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How to Manifest Your Vision!

I get inspired by those whose lives were lived as examples of the power of imagination, of thinking, and of the will to manifest. One of those I admire is Albert Einstein. A few of his quotes have resonated with me for many years, especially as I became a more purposeful, mindful manifestor of the life I want to design. He has been quoted as saying:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

“If you want a happy life tie it to a goal, not a person or thing.”

“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.”

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Everything begins in our imagination, in that untouchable area of our mind, our heart, our human spirit. Yet we so infrequently tap that constant resource when we most often need new ideas, new ways to resolve issues, new possibilities to pull us forward and new hopes for a better future. Vision today builds our future tomorrows.

I have added a few powerful success practices around broadening your perspectives and creating new visions. These have all worked for me and my clients, family and friends, and I know they can be of service to you. Treat yourself to new possibilities in your life, your work, your relationships, and your purpose. Every new thing you want begins in your mind’s-eye!

  1. BE-DO-HAVE.

I love the old Frank Sinatra song Strangers in the Night, especially where he sings “do-be-do-be-do” a number of times. That melody stuck with me since the sixties – and now I know why. Many people have in their heads that in order for them to be happy they have to ‘get’ or ‘have’ something, which requires them to ‘do’ something in order to get it. They spend their life on the hamster-wheel chasing after things they think they need to bring them happiness.

Actually those with the highest happiness and well-being levels figured out the reverse is the true formula.  They put the “be-ing” aspect first, which requires you to focus on the type of person you desire to become in order for you to be happy. Then you list the “do-ing” things needed to accomplish what you want to be or have. We are human beings first and always, and who we are dictates what we do and end up having. If you see patterns in your life that deliver unwanted results, look at who you are being first, and see what you need to change within yourself. Your ‘be-ing’ directs your ‘do-ing’ which will lead to new ‘having.’ Keep this reminder top of mind when looking at the cycles of your life. Most often, the be-ing aspect needs to evolve in order for new do-ing and having to occur.

Under each question below, list who you want to be in the next one to three years. There is no right or wrong answers. Have fun with this. This exercise may provide you with deeper direction, vision, and clarity for your life, work and relationships.

Q: Who do I want to BE?

Q: What do I want to DO?

Q: What do I want to HAVE?

  1. Manifestation 101.

As I have studied Wallace Wattles, Neville Goddard, Dale Carnegie, and others who were adept at watching how people make 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 to stimulate positive actions and await the results. This process has served me and others well, and I encourage you to study and practice becoming an intentional creator.

  1. Visualize the IT – the state, goal or object desired – as happening now. 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. 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!”

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

  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. Don’t get caught up in worry or trying to control any outcomes. Imagine IT, desire IT, intend IT, believe IT, feel IT “as-if” IT’s already accomplished – and let IT go.
  1. The Life I Choose.

Choice is the action birthed from creative thinking. When you see clearly what you desire and form it into a compelling vision with a full sense of the intended feelings, the last step is to choose what you want. From any of the previous exercises, picture the desire or vision that impacts you the most at this moment, and connect it with the statements below. Be as clear and positive as possible. You can use “I choose to be,” or “I choose to” statements. Once completed, keep your “I choose” statements in view so that you connect with them frequently.

I choose ___________________________________________.

Ayn Rand summed vision up this way:

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision un-borrowed. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid high prices. But they won.”

What is your grand vision for your life well lived? When will be a good time for you to be envisioning, moving toward, and living the life you desire?

There is only the NOW – If you SEE it now you begin the process to MAKE it manifest in your life!

Expanding Your Perspectives

In previous blogs we have addressed how expanding one’s self-awareness is the cornerstone to living a more authentic life and becoming a more conscious, effective leader. We reviewed the key steps to increasing self-awareness, which are to identify core values, clarify root passion, and connect with a personal and professional sense of purpose. We also discussed looking at one’s core belief systems, and getting in touch with the fears that keep us all from moving forward.

As we increase our awareness about who we are, and are not, and about what makes people tick, we also need to step back and allow ourselves to re-envision key aspects of our lives that may be ready for a fresh approach. The word we can use best to help at this phase is Vision.

We hear the word vision in many quarters. In its simplest form, it is about where we see ourselves in the future. Vision is about what we want. You can have a life vision that encompasses your entire existence of a life well lived, or you can have multiple visions for various aspects of your life: family, work, health, and so on. In all instances, what it boils down to is what you want, what you most desire. What do you see yourself being, doing, and having in any area of life?

Vision is the clear, concise view of the highest and best future you can imagine, one that passionately calls to you in an area of your life. “Visioning” is a process that enables us to put aside reason temporarily and look beyond the present to a future as we would imagine it to be. We set aside the negative words can’t, shouldn’t, mustn’t, and don’t. Visioning is a liberating process, allowing us to see just what we can create in our mind’s eye. As we have learned, thoughts are the prime creative force in our world. Everything ever created, simple or audacious, began in the mind’s eye.

Vision turns into powerful words that describe what you see, and the vision words are creative tools that empower your mental picture to make something manifest. What do you see for yourself tomorrow, next month, next year, ten years from now, and by the end of your life? These and other questions must be asked, because what we ultimately “see” for ourselves comes true.

