Tag Archives: conative

Peeves

I’m not calling the following Pet Peeves, because the term is an oxymoron.

A pet is something you enjoy having around, that brings you pleasure and that you pamper.

A peeve is something that is annoying or irritating.

If Personal Peeves are brought out into the open will they become less irritating? I doubt it. There’s no really good reason for sharing these, but one of my Personal Peeves is my inclination to feel I need to write things that will make a difference in the world.

This list is probably not going to make any difference in anyone’s life. It’s way too personal, and it’s not a clearly focused statement about anybody or anything.

Some of Kathy Kolbe’s Personal Peeves

Calling Peeves “Pet Peeves”
Being told I should stay focused
Being told there is no such thing as multi-tasking
The phrase “Take a listen”
Airplane arm rest hogs
Whining
Stores purposely designed so I can’t find the exit
Menus that include cilantro on every offering
Using a conative MO as an excuse for not making an effort
Being called “young lady”
Tweets from a book of quotes
Dead spots on my iPhone at crucial moments in conversations
Waiters interrupting at crucial moments in conversations
Seeing people who resist Follow Thru routines called uncooperative
Calling chemically encased vegetables “fresh food”
Invitations that require RSVPs when I don’t even know the inviter
Being asked if I just woke up one morning knowing everything I’ve spent years studying
Hotel curtains with pesky spaces allowing early am light to hit my sleep-deprived eyes
Hearing conative actions referred to as preferences
Former friends who didn’t consider it an adventure when I got us lost
People who say they trust their instincts giving 35 reasons to prove it
Teachers whose homework assignments require parents to do the teaching
Claims that entrepreneurialism can be taught
Boring presenter reading boring PPTs expecting me to read along although it’s too small to read
Having to sit where there is no place to put my feet up
Things that look exactly alike but could kill me if I don’t know the difference
Phony praise
Phony laughs
Phony agreement
Professional sports teams assuming my years of being a season ticket holder means I’m always a fan
People who don’t know someone, yet referring to them as “my friend”
Innovation used to describe what’s been going on for years
Football risking the brains of players of all ages
Having to explain myself

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Why I am so Obstinate – and you should be, too

Being Obstinate, according to one of my personal heroes, Peter Mark Roget, is akin to:

• Tenacity
• Perseverance
• Dogged resolution
• Having a ruling passion
• Being willful
• Acting with determination

Being Obstinate means:

Fighting for the freedom to be yourself
Firmly adhering to your purpose and principles
Not being controlled or manipulated
• Proving your personal resilience

If we don’t overcome the obstacles that keep us from having the
freedom to act on instinct, we will never live up to our potential.
That makes Being Obstinate an imperative.

You are practicing Strategic Obstinance when you:

• Go where everyone else wants to go – but do your own thing in the process.
• Play the game others are playing – but work to attain your personal best.
• Give the “right” answer – then, add your personal opinions.
• Wear what’s appropriate – with your personal touches added in.

When you are Being Obstinate:

• Your intractable defense of your own methods will be persuasive.
• Your unyielding pursuit of your personal freedom makes you invincible, even to the criticism of those with presumed power over you.
• Your instinctive powers come to the forefront.
• You don’t linger long after disappointments
• You are challenged by what otherwise might defeat you.
• You do the do-able– and even some things you may have believed were improbable.

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Yellow Pad to iPad – and Back

I love technology. My Think Pad, iPad and iPhone help me communicate with more people more often from more places.

But do they help me think as deeply as my theorist mind needs to go? That question kept coming to my mind while going thru 40 years of hand-written papers, some water soaked but partially saved after a fire in our office a year ago. (Actually, there’re only 30 yrs of papers…cuz there aren’t many hand-written papers from the last 10 yrs.)

What was I thinking?

There it was – the paper on which I scribbled a formula, crossed it out and tried again, then again. I could see where my mind had thought to go, then turned in a different direction, then settled on what has worked for decades. None of that process shows up when I work on my computer. I try to do what today’s tech experts recommend and erase most previous versions of docs. What do those show anyway?

In the boxes there are pages torn out of yellow pads with squiggles all over them. No stock photos or pics, just my hand-drawn icons for four things I called Powers, Creative Strengths, Positives…finally Action Modes. Version upon version of a concept. My arrows remind me how emphatic I was when I hit on a formula that resonated in my mind. Right there is the one that has been used for decades. I did a swirling circle around it. Lots of swirls.

