Wonder Land

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”
― Socrates

As we look toward 2014, I have a goal. Not a resolution, a goal. I want more WONDER in my LAND. I want a career, a life, a journey that fills me with joy and wonder, and through that experience, wisdom will grow. Wisdom will help me make more effective decisions in my professional and personal life. It will help me be a better self-leader. Do you want the same thing? If so, how can we achieve it together? I have some thoughts on this.

 I wonder what would happen if I spent 10 minutes during lunch reflecting with kindness upon the person who gives me the most trouble in my world (or that day!)  What is at the root of the trouble?  I can examine what my role in it is, and what can I stop doing, or start doing, to improve it.

I wonder what would happen if I closed my eyes when on the phone with a colleague or friend, and didn’t let my mind wander, or multi-task (I do that a lot).  I wonder what it would feel like to be fully present and engaged in every conversation I have – as if it were the most important person or task of the day. Because it is.

I wonder what my spirit would feel like if I created a framework and stuck to it (Discipline is not one of my strengths) so that I didn’t work more than 50 hours a week?  Would my back ache less?  Would I make better choices about eating and exercising?  Would I have less stress? I wonder.

I wonder what my energy level would be like if I started each day with an hour of writing?  Most days I’m on my computer, working, by 6:00 am (the perils of working from home and having colleagues in Europe).  I love to write. The happiest times of my life were when I made daily time for photography and writing – I do little of either now.

I wonder what our life would look like if each of us really focused on our strengths for 21 days in a row, understood them deeply, communicated their awesomeness (I’ll start – I love that my report says that I embrace life with gusto!) and spent 5 minutes at the end of the day noting when we used them, congratulating ourselves for being totally awesome?

I wonder.

And, I smile just thinking about making this journey with you guys – it would be FUN (I say this with great gusto!)

My belated New Year gift for you is a bit of encouragement to make time to WONDER and celebrate our unique WONDER-FULNESS.  Here you go:

“If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it – through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” – Victoria Moran, Lit From Within

14 thoughts on “Wonder Land

  1. Another great post Maureen.
    Your second wondering, about fully concentrating on conversations, made me consider my own approach to the same thing. I think that total concentration on the current conversation has a downside, I think my connectedness wouldn’t work if I did that.
    As you know, I have struggled to understand my Connectedness, but now I feel I am learning to love it. If my mind is allowed to wander (or wonder), during a conversation then I have more to give because I will make connections and be able to share them. W[a|o]ndering too far is obviously bad, but when kept on a short leash it is incredibly useful.

    You are, again, pushing me to consider new ideas like thinking nice things about troublesome people (too hard, no perceived reward), or sticking to a framework (antithesis of Adaptability, my #1 strength), or contemplating the idea that 6AM might be any more real that Santa Claus.

    • Hi Hazel! I love that you’ve expanded my understanding of Connectedness! I totally get your point that it’s a strengths violation! For me, that approach (I see in hindsight) is a survival strategy because Focus is not in my strengths zone, but Ideation is. So my Ideation strength takes over when my mind is not fully engaged in a conversation/activity, and leaps around like a monkey in my brain (which is really fun but not very effective in terms of productivity.) I love that wondering and wandering totally is a performance strategy for you.

      I laughed out loud about “thinking nice things about troublesome people” – let’s be clear, I’m not good at it at this point, I am again looking for effectiveness in my WONDER land.

      And it’s time I gave more time to my Santa Claus – writing, fun, creativity! :-) That’s what 6 AM is for in my WONDER world.

      Thanks for sharing your awesome insight – I always learn from you!

      Onward!!

  2. Agree with Hazel – another wonderful post! YOU, my friend, are ON FIRE! I love, love, love the idea of putting more wonder into our lives. Rachel Naomi Remen (author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings) often writes about the power of mystery and not knowing. It’s from that place of wonder that we can lean into and flow with things we don’t understand or that are constantly changing.

    I think you do have a framework and discipline already in place – look at you showing up here every Sunday, right on time, writing and sharing and exploring and connecting. So maybe it’s not about creating something completely new (which can be pretty challenging) – what if you looked at it like reshaping your already great framework (you know, that maximizer thing!) to make it even more awesome?