What we focus on, we create. A truth I have come to appreciate is that the words that immediately follow “I want” in my sentences seem to be what I end up getting. When I wanted to achieve and win, and I was fully focused, I typically got what I wanted. When I did not get what I wanted, I often got what was actually at the center of my “I don’t want” thoughts. For example, if I told myself I did not want to lose, I often lost. If I said I did not want to be fat, I gained weight or stayed fat. If I told myself I did not want to lose clients, I ended up losing some. The secret seems to be that “what” we focus on, we get, whether intended or not. By adding I don’t want, I can’t have, or I shouldn’t get, I created whatever I said I did not want in the first place. If you take a few moments and analyze your thoughts, you may see my point.

Having negative thoughts (thoughts of what we do not want to have happen) will create the thing we do not want. We say “I don’t want to fail,” “I don’t want to be overweight,” or “I don’t want a smoker for a life mate,” but the mind grabs onto the words fail, overweight, and smoker. It sets in motion failure, obesity, and smoking. It ignores the word don’t and goes to work in giving you the noun from your vision. Monitor your thoughts and see how many negatives are present—the cannots, do nots, should nots, and must nots.

If you want something, be clear about it with positive thoughts and feelings. If you want a great job, see yourself in it with all the positive aspects and feelings. If you want a healthy body, see and feel it as if it already exists. The people we admire most, who get what they want, share this mental model—they focus on the positive outcome they desire. They will not allow thoughts of doubt or failure to partner with their vision. If they can do it, so can everyone else. The removal of doubt accelerates receiving what we want, because doubt is often the number one reason why plans, goals, or dreams fail to manifest.

I use the word vision, but you can substitute the words goals, plans, targets, possibilities or wants. Whichever word you choose, the same process is at work. All it takes is clarity, a sense of intention, focus, removal of doubt, action, openness, and continuous movement toward the desired end. Everyone can get what they want if they follow the formula.

The Wheel of Life

I have found the exercise to be very beneficial to help me clarify what I want. You look at the areas of your life and begin clarifying what you want to manifest. The sections of the wheel consist of key areas such as health, relationships, career/work, financial resources, social needs, mental/intellectual growth, spiritual development, recreation/hobbies, location and surroundings, and emotional health. This exercise helps you begin to assess where you are in life.

On a scale from one to ten for each area, imagine what a ten looks and feels like. Get a clear idea of what your definition of a ten is in this moment. Look at your current reality as honestly as possible, and compare it to your vision of a ten. A number will pop from your intuition. Circle the number in the area of focus, and go to the next one. When finished, you will have a greater sense of the areas that are working well and those needing attention.

Do not judge yourself for being where you are in some aspect of life. Life is about checking in on desires, recalibrating where you want to be, assessing where you are, and putting new energy in place to make any improvements. As you accomplish a ten in an area, it is not unusual for a new definition of ten to emerge, thus allowing you to expand and move into new areas of living. The Wheel of Life is constantly turning. Sometimes it stays on line, and at other times, it rolls into new territory. Love the journey, and do not get hung up on the destination!

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Descriptors

Health: Physical fitness, overall well-being, energy level

Relationships: Loving, intimacy, meaningful associations with few significant others

Career/Work: Fulfilling/meaningful employment, opportunity for challenge and growth

Financial Resources: Ample cash/investments, freedom from financial worry

Social Needs: Healthy connections with others, pleasure from group activity

Mental/Intellectual Growth: Expanding knowledge, intentional learning, sharpness

Spiritual Development: Inner peace, sense of higher purpose, freedom from fear

Recreation/Hobbies: Pleasurable activities and pursuits, manifesting passions

Location/Surroundings: Pleasing and supporting home environment, stress-free spaces

Emotional Health: Maturity, self-awareness, empathy, connections with others.

After you take this quick assessment, my sense is that one or two areas will be most obvious for you to begin placing new mental and emotional energy toward. Let your future begin taking shape now!

The most direct way to realize a better future is to envision and create it now!

Other Perspectives on Purpose

There are many thought leaders who have significant experiences to contribute to the conversation around the topic of ‘Purpose.’ I thought you might like to hear other perspectives that may help you get closer to connecting with your own life and work purpose, or affirm and enhance what you have come to know and accept. Having a purpose, being purposeful, for many makes this entire life experience not only bearable, but enjoyable, meaningful, fulfilling and with side-effects never before imagined. I hope you find what you most seek in this life, that makes who you are and what you do matter!

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe. – Simon Sinek

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out why! – Mark Twain

The meaning of life is to find your gift . . . the purpose of life is to give it away! – Pablo Picasso

The purpose of life is the expansion of happiness. – Deepak Chopra

The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal. – Carl Sagan

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door. – Marla Gibbs

At a lot of companies founded on principles, the notion of making money is almost antithetical to the ethos of the place. From the very beginning, our business has existed to meet the needs and desires of multiple constituencies: customers, team members, vendors, shareholders, and the community. – John Mackey

Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives. – Brené Brown

Nothing is more creative… nor destructive… than a brilliant mind with a purpose. – Dan Brown

You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose. – Abraham Lincoln

He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any how. – Friedrich Nietzsche

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. – Robert Bryne

Knowing your purpose motivates your life. – Rick Warren

I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, “aw shit, he’s up!” – Steve Maraboli

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd. – Rumi

Those with purpose are driven to go beyond being merely materially, financially or worldly successful. Those with purpose scale the infinite joys of being and living a life full of significance to others! – Kevin Rafferty

Taking A Stand For The Millennials!

