Can Gandhi find a place in today’s Corporate and Management world?

Can Gandhi find a place in today’s Corporate and Management world?

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It has been long lasting debate going on with some of my friends in understanding the relevancy of Gandhism in the modern corporate world that talks of stocks, prices, sell-outs and buy-ins everyday. To worsen the state of their minds, a question of what is there in today’s modern management principles and leadership skills, has also been started lingering around.

If Gandhi is alive today, how would he fit himself in corporate suits to make important decisions on more important problems what the business houses facing everyday? Does He do well for the bucks and perks the companies spare? Could he be capped as a true leader in the corporate sector? Do His principles still be valid in current day’s electronic- enabled business world?

I was just happened to get a read on Robin Sharma’s “Leadership Wisdom”. Everyone knows that Robin Sharma is an internationally acclaimed Leadership Guru, who also wrote a revolutionary book titled “The Monk who sold his Ferrari”. In this book, “Leadership Wisdom”, he has outlined the 8 rituals of visionary leaders that is been practised or to be practised by any leader, be them a CEO or President or Chairman of any corporate.

One would have to go through the whole history to study Gandhian methods and leadership principles and come out with an answer to convince my friends who really want to know the “truth”. But, it could not be possible as there are very few management and leadership related books and resources during the beginning of the last century. Also, most of the practices and leadership skills are formulated only in the later part of the century. A thorough and definite understanding of Management and Leadership is required to further explore in this direction.

To make it simpler, I want to take up this question with my familiar ways of analyzing system models. As I do more frequently in my work with applications and system designs, a sort of reverse engineering approach would very easily help us to seek the required outputs. This way, current principles of leadership could be traced and equated with Gandhian methods, characteristics and ideals. The final opinion is left with the reader itself.

These are the 8 rituals of visionary leaders as stated by the author:

1. Link Paycheck to Purpose
2. Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart
3. Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly
4. Surrender to Change
5. Focus on the Worthy
6. Leader Lead Thyself
7. See what all see, Think what none think
8. Link Leadership to Legacy

1. Link Paycheck to Purpose

Purpose is the powerful motivator to develop organizations and visionary leaders associate a compelling purpose (usually in the form of mission statement or vision) to their employees so as to ensure that the organization is on track. Complying to the Principle of Alignment, your vision must be aligned with the interests of the people under your leadership to inspire them to invest their energies and spirits for a cause. Your vision statement should not only hang in your office walls, but live in the human hearts too.

Author himself talks about the “Gandhi Factor” that needs to be assimilated with the leadership practices. It is all about traits like honesty, industry, patience, perseverance, loyalty, courage, and more importantly, humility.

2. Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart

It is a ritual of human relations that is regarded as utmost requirement in an organization. A visionary leader constantly enriches the relationships with his employees, enhancing his leadership virtues. Above all, he must know how to lead them through his heart. He needs to capture the hearts of the people by showing compassion and listening deeply to them.

Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi won the hearts of billions of people through their compassionate listening attitude. They listened to people needs, their worries and their struggles. They spoke words that touched deep in to their hearts.

3. Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly

In a team-work, there are always rewards and recognitions. Visionary leaders never fail to appreciate good, positive behaviour and peak performance as they are linked directly to the customers. If you keep your employees’ utmost happier with regular praises, it would in turn reflect in their treatment to the customers. Half of the work in bringing customer satisfaction is already been done this way.

Gandhi said “Customer is the king in your premises…”. He had gone the extra mile for many of his clients to seek justice in their cases. Many of his clients had become co-workers and had actively taken part in his rights movements. Volunteers who did work for him used to get some sort of rewards as a token of appreciation.

4. Surrender to Change

Adaptability and Change Management – none in the business world would have survived with out living up to what these two words mean. Change is a vital force that nurtures the corporate culture and its survival. You must have to surrender to change instead of resisting it. You must be the change if not found ways to change the things around.

Had Gandhi not turned into a figure of low clothing…? Had he not changed from the role of rights activist into a freedom fighter…? Had he not changed the tyrannical politics into democratic, non-violent methods…?

5. Focus on the Worthy

Personal Effectiveness is the ultimate result of any of your activity. It entirely depends on what kind of activities that of worthy of your energy and attention. The person who does everything will never achieve anything usefully. One must have focus and vision on how the ultimate result would be effective, both personally and professionally. Time management, Scheduling the priorities and Self-discipline are some of the areas that needs to concentrated with out fail.

