Blog

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

How to Live and Lead “Above the Line!”

My last two blogs addressed the two states of living/being I refer to as “above or below” the line. There are only two states we humans can live within: either we are fully aware and awake in this present moment, or we are not. In essence it is like flipping a light switch on or off. We live either in the light, or in the dark, and actually it takes an inordinate amount of focus, attention and skill to live in the light. The ‘line’ in this case is the demarcation zone between being in the light or not.

When looking at what these two actually mean, think of it this way. When we are present, aware and awake to what is currently going on within our mind, body and spirit, the part of us that observes, that is aware and knows it’s aware and is experiencing what is going on right now, is active. That observer becomes aware of the thinking and feeling that is going on right here, right now. The thinking and feeling states of one who is conscious in any given moment center around the root states of love, joy, peace, freedom, caring, connection and power. When you can assess and then know you are sensing any of these, you are conscious.

Another way to be conscious is if you are in a negative state, such as fear, shame, sadness, loneliness and such, and as you pause to self-assess: you can sense that right now, in this moment, you are feeling one of these, and you choose to stay fully awake and aware while in that state and allow it to be fully experienced and then pass, you are conscious.

In other words, being conscious can just happen, and you are conscious that you are conscious in that moment or stream of moments, and just be with it, or you can choose to be conscious, no matter what is going on within and outside of you. When you recognize that you are conscious or choose to be conscious – the light is on. All other times the light is off.

What happens when the light is off? We automatically revert back to what I call our ‘default conditioned self.’ This is the you that since birth has developed primarily from what outside sources have instilled within your psyche. Our parents, family, teachers, friends, society, culture, and institutions all try to help guide and form our lives, and they do so by telling us what we should do and not do, think and not think, and be or not be. We become a conglomerate of beliefs from a bunch of other people, who, by the way, were all raised the same way we were. We also are a product of earlier childhood experiences and interpretations that may not be serving us best in our current state of adulthood. The person we are now operates so much without active conscious thinking. Our behaviors and results are driven by subconscious habits and beliefs. This type of consciousness happens ‘in the dark’ and is our default auto-pilot way of getting along in daily living.

It’s impossible to be fully conscious when we are living with mindsets and emotional states such as fear, reaction, judgement, drama, stories, blame, shame, trying to look good, covering up, and putting up walls and blocks to protect ourselves from others. Most people are so conditioned from their past that they think they are conscious, in fact will boast about it, yet they just keep getting pulled into the same patterns of thoughts, feeling and actions. Conscious people self-assess and make corrections when behaviors go dark – unconscious people just keep going along their past patterns, often making lots of noise and with plenty of drama, but they are still stuck.

If you want to live and lead consciously, here are a few ways those who are more conscious live by:

– Find a way to self-reflect, and often. Start reading books, attending programs where you expand your mind to new areas of thought, and you do the thinking, rather than get hijacked by the thinking of your belief system. Really be open to others perspectives and experiences, and then be open to the intuition within you to assess and make changes to your own ways of thinking and being.

– Have a process to assess your belief system, see which ones truly serve you now, and which prevent you from living more freely, lovingly or healthily. Be able to let go of the beliefs that need to go.

– Find ways to give yourself quiet time to just sit and be with you, your thoughts and feelings. Meditation, mindfulness and contemplative practices are very helpful and powerful to give one a deeper sense of self beyond the superficial.

– Find tools to help you ‘remember-to-remember’ if you are conscious or not. Some type of visual cue (a bracelet, desktop figure, reminder on a mirror, etc.) or calendar things that help you become aware of where you are, where your thoughts and emotions are, in any given moment.

– Look deeply at who you really are now – what are your current values, what are you most passionate about, what are your highest and most valued skills, what vision and dream do you have for you now, and see if there is a sense of bigger, deeper purpose to your life. Discovering who you are now allows you to move past who you have been.

Leaders who live above the line also have other capacities that allow them to connect with people at a deeper level. The good news is that these can be developed and expanded within each of us, and they are:

– More emotional intelligence.

– Higher self-assessment and self-regulation skills.

– More awareness of the sensations and energetics of their bodies.

– Higher degrees of compassion and empathy for others.

– Greater communication, conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills.