I have been immersed in the Millennial (M’s) discussion for a few years with business and non-profit leaders. The general consensus is these people, who are mostly from the Baby Boom or Gen X generations (the over 35 crowd), have much to say about this young generation now maturing into our workforce, and most talk is negative. My sense is that, like human beings most often do when confronted with an unknown or something new, we shift blame to those causing us the discomfort, in this case onto the M’s.

Yes, we say they were coddled, given much more attention from their parents, and were given trophies for just showing up to their soccer, baseball or you-name-it-any-other activity their parents over-booked them in while growing up, and a lot of that is probably true. Yet, as I reflect on my own generation growing up, my parents and millions of others, were hell bent on giving us kids much more than they were given. Indeed they did, yet I can still hear the words from adults while I was a coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s complaining about people my age (now 62) not wanting to work, being lazy, or with our long hair and burning bras causing mass confusion and disappointment in so many of our elders back then. We represented change and we shook their cages, causing many realities to go out-of-business.

Blame, shame and ignorance is no longer a strategy for dealing with what is already upon us, and that simply is that the system the traditionalists, boomers and X-ers have been life-supporting throughout our lives isn’t really appealing to these young people, who were raised with parents who told them, “You can be anything you want,” or “Go follow your passion and interests.” The M’s have been hitting corporate America and for the most part finding it unfulfilling, confining, unsupportive or uninteresting.

I take a viewpoint of leadership that goes deeper under the surface of how issues seem to appear. If we have young people viewed as apathetic or indifferent, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we leaders haven’t created cultures that are open to change, nor created workplaces where people can grow, or don’t have purpose-driven cultures (beyond making the boss happy and the company money) that give these M’s the deeper connection to their work and themselves they earnestly desire. If we say they have a sense of entitlement, maybe what is going on is that we haven’t created workplaces that have ample and constant communication with them, or we haven’t offered enough coaching (versus telling), or we don’t know or don’t allow them to play full out to their natural gifts and strengths.

The most disturbing data that has been tracked by The Gallup Organization for decades is on employee engagement. This is the metric that each month is gathered by Gallup and the sad fact is that the numbers have remained fairly stable overall for dozens of years. Look below and see for yourself how low overall employee engagement is noted by generations.

Millennials Gen X Baby Boomers Traditionals
Engaged 29% 32% 33% 45%
Not Engaged 55% 50% 48% 41%
Actively Disengaged 16% 18% 19% 14%

                                                                                                                             *Gallup 2016

From Gallup we see that no generation is that enthusiastic about their jobs, and as we look at the younger generations we see significantly diminishing numbers. This is appalling given that work takes up more time than all other aspects of our lives, and for most people is the number one indicator of our overall well-being in our own lives.

A question I can offer to all of us boomers and X-ers is, if we are so unengaged with our work, why do we want our kids to follow suit? If we can’t find work interesting, challenging, pulling at our passions, inviting us to play full out, how can we expect our kids to do the same?

Rather than chirp from the bleachers, or turn my head and hope it gets better, I have come to a few commitments I am willing to make.

1. The M’s now outnumber the Boomers as the largest number of people in our U.S. workforce. They are a force to be understood and embraced.

They are inheriting the big challenges created by previous generations and need every ounce of support, wisdom, coaching and direction the best of our generations can offer.

The way I see it, if I want to be a force for good in this world, I must, and I am now committed to doing everything I can to make them the most self-aware, self-motivated, self-responsible, successful and significant people our society has ever seen.

2. The Boomers and X-ers must take time to get a deeper understanding of what M’s really want, how they tick, and where they are looking for help beyond what their parents or our education system offered.

For example, I find they have a huge fear of failure, and will procrastinate and not be timely with projects, so can we realize that possibility exists and create cultures where failing isn’t feared?

In fact, the most interesting places to work share a similar motto, “fail fast – learn faster.” We can either understand them, or we will lose.

3. The M’s are being sandwiched into a world of work where they are getting the life-force squeezed out of them.

We overlay hiring practices that don’t ask enough questions and hire too often from resume, pedigree, or our need, rather than fit for them and our cultures. We use antiquated performance reviews that sparingly offer needed feedback, or worse, suck the life out of all of us who do them and have them done to us. We have job descriptions that come from a time where management didn’t trust people, or just felt the need to control, and the M’s feel limited and then become disillusioned, disinterested and leave.

I / we in leadership roles must look at our own systems and cultures and be ready to lead necessary life-enhancing overhauls to make our workplaces come alive, foster trust, respect, teamwork, collaboration and higher levels of productivity.

4. M’s are more ‘world-aware’ and connected that any other generation, and yet are exposed to the same world and upbringing we all were.

