Inspired Project Teams

Enduring Wisdom & Guided Challenges to Help Project Teams Achieve Their Best

  • Sep 11

    Image: project team motivational session

    These days most organizations are operating with the smallest possible number of employees. This means that project managers routinely find themselves having to reach beyond their organization’s “official” employee roster to find team members. And frequently this means acquiring volunteers — team members who can’t be paid or given any tangible compensation for their efforts.  But if you can’t pay them or provide any material compensation, how can you reward volunteers for their work? And, more importantly, how can you keep them motivated to do a good job and to join your project team the next time you need them?

    Below are three broad strategies for rewarding and motivating volunteers.

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  • Aug 22

    Images from Netflix listings: Phoebe in Wonderland, Camilla, What Dreams May Come, My Own Love Song, & Bottle Shock

    Does your typical evening of video “entertainment” leave you feeling drained by a bunch of nerve-wracking, negative energy, violence-filled garbage? Or, worse, do your evenings include “reality shows” that place you squarely in the middle of a bunch of angry narcissists battling each other to “win” some probably-not-worth-winning prize?

    Maybe it’s time for your recreational evening videos to help you “re-create” your reserve of positive energy by helping your feel better about the human condition or by showing you how you can improve your quality of life!  Below are a few of my favorite movies/videos that will leave you feeling better, rather than worse, for having watched them.  (Note: We’ve watched all of these through Netflix. But if you aren’t a Netflix subscriber then check your local library or other sources… they are all worth tracking down.)

    • Elizabethtown — “Fired after causing his shoe company to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is on the verge of ending it all. But he gets a new lease on life when he returns to his family’sNetflix-Image-Elizabethtown small Kentucky hometown for his father’s funeral. Along the way, he meets a quirky flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst) with whom he falls in love, easing the pain of his recent break-up with his girlfriend (Jessica Biel).” – Netflix listing
    • Bottle Shock — “France’s position as the world’s top wine producer went unchallenged until 1976, when the Montelena Winery put California wines on the map — a story delightfully told in this full-bodied tale about the heady early days of Napa Valley’s success.” – Netflix listing 

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  • Jul 31

    Image: Meditating w/headphonesAre you hoping that your summer vacation will bring you true rest and relaxation? … or, better yet, leave you with a little residual peace of mind to carry back to your daily routine? After all, shouldn’t your “recreation” help you “re-create” your sense of well being? These five podcasts can help you step back, get a little perspective and make some specific adjustments in the way you engage the world. Enjoy!

    • 10 Specific Actions That Can Help You Become Happier
      When individual team members are happy, the entire team will likely be happy! But how can you become happier? In this podcast I share 10 specific actions that I’ve taken to create more happiness in my life.
    • Consciously Choose Your Attitude
      A project team’s attitude can make or break the project. In this post learn how you can consciously choose your attitude instead of simply allowing it to overtake you as a collection of random feelings.
    • Practice Mindfulness
      Focus:  the power of mindfulness — the practice of bringing your full awareness into the present moment – and how you can expand upon your inherent ability to practice mindfulness
    • Accept What Is
      You must first accept a difficult situation for what it is before you can handle it effectively. Accept it, see it clearly without denial and hand-wringing, and then you can take appropriate action.
    • Learn to Be Optimistic… Learn to Succeed
      “Cognitive therapy works [by changing] explanatory style from pessimistic to optimistic [providing]… skills for talking to yourself when you fail.” – M. Seligman – This podcast elaborates.
  • Jun 28

    This is a visual parable about self-imposed constraints to creativity. It was inspired by what happened recently on my local walking path where I exercise each day.

    The video’s designed to get you and your project teams thinking and talking about these questions:

    • What boundaries, limitations do you impose on yourself?
    • Should you try removing some of these in order to see what blossoms?


  • May 31

    Image: angry chihuahuaThe other morning I stepped out of my quiet meditation space and into the kitchen for breakfast. I knew that storms had been ravaging some parts of the country where I have relatives, so I decided that instead of the usual quick weather check on the net, I’d turn on the TV to get a national perspective and maybe see some regional video.

    As the TV screen popped on, I was immediately jolted by a couple of those angry talking heads. These guys were debating the merits of a recent supreme court decision. I had my hands busy with food prep, so instead of clicking away, I endured the rants and raves and posturing and dire predictions of social implosion that these two “opponents” predicted would surely flow from either adopting or failing to adopt this decision as the law of the land. Clearly their intent was to inflame the passions of their respective constituencies, one ultra conservative & the other strongly liberal (progressive).