During his political career, Gandhi started focusing on worthy activities like founding Ashram, mobilising the usage of Khadi etc that signifies the development of the people. He strongly believed that cottage industries would prove the purpose of seeking freedom. In his Ashram, activities like tailoring, teaching, spinning the wheel, weaving was given focus and attention to build and upgrade self-respect in the society.

6. Leader Lead Thyself

Self leadership is about mastering and conquering one’s own self. It includes self-renewal, self-development, discipline of body care and early awakening. As science of yoga says, Visionary Leadership requires more of Inner Management.

Gandhi is “Mahatma”, the greatest of souls. He had his soul mended and perfected to defy all insults, criticisms, salutations, appreciations, successes, failures and everything else and treat them all as one.

7. See what all see, Think what none think

Creativity and Innovation are the catchwords that put any business in an un-imaginable place. While executing a truly original thought, risks and failures cannot be evaded. A playground of ideas and original thoughts would help people in the workplace to nourish and flex their minds and imaginative powers.

“Ahimsa” or “Satyagraha” is one of the greatest innovation made by Gandhi that endures any conflict even today.

8. Link Leadership to Legacy

It is about “At the end of the day, what you get?” Things are not over with the work and results. Leadership work should leave a footprint, a sense of satisfaction in contributing to the world during the life, a purpose with a significance and difference. Fulfilling the duties for a worthy cause stands for ever.

For the entire world, his life is a message. He left us the great principles of nonviolence, peace and truth. He left his success with billions of people who sensed what freedom is, what life is and what human is. A legacy of Gandhians across the globe would speak for Him even today and for ever.

Reproduced above is an article written by Balamurali Balaji, Educationist, Gandhian.

A Shooting Star and The Importance of Knowing What You Want

A Shooting Star and The Importance of Knowing What You Want

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Imagine it’s late at night and you’re looking out of the window because you can’t go to sleep.

You see a shooting star. For the first time in your life.

You have no more than a few seconds to make a wish.

But you’ve got … nothing. Even you yourself are surprised by what’s going on in your head. You are trying to choose the best thing, the one you need the most. But still … nothing.

Should you ask for health for yourself and your family? For money? For happiness? Or should it be something in the short term, something you need now? Like to get accepted in a good university? To find the dream job? Your diet to work out this time? To make someone like you? To finish your book?

And the moment is gone.

The shooting star is long gone and you are still standing there wondering what just happened. Because you realized that you don’t know what you want the most in your life. Or at all.

The Problem 

It’s a common thing these days for people not to know what they want and how to define it, not to say how to get it.

We have so many desires, so wrong perception of happiness, so little motivation to evolve and achieve more and get used to mundane life so easily, that we no more know what exactly we want. And without knowing it, we will never get it. And we will wander in the dark with no direction, no purpose and no path to follow.

This happens for a few reasons:

  1. Too many goals at once;
  2. No goals at all;
  3. No motivation to improve ourselves;
  4. We follow the crowd;
  5. We haven’t defined what a good life means to us;
  6. We don’t have priorities (and thus don’t know which of the things we want comes first on the agenda).

The Solution

Something needs to be done if we want to progress and level up in life. And the first step to transformation is understanding and defining our deepest desires.

Most people these days just wander around purposelessly. They think they are busy having their daily worries, commitments and tasks to do but nothing is actually important and has any impact in the long term.

The thing is that we rarely stop to see the bigger picture and thus miss the real meaning of life. We no longer want value, we just want denial, relief, instant pleasure and easy and fast solutions.

But living this way means never changing and getting out of our comfort zone, which also means we’ll never see what life has to offer.

We can achieve anything we set our mind to and almost nothing is impossible with the opportunities we have. But we need to have a clear vision of the things we want the most first.

A purpose is our personal mission statement, it’s what makes everything else count and gives meaning to every day of our lives. Once we’ve found it and started working on it, we will feel like never before. We will have our ‘why’ and our actions and decisions will be deliberate and conscious.

To find it you need to carefully think of:

  1. what you wanted as a child;
  2. the things you enjoy doing the most;
  3. the things you care about;
  4. people you look up to and why;
  5. what is your passion;
  6. what do you want to change in your life;
  7. what will it take to make these changes;
  8. where do you see yourself a year or two from now;
  9. notice how you feel while doing different things;
  10. when was the last time you felt really happy.

This is all it takes to find your true purpose and have a direction in life. It may take some time and you need to be honest with yourself. I know most people don’t enjoy confronting their desires, regrets and facing the things they don’t like in their life, but this is the surest way to be happy and live the life you deserve.

Do this now so that you can spent the rest of your life going after your dreams and enjoy the process while doing it.