I see all of us adult humans struggling from the various cultural conditionings we have undergone since birth, where beliefs, biases, fears and norms of others seep into our consciousness, steering who we think we are and what we think we should/have to do to fit in. In our heart-of-hearts we sense we can and want to be much more, more happy, fulfilled, effective, useful, valued, loved, successful, or significant, but don’t know how to fully self-actualize. I for one want to help as many of them re-connect with their own authentic essence, building on the promise of their youth to find their passions, set their own values, uncover their innate strengths and gifts, and build a life of purpose.

I commit to be of service helping as many see that “connection” goes far beyond what technology provides, where true connection comes between healthy, trusting, caring people working together for a common cause.

By the way, when you really look at what the M’s want from their work, it’s so very similar to what everyone of us boomers and X-ers want – interesting and meaningful work, be able to grow and improve oneself, to tap all available talent and skills, feel like we are contributing and are valued, be respected and involved in necessary communications, and feel like our work enhances our lives, relationships, health and well-being.

I have decided that for me I want to be the change I wish to see by helping this new generation be far more successful, significant, and prosperous and full of well-being that any before it. I welcome leaders in every sector, and who are in for-profit and non-profit organizations to see the value and the potential this generation offers the world. If we can be more conscious leaders, see what’s really going on, and then step forward with all our employees, we can literally solve any problem that comes our way and create a better future for us all and those coming after the M’s!

Now is the time to open our eyes and see all the potential, the possibilities that the human spirit unleashed can deliver! Bring on the Millennials! I Am a Millennial!

What Do You Stand For?

I’ve been immersed of late in a few programs that all touch on the topic of “Purpose.” Over these past 20 years, seeking the meaning to life, getting answers to the big questions, figuring out who I am and who I am no longer, had been a journey – a journey which recently I have joyfully completed. I have come to such starkly simple personal realizations that have been personally transformational and empowering. Rather than finding new things, people or roles to play to be fulfilled, happy, or successful, what I have come to know is: who I am, why I am here, what I value, what I am most passionate about, and what I can uniquely offer the world all come down to a few seminal “ways of being.”

What is meaningful to me about being fully alive is to just be awake, aware and connected to ‘what-is’ in every present moment. Allowing each moment to play itself out as it is unfolding, with no judging, shaming, blaming, cynicism, resignation, or emotional hijacks from past-programming lets me be open to just ‘being-with’ what is happening, and frees me up to either fully enjoy it, or be more creative in it, or be able to bring whatever gifts it needs to resolve issues or challenges much more effectively.

My “why,” or purpose for this life is ‘To Connect’ – connect to all of life and everyone, every thing, every situation with my full essence. My core values are: to grow/evolve; authenticity, integrity, intimacy, and love. Passion flows through me when I am connecting to meaningful moments, people, and experiences. My highest vision sees a world of people awakened to their authentic selves, free from the restrictions of ego, limiting beliefs, past wounds, stories and fears, and my life’s dream now is to awaken as many people as I possibly can to the own authentic presence.

Staying in that pool of awareness as I write these words, what is now top-of-mind for me is the question, “what do you now stand for Kevin?”. Taking a stand is a great way to invite yourself into a new way of looking at your life, your world – both as how you created it to be so far, and what you now can best see of and for yourself by living with new possibilities. Taking a stand is when your values, passion, strengths, visions and purpose align within you as a power like no other, and has high value to others who you allow into your world and how you can be of highest service.

What do you stand for? The questions that have proved most helpful to me in answering that question are:

– What touches you or moves you to experience powerful, positive feelings and emotions?

– What inspires you, lifts you up?

– What positive themes have been always present throughout your life?

– What do others say of your gifts they most appreciate about you when you are your best self?

– What values do you hold most dear that drive how you make your best choices?

– What sense of purpose do you know has always been inside of you, waiting to play full out?

– What dream(s) or song still inside you wants to play, be fully realized?

– Who do you want to be when you grow up into YOU?

What has become so clear to me now is that in my “way of being,” I stand for the possibilities of: loving connections, authenticity, awakening others, and empowering leaders. These words tie in so meaningfully and beautifully with who I am and what I can best take fully into my life and in connections with others and the world. This is the true inspiration, motivation, reason I need to drive my desires, commitments, intentions to make the highest and best choices I can. In this way I can best serve others and be fully utilized simultaneously. Joy, meaning and well-being are the results of my taking that stand in every moment of my life.

What do you take a stand for – a stand for which you feel and know is totally right for you – and that allows you to bring your best self to life, to others, to challenges and opportunities? What is it, if it was fully realized, would make you feel as if your life was a total success and you were completely fulfilled?

We all have choices – to stay in the life mode you are currently experiencing, or, because you know you are ‘sitting in the bleachers’ of your life and only experiencing some or infrequent jolts of real aliveness, you are ready to say yes to new possibilities. In the end your life is always up to you and the moment-by-moment choices you make that defines it. Whether your choices are made through the lenses of restrictions, excuses, reasons, and fears that drive your experiences, or are examined with honesty, authenticity, and a willingness to let go of what no longer is true for you, and an openness to being and living more as the authentic you!

Are you ready to choose anew? What can you now see that stirs the real you up? What do you now want to choose for you?

I hope you can give yourself some quiet, reflective time and allow yourself to reconnect with who you really are, what you are uniquely gifted at, and what is needed to allow you to be and become that for your own life, and for those you most care about.

 

The purpose of life is to first find what lights you up, see at what you are

most gifted, and realize what is most important and meaningful to you.

