~ The Break Through ~
Summer 2017 Newsletter

Dear Visionaries and Community Members-

The feeling of being overwhelmed has pervaded my work recently. I have personally felt overwhelmed when looking at my email inbox, or thinking about how to spend more quality time with my daughter, or trying to understand the new political paradigm in which we live and how to respond to it effectively. But I have also seen other leaders face off with being overwhelmed, trying to decide which route might be the best choice. And I've seen organizations drastically overwhelmed by wanting to head several directions when they really only have the capacity to head one.

An argument can be made that creativity stems from the overwhelmed: we discover innovative solutions to pressing challenges because it's imperative that we do, otherwise those problems consume us. While that may be true, I think we can find sources for creativity elsewhere. To avoid backing ourselves into a corner of to-do lists, exhaustion, and distracted energy, we can build gate keeping systems that help us avoid becoming overwhelmed and make more space for our inherent creativity.

My work focuses on coaching individuals, leaders and organizations to realize their most inspirational visions by implementing a strategy that is truly essential and not fraught with things that will become overwhelming. I want leaders to feel like they are not always restlessly being pulled in a hundred directions, but that they instead have a clarity of purpose and vision. Motivated by this challenge, I'm using the wonderful days of summer to further explore the roles of Wellness and Essentialism in leadership. These are two concepts at the heart of our work at the Rocky Mountain Innovation Lab, both challenging pursuits that must be reflected on and refined regularly. 

Here are questions you might ask to begin gate keeping your work flow:

- What was my original motivation or need for this task or project?
     * Does that motivation still apply?
     * Will completing these tasks actually move me closer to the desired outcome?

- What would happen if I didn't complete this task?
     * Would another action achieve the same results with less energy?

- What's the most important thing I need to do right now?
     * What would happen if I asked that question of myself every 90 minutes?

Current Work

In April, I completed my coaching certification with an emphasis in wellness.  Along with my leadership and organizational coaching, this program inspired me to launch the Wellness Initiative.

I often hear conversations about work/life balance, but I think those discussions miss the mark sometimes.  Given that the nature of much of our work is social, and that technology creates incredibly fluid boundaries between our personal and professional lives, balance for every leader is a subjective pursuit.

The Wellness Initiative engages individuals to think critically about their goals, and how they want the whole of their life to look and feel. I believe that leaders who engage in this process to discover their balance are the effective community leaders we need now more than ever.

Recent Posts and Series

From the Break Through Blog
In an attempt to not clutter your inbox, this newsletter curates a few of my recently published think pieces that might interest you.  Ideally, each post offers a new insight or technique that prompts your creative thinking or compels you to discover a new strategy.

- Three Critical Roles to Play as a Leader
- Practicing Essentialism
- What Makes an Effective Team?
- Connecting and Building Community
- The Seeking Balance Series
- Seven Questions Innovative Leaders Ask
- Why Facilitation Matters

Interested in collaborating this year or being a guest writer on the Break Through? Contact me!
Recommended Resource

When I finished reading this book, so many things about my life and work became crystal clear.  In many ways, Greg McKeown's Essentialism is a modern day application of Buddhist philosophies about minimalism and focus.  We overrun our lives, trying to do so much that we put very little energy, or at least very distracted energy, into the projects and people that matter most.  While we don't always have full control of how our time is spent, McKeown offers some insight on the many ways we can take our lives back and design elegant and powerful solutions to that which is truly essential.
Organizations That Matter to Our Community

The organizations that influence my thinking and work are nearly inexhaustible, and some of them I have the opportunity and privilege to serve. If you're looking for some inspiration, see how the missions of these organizations are thriving:
I believe that we all need open space to wander, healthy ecosystems for plants and animals, and opportunities to engage with environmental stewardship.  These are critical elements to leading an ethical life.  Our very own Colorado Parks and Wildlife is a national leader in conservation, outdoor recreation, and wildlife management, ensuring that what makes Colorado great remains available for the next generation.
DOVIA Colorado promotes professionalism in the field of volunteer management, advocates for issues concerning volunteerism, and provides networking and education for volunteer managers. In short, DOVIA ensures that community members have incredible opportunities to volunteer and give back to their community.
Too often we give lip service to the buzz word 'collaboration,' without engaging in collaborative relationships. The Posner Center actually brings together 60 nonprofits that are working on international issues and impacting people globally. From collaborative grants and projects to shared office space and professional development, Posner embodies the creativity possible when collaboration is prioritized.
Partner Appreciation

Knowing that your printed material and promotional items are going to look stellar upon arrival, requires a print company that embodies high standards and awesome customer service. I've had the fortune of working with E Print Solutions for nearly a decade on big and small projects and they always deliver. They are also recognized for their service to the community and their loyalty to nonprofits.
Thank You

As I continue this journey of coaching leaders and organizations to design innovative solutions that will impact our communities in profoundly positive ways, I am constantly reminded that I am not alone in this work.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me after the official launch of the Rocky Mountain Innovation Lab and the inaugural newsletter earlier this spring. It is easy to become complacent and feel paralyzed by what's happening in the world today, but it remains clear how powerful we are when we work together as a community. Just a few kind words from a friend or colleague can compel and motivate us in the right direction. Thank you for staying resilient and helping to create a brighter future. Thank you for being a part of my community. I hope you also find the summer reflective and fulfilling.

Take Good Care,
Matt Gray
Executive Director
Copyright © The Rocky Mountain Innovation Lab, LLC, All rights reserved.

Denver, CO 80211

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