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The Secret to Becoming an Elite Leader

A new year brings new things into focus for me. As I reflect over the past few years and decades I love to put things into prospective. What is evident as I ponder on the topic of leadership is that so many are stuck in the old, outdated ways of managing people. We still rely too heavily on what I call the “default” ego-driven style of interacting and directing people at work. After 40 years of heavy attention, emphasis and new information about better ways to lead people we still haven’t been able to increase the aggregate measured levels of employee engagement, according to both Gallop and Carnegie. An unforgiving 70% of employees are still disengaged at work – at a time where we need all hands on deck, fully engaged, giving their all willingly and effectively.

The one way out of this disengagement quagmire is through what I call developing more “Elite Leaders.” These men and women have and are awakening to new truths and realities within their own mental, emotional and spiritual aspects about who they truly are. They are choosing to show up in their leadership roles in more authentic ways, which translates into more engagement between them and their people. While still fewer in number, we are gaining and my hope is that soon this better version of leading people will be the standard.

Elite leaders know the way to true success is to become and be their highest and best selves, in turn helping their people do the same under their mentorship and guidance. They know when authenticity, caring, openness, honesty, lived values and a higher purpose are present everyone involved is much more alive, effective, productive, collaborative and creative. This increased energy is directed at running a much higher performing organization benefiting all stakeholders.

In my life-long journey to better understand the art and science of leading people I have identified twelve distinct phases /stages of being what I term “An Elite Leader.” Elite leaders combine: high skill sets of being effective business people in their areas of expertise: a deep level of self-awareness, both of their internal states and of how they impact their exterior world and relationships; with an ability to orchestrate various stakeholders to align, engage and drive the vision and purpose of the organization for the benefit and prosperity of all.

I invite you to look at these twelve as doorways into the same house. You are the house, as both a person and a leader. These twelve doors open into rooms that make up who you are, aspects of you and what you have to offer. When your doors are open you are more fully developed, connected and expressing your authentic self, thus allowing your own unique authentic leadership style to be revealed. Life is always more rich, full, joyful and meaningful when we come to it as our authentic self. As an elite, authentic leader you are much more effective in helping others realize who they are, adept at creating safe spaces where trust is built, and foster cultures of highly aligned, engaged human beings working toward outcomes from which all stakeholders can benefit.

  1. Personal Perception. Self-awareness is the cornerstone to living consciously, intentionally, authentically. How do we wake up, access, assess, and get real with ourselves first? How can we move beyond the bounds of ego-centric living and see the deeper layers of who we are?
  2. Presence. How do we stay more in the present moment, more mindful, and not allow our thoughts and emotions to hijack us back into the past we can’t change, or thrust us into the future that hasn’t happened yet?
  3. Past Presumptions. Our beliefs, fears, and shadows drive so much of our life. Have we taken time to self-reflect on the current validity and truth of what has been programmed into us from past experience in the light of our current levels of maturity, awareness and reality?
  4. Principles. Values and virtues drive our motivations, character and behaviors. Are you aware of your core values, which virtues you adhere to, and how you express them in your daily life? Does your team and organization live by their defined core values?
  5. Passion. Most people think passion is something that is done with the soul intention of gaining enjoyment. Consider for a moment that you, your whole being, when fully alive and expressed as your authentic self is passion manifested. What would life be like if you felt more alive, connected and fulfilled?
  6. Purpose. Do you have a sense of what your life has been and is all about? Do you feel compelled to follow a certain path? Is a vocation calling you? Life lived with purpose, on purpose, offers infinite levels of joy, fulfilment, connection and prosperity.
  7. Perspective. When we lift our sights above the moment-to-moment, day-by-day reactivity, quiet our thoughts, and set new desires and intentions for life lived better, a new vision develops. When we can see more clearly and in ways that allow others to obtain benefit our authentic leadership has a healthy compass by which to engage others. This leads to deeper, more effective and prosperous activities.
  8. People. When we expand our own levels of consciousness about ourselves we can effectively translate that wisdom into how we see, interact and lead others. Understanding human nature is a huge component to being an authentic leader. Knowing what makes people tick, how they can communicate and relate to each other in more effective ways is such a powerful tool to express how much you care.
  9. Process. Life is all about systems interacting with each other. Patterns of thought, mechanics of motion, flow of energy-things-people, rules, regulations and more compose the almost infinite systems that run our lives. As we enhance our abilities to see beyond what’s right in front of us, when we can get ‘above the trees’ so to speak and see how people and systems intertwine we can begin to conceive new healthy, productive, sustainable alternatives.
  10. Power. When more than one of us comes together in an atmosphere of trust, safety, caring and connection, people are given the opportunity for their own personal and professional growth. As your people connect to their own unique aspects of authenticity, they will be so much more effective at problem-solving, conflict-resolution, working collaboratively while meeting/exceeding expectations.
  11. Prosperity & Proliferation. As Elite, authentic leaders, how can we help all our stakeholders benefit from their interaction with us, our team, and our organizations? How can we help spread the healthy, sustainable aspects of doing business ‘for good’ while enjoying the fruits of such?
  12. Peace. People everywhere share the same desires: to live life in peace, contentment, well-being, with happiness, joy and connection to others. Elite leaders know this and keep these outcomes top-of-mind as they interact with people and make decisions that affect stakeholders.

