Telling Lies

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I read once that if you want to get comfortable with telling lies to others, you need to get comfortable with telling lies to yourself.  Kind of chilling when you think about it. I agree with the analogy.

Now, what are these self-lies we tell ourselves?  In my case, during my days in the corporate world, it was performance.  For example, if I hit this number I will get an applause at the weekly staff meeting.  I would sit and find myself perspiring and feeling so much adrenaline at the thought of telling my peers how well my group was doing.  The lie I embraced was that age-old dysfunction of; “if I do this or that, I will be liked/loved.”  Did my peers like/love me because of my great feats?  No, and if some were of the flattering variety, it never lasted very long.

Telling, and believing, self-lies is a dangerous habit.  Like an awful addiction to any opiate.  You can never find the strength to stop. It can cripple you from finding and leading an Epic Life.  One scary part is found in how many people/messages are out there to fuel the habit. It ends when the habit births regret.

In the end, lies are lies, no way around it.

Lying to oneself is not only confined to the individual.  But creeps into the organizational world too.  Take the large corporation that proclaims, via marketing, that it values the client.  Ironically, though, its client service department can’t even return phone calls in a reasonable fashion.  The organization continues to print materials, hold town hall meetings, formats focus groups, but the truth is still the same; valuing a client is more of a fantasy.  And by the way, most loyal clients know this.

So what happens if we start embracing the truth versus the lie?  Here are some outcomes to consider:

  1. We can get down to the business of change-for the better.
  2. We’ll stop blaming the competition, our dads, the economy or some other phantasm for our poor results.
  3. Focus and happiness.
  4. A legacy colored in the brush strokes of love and action.
  5. Freedom!

I’m sure there are more outcomes to list, but the point remains for us to stop the lies.  Our Epic Life/Venture depends on it.

5 Reasons to Stop and Look Around

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I’ve  spent a lot of time communicating the importance of stopping and looking around. The path to finding the moments, and moments are gifts, if we stop and look around.

How many gifts do you think you’re given every day?

The truth is, we miss many of the gifts because we’re overlooking them to get to the next thing. It’s a mad world when our sole focus is on the next promotion, the next love affair the next great feat that’ll make us loved. I know the power of mindfulness intimately, the power of stopping and being in a moment, goes beyond worn-out marketing slogans and worn-out company initiatives to solve problems that can’t be solved corporately. What I’m speaking to is remembering that we only have a certain amount of time in a lifetime. It’s up to us as to what we embrace and what we ignore.

Before I go into writing about the five reasons to stop and look around, I want to remind you that there’s repetition in the way I approach the subject the way I do. I believe we’re in a war for our gifts because it’s almost as if we have forces that seek to destroy what moments we have. The fight is vitally important and what comes within it.

Let’s look at the five reasons to stop and look around:

  • Slow down and breathe. Great things occur when we slow down and find our breath meter. Taking time to do this will give room for reflection. The maddening rush of the world around us the continually messages us to grab more, take more and conquer more. Slowing down is a key, instead.
  • Determine what’s really most important to you. I stress really because many of us are professional in lying to ourselves. We’re connecting back to slowing down here. The idea that we’ve got to establish what is most important and be courageous to commit. Are you willing to be allegiant to what’s most important, in a way that my actions can be measured?
  • Get some people around you that can keep you accountable. These people don’t buy your self-BS. They are not willing to just take your word for it. These folks deal in the real, with love.
  • Stop the maddening pursuit of retirement income, work/career and whatever else that preoccupies. I’m not indicting the aforementioned, just the maddening pursuit. The truth is, at least in America, it’s delusional now. We’ve given working/ career and retirement way too much of our attention. For example, how do you know what 65 is gonna look like? Many have lost what they love because they killed themselves pursuing wind.
  • Get over yourself. That’s right, stop making you  the center of the universe. You do realize that the focus on getting you balanced is so there can be light behind you. A brilliant light is the aim. A wise mentor told me not too long ago, “Eric, you have to give yourself away, like Jesus did.” By the way, you’ll get more in return by doing it. It’s counterintuitive (the reason many refuse) and it’s beautiful.

