Sunday, April 29, 2007

How To Kill Procrastination With Your Purpose

Are you a perfectionist? Let me reveal to you this important fact…

Perfectionism can hinder you from achieving excellence at anything you do.

Usually, Perfectionists are procrastinators. They don't start unless everything is just perfect. They don't even finish a task. They keep on delaying and putting it aside because it is not perfect yet.

Don't ever fall in this trap. The most difficult step is the first. Nothing should be perfect. The most interesting thing is that nothing would ever be perfect.

You must start with whatever resources you have at hand, then improve and grow. You must jump into the field and gain experience that you would never gain if you stay at your place putting perfect plans!

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better."
-- Pat Riley, Basketball Coach

Strive to do better and you will become excellent at what you do. Stop procrastination and waiting for everything to be perfect.

What gives you the motivation to start and take bold actions is having a clear purpose in life. When you have a true meaning for your life and passion for a big dream, you couldn't wait for things to be perfect. Instead you create your opportunities. The fire of passion drives you.

Having a purpose makes you fundamentally unstoppable. You are motivated to start and strive to become and do better along the way. If you have a purpose that fires your soul you would never sit and wait for circumstances or things around you to become perfect.

You will recognize that life is short and that you have to take action now.

When you live a purpose driven life, and understand that excellence can only be achieved by striving to do better every single day, then you are on the right track to achieve great results and massive success.

A purpose driven life is critical for you to overcome procrastination and perfectionism.
The power of your purpose will motivate you to take immediate actions. Life is short and success is a journey. You can never reach your destination without taking the first step!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Success - Could Your Definition Of Success Be Stopping You From Achieving It?

Have you ever stopped and really thought about what your own personal definition of success is? If not, you may be headed towards failure and not success in your life. There is a common idea in the world today of what success is. This definition often includes wealth, houses, cars, travel, and the like. All of these things can be considered signs of success but is it your definition?

If you don't what success looks like for you in your own life, you may end up one day looking back at your life and not achieved anything that you consider successful. Everyone else may consider you successful but at the end of the day only you can determine if you have attained success.

For some people success has nothing to do with material possessions but has everything to do with how well they raised their children, or the orphans they were able to help shelter, or the starving they were able to help feed. Have you ever thought of success outside the realm of material possessions?

You born to succeed in this world but you have to know what success looks like for you. It may not look like anyone else's idea of success but then again you aren't living for others people success. To find true success in life you have to know what your definition of success is. Without it, you will wonder around in life always wanting to know if you have actually reached success or if you will ever reach it.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

How to Become Wealthy Using Release Technique

Have you ever noticed how every time you set a high goal in front of you, like achieving financial abundance, feelings of doubt, fear, frustration immediately appear out of nowhere? Negative beliefs such as, "I will never be able to make that much money. I am just not talented enough!", "You have to have money to make money", "You have to work hard for the money" and so on.

All these unwanted emotions together with negative beliefs act as self-sabotage programs that prevent you from getting what you want. They create resistance, making it extremely hard to increase your income and achieve financial abundance. Most of your energy is wasted on fighting resistance until there is almost no energy left to spare for your goal. As soon as resistance is removed extra energy is liberated and you are able to move to your goal a lot faster and with less effort.

Now the question is, "How to remove that resistance?" Many people are trying various goal-setting programs, financial counseling and "magical" success-formulas. But this stuff rarely works until you eliminate those negative emotions and beliefs. Release Technique is probably one of the best solutions for your problem, because it fights the root cause of the problem, not its consequences. There is just one thing you need to do to have all the money you desire – regardless of your job, economy, business or age – YOU HAVE TO STOP WANTING IT!

Every time you want something you subconscious mind gets a message "I lack this". It means that you believe that your goal is "separate" from you. This duality of wanting and lacking at the same time makes you feel frustrated, unhappy and empty. The key is not to "want" something, but act as you already "have" it. Release Technique helps you to let go of limiting feelings and negative beliefs and enjoy your life NOW. By doing it you will eliminate resistance, free up extra physical and mental energy and allow yourself to receive financial abundance easily and effortlessly.

