Q&A with Karyn Ross: I’ll Keep You Posted!

The topic of today’s post is reflection. My good friend and K2C2 coaching partner Karyn Ross released a new book this week titled I’ll Keep You Posted!: 102 of My Own Reflections to Help You Start (and Deepen) Your ‘Active Reflection’ Practice.

Karyn is one of the most prolific – and insightful – LinkedIn posters that I know, which I discovered last year was due to her personal habit of using LinkedIn posts as her personal reflection on the day before. She’s consolidated a year of her reflections into a book to help YOU reflect and learn.

I’m always inspired by Karyn’s creativity, energy, and kindness and was excited to (metaphorically) sit down and interview her here for you about I’ll Keep You Posted, the value of reflection, and more.

Book Giveaway

Karyn is giving away five complimentary copies of I’ll Keep You Posted to followers of my blog. Register here by February 25 for a chance to win your own copy. And don’t forget to share your special URL to increase your odds of winning!

You can also buy your own copy on Amazon.

The importance of reflection

The practice of reflection is one that Karyn and I both focus on, and is one of the first topics – and assignments – that we give participants in our K2C2 (Katie and Karyn’s Coaching Communities) cohorts. Reflection is a fundamental habit that supports learning!

Self-reflection – hansei in Japanese – is the meta-story of the book that I’ve written with Isao Yoshino, to be published in June (stay tuned soon for pre-release info). Ron Pereira and I spent some time reflecting on the practice of hansei led to the stories we share in our book — and more — in the Gemba Academy Podcast: The Importance of Hansei and Revitalization.

A photo of Karyn and me from last year on one of my many visits to her home near Chicago. I can’t wait for Karyn to visit me in California later this month!

Q & A with Karyn Ross about I’ll Keep You Posted!

Read on to “hear” my conversation with Karyn about her practice of reflection and her new book Keep It Posted!

1. What inspired you to create this book?

Katie, there are a few things that inspired me to create this book.

First, when I’m working with clients, and talking with people, one of the things I hear so often is, “I’m so busy, I don’t have time to catch my breath. I go from meeting to meeting to meeting and it doesn’t feel like there’s a single minute to even think.” And this makes me worried, not just because people are exhausted and overburdened, but because if we don’t have a single minute to think about what’s happened during the day – and even in the previous meeting – how can we really understand what is going on, and make good decisions about what to do for our customers, our organization, our team members and ourselves?

Second, as part of my own work, I spend a lot of time reflecting. It’s something that I’ve practiced and built into my own day over a number of years. As I see so many people struggle to have that time in their day, I wanted to share my practice to help others.

Lastly, as I did my own 2019 ‘year-end review’, I read through my social media posts – a part of my daily reflection practice – and realized that together, they made up a whole book! Often, we think that creating something like a book has to be done in a batch, but it doesn’t! It can be created single-piece-flow just like this one. Our small efforts over time often turn into big accomplishments without us even noticing!

2. How has the practice of daily reflection impacted your life?

The world we live in is complex and complicated. We are bombarded with all kinds of information from many sources: social media, TV, the internet to name a few. And many of us struggle to juggle busy jobs and many family responsibilities. I travel almost full time, serve clients, speak and teach for KRC (my coaching and consulting business), do Kindness Events and manage The Love and Kindness Project Foundation, and am one of the Founding Mothers of Women in Lean – Our Table. There’s an endless list of things to do – and people to help – in my day, just like everyone else’s!

Creating the time to spend ‘actively reflecting’ each day has helped me sort out many complexities and helped me understand how I want to run my business and my life. It gives me the space to ‘hear’ and ‘listen to’ my own internal voice so that I make can decisions about what to do according to my mission and purpose of ‘helping people improve the world’ and ‘creating a world of love before money.”

3. What have you learned about the process of reflection?

I’ve learned – and continue to learn – so many things about the process of reflection!

  • Reflection isn’t a passive process. It’s something we need to engage in actively! We need to ask ourselves questions like: What happened today that was surprising? What didn’t I understand? What gave me joy? Then we need to really think about the questions and answer them honestly, even if the answer is ‘I don’t know.’
  • Active reflection takes discipline…and creates discipline…all at the same time! It’s easy to find excuses to skip my active reflection time at the end of the day: I’m tired…someone else wants my time…it’s late…really ‘actively reflecting’ is hard work…to name a few. Working through those excuses and ‘practicing’ helps me develop the discipline needed to continue to reflect…and to accomplish many other challenging things.
  • It helps to write and draw! Making my thoughts ‘visible’ in both pictures and words helps me to ‘see’ my own experiences very differently. And an extra added benefit…I can look back at a later date, recognize themes and reflect further!

4. In looking back at your year in reflection, what are some themes that stand out?

I think there are a number of themes. In fact, one of the wonderful things about creating this book was the opportunity it gave me to reflect further on them!

One of Karyn’s many free Love and Kindness resources from https://loveandkindnessproject.org/

First, the theme of kindness is one that runs through so many of my reflections and posts. Kindness to our customers, to our team members, and also to ourselves. Because in the end, whether we are talking about work, home, family or the world, how we treat people (including ourselves!) creates the world we all live in. Although it’s easy to forget in our super-competitive world, as I start the book with, “How we get there is as important as where we are going.”