    I smile inside and out to think of you writing and shooting more. I just read a quote I want to offer to you: The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live. My biggest wish for you is that you are vibrantly alive in all your wonderful uniqueness – out here SHINING. Maybe your back is telling you: You are killing us here. Wake up and give us life! I wonder just what would happen if you just said no to the 6am calls? What if you stood up for the time you need to be your best (gosh, starting work at 7am or 730 or even 8 – most people would think that is terribly sane!)? My guess is that it would put pressure on the system to change things…and who knows (I’m left wondering…), that might just be for the best (e.g., people find new and different ways to share and connect). And, gosh, there is so much power in your standing up for yourself – I truly believe if you have the courage to do that, people will take notice, and not in the way you think (they will admire you for caring for yourself – and see the invitation for them to do the same for themselves).

    I will be right here with you in WONDERLAND celebrating our WONDERFULNESS! Of course, you knew that, didn’t you?!

    • Hi Vicki – love your insight, support, NUDGE! (for those of you reading this, please go visit this most totally awesome blog on choosing a word to live by in 2014)

      http://paperkeeper.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/how-will-i-be-changed/

      I laughed at the dialogue with my back – I’ve said a few choice things this week – day 2 of “mall walking” with the other geriatrics! But it feels good to walk, not sit. Definitely better, just not great. Notice that you said, “stood up” – I need to do that for me, my back, my WONDER LAND. Thank you so much for that encouragement – so helpful and filled with ideas to noodle on! And yes, I did know that you’d be here to celebrate OUR WONDERFUL-NESS!

      My word for 2014 – WONDER!! Who knew! Let’s release the rock star within, just like you said!

      • The word that’s shown up for me is PEACE. How can I be at peace with all the amazing (and seemingly not-so-amazing) things that will come upon my path this year? How can I trust that all is right in my world no matter what’s happening? WONDER is a beautiful compliment to that – I think having a sense of wonder invites peace. (Bonnie’s INTENTION is another lovely perspective to add into the mix – our being here now claiming our words is intention in action).
        Let’s rock!

        • Ah yes… I like it, my friend.

          Get ready to use your WORDS in the 2014 WONDER CHALLENGE! :-) We will launch it next week. (I’m hatching it as we speak – it’s hard to lay an egg!)

          LET”S ROCK!

  3. Maureen, I’ve been striving for wisdom for quite some time! I usually find wisdom when I follow the advice in your comments and stay present in the moment. I worked with an executive many years ago (those who know me well know who I’m talking about…) who would only do one thing at a time. You knew if you were presenting to her, she wasn’t reading email or letting her mind wander. I saw decisions made faster, conversations that stayed focused, and more things accomplished in a short time.

    At the time, there weren’t the texts and sametimes, tweets and internet stories to distract. While we think we are being more productive now, I wonder whether we are just fooling ourselves into letting our minds get distracted. It’s hard, but I get more done when I force myself to not look at a screen when I’m having a conversation…or when I don’t have two conversations at once — the one on the phone and the second background conversation on sometime!

    Let’s all wonder how much better we can be if we focus on one thing at a time.

    • Hi Barbara! Thanks so much for adding your two cents.

      That staying in the moment is so hard, when we have minds that can run into the future, or the past, or into tonight’s dinner! :-) And yes, God knows that the distractions have exponentially multiplied… I like your idea – let’s all wonder how much better we can be if we focus on one thing at a time. Simple! But simple is never easy… worth it, though!

        • Loving that address! Trying to live there, in the now, all the time. Thanks for sharing, Vicki! (and thank you for not asking me to pronounce that name…)

      • Maureen’s posts are great, and the conversation that they generate keeps me thinking (Wondering) all week!
        I was thinking a good word for the year would be DO, but now I am thinking FOCUS might be better. With my Deliberative strength showing up in its most destructive form, it could take all year to decide. I haven’t committed to DO in the last two days, so it seems I am not DOing it.
        FOCUS is on my shortlist.

        • Hi Hazel – love that you are recognizing when too much Deliberative is not effective, and your willingness to dial it back – with intent. This is managing one’s strengths, and practicing self-leadership, to great gain for yourself and those around you, too.
          Good work!

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