Release Technique is an easy concept to understand and to use. First, you let go of desire and together with it of feeling of lacking. Second, you attract what was formerly desired by feeling and acting differently. It may sound too simple at first, but no one said that improving your income has to be difficult…


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Do You Respect Your Intention and Show Courage?

It goes without saying that being Fearless is all about taking a risk. But most of us shy away from the risks because we're too afraid. It's a vicious cycle.

There is something about taking a RISK that puts everyone into a tailspin. We feel our chest tighten, our hands become unsteady and worst of all, our minds go into scramble mode and we turn into complete idiots about the simplest things.

You see when we take a risk, we also have to choose. We have to choose what is potentially good for us versus choosing to stay where we are and be miserable. Either way, you make a choice. Isn't that an interesting proposition? We get to choose to be miserable.
I was in my forties before I realized the truth of that one.

In the middle of a huge fight with my husband, while I blamed him for everything that was limited about our life, and blamed him for creating the circumstances that created these limitations, he said something prolific and simple. "You chose to be here".

It was one of those lightening bolt moments when I stopped in mid-sentence and swallowed my next round of invective. Suddenly, all these years of blaming him, of blaming other people for the misery I was experiencing in my life, was no longer true. I was responsible for my choices. I had chosen to be in these circumstances. I had chosen to be with the people in my life. I had chosen to limit or expand my universe based on which direction I was going.

In my book, it doesn't get more profound than that.
I have an acronym for risk. It really sums up what it's all about for me. When you take a RISK, you Respect Intention and Show Kourage.

When we respect our intention we set the program for change.

Twelve years ago, I began writing a book about my family. It was a difficult story full of rape, incest, unwanted children, physical abuse, retarded children and adoption. Many families are complicated. I just happened to think that mine was a little more than most.. But there was a burning desire to tell the story, and although I was afraid, I knew it was essential that I make sense of it. I wanted to know why the same patterns kept showing up generation after generation, destroying the lives of so many along the way.

I took a risk in writing it for several reasons. Firstly, I had no track record as a writer when I began it, and secondly, because I was talking about the secrets that had burned their way through three generations of my family. We had three generations of women having children born outside of marriage, including me, and I wanted to know what that was all about. My journey was to unlock these secrets from the people who were still alive to tell them, and they did. In the process their lives were transformed also.

An aunt, the first of the illegitimate children, disclosed after 65 years, the secret she had been holding back from everyone. When I wrote about it in my first draft, she was angry with me that she had been forced to tell her children. When I questioned their response, she told me they had said 'So!" The secret that was held for too long had lost it's power all these years later.
Over the years, the story segued from being autobiographical to a novel, because I realized that I needed distance from the characters to make them believable and to discover who they really were. I was writing about my grandmother, who I hardly knew, and my mother and father, who I knew but only to a certain point. How many of us really know who our mothers and fathers really are? They are identified as parents, not as individuals. It was my task to find out who they were as people.

I had no idea how writing this book would change my life.

How many of us hold family secrets because we're too ashamed, too afraid of what harm they can do, too afraid of hurting someone else. We believe that if don't take a risk, we will protect ourselves, when in fact it is the complete opposite. When we limit our existence, we feel miserable. You then enter the cycle where you wish you had taken a risk, and then don't, growing into being more limited, more miserable and so on. We say no to choice when we refuse to take a risk.

There are many reasons for holding back the family secrets but unfortunately, they poison the well. They seep down through the rich soil of who we are and leech out all the spontaneity and life that is ours. We sacrifice ourselves to the stories of previous generations. We carry so much baggage around with us and the truth is... it's not ours to carry. We have to set it down. It's old stuff. These are someone else's story; someone else's expectations; someone else's limitations. We are straight laced by our history.
So what can we do? We must make a choice. We must step outside of our comfort zone, and we must take that risk to invent new stories. We have to reinvent our own lives. We have to step outside the confines of our old belief systems, take a RISK by making a choice, and become the woman you were meant to be before you inherited the lies.
I did that when I created this book When The Crow Sings. I had to make a choice. Was I going to be carrying the weight of failure around with me forever, or would I choose to change it. I chose to change it because my life was a mess. Writing this down became my way of making sense of the history. Of knowing where I came from so I would know who I was.

