Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why You’re Not Waiting for the World to Catch Up To You

Luck or being lucky…if you are, then be grateful for it!  But I would not count on it. Work hard and you will find light, joy and fruition in your work in the long-term and every day.  But to rely on luck is neither right — nor fulfilling.   Neither do people look up to you for having luck.

I will say there is right timing. If you see an opportunity and no one else sees it, don’t shy away.  Embrace it and live your dream, realize your vision now.  The world will soon… catch up to you.  And you’re not the kind of person who cares to wait for what the world thinks, anyway. 🙂

Value in Effectiveness and Character

Excerpts from Be Excellent at Anything by Tony Schwartz, Jean Gomes, Catherine McCarthy:

…simply doing an activity for a long time is no guarantee that you’ll do it well…

Plug a computer into a wall socket, and it’s good to go. Human beings, on the other hand, need to meet four energy needs to operate at their best: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

By moving rhythmically between activity and renewal in each of these four dimensions, we fulfill our corresponding needs: sustainability, security, self-expression, and significance.

The ultimate measure of our effectiveness is the value we create. The ultimate measure of our character is the values we embody.

For better or for worse, we’ve cocreated the world in which we work. Our complicity begins, ironically, with how we treat ourselves.

The companies with the most engaged employees reported a 19 percent increase in operating income and a 28 percent growth in earnings per share. Those with the lowest levels of engagement had a 32 percent decline in operating income, and their earnings dropped more than 11 percent. 

In the companies with the most engaged employees, 90 percent of them had no plans to leave. In those with the least engaged, 50 percent were considering leaving.

Be Excellent At Anything explores how we can improve our lives and increase our productivity, by focusing on our core needs.  Tony Schwartz is the founder and president of The Energy Project, and co-author of The Art of the Deal (with Donald Trump) and The Power of Full Engagement.  Jean Gomes is the managing director of DPA, working with high-level companies on leadership.  Carolyn McCarthy is the former COO of The Energy Project, and a consultant to major corporations.

“Home That Was Always There” – Charles Eisenstein

Below we learn to go back, go back…and honor all that is sacred.  That is our home.

The sacred in nature; its stillness; its simplicity; and all that it teaches us.  The sacred in connecting with all the goodness that exists, from a butterfly, a smile we give to a passerby, a beautiful white cloud taking its time to float effortlessly, across a magnificent blue…

I would only add to Eisenstein’s excerpt that the sacred must first and foremost, after the divine, cherish the sacred connection of dear family.

Sacred Economics

Charles Eisenstein

The presence of the sacred is like returning to a home that was always there and a truth that has always existed. It can happen when I observe an insect or a plant, hear a symphony of birdsongs or frog calls, feel mud between my toes, gaze upon an object beautifully made, apprehend the impossibly coordinated complexity of a cell or an ecosystem, witness a synchronicity or symbol in my life, watch happy children at play, or am touched by a work of genius. Extraordinary though these experiences are, they are in no sense separate from the rest of life. Indeed, their power comes from the glimpse they give of a realer world, a sacred world that underlies and interpenetrates our own.

What is this “home that was always there,” this “truth that has always existed”? It is the truth of the unity or the connectedness of all things, and the feeling is that of participating in something greater than oneself, yet which also is oneself.

If the sacred is the gateway to the underlying unity of all things, it is equally a gateway to the uniqueness and specialness of each thing. A sacred object is one of a kind; it carries a unique essence that cannot be reduced to a set of generic qualities.

Charles Eisenstein graduated from Yale and spent ten years as a Chinese-English translator.  He is currently teaching at Goddard College.  He is also the author of The Ascent of Humanity and The Yoga of EatingVisit his website to read more about Sacred Economics.

Memo to CEOs: Apologize in Advance

We’re all leaders. And as leaders, people are watching our actions.  That’s why it’s good to ask ourselves: Am I clear in my direction? Am I kind in my communication? Do I live my life according to principle? Have I accepted the call to live a life of excellence?

Here are two guidelines to help us become – and stay – leaders of excellence:

1. You’re responsible not only for others, but also for ‘taking care of you.’ That means getting the sleep that you need; it means building the space in your day so that you actually have time to be patient. If you don’t, you’ll face pressure that might cause you to react in ways that are not the true you. As CEO, you want to be your best self at all times.

Sometimes, we don’t succeed.  As a leader, your most painful times are when you are not the person you want to be. Perhaps there is an unexpected pressure—a new partnership, a deadline, or a team member who needs extra help. Perhaps you don’t achieve all that you’d hoped to do that day. Perhaps you go home disappointed in yourself: I could have had a kinder tone; I could have slowed down to encourage that team member who needed more time or insight. That’s where we move to Point #2.