Join me on the journey to exploring, learning and mastering these 12 aspects of Elite Leadership. Let me know your thoughts and questions and let’s see how we can be of service to each other as we tap into the unlimited wealth of the human spirit!

“When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves” . . . Lao Tzu

The Devastating Impacts of Our Limiting Beliefs!

I have come to know the reason why we humans don’t meet our goals; we hold other beliefs, often hidden beliefs, that are stronger and in conflict with our new intentions. Hoping for a new outcome is a scenario doomed to failure, given how our mental and emotional systems are composed, when we have conflicting beliefs held within.

Wikipedia says “Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief is seeing it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true.”

Beliefs are mental positions one chooses after experiencing some life event(s) and then makes that new belief their own. Over time that belief typically cements into a person’s values and worldview, where those beliefs in essence become one’s “facts.”

Our thoughts and beliefs color our perception of the world. They determine our actions, inactions, feelings, and behaviors. It is said that whatever you believe becomes your reality. You do not believe what you see; you see what you believe. This is why people facing the same situation see things so differently. Author Rick Carson, in his book Taming Your Gremlins, says, “Beliefs, even the noblest of them, are just opinions that we develop loyalty to.”

In essence then, beliefs are what we make up with or without the support of data, facts or truth! We all have beliefs about who we are, how life is/should be, about religious and political and social issues. Many beliefs are there because we ‘feel’ a certain way about something, with no real basis in fact, or trust in the sources of those facts.

This political season so highlights for me how the power of beliefs operate. Not only do we humans stick to our beliefs when presented facts or other opinions that refute them, we shut ourselves off from truly listening to outside sources that have opposing views, therefore deepening our resolve to hold on to what we believe. In this case our beliefs have become our identities, our biases, our prejudices, personas, and we form opinions that protect these from others who don’t share our viewpoints. This results in stalemates at best, or conflicts in their myriad of forms.

A large number of psychological studies have shown that people respond to new information, scientific, or technical evidence in ways that justify their preexisting beliefs. In other words, people reject the validity of a new data source because its conclusion contradicted their deeply held views. People believe what they believe, and often there is no hard data or facts to support them.

I use this visual to show how thoughts, feelings and beliefs manifest our reality:

Experience → Feelings → Thoughts → Interpretations →  Response → Result → Story → Belief → Behavior

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, and limiting/hidden beliefs are the biggest barriers to success. We form beliefs to make sense of our world. Early beliefs were formed around our parents, family, and the immature decision-making skills of our youth. We often interpreted things happening around us and began to think the following:

– I’m not good enough, have no value

– I’m not needed

– I don’t matter, what I say doesn’t matter

– I’m not important

– I’m bad

– I’m wrong

– I’m a loser

– People who are _____ are wrong, bad, scary, out to harm me.

We also interpreted events in our world over time, and developed biases and prejudices about people of other sexes, races, religious and political affiliations, and more. These then become solidified as our truth about the world and people unconsciously driving our thinking and behaviors today.

Before you set yourself up for probable failure in setting new goals for yourself you might want to look to the source of what drives you. Are there are any beliefs that are counter to the life you envision and desire for yourself? Reflect on what you believe, what is your current truth, how did you arrive at these beliefs? Will they will serve you along your life’s journey?

I had to constantly take stock of my most revered beliefs and truths every time I was faced with new ideas or facts. I had to look at what was before me, how it resonated within, and determine what was needed for me to shift my thinking. Once new truths were accepted, the old had to be let go to integrate the new into my system of understanding. Beliefs do not seem to go quietly or without discomfort. Many times this created conflict, which required delving deeper into the strata of my mind.

I often ask these questions of myself and my coaching clients to help root out limiting beliefs:

Are your beliefs still serving you?  Is this belief ____ still true for you?

What new information, data, and facts are you being presented with that cause an internal rub within you?

What prejudices and biases do you hold  onto, and are they still true in all cases?

Where have you formed opinions that seem to project from you without you even thinking? Do they still represent the way you want to live your life?

What belief, opinion, bias, or prejudice do you now see that is no longer always true?  Would you like to remove it from your thinking?

To get beyond the choke-hold of old beliefs and begin living the life you envision requires the following:

  1. Set a new intention, desire, or goal.
  2. Identify the beliefs you have about accomplishing it.
  3. Identify the beliefs you have that run contrary to it, are of a limiting nature, or are hidden that will sabotage it from manifesting.
  4. Eliminate the belief, consciously and continuously, by seeing the belief, where it came from, what it has cost you, what emotions it arouses. Allow that to flow through and out of you without any self-judgment / shame / condemnation.
  5. Replace them with thoughts, feelings and new beliefs that allow you to manifest what you desire.

We can challenge our beliefs and biases whenever they show up. We can reject any thoughts of limitations or exclusion, and replace them with a positive stream of thinking which starves them and forces them to wither and die. Self-help guru Jim Rohn said, “You cannot take a mild approach to the weeds in your mental garden. You have got to hate the weeds enough to kill them. Weeds are not something you handle; weeds are something you need to decimate.”

It always comes down to choice – if you really want to manifest new things in your life that go against the grain of your current beliefs, you have to choose to eliminate the old beliefs first. That takes self-reflection and a desire to see your own patterns, make peace with them, yourself and let them go. Only then can you freely go about making your new intentions your reality!