All the successful people in the world, the ones that have found what makes them happy and surrounded themselves with it, have started from defining what they really want.

This is what your passion looks like and if you define it and dedicate your time and energy to it, you will never have to work a day in your life. And you will probably be making much more money and have more satisfaction than you are in your current situation. Once you make your passion your lifestyle, career and hobby, your life will change tremendously.

via@LidiyaK

In a world without rebels

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We teach our children about the importance of free speech and the dangers of groupthink, encouraging them to read novels about frightening futuristic societies like George Orwell’s 1984 where the Ministry of Truth’s real mission is to falsify historical events and spin propaganda. Or Lois Lowry’s The Giver world where pain, fear, intense love and hatred have been eliminated and there’s no prejudice because people look and think the same. And yet, in our schools and at our workplaces “group think” is subtly and not so subtly rewarded and those who question decisions and advocate for different and better ways are ignored, ostracized, or fired.

Our systems – be they companies, schools, churches, government agencies or health care organizations — become rigid and brittle, sometimes even dangerous, without rebels with the courage to say, ”This isn’t the right way,”

Government managers obsess on protecting their budgets and headcount and lose sight of what citizens want or need. Religious leaders turn an eye to child abuse.People anesthetize themselves with alcohol or junk food at the end of the workday to dull the pain of feeling like a meaningless cog in the system, where “no one cares what I have to say.” Companies, even those “too big to fail,” fail every day, leaving people out of work and dashing the dreams of those who loved their work.

The dangers of a world without rebels are often more specific, as well.

Most famously, government agency managers from NASA refused to listen to engineers’ warnings and The Challenger space shuttle blew to smithereens killing seven crew members and shutting down the space program for almost three years.

Most recently, General Motors’ corporate culture suppressed the voices of concerned employees, who were alarmed about safety issues. Speaking up at meetings was just not safe. In 2014 the auto manufacturer was forced to admit that it knew about an ignition switch safety issue for more than 10 years before it issued a recall. While executives ignored the voices of its rebels at work, at least 54 crashes and up to 100 people died. As 2014 unfolded General Motors issued 47 more recalls covering more than 20 million vehicles.

How could this happen when people inside these organizations knew about the risks?

Welcome to a world where rebels are shunned and the authorities’ desire to make the world adhere to internal plans and magical thinking rather than real-world realities can create irrational decisions, crazy behavior and very unfortunate outcomes.

Following an internal investigation into the safety issues GM CEO Mary Barra told employees, “The lack of action was a result of broad bureaucratic problems and the failure of individual employees in several departments to address a safety problem…Repeatedly, individuals failed to disclose critical pieces of information that could have fundamentally changed the lives of those impacted by a faulty ignition switch.”

This was not the fault of employees, but the fault of GM’s culture and leadership to make it safe for employees to speak up. The Bureaucratic Black Belts ruled the roost, focusing more on GM internal politics than on the safety of people buying its vehicles.

In a world without rebels broad bureaucratic problems like GM’s flourish, and the result is complacency, stagnant growth, and sometimes even worse things, like horrific accidents.

If our current workplaces were a novel or movie, we’d be looking for new protagonists

If our current workplaces were a novel, we might want to stop reading. “Good grief, people’s souls are being sucked dry, danger is lurking everywhere and no one seems to care. I can’t take much more of this.” As we tried to keep reading we’d be hoping that a hero or underdog would show up fast and help turn things around. “Please, please, someone get in there and solve the problems that are staring everyone in the face. Somebody do SOMETHING.”

Fortunately, there are more and more rebels doing something where they work to turn things around – with or without having positions of authority. Rebels are not heroes, because no one person can create change alone. But rebels have many hero attributes – optimism, courage, smarts, tenacity, and earnestness.

Not everyone in an organization needs to be a rebel, but all organizations need their rebels.

Via @Rebels@Work

Leadership Checklist

Leadership Checklist

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

 

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Top 10 Leadership Checks

  1. As a leader, I seek first to understand, and I listen to people until they feel heard (empathic listening.)
  2. As a leader, I set the example others wish to emulate.
  3. As a leader, I vary my leadership style to motivate when needed or direct based on the needs and abilities of the team.
  4. As a leader, I vary my leadership style between people-focused and task-focused based on the situation I’m in.
  5. As a leader, I continuously find ways to simplify.
  6. As a leader, I focus on service to others.
  7. As a leader, I allocate time for what’s important.
  8. As a leader, I do what I say I will do.
  9. As a leader, I create a compelling vision that inspires people to rally around.
  10. As a leader, I take feedback and adapt in response.

