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The Power of Recognition & Appreciation

I spoke last week at The Millennial Leaders Summit about what are the top things that people most desire from their work. I have been tracking this topic the last 30 plus years, and the number one item on almost every survey or study’s list, no matter the age group, is Recognition and Appreciation. We all want to be seen for who we are and what we do, and to be valued by others. This is actually what we all want in our lives, not just at work. We humans are connective beings, and in that need for connection we require an exchange of energies that keep us safe, secure, loved and appreciated.

Why is recognition and appreciation so important? What is it so universally desired by people across all demographics? If you think about it, the benefits and payoffs to being recognized and appreciated are being accepted, valued, affirmed, noticed, respected, understood, and acknowledged. Who doesn’t want any of these things in their life? Yet how often do we actually receive the gifts recognition and appreciation bring?

When we recognize and appreciate someone or something, an interesting thing occurs. If we pause long enough and truly see who or what is right before us, we are invited into the realm of appreciation. In the moment of appreciation we allow ourselves to connect to a universal source of tranquility, and we feel that sense of well-being stirring within. Even though some external source stimulated our appreciation pause, we are the beneficiaries of the ‘feeling-good’ state. In appreciation, we find something in another we value, treasure, and hold dear.

In this place of appreciation a positive sense of awe embraces us – wonder, admiration and reverence wraps around us, even if for just a moment, and that gives way into gratitude. When we feel grateful, when we are dipped in the nectar of gratitude, we are in a state of grace – words seem unnecessary, we just experience a standing-still moment of an elixir of joy, peace, ease and aliveness.

It is this aliveness that gratitude stimulates a sense of being fully present and connected – to ourselves, to others, and to Life. It is that connection, those meaningful-moment connections, we all crave. When we feel connected we know, even if it’s just for a fleeting moment, who we are and why we are here. In those moments of connection we are free to just be – be who we are, what we want to feel and express, and how we can best show up for others.

Isn’t it funny that what we all desire, recognition and appreciation, not only has positive aspects for us being recognized and appreciated, but has equal opportunity for positive outcomes for those who do the recognizing and appreciating! It’s a two-way street to the highest states of what it means to be a healthy, loving human being!

So if you want to feel better or feel good, remember the chain-reaction of recognition and appreciation. When we pause and just look at who or what is before us, and without judgment/shame/blame just see it, find something about it that you can appreciate, or see some positive in it, the flood of warm feelings from awe and gratitude will simply flow. When you recognize and appreciate another, not only are you momentarily swept into a state of presence and connection, so is the other as you share your appreciation with them.

This holiday season we seem to put a premium of being grateful, giving thanks, and spreading good tidings. We don’t have to wait for calendars to turn or external clocks to trigger us into these states – we can do it ALL THE TIME! If recognition and appreciation are the number one motivators for human beings, then by all means let’s offer them freely, often, and consistently. If the receiver and the giver of recognition and appreciation win, then let’s keep on winning, together!

Go ahead, try out offering more recognition and appreciation to those in your work and private life! Do it one-on-one, or watch the exponential effect that cascades onto everyone when you do it publically. You and they will feel better when the recognition and appreciation is genuine and meaningful.

Go ahead, recognize and appreciate those around you – and be the source of some terrific outcomes!

Recognition → Appreciation → Awe → Gratitude → Presence → Connection

What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

“Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!”

What Makes a Leader – Leaders Love People!

I often get into conversations with people about leadership, and am asked what I think makes a great leader. In researching for decades the answer to that question, and in evolving my own leadership capacity over these past 40 years in business, I have come to the simple realization that the best leaders all share one significant capacity – leaders like, even love people!

I make a clear distinction between who is considered a “leader” versus other descriptors such as manager, supervisor, director, owner, principle or entrepreneur. While we may have titles, occupy roles on an org chart, and hold various positions of power, I see the label of ‘leader’ truly going to those men and women who go beyond their role and connect authentically and meaningfully with other people.