Second, is the theme of ‘not perfect’. And it’s related to the theme of kindness. None of us are perfect. The world isn’t perfect. And not being perfect isn’t a problem! It’s simply a condition of being alive. So many people have so much stress and fear because they are worried about the consequences of not being perfect that they aren’t able to try new things and do the things that would give them joy and enable them to fulfill their purpose. No one needs to be perfect. There are seven billion people – all imperfect – here on earth, and in our imperfection, we can all help each other!

Last – and definitely not least – is the theme of ‘humanity’. I could have said ‘people’ but I’m going to use humanity. Although we live in a world influenced and impacted by technology and machines, ultimately all of our organizations, our communities and families are made up of people. And the decisions made – and actions taken – by each of us, have a huge effect on our world and all of humanity. We need to make them kindly.

5. What do you hope the book inspires in others?

Katie, of course, I hope this book will inspire others to create the time in their day to ‘actively reflect’. That’s why I’ve left ‘space’ within the book for people to write and draw their own reflections!

As well, I hope this book will inspire others to both ‘hear’ and ‘listen to’ their own voice! To slow down, stop and hear what their heart is saying, and to listen to what it is asking them to do.

Then, of course, I hope this book with inspire people to ‘do’ what the voice that comes from their heart – and from their ‘active reflection’ – is asking them to do: to turn their dreams into reality, to work on fulfilling their purpose, and to become comfortable and confident creating and following their own path. Confidence only comes from ‘doing’ (another theme that runs through my reflections!) so this book is created and designed to help people ‘do’!

6. You have two new books out already in 2020! What are some other creative ideas or initiatives that you are thinking about or have already started (I know you always are exploring new creative ideas!)?

Ha! Yes, that is very true, Katie! And do you know where so many of my ideas come from? From the time that I spend ‘actively reflecting’! It’ easy to fall into the trap of thinking that ‘reflecting’ only has to do with the past…at looking at what’s already happened. Because, ‘one-creative-thing-leads-to-another’, I’ve found that reflecting gives me a lot of ideas for new things!

This year, I’m working on a new interactive, online (and in person!) creative session called ‘In Your Own Voice’. It’s designed to help people define their purpose, align their ‘work’ around that and create their own way. First test is the beginning of March, so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens!

I’m also working on hosting Kindness Events and Women in Lean Live! Get Togethers wherever I travel to. That way I can bring all the work I am doing together! So, if you see that I’m going to be in your area, keep your eyes and ears open for information about Pop-Up Kindness Stands, Big Karma and Little Kosmo Help Each Other readings, and dinners with Women in Lean! The more people we can get together, the more we can help each other and create a better, kinder world!

I’m also getting started sewing for other people! This is something that came directly from a reflection on my KRC ‘Acts of Kindness’ Auction. When I saw one of the winners wearing the dress I had designed and created, I had an epiphany that I could sew for others as part of my practice as well!

As I said, ‘one-creative-thing-leads-to-another’!

Katie’s note: Karyn is visiting me in the San Francisco Bay Area the week of February 24th and we are putting together events that touch on almost all the things Karyn mentioned above!

Karyn is offering a workshop on How to Coach for Creativity and Service Excellence for the AME San Francisco Bay Area Consortium that I facilitate (more info here)  followed by a Women in Lean San Francisco dinner that we are organizing (RSVP here)!

The next day we are launching K2C2 Cohort #4 and then going to my children’s elementary school for a Love and Kindness event and to read Big Karma and Little Cosmo. Plus, of course, we will find time for some other creativity, fun, love, and kindness!

7. What is something that I haven’t asked that you would like people to know about the book or a topic related to the book?

Katie, people often ask me “How do you do so many things? Write books, travel, start a foundation! You seem fearless!” I’d like people to know that it’s not that I don’t have fears, or sometimes have a dip in confidence, or struggle to figure out how to do things…like publish books, sew and use my complicated new serger! I do. And when those things happen, I spend extra time in the ‘active reflection’ process. Because I want to understand ‘why’ and how to overcome all my own ‘I can’t’s’ that hold me back. Creating the time and developing the discipline to ‘actively reflect’ is one of the best things that anyone can do to overcome fear and make a plan to get started!

Lastly, I want people to know that ‘small efforts aren’t small’! They make huge changes for others, and for us! So, I’m asking everyone to reflect, write, draw, and post your thoughts and reflections on social media. Because just like you learn from other’s writing and reflection, we’ll learn from yours!

Don’t forget to register for the book giveaway

Register here for a chance to win your own copy of Karyn’s latest book!

Interested in deepening your own practice of reflection and coaching skills? Join the next K2C2 Cohort!

Karyn and I just wrapped up K2C2 Cohort #3 and are launching cohort #4 in less than two weeks (February 27, 2020)! Spaces are still open and we’d love to have you (click here for more info).

We practice “right-sized pricing”, so don’t let your personal financial situation hold you back on joining a collaborative community where you can learn, practice, reflect, and learn more!

Information about the upcoming and future cohorts can be found on our Eventbrite K2C2 Organizer Page. Check out this blog post and Gemba Academy podcast to learn more about what K2C2 is all about.

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