I learned I wasn't my mother, my father or anyone else outside of my body. I wasn't their language, their limitations or their belief systems. I was me. I had developed a life confined within the narrow boundaries of who they were, and I spent a great deal of my life breaking free of them.

Thankfully today, I am free of the past, although I've learned how to take RISKS and I've taken plenty, there are still moments when taking that RISK is difficult. I doubt myself, I worry about the future, and I get involved in stories that are lies. I started Fearless Fifties on an idea with only a sense that I had something worth saying. I took a RISK that people would want to hear it. But now, when I face the fear of taking the next RISK, I know that it's been done before and I can do it again. I just have to believe it's possible.

We all need to believe in who we are. When we can do that, miracles do happen. We become the person we were meant to be. We become true to who we are. And the most amazing miracle of all is this. When you truly know who you are, people respond in the most amazing ways. They respect you. They admire you for your courage. They want to have a little of what you've got. They make you feel special because you are.

"We're in a free fall into the future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast. And always when you're going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It's a very interesting shift of perspective . . . Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes." (Joseph Campbell in Sukhavati)

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

How To Get What You Want and Only What You Want... In Money, Sucess, Health And Relationships

The ONE QUESTION That Changed My Life Forever

It Can Change Yours, Too!

If you were to rate your life today... on a scale of
1-10... how would it rate?

I'll let you in on a little secret. Most people don't
have what they want... because they don't know what
they want. Sounds obvious, right?

But think about it. Look at your life right now. Do
you have what you want? Do you wake up every morning
with a huge smile on your face and a skip to your step,
excited for the new day? Or do you roll out of bed with
your alarm clock blaring-- taking every ounce of energy
you have to drag yourself across the room and start yet
another day of settling for what you have... instead of
wanting what you've got?

The truth is, you can have anything and everything you
want in life! Period.

But, in order to have what you want you must KNOW what
you want. I mean, really know.

Can you tell me this very moment *exactly* what you want?

You'd be surprised how most folks can't. Sure, it's easy
to list off everything you *don't* want... but when it
comes to getting clear on what you DO want, most people
have no clue.

There was a time in my life when everything that could
go wrong, did go wrong. I would sit in my house day
after day--terrified of what disaster would be next. I
couldn't answer my phone (it was creditors demanding
money)... I couldn't answer my door (it was more creditors
threatening me with lawsuits)... I couldn't even leave my
house (my car had been repossessed). I didn't know what
to do or where to turn. Every day seemed to bring with it
worse news and more hassles than the day before.

Then, I discovered a life-changing question.

During my time of self-imposed exile (hiding out in my
house--trying to escape the chaos of my life) I read
over 100 books. Many of those books contained true
nuggets of wisdom (that I just wasn't ready for yet).
But one particular book really spoke to me. It touched
a place inside my soul and stirred me to change the way
I was looking at everything in my life.

(Tip: When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change.)

What made the greatest impact was a simple little
exercise that involved asking myself one single question.
And I can honestly tell you that this one little
question changed my life forever.

Would you like to know the question?

The question is revealed in my DreamLife Discovery
Personal Seminar-- which you can check out now at
DreamLife Discovery

Hang on-- I'm just kidding! (Well, not totally. The
question is revealed in DreamLife... but you don't
have to buy it to find out.)

The one single question that changed my life forever is...

"If I could Have, Do or Be Absolutely Anything--
Regardless of Time, Money or Talent... What Would it be?"

This question changed everything. Actually, my ANSWER to
this question changed everything-- and fast.

I took out a piece of ordinary notebook paper and started
writing. I let my mind shift from all my problems, all
the pain and stress I was under to what I wanted instead.
I allowed my imagination to take me on a journey.
That was the day I learned to DREAM... and DREAM BIG!

The result?

Within 6 months I had received 23 of the 25 dreams on my
list. And believe me, these were no little dreams. I
wrote things like a burgundy Jaguar XJ6... a business I
could run from home earning $10,000 a week... a bank
account with a balance of $25,000... a new spacious home
with a beautiful water view... I had 25 dreams in all.

Keep in mind, when I wrote this list I had no job, no
income, my bank account was in the negative, my car had
been repossessed-- I was about as low as I could be. I
didn't even have $25 in the bank—so the idea of
having $25,000 seemed totally insane.

