Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 19, 2009
Irritation can be just the right motivation
Motivational speaker Ian Percy told Covenant Health budget cuts can inspire innovations, new insights
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Being restless and irritated is the key to making transformational changes, a motivational speaker said at the first annual community meeting of Covenant Health Oct. 8.
Ian Percy said that just as people begin to find their way in life, they become trapped in institutions that are more interested in compliance than in helping them discover their purpose or destiny in life.
The realization that one is trapped leads to irritation, Percy said. "I was raised in a culture and context that if you were an irritated person, something was seriously wrong with you emotionally and spiritually. I discovered that irritation is a godsend."
Percy, a Canadian now living in Scottsdale, Ariz., is an organizational psychologist and one of the world's most in-demand business and inspirational speakers.
He provides practical advice on how organizations can transform themselves to new levels of purpose, passion and performance.
That's what he did at the meeting, challenging Catholic health providers to embrace new ways of doing things.
Covenant, the largest Catholic health care provider in Canada, held its first annual community meeting to mark the one-year milestone of the consolidation of 16 Catholic health care facilities into one provincial organization.
The meeting at Fantasyland Hotel drew some 250 people, including community leaders, elected officials and guests from across Alberta.
"The irritations of our lives are destiny's voice calling us to make this universe right, to bring good and wholeness to the world," Percy said.
DEPRESSION, ACTING OUT
Irritation can lead to depression and acting out, he said. But it doesn't need to.
How we respond to irritation is what determines our emotional and spiritual health, as well as our life's direction, he said.
Noting Covenant Health is restless about budget cuts, Percy said the institution has two choices to deal with that restlessness. "It's going to make you inventive. It's going to make you more innovative. You are going to do all kinds of amazing things you would not have done if you had not had budget cuts.
"The forces of irritation will lead you to insight," where one learns how to be different and what one is meant to do. "Once you accumulate enough insight, you will experience integration" where you see how your life makes sense, Percy said.
"I want to work with people who are restless about things. We are going to change the world. Isn't that wonderful being irritated?"
According to Percy, most organizations today are restless and irritated, but they don't know what to do about it.
The reason for this is "you and I" were raised under the Newtonian model, where the world is seen as a collection of pieces that are not necessarily related to each other: A links to B links to C.
"(In this model), cause and effect explains everything in the universe," he said.
"What happens is we use this model to run businesses and so we have A links to B links to C: you are my boss, you are my boss's boss, etc."
The problem begins when this Newtonian model begins to break down. The most common response is to add more institution, lamented Percy.
PARALYZED BY FEAR
"What you end up with is an organization driven by fear. We are so scared of everything.
"The truth is the more bureaucracy we have, the more we lose our sense of purpose. We lose our values; we lose all those things we thought we were protecting by adding up the structure."
According to Percy, "one single brain in this room doubles the memory of the world's largest and fastest computer capable of doing 10,000 trillion operations per second. I'm not saying you are functioning at that level, but you could on a good day."
Given this amazing brainpower, any problem can be solved, Percy said.
Unfortunately, "we are doing exactly the opposite of what will work," he lamented. "And that's probably true to how we are facing the health care situation in this province."
But Percy said we are in a new age, a new way of doing things which is as important as discovering that the earth is round. The Internet is a metaphor for how the world works - "everything connected to everything at all times."
Structures are still necessary, he said. "I'm just saying we went too far down that road and we lost the very spirit of what we are."
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