We can implement the following steps to live a more positive, loving, authentic life:

New Thoughts  New Positive Feelings New Beliefs → New Attitude → Different Actions → Desired Results!

I found this quote very helpful:

“You can’t escape from a prison until you recognize you are in one. People who have chosen to live within the limits of their old beliefs continue to have the same experiences. It takes effort and commitment to break old patterns” . . . Bob Proctor

Time For A Paradigm Shift?

We often wonder why things are the way they are, and why change is so difficult – even when we see that the way things are need to improve. If you look at human history, change may take a few moments, days, years, decades or centuries. We can shift our realizations and perspectives in an instant, or choose to hold on to old beliefs and behavior patterns for generations.

A paradigm is a framework of a person, group or society that contains the basic assumptions, beliefs, ways of thinking and living, and the methodologies for decision-making that are commonplace and acceptable by the members of that community or culture. Throughout history, we have had major evolutionary shifts, from the hunter-gatherer to the agrarian, empire-building paradigms. The Renaissance, Industrial and Scientific Revolutions have brought us to current time. Within those macro paradigms we also have had many other paradigms that are woven into our societies and ways-of-thinking.

Consider for a moment the impact, benefits, liabilities and challenges-to-change the following four paradigms present:

– Patriarchy. This is defined as being attached to the ideals, perspectives and beliefs that men hold a superior place to women.

– Elitism. We see this in many areas, from those who were born into privilege to those where race and family heritage set the hierarchy for a society. In recent times we see it in how we are judged and valued based on our economic capacity to make money, and the rank and role we hold in an organization.

– We live in a mechanical Universe. Where material/stuff is considered prime to all life and things. Where it appears as if all of life, including humans, work like machines, separate and composed as dispensable parts of bigger mechanisms.

– We are our DNA. The “I am as I was born” mindset. From this perspective we just accept our lives, things and systems as a consequence of birth, almost with a ‘fait accompli’ attitude. Life just is what it is, I am who I am, and nothing can change that.

While we can discuss, even argue about the effects these and other paradigms have had on the human condition, our systems of economics and politics, and the planet. I want us to see that these were all based on patterns of human thinking. At some point we came to these conclusions, and just like all beliefs, a group of people in the past got accustomed to these ways of looking at the world and of making sense in their lives. Decisions were made, successful outcomes (win vs. losing, being right vs. wrong) were realized, and over time they just became people’s ‘truth’ and ways of living. Whether we agree with them or not, they are an integral aspect of our existence.

Take some time and reflect on these few paradigms of thought, beliefs and cultural patterns and how they play out within you your life. Gain a greater perspective on how those patterns of thinking may have come about and how long-ago life conditions called them into existence. See where there are ways to agree and affirm the benefits of such thinking, as well as see the dark-side and the detriments. Allow yourself to get real with your own patterns and habits of thinking-believing-behaving to see how they have played out in your life in the defining who you think you are. Observe how these paradigms play in the way you interact with others, both in relationships and as a member of various communities. See where your thinking has served you, as well as prevented you from living life from more of your own authentic choosing.

Truth often gets mixed with beliefs, preferences or opinions. A truth to me means it is true in all situations, so as I have looked at these paradigms and have been brutally honest with myself. I saw how they played parts in my own development. This ‘getting real’ with myself has helped me to open up my mind, let in contrarian-to-current-paradigm thinking that has allowed me to see how the opposite of each can be positively experienced and lived. Being able to appreciate the power and energy of the feminine; the letting go of biases and prejudices; observing the pain from fear of limitations and lack; seeing how everything in life has a ripple effect on everything else. I have experienced how my own desires and intentions for personal growth have led to positive changes that made me more open, more accepting, more effective, and more fulfilled. Once I let go of my own attachments to past paradigms and old truths, I was able to see what is true, right, beautiful and meaningful to me, and that has made all the difference in my life.

It’s like the saying “what got me here won’t get me there,” and I can now see that our current reality needs not just one but many paradigm shifts. See how shifts in thinking allows new data, experiences and realities to shed light adding to and expanding current experiences, or just destroy old paradigm patterns of thinking that no longer serve our highest and best good.

I invite you to explore how paradigms have impacted your life, and have made you who you are. Let me know how shifts in your own thinking have brought about positive changes in you! My sense is that more people are waking up and are open to looking at the world and their lives through new lenses. When enough people start seeing things anew, new things can come about. Shift can happen over a lifetime, or it can happen in a split second – you determine the speed of change!

All change begins in the hearts, minds and souls of people.

Shift the way you see the world and the world will shift!

The True Source of Power of the Elite Leader

Being a more conscious, self-aware person will enhance your ability to get along with others and be a more effective elite leader. Self-awareness is the gateway into our own authenticity, our own unique selves, whereby we show up in our relationships reflecting our own highest truth.

In order to get to our own truth and authenticity, introspection, reflection, deep questioning, and honest evaluation are required. Tapping into your “inner voice” will reveal your own truths to you. To reach a higher level of honest self-awareness, we also must take into account there are “multiple voices” inside our head often vying for the alpha position in our minds.