Six months later everything had changed. It was like night
and day.

So how did I do it? I did I go from the depths of financial
despair and absolute chaos to financial freedom and
abundance-- in just 6 short months?

It's simple. I got very clear on WHAT I WANTED in my life.
From there, everything fell into place. (I'll share more
about how this happened in the next issue.)

So let me ask you again... DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT?

Don't live another day... not even an hour... without your
Dreams List. Grab a sheet of paper, sit quietly and answer
the question...

"If I could have, do or be absolutely anything--
regardless of time, money or talent... what would it be?"

Go ahead and make your list. Don't stop until you have a
MINIMUM of 25 on the list. You can add as many as you
want, as often as you want. But be sure you have AT LEAST
25 on your list before you stop writing.

In the next article in this series I'll reveal exactly how to turn your dreams into reality... in no time flat!

Until next time, remember...
"When you change the way you look at things, the things
you look at change!"

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Persistence Creates Success

Calvin Coolidge said, "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

You can't teach someone persistence. People will become sufficiently persistent to succeed only when their desire for their goal exceeds the pain and discomfort they have to endure in order to reach it. It's simply a matter of comparison: the pain of living without your objective has to exceed the pain of paying the price to accomplish that goal. Which pain is greater? Everyone is motivated. Motivation means "A motive for action". Some people are motivated to lie in the gutter with a cigarette and bottle of liquor. That's what they want to do, that's why they're doing it. Others live mediocre lives, because they don't want real success badly enough to pay the price to obtain it.

How do we guarantee success? DESIRE. When you want something badly enough, when you are prepared to do whatever it takes to get it, you will become persistent. And when that happens, success is guaranteed. On a scale of one to ten, one being "It doesn't matter" and ten being "Nothing will stop me", how badly do you want to reach your objective? If it's anything less than a twelve, don't bother. FIND something that you want more than anything else. That desire will burn away fear, slothfulness, excuses, lack of attention, distraction, compromise, mediocrity and even fatigue. People who are seriously motivated are persistent and dedicated. They set extremely high standards and will pay the price. They LOVE their objective.

Persistence is the result of finding your true purpose and the result of persistence is massive success. To find your purpose, it's good to spend time with others who already know what their purpose is. Those people will inspire you and their energy will start to invigorate you. You will seek what they have, which is purpose. And what you honestly and sincerely seek, you will surely find.

"They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigour." - Eric Hoffer

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Monday, April 16, 2007

The Christ's Crucifiction

I am grateful to say that I was brought up as a Christian. I am one of the lucky people who know the truth behind Jesus's death on the cross. There are people in this world who believe Jesus existed, but see him as just a prophet, who died to make a protest. This is not so. He died to take away our sin.

His ordeal began in Gethsemene, when he knew his hour had almost come and the human side of his personality was afraid of what lay ahead. I think the scene in Gethsemene, when he begged his Father to "take this cup away," is vital to the story of the passion. We know that he was God's son, and so, had a divine nature. It is very easy therefore, to believe that he did not feel things the way we, as humans, do. If Our Lord had not panicked in the garden, when he sweat blood and called on his father to not make him go through with the suffering, he knew was coming to him, many Christians would have thought that, though his body was being broken, his spirit was far away, and at peace. The conflict between the two halves of his personality, also proves that he always knew what was going to happen. He could have avoided being caught, but instead, he surrendered to the soldiers.

We know that Jesus, throughout his ordeal, was lucid and alert. When they had nailed him to the cross and raised him up to die, his words, at first, were not about himself and the fix he was in. He asked God to forgive the people who had tortured and crucified him, he was also concerned about his mother, and he asked John to look after her. He promised the repentant thief that he would be with Jesus, that day in paradise. It was only later, that his thoughts turned to himself. God The Father cannot be around sin. and Jesus had taken all the sins of the world on his shoulders, therefore, his father turned away from him while he hung on the cross. This is the most painful thing of all for us to think about. After all he had gone through, he did not even have his father to comfort him, but mercifully, that time came to an end and Jesus, after indicating that he was thirsty, gave up his spirit.