Core Checks

  1. As a leader, I am a self-starter and I take the initiative.
  2. As a leader, I am approachable and encourage people to talk to me.
  3. As a leader, I ask questions that help move the ball forward.
  4. As a leader, I build the confidence of others.
  5. As a leader, I know whether my strengths are thought-leadership, people leadership, or both.
  6. As a leader, I focus on self-leadership before leading others (self-leadership, team leadership, organizational leadership, etc.)
  7. As a leader, I influence others through skills and connection, not power and position.
  8. As a leader, I focus on “we” not “me.”
  9. As a leader, I over-communicate both upwards and downwards.
  10. As a leader, I realize my success comes through others.
  11. As a leader, I remind myself that leadership is a privilege in that people choose to follow.
  12. As a leader, I scale my impact by thinking in terms of systems and ecosystems.
  13. As a leader, I think beyond the moment.
  14. As a leader, I treat people the way I want to be treated.

Action

  1. As a leader, I ask, “What do we want to accomplish?”
  2. As a leader, I avoid inaction.
  3. As a leader, I avoid unnecessary distractions.
  4. As a leader, I balance the results with the journey.
  5. As a leader, I create SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely)
  6. As a leader, I demonstrate a bias for action.
  7. As a leader, I ensure people have intrinsically motivating goals.
  8. As a leader, I help identify next steps.
  9. As a leader, I help people identify the tests for success.
  10. As a leader, I help people identify what good would look like.
  11. As a leader, I help people feel a sense of progress.
  12. As a leader, I hold people accountable to what they agreed they would do.
  13. As a leader, I inspire others to action.
  14. As a leader, I maintain quality and deadlines while dealing with multiple priorities.
  15. As a leader, I mobilize my team to achieve.
  16. As a leader, I structure a path for success.
  17. As a leader, I surround myself with people that balance my weaknesses and amplify my strengths.
  18. As a leader, I take bold action.
  19. As a leader, I take decisive action.
  20. As a leader, I turn ideas into actions.

Change

  1. As a leader, I anticipate and prepare for changes.
  2. As a leader, I build a sense of urgency for the most important things.
  3. As a leader, I communicate the “what,” “why”, “who”, “how” and “when” of a change initiative.
  4. As a leader, I embrace change.
  5. As a leader, I put together the right coalition of people to help drive change.
  6. As a leader, I see change as an opportunity.
  7. As a leader, I socialize change in effective ways.
  8. As a leader, I stay flexible in my approach.
  9. As a leader, I understand and can articulate the risks of change and the risks of avoiding change.

Communication

  1. As a leader, I challenge ideas while respecting other opinions.
  2. As a leader, I communicate clearly.
  3. As a leader, I ask solution-focused questions, such as “How might we solve that?”
  4. As a leader, I communicate in an open and respectful way.
  5. As a leader, I encourage people to bring me problems.
  6. As a leader, I encourage people to put their ideas out on the table.
  7. As a leader, I encourage an open door policy.
  8. As a leader, I know how to manage up, down, and sideways effectively.
  9. As a leader, I lead with my “why.”
  10. As a leader, I let people know they’ve been heard by replaying back what I’ve heard.
  11. As a leader, I listen with the intent to learn.

Decisions and Choice

  1. As a leader, I always factor the “right” thing to do and ethics when faced with choices and decisions.
  2. As a leader, I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong or someone has a better idea.
  3. As a leader, I am prepared to make tough decisions.
  4. As a leader, I build consensus for ideas.
  5. As a leader, I focus on doing business the right, ethical way.
  6. As a leader, I help people understand that until a decision is made its ok to argue like hell but once it is made everyone needs to get in the boat and row!
  7. As a leader, I involve the right people for key decisions.
  8. As a leader, I know when to defer to other people for their expertise.
  9. As a leader, I recognize that not all people will agree with my decisions.

Energy, Motivation, and Inspiration

  1. As a leader, I build a team of energizers and weed out the energy sappers.
  2. As a leader, I demonstrate passion and enthusiasm.
  3. As a leader, I give others meaningful work and show them why it’s meaningful.
  4. As a leader, I identify opportunities.
  5. As a leader, I invest in people’s strengths to help them blossom.
  6. As a leader, I look to the future with possibility.
  7. As a leader, I make people feel valued for their contributions.
  8. As a leader, I make the workplace an enjoyable place to be.
  9. As a leader, I reward effort and results.
  10. As a leader, I reward people when they excel.
  11. As a leader, I spend more time in my strengths and less time in my weaknesses.
  12. As a leader, I take time to renew and recharge.

