Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘direction’ Category

Which Wolf Will Win?

November 21st, 2010

The fight inside of you. I love parables, and one of my favorites comes from the Native American culture. It goes like this.

An elder Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It’s a terrible fight and it’s between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

“This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too”, he added.

The Grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied… “The one you feed.”

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I Want Your Opinion

March 28th, 2010

Is a shift taking place? As you may know, I am working on my third book: Becoming: A Seeker’s Guide to Answering Life’s Two Most Important Questions. The premise of this book is simple: who you become and the life you live are shaped by what you focus on, and what you focus on is determined by that which holds the most value to you. I believe—in fact, I know—that nothing is more important than connection (connection to self, others, and higher power/purpose) and contribution. By making these two “Cs” your primary focus, you’ll become your best self and live your best life.

In the book, I explain that we’re experiencing a shift in values. Below is a short description of how I see this shift. Would you please take a minute to read it and answer the two questions that appear at the end?

The Great Values Shift

You may be feeling unsettled, but you may not be sure why. You are not alone. We are all sensing that a change is taking place, and change makes us uneasy. This unsettled feeling is mostly unconscious; few of us are able to articulate it. Yet it is very real.

The world is calling us to reexamine the way we look at things, to define our priorities, and to shift our values from materialism to meaning. It’s been called many names, including “post-materialism,” “the fourth great awakening,” and “the Age of Aquarius.”  I call it “The Great Values Shift.”

Values shifts have occurred throughout history. When these shifts occur, a social issue often gives birth to a movement. For example, we’ve seen women’s rights and environmental awareness give birth to movements that impact how we see ourselves and how we live our lives.

Today, “the new economy” is forcing change. Don’t look to the mainstream press for information; you won’t find much. But know that the issue is bubbling and boiling under the surface; it’s just a matter of time before it flows—rather than seeps—into our everyday consciousness.

While many factors contribute to this shift, two seem particularly relevant. First, the economy has forced many people to reevaluate their priorities. Job loss—or in many young people’s cases, the inability to find jobs—declining investments, and devastating debt are challenging many of us to reexamine our definition of success.

Second, each generation—for different reasons—is questioning the work ethic in this country.

The country’s eighty-five million baby boomers are aging. In the second half of their lives, they are becoming hyper-aware of their mortality and are becoming more introspective. Many are seeking increased meaning in their work and lives.

The forty-four to fifty million Americans born between 1965 and 1980, who make up Generation X, generally disdain authority and structured work hours and seek work-life balance. This generation works to live rather than lives to work.

Finally, the seventy-six million members of Generation Y feel that the line between work and home is nonexistent. These twenty-somethings want to spend their time in meaningful and useful ways, no matter where they are. For example, more than half of workers in their twenties prefer employment at companies that provide volunteer opportunities, according to a Deloitte survey.

Many of us are beginning to wake up to the realization that at the end of our days, it won’t be the number of cars we have in the carport that defines our lives, but the people we have loved, and who have loved us. We’ll feel good about our lives because we know we’ve been of service, and we’ll feel proud of how we’ve lived our lives.


One:  Do you feel there is a values shift taking place? Why or why not?

Two:  If so, would you share a story or quote about how “The Great Values Shift” is affecting you and/or your family and friends personally?

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The Power of Letting Go

January 17th, 2010

Letting go of false beliefs. I heard once that to become who we are we have to let go of who we are not. Like most clever sayings, it is easier said than done.

Gabriel Marchel, in his book Being and Having, laments that our society teaches us how to hold onto and to possess, when it should be teaching us how to let go. We will never live  richer, more authentic, lives until we do, because most of us are stuck in old belief systems that seldom get us what we really want.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to know when to let go. Lecturer, author, and counselor Penny Peirce suggests taking a closer look when we:

Are confused.
Are depressed.
Have no sense of direction.
Have run out of motivation.
Don’t like ourselves.
Feel a sense of urgency all the time.

Are ahead of ourselves and others.
Are overwhelmed and overcrowded.
Are procrastinating.
Are spending time in the past.
Are trying too hard.
Feel no one seems to hear or see us.
Find little of interest.
Have no confidence.
Feel things aren’t fun anymore.
Expect results too soon.
Are compulsive.
Are sure the answer lies in thinking or doing more, better, or differently.

After seeing myself in more than several of Penny Peirce’s guidelines, I listed those belief systems that no longer serve me. Within minutes, my list had grown to ten. I then selected three “biggies” on which to focus my work:

  1. “Doing is better than being.”
  2. “I am not enough.”
  3. “There is not enough.”

I was ready to begin letting go, and to do it I committed to a simple three-step process:

One: Recognize when I am reacting to outdated belief systems. Emotional warning signals include feeling anxious, afraid, indignant, rejected, sorry for myself, ashamed, worried, or confused.

Two: Take a deep belly breath and gently observe what I am doing/feeling without judgment. “Whoops, there I go again.”

Three: Examine what has happened and tell myself the truth.  For example, when I catch myself worrying about money (“there is not enough”), I remind myself that I have plenty of money on which to live, and besides, I can always make more.

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What Lessons Did You Learn?

December 30th, 2009

A review of 2009. “Every situation you face will transform you if you allow it; life is classroom.” This statement is Tenet Two of my revised “life manifesto.” A life manifesto is a list of four to five principles that summarize how you intend to live your life. I wrote my first one when my brother Chip died in 2004. Several weeks ago, I revised it while in New York.

Recently, I asked myself if I was truly living each principle. It was then that I came up with the idea of reviewing this past year and listing all the lessons I have learned or am learning. 2009 was a challenging year for many of us; it was also a year ripe for learning.

Within twenty minutes I had documented fifty lessons. They included:

Brought more being to my doing.

Got more into my body through yoga, Pilates, and dance.

Claimed the role of “artist.”

Defined my personal theology.

Before you close 2009 out, why not take a few minutes and list the lessons you learned and are learning? Try it. This simple exercise may put a whole new spin on this past year. It did for me.

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