Archiving the details isn’t the point. It’s my process of decision making that matters most – at least to me.

Now THAT’S the page where a concept fell into place. That drawing of the Kolbe Creative Process was in-tune with what felt like truth. Seeing it made me recall putting the pen down, resting my head on the back of the chair as if I were a composer listening to a symphony I’d just completed.

Several random yellow (or blue or pink or white) pads later I see the difference. And, I can hear the dissonance I sensed in my head when I moved an element to the wrong place. Computers may screech when they are misused. My mind does that when it senses errors. But it seems louder when I do it with a pen on paper.

Another stack of yellow pads. All with lists and lists and lists of words. Days and days, and weeks and months of searching for the right ones. Some pages all nouns. I can tell they were wrong because they were printed more formally. I was certainly being too cognitive. When I see the list of verbs, it’s as if trumpets blared. Yes! I remember my sweeping orchestra conductor movements in the middle of the night. That’s it! It’s all about the harmony of the four types of Action Verbs.

I had obviously scribbled furiously. The a’s and e’s were sometimes script and sometimes print – that’s when I am on a roll. (And it just doesn’t show up on my Word docs.)

Pads and pads and pads of lists. There were the ones from Roget. There were the ones from the physics books. There were the ones from cartoons.

There are the lists of names. Hundreds of names – mostly just first names of kids and adults – attached to various sets of words. Yes, I remember Bob defying me to predict what he would do with those tooth picks. There are the names of the gifted junior high kids who found the information fit them to a tee. There is the woman whose name I never got right, but who broke into tears with an MO I will never forget.

Hit “Save”

After the fire in our office I was told, and said to others: “We were able to save most of the important things. Our clients never lost a moment of access to scoring Kolbe Index results when our server room was destroyed.”

Some water soaked boxes were carried into the back corner of our undamaged warehouse next door. The IRS would need some of the financial information in the boxes over there. THEY were scanned, but no one rushed to save the boxes of my handwritten work.

The results of my thinking have gone into computer programs, formulas, books, and software applications. Thank goodness we’d backed up the damaged servers. There is no way to back up my memory of the process it took to discover conative truths.

It’s the conclusions my processes led to that matter to the world. No one but me would be able to interpret these tattered pages. They won’t stop those who believe ideas just pop out of my head. Or that my work must have been stolen from someone with a PhD.

As a resistant Fact Finder, I won’t spend much more time looking thru the old stuff. The smudged papers have served their purpose. They told me what I need to do.

I need to move forward using all of my techy toys. I also need to protect days for making – and fine tuning – music in my head. I need the process of putting pen to yellow pads.

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Kids & Sports: Time for Sharing Values

Something I did the least well in my school days, has helped me do what I care about most now. I was an Activities Major: student government VP, a newspaper editor, co-director of the original musical production – almost anything and everything, except for sports.

But I was an avid sports fan. I learned how to keep detailed baseball score cards before I learned Roberts Rules of Order.

Sports have acted as glue in our family, a source of shared fun and for sharing values with my parents, kids and grandkids. Even my seven in-town grandkids, with whom I spend lots of time, have yet to get a lecture from me about writing or putting on a musical, but they know exactly what I think about errors in baseball, the importance of assists in basketball, head-butting in youth soccer, and the plethora of medals in gymnastics.

They know I will watch them play any game they choose, but will be outspoken about the unmitigated dangers of football, and the silly sexist style of little girls’ “baseball.” I’ll cheer loudly for any team that’s playing hard and watch in the rain for the final play of a team that’s working to the bitter end. I’ve also been known to ask, “What made you feel really good about that game?” Win or lose.

Herein lies the beauty of sports with my kids and grandkids. It’s in the banter about the game, the plays and the players that we share values, perspectives and opinions that would bore them in any other arena. Watching sports together means they knew exactly how strongly I felt about drug use without my ever having lectured them on the subject.

No way, no how, should a drug user be admitted to a Hall of Fame. Period. Got that? Yep.

A loss with a bunch of errors is for losers who didn’t give it their best shot. No sympathy – and don’t ever blame it on the officiating.

Basketball is a team sport, so I’m done cheering for that pro who makes sure his stats look good in spite of the team losing games. “See how he took the shot but could have drawn the foul – which would have helped us more in the long run? I’d bench him. You wouldn’t!? Just cuz he’s a star? What’s the deal?”