Influence and Connection

  1. As a leader, I balance connection and conviction.
  2. As a leader, I build trust through reliable actions.
  3. As a leader, I connect with people’s values.
  4. As a leader, I demonstrate compassion for people and their situations.
  5. As a leader, I demonstrate empathy for the people.
  6. As a leader, I demonstrate empathy for the situation.
  7. As a leader, I establish rapport before trying to influence.
  8. As a leader, I read a situation to know who the owners, influencers, and decision makers are.
  9. As a leader, I recognize that I cannot please all the people all the time.

Learning, Growth, and Self-Awareness

  1. As a leader, I am a lifelong learner.
  2. As a leader, I am open to feedback and constructive criticism.
  3. As a leader, I encourage healthy competition.
  4. As a leader, I encourage people to test themselves and stretch themselves.
  5. As a leader, I encourage testing results.
  6. As a leader, I find the lessons and carry the good ideas forward.
  7. As a leader, I find ways for people, processes, and products to grow and evolve.
  8. As a leader, I focus on strengths and limit liabilities.
  9. As a leader, I follow the growth.
  10. As a leader, I get feedback on my actions and the impact on people.
  11. As a leader, I give honest and constructive feedback—the kind I would like to receive.
  12. As a leader, I help people spend more time in their strengths.
  13. As a leader, I know and act according to my principles.
  14. As a leader, I know how to provide specific, accurate, timely, and relevant constructive feedback.
  15. As a leader, I know my weaknesses.
  16. As a leader, I model the best.
  17. As a leader, I own my mistakes.
  18. As a leader, I provide opportunities for my people to excel
  19. As a leader, I seek input from multiple perspectives on how to improve.
  20. As a leader, I improve my weaknesses that are liabilities.
  21. As a leader, I use mistakes as learning opportunities.
  22. As a leader, I use tough situations as leadership opportunities.
  23. As a leader, when I make a mistake, I do what I can to make it right.

Problem Solving

  1. As a leader, I ask clarifying questions about the problem.
  2. As a leader, I break down problems into smaller, easier, more manageable chunks.
  3. As a leader, I challenge myself to take on big hairy challenges.
  4. As a leader, I focus on the task and keep my ego out of it.
  5. As a leader, I frame the problem in a way that’s actionable.
  6. As a leader, I help people focus on what they control.
  7. As a leader, I prioritize solving the right problems first (solving the problems that have the most impact).
  8. As a leader, I solve problems.

Teamwork

  1. As a leader, I ask people what they need to be successful.
  2. As a leader, I break the work down in a way that can be managed effectively.
  3. As a leader, I clear roadblocks for people.
  4. As a leader, I create a sense of ownership.
  5. As a leader, I create ways for people to collaborate on problems.
  6. As a leader, I delegate tasks effectively.
  7. As a leader, I empower people to get their jobs done.
  8. As a leader, I encourage others to spend more time in their strengths and less time in their weaknesses.
  9. As a leader, I encourage others to take bold action.
  10. As a leader, I encourage people to share what they know and grow others.
  11. As a leader, I encourage people to team up.
  12. As a leader, I find a way for the team to win.
  13. As a leader, I foster team spirit.
  14. As a leader, I give others the leeway to do the work.
  15. As a leader, I help clarify expectations and roles.
  16. As a leader, I help find ways to make my team more productive.
  17. As a leader, I help manage and balance personalities on the team.
  18. As a leader, I help my people balance their work and life.
  19. As a leader, I help people find roles that unleash and bring out their best.
  20. As a leader, I help people internalize what success looks like.
  21. As a leader, I help people work together by focusing on the greater good.
  22. As a leader, I know how to get out of the way and let people do their jobs.
  23. As a leader, I know the strengths individuals bring to the table.
  24. As a leader, I know when to play quarterback and when to play coach.
  25. As a leader, I share what I learn to help make others great.
  26. As a leader, I set clear boundaries and allow people to act within those boundaries.
  27. As a leader, I value and encourage diversity on the team.
  28. As a leader, I value the unique contribution that each individual brings.

Vision, Mission, Values

  1. As a leader, I can communicate the mission in one line.
  2. As a leader, I can prioritize effectively across competing concerns.
  3. As a leader, I can relate the vision and mission to what people are doing.
  4. As a leader, I co-create a compelling mission that is simple, sticky, and powerful.
  5. As a leader, I co-create a vision that people sign up for.
  6. As a leader, I create a larger playground for more people to play.
  7. As a leader, I demonstrate that I respect other people’s values.
  8. As a leader, I have a vision for the organization that inspires.
  9. As a leader, I help people see the forest from the trees by communicating priorities and setting focus.
  10. As a leader, I know what my values are and I communicate them to others.
  11. As a leader, I live my values.
  12. As a leader, I respect other peoples’ opinions even if I disagree with them.

via @J.D. Meier

Don’t Give Up!!

