Thursday, September 25, 2008

Collaboration: What is that anyway?

As I set out to write on collaboration, I realize very quickly that while the concept may seem new to many - it actually is very old…

I just happened to catch a news program the other night that revealed an ancient civilization found living independently deep in the Amazon – strongly alive today in their old ways… Having just seen that piece, my awareness of indigenous ways, belief systems and practices comes top of mind, as I ponder this concept of collaboration - as I'm surprisingly, quickly taken back to our ancient times...

Just imagine… in the beginning, we always worked together... in community we coordinated our efforts to hunt and gather, then to farm, raise families, protect us from harm... the list goes on and on... We always - in our ancient times - collaborated with one and other for our greater good.

So it's funny that when I wanted to write about collaboration as related to our modern world - I was taken back to our old world - back to our ancestors - when I imagine working in collaboration was deeply ingrained in our bones.

I venture to say, collaboration is truly, very old... and perhaps it is only our time to recycle the old idea - and remember its value as a strong ideal to strive toward – where we work together for the benefit of many...

As I started this writing, I was remembering my early experience with collaboration and its strong impression upon me...

Professionally, I'd been deeply doused in business competition working for a maverick New York marketing group in the highly competitive world of high-end corporate communications and advertising - pretty dog-eat-dog for sure. Though years earlier I had run youth programs, my business mindset was firmly planted in the world of competition - cross promotions, selling, consumers, products, mass media, corporate sponsorships. After a refreshing break from that competitive life, I somehow landed in public service work and the world of government where I absorbed like a sponge a whole new mindset quite foreign to my 'private sector' self...

I had been hired by a rural county in California to create an evaluation system that would somehow monitor effectiveness of public human services for children and families in the region. Now this was foreign ground - not only for me, but for the entire system! A daunting task as something that had not only not been done before, but far worse, had never even been dreamed of being done...

So, the mystery stood before me... and as I looked for clues and happily welcomed the challenge, my boss who was a doctor of psychology and lifelong public servant, immediately suggested I learn from others - literally and directly. I clearly remember the reaction I felt when she suggested I actually phone professionals in other counties to ask for their tools and information on how they were doing the job - as I immediately said something like “you mean they’ll share that stuff?”

Much to my surprise, while very foreign to my competitive business self, thinking this way was entirely the norm in public service. You see, my business-orientation was from the competitive world - I wouldn't have ever dreamed of calling another professional doing my same job in another marketing firm to ask "how are you doing it?" - that would have been preposterous in a competitive marketplace. But in this world of public service, where taxpayer is customer, whatever we did – anywhere – was essentially for the same "customer" - from one county or state to another and even to the Feds. So I learned quickly, that in government it’s seemingly quite common for persons to share "how to" information across “divisional” lines... for they have no reason not to. If one person created a system, process or data grid that worked - why not share it with others to help the whole do its job better?! Amazing to me now to realize this progressive turnaround in my own thinking came from my time working for the government?!

Well, it was this way of thinking that opened a whole new world for me... Soon I was participating in all kinds of statewide meetings based on sharing information across all kinds of lines - with community collaboration trainings in my local area promoting local sharing too - to the point where I was quickly facilitating the collaborations myself, because I fully understood the power of sharing - the concept was entirely in line with my soul - as though the project itself gave water to a very deep “seed” planted inside me.

It didn't take long for me to get it – when we help each other, we all are faster to grow and improve - and we're all better off! To this day - as I share this writing - I am well aware that in that open-thinking-sharing system, we were able to be much more creative to more truly find solutions - when competitive barriers were removed, because there was openness...

So, on that day many years ago, in a dank rural county office in the middle-of-nowhere-California, my boss and now dear friend, opened a new world to me - as she unknowingly helped awaken a deeper knowing inside me - one that said reaching out for help - seeking those who share similar struggles in business - reaching over to share my solutions - is far more than okay - it is what makes the most sense, and even more, it's actually quite efficient!

And with that nudge, was born in me what I will now call an ancestral memory for what we call collaboration. As my own path has unfolded over the years since then, it's funny to realize that it was in government, of all places, that I found people collaborating - because they could! In working for the public, not selling product or service, there was little threat - and all to gain - in sharing information across what would otherwise be considered “competitive” lines.

It's true in our competitive business world, there's only so far we can go with this because we are in competition - but it causes me to think - what if... we actually took the initiative to help the next guy out – just to find out what it’s like. Perhaps we might simply decide in our knowing, that when we need help, we'll get it too - because we have given it out?

What if we aimed to collaborate a lot more, and compete a lot less - to see what can occur when we join our energies for greater power, greater volume, greater mass... while helping one and other change our individual ways, as we collectively change, our whole?

What if we remembered our ancestral roots, and considered how they did it in their villages... when they would pass someone on the road, encounter a stranger for the first time, celebrate new solutions for channeling the community water system or getting a new crop of food.

What if we considered our differences - and honored our paths - as individuals and as a whole...

What if we connected with one and other with sincerity and hope, for our collective potential, to do much greater good for the whole?

These I ponder - all the time - and still, I am human. I get angry, frustrated and upset... as we all do... So today, I hold hope that I will pull myself back faster and more often, to remember - we're all in this together. If I can help someone else, if I can perhaps in fact teach them so they can bridge a change within themselves, then perhaps I have done more service to more people - in just the blink of an eye - than all my anger would have done - had I just walked away.

