Sunday, October 11, 2009

You Have No Idea How Good You Are!

Tori Holmes, rowing the Atlantic Ocean

Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for creativity in the school. Watch the video to see what he thinks creativity looks like.

The simple reality is that youth and young adults are no
t challenged to find their real skills (usually not academic). Nor are they encouraged by parents, teachers and mentors to discover how good they really are.

Case in point: The young lady at the oars was 21, fresh from the Canadian prairies when she became the youngest woman ever to row across the Atlantic Ocean in 2006.

Tori Holmes is from Devon, Alberta, in the flat, dry Canadian prairies. She was keen about athletics but not an athlete. She was k
een about studies and art but not an academic. In many ways, she was an ordinary student in high school.

What made Tori exceptional was her sense of adventure. When Tori finished high school, we knew Tori was not going to follow the typical path to university or college and studies. She headed out for adventure. In her travels through Australia, she met a kindred spirit, Paul Gleeson from Limerick, Ireland.

The two happenstanced onto the Atlantic Rowing Race, "the ultimate test of the human spirit". Tori was hooked and the two non-rowers learned to row a one ton rowboat. Tori is 110 pounds soaking wet.

The 2005-06 Atlantic Rowing Race
from the Canary Islands to Antigua was beyond human limits. The tail end of a hurricane, two tropical storms and 3 low pressure systems created 40 foot swells. Six boats out of the original 26 had to be rescued. Tori and Paul, in a field of Olympic trained rowers, finished 13th in the race . To finish was an overwhelming achievement of perseverance and courage.

Tori and Paul's book, Crossing the Swell, launched on Oct. 4. Part inspirational adventure story, part travelogue and part romance, Crossing the Swell is an honest and intimate portrayal of what perseverance and commitment is made of. It is a terrific read and a bargain at $20 from Rocky Mountain Books (RMB) and Chapters/Indigo.

Tori and Paul invested in what they were good at, their sense of adventure, their commitment, their persistence. If we figured out what we truly were good at, invested $120,000 in a goal to leverage what we good at, would we have an amazing story?

Tori and Paul have an amazing story.

Now do the same from the organizational perspective. What is your organization, company, department really good at. Ask your clients and customers and partners. What they tell you may surprise you. And then take a look at Appreciative Inquiry to discover and build on how good your organization really is.

Jim Taylor, Roylat Corp Inc., has some practical guides and worksheets in Appreciative Inquiry to lead organizations through discovering how good they are. Jim Taylor's workshops are excellent introductions to build on the positive for change.

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