Don’t Give Up!!

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I need you to say this pledge out loud and clear:

I (Name here) promise that I will always and I mean always try my best to not give up, and even help inspire others not to give up. As Kelly Rowland says, ‘Never give up on your dream… Because you never know what the lord can bless you with.

Now chant the word ‘Inspire’ out loud three times.

Now was that hard? No?

Okay, great!

I guess, I’ll see you all some other time, I’m glad I helped someone out there.

Peace.

Storms of Change!!

Storms of Change!!

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Sometimes nature’s storms can be much like the storms or challenges we face in life. Many times I’ve felt that the unwanted challenges, traumas, and setbacks I’ve faced in my life are like storms. I used to struggled against these challenges, a bit like struggling against the wind. I thought that they “shouldn’t” be happening. I now see these types of life challenges or storms as a great shift in energy, something that has come to me as a gift, and possibly come to redirect the course of my life.

I am currently going through challenges in my life that are asking me to redirect, rethink, recreate, let go, “be”, and expand how I experience myself and the world. Most people around me would consider these events traumas, setbacks, losses and so on. But I experience them, in all their good and bad, as an exciting shift in energy, much like a glorious storm. They have come to clear out stagnant air, rearrange the landscape, and offer me new perspectives. At some point, when I have more clarity and distance from these events, I may write about them. But for now, I keep my heart open and embrace the mystery and wonder of life.

When we are open to life’s storms we begin to realize that we are being offered something new and usually much needed, a brand new perspective, a new direction, opportunities that might not occur to us in our easy “sunny-weather-days”.

Or opportunities that we might not willingly choose without a little (or BIG) nudge from the universe. Storms often change the landscape and offer us a totally new view, just as heavy rain washes all clean, leaving us with clearer vision. Sometimes it can be a challenge to look at a changed landscape and decide how we will navigate it. Yet it is undoubtedly an opportunity for growth.

Like the wildlife and plants that return to a stormed-changed area, we too can return to life with new insights and new purpose.

Storms also have taught me to be more aware, not fearful, just aware. So each storm I face, whether in nature or in my life, I am more conscious and better able to decide how I want to respond, instead of reacting out of fear. I keep my heart open to storms of change.

What storms are you currently weathering, or have weathered in the past?

Can you share advice on how you are dealing (or dealt) with these storms?

via@myfriend

It Begins With You

It Begins With You

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What are you doing right now, that is bringing you closer to achieving a dream?

What are you doing right now, that stretches your bubble of comfort until it bursts, until you discover you are capable of much more than you ever thought you were?

What are you doing to improve your self, to bury the past, put a tombstone over pain, to end old habits, and begin healthier ones?

What are you doing right now that puts into practice what you preach, that empathizes with action, what you believe in?

What are you doing right now to love where you live, the earth, the animals, the people close and distant, kindred souls, and even the ones who are supposed to be your enemies?

What are you doing to promote peace, to promote love, to promote equality?

Are you taking to heart, the little moments, are you practicing gratitude, are you choosing joy?

What are you doing right now, that is new, that broadens your scope, your understanding, that invigorates you, challenges you, excites you, that you always desired to do?

What are you doing to live for each day, and not only the weekends?

What are you doing right now, that makes you excited to wake up each morning, even Mondays, that paints a smile on your lips?

But if you are waiting, what is it that you are waiting for?

Are you waiting for life to happen to you?

Are you waiting for the perfect moment, the rain to stop, or the sun to shine, or to feel whole again?

Don’t you know, if you wait for life to happen to you, the one who will meet you instead, is death.

It begins with you. Change begins from within and blossoms outwards, always, an idea, a dream, a planted seed. People, and places, and movies, and music, and events, can all be catalysts, but action begins with you.
No one can live your life for you, but you.
One day, this will all just be a fleeting reel of memories, make it one you’re proud of, that you’re at peace with, make it one worth remembering.

via@sussanacole

Your Life Purpose? Go on the Hero’s Journey

Your Life Purpose? Go on the Hero’s Journey

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What is your purpose in life? This question is as old as the human race itself. Some argue that our purpose is to find happiness. Others say our purpose is to love others, to become the best version of ourselves, or to follow God’s will. Still others say there is no purpose to life at all.