Owners invest for a future payoff. Entrepreneurs create something from nothing. Managers and supervisors focus on getting things done. If those are your main areas of focus and interest, and see people as a means to your end goal, then you may achieve some marginal amount of success. On the other hand, you may be filling any of these roles, and yet you have this extra ingredient that truly makes you a leader – you love to connect with others!

I see leadership as the way we go beyond just the required work transactions in our lives. People with an ‘owners’ mindset are typically great with money and finances, and can see how investing pays off down the road – but if that’s all they’re interested in, they see people as a means to that end, and stay disconnected and disinterested in others beyond their own self-interest. Entrepreneurs bring so much passion and energy to their work, and have so many ideas – yet if they are so consumed by their work they may fail to include others in their formula for success, create distance and bear the brunt of all the stress. Managers (directors, supervisors, leads) get into those roles because they like to set goals, get things done and get promoted, but if meeting expectations and targets are their key focus they will see people as ‘parts of a machine,’ a necessary ‘evil,’ or as ‘stepping stones’ they have to deal with, and create environments of disengagement and discontent.

Those who value money and numbers over people are not necessarily leaders. Our current business paradigm is based on making the numbers and profits, and there are millions of business-people who are considered successful because they meet numbers first. Yet, there are leaders who focus first on people and end up making more money than their competitors.

No matter the title or role, those who we look at as true leaders are those who make a personal connection to us, who really care about us, who communicate regularly, and who have a greater sense of purpose about our work above the daily drudgery. Leaders build trust, build teams, and build people. Leaders care! They care about people. They put people first. And it’s OK to say that leaders love people, their people!

Don’t confuse someone who is bold, visionary, wealthy, successful, or famous, as a leader. If they also exude connection and caring of people then you may call them a leader.

Think about those in your life right now who are in positions of power and authority. Maybe it’s your parent, relative, friend, your boss, your boss’s boss, or yourself. Look at those who you admire for their leadership capacities and see what characteristics they have that make you call them a leader. Why do you go the extra mile for someone and not for another? Why do you feel better in someone’s presence, and not in others? Why do you want to stay where you are and be more engaged and productive, and want to get away, leave or find another job when around others?

Owners, entrepreneurs, and managers are all necessary, and sometimes leaders also occupy those roles. Look at your own mindset and 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?

These time call for more leaders than ever before. No matter your tile or role, anyone can be a leader. Leadership requires one key element – CARE. Do you care about what’s going on? Do you care about others winning? Do you care about what others need, think, and say?

Look at your own Care Quotient – your CaQi! The good news is that no matter how you evaluate yourself in this area, you can expand it if you desire. Increasing your care capacity will require you expand your emotional intelligence, which includes compassion, empathy, interpersonal skills, self-management skills, handling emotions and being more self-aware around others.

I have been expanding my capacity for care and love my entire life, and you can too! The payoffs to caring are immense and life-changing: more connections, more joy, more peace, more freedom, more fulfillment, more prosperity, and more love. If any of these are of interest to you, the royal road to realizing them is through caring. Join me in expanding leadership in our work and in our relationships!

Authentic Leaders care – they love who they are, what they do, why they do what they do, and who they do it with!

I Want To Write About Acceptance . . .

A few years ago I was introduced to the Irish poet David Whyte, who has a very unique way not only of generating powerful prose, he also powerfully verbalizes his meaning through the spoken word. One of his poems titled, “I want to write about Faith” allowed him to express what was preventing him from living an aspect of his life more fully and alive. I have used his template, ‘I want to write about…’ a few times in my past, where I felt stuck, fearful, or was hiding and playing small. Once I was able to articulate and write about what was the challenge I faced was, the shackles of reasons and excuses for not moving powerfully forward started to dissolve.

Recently, I did some deep dives into a few areas that were revealed as major blind spots I had that have been running behind my conscious awareness, that have been interfering with me living the life I fully envision. First I came face to face with an ocean of disappointment, and saw how its debilitating factors have taken their toll. As I wrote about that, I saw the opposite to disappointment – Acceptance – and that so resonated with me I wrote about embodying that in my spirit and life. Thus the poem below….

I want to write about ACCEPTANCE!

The possibility of living a life of, in, and for Acceptance is the opportunity and commitment that awaits before me.