– Think from a broader scope and are skilled at integrating various constituencies.

– Higher levels of integrity, where they keep their word and take responsibility when they break it.

If we continue to live and work primarily ‘below the line’ we will continue to do and create what we are currently experiencing. We will not solve any of the big problems we are facing, nor will we really invent any new ways to live better. What we see now is what we will continue to get, yet with more people on the planet each day the current status quo can only lead to more stagnation, gridlock, disconnection and disenfranchisement.

If we can learn to live more consciously we can create new outcomes. We can resolve past issues and co-create new possibilities. We can work together in harmony and relieve ourselves of suffering, hardship and separation. We will also get far less negatively triggered, and when we do we can positively recover quicker and clean up any relationship messes we made. We can consciously evolve ourselves, our relationships, our organizations and our cultures.

Consciousness is a choice. One set of choices results in doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results (the old definition of insanity), and staying stuck. The other choice is to wake up, get real, see what’s true, and choose anew.

Being conscious is most needed now, yet it’s the most difficult thing to do. Are you ready and willing to play a bigger game, the most important game – or will you pull back, play small, hide, or blame others for your plight? It’s your choice – choose wisely!

Leadership “Above The Line”

There are four main leadership styles ruling our organizations, businesses and workplaces these days. All four have come into being over the last few thousands of years as people have come together in larger and more complex communities to work, grow crops, make things and get along.

According to the International Integral leadership Collaborative, the four current styles are:

Autocratic: “The person with the power leads via command and control.”

These people impose their will through reputation, fear, tight control over information, reward compliance and punish disloyalty. They dominate and often use aggression. Their level of egocentrism is very high.

Authoritarian: “The person with the authority leads via chain of command.”

These folks comply with established protocols, laws to meet requirements prescribed by authority. They value stability and conformity and rely on people following their authority for direction and meaning. Egocentrism gives way to righteousness.

Strategic / Achiever: “The person with the most expertise or money leads via planning and tangible incentives.”

They leverage financial incentives to motivate people and teams to execute to outperform competitors. They seek opportunities to advance their own goals. Financial gain is the marker of success. Winning is the goal, and personal advancement is the expectation.

Collaborator: “Leadership is not vested in any single person; rather consensus-based.”

This leader invites people to share feelings, perceptions in a group dialog, and then work together toward common goals that serve the greater good. Hierarchies and distinctions are frowned upon, as they work to see everyone as equal. They value connection, openness, and personal growth.

I think when we operate “below the line of conscious leadership’ is when we adhere to only one form of the first four styles of leadership. If I am only able to see the world from my one perspective, then I limit myself and those I lead. If my emotional and spiritual development gravitates to one of these four styles alone, then I am not growing, maturing, evolving as a person and a leader, and therefore I am stuck. If I am a leader and I am stuck, then my whole team is stuck as well.

Granted there are times when each of these four comes in handy – I will be the biggest autocrat if I’m in a burning building and want everyone to leave now! I can be an authoritarian when the best choice to set a policy or law for everyone to follow – we all drive on the right side of the road don’t we? If we need to invent and advance a new solution to a current problem I want to set goals and work to achieve them. And I also feel to get people’s buy in I have to slow down in order to make sure everyone is heard.

Below-the line leadership consciousness is more conditional-based, and centered upon the individual vs the others. Some of the characteristics I see in below-the-line leaders are: fear based; ego driven; self-centered; run by beliefs, often limiting; masks; drama; past-future focused; reactive; dictatorial, demanding, rules-based with people; dogma; resists growth and coaching and is adverse to change; more manager-oriented (get things done) than leader; not a high regard for people; feelings, emotions suppressed; force their views and opinions onto others; easily triggered and creates a wake; avoid conflict, or steam-rolls over it; attached to unhealthy aspects, and unable to change habits or behaviors.

There are a growing number of leaders who are becoming skilled in the next generation of leadership styles. They exhibit the following characteristics:

Influencer/ Facilitator: Insightful, Intuitive, Charismatic (non egoic), Persuasive, Flow-oriented.

Integrative: Visionary, Strategic, Coaching/Mentoring, Chaos, Stakeholder-oriented, System-oriented.