We have many beliefs, stories, values, morals, and fears that have been passed onto us from many sources. Parents, grandparents, siblings, extended family, teachers, clergy, books, TV, heroes, villains, and more. They have all shared their beliefs, stories, values, morals and fears with us, intentionally and unintentionally. By the time we become adults we have taken on so much of other peoples’ stuff that we become a mirror of what we have been exposed to without even consciously thinking about it anymore. At the same time that inner voice that is and has always been there gets drowned out more and more by the noise of what others think we should think, do and say.

Consider for a moment that we have three levels of awareness available to us: two halves of Ego (the Healthy and the Negative), and an Authentic Self. The ego is our default, hard wired survival program. Ego looks out for our survival, our sustenance, and our ability to get around. It sees the world as two centers, one as itself and the other is everything outside it. Feeling apart and needing to survive, succeed, and progress, it seeks to keep us safe, free from danger, and able to thrive.

The unhealthy aspects of ego keep us mired in some form of fear-based thinking. Whether experiencing sadness, anger, depression, blaming, regret, despair, unworthiness, disappointment or hate from things in the past – or worry, anxiety, pessimism, frustration, doubt, overwhelm, insecurity or powerlessness from things not yet manifested in the future. Unhealthy ego keeps our consciousness below the level of active self-awareness. When we are focused on the past or the future we have no room to be present. These are the “other voices” we listen to, and they often scream so loud and kick up our emotional states to such a frenzy we don’t allow our higher-self much room to show-up and offer its wisdom.

A healthy aspect of ego is the in-between state of the unhealthy and our authentic selves. This blossoms when we mature and see that living from unhealthy ego has its limits, creates too much pain, and doesn’t provide the better things in life most of us seek. As we learn to grow and develop the healthy aspects of ego life takes on more positive flavors, and improved relationships and results are realized. This takes a good deal of effort, and is accomplished through some form of personal or professional development, over time, and also just by being more open to the life-lessons that constantly come to us.

My hope for all leaders is to see that a wider field of awareness can be sought, developed and expressed within everyone. Each of us experience some level of our authentic selves, we call these “peak” moments. We experience this moments during our days and yet get pulled back into ego consciousness far too often. In these peak moments is where our higher self is most active; it allows a more dynamic level of awareness to look at people, issues, and life in ways most of us deeply desire, and allow our better faculties to arise when dealing with the challenges of leading an organization.

The chart below may help you visualize these three levels of awareness, how they reveal where our awareness typically resides, and how we bounce between states, often automatically without any conscious thinking. See which words and states speak to you, reflect back to you, and see where your awareness spends its time. You’ll have bouts of time in each section, and only you get to determine what’s real and true for you, and what you’d like to see improved.

Leadership attitudes and behaviors can be separated into these three levels of awareness as follows:

Unhealthy Ego   Awakening Ego        Elite/Conscious

Autocratic          Achiever                    Integrative

Authoritarian     Collaborative             Systems

Dictatorial          Democratic                Self-leading teams

Directive            Empowering              Inspirational

Domination        Strategic                    Mastery

Obedience         Trust                          Align & Engage

Self-esteem       Self-actualization      Service

Individual           Team                         Stakeholder Focus

Directive            Coach                        Entrusting

Push                  Attract                        Resonance

Reject                Recognize                  Rejoice

Contractual        Covenant                   Trust

Tolerate              Appreciate                 Love

This is such a huge subject and we are only scratching the surface. I want to share what I have learned and still learning about consciousness and my own levels of awareness. We will refer to ego and authentic self as we dialog about consciousness and conscious leadership over time giving us a context for future conversations.

It’s up to each of us who desire to push our leadership capacities to higher levels being open to adding and expanding our own awareness. Let me know your thoughts on this and let’s help each other learn, grow and evolve into the highest level, best people and leaders possible!

Why Employee Engagement Should be Top of Mind for Every Leader

Headline – Employee Engagement in the workplace has experienced zero improvement over the last 40 years!

Using engagement as a measurement of productivity and effectiveness, Gallup reports on average, only 30% of employees have been engaged at work over the past 18 years.*. This statistic has been fairly consistent over many years, even decades, in spite of the massive amount of focus on leadership through the thousands of books published and the proliferation of MBA programs. We are not moving the needle toward progress and are thereby stuck.

Basically, 70% of Americans at work (150 million) don’t really want to be working at their present place of employment, so they only do the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Worse yet, they are the toxic employees who negatively infect their workplace. This is a failure of leadership.

Is this really the best we can do? Are there ways to turn these uninspiring statistics around? The answer is yes, but there is work to be done.

The way ahead is through bringing on the next paradigm when thinking about the nature of people, work, and how we come together to make things happen. This new paradigm has already begun in many organizations. While still far too few in number statistically, this has been changing over the past 20 years as more and more leaders are stepping into their own authenticity, are expanding their own levels of self-awareness, and are showing up in their roles more powerfully.

The current paradigm in business and work, which has been around for the last 200 years, is centered on an “ownership-management” paradigm. Our system places the needs of the owners and those at the upper levels of management in first-position. While the current paradigm has been at the fore-front of countless improvements, and has driven prosperity upward while reducing poverty, it also has its short-comings. It is based on a belief system that sees scarcity and limits all around, believes the most-fit should survive, winners should take all, and (s)he who puts their own money at risk should reap the rewards.