Crucifiction is a terrible death, invented by the Greeks and perfected by the Romans. I used to think that Jesus bled to death, but this is not so. The nails prevent the blood escaping to that much of an extent, as would the crown of thorns. On the cross, it is suffocation which causes death, as the chest can not expand to let air into the lungs. It is a slow, horrific death and it is widely believed that Jesus died from heart faliure, because of the blood and water which escaped from him when his side was pierced.

But the story did not end there. As every Christian knows, Jesus was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb, but on the morning of Easter Sunday, he rose again! This is the only point to the death of Jesus! His glorious resurrection and an end to the slavery of our sinful selves. Jesus was brave and he was loving, and anything we go through in our lives, he understands, because he has been there and got the T shirt. Thanks be to God!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Leadership Beliefs Critical To Success - Part Three

Certain beliefs, convictions and statements keep being repeated in our conversations and seminars and feedback sessions with managers and leaders. What follows is Part Three of our series dealing with the beliefs that are critical to success in the areas of Change and Self Responsibility and Accountability


There are Four Stages in the life of every successful Change process – from the smallest to the largest. They are: 1 - Enthusiasm, 2 - Frustration, 3 – Renewal, and 4 – Success. They always occur in this order. Stage 2 – Frustration, is the graveyard of most failed Change initiatives.

Resist the impulse to create change in too many areas at once. Let success in one area create motivation for success in the next change area – and then watch the momentum build!

The single best way to create commitment and alignment of effort in change situations in any organization is through a goal setting process that starts with macro goals and creates the opportunity for every person in the organization to set individual goals that support the big organizational goals. You gotta take those Big Hairy Audacious Goals and size them so everyone can get their arms around them if you want success.

People don't resist change – they really resist attempts at being changed!

The most difficult kind of change is to change behavior – but it is the most effective, longest lasting and the highest leverage kind of change.

The ability of an organization's people to support and embrace change is its single biggest source of competitive advantage. The middle 80 to 90% of the people in any organization represent the biggest single opportunity for increased competitive advantage – and the most challenging.

Follow the 24 Hour Rule! When faced with a life altering piece of news, or any other event that demands a response – be it about health, career, family – step back for 24 hours and process it – do not make decisions during this period of time. If others press you to – resist. There are a very few situations that won't allow a 24 hour period for processing.

Small changes lead to big changes. Identify the big change demands– then start with small incremental changes. Most people think in terms of big change – lose 100 pounds; quit smoking; learn a language; get a new job. Those are great, but they are made up of a series of small changes – the snack we replace with a 10- minute walk, the book we read every month instead of watching TV. And the sum of those small changes is huge!

The key to any change is to act - today.

Choice – to about 30 percent of the population the idea that personal choice is part of every action is a very liberating and exciting concept. It is of equal importance to realize that for the remaining 70 percent it is a scary and threatening concept!

When starting anything new, write down your first impressions, how you feel, the way you look at people and problems ---whatever you think is important. Put it away – don't look at it for a month – then read it and be amazed at how much progress you have made and how your perspective has changed. Write a new letter and wait another month to read that one. Prepare to be amazed at yourself!

Self - Responsibility and Accountability

Always assure that accountability is clear. There must always be a single person accountable for every project, function and responsibility. Where accountability is not clear, the risk of failure is high and the opportunity for recognition in success is low.

You do not have to pay someone else's dues – only your own. Beware the vague "You gotta pay your dues" advice. That advice is usually just code for "You're not going to be successful faster than I have been."

You are responsible for your own choices, actions and decisions – in all cases – without exception – always.

Victims blame others for problems; leaders fix the problem. Find the lessons to be learned and see the same thing doesn't happen again, and press on.

You are responsible for your own success at work. It may be tempting to turn that responsibility over to someone else, but remember, assuming you can find someone willing to take that responsibility, their idea of success for you and your idea are probably very different!

By the time you realize you have been complaining about your job or your boss or your career, be aware that you have been behaving like that for some time, and you may be "toxic" to others around you. If you can't change that behavior, get out and start over somewhere else –with the experience having taught you something.

Share these with your own universe of people and be amazed at how effective they can be as a tool to begin discussions on the issues in your organization.