Acceptance is a great challenge, a great gateway to abiding enlightenment, peace and love.

Acceptance demands an awareness of Presence.

Acceptance requires continuous love, respect, regard and appreciation for Myself, just as I am.

Acceptance is not being attached, fully letting go of all expectations, beliefs, stories and patterns of old.

Acceptance is trusting in a Universe, a Universal power, just because – without perfect knowing.

Acceptance is allowing and welcoming whatever is happening before me – and being totally OK with It.

Acceptance is letting go of all Resistance.

Acceptance is simply accepting what IS, without judgement, blame, or shame.

Acceptance is wanting what Life wants, what Presents Life Presents to me, in any given moment.

Acceptance is Living Life fully.

Acceptance allows me to see, and Be, what IS.

Fear – and all its components – can’t live, survive long, in the atmosphere of acceptance.

It’s human to have desires, intentions – just have them with no attachments to outcomes.

Intention – Attention – No-Tension!

Keeping my hands off the steering wheel, I set loving, powerful, authentic intentions; I pay adequate attention to nurture them forward; and I keep my senses wide open as my vehicle of Life moves about, observing the joyous manifestations of those very intentions.

Acceptance is Freedom, Peace, Integrity, Power, and Self-Expression.

Acceptance is Kind, Caring, Compassionate and Fun.

Acceptance is the highest form of Love:

– Love for Self

– Love for Life

– Love for Others

– Love for What IS.

Acceptance is my ticket to the royal road of living to the max – and to be of highest service for what Life what’s from, of, by, and for me.

Acceptance is being fully awake, aware, and alive – in every moment!

I accept Acceptance!

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lau Tzu

 

I Have A Dream!

I have this reoccurring dream. In it, I see . . .

People who are fully alive, living from their own healthy states of well-being, fulfillment and possibilities.

– They do so because we found ways to liberate the human spirit, in our educational system and in our world of work. So many leaders have stepped forward to help people break through old, ineffective or limiting ways and belief systems, and now honor the unique individuality of each person. No longer are we pushing people along like widgets on conveyor belts in factories, nor are we Pidgeonholing them into cubicles and rigid job descriptions.

– Countless leaders have evolved and stepped forward to see their role not as dictator, task-master nor bureaucrat, but as catalysts for their people to learn, grow, team, and fully develop into their highest and best selves.

– This new ‘authentic leader’ is someone who has: followed their own deep personal growth path that allowed them to see their strengths, weaknesses, levels of emotional intelligence, and how they are experienced by those around them, and were open to change (which really means they were open to seeing where they were being inauthentic, and were able to let that conditioned part of them go). Their personal transformation was deepened by their ability to take responsibility for their own lives and their participation in the relationships of their lives, and to make new choices on how to fully show up. Their capacity to be more open, honest and vulnerable with others has made them much more effective and endearing, and people naturally want to offer more to enrich the spaces they all inhabit, be it at home or especially at work.

– These authentic leaders build highly trusting environments, knowing people are imperfect and mistakes will be made, yet able to nurture cultures where people feel supported to stretch, try new things, and if they fail they know the leader and team has their back. We now have more managers, decision makers, and change agents who want to improve the wellbeing of each and every person in their organization than ever before!

– When people are supported and cared for, they will naturally step up their levels of involvement and performance, thus willingly increasing their effectiveness and that of their teammates.

– People are also exposed to ever-deeper insights into their own make-up, often at their leaders nudging, and are clearer about who they are as an individual. They know their own personal core values. They have reconnected to their root passion. They are more aware of their strengths, and choose their own growth paths in areas they want to improve. They have developed a personal sense of purpose, and have learned new ways to seek employment that more fully align with who they are, rather than just taking jobs for the pay and benefits.

– Our organizations have high levels of alignment and engagement from all employees and contractors, resulting in high output, low cost, high quality/service, low/no turnover enterprises. This creates larger profit margins where owners enhance the pocketbook not only for themselves but for their employees, thus furthering the connection between employee and organization.

