Point Lookout: a free weekly publication of Chaco Canyon Consulting
Volume 17, Issue 8;   February 22, 2017: Heart with Mind

Heart with Mind

by

We say people have "heart" when they continue to pursue a goal despite obstacles that would discourage almost everyone. We say that people are stubborn when they continue to pursue a goal that we regard as unachievable. What are our choices when achieving the goal is difficult?
Heart with mind

To have heart is to pursue a goal with enthusiasm, resolve, and spirit even when everyone around you believes that you cannot do it, or worse, that the goal is inherently unachievable. When the pursuer succeeds, we regard the pursuit as admirable, and we say that the pursuer has heart. When the pursuer fails repeatedly, we regard the pursuit as foolhardy, and we say that the pursuer is stubborn, obsessed, or even stupid. It's easy to pass these judgments after we know the outcome.

We've all had the experience of pursuing a goal that people we respect have advised against. Sometimes we give up. Sometimes we hesitate. Sometimes we try anyway. Here are some suggestions for deciding what to do when others raise doubts.

Some dreams are unachievable
You may have heard, "If you can dream it, you can live it." While it's true of some dreams, there are many dreams that neither you nor anyone else alive today can ever live. Distinguishing livable dreams from fantasies can be difficult.
Two errors are most common. The first is believing that a perfectly achievable dream is unachievable. The second is believing that an unachievable dream is achievable. Be willing to make mistakes, for you surely will. Be willing to make mistakes,
for you surely will. And forgive
yourself when you do.
Forgive yourself when you make those mistakes, and learn from them.
Some people are reliving their lives through you
Some advice you receive from others is actually advice they wish they would have received earlier in their lives.
You need not follow all the advice you receive. You need not even thank the advisor, though it's often polite to do so. When you receive advice, consider the possibility that the advice might not actually be meant for you. It could be advice the advisor would have wanted to hear at some point in the past.
It's your decision
Whether you press ahead, or change direction just a bit, or strike out in an entirely different direction, it's your decision — a decision you must live with.
You own your decision and all its consequences. Accepting or rejecting the advice of others doesn't change who owns the decision.

Now a word about failure. Sometimes we fail when we try to achieve something. Failures can be costly. When the cost of failure is mainly emotional, we do have what we need to pay the bill. It's called "heart." People with heart find a way forward, somehow, even if they perhaps adjust their direction. There is another currency that many people use to pay that bill. It's called "discouragement." It is a counterfeit currency. Discouragement doesn't pay the bill. The pain remains. Heart alone can find a way forward. Go to top Top  Next issue: Yet More Obstacles to Finding the Reasons Why  Next Issue

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More articles on Emotions at Work:

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In project work, we often make decisions with incomplete information. Sometimes we narrow the options to a few, examine their strengths and risks, and make a choice. In our deliberations, some advocates use a technique called the Straw Man fallacy. It threatens the soundness of the decision, and its use is very common.
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Not feeling heard can feel like an attack, even when there was no attack, and then conversation can quickly turn to war. Here are some tips for hearing your conversation partner and for conveying the message that you actually did hear.
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Threats are one form of communication common to many organizational cultures, especially as pressure mounts. Understanding the varieties of threats can be helpful in determining a response that fits for you.
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Recent research has discovered a class of human limitations that constrain our ability to exert self-control and to make wise decisions. Accounting for these effects when we construct agendas can make meetings more productive and save us from ourselves.
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When you feel that a colleague has lost professional respect for you — or never really had respect for you — what can you do about it? Check your conclusions, check whether it's about you, and ask for a dialog.

See also Emotions at Work and Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.

Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout

Cracking walnuts with a nutcrackerComing February 1: The Big Power of Little Words
Big, fancy words, like commensurate or obfuscation, tend to be more noticed than the little everyday words, like yet or best. That might be why the little words can be so much more powerful, steering conversations where their users want them to go. Available here and by RSS on February 1.
Two bull elk sparring in Grand Teton National Park, WyomingAnd on February 8: Kerfuffles That Seem Like Something More
Much of what we regard as political conflict is a series of squabbles commonly called kerfuffles. They captivate us while they're underway, but after a month or two they're forgotten. Why do they happen? Why do they persist? Available here and by RSS on February 8.

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