Collaboration goes down to our roots - Perhaps it is time, we remember!

God Bless and Good Night!

By Sharon L. Corsaro
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Why Focus on "The Gold?"

Funny - or not - I write this as I check the news on our nation's latest apparent cleansing - this time of our banks, in addition to our land.

As I catch the news, I hear a U.S. Senator expressing the enormous importance of Congress working together to expeditiously process a piece of Legislation necessary by next week, to save us... As I witness our state of affairs, in preparation for writing this piece, I know that this Senator's call to putting aside partisanship in order to take care of us all, is an amazing example of the power we hold - as a whole - to look beyond the polarity of our differences, and come into greater ease, through unity for our overall greater good.

Turning this to the personal level, it is true that we always have the option to get upset at the way things are going, complain and be frustrated - or not. I can attest to my own experience of that very thing, just earlier today in fact. And yet, as the master of growing-gold that I am - I always know down to my core that I must focus on "The Gold" for the immense power and importance that our very focus, holds!

"Gold" is the precious metal not only in ore, but truly, in our invisible world - the world of our emotions, friendships, business partners, decisions and much more. Gold is the spark, the light, the creative force in its purest sense really - and Gold makes itself known, all the time, when we focus on seeing it.

The light of a sparkling smile - the beauty of a flower - the power of love in our chest when greeting a person we care for. Gold is happening all around us, all the time... and I propose, that when we focus on "The Gold," we actually help it grow. It shows up more when we put our attention to it... It shows up in bigger ways, in solutions to new problems, in the ease of a relationship, in joint ventures with new business associates. Gold is everywhere - all around us - and when we focus on it, we give it more power, and in truth, it really grows because it magnetizes more Gold.

So today I propose - to myself - and to you - that we focus our sights on the Gold all around us. That even if only a brief moment - hopefully much more - we try it and see what happens, when we collectively give attention to the positive potential for things in our world. And in particular, at this moment of need for our country, that we collectively focus attention on the positive potential of our Lawmakers' efforts this coming week - of our Presidential Election this month - for unearthing new positive solutions - new Gold - as we help them by collectively coming together in our attention and focus, to know that this (storm) too shall pass... and we together have the power - to grow more Gold. To focus our attention on the Gold in our presence, in each moment, knowing that our power is enormous - as we unite our collective creative potential - that we can prevail in supporting our Lawmakers to successfully reach across polarity to collectively grow more positive Gold for us all as they create positive solutions, and find resolve.

What a time to speak of Gold? As our financial markets falter... Perhaps it is time that our immense natural resource of inner Gold - that which is available inside us all individually and collectively - find its way to the forefront of our boardrooms, town halls, families, small businesses and Congress too - as we give more attention - more power - to truly growing-gold!

I'm holding the vision that this latest storm of cleansing - not of the land but of our very financial institutions - will be swift, without undue harm, and that all things come clean, as we grow toward greater goodness for the world we are destined to become - as greater balance and harmony find their way into our lives.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I met the most amazing dog yesterday...

People don’t often refer to “meeting a dog” – but it’s true – I met an amazing dog…

I was leaving the Hilton Hotel at LAX somewhere near midnight on the close of a powerful three-day seminar when, despite big exhaustion, I could not help but stop as I saw this beautiful ball of life tugging her keeper across the lobby floor… I just had to “talk with” Gracie, whom I found immediately melting in my arms with precious love.

And then I learned that Gracie is one very special dog. It seems that she is professionally trained to literally monitor the health of her owner. Yep, it’s true!

This amazing dog was trained to “sense” and somehow know the blood sugar level of her owner! You see, her owner has diabetes and I was told that when his blood sugar starts getting too low, in a truly amazing act of Grace, this amazing dog senses the man’s blood sugar risk, and motions to alert him through specifically trained “cues” that let him know, it’s time to make a change in order to avoid trouble.

A potent tid bit of gold – from none other than a Golden Retriever – this one shows us that a “working dog” can mean many things, as Gracie taps into the amazing power of sensitivity to save a man’s life each time she lets him know, “it’s time to eat!”

And what can we learn? Hmmm.... what if WE listened to our own sensitivity, to monitor ourselves - not only physically - but truly, in everyway, to let our inner cues tell us clearly everytime when it's time to make a change to avoid the risk of trouble!

Lessons from a dog?! ... That's right!
Thank you dear Gracie - for your love and your very bright, light ~

At the heart of the matter...A Blog is Born!

[Writer's Note... While actually born on New Year's Day 2008, this blog did not come out for public viewing until THIS posting September 2008... Original articles of 1/1/08 and 2/8/08 now published, it's all official - and she is born!]

Years in the waiting... this blog is finally born!

With gold always at the heart of the matter, this posting brings to life the new blog “Tid Bits of Gold” - interactive sister to my virtual home at - sharing “sightings of gold” experienced everyday!

Gold, of course going well beyond high finance, speaks in this case of the true gold that lies at the heart of the matter – within – all things… the invisible “stuff” that makes everything tick!

From the heart of a person, to the heart of a project, business, community and even government – gold is the blood that pumps through our collective veins, as society’s invisible heart beat~ And so with this posting, I bring to life, Sharon’s Musings on Gold… with an invitation to you... to ponder and grow, some gold from within!

Much more to come ~ I thank you for sharing!

by Sharon L. Corsaro
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