I believe that our lives do have a purpose, and that the clues are all around us in plain view. You can’t miss them. Our purpose is so deeply imbedded in our culture that we easily overlook it or take it for granted.

Put simply, your purpose in life is to live the life of a hero.

The hero’s journey is captured in all the great stories in literature, and in all the great movies we enjoy on the big screen. Hero stories endow our lives with meaning and reveal how a human life is meant to be lived.

Hero stories illuminate your true purpose in four ways:

1. You will go on a journey. At some point during your life, you will journey away from the comforts of your familiar world. In The Wizard of Oz, a tornado sends Dorothy to the land of Oz. In The Fault in Our Stars, cancer sends Hazel to Amsterdam. The hero’s journey can be real or metaphorical. Sometimes heroes choose the journey; sometimes the journey is chosen for them. Brace yourself – your life always includes some type of voyage, fraught with discomfort but crucial in revealing your life purpose.

2. You will grow from adversity. Overcoming obstacles and failures is a central part of your life journey. Children’s fairy tales prepare us for adversity by featuring heroes who grow from their setbacks. The three little pigs find a way to outsmart the big bad wolf. Bambi overcomes his mother’s death to grow into a great leader. “Where you stumble, there lies your treasure,” observed mythologist Joseph Campbell. Heroes use adversity to better themselves. When you are challenged by the darkest of life circumstances, know that your journey is fashioning you into a wiser, more resilient individual.

3. You will assemble a team of allies. You should never undertake your journey alone. Heroes find a way to attract sidekicks, friends, and mentors to help them overcome obstacles. Matt Langdon of the Hero Construction Company calls it “building a team around you.” Often the person who helps you is someone you least expect. Remember that the point of the journey is to transform you into a stronger, better person. Trusted allies will guide you through adversity and will assist you in becoming forever transformed by your journey.

4. You will give back to society – The hero’s journey is far more than mere personal transformation. Once you return from your journey, you will use your new-found gifts to make the world a better place. In 12 Years a Slave, the hero Solomon survives his ordeal as a slave and then works to end slavery. In The Odyssey, Odysseus endures his turbulent voyage home and then becomes a wise ruler of Ithaca.

Your life purpose is to use your own personal transformation to help transform society. Once mentored by another, you will now mentor others. Your selfless service to the world will forge your place in the human chain of love shown by people who came before you and by people who will follow you.

The hero’s journey is not just illustrated in fiction but in the real lives of the world’s greatest heroes, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. These three legends lived the four truths of heroism outlined above and used their gifts to forever change the world.

You may not be on the life trajectory of a Gandhi or a Mandela, but rest assured you are on a hero’s journey that has momentous implications for yourself and for the world. Perhaps you are in the process of overcoming cancer, a difficult childhood, a financial setback, or some major transgression. As you struggle, remember that regardless of the outcome, you are fulfilling your life’s purpose. Each human life is meant to be a heroic life.

via@Scott T. Allison

Dreamers are the sanest of us.

Dreamers are the sanest of us.

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Dreamers are the sanest of us. We’re not crazy, frankly, we’re quite practical creatures. We don’t gamble with the regrets and what ifs of life, we figure if you only have one life to live, you ought to live it to its fullest.

I think we frighten society because we can’t be pinned down, groomed into minions, boxed-in, brainwashed, dictated.

What we possess cannot be stolen. We refuse to submit to something that doesn’t satisfy us, no matter how many times we’re drilled that “this is just the way it is” or “that’s just life”, with a shrug of shoulders.

See, we know they’re lying through their teeth. We know nothing is impossible.

We enrich our spirits, and worry less about our pocketbooks.

The fulfilled will die the richest on the earth, even if penniless.

We’re the ones who change the world, for with no dreams to fuel it, there would cease to be the electricity of change, the progression of the world would come to a frozen halt, and yet, we’re ostracized, mocked, misunderstood, insulted, called insane.

No, insanity is the belief that money trumps happiness, the delusion that you will never run out of time to do the things you dream of, that obtaining and exhibiting your wealth is more important than the health of humanity and of the earth, that ego will serve you better than humility, that superficiality is of greater weight than spirit. Insanity is letting it always be “someday” instead of “today”.

If only the world could understand that the greatest risk is to let go of your dreams, to give up on the pursuit of happiness, a better quality of life for all, to surrender to the world’s madness and disorder.

The risk is not in being a dreamer, it’s in sitting there unsatisfied and doing nothing.