“How much money is it costing the organization to have that guy sitting on the sidelines? Maybe we ought to just trade him? Fans love him. What if we divided his salary up among all the season tickets holders and gave them a refund? Oh yeah, math does matter.”

Sports has led us to natural discussions about work ethic, morality, trust, respect, team work, staying focused, following the rules, overcoming the odds, holding your ground, strategizing, non-verbal communications, dress codes, music as a manipulator of the masses, drugs, loyalty, economics, understanding the odds, persistence, fear (including of mascots), racial discrimination, sexism, self-confidence, embarrassment, punctuality, uses of customs and rituals, safety, abuse, celebrations, anger, duty, vendors who brand themselves, honesty, attitude vs. intelligence, luck, not burning bridges, parking strategically, practice, trusting your instincts and appreciation of individual differences.

Wow, I just got started, but will give it a break.

Some weeks my husband and I go to five or six grandkids’ sporting events, and/or with them to pro games. Bring’em on.

Today we’re celebrating our 26th anniversary by going to a Diamondback’s game with two grandsons in our blended family. I know both will be totally disgusted if there are a lot of errors, and will high-five us in recognition of a great bunt as well as a home run. Both have learned how to be team players in sports and within the family– and what to say to get a grin from Grandma.

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Why is it Good to Fail?

Failure can be informative, insightful, energizing, clarifying, character building, team building, equalizing – and very funny.

Lack of failure is a sign of an avoidance of creative efforts.

Fear of failure stunts innovation.

Overcoming failures fuels future success.

Not making an effort is a far more egregious error than making the wrong one.

Defining and assigning failures to those who caused them is an essential step in improving group processes – and individual performance.

Those who don’t own up to failure will not have many reasons to be singled out for success.

Those who are uncomfortable when failure is pointed out betray a desire to hide in the midst of mediocrity.

Failures in children can spawn humility.
(A good reason to sign kids up for activities that will be difficult for them)

Failures in arrogant adults are blamed on someone else.
(A good reason to find the actual culprit and not do group punishments)

Games of chance make failure the luck of the draw. They provide no chance to experience the benefits of failure.

Winning means less to those who have not suffered losses.

Conatively inclined risk takers (Quick Starts) are not authentic if they don’t fail fairly often.

If you want the benefits of failure you have to reward it. How are you doing that?

 

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A Family Business After All

Growing up in a family business started by my father, I saw my generation suffer from a misplaced use of abilities and stresses that negatively affected our personal relationships. I certainly never wanted to be involved in another family business.

More than a decade after I’d founded an award winning company, my newly married spouse, Will Rapp, became so passionate about what I was doing for US businesses, families and schools, that he wanted to help take it to international clients.

I told him he had to earn his own way into the business and start by working as one of our independent resellers, proving he could make a profit buying and selling through our standard pricing system. He earned the position of President of Kolbe International. Today we serve clients in 34 countries.

Will’s daughter, Amy Bruske, needed a place of refuge. A bright, hardworking, successful young career woman with a professional baseball player husband, she’d fought off a parking lot attack in LA and needed to be with us in Phoenix while her husband was on the road. She also needed to keep working, so I offered her the opportunity to do some things at Kolbe Corp for a few months. I made it clear it was not a family business, so this was just a short time deal. She made it clear that she intended to be her own person, and certainly wouldn’t be sticking around long. She immediately became irreplaceable.

That was 18 years ago. Through her efforts, she has earned a share of the company. Yesterday, I was a very proud Mom/co-owner, who was able to watch her receive the award for Business Owner of the Year from the Phoenix Chapter of NAWBO. She was nominated for her work with that organization and the leadership she provided the company during the last year; a year we not only survived a major fire and relocation of the business, but grew the business (36% in the last two years of a down economy) and created highly innovative, new products.

At a celebratory dinner with Amy’s kids and my son David’s kids last night, one of his kids said to me, “I thought Kolbe Corp was Daddy’s business.” I told her that he is the “deciderer” about many things, and owns part of the business too. Yesterday, he was out of town at meetings with senior level military leaders, discussing how Kolbe Corp could help our national defense and perhaps further our brain research.