 Fulfillment, happiness, success and significance are the result you experience

when you bring that purpose fully to your life, to others, and to the world!

Deeper Perspectives on ‘Purpose’

We, in the conscious business movement, have been realizing over the last few years that when businesses and leaders establish a deep-rooted purpose for their business, their business results are far often much better than before, and they significantly out-perform others in their competitive space (Firms of Endearment). The type of purpose I refer to here is what’s called a ‘people-centric’ purpose, one that makes the reason the organization exists for the benefit, advancement, or service to other groups of people. This differs radically from the typical historical reason most people believe businesses are created for – which is to ‘maximize profit’ for the shareholders.

The most distinctive measure we have hard data on – employee engagement – has been charted by The Gallup Organization for decades. It reveals that between 20-30% or all employees feel engaged at work in some significant way. That also means that 70-80% of all workers don’t feel they find where they work, who they work for, or what they do to be very motivating. Yet our default purpose for business, to make the company money, more money, as much money as possible, doesn’t really positively impact most of us. We do as much as we need to, and typically no more.

Think about it for a minute, if you are not the owner of a business, do you really wake up in the morning and think, “wow, I get to go to work and make my owner a lot of money today!” Unless you are financially rewarded to drive a bottom line, you just don’t really care about that as an exciting reason to go to work. This leaves the ownership and ‘managementship’ in a tough place – as the ones who have a payoff to focus on profits, they have to keep grinding on others to get stuff done so they can get stuff out the door, get paid, and hope there’s a profit left over. It’s been the recurring story of businesses all over the planet over the past 150 years.

A growing number of business leaders, and over the last 10 years a significant number of entrepreneurial start-ups, have come to a higher level of awareness that there are easier and much more effective ways to more fully engage the heads, hands and spirits of people they bring on board to get things done. These men and women realize a deeper reason they are in their business, or see other more meaningful purposes for the existence of their business (beyond making money). These purpose statements are directed at improving, enhancing, nourishing, assisting, serving, human beings. They are deeply meaningful to the owners and leaders, and they take that essence directly into the daily fabric of everyday decisions, hiring, employee development activities, problem-solving, idea creations, performance reviews and rewards programs.

These purpose-driven firms look for others who resonate over the same things they care about, and make for easier, long-lasting hires. These leaders help people find ways to connect their work and performance to the company’s purpose, and experience far fewer costly mistakes. People who go to work at companies with a purpose stay longer and are more self-enrolled – which impacts so many areas of the business in so many positive ways.

Make no mistake, money is not the negative here, it’s how we have been going at making it that needs to evolve.

If making money is important to you, and you own or are running a business from the top seat, and you’d like to have more joy and peace-of-mind while making that money, you need to expand your understanding of human nature and motivation. Step outside that box where your comfort zone has been hiding, and begin to re-think your business and your own motivations. Why did you begin to do what you do, besides just financial gain? What about your organization and the products/services it offers really positively impacts others? What life-affirming, life-enhancing, life-supporting do you really offer? What about your business, your work, really touches you deeply?

Begin to think about these questions. Invite others in your firm into those conversations. Look to answers that help with the questions, “Who are you, why do you exist, who do you help, and why?”

If you as a leader can make your deeper purpose known to others, you will attract like-minds, and they will become advocates, even zealots for your cause. The next level of success awaits you – significance is around the corner.

Are you ready to be significant? The world awaits those who come alive – is that you?

The Power of Purpose

Have you ever wondered what your life is all about, and why you are here, on this planet, living in this time? What really, at the core of your being, has been a constant pull, a theme, a series of meaningful desires that keep calling to you?

Now ask yourself, what is / has been the purpose of your current life? Are you fulfilled living the life you are? If not, are you willing to do some self-assessment to find that part of you that would make you come alive?

I have come to hold true that the grandest purpose of our lives is to bring ourselves fully to every moment. Purpose is where we assemble all that we know, value, and believe about ourselves, add our innate gifts, abilities, and talents, and fuel them with our passions, vision, and goals. Purpose is the sum of everything you hold true and dear. It is an invaluable matrix that you put together. Each priceless element represents a key component of who you are, and strung together, they say to the world, “This is who I am!”

Our purpose is the blueprint and theme of our life. Purpose is our ground. It is the constant in an ever-changing world. It gives us direction, focus, and feedback as we travel through life. It allows us to carry out our life completely and confidently. It allows us to express our uniqueness without ego, harm, or attachment. It channels the energy of our passion into the connections and work we offer the world. It answers the questions “Who Am I, why Am I here, and what Am I to do?”

Knowing, truly feeling, and living one’s purpose leads to authenticity. Authenticity is revealed through living your life with purpose. Purpose channels our moment-to-moment thoughts and feelings, and it allows us to live our truth in every moment. It gives a name to our special existence. It allows us to interact in an open, honest, real, intimate, simple way that delivers continuous opportunities for happiness. We all marvel and connect with those who live from a loving, open, focused, and contented center. That same opportunity is available to every one of us – it becomes ours to manifest, or not.