– With cultures experiencing higher trust and care from leadership, people look for ways to make better decisions and dramatically improve results. They also become more skilled at decision-making, communication, and also with conflict resolution, because all three are needed to have higher-performing teams.

– These teams tackle complex issues, throughout our societies many organizations, and we are seeing huge positive impacts on such macro issues like clean energy proliferation, personalized education and childhood well-being, healthcare delivery, sustainable food production, infrastructure redevelopment, elimination of pollution and maximization of natural resource utilization. We see healthier, happier, better educated and personally fulfilled people everywhere, across all cultural/sex/age/heritage/religious lines.

– The workplace is where everyone gets to exercise their unique talents and fulfill their life’s purpose. We have forever changed the way we work and do business in the world. No longer profit / money focused, we build enterprises that are people-centric, and thus in the process deliver significantly higher levels of profit and material gain for all stakeholders to partake.

– In this dream we have redefined the definition of success – shifting it from a money-fame-material gain formula, to one where the human spirit is fully alive, unleashed and effective, making a difference, being fully of service, and living at sustainably higher levels of well-being and fulfillment – where true joy and happiness are generated.

– I see a world where loving leaders are awakening, inspiring and empowering people to become their authentic selves, to come fully alive, and be of highest service through the offering of their work. As the human spirit is fully unleashed, we are afire in loving our work, living our workplace, loving our co-workers. In this powerful space, our work becomes a grand vehicle for us to play full out, and thus positively change the world!

I know, like John Lennon’s lyrics . . . You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one!

Yet, I’m also reminded by the old quote by Napoleon Hill: “What the mind can conceive it can achieve!”

So, let’s dream, conceive, and achieve together! What else can be of greater importance than the health, well-being, development and happiness of all of us humans?

What’s Most Important Now!

In our busy and information over-loaded world, even with all the technological advancements designed to enhance our productivity and effectiveness, most people feel they are not getting things done either on time or as intended. Too many things pile up on ‘to-do’ lists, and we only accomplish a fraction, leaving a sense of failure, frustration or worry. What great intentions or expectations we may start the week off with often are still sitting in front of us, adding to our increasing sense of stress, by weeks end.

Getting things done is a requirement to living and working, yet it amazes me that so few believe they are good at it. What I see the most productive and efficient people do is a simple yet highly effective discipline they practice weekly. It doesn’t include learning anything or buying any more programs. It does however invite you to look anew at the way your work-life world flows.

Try this – Before the Monday morning grind begins, make a master list of all the things you think of that you think you need to get done. Look at all of them within the three categories of you have to, should do, and would like to accomplish this week. Then, starting with the have to category, take a few moments and just take in all the things you listed there, and just look at them as a whole – just look at each of them, all of them, and ask yourself the question: “By weeks end, which of these would be most life-changing, impactful, fulfilling for me if it/they were completed successfully? Let your hand highlight which one or few items are the game-changers in your life this week. Then do the same for the should do and would like to categories, until only the most important items are noted in your field of vision.

When we break things out into separate categories of importance, and allow ourselves to momentarily contemplate each categors items as a whole, the most significant things typically become very obvious. Allow that contemplative time to sort out the maze and emotional energetic attachments of all things listed, while you keep focusing on the question, “By week’s end, which of these would be most life-changing, impactful, fulfilling for me if it/they were completed successfully?”

One key piece of advice make sure you answer the “for me” part of the question above in that context, and not for any others. While many things on your list are might be there at the request or need of others in your life, find the ones that are most impactful to you personally and professionally, and allow that internal motivation to kick in first.

As you start to take those things most important to you off your list as you complete them, your sense of accomplishment, success and happiness increases dramatically. Allow that energy to spur your energy forward. Now you can look back at your three categories and begin to tackle those items of next level of importance. Contemplate again on those items left and see which ones pop up in your awareness.

It’s important to plan your work, and then to work your plan. This practice will allow you to better determine which, of all the things you want to accomplish, are the ones that will be the most positively impactful for you. There is great power, confidence and joy that arises when we just ‘get things done,’ and learning how to let your inner guidance system help you determine those things will make you a person you and others trust and admire in being an effective member of your teams and communities.

