Madelyn gave a lecture to a graduate class on Riding the Current. When asked to describe what stood out to students from the various lectures and activities of the class, Kelly Botsford singled out Madelyn’s message. Here are excerpts from her response:
“While I enjoyed several aspects of this class, it was really the lecture by Madelyn Blair that stood out for me. Normally I approach learning from a very practical standpoint, often critical of information. I learn for the sake of learning, but also with a thought about if or how I can apply something. I found Madelyn’s discussion both practical and challenging. I was shocked at what it brought out of me – not skepticism or even an immediate search for application, but a deep emotional response that is rare.
The concepts that Madelyn discussed were very real to me and very timely. While many of us feel overwhelmed often, and struggle with the issues of how to keep up, how to stay current, or even how to just get everything done, it is particularly real for working professionals in the midst of a significant academic undertaking. I am a middle manager for a huge company, the mother of two young children and a graduate student. I often feel as though I am overtaken by the current, instead of riding the current. The concept of harnessing the current and overcoming it is intriguing.
Of particular meaning and resonance for me was the concept of boundaries. Madelyn spoke of them being large enough to hold your dreams and small enough to carry. For me, this is about deciding what is within my realm and what doesn’t make the cut – based on my own personal goals and values. If I can do this effectively, I will not only be more efficient, I will be a better leader and resource for the people working for me.
Viewing life as a journey where I am in control of the ship, and where I have the ability to establish the boundaries of my own ocean has been empowering for me. This taken with the concept of conjuring time for the things we need is especially powerful.
The implications are real – in my work and my personal life. In the month since that lecture, I have said no to a new effort for the first time in my life, because it didn’t fit in the boundaries of my personal goals and values. It wouldn’t help me reach my destination and I didn’t feel guilty. I am grateful for this new outlook and am excited about how I can adapt it going forward.”
Reading Kelly’s response is a confirmation of the essential nature of the boundary principle that underlies Riding the Current. It is the hardest of the principles to enact. Those I coach often take over a month to get through this step, yet they never fail to see immediate, rich benefits of making the investment.