Stand up and walk.

Excuses are for fools.

via @susannacole

We Need a Hero!!!! – What Really Is a Hero, Anyway?

We Need a Hero!!!! – What Really Is a Hero, Anyway? shutterstock_98019845 [Converted]   True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others
at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” – Arthur Ashe As we all hear the word “hero” used from time to time, have you ever asked yourself the question, “What is a hero, anyway?” I have asked that question many times. As I inquired into this more, and have spoken to many people about this, others also came up for me:

  • Is a hero someone we simply admire, respect, look up to?
  • Is a hero some kind of “superhero” with “super powers?”
  • Does it take a lot of money and fame to be a hero?
  • What’s involved in being a hero?
  • Can we call ourselves a hero?
  • Why do we have such a weird relationship to the word “hero?”

You may have asked yourself these same questions. So, let’s start now by looking at the concept of “hero” and “heroism.” Heroes are people who transform compassion (a personal virtue) into heroic action (a civic virtue). In doing so, they put their best selves forward in service to humanity. A hero is as an individual or a network of people that take action on behalf of others in need, or in defense of integrity or a moral cause. Heroic action is:

  1. Engaged in voluntarily;
  2. Conducted in service to one or more people or the community as a whole;
  3. Involving a risk to physical comfort, social stature, or quality of life; and
  4. Initiated without the expectation of material gain.

When you consider this interpretation, you can really get that heroism is the other side of the coin — the opposite — of bystander behavior. When you voluntarily engage in an activity that is in service to someone else, or the community as a whole, and you take a risk in doing so AND do it without any expectation of material gain: you are a hero! You are not a bystander. Heroism is not random acts of kindness, as great as they are. Heroism is very distinct. A hero is not someone you simply admire or respect. A hero is a very distinct person. Each and every day around us, there are those who need a hero:

  • If a child is being bullied at school – or even an adult being bullied at the workplace — they need a hero.
  • If someone has had too much to drink and they are about to drive, they – and everyone that their driving may impact — need a hero.
  • If someone is being sexually “hit on” and has not given consent, they need a hero.
  • If a group of students are being hazed — physically, emotionally or otherwise – they need a hero.
  • If an inappropriate or offensive comment is spoken, those impacted need a hero.

Now, truth be told, we all want to be heroes. We all want to make that difference in that moment of time that will dramatically impact the situation and even foster change. Keep someone safe. Keep others safe. Stand up for what is right and just. We all simply desire the ability and the power to act freely and without restraint to make this kind of difference.

Yes, I know, we all have a really funky relationship to the word “hero.” You may notice that it came up for you the second you read the headline to this post. You may think it’s narcissistic. Egotistical. Self-promotional. You may even think that it’s something to be bestowed on you rather than self-acclamation.

I also believe that most of us have a very cynical and resigned relationship to heroism. It may come from a time when we tried to be a hero — to take a heroic action — and it didn’t go well or have the effect we needed it to. Or, maybe we wanted to be a hero for someone and never took the actions necessary to make the difference. In those moments we make a decision that we can’t be a hero — we don’t have what it takes. It was a good idea at the time; however, “I must not be good enough to be a hero.” And these decisions have been validated by subsequent events ever since we made them. Actually, the older we are, the more evidence we have gathered to prove them true. I get it. I really do. I have just as much evidence as you do that I am not a hero — and can’t be. “Why even try, right?”

I am on this journey with you and I invite us all to stay in this conversation and explore it together: “How can I be a hero?” Better yet, “how can I prepare and equip myself to be a hero in those moments in life that demand it?”

I am committed that we all create a new and inspiring relationship to being a hero and allowing others to be heroes for us. Let yourself be empowered by the opportunity it is to make this kind of difference. This very commitment is the driving force of this revolution.

Think of a time someone was a hero for you and how you have never forgotten that person for what they did. You have never gotten over their courage and their actions — for you. Think of a time when you were able to make this kind of difference for someone else. What did it feel like? What was that experience like? I promise, if you allow yourself to really experience this, you will be inspired — by yourself! My challenge to all of us: be a hero vs. be a bystander! Be an “everyday” person willing to keep your eyes, ears and heart open “every day” to any opportunity that may demand heroism.

I invite you now to commit to this by taking the pledge.

I thank you for taking this on. Really! I thank you for being the kind of person even willing to make this kind of commitment and hold yourself accountable for fulfilling it — for others, for organizations, and for issues you care about.

This will allow all of us to live extraordinary lives making the difference we all want — and need — to make. Get involved. Stay engaged.

via@MikeDilbeck