Getting things done is crucial to living a successful, prosperous, fulfilling life and career – knowing how to get things done easily and highly effectively requires a regular practice that will pay huge material, financial and psychic dividends over your lifetime! Enjoy being known as a get-it-done person!

Five Success Tips For New Leaders

So, Friday was your last day in your previous position, and now it’s the first week in your new role as a leader (actual title may be supervisor, manager, lead). Nothing is more exciting than getting a promotion, and yet as daunting at the same time. Leaving the comfort of being a team member has many benefits: salary increases, perks, possibly more office space, etc., and with it so many new expectations, responsibilities, unknowns and moving parts. You have worked hard and been dedicated to developing your own skills, and all of those efforts have landed you this great opportunity. You may feel a heightened sense of pride and for a while it feels good to be you!

So, a question – What amount of wisdom, insight and talent was dumped into you over the weekend that has now prepared you for this new bigger role in which you find yourself? Yes, you still maintain all the job and industry knowledge you possessed prior, but now all eyes are looking at you, people are awaiting your input and direction, and wondering how you are going to show up. They are also concerned about what will change, how your promotion affects them in their role, and may even be worried about their jobs. Some may not agree with the decision to make you the boss, or at least may be cynical in their assessment of what they already know about you and the new expectations you will be facing.

This wonderful change now comes with lots of new questions. Everyone before you who has risen in the ranks to be a boss, supervisor, manager, director, or C-level leader has had to undergo the agonies and ecstasies of promotion, just like you are now. You will also find plenty of people who will offer their advice to you in what to do, not do, and how to behave. You may even be put right away into some type of leadership training if your organization wants to help you get a better start in your new role. No matter, you still have to show up and begin to perform in new and unfamiliar ways.

I am often asked from people in these situations what is the most important things I can share with them. In order to best succeed as a first-time leader (I use the term leader as a metaphor – you will choose which type of leader you’ll become soon enough), the following Five Tips are what I offer to all leaders, no matter their age, tenure, track-record or success history:

1. Know Yourself. You are now going to be responsible for many new things and people, so you need to have a healthy level of self-awareness and knowledge about how you interact with others, how you take in information, and how you assess situations. I suggest you interview a few people in your network (co-workers, supervisors, family and friends) and ask them what strengths they most admire about you, what weaknesses they see in you, and what they might like to see you do differently to enhance the way you work and communicate with others. Take that input as gold, find ways to stay mindful of your impact on others, and get coaching or mentoring help in those areas proving more challenging. Self-awareness is the cornerstone to leadership, so begin to be intentional on how you can develop and expand in this area.
2. Know Your People. You are no longer the doer – a leader’s prime role is to get the right things done well through other people, so you need to become an ongoing expert in human behavior ASAP. I suggest spending lots of time early in your new role getting to know your teammates better, find out what they love about their job and where they are having difficulty. Explore what they know, and don’t know, and see where you will be able to offer assistance to them. Get a sense of the ‘feel’ of your team and organization, as this will help you navigate any areas that need improving or changing. I suggest, unless you are inheriting a sinking ship, spend 10-times more effort watching, listening and asking questions to what’s going on that speaking yourself in the beginning. Remember this – a leader is one who works with people and get’s them to want to give their best. You will be respected and beloved by how much you care for them and let them know you are there for them.
3. Know Your Mission / Deliverables. What you want is less important than what it is you and your team are put there by others to accomplish. When we agree to be hired, that agreement comes with expectations and requirements from those who hired us, so find out quickly what those definitions of success looks like in their eyes. When you are clear you can easily share that with your team and help them understand what success looks like. Have your goals and plans clear and visible, refer to them and their progress often, and let them be the guide for everyone to boost responsibility and accountability. Being a leader isn’t all about you – it’s about accomplishing your mission, together.
4. Know What to Track. The world of work has way too much information streaming at us, via reports, meetings, emails, and communications. After you realize your and your team’s deliverables, meet with your people and see what key measurables are available to all of you that best tracks whether you are progressing as planned. Leaders are concerned about meeting deadlines and due-dates, maintaining quality, meeting customer satisfaction levels, managing costs and motivating people, so look for metrics that act like gauges on your dashboard you all can refer to regularly.
5. Know How to Learn Daily. It’s not your job to know everything, in fact it’s impossible, so get comfortable with not-knowing, and yet keep an open and curious mind so you can see clearly what is really going on around you. Observe others, see the impact of decisions, look at how opportunities come in and out, listen to what’s being said, and not said, and pay attention to what’s working and not working. You job is to inspire others to put their best forward and get things done well. Your learning can then be shared with your team and your entire level of performance will rise. As you learn to coach better from the sidelines, you will learn more about people and find new ways to help them succeed.

