions and desires.  Give it a whirl, and be sure to share your experiences with us!  (And check out www.bucketfillers101.com website for more incredible kindness ideas.)

Finally, meet Karise Eden.  The newly crowned “Soul Queen of Australia” has a voice that just won’t quit, and we continue to be inspired by her message and story.  Feel the love!

Happy 2015, enjoy turning your possibilities into reality, hug the ones you’re with, and get ready to have the best twelve months ever!

Still curious,

Sharon and Susan

The Ten Dot Chicks

Saturday
Sep272014

Unlikely Connections

CARROTS, CLARINETS, CREATIVITY AND THE POWER OF UNLIKELY CONNECTIONS


What do carrots, clarinets and creativity have in common? 

Beyond all starting with the letter “c”, some of us may struggle to come up with an answer.  But if you’re Linsey Pollak, this putting together of two unrelated things – like a carrot and a clarinet - to create something new is what creativity is.  Finding connections between seemingly disparate entities, and making something new out of those connections ... that’s creativity in action, and a way of perceiving the world as an endless possibility limited only by our mind set, and our willingness to look for the unlikeliest of connections as creative thinkers.

 What Linsey represents so well with his carrot clarinet is a creative thinking approach known asmetaphorical thinking, the direct comparison of two unrelated or indirectly linked things in order to spark creativity and innovation.  Metaphors become shortcuts to understanding, allowing us to adjust our mind sets to a new perspective and, thus, facilitating more creative problem solving.  Our friends at Mind Tools provide a wonderful example of applying this metaphorical thinking approach to a common organizational challenge of cutting production costs.  Thinking about the problem of reducing costs metaphorically as losing weight, then looking for ways to translate the ideas generated by the metaphor to the real-world problem is a powerful, effective, and fun way to engage and expand the collective creative thinking capabilities that exist within and around us.  If we took Linsey’s example and expressed every problem we had as a vegetable, imagine the significance eating a salad would take on.  Problem solved = vegetable chopped ... success never tasted so good!

So how can we foster creativity?  We like the approach Leonard and Swap (ISBN 0-7879-6067-5) describe for managers dealing with organizational change, and the five conditions that leaders need to cultivate within their organizational cultures in order to drive creative collaboration and innovation.  These five conditions include:
 

  1. Preparation (collecting both expertise and new insights and perspectives);
  2. Innovative opportunity (“in-the-moment” problem solving and “what if” scenario planning);
  3. Divergence (generating a range of options through professional and personal diversity);
  4. Incubation (time out for reflection); and
  5. Convergence (selection of options).

These conditions apply just as well beyond organizational walls, and can be helpful to anyone needing a spark of creative thinking to progress.   And if vegetables and weight loss aren’t speaking to you, try chocolates and travel (with a dash of pepper, if you please ... talk about unlikely combos!)

As our final gift on the power of unconventional connections, we hope you enjoy this short clip on a very special bond between two unlikely companions.   Heart warming!

Stay curious, enjoy these final days of summer 2014, and may your vegetables sing often and loud!

Still curious and amazed!

Monday
Aug112014

Relationships Matter

Sweet Summer ...

We love this season where the weather and pace of life seem gentler, kinder. As is often the case for the Ten Dot Chicks, our experiences and reading lists collide. At this moment in time, we have recently returned from a remarkable trip to the newly re-imagined Algonquin Resort.

The trip to St. Andrews By-The-Sea in New Brunswick was the culmination of over a year of collaborative and creative work. It was the ideal piece of business for us for a multitude of reasons – perhaps most significantly the aligned value of relationships. Relationships are the motivating factor of our why as women, and as business owners. Working with people to achieve a goal, and having the honour of seeing the ‘lightbulb’ come on as connections are being made, are inspiring to say the least.

We knew when we first started Ten Dot more than three years ago that this would be our Sweet Spot – connecting while connecting relationally. Few things provide the same professional satisfaction. Here comes the collision with our reading lists and a book called “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek. We believe this premise of starting with why is the very mindset that provides us the opportunity to wake up every day feeling blessed for our organization, and the leaders it exposes us to across the country (a very special shout out to the newly formed ‘Algonquin Five’).

Having the opportunity to contribute to The Algonquin Resort’s cultural evolution epitomizes how successful connecting relationships, purpose and clarity can be. Through a series of small, important, and mindful moments we helped craft a week that, while not flawless, was perfect in the relationships established. We know there are other ways we could spend our professional lives. But we also realize that at the core of who we are as business owners, the realm of relationships and purpose is exactly our why, and where we are meant to be. To connect with others, to work together to create something of value, to collectively celebrate and give thanks for the opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way ... ain’t life grand!

To those we have had the privilege of connecting with ... thank you. To those we have yet to connect with, we look forward to changing the world with you ... one mindful connection at a time.

Sunday
Feb162014

Teams and "Falling In Love" - The Ripple Effect of Kindness

For those of you who “fell forward”  into the New Year with us last month, let’s continue our stroll and fall in love!

Some of you may be familiar with a recent on-line “pay-it-forward” initiative where the first five individuals to text “I’m in!” can look forward to receiving a random act of kindness by the email sender at a future date.  How?  By extending the same invitation to another five individuals, who in turn invite another five individuals to participate, and so on.   As organizationimpact.com so eloquently puts it, “It’s the power of the ripple effect – a gradually spreading effect or influence. (The) impact begins with one person. A change in thinking impacts behaviour. Behaviour creates influence and inspiration to others to in turn, change their behaviour. And as group thinking and behaviour change, the organization changes, improves and grows.”  Now that’s a ripple effect we can get excited about!

Imagine the impact if our organizations, communities and families took on this challenge of random acts of kindness ... what would our world look like?  What would it be like to live in an environment where people go out of their way to express their gratitude and appreciation to one another?

We Ten Dot chicks believe in the power of love, and the capacity we all have within us to express our love out loud.  It’s the simple things we do, each and every day, to show we care ... things like

------------------------------------------------------------
* Noticing when someone is absent, and letting them know they are missed when they return
* Paying for the person behind you in the Timmy’s line
* Leaving the parking spot closest to the mall door for people with mobility issues
* Complimenting your co-worker for something they’ve done
* Holding the door and allowing others to proceed
* Smiling at people as you walk past
* Being the first and the last person to speak to everyone you come into contact with
* Actively listening to whoever is speaking with you
* Saying no to, and refusing to engage in, gossip
* Singing an off-key version of someone’s favourite song when they’re feeling blue


With so many possibilities for expressing our love, let’s make the world a better place together by committing ourselves to one daily act of kindness this month.  It’s easy, it’s fun, and the impact of our collective kindness will pay dividends long into the future.

Care to up the kindness ante and really make a dent in our universe?  Take a look at what team love in action looks like!

Stay open, be curious, and let kindness rule our world!