In the News: Cultivating Time

October 3, 2016

While not exactly “in the news,” I subscribe to Jennifer Garvey Berger‘s Cultivating Leadership blog and woke up this morning to see her new post on Cultivating Time.

A note of background, Berger is a leadership development adviser and coach who I met when she guest lectured in Bob Kegan’s Adult Development course at Harvard in 2012. At the time, her book Changing on the Job had just come out and was required reading for Kegan’s course. Berger was a student of Kegan before that and has integrated Constructive Developmental Theory into her life and work as a leadership and change consultant. She has a new book – Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders – but it has yet to move from my Amazon Cart.

Berger’s recent post on Cultivating Time discusses how we experience time and the difference between being linearly-time poor and experientially time-rich. With regard to Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi’s concept of flow she writes, “many leadership theorists talk about the particular form of presence that best allows leadership to emerge—a full-bodied attention, a balcony perspective on what’s going on, a careful attentiveness to the present system and its behavior out of which a new and better future can be cultivated.” In this post, Berger encourages her readers to focus on cultivating presence and mindfulness with regards to our experiences so that we can become experientially time-rich.

She concludes by writing, “Poets and psychologists can write all they want about how life is short and we have to seize the day, but it is up to each of us to shift our relationship to our own time on the planet…I will fail at this, of course, in big and small ways each day, but I will be grateful nonetheless for the opportunity each dawn gives me to start again to be increasingly present in my life, so that it is not a rushed blur but an ever-changing painting of colorful moments of deep connection, each point on the page giving form and depth to the pointillist landscape of my life.”

How powerful is that last line. I love the image of making our lives “an ever-changing painting of colorful moments of deep connection.”

Berger’s work aligns well with my personal and professional interests in leadership, adult learning, and organizational change. I think anyone interested in Human Resource Development would be enriched by her work. I know I have.


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