These men and women are more self-aware and conscious about themselves and others around them. They are: awakening to new truths; open to grow, learn, change; growing awareness to inner interpretations and how that directs one’s life; more self-motivating; set on changing themselves; coming to know their values, gifts, passions and live more from them; developing a life/work purpose; have a higher capacity for love and care; empowering others; interested in others growth and works to assist in that area; concerned about ethical choices; become more open, transparent; better at developing trust; being more responsible and accountable; developing emotional intelligence; learning what triggers them and work to reduce effect of emotional hijack; cleans up messes better; taking on more systems thinking perspectives; expanding spiritual capacity for evolving oneself; learning to be more effective at confrontation and problem-solving; open to coaching and mentoring.

Becoming an ‘above-the-line’ conscious leader is simply about becoming your Authentic Self. This type of leader is open and real, and in tune with their people under their watch. They know when to apply the right form of leadership to each unique situation and person. They orchestrate their teams for the benefit of all stakeholders, and generate huge levels of trust and well-being. While getting things done is always a goal, it’s not the only one. Achieving goals at the expense of people no longer works – achieving goals because people desire it for themselves is the outcome on conscious, ‘above-the-line’ leadership.

Einstein is often quoted that “we cannot resolve a problem at the level of thinking that created it.” We cannot resolve our problems sticking to the old four styles of leadership any longer. The world is to complex, the power of freedoms and information demand that people be treated with respect, caring and equanimity. If we keep trying to apply the autocratic, authoritarian, achieve or collaborator styles primarily our prospects are significantly diminished. I know we are evolving, we just need more conscious leaders sooner!

The world cries out for new leaders – can you hear it, will you heed it, are you willing to be a conscious, authentic person and leader?

Living “Above the Line”

I’ve written previously that there are currently four predominant world views people tend to gravitate to in explaining the world so that they can operate within it. World views are built upon one’s beliefs, values, biases, experiences and interpretations, and are so deeply engrained that they become the ’default’ operating system for our lives. By the time we are a young adult, we have been more fully conditioned to typically see the world through the lenses of one of these perspectives:

Egocentric

Impulsive, powerful, egocentric and heroic characterizes the mindset in this worldview. Powerful beings dominate the scene and everyone is under the control of one powerful leader or group. In this world, the powerful ones give the orders, the underlings obey. This trait or consciousness can be seen in tribal cultures, gang leaders, rock stars, people in the frontiers, or rebellious youth.

Absolutistic

The world is under the dominance of one order, one religion or an all-powerful bureaucracy. Those who follow the righteous order are accepted, while those who object to it are subject to ostracism and punishment. Everyone has to follow the code to live in harmony with the society and reap the benefits. There is only one right way to think, and law and order is dictated by that right way/order. May often be predominantly fundamentalist, conventionalist and conformist way of life. This trait or level can be found in religious groups, puritan America, totalitarian societies, and groups that stick to moral codes.

Achievist

This is the terrain of the over-achieving, scientific and strategic individuals. Dominated by self-interest and will, it marks the growth of the society through scientific and industrial revolution. Instead of succumbing to the herd mentality, people are individualistic, rational and achievement-oriented. Materialism dominates here and the world is a place where success and science rules over everything. This trait can be seen in Wall Street, in the upwardly-mobile middle classes of the world, in modern capitalist industry, and in emerging Asian cultures.

Egalitarian

Predominant traits are collaborative communication, networking, human bonding and ecological sensitivity. Set against hierarchy and social institutions, this level strives for bonding and equality among groups. There is belief in and acceptance of pluralism, diversity, and multiculturalism. Communities or groups are valued over individualism. This can be found in movements like civil rights, women’s rights, human rights, animal rights, and diversity.

One key commonality about people who operate predominantly through these world views is that they see their view as the right, best, correct way . . . thereby making all others wrong, bad, or incorrect. Just take a look at this political season in the U.S., and you can see how these four are playing out right in front of us.

