Trusting Your Value

If you’ve lived long enough, you know that your personal value is vital.  To understand that and trust it is even more important.  I should also mention that it can be challenging as well.  Remember something, the U.S. Census Bureau www.census.gov notes that there’s about 6.9 billion people in the world today, and none of them have your DNA makeup.  That’s a compelling reason to trust!  Not to mention that it implies design and purpose.

One of the saddest realities today is that most people will die without uncovering their true value.  The grave yard is full of riches.  Dreams of new businesses, love affairs, adventures and much more.  I believe God wants to use me to "wake the working dead" before its too late.  A daunting task I know…

Ohio and Ethics

In my home state of Ohio we’re witnessing a meltdown in the state government (http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/12277562.htm).  The governor and others close to him are taking a lot of heat over some state investment funds that have gone "belly up."  Since our expectation level is low for politicians, we won’t discuss the why.  But I am fascinated by the citizenry and ethics.

Some time ago I conducted a workshop on ethics.  It was eye opening to see so many people confused on what’s right and what’s wrong.  My job was to bring clarity and direction (which I did).  There were some who came away feeling guilty for past transgressions, as well as those who felt vindicated by stands they’d taken previously.  One the biggest awakenings came in the area of the "golden rule."  Big surprise?  It seemed that the golden rule was the answer to our ethics dilemma.  Without exception everyone of the participants endorsed this age old principle.  There are other issues to tackle around ethics, but certainly the golden rule is essential. 

The following are some remedies that maybe my state could use:

  • Ethics (like love) is a decision.  You must decide to be ethical, and then don’t waiver.
  • You need key ethical advisers to keep you accountable.
  • There are no shortcuts to success (business or government).
  • As the leader goes, so goes the follower

Can You See My Vision?

When management (not leadership) has the power to restructure an organization it can be dangerous.  Managers often are lacking in the vision department, which can lead to very short term decision making.  Visionary leaders, however, see beyond today’s environment.  They communicate with candor and clarity.  People want to follow people like like this. 

As we know, quality leaders don’t grow on trees.  Therefore, we are often left with the vision-less calling the shots.The best organizations (profit or non-profit) fill there key positions with visionary leaders.  These organizations know that "real" growth flows through people like this.

Since I’m about solutions, here are some tangible solutions to help fix an organization’s management/leadership quandary:

  1. Test and profile employees at all levels for vision potential.
  2. Develop all facets (growth plans, vision casting, ethics, handling power, verbal and written communication) of the employee’s leadership walk.
  3. Development needs to be formal, not informal.
  4. All activity should be measurable.
  5. Focus on strengths not weaknesses.

To be great, we must be courageous.  No shortcuts…

Choosing To See It Through

Have you ever been tempted to “cash it in?”  OK, I know that’s very rhetorical.  Here’s my point; we cash it in every day.  Every day we’re confronted with temptations to compromise our vision (if we have one).  I know some who work in organizations that thrive on defining their people.  If you let your employer define you, then you’re part of the working dead.

When people cede their will to an empty one, there’s trouble ahead.  Your world is made up of an audience every single day.  For example, a family situation is a dynamic illustration.  Those people are looking for clues to better understand who you really are.  If they since authenticity, great things will follow.  If counter-genuine behaviors exists. then turmoil. 

I’ve leaned recently, that it’s better to see things through.  Our unique processes have equally unique growth opportunities.  What if we miss them?  Life would not be as full as it could be.  So whether you’re facing obstacles, or the normal routine, don’t stop the train to get off.

Living in the Zone

Live inside of your passion/strength zone, it is the place where dreams are birthed.  Strange and wonderful things occur inside this zone.  We meet people key to our dreams, we get divine confirmations, and we’re more confident in the future.  There is a gentleman in my life that falls into this reality.  He always shows up at just the right times.  Usually there is something that God wants me to understand when we engage.  Lately it relates to living life in light of His dream for me. 

Here are some observations as of late:

  • Be proactive in the midst of silence and disappointment.  Life is a story to learn.  Sadly, our culture doesn’t encourage learning (true authentic learning) from a life long perspective. 
  • Some of the greatest opportunities come from the unexpected and chance.  We’ll be sensitive to these opportunities when we are operating in our passion/strength zone. 
  • Follow your dreams without hesitation.  Don’t settle for the charms of Corporate America.  The world is changed by those that embrace their design. 