    Now what struck me about all this was the purely speculative nature of all the arguments. Image: angry old dudesEach drew upon the fears of his particular group of regular fans. And each hyperbolically predicted extreme, even outrageous, consequences that were designed to stimulate a strong visceral response to some imagined (but by no means certain) future.
  • Apr 29

    I’m calling this article a “fact sheet.” That’s because instead of the usual paragraphs and paragraphs of prose, I’m providing a condensed summary of the following:

    • The Proven Benefits of Meditation (scientifically studied & reported in respected journals)
    • A Who’s Who of  Meditators & Organizations Who Encourage Meditation

    To create this fact sheet, I’ve culled information from several bloggers, book authors, and websites. I’ve included links to all these so you can easily go to the original source for further details.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Mar 31

    Are you under pressure to produce some sort of creative output? Are you feeling “dried up” or empty? Do you find yourself staring into space and mumbling “I got nothin’!!” ??  Do you wonder how some people seem to be consistently productive while you keep having these “dry spells?” In this article I’m going to share the simple, down-to-earth practices I use to keep the articles, videos and podcasts flowing.

    Everyone is Creative… Everyone!

    The truth is, everyone is creative. Period. Everyone gets ideas, sees unique connections, has insights, comes up with unusual ideas. But why do some people seem to produce more creative output than others? The answer is they leverage their creativity. They nurture it. They capture the shimmering bubbles that float into their consciousness before they can pop or drift away. They treat these like the magical gifts that they are and they maximize them by employing some fairly mundane, everyday practices. Here are my favorites:

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  • Feb 26
    Below is a photo of one of my favorite places — the neighborhood walking path/bike trail I use for morning exercise and evening strolls. Stately palm, decorative pear, and fragrant eucalyptus trees border the path, along with several types of flowering shrubs and drought-tolerant ground cover.
    Image: Walking path
    Not long ago this beautiful urban retreat was an ugly, abandoned railroad right-of-way. A narrow, dusty strip of coastal desert, it collected broken-down couches & mattresses, wind-blown plastic bags and other trash.  Its transformation into a several-miles-long strip of park is something we’re all grateful for.  Not only has it improved the visual landscape of our neighborhood, it’s also encouraged lots of people to walk, bike, jog, or simply get out of the house for an hour or two every day and enjoy the balmy California weather.
    As I noted in an earlier podcast, I’ve become a bit protective of this area. And while it’s not exactly an untouched wilderness, it still manages to provide enough of Nature’s Green to rejuvenate us city folks. So when I come across candy wrappers or potato chip bags thoughtlessly abandoned, I pick them up and take them to a trash can. This only adds a few seconds to my walk, yet it returns the path to an uncluttered state that helps conceal the fact that hundreds of people use it daily.

    But What About the Dog Pooh?

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  • Jan 29

    Image: Kid laughing at bubbles

    “Meditation is warm-up exercise for the mind, so that you can jog through the rest of the day without getting agitated or spraining your patience.” — Eknath Easwaran in Conquest of Mind via Brian Johnson’s PhilosophersNotes 


    Mindfulness Meditation & Mental Soap Bubbles

    Mindfulness is, in the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn, “paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment, without judgment.” 

    As you are learning to practice mindfulness or meditate mindfully, Kabat-Zinn recommends a “light touch when you are confronted with stray thoughts that try to distract you.  You simply look at these thoughts as they rise up, notice them, and watch them drift away and pop like soap bubbles. You might say something like this to yourself: “Oh there it goes. I’m worrying… worrying.” Or “There’s another. I’m thinking and remembering,” and so on.  What happens when you apply this “light touch” is that the thoughts just bubble up, drift around, and vanish. You don’t engage them in a battle, you don’t give them power, and they simply disappear.

    As I noted in my podcast Practice Mindfulness, Kabat-Zinn’s advice to apply a “light touch” to intruding thoughts and his image of soap bubbles popping is the most useful guidance I ever received regarding meditation. Before I acquired this frame of reference I would waste half my meditation time trying to force myself to concentrate while simultaneously gritting my teeth and battling mental intruders. Instead of bringing peace, my meditation time was a kind of silent warfare.

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  • Dec 30
    Image from post: Are You Clinging to Your Mummified Past?

    From post: Are You Clinging to Your Mummified Past?

    In case you missed them, here the five blog posts I wrote for this website in 2012 that meant the most to me. And if you’ve already seen these, they may be worth a second look. Happy New Year!

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