Aliveatwork's Blog


Goodwill Hunting?

Good-Will-HuntingIn the movie Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon plays a tough, wise-cracking, but emotionally scarred math genius  named, Will Hunting. And although he is extremely brilliant he is working (hiding) as a night janitor at Harvard.

Robin Williams play a therapist who attempts to help Will go inside of himself in order to own the truth about his abusive past and discover his authentic self.

The climax of the movie is a scene where Williams, on the verge of giving up on his rebellious patient, takes a leap of faith and starts telling Will, “It’s not your fault, listen to me son, it’s not your fault.”

Damon literally pushes back but Williams persists, “It’s not your fault, It’s not your fault,” until Will surrenders and the tears erupt like a broken dam.

Have you ever put up a facade that things were fine on the outside, yet on the inside you were going through a tough time (troubles at work, fractured relationship at home, the loss of a loved one, or just plain loneliness)?

Sometimes what people project to the outside world isn’t an accurate picture of their inside world. And the holidays can be especially tough because there is an expectation to be cheerful and filled with holiday spirit even though there is an emptiness on the inside.

What if … you believed that over the course of the next 2 weeks you will encounter someone who is in need of an extraordinary act of kindness?

What if … you believed that this person was put on your path for the specific reason that you were chosen to show them that they matter, that they are valuable, or that they are not alone?

What if … by helping that person you later came to the conclusion that they were really put on your path to help you in some unexpected way?

This holiday season, do a little goodwill hunting … it will certainly bring a bit more peace on earth and who knows … maybe even some goodwill towards men (people).

Happy hunting!

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And the Truth Shall …

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to work with a  group of Leaders. At one point in the day we arrived at a fork in the road.

Path A: Ignore the elephant in the room and continue to pretend that everything was “fine,” even though everyone knew it was not!

Path B: Own the truth about themselves and each other and speak it directly and without blame. Not from a place of anger but from a place of  ownership, responsibility, and intention.

They chose path B,  and I have to admit there were some very intense moments as we worked through the process. There was hesitation, fear, doubt, and all the things that normally prevent people from speaking their truth.

And when it was done …

There was relief, a lightness, a sense that a 100 lb weights had been lifted off of their chests … in a word … freedom.

No hiding, no pretending, just the truth.

So many time we are afraid to speak the truth, we fear the worst, because we fear loss of some kind. And yet time and time again when Leaders are courageous and speak the truth from a loving place and not a place of fear  … amazing things happen.

Teams become closer, walls come down, leaders get clarity about themselves and their colleagues.

Maybe that John guy was right, “you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”

So what about you … need a little more freedom in your life?



What’s Really on Your Mind?

Every couple of months I have the privilege of working work with a group of folks from Best Buddies of Arizona.

Best Buddies is an international organization who’s mission is to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships, employment opportunities and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Each and every time I go I always receive an unexpected gift or lesson.

A few weeks ago while I was interacting with one of the team members, I was struck by the notion that I was surrounded by some of the most authentic people I have ever met in my life.

And that got me thinking … what is it about this extraordinary group of individuals that makes this experience feel so genuine?

As I pondered that question I came to this conclusion: The reason this feels so genuine is because they don’t hold back … they say what’s on their minds and have no problem telling you how they feel.

In a world of soundbites, political back-stabbing, spin, and dis-ingenuousness … they are a  welcomed breathe of fresh air.

No filters, no facades, and no masks. They live in the moment … totally engaged in life!

How wonderful is that … how authentic is that … how real is that?

What if more people spoke their truth instead of hiding behind a veil of filters and fear?

What if we didn’t have to be soooooooo politically correct that we defy logic because someone or some group is offended?

What if more people said what they meant and meant what they said at work, at home, and especially in Washington D.C.?

And for the record: I am not talking about maliciously hurting others out of  ignorance or fear. That isn’t the point, that is just the other extreme.

What I am saying is that we seem to be trading authenticity and truth for dis-ingenuousness and mis-truths.

My friend Richard shared this quote with me by Aristotle and I think it applies perfectly:

 “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

So what about you … what’s really on your mind?