We also can combine the aspect that we all, as we were raised from birth on, have been heavily conditioned by one or two of these world views without even consciously knowing or choosing to adopt them for ourselves. Coupled with making interpretations of what is safe and dangerous, right and wrong, or in looking good and avoiding looking bad as we developed, we come of age with so little self-awareness and conscious present-moment thinking capabilities. We go about following the ‘shoulds,’ ‘have-to’s,’ ‘don’ts,’ of those who have come before us in order to fit in, make a living, and try to find some level of success and happiness. So much of our daily activities are conducted without a lot, or any, conscious thinking. We seem to always be in some sort of ‘survival’ or ‘protection’ mode, and fear in its many forms drives our emotions-thoughts-actions-results.

How do some move beyond this hamster wheel of repetitive, self-centric, reactive ways of being and living? They self-reflect and educate themselves on other ways of thinking, knowing and doing. Whether driven by a deep frustration, depression or some type of wake-up call (such as a significant loss of a loved one or job, or by divorce or disease), some wake up to see new levels of reality and are motivated to grow beyond the levels they inhabit. As they expand their levels of awareness, they see more easily how others think, gain more compassion and empathy for others, and further their own development of the emotional-relational intelligences so they can be more of a positive impact and presence in the world.

It all boils down to consciousness – and whether you are living more from the unconscious /sub-conscious programming of your past, or have developed new abilities to live more consciously “in the moment.” In each of the four world views outlined above, most lives are lived in the unconscious mode, where we find ourselves following the values, norms, fears and beliefs of those mindsets without consciously thinking or evaluating for ourselves in the stream of the present moments of our lives. While we think we are awake, and we say we want different outcomes, we are stuck in the thinking that created our current realities, and so our lives remain the same. That’s the basic definition of living more from the unconsciousness than conscious.

As we live unconsciously, we are reactive, feel as if we are victims of life, fault and blame others for our pains and discomforts, have a loss of power, see life as a limited pie from which we have to get our piece, feel separate and alone, and are very self-centered /ego-centric. When we live consciously we are more intentional of our thoughts-feelings-actions, see ourselves as the creators of our lives, take responsibility for our actions, have a strong sense of confidence and power, sense there is plenty for everyone, and experience ‘in-the-flow’ moments and feel more connected. Choices and decisions made with higher consciousness mostly result in better outcomes with less stress.

To simplify our understanding of being more aware, more conscious, I use the concept of “below and above the line.” When we are coming from an unconscious mindset we are operating below the line of conscious awareness, and when we are more conscious we are above the line. It’s an easy way for me to check in with myself regularly during the day to see if I am fully here now in the present moment, or am I in some type of victim-ego-controlling-judgmental-reactive frame of mind. Bringing my attention to the question, “where am I now, above or below the line?,” allows me to immediately self-assess and self-correct if necessary. When I am above the line I communicate better, I connect more authentically with others, I can easily see the root of a problem and offer better solutions, I am more present with others and can be a better coach, and I find I am in the flow of richer feelings of joy, awe, gratitude and peace in my life.

Try asking yourself numerous times a day, “Where am I now, above or below the line?” If you find you are below the line, just observe your mental/emotional state, identify the feeling, see what other feeling would be more desirable in that moment, choose it and just let the energy of the past disseminate from you. If you find you are above the line, find something to be recognized and then appreciate it fully. I know this will work to bring you more self-awareness, which is the core point of personal power we all can tap in to when desired.

Our true power is always and only in the present moment. Self-awareness is what keeps one’s consciousness “above the line” and in the space of peace, awe, flow, connectivity, compassion, completeness and happiness.

Millennials – Stand Out By Being an Authentic Leader

One thing that is clear to me about the youngest generation in the workplace is that they are poised to revolutionize the way we engage each other in the world of work. In conversations I have with many in that generation, they see through the flaws and pretenses the basic four active leadership styles exhibit. They see the way the autocrats shut people down in order to be in total control. They are frustrated with the bureaucrats need to run a tight ship and put everything and everyone in a box. While the achievers seem interesting at first, the way they feel used and taken for granted with little recognition leaves them feeling resentful and frustrated. The collaborators work better with the Millennials, yet they take far too long to make decisions and things happen, which leaves the Millennials confused and anxious.

The older generations have been dealing with these four styles for so long we have been numbed down to just accepting that’s the best were going to have, and settle into ways of working that keeps us avoiding, pleasing, pretending, acquiescing, pandering, and hiding that makes us 75% disengaged in our work (Gallop). Disengaged workers generate far less profit, create too few new opportunities, aren’t interested in productivity enhancements and opt-out of problem-solving situations at a time when our economy and world need new, fresh ideas and energy in order to solve big problems and make our organizations run at optimum.

