Archive for October, 2012

It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.
John Steinbeck



She’s Alive, She’s Beautiful, She’s Hurting . . .


The following video is a non-commercial attempt from www.sanctuaryasia.com to highlight the fact that unconscionable world leaders, irresponsible corporations and mindless “consumers” are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today. The cut was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network.

I believe it is well worth 5 min. of your day to watch it . . .


 There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need, but not for man’s greed.
Mahatma Gandhi

 As an evolved, conscious human being, what do you need less of, need to do more of and are you willing to do it? Because . . .

If we go on the way we have, the fault is our greed and if we are not willing to change, we will disappear from the face of the globe, to be replaced by the insect.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

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“Don’t worry about the wind. Adjust the sails.”

Ted Turner

The volatile global economy, the turbulent political scene throughout the world, the uneasiness and unrest, the job market . . . these events make it brilliantly clear certain Laws of Nature are inviolable and they only magnify the fact that when we ignore those laws, life and business don’t work.

With a computer, when you put garbage in – you get garbage out. Cause and effect. In the financial market, spending/loaning money you don’t have eventually catches up with you. In a government, when the people are suppressed, eventually there will be a violent backlash and so on. Reality shows us for every action/inaction there is a reaction and constant change is a part of life. Any living organism is always in the process of growth and living or decay and dying. It is always changing. It is never static. However, when there is a crisis, (which is inevitable when we continuously ignore universal laws) those who will survive will be those who respect those laws and respond accordingly. Those who will thrive are those who have prepared for the changes, or who are at least ready for more changes, embrace the changes, thrive on the changes and in fact, lead the changes. (Direct the traffic in the direction it is going!). Choose what has been chosen for you. Constant change is here to stay. Get it.

“I am convinced that if the rate of change inside an organization is less than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight.”

Jack Welch, Former CEO of GE

However, we must change the way we change, and we must realize there is no way to get to renewal through any corridor but chaos. Don’t resist chaos.

“Chaos breeds life; order creates habit.”

Henry Adams

Embrace it and move with it, like the turbulent waters of the river. Go with the flow. Don’t fight the current. It is how it is and the faster an organization accepts this and takes appropriate action, the more successful they will be. For example, GRAVITY. We don’t get up in the morning each day and say, “Oh, damn! Gravity. I have to deal with another day of gravity.” Of course we don’t say that for it would be foolish. Instead, we accept what has already been chosen for us and we adjust our lives accordingly. Gravity isn’t good or bad (and neither is the downturn in the economy or world unrest). It’s just “what is.” How we respond to it and deal with it is the important thing, and it is in this space that the champions separate themselves from the others.

In an earthquake, the most dangerous place to be is in a tall building that is not flexible. Yet, one of the safest places is a tall building that has been stressed for earthquakes, one that has a deep foundation that is flexible. So, too, over the coming years, organizations that remain rigid will crumble and fall, while those that succeed in adding flexibility and creativity to their cultures will thrive. In times of storm, nature teaches us the shallowness of the root structure is revealed.

Nature is our most trusted guide for it has survived extraordinary storms and violent changes. The metamorphosis of the caterpillar is a good example:

 Caterpillar to Butterfly: “How do you become a butterfly?”

Butterfly: “You have to be willing to die.”

Caterpillar: “Die?”

Butterfly: “Well, it feels like you’re dying. But it really turns out to be a transformation to something better.”

What stops us is FEAR.

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear…It’s like being in between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”

Marilyn Ferguson

To get to where we want to go, we must face our fears and let go of where we are. Picking up only one foot makes us go in circles. We must pick up both feet and let go of what we have known in order to discover what can be. It will be uncomfortable, disruptive and scary, but we must give up the way it is to have it be the way we want it to be. The rewards go to those who are willing to give up the past, embrace the fear and chaos and get busy designing the kind of future they want.

Ultimately, the choice is ours. The situation itself is not the problem. When you’re in a boat in a storm, don’t worry about the wind. It is inevitable and it’s something over which you have no control. It is what it is. Period.

The only important question is: How do you choose to respond? Perhaps you had best focus on what you can control and adjust the sails.


How does this also apply to your relationships?

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Excuse me, Ma’am

“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.”