In my experience these are the core foundational strengths of successful leaders, past and present, and if you take these on as your own they will not fail you, nor the people you impact.

Leadership is a never-ending, life-long journey for those who the rest of us affectionately and realistically call ‘leaders.’ Hopefully you are aspiring to be so well connected to the stakeholders you touch that everyone feels they are positively directly impacting the organization, and receiving the highest and best benefits of their being involved. Your kudos will come when everyone feels like they are winning, being heard and cared for, and have their own sense of personal and professional growth.

Learn to be a catalyst to unlock the potentials and possibilities in others, and they will always astound you with ever higher levels of engagement, productivity, success and enjoyment!

Leading from Love

Leadership is the hot topic in business journals, boardrooms and in the minds of most CEO’s. In my experience, most everyone calls people who are in positions of power and authority “leaders”, when in fact, they are mostly managers. I love the old saying, “managers do things right, leaders do the right things.” I can update this by saying, “managers force things to get done, leaders inspire others to want to get the right things done better.” No matter the title, people who are responsible for others typically fall into two categories: managers or leaders.

Look back in your work experience at those bosses you have worked with, and reflect on whether you tolerated, avoided, loathed, disliked, or disrespected them because of how you and others were treated by them, or, did you like them, felt trusted and listened to, and wanted to go the extra mile because of the environment they created?

Managers push people, tell, want things their way, use intimidation and threats, while leaders openly communicate, influence others and keep focusing on the bigger purpose and values of the organization. Managers are more interested on results rather than connecting with the people who are responsible for getting the results accomplished. Too many managers are focused on looking good to enhance their own career and standing, where leaders look to make their teammates shine and works to help them grow their careers.

When people ask me what’s the core difference between managers and leaders, I say managers are focused on externals, and leaders love people. Managers care about things and results, leaders care about people who get things done. Managers are more interested in wanting things their way, leaders enjoy the human interactions and want to see others succeed.

Take a look at these characteristics and drivers I’ve listed below. Assess yourself first, then center on current and past managers / leaders.

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What areas you can further develop? Who can you ask to give you feedback and do some evaluations so you can see yourself more clearly? As you reflect also see which ones you’d like to expand into and improve. Get some feedback from co-workers and supervisors and use that to develop your own personal improvement plan. Get coaching and have peers help keep you awake and accountable to meet your improvement goals.

Leaders who love people get more productivity and higher quality work than managers. Leaders make more money for their organizations and people than managers. Leaders create more engagement, enjoyment and harmony than do managers. Leaders make work fulfilling and meaningful and lift people up. I bet the bosses you love were more leaders than managers.

What kind of person are you . . . one who enjoys working with others, one who cares what others are going through, and one who relates? If you want to be a leader, look deep and long into your own “people-skills.” The good news is that people-skills can all be learned and developed throughout one’s lifetime. The world needs more leaders, what about you?

 
Remember – Managers care about getting things done right. Leaders love their people and care about doing the right things well. Which are you?

What’s Your Wake?

If you’ve ever ridden in a boat, and looked out the back, you always see a wake from the propulsion system creating waves and turbulence in the water. Depending on the speed and angle of the turns of the boat, the wake has varying degrees of significance. Those in the water close after the boat passes definitely know what impact the wake has on them as they go bobbing around, and when higher speeds or sharp turns are involved it can pose quite a concern.