The level of consciousness of the conditioned self (ego) of this paradigm is driven by greed, the need for more, and protecting what’s one’s own. Egoism in the management ranks is focused on control and power, is mistrusting of people, and also seeks to further self-interests. Ego at the employee level centers on many forms of fear, as in the fear of losing one’s job should an employee displease the boss.

This paradigm, while the creator of so many great things in our lives and world, is also limiting the human spirit from becoming more fully aware, more alive, more authentic – and more engaged. The results of this paradigm give us unacceptably low levels of employee engagement in all industries and areas of work.

The new leadership paradigm is driven by authentic leadership. It comes from a higher level of awareness that has at its center the “primacy of the human being.” This transformational perspective integrates the four key aspects of being human: the physical needs, mental strengths, emotional dynamics, and our spiritual capacities. People are not seen as means to an end, they are valued as partners, and are invited into the flow of information and decision-making. Ego gives way to authenticity, and people are welcomed to more fully ‘show-up’ at work, where their personal values, passions, gifts and sense of purpose come alive. This aliveness allows them to offer more of themselves voluntarily and delivers higher levels of focus, effort, and outcomes. When people align with their organization’s sense of mission and culture, they naturally, easily become more engaged, giving more of themselves and being of higher service to the organization’s stakeholders.

It is time for a new vision for our places of work, driven by elite leaders who are ready to transform the way we do business and work together. Are you an Elite Leader? Are you ready to become one? Join me in this work – it will be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do!

* Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace. Through Gallup Daily tracking, Gallup categorizes workers as “engaged” based on their responses to key workplace elements it has found that predict important organizational performance outcomes. Over nearly two decades, the annual percentage of engaged U.S. workers has ranged from a low of 26% in 2000 and 2005 to the recent six-month high of 34% in 2018. On average, 30% of employees have been engaged at work during the past 18 years.

 

The Big Question

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Recently I have been challenged by three different people (a friend, a coach, a seminar leader) by the question: “What do I now stand for, what is my one cause?” Or said more directly, “What’s the one cause that I am willing to put all my life in to, and at risk for, it’s successful realization?

What is coming up for me, in how to begin to answer this question, is connecting with the intersection of the answers to – What am I most drawn to? Above all else what do I deeply value? What fuels my fire?

In essence – What am I willing to commit myself to 100%?

How can I take my root values: Understand & Evolve; Relieve Suffering; Improve the Human Condition; Natural Beauty; Joy/Aliveness; Authenticity. And fully intertwine my most meaningful sense of purpose: Being Awake and Connected to All of Life. All directed at the one thing I have been most drawn to: Expanding Loving Leadership for All?

This is consuming my consciousness this holiday season.

What would you say your answer is to the Big Question?

How Will You Grow in 2017?

A new year dawns, and it’s a great time to sit back and ask yourself “How will I grow myself, what areas can I work to self-improve, what do I need to do to become who I want to be?

Too often people make their new year’s resolutions about things they want to do, places to go, or things to get. We continue to pursue things that we think will make us satisfied, successful or happy. Yet, most of this activity is simply a grand waste of time – and leaves us just a bit more cynical and jaded year after year. If you’ve ever analyzed why you don’t achieve the goals you set, or realized why the career or financial aspirations you want haven’t materialized, or still lack the depth of joyful relationships you desire, you probably see that something within yourself is preventing you from achieving what you say you want. Trying harder, working more, pushing, forcing, hoping – none will ultimately get you where you want to be.

If you want to live a better life, have better things, enjoy better relationships – it looks like you’ll have to become a better version of yourself first!

To cut right to the heart of this issue, we must first BE the best version of who we are as a human being. Before we are human ‘doings’ and human ‘havings,’ we are utmost human ‘beings.’ We are who we have been, and while that may feel like that’s a life-sentence for the rest of our lives, we can alter who we are by getting in touch with our deepest, most authentic nature. We can evolve and become better, and that will require tapping into your innate consciousness/wisdom, and being brutally honest with yourself. To grow, in essence, is to shed those parts of you that are/were never really true, and be open to see yourself honestly without ego, judgment, shame or fear.

I have myself, and with coaching clients, used the following lists, questions and exercises to help with the self-evolution process. Take a look and see if any of these can be of service to you!

Expand Your Self-Awareness

There are countless resources out there on any of these areas listed below, and lots of teachers, books and programs are available. I suggest pick the one or two that resonates most with you right now and dig into yourself through them:

  1. Meditation
  2. Mindfulness Practice
  3. Assessing Limiting Beliefs
  4. Understanding the Ego & Assessing Fear Patterns
  5. Contemplation & Observation
  6. Self-Study, Spiritual Practice
  7. Values, Passion, Strengths and Purpose Definition

Increase Self-Mastery

These will help you improve the way you live your life, particularly in getting along with others and setting new directions in your life:

  1.  Coaching: Personal, Life
  2. Emotional Healing
  3. Gratitude
  4. Forgiveness
  5.  Releasing Attachments
  6.  Group Work
  7.  Personal Assessments
  8.  Physical Practices
  9. Vulnerability Work

Improve Professional Mastery

Since we all need to work, finding the right outlet for your unique gifts is a big undertaking, yet a most meaningful endeavor:

  1. Find the intersection where your Values, Passion, Gifts, Personal Purpose align with an organization that welcomes your unique contributions and allows for your full engagement in the effort.
  2. Take up a new study either at a college or on-line program that helps you expand in new areas.
  3. Coaching: Professional one-on-one, or join a Peer-group program.
  4. Consider taking on a new role or business opportunity that allows you to stretch yourself.