The Awakening

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix (the first installment).  There is a scene towards the end of the flick that is powerful.  The character Neo is in a tough spot with a couple of not-so-nice people.  As a matter of fact, he literally wakes from the dead after being shot.  As the tension builds to a crescendo, he awakens to the destiny that is his.  He begins to see things as they really are…he begins to embrace the “power” given to him.  All of sudden his confidence and skill are crystallized.  Neo must still fight, but a new day has dawned.  Can you relate to this?  I can…with gusto!  This is the type of day you wouldn’t forget.  You see most are sleepwalking, or are lost in the Matrix.  If you miss your opportunity to awaken, then you’ll miss the life you were intended to live. 

The day for me was about five years ago.  I had been a follower of Jesus Christ for many years, but when I encountered His destiny I came alive.  Not that I was dead, but I was on this great search.  It was a process of awakening, and life has never been the same since.  You need to come alive.  The world is waiting for your epic story.  Don’t reserve that story for the grave. 

Go watch The Matrix and read the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson (he has a great site at www.thedreamgiver.com).  Go ahead and come alive!

Avoiding the Mystical

Why are we so afraid of the mystical things in life?  If you were told that success chases you, would that make you uncomfortable?  Would a statement like that cause you to “scratch your head?”  Most people would say yes to both.  We’ve been brainwashed into believing that practical reality is where it’s at.  But we’re failing at that approach!  Time to try a new brand?

What opportunities will we find in the “mystical?”  For one, we’ll find our dreams and the passions that support.  The most successful (you define it for yourself) people are those that seem to do what they do effortlessly.  Sadly, we applaud and say “I wish I could be like him or her.”  And that’s where the lie takes over.  We think that only the “chosen ones” live out greatness. 

If you decide today to discover and pursue your passions, then you’re on your way to being everything the “chosen ones” are.  It is rare for most to choose the path of the mystical.  More than likely because of the pain and struggle associated with it.  My path certainly bears that out.

There is a life waiting for you.  What will you pursue today?

The Land of H

In many corporate situations hierarchy is paramount.  Some might say it’s needed for order and structure.  The folks at “some” usually don’t mention fear and greed.  Often hierarchy creates a cast system.  You know the type; “I am the smartest guy or gal in the room because my title begins with “Senior….”  Those of you with no title know this is a bunch of malarkey! 

I’ve held a few senior level positions in my time, and growth has always been important.  Part of growing up is learning that leadership is about responsibility, and not privilege.  You may meet some senior leaders that would agree with my statement.  However, don’t you wonder why their actions speak to something else?  For now, we’ll leave it to the psychologists to figure out why this behavior persists.  This is a big problem in Corporate America.

The following is a list of questions I’ve used to evaluate leaders…it will help you evaluate those who want to influence you:

1.      What are their unique passions?

2.      Can they cast vision around those passions?

3.      Do they have a growth plan?

4.      How much time do they dedicate to reflective/thinking time?

5.      Do they have a mentor/advisor?

There may be more questions you could ask, but this list will reveal a lot about the leader’s core.  You’ll want to know this before you entrust your working life to them.  Don’t fall into the trap of motivation by fear and greed.

He Means It, They Don’t

What happens when organization cannot live out its values and beliefs?  More than likely employees begin to lose faith.  Obviously, decay and death could also occur.  What causes organizations to fall into the trap of mixed messages?  Why does a CEO get it, but those closest to customer don’t?  If you look to those “middle” influencers you’ll find the answer. 

The middle is where insecurities and inexperience coexist.  Since most organizations value conformity, these influencers don’t know anything about original thought.  Let’s face it; our job is the “holy grail.”  We don’t want to lose, fail or look bad.  Sounds to me like a recipe for no risk taking.  The only hope is to catch these individuals early (before they enter the organization) or when they realize that life is a limited time offer.

A great deal of responsibility for our situation lies at the feet of senior management.  As well intentioned as they can be, corporate honchos don’t create environments for people to grow.  They’re so burdened by this quarter’s numbers, or some Wall Street analyst’s opinion.  Life is full of ironies, this is one of them. 

Look around you, no innovative people equals no long term profit.

Life Imitating Hebrew

An old mentor of mind once told me that life is like Hebrew, you need to read it backwards to understand it.  This is also known as, “connecting the dots.”  Whichever version you prefer, the statements are true.  One area that should be considered as well is the impact our choices (conscious choices) will have on the text we read.  Our lives are very much like a book.  Each of us having a beginning, middle and an end.  All of the elements adding up to a legacy.

Think about the following when you’re making those conscious choices:

1.      All choices have consequences, good or bad.  This reality should help you understand how important our decisions are.

2.      Get a mentor/advisor…they will give you clarity.

3.      Don’t have more than five priorities in life.  Limited priorities will reduce stress and confusion.

4.      Know yourself, and then follow your gut.

5.      Wisdom from God is the best wisdom of all.