Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Map vs. GPS

Ok, I realize that the stereotypical man doesn’t like to ask for directions, but I know quite a few who are great with maps (especially refolding them). But now with the advent of the GPS (global positioning system), the stereotypical man is finally off the hook. If he owns one, he doesn't have to read a map or stop and ask for directions. What a terrific invention!!!
Alright, I hope you guys out there know that I'm only joking with you. But the GPS is truly a terrific invention. I was thinking... what if we could create GPS-like systems for the rest of our life.
Wouldn't it be great to have a GPS for our
  • relationships?
  • careers?
  • spiritual lives?
  • business development?
  • finances?
  • raising children?
Have you tried self-help courses or books or seminars to help you with any of the above? I have. They often provide terrific MAPS to get you to their 'promised land.' I have tried so many of them and they have great tips and techniques that have proven useful over my career. However, they forget to put the little "YOU ARE HERE" mark on their map and I usually end up wondering around trying to find the right road that will get me to the next road on the map. Do you ever feel like that?
Then in 2005, I found the GPS of self-help and personal development. (I know you may be thinking that I'm off my rocker, but bear with me on this and I'll share my story.)

My Story
In 2004, my company had the senior management team attend a leadership seminar. Before we attended we had to take this weird assessment (which turned out to be the Hartman Value Profile-HVP). I am always skeptical of these assessments because I can manipulate them to say what I think my bosses want them to say.
But this one was very different, I just couldn't figure out "the catch". I mean, it asked me to rank items according to their value and the items were wacky. Here's a partial list:
  • a uniform
  • "With this ring, I thee wed."
  • a short circuit
  • Blow up an airliner in flight
  • Burn a heretic at the stake
  • a devoted scientist
I mean, the instructions were clear, but for some reason - because I wanted to 'figure it out' - I had a hard time with this. Finally, I gave in and just ranked them without trying to think of manipulating the assessment.
Now the rest of the seminar was a little 'out there'... literally. One of the speakers talked about the 6th dimension and extraterrestrials. But the assessment process stuck with me.
I started to research the HVP and found that it was based in the science of axiology that I discussed in my last blog entry. Science!! Now that is practical stuff that I can really delve into. (Yes, I have been called a geek before, so you won't be the first.)
I then found a company called 6 Advisors on the internet and they melded axiology with my favorite self-help book, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. It seemed to be a match made in heaven for me on the surface. Then, I took their HVP and received their interpretation of it. I was amazed that the assessment was able to measure HOW I THINK. I mean, really... some of the thoughts that I have, I consciously don't act upon. You probably have these kinds of thoughts too. This profile was able to know about those thoughts... the very core of my beliefs, emotions, choices, behaviors and actions.
Finally, a tool that could figure out where I was starting from... "YOU ARE HERE."

Monday, February 26, 2007

What are the Oscars really about?

They say that 1 BILLION people watched the Academy of Motion Picture Awards show this year. WOW! That is 1/6 of the people on this earth. OK, I admit, I was one of them for a period of time.

So what are these awards really about?

  • Is it about recognizing people for their achievement in the motion picture industry?
  • Is it focused on the lives of the nominees and the winners?
  • Is it about freedom of expression?
  • Is it about political and/or moral rights and wrongs?

If it is about any of the above, you would never know it by the post-coverage of the event on the US newscasts. Without fail every report that I saw on the major TV networks talked about the clothes that the attendees were wearing. THE CLOTHES!

What does that say about our values as a society? If we look at my previous blog and review the 3 classes of value, we will see that most of the evening focused on the EXTRINSIC values. Yet, the most moving and meaningful moments of the evening were the moments that touched our hearts. Two stand out in my mind...

  1. Jennifer Hudson
  2. Forest Whitaker

These 2 wonderful, gifted human beings focused on INTRINSIC values. These are the values that move us... they touch our hearts, our minds, our souls.

Jennifer's acceptance speech was so... REAL! She was truly thankful to her God for allowing her to be in this place in her life. She was overwhelmed by the response to her 'gift'. Amazing!

Now, Forest Whitaker also had an acceptance speech that focused on intrinsic values. He said in his speech...

"Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone. To that thing inside each of us. That light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection and it's a connection so strong, it's a connection so deep, that we feel it. And through our combined belief, we can create a new reality."

These are the things that you should try to focus on today. Focus on making that connection to other people in this world (regardless of what clothes they are wearing). People is where the true value, the true uniqueness, the irreplaceableness of our universe exists.

