A Mavens Magnets 2011-01-15 Reinventing Ourselves in Crisis – Janine Shepherd – Never Tell Me Never

Rediscovering a year old tweet by Laurel Papworth (@silkcharm)  sharing a blog post on reinventing ourselves using social media tools. It made me reflect on how we face challenges : of different approaches to the stereotypical fight or flight reactions – and fitted so well with my 2011 goal to do a weekly reflection on my PKM (Personal Knowledge Management) archives.

Also from my PKM archive, Rosabeth Mossbeth Kanter’s blog post on facing change also inspired me : “Surprises are the new normal. Resilience is the new skill“. And from the archive : Roy Tennant a Library professional, on embracing social media & reinventing himself throughout his professional career : “Look Forward. Ever, ever, look forward. Because that is the present you will soon inhabit.”

Sometimes it’s not so dramatic – other times it’s incredibly challenging circumstances – like those faced by Premier Anna Bligh in the tragic Queensland January 2011 floods. Or by Janine Shepherd, headed for the Australian Winter Olympics Team & slated to win our first medal and tragically maimed. I was fortunate to hear Janine tell her inspirational story “Never Tell Me Never“at a conference in Canberra in the late 1990’s.

I never forgot Janine and now she is features strongly in my PKM. It was in mid 2009, sick with Swine Flu which  followed an earlier bout of Bacterial Pneumonia, I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to recover. The slightest cool temperatures would bring on asthmatic coughing fits. Amazingly the very morning when I felt so incredibly down, I discovered that Janine was on Twitter and she was following me. I was stunned. How could someone like her be following me ? Her life challenges so much greater than mine – I felt chastened and couldn’t continue feeling so miserable. A partial paraplegic… Janine had even learned to fly & become a qualified pilot!

And then in my long convalescence I would really “discover & explore” more of the social media world, which became so vital in my newly emerging professional challenges. I had to “reinvent myself” professionally : from a forensic engineer & quality management specialist, to learning of the commercial focus of the World Trade Organization. To stay on top of the exploding number of new GFC fuelled international trade barriers – social media tools helped so much. And along the way I was to discover so many amazingly generous folks in the social media Twitter space creating a PLN – Personal Learning Network – from across Australia and around the globe. I shared this journey at the ACTKM10 Conference last October.

Equally inspirational from my PKM archive – a tweet from Lance Scoular on the poem Invictus quoted in the movie of the same title. I saw the movie “Invictus” (Morgan Freeman & Matt Damon directed by Clint Eastwood) on a flight to Venice last September. It is the deeply moving story of Nelson Mandela leading a greatly divided South Africa after many years in prison on Robben Island. Mandela inspires the Springboks Rugby Union captain, Francois Pienaar, from certain defeat to lead his team to victory at the 1995 World Cup on their home soil. Mandela shared the evocative words from Invictus that kept him going on Robben Island – helping to stand when all he wanted to do was lie down : “I am the captain of my soul“.

Ironically Avatar is on television right now with the challenges faced by Jake Sully – ex-Marine, maimed, enticed to Pandora – rebirthed via his Avatar & able to walk again. Too easy to follow his Marine background and destroy the Na’vi as they defend Hometree. Or to take a new path as one of the Na’vi fighting the RDA Company’s drive to mine “Unobtainium”. Great interview at the end with Sam Worthington (Jake Sully) where he shared what he learned from working on Avatar about the importance of our World  : “It’s never too late to change.”

Below are links to my Diigo bookmarks for these stories from my PKM  …

      • My 2 favourite quotes
        • In so many ways our idealized selves get suppressed at work or simply won’t come out. There are so many things we would love to do better, perhaps be more accommodating in our communication, or maybe be more outspoken and self-confident.  At other times we just need for other people to perceive us differently and to realize who we really are – and respect us for being just that.
        • The Social Media offer this frame for being our all, perhaps the one we want to be – or maybe just be different from what we are at work, and for once I’m not thinking that this is mentally unhealthy, identity destabilizing or role confusing. I think that this is a chance to sublimate some of those forces and instincts stemming from some earlier stage or even dreams in our life. And even more so, if living in here can make living out there more fulfilling and even reactivate our passion, by all means – let’s engage!