Deepen Your Relationships

  1. Make a list of 10 people you most want to have a better relationship. Look at where you see new possibilities with them. Take ownership of what’s happened in the past, and let go of old interpretations and stories you built up that created distance between you both. Find where you are deeply grateful for them, and then use forgiveness to free you from any past shackles. Then reach out in your most loving way, reconnect with heart and soul, and stay present to them.
  2. Make a list of people you want to establish a new relationship. Take note about them that you admire, and see what you can bring to this relationship. Then go and make that happen!
  3. Stay present to the relationship you have with yourself. Take care of your physical body, keep your mind active on things that interest you, face emotions and share your feelings, and develop the unseen parts of your human spirit.

Broaden Your Leadership Capacity

  1. We all are leaders, at least of our own lives. Many have the role as owner, manager, boss, supervisor, yet few are true leaders. Leaders inspire others to bring more of themselves than they thought was possible. Are you a leader? Ask yourself a few questions:

– Do I really like people, being around them, helping them get what they need to get things done?

– Can I see a bigger picture of what we are doing and help others see that as well?

– Do I think about what I can do to expand my ability to care for others?

– Am I truly interested in others succeeding?

  1. Leadership capacities you may want to develop are you being more: inspirational, insightful, intuitive, non-forcefully persuasive, flow-oriented, integrative, visionary, strategic, coach/mentor, stakeholder-oriented, and system-oriented.
  2. True leaders are men and women who are more self-aware and conscious about themselves and others around them. They are awakening to new truths, open to grow, learn, change, set on changing themselves, concerned about making ethical choices, becoming more open and transparent, better at developing trust, being more responsible and accountable, developing emotional intelligence, learning what triggers them and work to reduce effects of emotional hijack, cleans up messes better, learning to be more effective at confrontation and problem-solving, and open to being coached and mentored.

Einstein is often quoted that “we cannot resolve a problem at the level of thinking that created it.” I say we cannot resolve our problems by sticking to being the same person we always have been.

The opportunity for real change is before us – and it doesn’t require us to “do” or “get” anything new or hard. It requires us to shed who we are not – all the fears, beliefs, masks, stories, pretenses – that we have come to define ourselves as, and step into our own natural, authentic power. Only then can we BE the person we want to be, can then DO the things we know need done, so we can HAVE the positive results and life we know we desire and deserve.

It takes work, in this case lots of self-reflection, honesty, vulnerability, patience, and desire to allow oneself to be your authentic self. While the path isn’t easy, it is the most rewarding one you’ll ever walk. Some of this is done alone, and some with others. My hope is that you find worthiness within yourself to make you a priority in 2017, and beyond. The price you’ll pay for not evolving is far too high. Aren’t you worth it? Aren’t your loved ones worth the effort? Isn’t your mark on the world worth you playing full out?

Your life awaits – I hope you grab all of it!

 

Be the you that’s in there, and then be the change in your life so you can live your life to its fullest!

How did 2016 go for you?

1Take a moment and check-in with yourself:

– How did your health fare over these past 12 months?

– How have your key relationships gone?

– How did your work or service go for you this past year?

– Did your personal wealth go up, down, or stay the same?

– Did you learn anything of true value to you and others during this past year?

– What goals did you meet/exceed? Not met? Why?

– Are you happier than a year ago, if so why, and if not, why?

– What’s your state of mind now as compared to a year ago?

– Are you more, less, or the same in regarding confidence in yourself, others, Life, as you look ahead?

– Is your life meaningful to you?

Many people are excited to see a year come to an end, and look ahead to a new year as a fresh start. Some are dreading more of the same pouring over into a new year. Then there are those who don’t give much thought because they feel resigned to a life that feels stuck, heavy with responsibility or simply lack the energy or vision to move forward.

Before you begin to plan ahead it’s always good to put what was/has been in a healthy place within you. Make a list of all the people, places, and things you are most grateful for in 2016. Really get into the loving power being in a state of gratitude and grace offers. Then make a list of all those who you forgave over the past year, or who still needs forgiving by you. Then, either to them one-on-one, or within your own mind and heart, forgive them for whatever you have been holding on to. Especially be open to forgive yourself in each of those encounters. It’s near impossible to manifest something new if old negative energies are still holding you back from moving forward. Gratitude brings in more of the good – forgiving lets you release what is not healthy for you. Both are the prep work needed to manifest anew.

No matter your position in Life, I say we all can, if we consciously choose, begin to create new life paths, possibilities and plans that enhance, enrich and enliven ourselves and others in our lives. If you are ready to live a life of more peace, prosperity, health, joy and meaning, then it all must start within you!

As I have studied Wallace Wattles, Neville Goddard, Dale Carnegie, and others who studied those who are adept at making their desires come true, I synthesized their wisdom into what I call The Manifestation Process. When I desire something and have clarified the goodness, truth, and beauty it will bring, I use the process below and await the results. This process has served me and others well, and I encourage you to study and practice becoming an intentional creator to build the life you desire.