If you make that connection with another human being, setting aside your needs, desires, and fears - without the need to fix, feel ashamed, fear, or pretend - you will feel as though you made a difference.

Use that light that exists within you to connect to another person today!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who are you?

Do you know who you are?

It's been said that "you are what you eat". But, I'm not a salad or, if I'm being more honest, a cheeseburger and fries. The truth is that we are what and how we value. What we value and how we value are the keys to our results, our actions, our behaviors, our choices and our complete reality. Our values are the keys that unlock the doors to self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

Values are meanings, and everything of which you are conscious has meaning. Every waking minute, you are valuing or devaluing objects just by being aware of them. To be alive and alert is to be saturated with values and valuations. Had you ever thought of this before now? (Do you care? After all, that is a valuing on your part.) The immense mass of values and valuations that is your conscious life can be very confusing; but you can bring order to your initial chaos of awareness if you master some important distinctions.

Robert S. Hartman, the father of axiology, studied human value and figured out that all things fall into 3 classes of value. When you begin to understand this, it can have a huge impact on your conscious life. Here are the 3 kinds of value:

  1. Extrinsic: Extrinsic value objects exist in the common, public, sensory world of space and time that we share with others. Extrinsic value objects can be compared and contrasted with other extrinsic value objects. They have a finite set of properties and are practical or situational.
  2. Systemic: Systemic values do not exist in public space and time. They are not physical and perceptible things; they exist only as mental concepts constructed by our minds. They can be defined with absolute precision and every instance of them is flawless. For example, a circle that deviates slightly from being "a closed curved line with no thickness at all, every point of which is equally distant from its center" is not really a circle. These values do not have as many properties as extrinsic values and are completely conceptual and theoretical.
  3. Intrinsic: Intrinsic value objects are unique, priceless, and irreplaceable. They can be valued an infinite number of ways.

So, now we're back to the question "who are you?" Remember, we are how and what we value. How you see yourself (and the rest of the world) depends on how you value yourself (and the rest of the world).

  • Do you see yourself intrinsically - as a unique, irreplaceable, priceless individual?
  • Or, do you see yourself extrinsically - as a person in your profession who has a finite number of characteristics or possessions?
  • Or, do you see yourself systemically as an imperfect human being who doesn't measure up to what your mind thinks a true, perfect human being should be?

Here's another example from Robert Hartman on valuing his wife in each of the 3 classes of value:

  • My one and only, my world, my heaven, my life (intrinsic: singular concepts, priceless, irreplaceable, incomparable)
  • A good woman (extrinsic: abstract concepts, things of the everyday world, measurable, comparable)
  • A female (systemic: formal concepts, mental constructs, dualistic)

You can see that how you respond to the things in your life is a direct reflection of how you value them. If Dr. Hartman only valued his wife as a female, he could easily replace her with another. If he only valued her as a good woman, it may be a bit harder, but he could replace her with another good woman. But, because he also values his wife as his "one and only", he can never find another.

Are you valuing the things in your life appropriately? Would you like to find out which of your thought processes are balanced in their capacity to value? If so, click the link to the right or below to take a free assessment. At the end, if you find the information to be accurate, intriguing, or useful, check the box to purchase your complete assessment report along with a consultation with me.

Please note that all information we receive is completely and totally confidential.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"I will greet this day with love in my heart"

When I was about 23 years old, I was introduced to the book titled "The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino. That book truly changed my life.

Scroll II is titled "I will greet this day with love in my heart". It is so beautifully written that I wanted include a few excerpts here on Valentine's Day. Take a look at it and see if you are in the habit of applying these principles to your life.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I do this? Henceforth, will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.

Is this how you look at the world?

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even though they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me; I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet lonely; I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share. I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.

Is there anything more precious than human life? Og gives great examples of how to love "all manners of men".
  • Do you regularly take this perspective?
  • If you did would it make a difference in your life?

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And how will I confront each whom I meet? In only one way. In silence and to myself I will address him and say "I Love You". Though spoken in silence these words will shine in my eyes, unwrinkle my brow bring a smile to my lips, and echo in my voice; and his heart will be opened.

This particular part of the scroll changed my life. I was a shy person and very closed off to the world. I put this into practice because no one knew that I was doing it. Silently and to myself I would look at everyone I met and say "I love you." WOW, what a change! People on the elevator simply said 'HI' to me... yes, on the elevator (where people usually just stare at the buttons or numbers.) Be courageous today and put this into practice! Sure it feels weird at first, but this principle is timeless.

I will greet this day with love in my heart.

