A Groundhogs Day Blessing or Curse?

My parents have a wonderful Groundhogs Day tradition. That’s when they celebrate their love with snuggly stuff and romantic gestures. Somehow, early on, they preempted Valentines Day, and it stuck. Hey, it was the 60s, who needs Hallmark when you have a groundhog? This rodent continues to inspire.

As for me, somehow each Groundhogs Day, I wake up with the curse of contemplation not of love and romance but of which areas of my life I have become more like Phil Madden (played by Bill Murray, in the 1993 classic, Groundhog Day.)

Phil is cursed to live the same day over and over (if you don’t know the movie click here and for goodness sake, rent it) until he finally recognizes the patterns, looks deeply into his own behaviors, and changes his approach.

A curse can become a blessing.

How many times have your heard someone say, “this feels like Groundhogs day?”

We all get stuck. We get stuck in patterns, in behaviors, in outdated beliefs about ourselves and others, in jobs.

A Few Groundhogs Day Examples

I ran into a once young guy (no longer so young) who worked for me years ago.

“What are you doing these days?,” I asked eager to hear about what he had become and what he was learning.
“Oh, I’m still doing exactly the same thing.”
I was shocked and saddened.

This was a bright kid, full of energy, ideas, a great team player. Why had he gotten stuck in that job? Why hadn’t anyone continued asking/encouraging (okay pushing) him to accomplish his potential? Who else was left behind in this same organization?

And then. I talked to an old friend. She shared,

“I finally figured out that I keep repeating the same patterns, both in dating and in looking for jobs. I have this perfect list of what I think I want. I go after him or the job full tilt. I attract the guy, I get the job, and then I realize it’s not really what I want. I break up with the guy . I begin looking for a new job. I’ve got to find a way to interrupt that pattern.”

Another friend’s Christmas card read “nothing much new has happened for me this year, but I guess that’s the way it is at this age (see It’s Never Too Late to Grow Great)”

Breaking Your Groundhogs Day Patterns

So today.

I wish upon you my Groundhogs Day Curse.

I hope you wake up tomorrow looking at your own shadows.

Where would you interrupt?

Is it time to smash the alarm clock?

  • What patterns do you keep repeating?
  • What routines do you wish you could change?
  • Where is your team stuck?
  • What processes and rituals no longer serve your vision?
  • What if you interrupted the patterns?

The first step to getting unstuck is recognizing the patterns.

Of course, if you chose February 2 as your day of romance that sounds good too.

A worthy tradition.

Making the Invisible, Visible For Our Children

How do we make the invisible, visible for our children? The next in our Saturday Series in developing leadership in kids. On Monday we return to our regular leadership fare.

A Guest Post from Sonia Di Maulo, Canada

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.Jonathan Swift 

Samuel picks up the slightest change in his environment. He senses that his mom needs a hug. And of course, mom is grateful. Later that afternoon, he deliberately annoys his little brother, and a mini-war ensues.

Samuel makes choices every day. At ten years old, sometimes he chooses well. What is it about his environment that leads him towards his choices?

Expectations

The connection he has with his mother is one of mutual trust, respect and love. In that environment, he is more in tune with the needs of the people around him. The connection he has with his brother has a heightened sense of competition added to the brotherly love. And so the same boy behaves differently in different situations.

As parents, how can we guide our children to align their words and actions to their values, independent of the environment? How can we help them infuse their surroundings with LIFE, based on LIFE-giving principles? With the ability to see the domino effect and to influence their future words and actions?

It starts with self-awareness.

A Dinner Activity: Making the Invisible, Visible

“Getting my kids to talk about the details of their days is hard enough”, you may be thinking, “How can I get them to increase their self-awareness to be able to see the connections that they affect everyday?”

At every dinnertime, I expect my kids to reflect on their days and to pick out one high point and one low point. This excellent game builds awareness of self and environment and boosts their ability to influence their future actions and words for the next daily report.

Game: High Point/Low Point

How to Play: Every member of the family shares the best part and lowest part of their day. Other family members listen and ask questions to get to the details.

Objective of the Game: Making visible, the lines that connect us all and increase self-awareness

Number of Players: 2 or more

Keys to Success: Consistent play every dinner time, make it fun, keep it short, show interest, encourage laughing and connection

Why Play? This game builds essential communication skills and cultivates family unity. It encourages:

  • Thinking about, selecting, and communicating emotional events in their day
  • Respectful listening to all members of the family
  • Conversation
  • Critical thinking and self-awareness
  • Building leadership skills from a very young age (as soon as they can speak, you can play)

We’ve been playing this game for years, at dinnertime, during vacations, and on road trips. We built variations on the theme and turned it into: “What was the favorite/least favorite part of your vacation, of the movie, of your field trip” and so on.

Try it with your family for a month and let me know how it goes.

Sonia Di Maulo M.A. ― founder, author, feedback enthusiast, speaker, performance improvement professional and creator of award-winning programs ― is passionate about helping leaders cultivate trust and collaboration.

This post is part of the Virtual Blog Book Tour for Sonia’s book, The Apple in the Orchard: A story about finding the courage to emerge. Discover the new vision for the world of work and get a glimpse into the power of living systems as models for sustainability, collaboration, and growth. Purchase your copy at www.theappleintheorchard.ca. Visit the other stops on the Book Tour on her Harvest Performance Blog.