The Manifestation Process

  1. Visualize IT, the goal or object desired, happening. Create a clear, compelling picture in your mind that generates big feelings and creates excitement. It could be one image, a series of images, or a short film. Form a distinct mental image of what you want your IT to be. Then Intend IT!
  2. Take some time and contemplate the IT of what you want. Allow gratitude to enter around the realization of your IT, and ensure that IT is in alignment with your highest ethics. Tap into your higher self through meditation, contemplation, and visualization. Be mindful of IT.
  3. How does IT feel in your gut, head, heart, body? Assess whether IT feels 100 percent or less. Write down your beliefs about IT. Is it fully believable within you or less so? Investigate any doubts, and allow them to diminish to zero.
  4. Hold fast to the intention of IT. Believe IT 100 percent, and will your attention to IT. Think, believe, and act in full faith with IT realized.
  5. Identify one or two big feelings you would have if IT happened. Don’t associate this with acting “as if”—this is only about feelings! The feelings could be gratitude, joy, peace, etc. Remember big feelings!
  6. While holding the image, breathe those feelings into every cell of your body, deepen them, intensify them, and make them bigger than you ever have! Experience those feeling more fully than you ever have. Let yourself go! There is no limit to how deeply you can feel something! Breathe those feelings in like they are the only oxygen in the room! This is called breathing a feeling.
  7. Make it even stronger! Double the feelings!
  8. Hold the feelings for a full minute or more. While holding that visual image and the supercharged feeling, repeat these words of power with great authority and intent until it feels complete:

“Already done, already accomplished!”

  1. Say “thank you” to your divinity/higher power, positively reaffirming the outcome of your desire made manifest. Realize, with great gratitude, that you do get what you want. Retain your vision, stick to your intention, and maintain faith and gratitude. Act with faith and intention in every interaction. Pay attention to any clues that IT is on its way. Be a magnet for others to receive a sense of advancement or increase from being with you. Give them more value than they give you.
  2. Feel and act, imagine and contemplate “as if” your vision is already realized—with 100 percent faith—until your IT is manifested. Take the last few minutes of each day, review your IT, and fill your mind of with gratitude as if IT is realized.

I have a few key suggestions to share. Don’t get caught up in worry or trying to control any outcomes. Don’t allow any conflicting, competitive beliefs or fears to derail you from your best intentions. If you find any of these in your thoughts or feelings, you will not manifest what you desire, so if you discover them face them, confront them, allow their energy to play and pass fully through you, and let them go so they no longer prevent you from attaining the life you envision for yourself.

Assume the feeling of the desire—IT—fulfilled throughout your being as often as you can during your days!

Imagine IT, desire IT, intend IT, believe IT, feel IT “as-if” IT has already manifested, and then just let it go.

 

Wishing you a joyful, healthy, prosperous and meaningful 2017!  Kevin

 

Before You Make New Year Resolutions, Take Inventory of Your Beliefs

Many look back as the year is ending, take stock of where they are, and where they’re not, and then look ahead to set new intentions, goals and plans. Yet we all know that most of those wonderful plans will go unfulfilled. I have come to know that the reason why we humans don’t meet our goals is that we hold another belief, often a hidden belief, that is stronger and in conflict with our new thinking. Hoping for a new outcome is a scenario doomed to failure, given how our mental and emotional systems are composed, when we have conflicting beliefs held within.

Wikipedia says “Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty. Another way of defining belief sees it as a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true.”

Beliefs are mental positions one chooses after experiencing some life event(s) and then makes that new belief their own. Over time that belief typically cements into a person’s values and worldview, where those beliefs in essence become one’s “facts.”

Our thoughts and beliefs color our perception of the world. They determine our actions, inactions, feelings, and behaviors. It is said that whatever you believe becomes your reality. You do not believe what you see; you see what you believe. This is why people facing the same situation see things so differently. Author Rick Carson, in his book Taming Your Gremlins, says, “Beliefs, even the noblest of them, are just opinions that we develop loyalty to.”

In essence then, beliefs are what we make up with or without the support of data, facts or truth!

We all have beliefs about who we are, how life is/should be, about religious and political and social issues. Many beliefs are there because we ‘feel’ a certain way about something, with no real basis in fact, or trust in the sources of those facts.

This political season so highlights for me how the power of beliefs operate. Not only do we humans stick to our beliefs when presented facts or other opinions that refute them, we shut ourselves off from truly listening to outside sources that have opposing views, therefore deepening our resolve to hold on to what we believe. In this case our beliefs have become our identities, our biases, our prejudices, personas, and we form opinions that protect these from others who don’t share our viewpoints. This results in stalemates at best, or conflicts in their myriad forms.

A large number of psychological studies have shown that people respond to new information, scientific, or technical evidence in ways that justify their preexisting beliefs. In other words, people reject the validity of a new data source because its conclusion contradicted their deeply held views. People believe what they believe, and often there is no hard data or facts that support them.

I use this visual to show how thoughts, feelings and beliefs manifest our reality:

Experience Feelings Thoughts Interpretations Response Result StoryBeliefBehavior

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, and limiting/hidden beliefs are the biggest barriers to success. We form beliefs to make sense of our world. Early beliefs were formed around our parents, family, and the immature decision-making skills of our youth. We often interpreted things happening around us and began to think the following:

– I’m not good enough, have no value

– I’m not needed

– I don’t matter, what I say doesn’t matter

– I’m not important

– I’m bad

– I’m wrong

– I’m a loser

– People who are _____ are wrong, bad, scary, out to harm me.