We humans are like boats in the water. We go about our days passing people in a variety of ways. Yes we encounter others in the physical sense, in close quarters at home, work, or social places, and we also connect via all the electronic media we use to get in touch. Yet we almost never really slow down enough to think about how we are showing up with others, and what our interactions cause to stir up within those we engage. Every action has a reaction, and every word has an interpretation. Every piece of body language sends multiple messages out into the ether. The question is, are you aware of the impact of your wake?

With my coaching clients I love to use the word ‘wake’ because we all know what it means, and it is the root of another word – ‘awake.’ To wake is to become roused from some previous space of sleep, tranquility, or inactivity. To awaken is to become aware of where you are, to see clearly what is really going on around you, and to stay awake to what’s happening. To awaken is to have a ‘boat’ pass close enough by you to shake a wake of turbulence into your mental state.

Are you awake enough to know what impact you have on others? Do you know what impact you have on those around you? Are you aware of the affects you have, in body, words and deeds on all the others you encounter during the days of your life?

I invite you to think about how, and who, you touch, think about how you show up for them, and how you make their moments go either to some positive or negative place. If you are not sure what impact you have, I invite you to go ask them. Set up a brief meeting and ask a few simple yet very revealing questions such as:

– Tell me one or two things about the way I show up with you, and communicate with you, that you truly appreciate?

– Tell me one or two things about the way I show up with you, and communicate with you, that you really don’t’ like, or struggle with?

– Tell me what you’d like to see different from me (start doing or stop doing) that would make a positive impact on our relationship?

By being mindful of how we make a difference to those around us can shift relationships quickly, can lead to improved productivity and reduce errors or misunderstandings. Being mindful of your wake significantly reduces incorrect assumptions others may carry which can make relationships messy and unstable. Being awakened to your wake will make a huge difference in yours and those around you.

Be awake to your wake – it can make all the difference in how you show up in your world, and how your world shows up for you!

Six Strokes of Wisdom I’d Leave My 25 Year-old Self

Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time, after having lived a full and meaningful life, to where we could enlighten our younger selves? Take all that knowledge, experience and insight and try to educate an earlier version of oneself so not to make similar mistakes and live the fullest and best life possible! On my walk today a few nuggets came to me that I’d like to share with a 25 year old Kevin, just a few core things it has taken my 62 years on this planet to realize.

  1. Wake up and see that you are living in a box. This box was created the day you arrived, and inside this box are an incalculable number of other people’s “should and shouldn’ts” lists, things you must do and better not do, ways to think, what to believe, and how to think and feel. Now is the time to awaken to the fact that a lot of your make-up is attributed to other people. It is now time for you young man to wake up and see, think and feel for yourself. Don’t continue to follow other people’s definitions of success and happiness, it is time for you to determine your formula for those. Start looking at what you truly know, believe and desire. Look at your values, your passions, your beliefs and innate gifts. Determine what purpose and vision your life is calling and go out after them, with zeal and fervor. The path won’t be easy, but at least it will be YOUR path!
  1. Allow yourself to truly feel. Whatever you were told as a young man growing up about how to be a ‘real man’ dump it. You are first and foremost a human being, and feelings come along with that title. Actually the best part about living are those deep feelings are when you are really alive and connected to those people in your life you care so deeply about. Life is meant to lived, experienced, and we do so not just in the physical or mental aspects, but in our emotions and human spirit. Find the ways to see where you are blocked emotionally, and let go of the fears and beliefs that build the walls around your heart. It’s OK to seek help in this area, because we cannot get through this thing called life alone. Get out of your own way and be open, vulnerable, honest and real. Accept, respect and care for yourself as much as you care for others. Life is messy – get over it! Live my son, live fully!
  1. When you find out what your true gifts are, and what others say they most admire and respect about you, then reconnect them with your own passions, and then blend the two in some service to others. Everyone told you to get educated, get a job and make a career and lots of money. They have it backwards – find out who you are and what you are gifted to do, and then find ways to offer your full self in work that is fulfilling and meaningful to you and really lights you up. Find work that connects you to your highest and best self, and then that work will offer the highest benefit to others. This type of work won’t feel like work – it will be many forms of joy in action. We are not islands, protecting ourselves from others. No, life is challenging and yet in spite of that we need to jump in fully.
  1. Take plenty of time for quiet self-reflection, and allow yourself to be “in awe” of Life around you. Too many people feel they have to be busy, or have lots of noise around them to feel like they are alive. You cannot think for yourself when you are always ‘on.’ Learn to meditate, contemplate, read, and expand your mind and spirit. Connect to nature and others and just find ways to be in the flow without having to judge, name, blame or analyze things. In those moments allow deep gratitude and humility to bubble up and let that juiciness expand you, resulting in experiencing the sweetness of gratitude to overwhelm you. Life wants to live through you – be open to it and allow it to flow. This will be a new definition of “awe-some!”
  1. Be kind and respectful to everyone you encounter. Life is hard, and you’ll never know what others are going through. Be known as a powerful man that lives from a position of warmth, consideration and compassion for others. This will engender safety and trust around you, and both of those are the secret keys to authentic and meaningful relationships. People will be attracted to you because you allow them to just be themselves. You won’t need to out-smart them, out-perform them, or make them wrong. On the contrary, you will be a magnet for others who just want to be around you because it feels good. This will be your definition of leadership and it will always attract the right / best people to align and engage with you at such high levels. Give this gift away as often and as consciously as you can.
  1. Have fun! Just be you, and enjoy every moment – especially the tough ones.