Millennials are entering the workforce in numbers larger than the Boomers ever did, and are crashing into the leadership styles that prevent, diminish, or disincentivize them from bringing their best to their jobs. They come into the workforce better educated, more tech savvy, and with higher expectations than any other group prior – they bring fresh energy like no other. They want to be part of something interesting, something bigger than themselves. They want to collaborate, be heard, and participate in bringing in new initiatives. They still have the youthful creativity and adaptability that can drive innovation and change. Yes, like all new workers, they have flaws and areas needing maturation and development, yet no matter what your opinion and experience of them is, they indeed are the leaders of our tomorrows. For that very reason we must wake up and co-create a new form of leadership that they can embrace and be successful.

I have worked with and coached leaders who have evolved themselves and model this next generation of leadership. I call this “Authentic Leadership,” and I know this will revolutionize our workplaces and our world, because it has demonstrated its efficacy in organizations in present time. While anyone can potentially become an authentic leader, it’s not for everyone. This type of leadership goes beyond barking orders, intimidation, leading by fear and pushing people beyond the limits and expectations of reason. This type of leader isn’t stuck in the old beliefs that people are naturally lazy, need to be told what to do, or are just part of a bigger numbers game for someone else’s benefit.

This type of leader is grown from the deep-rooted premise that people are inherently good, that they want to do good and great work, and be a part of a healthy, thriving, prosperous entity that honors, respects and cares for all the people aligned. Authentic leaders build ‘people-centric’ organizations, not because it feels good, but because it’s the right thing to do, and those kinds of organizations deliver far superior results than their competitors who are numbers and profit-centric (Firms of Endearment). Authentic leaders know what people need to thrive at work, and when people know they are perceived as the number-one priority, they are much more open to bring new ideas to the table, to work together better to quickly and sustainably resolve problems, are much more engaged and generate higher levels of performance and profitability.

The key characteristics I see that Authentic Leaders possess are:

  1. They are more self-aware, conscious human beings. They have taken the time to develop their ability to self-reflect and self-analyze from a non-ego perspective. They express openness, vulnerability and trust that welcomes others to bring their better selves to the table.
  2. They embody the facets of authenticity, which are: mindfulness, emotional intelligence, integrity, values-driven, bring their passions, know their strengths and weaknesses, self-responsible and accountable, and have the ability to self-monitor their emotions and willingly clean-up any messes they make.
  3. Through their own journey within themselves, they are much more aware and in-tune with all other people. They know how people tick, and have become more accepting of diversity and more open to things outside their ability to control.
  4. They have the ability of insight, see a bigger, brighter future, and can enroll, inspire and influence others in their initiatives to aspire and achieve things not previously thought possible.
  5. They see the intricacies of all the systems in play, not just the technological or mechanical, but the informational and human systems that comprise our everyday world. They take great joy in orchestrating and integrating all the energies that an organization requires, and have become adept at offering a loving hand that guides without manipulation.
  6. They come from a conscious leaders’ perspective and build organizations that are purpose-driven to realize something beyond financial gain. They attract like-minded people to build cultures and leadership systems that are more fully alive and better adapt to our fast-changing world.
  7. Authentic leaders care. They care about people, all stakeholders, and model the new form of ‘loving-leadership’ every day. They share, be it information, power, or profits. They know that by being more ‘servant-leader’ oriented, that people willingly follow and offer so much more of themselves to the benefit of all involved in the organization.
  8. They create teams, organizations and communities that generate well-being, happiness, fulfillment, and foster a deep sense of significance for all involved.

It is not an easy path to becoming a more authentic person and leader. Yet, the alternatives are daunting. Life as it is / has been, OR life lived well with more awareness, connectivity, joy, peace, accomplishment, and love – those are the choices!

My sense is that the younger Millennial generation is wonderfully suited to choose authenticity as their leadership style, rather than the old ego-centric options. I can see them in countless ways driving the evolution of our teams, groups and organizations as they bring this fresh, human-affirming way of leading into our world.

