I am grateful for the many opportunities to council together with friends, colleagues and especially family members this last year.
There have been many challenges to address over the last few months and as I look to the year ahead, I am certain there will be many more.
Meeting together as a family council, we set technologies aside, we listen to one another, we discuss concerns, we make plans, set goals, we support and strengthen one another. Jointly, we search for solutions to the problems of the day. When open and candid conversation is filled with love, patience, kindness and respect for the opinions of each other, the council has always been a success.
In addition, when each member of the family is invited to contribute to the discussion, they can and do feel part of any decision reached. In turn, this leads to positive reinforcement of their own feelings and supports our family to move forward in a unified manner, as we each take ownership of the issue.
Whether it is around the family dinner table, the work canteen table, or the board room table, the principles of sitting in council together are universal.
Why not give it a go today? Focus on an issue and ask – What can we do about it? What are your ideas?
“What is holding me back from success?” asked a coachee. “Many things can” I responded.
I love this story, shared by Thomas S. Monson.
“Ship Captains like to tie up at Portland, Oregon. They know that as their ships travel the seas, a little saltwater shellfish called a barnacle fastens itself to the hull and stays there for the rest of its life, surrounding itself with a rocklike shell. As more and more barnacles attach themselves, they increase the ship’s drag, slow its progress, decrease its efficiency. Periodically, the ship must go into dry dock, where with great effort the barnacles are chiselled or scraped off. It’s a difficult, expensive process that ties up the ship for days. But not if the captain can get his ship to Portland. Barnacles can’t live in fresh water. There, in the sweet, fresh waters of the Willamette or Columbia, the barnacles die and some fall away, while those that remain are easily removed. Thus, the ship returns to its task lightened and renewed.”
Barnacles increase drag, slow progress and decrease efficiency. Building up one on another, eventually they could sink a ship.
What “barnacles” are holding you back from success? What is slowing you down?
Do you need to head for some fresh waters?
What action needs to be taken to move forward?
Many years ago, an old man died and left his camels to his three sons; one-half to the oldest, one-third to the second son, and one-ninth to the youngest. However, there was a problem, he had only 17 camels.
The three sons got into an intense negotiation over who should get how many, because 17 doesn’t divide by two, or by three, or by nine.
In time, tempers became very strained. In an effort to resolve the situation, they finally agreed to go to a wise old woman in the community. She listened to their problem and after some time says, “Well, I don’t know if I can help you, but if you want, at least you can have my camel. Then you will have 18 camels and you can divide them among the three of you.”
Accepting her offer the brothers gave half (or 9) of the 18 camels to the eldest son, a third (or 6) of them to the second son and a ninth (or 2) of them to the youngest son. One camel remained. There is one camel left over, so the brothers give it back to the woman.
Many of our challenges and conflicts today are like those 17 camels — they seem impossible to resolve, with no apparent solution in sight.
Sometimes we just need more imaginative ways to overcome our problems. Every problem has a solution! What we need to do is step back from the situation, look at it through a fresh lens, and come up with an 18th camel.
What is your 18th camel?