Archive for July, 2013

“A true Democratic Spirit is up there with religious faith and emotional maturity and all those other top-of-the-Maslow-Pyramid-type qualities that people spend their whole lives working on. A Democratic Spirit’s constituent rigor and humility and self-honesty are, in fact, so hard to maintain on certain issues that it’s almost irresistibly tempting to fall in with some established dogmatic camp and to follow that camp’s line on the issue and to let your position harden within the camp and become inflexible and to believe that the other camps are either evil or insane and to spend all your time and energy trying to shout over them.”

David Foster Wallace
Wow pic 7-30-13
“Quietness is the absence of noise.
Peace is the presence of justice.”
Jesse Jackson

Last week, I shared my opinion about the impact I believe race had on one juror’s decision making process in the Trayvon Martin trial.

I did not ask you to agree with me, I simply asked those of you who did not agree with me to be willing to open your thinking to hear what you might be missing. There was a big response from people both in agreement and against, some of whom misinterpreted what I said.

For the sake of clarity, I have answered all of the comments. It shows how difficult communication can be because we all speak and hear through our own filters. How often do we not sit quietly and listen to one another? We are so busy formulating our responses, we cannot hear what the other is saying. It emphasizes the value of dialog for without it, we will never reach any kind of understanding of what the other is really trying to communicate, learning and growth are stifled and progress cannot be made. If you are interested in reading these, please go to my blog: Trayvon comments

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“Our job as enlightened human beings is to become conscious of the unconscious beliefs that dwell within us. We must remove those that cause anger, hurt and fear because they poison our minds, our hearts and our souls and are capable of destroying not only lives, but entire civilizations.”


Wow pic 7-23-13

I believe that Juror B-37 is a person who tried to do her best.

 I think she believes that race played no part in her interpretation of the events, the ignorance of which inevitably influenced her decision to believe Zimmerman, and separated her from being able to relate to Trayvon as a teenage boy walking home with a bag of Skittles.

 But race is a prism through which people see things. It is inevitable and often we are not aware of it.

 However, there’s a price we all pay for unconsciousness. The blindness perpetuates tragedies, disregards facts, makes up information and like all truths ignored, and when justice is not served, leaves us all internally unsettled.

 I am sorry . . . for Trayvon, an innocent black youth who was simply minding his own business, yet was targeted by an over-zealous, gun-wielding, self-appointed watchman who’s Life View filter decided Trayvon was “suspicious” and did not obey police instructions to stop chasing him.

 I am sorry . . . for Trayvon’s parents who have managed their extreme pain and loss with the most impressive dignity.

 I am sorry . . . for all African Americans who have to tell their children to watch out for police and private citizens with guns and to be careful to not walk too fast or walk too slow.

 I am sorry . . . for all the anger and fear that supports the Stand Your Ground Law (strongly endorsed by the NRA) that takes our humanity and civility away, giving a person blatant permission to aggressively hunt someone down and then when confronted, claim self defense and kill.

 I am sorry for the terrible racial disparity in our judicial system

I am sorry . . . for the racial unawareness and prejudge (conscious and unconscious) that continues to disregard and disrespect a large segment of our society.

 I am so very, very sorry . . .

 This is an important conversation and it must be had.

If you understand what I am saying, then DO SOMETHING . . . share your awareness with others, engage in discussions, write to your Congressperson about the Stand Your Ground Law and other gun laws that have gone far beyond one’s right to defend and protect.

 If you do not understand the outrage and the pain that resulted from the verdict, if you do not think racial profiling is at the core of this case, I encourage you to sit down with some African Americans and ask them to share their views of what happened, and DO NOTHING . . . ABSOLUTELY NOTHING . . . but listen and try to understand.

 Until we discover what we don’t know we don’t know . . . we remain unconsciously ignorant and it hurts us all.

 Thank you to my good friend, Mikey Coyle for this moving image.

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“He has delusions of adequacy.”

Walter Kerr

Wow 7-15-13

…or so said his boss when he handed him his performance review. Adequacy? First of all, in this rapidly changing economy and the job market the way it is, competition has increased, and adequate isn’t going to hack it any longer. Being just an “OK” player isn’t going to keep you employed. Companies are now looking for those people who are willing to go the extra mile and are committed to do whatever it takes to forward the organization.

This means that not only do you need to be attentive to learning new skills and competencies, but those “soft” skills need to be polished, too.

  • Are you flexibly changing with the rapidly changing demands within the company?
  • Are you going with the flow or bucking the system?
  • Are you collaborating and effectively communicating or are you creating problems with fellow workers?
  • Are you looking for solutions to problems or are you the problem?
  • Can you be counted on to do what you say you will?
  • Are you a cheerleader, encouraging others or a complainer who is always finding fault?
  • Do you take full responsibility for the success of your organization, recognizing the role you play either adds/detracts from the bottom line results?

These are important questions to ponder as we move through these difficult times.

But the poor guy above wasn’t even adequate. He had delusions of being adequate!! He was so unaware of how he was showing up, he had no idea he was as far behind the eight ball as he was. Don’t let that happen to you.

Every day, consciously assess your behavior, actions, reactions and results.

Check in to see how well you measure up to the Eight Principles in my book, Your Survival Strategies Are Killing You!

Don’t wait for your performance review. Proactively ask for feedback from your boss. Ask for the three areas where you could improve and share your commitment to do so.

Also be prepared to tell him/her about how you have been contributing (if you don’t, your accomplishments may go unnoticed.)

There are many ways to rise above adequate. You are an extraordinary human being with a lot to offer. Now’s the time. Don’t sell yourself short. GO FOR IT! Dare to exceed expectations and shine.

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“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.

Unknown 92-year-old

old man03

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with his hair fashionably combed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.  As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.

“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”

“’That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged… It’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice: I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away. Just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!”

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.2. Free your mind from worries.3. Live simply.4. Give more.

5 Expect less.

Have a happy day, unless you already have other plans.

Thank you to my good friend David Reynolds for sharing this story with us.

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“…no one can be given the right to lead.  

The right to lead can only be earned.”

John Maxwell


What Gives a Man or a Woman the Right to Lead?

It certainly isn’t gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank, or degrees doesn’t qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability doesn’t come automatically from age or experience either. No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be given the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. And that takes time.

 The Kind of Leader Others Want to Follow

The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow. You must become someone others can trust to take them where they want to go. As you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow:

Let go of your ego.

The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. They lead in order to serve other people. Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked, “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.”

Become a good follower first.

Rare is the effective leader who didn’t learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United States Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first – and why West Point has produced more leaders than the Harvard Business School.

Build positive relationships.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. That means it is by nature relational. Today’s generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.

Work with excellence.

No one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. They perform on the highest level of which they are capable.

Rely on discipline, not emotion.

Leadership is often easy during the good times. It’s when everything seems to be against you – when you’re out of energy, and you don’t want to lead – that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up or giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.

Make adding value your goal.

When you look at the leaders whose names are revered long after they have finished leading, you find that they were men and women who helped people to live better lives and reach their potential. That is the highest calling of leadership – and its highest value.

Share your power.

One of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it all for yourself. You’re meant to be a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.

Excerpts from The Right to Lead by John Maxwell

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