      • My favourite quote
        • Surprises are the new normal. Resilience is the new skill. Back-up plans are strategic assets. 
      • My favourite quotes 
        • Don’t clutch old technologies when you should be tossing them aside. The natural human tendency is to cleave to what we know, and to view anything new with suspicion. There are good parts of this tendency, but so too there are some bad. Staying with outdated technologies too long because they are familiar and we feel comfortable in our mastery of them are reasons that are weak and unjustifiable.
        • Don’t blindly embrace the new. Not every technology that comes down the pike is worth your time and attention. It may be worth enough time to assess it, but don’t think just because it is new and shiny that it should be immediately embraced. …
        • Look forward. Ever, ever, look forward. Because that is the present you will soon inhabit. Because that is the force that will shape your life — with or without your permission or acquiescence. Because that is what you hope to make better.

      • My favourite lines
        • I am the master of my fate: 
        • I am the captain of my soul. 
.. a pickup truck slammed into the back of her bike, shattering her body and dreams. Shepherd suffered a broken neck and back and abdominal gashes. Her right leg was ripped open, her collarbone and five ribs were fractured, and she sustained serious internal injuries and more. The complete picture makes gut-wrenching reading.

“People broke their necks and backs and didn’t walk, but that wouldn’t be me. Not me.”

“Finally, I got to the point where I thought, My God, this accident controls every part of my life—every single part. And I thought, What are you going to do? Are you going to spend the rest of your life being a victim—or are you going to get on with your life?”

  • @CarePathways ‘Never Tell Me Never’ by @JanineShepherd http://t.co/ugONL2J No challenge is too great. No obstacle too big to overcome.
    (NB Janine came to Wollongong in March 2010 as Guest Speaker at International Women’s Day Lunch – my company bought 10 tickets for female employees. I would have loved to have listened to the latest stages of her journey as she and her ex-husband had battled Depression. However I decided not to – because I wanted other women in my company to have the chance to her amazingly inspirational story “Never Tell Me Never)
      • Amazing courage
        • Janine Lee Shepherd, AM (born 1962) was a champion Australian cross-country skier until she suffered major injuries when hit by a truck during training. Before the accident, she had been considered a strong chance to win Australia’s first ever medal at the Winter Olympics.
        • Though she was told she would never walk again or have children, and doctors had significant doubts as to whether she would survive at all, she defied all of these, and her story later became the focus of national attention, as well as a popular telemovie.

A Maven’s Magnet Personal Knowledge Management PKM Thoughts

Frank Hurley, the photographer on Ernest Shackleton‘s ill-fated expedition, had a hard decision to make as the pack ice crushed the “Endurance”, forcing the crew to flee. 
Hurley left behind many precious glass photographic negatives as they were too heavy – deciding which ones to leave & which to keep – his PKM now shared with us nearly a century later.

How do we prioritise our PKM elements ? How do we ensure their longevity in evolving technology?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


A Mavens Magnets – 2011-01-09 – Johari Windows – Growing through Connecting Trust Collaborating Safe Spaces to Experiment

A Maven’s Magnets on PKM :

For effective leadership, it’s really worth understanding MBTI & what your style is : eg for me it’s “N” or “Intuitive” 
-ie I like to consider possible situations & prepare for them by developing a comprehensive PKM – Personal Knowledge Management System, in advance 
– but this takes time & resources & obviously I can’t predict  every imaginable problem
– whereas if I was an “S” or “Sensing” then I would wait until issues arose, then locate the resources I need
– which is predicated on assuming that all resources you need are easily located

What is important is to understand your preferred style & work with its positives & negatives

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.