2019

In the book The Art of Possibility, authors Benjamin and Rosamund Stone Zander offer a message of optimism, hope, and choices available to everyone to create a great New Year.

“This is a how-to book of an unusual kind. Find the right framework and extraordinary accomplishment becomes an everyday experience,” say the authors. Specifically, the book offers 12 practices that together create that very framework to bring new possibilities to life.

Here is a summary of topics and actions to consider:

1. It’s all invented – believe it and you will see it

“Einstein himself said it was nonsense to found a theory on observable facts alone [when] in reality the very opposite happens. It is theory which decides what we observe.” How is your mindset as you close out 2018 and look forward to 2019?

2. A universe of possibility – embrace a view beyond the world of measurement

The world of measurement is a filled with “assessments, scales, standards, grades, and comparisons. On our path to success we experience scarcities of time, money, power, love, resources, and inner strength. . . . [Conversely] the universe of possibility may be characterized as generative, or giving, in all senses of that word — producing new life, creating new ideas . . . contributing, yielding to the power of contexts.”

For example, notice the areas in your life when measuring generosity becomes difficult yet feels immensely valuable.

3. Giving an A – work to understand what each person has to teach

“When we give an A [to another] we can be open to a perspective different from our own. For it is only to a person to whom you have granted an A that you will really listen, and it is in that rare instance when you have ears for another person that you can truly appreciate a fresh point of view.”

Have you been listening to everyone as intently as you could?

4. Being a contribution – contribute without worrying about success and failure

“When I began playing the game of contribution, I found there was no better orchestra than the one I was conducting, no better person to be with than the one I was with; in fact, there was no “better.”” 

When you contribute without expectations, status roles fade and you begin to see others — and life itself — in a new light.

5. Leading from any chair – step up no matter where you sit

“A monumental question for managers in any organization to consider is: how much greatness are we willing to grant people?” In my view, everyone can choose to be Chief.

Are you doing all you can to create environments where those Chiefs find it easy to emerge?

6. Lighten up

Humor and laughter are perhaps the best tool we have to get over ourselves. No one should take themselves too seriously.

7. The way things are – accept what is and clear away judgments

“Mistakes can be like ice. If we resist them, we may keep on slipping into a posture of defeat. If we include mistakes in the definition of performance, we are likely to glide through them and appreciate the beauty of the longer run.”

There is no growth without failure. Encourage others to push past their current discomfort whenever possible.

8. Giving way to passion – let go, let flow, and channel energy

“Notice where you are holding back and instead seek to shape the streams of passion all around you into a new expression for the world.”

Pay attention to your emotions. They will show you opportunities that are everywhere.

9. Lighting a spark – enroll others

“Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share.”

Everyone can practice viral engagement. It starts with you.

10. Being the board – take responsibility

“When the way things are seems to offer no possibility; you can use our graduate course. In this practice, you rename yourself as the board on which the whole game is being played. The practice of being the board is about making a difference rather than gaining control.”

Power is not obtained the way you think it is. It’s more about creating your life game than reacting to someone else’s game.

11. Creating frameworks for possibility – establish a context for an “upward spiral”

“First, make a new distinction in the realm of possibility that creates a powerful substitute for the current framework that is generating a downward spiral. Next, live it. Finally, continue to track what is on track and off track from your new framework.”

Continually ask the crucial question: What is this for?

12. Telling the WE story – sharing the things that connect us all

This practice points the way to a kind of leadership based not on qualifications earned in the field of battle, but on the courage to speak on behalf of all people and for the long line of human possibility.  Usually what we mean by the pronoun “we” is “you-plus-I.” So the question, “What shall we do?” generally leads to a compromise between what you want and what I want.

It follows that each will both win and lose. It encourages us to exaggerate our positions and often to hold back some of the truth, while pushing us into offensive and defensive postures. Instead, the practice of WE assumes everything each of us thinks and feels has a place in the dialogue.

The bottom line of the book is, we dramatically increase our chances to bring new possibilities to our lives when we have the right framework. In my view, we also have a powerful compass to guide us.

Wishing you a 2019 full of possibilities.

________________

About LRPC’s Monday Morning Minute

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) Monday Morning Minute is crafted to provide decision-makers with important information about the economy, investments and corporate retirement plans in a format that allows a reader to consume the information in less than 60 seconds. As an independent, objective investment adviser, LRPC has access to many sources of research and shares the best and most relevant information with its readers each week.

About Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC  

Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC (LRPC) is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent, objective Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing investment advisory, fiduciary compliance, employee education, provider management and plan design services to employer retirement plan sponsors. The firm specializes in Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) strategies for retirement plans and is a pioneer in the field. LRPC currently has contracts in place to provide consulting services on nearly a half billion dollars in plan assets. For more information, please contact Robert C. Lawton at (414) 828-4015 or bob@lawtonrpc.com or visit the firm’s website at https://www.lawtonrpc.com. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser.

Important Disclosures

This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance, tax, legal or investment advice. Each plan has unique requirements and you should consult your attorney or tax adviser for guidance on your specific situation. In no way does Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC assure that, by using the information provided, a plan sponsor will be in compliance with ERISA regulations. Investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. The statements in this publication are the opinions and beliefs of the commentator expressed when the commentary was made and are not intended to represent that person’s opinions and beliefs at any other time. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC and should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC offers no tax, legal or accounting advice and any advice contained herein is not specific to any individual, entity or retirement plan, but rather general in nature and, therefore, should not be relied upon for specific investment situations. Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants, LLC is a Wisconsin Registered Investment Adviser and accepts clients outside of Wisconsin based upon applicable state registration regulations and the “de minimus” exception.