I told David that he could never work in my business unless he had first proven himself on his own. He told me he would never want to work in a family business. He had seen what had happened among my siblings. Yet, 15 years ago he left a law firm to help us because he saw how much his combined Wharton Business School/legal training could contribute to Kolbe Corp’s mission, which he believed strongly in. Now, he is the CEO and General Counsel of Kolbe Corp.

A few months ago, one of our clients, who specializes in consulting with family businesses, commented to me that Kolbe was the best run family business he had ever seen. I, myself, work with lots of family businesses, trying to save them from the unfortunate misalignments that existed in the one I grew up in. One of the differences I point out between most of them and Kolbe Corp is that there has never been an expectation or requirement that the other five, highly successful, Kolbe/Rapp offspring would participate in the business. Another difference is that all four of us work within our Conative strengths and divide the responsibilities accordingly.

In the past, I have chosen to say that we are so different from most family businesses that Kolbe Corp is not a family business.

Today I realize Kolbe Corp is a family business.

David and Amy, as co-owners, lead a team of highly committed employees who are members of an extended family that helps us all make a difference to so many other families and businesses.

At Kolbe Corp everyone is a member of the family. Everyone is responsible for earning his or her own way, is respected for individual abilities, and has to prove a high level of commitment to a shared purpose.

I am very proud of the honor Amy won yesterday and what it says about the Kolbe Corp family.

 

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Conation has It’s Place

Where does conation live?

Conation is within you. It’s not just some knee jerk reaction. Or effort that requires elbow grease. Or thing that’s isolated in your guts. It oozes out of you and bursts forth from every pore. It’s probably in your head. Your brain, specifically. That’s where scientists logically place it, because how else could it inhabit every single thing that you do?

Where do you see it?

I see it in everything I do. It’s like my shadow, yet it precedes me, and roots me as well as trails me.

I especially see it where I live.

  • It’s in the energy of the colors I put on the walls (the more intensity the more it sparks my creativity).
  • It’s in where I put things (neatly, when I’m under stress; all over the place when I’m in my groove).
  • It’s in the number of projects I have out or stuffed in closets (if you can’t seen ’em, I’m in-between ’em).
  • It’s in how healthy my plants look (their wellness shows I’m getting down time)).
  • It’s in the degree of formality with which I set the table (the more of that the less of me).
  • It’s in the compromises I make with my husband (I can’t reach where he put the spices).
  • It’s in the whimsy all around me (don’t expect me to explain).

 

So how do you move you from a place that is/was you? How do you leave a home that you created, that you made perfect for your conative needs, that brought you and your spouse joy? How do you leave it without leaving a part of you behind? How do you move on?

The house I’m putting behind me is the one that helped us create a nurturing environment for a blended family. It’s the nest into which I brought my newborn grandchildren. Its bedrooms housed their hundreds of sleepovers and many session of Camp Kolbe. Its  Conasium(tm), which I was compelled to build, has a 3/4 size stage, art corner,  technology oozing out of the walls, and natural light from all directions, including overhead.  It has the pond I personally lined with cement and the swiming  pool with the linear waterfall I made so  kids could swim thru it- and they called their ‘carwash’; and a wood burning oven for  individually designed over-the-top pizza creations, and the tree house my son-in-law built around the palm tree because it needed to be left it free to sway.

When I see potential buyers look at all the gardens I created and say “Looks like too much work,” and just look, not skip around the soft surface “race track” in the grandkids play ground, I realize they just don’t get it. It’s not built to their MO. It doesn’t fit how they act, react and interact in their lives.

How can I get past the past of this place I created? This place that housed my conative spirit for 18 years?

It didn’t help to think so carefully about what to do with each and everything little thing and hope family and friends would want to take this and that. It didn’t matter that I  love where I now live, and haven’t had a moment of regret or sadness about the decision to move on. 

It took getting conative — taking action — about leaving that  house before I actually moved my conative self completely out it.

Yesterday I found myself with a paint brush in hand, personally painting over the colors I had so carefully chosen. I personally took down the large magnetized white board where grandkids had posted the names of their plays and roles they played (and sometimes used the wrong kind of markers, making it messy to others’ minds). I personally chose the shade of off-white for the carpeting and walls in all the bedrooms. I personally packed up the last of the whimsy.

Now the bones of the wonderfully designed house show through. It’s ready to house someone else’s conative creativity. Mine has moved on.

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