I have learned that the purpose of my life is what I say it is. My purpose is the meaning I give to my life. There is nothing that I am supposed to do other than what I say. Waiting for outside affirmation keeps people on a Ferris wheel that goes round and round. I spent many years chasing the “what” and “why” from outside sources, including the phantoms that my ego loved to bring my way. Once I realized that I held all the keys and had all the power, things became clearer, simpler, and more joyful. People and events started happening that supported this new way of thinking, and my life has been fulfilling ever since.

Purpose answers the question “Why Are You Here?”

Author/speaker Simon Sinek says having purpose is the most powerful form of human motivation, especially at work: “Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not. Unless you give motivated people something to believe in, something bigger than their job to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever’s left.”

I invite you to take some time and see whether you have a meaningful, life-affirming sense of purpose, and wake up each day ‘on-fire,’ or, if not, you begin a process of self-discovery that could significantly alter you life’s trajectory.

Consider the following questions, and see what opens up for you. Look at your answers to these questions around who am I, what is my uniqueness, my special offering to this life and the world? How can I best serve and be fully used and live with more freedom, joy, and fulfillment?

Q: Why are you here, in this world, right now?

Q: Do you have a sense of a life that you want to lead, a feeling of what you are meant to do or are supposed to do?

Q: What are you seeking?

Q: If you could live your life any way you desired, what would that look like? Who would you be, what would you be doing, and how alive would you feel?

Q: What are you trying to become?

Q: What difference do you want to make in the world?

Q: At the end of your life, what do you want to leave for the world?

Begin a journal on your answers, on what comes up for you. Let the following graphic help you see how purpose interweaves in everything you are, say and do.

Purpose pic (2)

I like to use the following formula that we all can use to re-connect to our own innate purpose:

Purpose = Awareness + Values + Passions + Vision + Gifts + World’s Greatest Need + What Can Sustain You

 Life is a gift bestowed on every one of us. The challenge is to live the life you intend, to live the grandest version of the greatest vision you can imagine, and to discover and unleash the abilities you possess so that everyone, including you, benefits from being in your presence. When we link all the elements of who we are into this chain, we create our most unique and powerful energy. Our purpose, our meaning of life, becomes the most effective, loving, and satisfying way to live. Re-membering our purpose, living a life of purpose, is the best definition of a life well lived.

Our shared purpose in Life is to find our Purpose – our individual Purpose is to give ourself fully to it!

Millennials and Engagement – A Two Way Street

I recently came across another report from Gallup on Millennials. Millennials –  those born between 1980 and 1996 are the generation in the workplace most likely to change jobs. They found that 21% of Millennial workers had switched jobs in the last year, a number that is more than three times higher than non-Millennials who report doing the same. Six in 10 Millennials say they are open to different job opportunities, which is also the highest percentage among all generations in the workplace. And Millennials who want different roles or new opportunities aren’t staying with their current company to find them. A separate Gallup study shows that an overwhelming majority of Millennials (93%) say they left their employer the last time they changed roles. Only 7% took a new position within the same company.

This is a huge issue, and opportunity, for employers who need to attract and retain these young, talented people. Managers in the Boomer and Gen-X generations must learn to understand and adapt to the values and desires of this generation. Complaining and pointing fingers isn’t the solution. The cost of turn-over is always high, not just on the bottom-line, but also to the people and culture of the organization. People of all generations, at the core, are looking for the same things in their work. Millennials will simply act quicker when they find they are not getting what they think they want in their jobs. The task for leaders is to learn what motivates this generation, and then feed them that!

Gallup asked workers how important particular attributes were to them when applying for new jobs. Among Millennials, they discovered that the top five factors are:

– Opportunities to learn and grow

– The quality of their manager

– The overall quality of management

– Interesting work

– Opportunities for advancement

As I look back over the past 30 years, I have tracked the many studies and lists published in business journals about what were the top motivating factors that people were looking for in their jobs. The list below has been so very consistent, not only in the content of what people say they most want, but in particular the order of importance they rank those very desires. The list typically is as follows:

– Interesting work

– Being appreciated for work done

– Feeling of being “in” on things

– Job security

– Promotion and growth opportunities

My experience is that, no matter your age, we all want very similar things at work and from our work. We want work that stimulates us, keeps us learning and growing, has opportunities for advancement, to be respected and trusted to be told what’s going on, and to work with leaders who see us a human being and get to know who we are and what motivates us. Beyond basic pay and benefits, these are things we inherently seek, and when we don’t get them, even if only sensed subconsciously, we become more and more disengaged, and then find ways to exit. I think the Millennials are simply acting on the disengagement-factor quicker and jumping ship, whereby older workers just “stayed and stuck it out” for the duration. Either way, the cost of unengaged workers is the number one problem and opportunity facing us at work today.

A challenge to the Millennials is also in order here. Business, beyond the profit aspect, is about serving people’s (customers) needs and wants, and if a business isn’t capable of delivering the goods and meeting or exceeding customer’s expectations, no money changes hands, therefore no business. The key here is that we all have to deliver, we have to perform, we have to work together and make good stuff happen. While we all want to have things our way, we do at the end of the day have to get stuff done to someone else’s satisfaction. Look for the best place to work yes, but there is a reason we call work “work” – unless we get stuff done and deliver, there is no business, no job, to be had.