2. Learn to apologize quickly, even in advance. People are watching, absorbing your every move. Since we make mistakes, we need to apologize, and quickly. That’s where the graciousness of your team, and of you, come in. So, try to apologize when it is right to do so, and apologize in advance. 

Here’s an example: If you feel you don’t understand the situation, or haven’t seen all your emails, you might preface your comments by saying, “I apologize in advance if I don’t have the full information,” or “I apologize in advance if I’ve missed something,” or “I apologize in advance for moving quickly today. I appreciate your support.”

This is openness. It’s true, it’s real.

It’s compassionate all ways around. It sets your heart up to be a better leader, to be a humble leader, to be a listening leader. It sets appropriate expectations with your team. Your apology is asking them for their graciousness in advance.

Graciousness in advance—what a lovely concept we all deserve to experience.

The Most Positive Things You Can Say

Here are the top things you can say to make a relationship work, from All There Is:

You look great.

Can I help?

Let’s eat out.

I was wrong.

I am sorry.

I love you.

All There Is by Dave Isay grew from the StoryCorps initiative, a project to record the oral histories of individuals.  StoryCorps has collected stories from more than 75,000 people, in an attempt to record the history of people who rarely appear in history books.  In 2010, Isay published another book from StoryCorps stories, Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps.  All There Is celebrates love, with heartwarming stories from real couples.  Leroy A. Morgan contributed the list quoted above.

The Pamela Positive: “Love Is Not Love Until Love’s Vulnerable” – Wisdom Inside a Chocolate Wrapper

“Love is not love until love’s vulnerable.”  The Dream by Theodore Roethke, as found on the inside of a Trader Joe’s chocolate bar wrapper

Theodore Roethke (1908-1963) was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, for his book The Waking.  His other best known books include The Lost Son, The Far Field, and Words for the Wind.  His poetry is noted for its rhythm, imagery and focus on nature.

What It Means to Live on 99 Cents a Day: Wisdom from Poor Economics

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo is one of the most up-to-date assessments of why people face poverty, how it holds them back, and how some of our solutions — are holding them back.

Abhijit and Esther, thank you for enlightening us. You help us understand more empathetically how our lives are easier, and why.  Why our energy can go to more high impact decisions, allowing us to progress more quickly. And what can work, and not work, in empowering others to get the advancement they so deserve.  Impoverished people have to work so very hard — just to exist, day to day.

Here is an excerpt from Poor Economics.

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Living on 99 cents a day means you have limited access to information—newspapers, television, and books all cost money—and so you often just don’t know certain facts that the rest of the world takes as a given, for example, that vaccines can stop your child from getting measles. It means living in a world whose institutions are not built for someone like you. Most of the poor do not have a salary, let alone a retirement plan that deducts automatically from it.

It means making decisions about things that come with a lot of small print when you cannot even properly read the large print. What does someone who cannot read make of a health insurance product that doesn’t cover a lot of unpronounceable diseases? It means going to vote when your entire experience of the political system is a lot of promises, not delivered; and not having anywhere safe to keep your money, because what the bank manager can make from your little savings won’t cover his cost of handling it. And so on.

All this implies that making the most of their talent and securing their family’s future takes that much more skill, will power, and commitment for the poor. And conversely, the small costs, the small barriers, and the small mistakes that most of us do not think twice about loom large in the lives of those who have very little.

Poor Economics is a book about the very rich economics that emerges from understanding the economic lives of the poor.  We open with the essential aspects of people’s family lives: what they buy; what they do about their children’s schooling, their own health, or that of their children or parents; how many children they choose to have; and so on. Then we go on to describe how markets and institutions work for the poor: Can they borrow, save, insure themselves against the risks they face? What do governments do for them, and when do they fail them?

Are there ways for the poor to improve their lives, and what is preventing them from being able to do these things?

Poor Economics is ultimately about what the lives and choices of the poor tell us about how to fight global poverty. It helps us understand, for example, why microfinance is useful without being the miracle some hoped it would be; why the poor often end up with health care that does them more harm than good; why children of the poor can go to school year after year and not learn anything; why the poor don’t want health insurance; and it reveals why so many magic bullets of yesterday have ended up as today’s failed ideas.

The book also tells a lot about where hope lies: why token subsidies might have more than token effects; how to better market insurance; why less may be more in education; why good jobs matter for growth. Above all, it makes clear why hope is vital and knowledge critical, why we have to keep on trying even when the challenge looks overwhelming. Success isn’t always as far away as it looks.

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Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo have spent more than 15 years studying the lives of the poor, and the effectiveness of different methods of aid.  Poor Economics challenges many beliefs about what it means to be in poverty, and looks at the causes for certain trends and patterns.  Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo are professors at MIT and cofounders of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.