And most of all I will love myself. For when I do, I will zealously inspect all things which enter my body, my mind, my soul, and my heart. Never will I overindulge the requests of my flesh; rather I will cherish my body with cleanliness and moderation. Never will I allow my mind to be attracted to evil and despair; rather I will uplift it with the knowledge and wisdom of the ages.

Never will I allow my soul to become complacent and satisfied, rather I will feed it with meditation and prayer. Never will I allow my heart to become small and bitter rather I will share it and it will grow and warm the earth.

It truly is SOOOO important that you learn to love and value YOU as a unique, irreplaceable individual. Once you are able to do that, you realize that no one can take that away from you. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." What's amazing is, no one can make you feel any emotion without your permission.

Once you love who you are, you will be able to do what you were created to do... share yourself with the rest of the world. You will be able to share your heart so that "it will grow and warm the earth".

Today, on Valentine's Day, choose to love not only your partner or family or friends... choose first to love yourself and then choose to love everyone you meet.

If you'd like to read more of Og Mandino's book, please click the link below.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The 5 Spires of Leadership

Leadership is one of those qualities that is so hard to measure. Yet, in life and in business, great leaders are not hard to spot. They are those who have the ability to seize their potential as well as release the potential in those around them. They bring individuals together to form a cohesive team and align diverse talents and energies in pursuit of a common goal. They inspire people to give their all to group initiatives, not because they have to, but because they want to.

As I was thinking about inspiring leaders, I began to realize that leaders do a lot more 'spiring' than just 'in-spiring'.

Leaders must first aspire, then perspire. They must conspire and inspire in order to transpire.

Do you know that the 'spire' part of these words comes from the Latin spīrāre meaning to breathe? I began to think about it. A true leader must first have their own aspiration.

Aspire: derived from the Latin word aspīrāre which means to breathe upon or pant after. It means to have a great ambition or ultimate goal; desire strongly... to long, aim, or seek ambitiously.

When you choose to follow someone, you usually choose someone who is going somewhere. You are drawn to those people who have 'great ambition' and are pursuing a goal of higher value than their own rewards.

Perspire: derived from the Latin word perspīrāre which means to blow constantly (said of the wind), breathe through. And, of course, we know this is mean to emit through pores; exude as a result of strenuous exertion.

We want to follow leaders who aren't afraid of doing the work necessary to get the job done. How many times have you seen people in positions of leadership who believe that leadership is just bossing other people around and telling them where to go and what to do? As soon as these 'leaders' turn their backs, their 'followers' are going another direction. They are the types of leaders who go running after their subordinates saying "Come on. Follow me!! I'm your leader!" True leaders get the job done and set great examples for their followers.

Inspire: comes from the Latin word inspīrāre which means to breathe upon or into. When someone inspires us they stimulate us to action and fill us with arousing emotion.

We follow leaders who draw us in to their cause and make us feel as though we are an integral part of the solution. It's not just a practical, rational ambition. It's an ambition that stirs your emotions... stirs your soul. They somehow breathe life into us and inspire us to move and act in a way that accomplishes "our" goal. Yes, "our" goal - not simply their goal.

Conspire: comes from the Latin word conspīrāre which means to act in harmony; to breathe with. When we conspire, we act or work together toward the same result or goal.

In today's western society, conspire usually has negative connotations associated with it. In the American Heritage Dictionary the first definition is "To plan together secretly to commit an illegal or wrongful act or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action". Yet, if we look further, we'll find that the next definition states, 'To join or act together; combine: "Semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder, espresso, Cognac, and vanilla all conspire to intensify the cake's flavor".' (Did I make you hungry with that one?)

Doesn't that last definition sound like a metaphor for what great leaders do. Great leaders know that to accomplish their ambitions and that they can't do it alone. Great leaders bring individuals together with diverse tastes and talents to form a cohesive team aligning their collective energies in pursuit of a common goal.

Transpire: from its earlier literal sense “to escape as vapor”. However, transpire came to mean “to escape from concealment, become known”.

When a leader is able to aspire, perspire, inspire and conspire, they will inevitably transpire their great ambition. Their ultimate goal will be revealed and come to fruition. This result comes about not because of the leader's efforts alone, but because the leader was able to rally a group of people around their goal, not because they had to but because they wanted to. This allowed everyone to play their part in the grand production of the mission.

Today, ask yourself...

  • Have you aspired for something greater than yourself?
  • Have you perspired enough to set a good example?
  • Is your aspiration great enough to inspire others to join you?
  • Are you open to conspiring with others to achieve your lofty goal?
  • Can you envision your mission at the moment it transpires and reveals itself to the world?

