Posts Tagged ‘evolution’

What’s Real? A Nor’easter of Perception & Meaning

December 1, 2009

A long time mentor once gave me a piece of priceless wisdom, which I will never forget.  “A persons perception is powerful.  It is the set of glasses with which they view the world through.  It doesn’t matter what you say or mean to say, they can only interpret it based on those glasses.” The glasses he’s talking about are core beliefs.

How many times has conflict amongst co-workers, collaborative partners or spouses all erupted because of a misunderstanding of what was said, meant, implied or otherwise communicated to another person? How many times have you witnessed an argument yet could see so clearly that the way it “landed” for one party was not at all the intention of the other party.  But in that moment those 2 players could not see or hear that?

It happens so often and is the cause of so much pain and anxiety in our world. We all carry a set of beliefs that become the “glasses” with which we give all meaning.  If you believe that you are a victim then no matter what constructive criticism or guidance is offered there is a knee jerk reaction to blame others for whatever is going on.  If you believe that people are inherently dishonest then most of your dealings in life will be perceived as suspicious or not to be trusted.  Why? Because we assigned a meaning to an event long ago that now has set up those beliefs.

Any situation is merely an orchestration of exchanges.  However they have no meaning, none what so ever until we assign the meaning. I used to have a mentor that would ask me “Why are you getting so upset? Those events have no meaning” and I just wanted to throttle him! (Hey, transparency here!)  It would make me even more upset at what was going on.  But then I really got clear on this point.  The best way to explain this is to give you a simple example.

When I was 16 years old I finally earned my drivers license. I was thrilled beyond belief to have this newfound freedom.  I felt like a grown up and took my responsibility with having the use of the family car – a chocolate brown Thunderbird – very seriously.  My parents imparted the importance of being responsible to us constantly.

One snowy winters day I was allowed to drive the Thunderbird to school.  It wasn’t snowing much in the morning but by lunchtime a nor’easter rolled in and school was let out early.  I stood in the High School parking lot looking at the car and looking at the buses.  I had to make a decision: drive home in the snow or take the bus home.  Thinking that I would be deemed irresponsible if I left the car, I opted to drive home.  Up and down the hilly slopes I drove slowly and cautiously.  Then it happened, I went into a full slide, eased off the breaks and did my best to maneuver the car.  Instead, I ended up crashing into the guardrail right in front of the State Troopers barracks.

My mother picked me up and did her best to comfort.  When we got home my extremely irate father greeted me.  I had completely totaled the front end of the car.  Our bad ass T-bird was cooked.  I started to cry and felt awful.  I immediately turned to my mother and said; “Does he care that I’m not hurt? Doesn’t he care that I’m not dead?!”  I interpreted his actions, his words to mean that he didn’t care about anything, especially me, except the car. In truth, what I had interpreted was really not the truth.  I assigned the meaning to his words and actions.

What would be another acceptable interpretation of this situation or his actions and words?  There are many.

  • “He was so scared that I could have been killed that he couldn’t express that fear in the moment.  He deflected his fear by focusing on the car.”
  • “He was worried about his family as a whole and was struggling with how we would get around without this car and how he could finance another one.”
  • “He did the physical inventory the minute he saw me: 2 arms, 2 legs, no blood, nothing broken.  He knew I was ok.”

We never know what a person is really thinking or what they truly mean. It’s all about how we interpret and assign meaning to any given situation.  Did my father really not care if I was ok?  I highly doubt it.  But in that moment, in my young mind I had assigned that meaning to the experience as well as not feeling loved or responsible.

You know what?  None of that is real unless one makes it real in their mind.  There are many ways any situation can be given meaning.  The challenge is not to.  Not to make something it’s not.  Not to fuel something that doesn’t really exist.  To avoid conflict and misunderstanding by practicing this art form daily.

I offer you this now so that you can reflect on this principle as we close 2009.

  • Where are you giving meaning that causes you conflict and pain in your life?
  • What is causing you to hold grievances against another person?
  • How have these meanings that created a story you keep playing in your mind stopped you short of your dreams?

Let it go.  You’ll be happier for it.

When you realize that you are the author of the pain in your life you will stop.  The greatest compassion you can show is to release yourself from the illusions you’ve created and live a more constructive life without them.

When Gurus Become Gods

November 12, 2009

Yesterday I was pretty restless so I spent several hours in the middle of the day perusing the social media world, updating my tweets and being part of the discussions that were going on.  Personally I love this aspect of social media because it helps me to see what’s really top of mind at the moment. “Great market research” as a dear friend of mine always reminds me.