I also want to offer the Millennials another challenge. I have told all my coaching clients over the years that their role, and business in general, is the greatest ‘personal growth’ opportunity on the planet. I suggest you look at yourself as a business unit of one, and then look for other business opportunities that fit who you are and what you best have to offer. Get clear about who you really are – uncover your core values, connect with your root passion, discover your true gifts that in combination make you unique, and set a clear purpose of who you are and what you can best bring to the workplace. With that clarity, searching for firms who align with you becomes easier and more fun. Going into interviews is now more of a mutual exploratory conversation than the typical one-way monologue. And when the time is right to make a decision, you can say yes to a place where you see your motivators being honored, where you fully utilize your talents, where growth opportunities are what you make it, and where you feel you are a significant contributor to something that brings you more alive.

Engagement is a two-way street. Leaders must see how they can better understand their people and human nature in general, and then work to create cultures that ‘plus’ people rather than diminish them. Millennials also are responsible for their own engagement, and will have the better end of working when they see they generate their own connection to the company. If you’re not getting what you want at work – bring that up to your supervisors. Jumping ship has one common denominator – YOU. ‘You’ go wherever your new jobs are, and if you don’t see how you are truly motivated, or better understand the nature of work, you will never fit in, feel accepted, and then feel you have to seek relief by quitting.

I feel the Millennials are causing the biggest shift in management systems and leadership practices the world has seen. So I suggest we learn as much about them as possible. And I hope the Millennials will take the time to learn about themselves more as well soon, and then take that wisdom into their work.

 

If we all take responsibility for making work a noble practice, then problems turn into opportunities that can be easily resolved!

How to Discover Your Root Passion!

When I ask people “what are you most passionate about?”, I most often get as responses – my family, my lover, my work, my hobby, nature, and so on. Then when I ask them, “what’s beneath all of that?”, I typically get some verbal rummaging, or even a blank look with an, “I’m not sure.” Many people respond by saying they feel they have lost their passion, and don’t know what it is anymore.

While we think passion comes to us from something outside of us, from another person, from some thing or place, or some type of activity, what that means is when those people-places-things are not present we then are dis-connected from our passion. When we rely on some external source for our own joy, energy, happiness or pleasure, then we suffer when we are without them.

Passion is the energy of positive, creative, loving, trusting, spirit that is self-generative. Passion is the juice of life that makes who we are and what we do come fully alive. If we don’t know what our passion is, or wait for some outside source to stimulate it, we have little option other than to just robotically go about our activities, relationships and duties. No wonder Gallop’s tracking numbers on the levels of employee engagement at work haven’t budged in over 30 years. They say that roughly 30% of all employees are engaged I their work, while the rest of the 70% are unengaged and 20% of them are actively disengaged. Wow, a very sad state for the bulk of our workforce, yet a telling indicator of how disconnected so many of us are not only from our work, but in our own lives as well.

If you desire to get reconnected and clear about your own passion – what is at the core of passion within you – take some time and reflect on the questions below, and take the Passion Exercise by clicking the link below. Really give yourself some free, uninterrupted time for self-reflection. Quiet your mind, so your inner voice of wisdom is the one answering the questions. Allow whatever wants to come up to arise, without judging the content against current expectations. Take these questions and journal them, and allow new concepts and answers to guide your pen. Make this all about you, about you becoming a higher version of You!

What do you currently think you are passionate about?

What dream or fantasy about your life have you held for some time?

What do you love about yourself?

What have you always wanted to do (but never done)?

When do you feel important and worthwhile, like you are contributing to others?

What do you love so much that you would pay someone else to allow you to do it?

What would you do or create if you knew you could not fail?

What do you think you are best qualified to do?

What are you most proud of having accomplished so far in your life?

What are you doing that no longer fulfills you?

If you only had a few weeks to live, what is the last message (lecture, note, gift, etc.) that you would give to your closest family members and friends?

What is the best gift you could receive from your family, friends, and humanity?

If you died today, would it have been enough? What would have been left to accomplish?

If you had all the money you needed to live your life exactly the way you wanted, what would you do? What would your life’s work be?

What would you do if everyone on the planet was fulfilled, healthy, happy, prosperous, and did not need you or your help?

Who is the YOU that you feel you were meant to be?

Click [here] to take The Passion Exercise.

There are three ways you can realize your passion fully in your daily life. Wherever you find yourself, now or in the future, you can always live your passion. Of the three options below, find a passion outlet for your life. Never leave home without it!

Your Passion Is Your Work – Seen as the most desired state by many, this is where we blend our deepest passions with our need to make a living. Many have been able to make this connection, and they keep the fire of their passion while at work. Many start young, when fear is not present, and some find this in the second half of their life. Either way, those who say they are living their passion through their work or business experience a high sense of joy, gratitude, and fulfillment while making a great living for themselves, their families, and those who work with and around them.

Your Work Supports Your Passion – Working to support your passion is an option. There are those who know their passion and are thrilled to devote their free time to the pursuit of it. They may have work that is enjoyable among people they find interesting, but their work is not their passion. They look upon their work with gratitude for all that it provides, knowing that their passion is waiting for them at the day’s end.