Make today a day of 'spiring' for you!

If you do, you will soon reach your spire: a tall, acutely pointed pyramidal roof upon a tower; the highest point or summit of your aspiration.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Getting you out of your way

This past weekend was Super Bowl weekend and I was lucky enough to spend it with my family. I am truly blessed to have the parents, sisters, nieces and nephews that I have.

But, something occurred during a Super Bowl commercial that surprised me. It was an innocuous commercial that you may have even missed (if you watched the game.) During the nation's most-watched TV event, football fans had the chance to win a one-of-a-kind Super Bowl Edition Pepsi can and tickets to the biggest game of the year -- for life. The winning code was broadcast immediately following the Pepsi Halftime Show of Super Bowl XLI on February 4. The lucky fan with the winning code was awarded the commemorative Pepsi Super Bowl can and two Super Bowl tickets for life. To me that sounded kind of cool (except I didn't know about it until it was too late.)

In my mind, I was thinking about all of the cool places that would take me to and all the people that I would get to meet. I even thought about how much money I could sell a few of them for during the year or two I didn't want to go.

Then, I listened to the response from my sister and my nephew. It was very different from what I was thinking. My sister said something like, "That would be nice, but who could afford to get there?" Then my nephew said, "I'd just sell them on Ebay."

How interesting... How many times do we write something off as unachievable, unaccomplishable, impossible before we even look into it? So many times, we are the only ones getting in the way of our success. I mean did my sister and nephew truly believe that if they won that prize they wouldn't be able to find a way to get to use the tickets? Airfare and hotel rooms don't cost that much especially when you consider the incredible experience of attending a Super Bowl. Besides, they aren't poor and had the money to buy the 60+ inch HDTV screen on which we were watching the game.

Do you ever do that? Do you ever talk yourself out of something before you even give it a chance? I know I do. I talk myself out of exercising, out of calling on folks for my business, etc. But why? Do I think that I'll fail or fall short of expectations?

Today, take a look at what is holding you back from accomplishing your dreams and goals. What is keeping you from what you aspire to become?

Often the answer is simply, you. You get in your own way. Try something new. Try looking past your obstacles and striving for a solution. You probably do that for your boss, right? So many times we make mountains out of molehills and allow the molehill to keep us from engaging our minds to come up with the solutions.

Today, be on the lookout for possibilities! Sure the problems may appear and you can choose to focus on those if you'd like. I think, however, that you'll enjoy the day much more if you decide to look at all of the potential, prospects and promise that it brings.

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Great Pretender

Do you remember the #1 song by The Platters from 1956? Ok, maybe you remember the song from American Graffiti in 1973? It went like this...

Oh yes, I'm the Great Pretender, pretending that I'm doing well. My need is such, I pretend too much. I'm lonely, but no one can tell...

Do you ever feel like a pretender? an imposter? When I became a consultant and had to be the expert in front of my clients, I felt a little under-qualified. As I got promoted to management roles, I often expected to get an email from my boss, saying "Just kidding! Did you really think you were manager material?"

  • Have you ever felt like you didn't deserve the position or title that you were given?
  • Have you ever felt like you didn't deserve the spouse or partner that you have? That you don't really deserve the terrific kids that you have?
  • Did you ever think that this was all pretend and that someday you were going to wake up to a bleaker reality?

We all experience insecurities. From CEOs and Presidents to managers and parents. Sometimes we feel that we don't deserve the role that we're in. I'd like to put your mind at ease when dealing with others that may appear to be more successful or accomplished than you...

  • They weren't born at that level of success.
  • They, too, feel inadequate, overwhelmed and in over their heads.
  • They don't feel like they belong and/or deserve what they have achieved.

Knowing these important facts should put you on equal footing with those around you that you may perceive as being more successful. This should liberate you from feeling like a great pretender.

  • Be bold in marketing yourself and networking with people.
  • Know that your light is your gift to the world.
  • Don't hide it - someone needs you!

If you'd like to understand what thoughts are causing your feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, give me a call for our assessment. It goes beyond your personality to the level of your thought to show you what thoughts are supporting you and what thoughts are hindering you. (If you'd like a free taste test, click here.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Valentine's Special

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Enhance your relationships... with your spouse, your partners, your friends! When you understand how each other thinks, you will be able to develop closer relationships with one another and have a more synergistic relationship.

  • Would you like to argue less and discuss more?
  • Would you like to build each other up rather than tear each other down?
  • Would you like to feel better about being you and understand why you react the way that you do?

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Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!!