I’ve noticed is that there are a lot of blog posts and articles being written about teachers, leaders and other note worthy gurus.  I guess that’s fair enough.  When you become more public and are in a position of power you ultimately open yourself up to criticism, comment and others opinions.  After all we are in a country that protects 1st amendment rights.  Free speech and all that.

What I’m seeing are a lot of people “naming names” and criticizing these people openly. They have paid fees to work with some of them.  Others have attended their educational live events or participated in some other program of one sort or another.  So there is  the element of free-will and participation in the exchange.  Actually giving permission to the teacher or leader to impart their particular form of wisdom to the attendee.  Rather than expressing any level of gratitude or appreciation I have witness some pretty severe and sometimes outlandish slamming .

Listen, I’ve paid for these types of services too and found myself less than satisfied but you know what? I made the choice to participate by handing over my credit card.  So it’s my choice. My free will. My money.  Sometimes I wish I hadn’t.  But who is to blame?  No one but me.  It was a choice that I made.

Often times we make these Gurus into Gods.  Hanging on every word. Wishing for them to impart the perfect solution to whatever is going on.  Is that realistic? I think not.  So I offer these 7 things to keep in mind about any guru, teach, mentor, coach or leader in your life.

1. When a person stands in front of you and professes their truth it is their truth. Their wisdom.  From their point of view and life experience.  It does not mean that it is “the truth” or “the only truth” that exists.

2.   Everyone is entitled to an opinion. When an opinion become a need to “be right” and to make others “wrong” that’s a competitive signal. Meaning “I’m better than her/him”.

3.   Take what you need from this person and forget the rest. Not everything they say and do will resonate with you.  Nor should it.  You’re your own person.  It’s like saying everyone likes vanilla ice cream.  (I personally prefer gelato not ice cream and the flavor of choice is nocciola)

4.   No one Guru has the end all be all answer to your problem.

5.   They WILL say something you don’t like or want to hear. It’s inevitable. Sometimes that’s actually why they are in your life.

6.   They cannot always control their guests, staff statements or opinions. People are people and are unpredictable at times.

7.   Any and every teacher makes mistakes or missteps.  Usually at one point or another they may make a correction or amend a previous error.  They are human and should be permitted for possessing a less-than-perfect character.

Ultimately it is up to you to make decisions for yourself. It is about taking personal responsibility for your actions and outcomes. You are not a victim unless you choose to be.

When you make a Guru a God, that means to ask them to perfect, to have every solution to every problem you’ve given away your personal power and choice.

If you are not in alignment with any Guru, teacher, mentor, coach or leader in your life then move on.

If you do not resonate with what they teach, move on.

And most of all, if you really find what they offer so outlandish then stop supporting them with your attendance and credit card swipes.

“The $10 Million Dollar Question”

November 7, 2009

Recently I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine and she asked me “If someone rang your doorbell and gave you a $10 million dollar check what would you do with it?”  Initially I would have exclaimed “buy a new pair of shoes and a sassy new purse!”  But, instead I paused and thought long and hard about this.  I mean, I really really thought about what I would do with that money.

I began to wonder what other people would do with it too.
 
I realize this isn’t the normal article I’d write.  But I think it’s worth exploring and sharing what happened when I posted the question on my Facebook account and in several of my Linked In groups.  In the recently economic chaos our values have changed.  The responses I received were all overwhelmingly glaring in pattern.
 
 
The number one thing people wanted was security.  After all, who can blame them!  It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the past 2 years, hasn’t it?  But what’s different here is that the context of security has shifted and gone beyond what’s right in front of them.  They expressed not just wanting security for themselves and their families but also for other people close to them; friends, co-workers and neighbors.
 
The second most common response was that they wanted to create a foundation, charity or some other type of support and help to the greater community.  Everything from agricultural, educational, health and wellness projects listed.  Some with very specific heartstrings attached to them as a personal way of resolving a challenge they’ve faced and would like to ease the process for those who are to come after them.
Both answers were extremely touching to me.  Why?
 
It shows that the consciousness around us is shifting and moving from a self-absorbed narcissistic focus of “me and me alone” to a “we” mentality.  It’s subtle, that’s for sure.  But when a society begins to change it’s focus, to realize that we all must help one another on a very basic primal level of survival can the behaviors of business and commerce in general be far behind?
 
Probably not.
 
When any group shifts it’s consciousness everything around it must follow.  Including how entrepreneurs and business executives operate.  Now it’s time to learn some new tools and skills to meet that expectation!  Move from breakdown to breakthrough by embracing these new values and incorporate them into everything you do.
A new breed of leadership must emerge that’s for sure.
 
