Free Your Tongue, Free Your Team

I recently had an amazing experience with a group of people, strangers to each other, but gathered for a common purpose – to explore the inner journey of leadership. The group had been meeting for a few months and all expressed some version of a profound change in their relationships with their workmates, family, friends and themselves. Yet, there was something still holding the group back a bit when it came to being completely authentic with each other. In this session, the main topic was Growing Through Failure. In other words, how to really face those situations that carry some sense of regret and the fear of going there again. Shame and fear have a field day with perceived failures …continue reading…

Struggle is Unnecessary Part II

In Part I of Struggle is Unnecessary, we learned that the struggle comes from denying what upsets us by pretending it’s not that bad and ignoring the physical, emotional, and mental cues that signal we need to pay attention. How are you doing in noticing your cues ? For some people it’s the pain in the neck, stiffness in the shoulders, queasy stomach, or ache in the heart. For others, the most noticeable cue is the anger, fear, or sadness they feel, or the monkey mind that spins and spins resisting the event or thought that triggered their upset. Continue to notice and, I recommend, write down your cues for a few weeks so your awareness increases. Once you are …continue reading…

Struggle is Unnecessary…..Part I

When they hear me say struggle is unnecessary most people look at me skeptically. “What about ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘adversity builds character’? There is truth in those maxims, but that’s not the struggle I’m talking about. When you experience an event or thought that you don’t like, don’t want, or don’t know what to do with, you are automatically struggling on the inside with that uncomfortable feeling. That thought or event evoked a connection to something in your past that you (mostly unconsciously) believe points to something unpleasant in your future. Then the emotion hits – dread, shame, anger, confusion, sadness, loneliness, for example. If you’re human like me, your first reaction is “get me out of here; …continue reading…

You Put Your Right Foot In….

I was talking with a friend the other day about taking risks. He said something really important. “You cannot fully commit to stepping into the unknown without having one foot firmly in the certainty that you’ll be OK no matter the outcome”. True leadership requires both – commitment to a course of action while staying grounded in trust that your heart will show you the next right move when the time comes as long as you remain true to your values. “But what if I make a mistake?”, you ask. Call it a bonus when that happens (notice I didn’t say if). Mistakes are opportunities to learn something new about yourself; a chance to examine what was missing, if anything, …continue reading…

Who’s Life Are You Living?

As I’m sure you already know, Steve Jobs, creative genius behind Apple, passed away recently. I was certainly aware of the results of his work having been an Apple user for many years now. What I wasn’t aware of was who Jobs was; what drove him; how his experiences shaped him. I’m curious by nature so I purchased a copy of his just published biography by Walter Issacson. I’m not very far into it yet, but the sense I have of Steve Jobs was that he was special and knew it. This both helped and hindered him. He did not compromise on what he passionately believed in , although sometimes not very gracefully or respectfully. One of those passionate beliefs …continue reading…

Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I’m startled to see my dad looking at me. When did that happen? He was a great guy, but I’m my own man or so I think. The truth is, I’m still uncovering who I really am. It’s not always a pleasant discovery. Some days I’ll see an angry or haggard or hard-hearted person peering back at me from the reflection in the mirror. Other days that guy is looking scared or sad. What’s his story? What happened to him to bring on this state? If I’m willing to look deeper, the answers are there in my heart, along with the compassion to ease the impact of the lesson I need to learn. …continue reading…

If You Want to Get the Best Out of Others, Get Your Eyes Checked

I was working with a client recently who was struggling with the performance of one his supervisors. He came to the session with an elaborate plan for reorganizing the entire work flow in an effort to simultaneously train a replacement and move the supervisor over where his performance would have less impact. After a few questions about how direct the client had been with the supervisor regarding his performance and the natural consequences of continuing that behavior, it became clear to both of us that the reorganization was a work-around not a solution. I asked him if he thought the supervisor would be successful after clearly understanding what was expected and how soon his performance needed to improve. His answer …continue reading…

There’s a Better Way

This blog is about finding and bringing your soul into business. That includes the business of running the country. I am frustrated and dismayed by the apparent lack of soul in what I witnessed out of Washington over the last few weeks. What happened to the constitutional ideal of government providing for the well-being of all its citizens? That ideal seems to be lost in the race to “win” at all cost. The outcome is everyone losing at great cost. Effective organizations focus on what they can contribute, not what they can get. The key to effectiveness is heart-centered leadership building an environment of trust and collaboration in its decision making. Trust and collaboration leads to differing gracefully and honestly. …continue reading…

It’s the Small Things

I’ve been sick for over a week now and while feeling  better today, I’m not yet 100%. My usual M.O. when I’m ill, is to power through and continue with my pre-planned schedule expecting the discomfort will pass. I find I’m not a very “patient” patient. What’s different this time is a bit of compassion for myself. My level of competence hasn’t been up to my usual standards and I’m OK with that. The other awareness is my compassion for other people who may succumb to this sickness too, if I don’t deliberately avoid contagious contact; a common polite consideration for most people, but a blind spot for me as my wife likes to point out. It’s a small thing… …continue reading…

In Memoriam

In my last post, I wrote about how inspirational the memorials in and around Washington, D.C. are. With Memorial Day just past, it reminded me again of the ultimate sacrifice so many on all sides of armed conflicts have given. These fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen deserve our honor, respect and gratitude. In this country, hundreds of thousands of service men and women were lost in our history from the Revolutionary War up to the present missions in the Middle East. WWII ended with the second most Americans killed in combat at 405,000, next to our own Civil War, but in total over 11 million lost their lives in that global conflict. A staggering statistic. The sad fact is …continue reading…