Positioning to stop and look around is key to finding true meaning. Why not let yourself be found?

Fully Present

Are you fully present?

The above question could be the most exposing question of our time. Let’s be real; we live in the age of distractions. It’s no surprise that we even rationalize the distractions. Ever told someone you love to wait a minute, all the while, you’re busy scanning a social media site. Being fully present is a rarity amongst rarities.

What does it mean to be fully present?

To be fully present is to have faith. This kind of faith stands and says the moment in front is the most important moment ever. You might be questioning with some skepticism. Maybe you’re thinking what my son told me this week; “I don’t have time.” As it is for him, so it is for you. You have plenty of time. The question is what are you doing with it.

In my times of reflection, I can see and feel what it means to be so distracted as to not remember that feeling. The feeling like this morning when I could hear the rain and the birds singing in harmony. So many pursuits can get in the way of being present. We jump from experience to experience hoping that something will last. We hope something will hold up under the raging storm inside.

We miss the beauty right before our eyes. If only we would slow down and hold the look.

Here are a some tips on becoming fully present:

  1. Decide today what’s most important to you. Stop kidding yourself and start living what you say
  2. Stop and just be. Start with 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the evening
  3. Start seeing the insignificant as significant.
  4. Stop allowing the 80% of life trick you into allegiance. This post from a few months back might move you
  5. Stop listening to the marketing. You know what you need to do.

Call on me if you need some help here.

 

The BS Culture and Me

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I’m thankful for my friends who’ve had the courage to call me on my BS. The was done out of love and a keen sense on their part that something wasn’t right. In the last 10 years I’ve been recovering from the habit. I’m sure my time in corporate America, insecurities and a fear of being the “real” me contributed to all the posing. I see it for what it is now. I hate it!

Two strong conclusions leap out. One, we live in a BS culture. Two, if we don’t do a gut check everyday (yes, everyday), we’ll become that BS culture.

Some people who know me on the surface, might be surprised by the above. They know my acting, not who I really am. Fortunately, BS rears its head less and less these days, so don’t worry, I’m the boy you see now.

So what’s so urgent about the problem? Time, and time is running out for all of us. Some of the most outwardly successful people personify the problem. They act as if tomorrow is an eternity away. Most would never dare call them on it either, let alone walk the other way. A sick form of enablement. Often we close our eyes and pretend to only hear and see certain things. Most are willing to look the other way if it means getting what they came for. In America, that usually means a title, an investment account or who they know. It’s a cold reality we live in.

I only woke up, and learned (still learning) how to live differently, when I lost all my stage props and the interest of the culture. Imagine going to an audition and thinking you had one more good line for the director. Only to find, God was the only in attendance. With me, He only wanted to talk about where the real Eric was. I used to walk out, but then my life unravelled to a point where I had nowhere else I could go.

It was the best place for me, I could breathe.

Dehumanizing the Employee

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In my last post, I rang the bell about the gap between human development and the advancements of technology. The disharmony is evident to many. Within the large and mid-market organizations, there is another disturbing trend afoot. We are witnessing the dehumanization of the employee.

Dehumanizing the employee occurs as many employers are looking to advance efficiency and innovation. It’s a false belief that those twins can move human development the way technology does with automation or research.

One area worth looking at is the process many organizations use to hire talent. Keep in mind that the talent is made up of flesh and blood. I realize this can also be a source of real frustration for those in talent recruitment. Technology has convinced many senior leaders that vast problems are solved in the hands of inventive software.

The idea of using screening software has a place. However, it’s proven, the folly of hiring based on keywords. The old saying, “we hired your resume, but what we got was you” is on mark here. More critical thinking in this spot is what we need. Seems like that would remedy the incongruent state of the talent recruitment processes.

So the dehumanizing continues. What do we do now that the horses are out of the gate?

  • Put on your big boy pants or big girl skirt, and be a leader with integrity and vigor
  • Change the culture. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you do the first bullet it will increase the odds in your favor
  • Stop listening to the marketing
  • Trust only those who’ve been hurt deeply. They will be honest and real
  • Close it down, quit, move on, if that’s what it takes. Better to live to fight another, than die while still breathing

So What About Ed?