We also interpreted events in our world over time, and developed biases and prejudices about people of other sexes, races, religious and political affiliations, and more. These then become solidified as our truth about the world and of people, and unconsciously drive our thinking and behaviors today.

So before you set yourself up for probable failure in setting new goals for yourself, you might want to look the source of what drives you, and see if there are any beliefs that are counter to the life you envision and desire for yourself. Reflect on what you believe, what your truth currently is, how you arrived at these beliefs, and whether they will serve you along your life’s journey.

I have had to constantly take stock of my most revered beliefs and truths every time I was faced with new ideas or facts. I had to look at what was before me, how it resonated within, and determine what was needed for me to shift my thinking. Once new truths were accepted, the old had to be let go to integrate the new into my system of understanding. Beliefs do not seem to go quietly or without discomfort. Many times this created conflict, which required delving deeper into the strata of my mind.

I often ask these questions of myself and my coaching clients to help root out limiting beliefs:

Are your beliefs still serving you?

What new information, data, and facts are you being presented with that cause an internal rub within you?

What prejudices and biases do you hold on to, and are they still true in all cases?

Where have you formed opinions that seem to project from you without you even thinking, and do they still represent the way you want to live your life?

What belief, opinion, bias, or prejudice, that you now see is no longer always true, would you like to remove from your thinking?

To get beyond the choke-hold of old beliefs and begin living the life you envision requires the following:

  1. Set a new intention, desire, or goal.
  2. Identify the beliefs you have about accomplishing it.
  3. Identify the beliefs you have that run contrary to it, are of a limiting nature, or are hidden that will sabotage it from manifesting.
  4. Eliminate the belief, consciously and continuously, by seeing the belief, where it came from, what it has costed you, what emotions it arouses, and just allow that to flow through and out of you without any self-judgment / shame / condemnation.
  5. Replace them with thoughts, feelings and new beliefs that allow us to manifest what we desire.

We can challenge our beliefs and biases whenever they show up. We can reject any thoughts of limitations or exclusion, and replace them with a positive stream of thinking which starves them and forces them to wither and die. Self-help guru Jim Rohn said, “You cannot take a mild approach to the weeds in your mental garden. You have got to hate the weeds enough to kill them. Weeds are not something you handle; weeds are something you need to decimate.”

It always comes down to choice – if you really want to manifest new things in your life that go against the grain of your current beliefs, you have to choose to eliminate the old beliefs first. That takes some self-reflection and a desire to see your own patterns, make peace with them and yourself, and let them go. Only then can you more freely go about making your new intentions your reality!

We can implement the following steps to live a more positive, loving, authentic life:

New Thoughts New Positive Feelings

New Beliefs New Attitude

Different Actions Desired Results

 

Happy 2017, and beyond!

What All Generations of People Want From Work

I have been speaking a great deal lately about what people need / want / desire from their work, and so I put together a list of the top 11 things I’ve noticed that people of all ages, backgrounds and roles have been mentioning for the past 35 years I’ve been tracking. They are:

Appreciation. People need to feel cared for and appreciated – especially by their manager.

Recognition. Ample feedback whether in private or public about their value to the team/organization.

Being ‘in the know.’ Even if employees can’t affect company plans, they feel more empowered when they have a full picture of what these plans are.

Understanding in crisis. Life happens, and managers need to work with employees when problems crop up off the job.

Job security. While no job is 100% secure, employees need to know managers will do all they can to secure their jobs, as long as they perform.

Engaging work. Give top performers a chance to do more, interesting tasks.

Growth opportunities. People want to be able to learn and grow professionally and personally.

Loyalty. Employees respond for leaders who “have their back.”

Tactful, respectful discipline. Offer challenging/negative feedback without humiliating the person.

A fun environment. People try harder when they like where they work.

Fair compensation. While money is important, once salary and benefits are accepted it becomes less a motivator unless all the above are missing (then it can often be the only reason one stays in that job).

I suggest that every leader / manager look at this list and first themselves rate how they would evaluate their own experience within these eleven areas. Are you appreciated and recognized enough? Do you feel the organization cares for you, keeps you informed, offers understanding when you need flexibility? Are you engaged in your own role and are you growing yourself amply? See where you have alignment with your organization, culture and leadership or not. See where you are engaged, or not.

Then take this list and share it with your team, and ask them to do the same evaluations, first for themselves, and then as a group. See where you are doing well, and where you gaps and areas for improvement pop up. Decide on an action plan to boost one or two of these at a time, and maintain honest assessment and accountability around your progress.

People respond very quickly when we give them the basics that compose healthy human connections and interactions. When basic needs are met, and the higher needs are addressed, people flourish. The leaders role is to see to it that their people are cared for, and an easy way to do that is to find out what needs they have and then address them.

Millennials, Gen-X’ers, Boomers and the War generations all share one core truth – they are all human beings, and humans crave similar things from their work and relationships. True leaders go the extra mile and connect business systems and processes with their people, and when that happens higher levels of employee engagement drive productivity, quality, customer service, and especially profitability ever higher. All it takes is an open mind and a willingness to engage and connect with people! Reach out, connect, talk about what they want – it will pay huge dividends for all!

When we know we are cared for we are free to bring our best self to our work!