Enough said!

Shared Wisdom on Living “Above the Line”

I often look at what others are saying about the important topics of the day. This past month’s focus has been on consciousness, or living “above-the-line.” Read the wisdom shared below, and self-reflect on where your awareness/consciousness is right now!

A few by Alan Watts:

“Some believe all that parents, tutors, and kindred believe. They take their principles by inheritance, and defend them as they would their estates, because they are born heirs to them.”

“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, and that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.”

“We cannot be more sensitive to pleasure without being more sensitive to pain.”

“No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”

“The reason we want to go on and on is because we live in an impoverished present.”
Others:

“Our most important task is to transform our consciousness so that violence is no longer an option for us in our personal lives, and that understanding that a world of peace is possible only if we relate to each other as peaceful beings, one individual at a time.” – Deepak Chopra

“How would your life be different if…You were conscious about the food you ate, the people you surround yourself with, and the media you watch, listen to, or read? Let today be the day…You pay attention to what you feed your mind, your body, and your life. Create a nourishing environment conducive to your growth and well-being today.” – Steve Maraboli

“Mindfulness is continuous undisturbed awareness of the present moment. Fully aware of here, and now, we pay attention to what is happening right in front of us, we set aside our mental and emotional baggage. To be mindful we have to re-train our mind.” – Natasa Pantovic Nuit

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“By means of personal experimentation and observation, we can discover certain simple and universal truths. The mind moves the body, and the body follows the mind. Logically then, negative thought patterns harm not only the mind but also the body. What we actually do builds up to affect the subconscious mind and in turn affects the conscious mind and all reactions.” H.E. Davey

“People are doing the best that they can from their own level of consciousness.” – Deepak Chopra

“We have an amazing potential to reach our highest potential, to have truly inspiring careers and loving relationships. Unfortunately, often we walk through our lives asleep, we let our habits rule us, and find it difficult to change our beliefs.” – Natasa Pantovic Nuit

“For most of us enlightenment is not a destination or graduation into a permanent higher state of consciousness, but a moment-by-moment experience constantly fluctuating between degrees of wholeness and limited consciousness.” Jennifer Howard

“From the point in life when a man/woman is responsible for his/her choices, he/she starts to live a story brought to life by the dreams that have been consciously or subconsciously conceived.” Ufuoma Apoki

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives.” – Frederick F. Flack

“The most effective way to transform into higher consciousness is to pay attention in the present moment.” – Deepak Chopra

“To live fully is to live in the now, with full awareness of what you are thinking and feeling, with a real sense of what’s going on around you, and maintaining the ability to think holistically and make conscious choices for the good of all.” – Kevin Rafferty