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So what about Ed?

In my post from earlier in the week, I promised a little “unfolding” around Ed Dobson and us.

Here goes:

  • Ed is a representation of us all. You might think because you don’t have ALS, or some other disease, that you don’t have much in common with Ed. The true reality is your diagnosis hasn’t been delivered yet. Sorry to break the news, but no one gets out alive in the span of life.
  • I’m really concerned about the number of people I know, and don’t know, who walk around the planet acting immortal. The keyword is acting here. It is a sure recipe on how to miss out on your notes (love affairs, songs composed, three-point shots to take). These are the notes that only you can play.
  • The tangible things of life are often just substitutes for the notes. We’ve been sold a lot of BS that the truth of that statement is not truth at all. For example, your career title does not make you real. It’s your notes that make you real. Some call it marketing, some call it opinion, but the truth remains.
  •  Don’t wait until death or disease makes an impromptu appearance, before you choose to do what you know you need to do. Arrogance keeps many of us from doing what we need to do. We feel we’ve got time, we feel someone else should make the call, we cry that we’re too busy. Ed was and is blessed that he got more time than many. Most people lose the game when such a grave diagnosis arrives. George Michael once said, “there are those who have lost, and there are those who haven’t lost yet.” What are you waiting for?
  • I’m renewed in my belief and actions that we must play the notes we’ve been given. My friend Marc once told me that people will buy the you found in the endeavor. The you is found in the notes.

Ed, You and Me

I watched the above short this past Sunday. It’s a story about Ed, you and me.

I recommend you take 10 minutes to absorb. Just watch and listen, you won’t regret it.

In the days ahead, I will explain why this story struck a powerful chord in my soul. I’ll also explain why we all have something(s) in common with Ed.

Blind Spots

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Arrogance produces blind spots. Think of the farmer here, he/she plants the seed, and in the not so distant future there is a crop. The only difference is blind spots are nearly invisible to the human being possessing arrogance.

This is one dangerous game.

Often those who are arrogant pride themselves in having much figured out. There’s no room for not being right. To be wrong is to be less than. Each interaction is fueled by this drive, not to mention the deep insecurities that plagues.

I am a former member of the above tribe. I endeavor everyday to see things as they really are, even if I can’t figure it all out. Some days are misses, and somedays I live out the truth. No matter the outcomes, I know I can’t allow the seed of arrogance to take root. If I don’t stay committed, the blind spots will look like this:

  • I will believe that I have a right to justice. Not the justice from a civic point of view, but from a human relationship perspective
  • I will believe that I am untouchable, even though rationally I know this can never be
  • I will believe my possessions, accomplishments and titles are validations of my point of view
  • I will believe people are a means to an end
  • I will awaken one day and find I am truly alone, and no remedy will be near.

What are your blind spots?

 

Making Relationships Last

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In the personal and business realm, we all seek to make our relationships last. It makes perfect sense. The good relationships we protect, the bad relationships we seek to discard. Reality is found in how challenging it is to manage the in-between.

This past week I was referred to an individual who I hadn’t seen or talked to in over ten years. When I was given his name I didn’t fully remember him. When we finally spoke on the phone it came rushing back. The first and only meeting was brief, and hadn’t shown anything that appeared to be lasting. Fast forward to now, he went out of his way to help me on a number of fronts. He really helped me.

So what’s the point?

Some relationships, like marriage or a client, can be in your daily/weekly. Other relationships come and go. The key to remember is you and I have been given a powerful cement. This cement is given to build and solidify our relationships. Sadly, many don’t realize they have it and many don’t see it as important. The cost of ignorance and stupidity is high. The cement requires action on our part to be effective. It is an on purpose pattern.

I don’t if the gentleman I mentioned above did what he did because I applied the right amount of cement to our brief time together so long ago. One thing is certain, I made the attempt. My gut tells me it made a difference.

The moral of the story is never take any relationship for granted.