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Saturday, April 7, 2007

You Can't Get There From Not Here

Today almost everyone is on the path of personal development. Self-help books are some of the best selling books out there. It is a very noble path to be on. The greatest enemy anyone will face is not over seas or in some other country or a follower of some other religion. The most challengin and difficult person to face is the one who stares us back in the mirror every day. But this is also the most rewarding of all journeys to be made. A journey deep within the soul and mind of yourself. Who you are, what you are, and what all of that means.

The problem that so many people run into on the path of personal development and the path of success is that they have a place that they want to go. They know what they want, usually. They have this grand vision in their mind of the kind of person they want to be. They read book after book after book. Over time, most people give up because they never seem to make any progress. This is all fine and dandy. It is essential to your success to know where you are going, however, you must also remember to take one very important step. You must evaluate where you are.

If you were to say that you wanted a thousand dollars, what would your first step be? Most people would jump right to how they intend on getting that money. That is a great idea, however, the first step you must take is to evaluate how much money you have right now and how much further you have to go. If you already have four hundred bucks sitting under your mattress, you don't have any where near as far to go as someone who has six bucks. We have to take time to evaluate where we are and what we need to get to there, where ever there is. How can you possibly begin to travel some place if you don't know where you are right now and where you want to go. Imagine trying to take a vacation and trying to get to Miami Florida, but not having a clue where you are right now. How could you possibly decide which way to travel. I guess you could jump in a car and start heading south, but then you would have to hope that you are north of Florida. That strategy wouldn't work if you were in Mexico.

Take the time to evaluate your current situation. Your strengths and your weeknesses. What you lack and what you have. Only then will you be able to realize what needs work to get to where you want to go. If you are a fast typer but you have trouble letting the thoughts flow from your head onto the computer, you aren't going to practice typing. You must know that your problem lies in how the thoughts flow from your head onto the screen. Then you can begin to practice things that allow your thoughts to flow better. If you are strong at telling stories but have trouble typing, you wouldn't practice telling more stories, you would practice typing. If you tend to start projects but only complete them half way, you wouldn't practice starting new projects. You are already strong there. You would practice finishing those things you start. The opposite is also true.

Take the time to realize where you are and what needs work. If you are already strong at something, recognize your strengths but practice and work on those things that need the work. If you know where you are going and what you want to accomplish then you should know what it takes to get there. After you know where you are, know what it takes to get to where you want to go, then you are able to work on those things that need work to make that happen. You can't get there from here if you don't know where here is. Also be sure to take the time during the journey to reflect back on all that you have accomplished. Many times we can get caught up in how much further we have to go. Especially since there keeps moving the closer we get to it. Take the time to look back on all you have accomplished so far and be proud of it. You can get there from here, just know where here is.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Spring Cleaning - Clearing the Clutter from Your Closets and Your Mind

Spring is in the air and I can tell, know how? The air is warming up, the trees are turning green, and then there's the restlessness I feel inside of me. It happens every year, and it's one of the reasons springtime is a favorite of mine.

This restlessness makes me want to try new things, and create change in some way. It makes me realize that I'm tired of the same old stuff in my life, that what I want is newness. How does this manifest in my life? It starts with a stirring. One that comes from deep inside of me. One that leads me to…clean out the clutter in my home. I call it my "De-Clutter Flutter" and it gets the whole ball rolling.

Before I go any further, a word about me. I'm not a clean freak, though I often wish I were. I don't have that organizer gene, though I think it would do me some good if I did. I am more of a Call To Action cleaner. I wait until I'm called and then I act. Spring usually brings the call and when it does I feel a remarkably strong drive that I can't put off for one more day. I have to clean. Nothing else matters. I'm tired of all the #%$#*&# in my house!

And so it begins. Picking my first target, I approach the closet door and, just as I'm about to open it, I stop and take a deep breath in order to just "be" with my feelings of total overwhelm. Yes, they too are part of my process. It's then that I hear a little voice inside me saying, "Just close the door, it's been this way for years, why clean it now? Who cares, no one's going to see it with the door closed, anyway!" And just when that voice is starting to make a real play for its point, I get tough and override it with, "I care! I know it's here. I don't like it anymore and I'm going in!" But right before I do, I think to myself, "I should probably call someone and let them know so they can send in the St. Bernard's if I'm not out in a couple of days, I mean hours." And in I go!