The impact of the Millennials not taking on authentic leadership consciousness is that more of the same will ensue; in fact, more of the same will continue the constriction and decline of the human spirit, and contribute to the growing, unresolved problems of our times. It always comes down to choice – my hope is more Millennials are waking up and getting real with themselves and others, which is the first step toward creating a new day. I see this new generation leading in ways not witnessed before, and that will make all the difference!

We don’t have a choice – it‘s really time to evolve, consciously evolve, our leadership in all areas. Are you ready and willing to become the person and leader you have inside of you?

Five Success Tips for Millennials in the Workplace

I have written previously that while each generation of Americans, from the war generation to Baby-Boomers, Gen-X and now Millennials, is formed by many different social, historical and technological factors – we as human beings all share similar drivers. The most success and happy people seem to intuitively know who they are, what motivates them, and how to take personal responsibility to create a life of their choosing. No matter your age or generation label, people everywhere want to live life more fully, joyfully and prosperously.

The five success factors I see that the happiest, more fulfilled people at work all share are:

  1. They have high levels of self-awareness.

The type of self-awareness I refer to is a level of being present/conscious to what is going on within, around, and by oneself in most of their waking moments. These people are much more aware of what and how they are thinking and feeling, and have a way to recover from emotional triggers and reduce the levels of negative impact that are a part of the human condition. They take responsibility for their actions, and are able to make peace with those in their space. Self-aware people are often referred to as having high emotional Intelligence, exhibiting being more skillful in areas such as: self-regard, assertiveness, independence, self-actualization, empathy, compassion, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships, stress management and tolerance, impulse control, adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving, optimism and happiness. The good news is that self-awareness and emotional intelligence can both be developed and expanded to maximize one’s ability to be a high functioning, emotionally balanced and effective person at work and in life.

  1. They live their core values.

Those who have consciously established their core values are the ones that have a consistent mechanism to assess situations and make decisions that are congruent with their whole being. We all have values instilled in us since birth, yet few take time to self-reflect enough to see what values they now hold most dear in their adulthood. There are lots of values out there, and those at our core are the ones we default to, and people who are more effective and happy know their core values and use them when dealing with choices life decisions.

  1. They align their passions and strengths with their organizations and roles.

People who know what brings them alive, who are cognizant of their innate skills and strengths, and have found ways to bring these into their daily lives, especially in their work, are the most happy and fulfilled. They see every day as a way to both be fully on-fire and to be of higher utility and service to those around them. The old saying “follow your passion” works for these folks because they take time to find organizations and roles that they better fit in to, rather than just take the first job that pays the bills.

  1. They have a deep sense of purpose in their life and work

When we are around those who have a strong sense of purpose, we admire them for their energy and sense of direction. These people see a bigger picture, one that touches, moves and inspires them to greater levels of commitment and action. Whether their purpose is aligned with the organization, or it has a higher calling aspect, purposeful people are the go-getters that make things happen, and they do it without ego, fear, or negative fallout.

  1. They care for other people.

The more happy and successful people get more out of life because they like, love, and connect better with others. Unless you want to live in a cave, we all live and work with other human beings, and those who take time to learn and understand about human nature seem to just get along so much easier and more effectively. Being of service goes a long way not to just make others feel good but also to generate a stronger and healthier sense of self and self-worth. The highest form of leadership is to know that when we care about others first, we build trust and respect that is the foundation of all meaningful relationships, and results in outcomes that have more positive, meaningful and profitable results.

Don’t wait any longer for your career to make you happy, or waiting for the big paying job to make you feel successful, or the right person to complete you – you will never get lasting satisfaction out of external motivators. Take time to self-reflect, find the authentic aspects within yourself – your values, your passions, your gifts, and your purpose. Look for ways to assess your abilities to get along in life and with others, and decide to self-improve and grow where you see yourself lacking. Realize that a huge part of living and living successfully is in how we get along with other people – all types of people, and choose to master the skills you need to better connect, understand and work together better with others. When you take charge of your destiny, your journey will be more joyful and the results will be more fulfilling!

I often use the simple phrase that has served me and others so well:

Wake Up, Get Real, Choose Anew – Now Live and Lead Your Highest and Most Authentic Life!

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!

unnamed

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!