 
© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

Is Your Business Evolving or Facing Extinction?

September 15, 2009

I’ve often stated this before “we are living in a time of great opportunity, we are living in a time where the ability to create new business, methods and delivery systems are plentiful”. The beauty of the entrepreneurial spirit is that this segment of our culture; they ones that will actually reignite the economy. How? Newness!

Anyone can be revolutionary inside any structured business; you just need to have enough conviction to make it happen. All business leaders need the courage to say “I’m going to do something different NOW!”

One thing I know for sure from my 20 plus years in corporate America is that without newness there is no real business growth. Any good business practice includes a core program of products or services, which is the meat and potatoes foundation to build upon; the guaranteed revenue stream.

However without reaching for new business with innovation and creativity you’re stuck in neutral – along with everyone else languishing in the status quo.

I invite you to put your thinking caps on and imagine. Play. And consider, if you could create anything or improve something you have, what would you do?

Got an idea that just popped into your mind? Yes, yes, I can feel it percolating up inside of you.

Does it fit into your current business model? No?

Is that thwarting your ability to even talk about the idea? Probably.

Here’s what’s true. Business is a natural organism.

In nature all things must Change. Adapt and Grow or risk extinction. That means that business models and methods must also Change, Adapt and Grow to better serve others.

A great example of this is the drive through window.  Many years ago this method of delivering products and services was deployed by the banking industry. You would drive up to the window, slip your deposit slips and payments into a slick silver drawer and the teller on the other side would process your payments, slide the receipts back through the drawer all without you having to get out of your car! Ahh fabulous! Convienent! And so fast!

Mc Donalds saw the brilliance in this delivery system method and adapted it to suit their needs. They rolled the drive through window out to their franchises and thus birth a new value added component to their simple product – the hamburger and fries! Brilliant! It sparked a renaissance in the fast food world. Is there a fast food establishment that you know of that does not have a drive through window? It’s now part of the basic set up for this type of business.

I am often poo-pooed when I tell others that I am bored with so many business models today. I watch video after video or read irate articles blasting business models and methods that no longer work. It makes me shake my head.

No one business model is going to work forever. What was once deployed and was successful was successful for a reason – it was revolutionary at the time. But now, it’s time to Change, Adapt and Grow.

Createsomething new.
Offer something exciting.
Or be revolutionary!
Have the courage to step outside the norm!

Put your frustration and anger aside and get moving! Be the catalyst you know that you’re supposed to be.

 

© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve

Are You “Popping the Clutch” on Your Success?

September 8, 2009

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you’ve set a clear goal with a great deal of excitement and intent only to find that several days you’re feeling fearful and apprehensive?  Your intention was very clear in your mind. You started out with such conviction only to find the seeds of doubt and fear seeping into your mind not to long after. You grind to a halt. Sounds familiar, right?

When I was 16 my father taught me how to drive.  It was mandatory in our house that we all knew how to drive both an automatic and a manual.  If we couldn’t do both we were not allowed to take our drivers test.  Driving a stick shift was really tough and my father was elected to be my teacher. 

He would take me to the steep intersection of Rye Hill Road in our baby blue Datsun B210 and talked me through the process. Ease off the clutch, give it a little gas release the break and go.  It took precision, timing and without a doubt lots of focus when I first learned. If I was unsure or scared I wouldn’t gauge the balance between easing off the clutch with the gas, the B210 would buck, stall and roll backwards.

Over and over again I would put that little car into convulsions and nearly gave the both of us whiplash.  Finally my father said to me “This is because you are unsure of yourself Maria.  You need to stay focused.  You’re getting scared and going in reverse. Don’t be afraid. Just feel it and you’ll know when to let go.”

Those words could not have been a better metaphor for life.  Or for how being unfocused or in a state of fear will cause you to simply roll backwards.  Because in life; if you’re not growing you’re dying.  Fear is your subconscious mind throwing up barriers of doubt in your abilities and your choices.  Usually to the detriment of what your next right action should be. 

Every successful person learns that the best way to move forward is to follow their intuition – which is exactly opposite of that subconscious mind.  Each person is born with a natural intuition.  The root of this word in Latin is tuere.  Which means “to guard or to protect.” 

Intuition is your compass point for your life and your decisions.  Learning to rely on this internal gift will help you to move past the fear and stop rolling backwards in your life.  It’s pretty simple!  You just need to practice and trust this guidance system within.

© 2009 NMS Communications, LLC All Rights Reserve