 Excuse me, Ma’am . . .

 Awhile back, I was at the front desk of a very high end hotel waiting for a fax. There was a large group of people in the lobby, obviously attending a very formal affair. All were dressed in tuxedos and beautiful gowns. There was lively chatter and an excitement in the crowd. Clearly, they were all there to have a good time.

 Standing right next to me was a lovely looking woman who was wearing a stunning blue silk dress. I couldn’t help but admire how beautifully she had coordinated her ensemble and how she had exquisitely attended to every detail of her appearance. She stood out amongst the crowd with her elegance. Overall, I would say she was a bit intimidating with her confident posture and equally handsome husband standing by her side – especially since I was standing there alone in my little black pantsuit lugging a big bag filled with seminar supplies! I hardly felt like I “fit in” with this crowd.

 As I was admiring the fine details of her impeccable presentation, I saw her laugh and there, lodged in her teeth was some food!

(Spinach, perhaps?)

My fax arrived and I turned to go back to my room. I wanted to say something to her, but then the “little voices” said, “Mind your own business,” “Someone else will tell her,” “You’ll only embarrass her.” My own discomfort at the thought of approaching her started to take over. It would have been easier to walk away, but then a louder “little voice” spoke up. It said, “If you don’t tell her, who will?” “Do you care about her or don’t you?” “You can support her or ignore her.” Without giving it any more thought, I got her attention and whispered, “Excuse me ma’am, you look magnificent, but I thought you’d like to know you have a little something in your teeth.” After a brief look of embarrassment, she looked at me with gratitude. “Thank you so much,” she said. “I would have been mortified if I had gone through the evening without knowing this!”

 I smiled, wished her a nice evening and then walked through the lobby to my room. I felt good. I felt like I had made a little difference with her. How would I have felt if I had said nothing?

 I got on the elevator and there was a man dressed in a spectacular suit. I admired his appearance. Then . . . that moment of hesitation. Should I say something or just let it slide. Buoyed by my interaction with the woman, I stood by the door, looked him up and down and said, “You look FABULOUS!”

 “Really?” he said. A broad smile spread across his face and he stood taller. When he reached his floor, he gave me a little wave as he briskly and confidently stepped out.

 It’s called feedback.

 In my workshops, one of the exercises most valued by the participants is the feedback exercise. It’s very important to know the proper way to deliver sensitive observations to another, but to begin, let’s be aware there are two kinds of feedback:

 Corrective Feedback– is information that discourages behaviors by communicating that they did not have the intended results.

 How often has someone talked too much or too long and lost everyone’s attention? How often has someone been too abrupt or confrontational and turned people off? How often has someone not been prepared or been inattentive to detail and thereby, lost people’s trust in their ability to produce results? How often has someone complained and blamed others and kept themselves in the victim role?

How often were you aware of all of this and yet, you said nothing?

 The problem probably hasn’t gone away. You (and others) are likely still irritated, disappointed, exasperated and resigned. The problem has not disappeared because someone (you – if not you, then who?) hasn’t taken personal responsibility to give the feedback, which could be so helpful to the person.

If people aren’t aware of what they’re doing that causes disconnection, then they can’t change it.

Can you see how unfair it is to hold back information that could truly benefit someone? If we don’t give feedback in these circumstances, then we automatically become a part of the problem. We are silently colluding with the person to be ineffective.

Confirming Feedback – is information that reinforces desired behaviors and encourages repetition of those behaviors.

How often have you been impressed by someone’s actions? Maybe they spoke up at a meeting and bravely said what needed to be said. Or perhaps you know of a good deed someone has done or a particular kindness someone has shown – like always cleaning up the kitchen area (and there’s usually one person who does it more than others). Or perhaps someone made a particularly difficult decision and you appreciate their willingness to do it.

Can you see how your confirming feedback is important to continuing positive and constructive behaviors – be they in your personal or professional life? Your reinforcement plays a contributing role in developing and maintaining a positive environment around you.

 Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it.

Michael J. Gelb

Who could benefit from your caring support and observation? Will you say something?

Feel a little uncomfortable?

Then why not start practicing with, “Excuse me, ma’am” or “You look FABULOUS!”

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