You Take Your Passion into All Endeavors – Some people have a strong sense that their existence is centered around a life calling: teaching, serving, caregiving, leading, performing, creating, exploring, thinking, connecting, loving, or learning. Their awareness of this sense drives them to embody their passion and enjoy the situations they encounter whether for work or pleasure. They seem to come alive in almost any situation because they see themselves, who they are, and what they are doing as passion / Life flowing and living through them. These people are the ones we often are most drawn to, and feel we get energy from them.

If you can live your passion in your work, and get paid for it, that’s great. If you cannot quit your day job, allow it to support your passion off the clock. If you can take your passion into any situation, especially at work, you have hit the jackpot. No matter your life circumstances, do not shortchange yourself and set your passion aside “until you make enough money.” Find a way to live and be connected with your passion daily. It is the greatest gift you can give the world and yourself!

Are you worth living a life full of passion? What would your life be like if you lived with more passion? Besides you who would benefit from you being a more passionate human being, friend, lover, and leader?

The time is now. I invite you to re-ignite your own internal flames – and get on to living a life rather than just being alive!

 

Live passionately. Everything else is a waste of time.

What Gets You Up In The Morning?

Passion!

Do you have it? If you do, what is it, where does it come from, and what triggers it in you? Do you take that passion into your work, your role, your relationships at work, your culture? Did you used to have passion, but seem to have lost it? Have you ever had passion for the work you do now, and if not, why?

I want to touch on passion because of its central nature to our being. We have all witnessed people who are passionate about what they do—artists, athletes, poets, singers who are “in the flow” of what they do. In moments of flow, time stands still, things come and go with little effort, and the person feels alive, connected, creative, and whole. Most people have experienced moments like this; many connect with their passions at least occasionally. Those who are following their dreams and living their lives with full vigor do so from their deepest passions. For those of us observing people who wear their passions on their sleeves, are we not in awe of them, maybe even envious? They seem to be more successful, creative, happy, and joyful!

Passion is based on one of the most fundamental forces of all: the instinct to express life fully. Passion is a force of nature. It is a rich, soulful emotion. It is always an internal event, not something from outside you. It connects your thinking and feeling parts, and it makes you feel bigger, better, bolder, and more alive.

Passion is the juice of life. It is joy manifested through you. When you are living your life through, with, and around your passions, you are elevated to the highest sense of yourself where enjoyment, connection, positive energy, pleasure, success, accomplishment, and meaning reside—all of which define a life well lived! Passion makes life worth living! It is the bridge between our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about who we are and what we want. It is the creative thrust that arises from within us and propels us to action.

A key element of the authentic leadership equation is passion, because passion is the energy behind authenticity. Those who know what their passion is have a zest for life, and those who live their passion enjoy reward and meaning. They have reached enlightenment in and through their work. In fact for these folks, work isn’t work, it is “play on steroids.”

I have come to know passion and its importance for the human family. It is at the center of our existence. It has been said that love is all there is, and love is what makes the world go round. Love, manifest in human beings, is what we call passion—the eternal flame of love’s energy is at the root of all life. Passion is the life-force. It is our motivation system from fulfilling our basic survival needs to satisfying our most vivid, expansive dreams and desires. It drives our senses and moves us toward higher states of love, happiness, connection, meaning, and satisfaction. It fuels our values, vision, desires, and outcomes.

Passion = Meaning + Fulfillment + Love + Connection + Hope

Take a moment, and stop and ask yourself:

– “Do I know what I am passionate about?”

– “If I do, am I fully expressing my passion in my work?”

– “If I have lost my passion in my work, what can I do to bring it back?”

If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, are you willing to begin a journey of introspection, get some coaching or join a peer group, or explore new avenues to get your mind and spirit activated in new ways?

If you know your passion but don’t bring it to your work, then ask yourself why, what’s holding you back from bringing that personally positive energy into the thing you spend the most time doing? Or, are you just in the wrong position or with the wrong organization? Either way, what price are you paying for not being passionate about what you do, why you do what you do, or where you work?

If you are a leader:

– Are you channeling your passion mindfully every day, in every encounter with your people, to help bring about the best and highest results for all? How do you know?

– Have you misplaced your passion, and if so, are you ready to re-engage with it and bring it back into your work? What will it take for you to reconnect with your passion?

– If you don’t bring passion into your work, or are faking it, do you realize your people are probably on to you and your inauthenticity? Remember when you had someone pretending passion with you, and are you ready to wake up to the current realities of your working that way and the effects on your team?

We all have lapses with passion, maybe even at times question why you are doing what you are doing. When I do, I find an easy question I can ask myself is, “What do I truly stand for in this moment, with this endeavor, with these people?” It reminds me of what’s important to me and gets me right back to square with what makes me come alive, allowing me to be more present, open, inviting, connected and effective as a leader.

Passion is directly linked to our values, our natural gifts and strengths, a vision, and a strong sense of purpose. It takes plenty of personal soul-searching and reflection to gain conscious clarity about who we are as values, passion, gifts and purpose. I encourage you to turn the light of inquiry inward, and connect your spirit to your higher ideals. This will re-ignite the pilot-lite within you and allow you to see and think more clearly and creatively, connect more deeply and meaningfully with others, and enrich and enliven your life and others’ lives around you.

Passion is the fuel of being a conscious leader. Light yourself up and watch your world improve dramatically!