Achim Nowak

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Achim Nowak Posts

You want a bold connection? Neutral wording will not get you there.

Yep. Bold will get you bold.

We have neutered our language. We have made it concise, crisp, colorless. Adjectives have been tossed to the wind. Written business language is entirely transactional now. Void of perspective or a compelling point-of-view. Just void.

And more and more of us start to talk in person as if we’re sending a text. Transactional. Efficient. And no one much cares.

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It has rained in Florida.

I mean, it has rained and rained and rained for the entire last week. We’re used to the summer rains. Twenty minutes at a time. Not this.

Yes, inconvenient. Folks cancel appointments. Folks complain about the puddles and the wet clothes. Folks complain about the dreary grey skies. Arggh.

I get it.

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Sometimes we don’t get what we think we’re going to get. We get more.

I spent Labor Day week-end in Orlando with about 1500 other folks. Learning qi gong. No surprise, right? You know from reading this column and my books that I am keen on knowing all the ways in which we energize ourselves.

I learned how to feel and move qi. That’s Chinese for energy.

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Memorial Day.

Chances are, you have plans. Hopefully, they’re awesome plans. They may involve family, friends, food. Fun.

But here’s the kicker. Your day is scheduled.

And yes, these are the by-products of our scheduled life: Preparatory duties and a sense of obligation and social pressure and stress.

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Admit it – you’ve had the thought.

“I hate business dinners,” George Brinkman said to me. I was startled by the ferocity with which George uttered these words. George is a highly seasoned business executive, after all – a Fortune 500 guy with a keen mind. Funny, sharp. The sort of fellow who talks well, really well.

And George attends lots and lots of such dinners.

“I hate the moment when we run out of things to say,” George added. There was a long, pregnant pause. “And that moment always comes …”

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You know the conference call that drones on and on? The meeting that’s chock full of updates you’re not the least bit interested in?

You want to stay engaged. You do, you really do. But darn, it’s hard.

Try fiddle/scribble/doodle/dawdle.

If you’ve attended a training program and had a really fine facilitator, chances are she gave you some toys to play with. It’s the same principle. Malcolm Knowles, the grandfather of andragogy (the study of how adults learn), postulates that as adults, we’re used to being active. When this urge is squelched – as in a seemingly unending meeting of any kind – our mental and physical energy will be quickly squelched, as well. We check out.

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Visualize the scene.

Author sits on airplane, jetting off to a work assignment. Flight attendant strolls by:

FA: What can I get ya to drink?

AU: I’d love a ginger ale!

FA: I’d love to bring ya one.

Simple exchange, right?

I so appreciated that she picked up the word “love.” Volleyed it back at me. Had fun with it. Her response conveyed a sense of delight in her professional role, to boot. Yes, this flight attendant was a language-cue-pick-up artist!

So simple. So energizing.

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The Boston-marathon-events hijacked last week.

It was everywhere. Twitter, television, the web. Even when I didn’t wish to engage, Boston played on the TV monitor at my gym, behind the counter at California Pizza Kitchen.

Boston carried loads of psychic energy.

Something horrible happens. We have an instant emotional response. Sadness, outrage, empathy, indignation, fear.

The first response is primal. The remainder is pure story. I want to call it “the Boston tragedy” – and here we are, smack in the middle of “story.”

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They vilified him.

Wilhelm Reich, psychiatry-enfant-terrible of the mid-20th century, based his entire framework for understanding human behavior on the notion of blocked energy. Reich believed that folks who experienced significant challenges in life did so because their energy “got stuck” sometime during the early stages of life. Getting well meant getting rid of body armor and getting the energy moving again!

Reich was ahead of his time.

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Lunched with Victor, youthful president of a global-ueber-electronics firm, in the Chicago burbs this week. I relish Victor’s smarts. He reads brainy stuff, thinks in unexpected ways, keeps me on my conversational toes.

“I just watched this TED talk about the power of introverts,” Victor volunteers. “Interesting!”

I find myself starting to boil inside. Not at Victor – no, at this infuriatingly narrow and culturally perpetuated narrative about the introvert/extrovert dichotomy. Here it is, again.

I appreciate Susan Cain, the lovely and immensely articulate power-of-introversion speaker Victor references. Cain is a leader of the lets-reclaim-the-introvert movement. A backlash against a North American business culture that values constant collegial engagement.

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