In no time at all I'm taking everything out. From top to bottom everything comes out and lands on the floor, or what used to resemble a floor. It's at this point that I start finding things that I haven't seen in such a long time, I had forgotten about them. Many times I'll think, "Why on earth have I held on to this? I don't need this." And out it goes. When I'm at this stage, it feels so good to toss out stuff I've been hanging on to for so long and for no reason.

Occasionally, I'll find something I really do like but I forgot that I had it or where I put it. These little goodies get collected; I put them in a place where now I'll remember that I have them, and where I can see them.

As I get to the end there are some very large garbage bags filled with the all junk I no longer need, want or feel the urge to save. Out go the big bags into the trash or the recycling bin.

I stand there and reward myself with a long look into the closet. Now that it's completely cleaned out I notice its lovely bareness. It now contains only what I really want and truly need. A deep sigh escapes me, relief in the job that's done and pride in what I see. And I think, "Why did I leave it this way for so long, I should have done this sooner."

Every year, when I come to this point in the process, I notice something else…a remarkable change in my mental and emotional state, I feel happy, lighter, freer. Not only is my closet decluttered, but my mind is, too. Maybe that's the real reason I love spring so much-- once I get started, my external work soon is mirrored in my internal work. The same little voice that originally told me to let go of the #$&*& in my home, is now telling me to do the same thing in my mind. Time to bid adieu to those beliefs and thoughts that have never served me and have never had a real purpose in my life. And just like the junk I collected in my closets, these thoughts and beliefs are just junk taking up space, not helping me move forward and not helping me be happy.

The process of cleaning my closets is just the physical manifestation of the work I'm doing inside. It's the time that I find myself taking "inventory" of what's going on in my mind (as well as my home.) Clearing out my mind in this way is so important. It's allowing me to make room for new possibilities and opportunities to enter my life. In the same way that I look out my windows when spring comes and I see nature in all of its freshness and budding hope…inside of me I feel that same hope, freshness and possibilities about my life.

You know the old saying, "Out with the old, in with new." It's true. But you have to clear out the old before you can have the new, whether it's a new thought, belief, opportunity or material possession. I believe my soul knows that.

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Why Leadership Development Must Include Empathy

Leadership development is important goal from the small business owner to the Fortune 500 companies. A recent report from Sherpa Coaching revealed that leadership development is the basis for 49% of all executive coaching.

After reading this extensive report and the many other reports on coaching, one can not help but wonder why the emphasis on leadership skills or what many call the soft skills. However, the research suggests that the development of these critical skills dramatically increases emotional intelligence. One of the foundational concepts within emotional intelligence is the ability to intellectually or emotionally identify with another. Empathy is that ability.

Leadership in today's diverse global market place demands the ability to relate to others if the leader truly wants to achieve the desired results. Without results, businesses will fail.

The old leadership role of "It's my way or the highway" might have worked when everyone shared the same values, the same ethnic origins and the same belief systems. However, people in the 21st century are smarter not to mention quite different than their ancestors. These people experience more change in one year than their grandparents experienced in their entire lifetime. All of this change creates additional stress and pushes them to seek other opportunities to realize their dreams. Effective leaders must be able to relate to these changes if they want to achieve the predetermined results.

Daniel Goleman in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence (EQ) speaks directly to the impact of EQ from the variety of studies he researched. One research study conducted by Richard Boyatzis of 2,000 supervisors, middle managers and executives at 12 different organizations revealed EQ separated high performers from average ones in 14 of 16 competencies. An even larger multi-national study of 286 organizations demonstrated that over 80% of the general competencies that identify superior performance depend on high emotional intelligence more so than pure cognitive abilities.

Goleman's definition of empathy is a social competence where we are aware of another's feelings, needs and concerns. He further explains that emotional intelligence determines "our potential for learning." Empathy is one of the five elements that he discusses.

Having a high degree of empathy and being able to use that emotional competency is truly a "no brainer." Empathy can be developed within any individual especially those in leadership roles. The challenge is to include this capacity within your leadership development for your organization and even yourself.

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