Relax. Relax. Relax.

Janet, a fellow coach who’s also a writer, recommends her clients use the acronym “CAR” when communicating their strengths and experience during job interviews. It helps maintain the focus and natural progression a story should take – challenge, action, result.

It’s simple. Not easy, but simple. Just like yoga (deja vu to my last post).

Nuggets of wisdom that resonate with me, like this description of the CAR process, will often ping around my consciousness (aka the three-ring circus of my brain). And, like many thoughts during yoga, when I’m SUPPOSED to be focused solely on breathing and listening, it surfaced and had a delicious collision with the Bikram practice dialogue resulting in an even deeper (to me) application. I’ll explain…

Towards the end of the class, there’s a stretching posture that includes in the instructor’s dialogue the prompt to pull, pull, pull (pull your toes to your nose, into the stretch). For a variation, some instructors will prompt to push, push, push (push your flat back and body to your knees). Ever a dialogue renegade, Leo instructed us to, instead of pushing or pulling, to just relax, relax, relax (relax the tension, release the energy).

At his prompt, I took a deep breath, exhaled, and let go, just relaxing into the posture. With the tension out of my body, there was more room to drop into a level of flexibility than I’d ever previously experienced. My body flowed into the stretch. I just loved it. I can still feel the sensations of the moment.

Driving home, with the words, push, pull, relax, echoing, I had an Aha! moment, an image of how I (and many of us) relate to challenges.

Looking at my hands, I thought of how, in the course of a challenge, I visualize my hands fully energized and engaged. I imagine them clasped firmly for the pull, or faced palms down for the push. I asked myself, what if I extended the prompt, to relax, to my hands?

What I found was, when I relaxed, my grip disappeared with the loss of tension, and, my open hands turned upward. Neutral and calm, they are open-palmed, cupped, all the better to receive.

Long story short, today’s thought is a commitment to get curious about relaxing. Relax my head, heart and hands. I’ll be poised to ask and to receive – knowledge, love and support.

Simple, but not easy.

Life & Leadership Lessons: Doug Pederson

Exceptional leaders capture passion. Attuned to the needs and dreams of people they lead, they create conditions for individuals and organizations to thrive, and soar. And they use their emotional intelligence to do it. Leaders also come in all shapes and sizes, 
What does that look like? Well, to those of us in the Philadelphia area, this week it looks like this:
Doug Pederson, Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles
Doug Pederson is head coach of the underdog Philadelphia Eagles who are headed to the Super Bowl this weekend despite losing their MVP quarterback, Carson Wentz, to injury 6 weeks ago.
Biggest strength? According to ESPN article, it’s: 
His lack of ego. Instead of trying to harness power, he distributes it to his coaches and players. Pederson formed a leadership council consisting of about a dozen players and has created ownership by empowering them to help guide the team. Wentz has growing input into the offense and has been given significant pre-snap freedom at the line of scrimmage. Pederson sets the tone and the agenda, then trusts the people around him to do their jobs.
“I’m thankful for the guys that we have, the culture that we have, but that all starts with Coach Pederson,” Wentz said. “It starts with him and creating that culture, the atmosphere of unselfish play. It’s really shown all the way back to OTAs, training camp, we were spreading the love.”
I was just drafting a blog post about life and leadership lessons from this season of the Philadelphia Eagles. Glad I didn’t get far. Robert Mays (The Ringer) did a MUCH more comprehensive version that I could have ever written.

Philadelphia’s Football Revolution: How a Cultural Shift Explains the Eagles’ Rise

Culture, a DIRECT result of leadership, is EVERYTHING.