MVP Seminars Blogs

This is not just for Human Resources. Employers need to use an informed approach to help boost employee satisfaction, retention and productivity while protecting the company’s legal and financial interests. It is the biggest economic burden of any health issue in the world and is projected to cost $6 trillion by 2030. Two-thirds of these costs are attributed to disability and loss of work. And yet shockingly, of the 450 million people worldwide who suffer from mental health conditions 60% do not receive any form of care. “Jobs” is the key word in American politics these days. How to get them back from other countries is important, of course, but what about helping companies retain the employees they have by successfully promoting mental wellness in the workplace?      How? Here are four ways: * Prevention: Promote mental health as part of an overall corporate wellness campaign. For example, bring in professionals who specialize in mental health and substance abuse issues to present mandatory, yet interesting educational seminars. That will help reduce the stigma attached to mental and substance abuse disorders. Businesses who have done this reported reduction in health expenses and other financial gains for their organizations. * Awareness: Changes in sleep, mood, appetite, weight, behavior, and personality are caused by many drug addictions and mental health disorders. Other telling symptoms include tardiness, missed deadlines and unexplained or unauthorized absences from work to counter these problems, it is critical that management and HR be given sensitivity training and that professional information and referral resources are readily available. Taking these steps can help employers manage situations before they get out of control. * Work-Life Balance and Accommodations: The Family Medical Leave Act entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and professionally diagnosed medical reasons, including mental illness or alcohol/substance use disorders. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to assist people with disabilities, including mental health impairments, perform job duties. Employers can help employees with mental health issues by encouraging the use of written checklists, instructions and offering more training time. Sometimes providing a mentor for daily guidance and meeting regularly to discuss progress. * Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs designed to address substance abuse and addictions, as well as personal and family problems, mental health or emotional issues, marital or parenting problems, and financial or legal concerns. EAPs have evolved and grown in popularity during the last 25 years. The number of organizations with an EAP increased from 31% in 1985 to 75% in 2009. Providing a variety of treatment options for an employee will not only help reduce their suffering - it will curtail the incidence of impaired functioning at work. More jobs in America? According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, some 60% to 80% of people with mental illness are unemployed. In part, this is the crippling nature of the disease. But a large part of the problem that we have in hiring people who have some mental disorder is that we lack the sophisticated vocabulary to talk and act regarding these illnesses. Managing mental health should hold no fear for managers – whether they realize it or not, they already have many of the skills needed to look after their employees’ well being. Sometimes all it takes is an open mind. Mental health is the mental and emotional state in which we feel able to cope with the normal stresses of everyday life. If we are feeling good about ourselves we often work productively, interact well with colleagues and make a valuable contribution to our team or workplace. The good news is that line managers already have many of the skills needed to promote positive mental health at work. They are usually well-versed in the importance of effective communication and consultation, and the need to draw up practical workplace policies and procedures. Add to these skills an open mind and a willingness to try and understanding mental health problems, and organizations can make real progress in tackling the stigma often associated with mental health. “The problem with the stigma around mental health is really about the stories that we tell ourselves as a society. What is normal? That’s just a story that we tell ourselves.” -- Matthew Quick (Author of The Silver Linings Playbook) Invest in your employee training and development by offering Business Training Seminars that produce tangible results.  
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At some time in life, most people feel as though they've been treated unfairly to the extent that they would consider themselves a victim. Certainly those who have been the target of a violent crime fall into that category according to society's standards. Even those of lesser offenses can view themselves as the target of injustice: a faithful spouse who's partner has an affair or files for divorce; a child being tormented by a bully at school; one who has a rumor spread about them, particularly those that cause significant damage or distress. By definition, a victim is one who is acted on and (generally speaking) is adversely affected by a force or agent such as robbery, physical assault, or murder. A person who is cheated, tricked or fooled by another (which may or may not cause them harm, such as the target of an innocent prank) or one who is coned out of their life savings for instance, can also be seen as a victim. There are also victims of unforeseen circumstances such as disease or natural disaster (hurricane, flood), or that which is out of their control (bad economy, company downsizing). Typically we perceive said person as being innocent of any wrongdoing that contributed to their unfortunate circumstance. One who engages in gang activity and suffers severe physical harm to their person is not seen as blameless but rather contributory to their injuries.  Someone who is unproductive on the job and overlooked for a promotion given to the boss's son is not a victim of nepotism for their prior actions (or lack thereof) are justification for their being ignored. However, one who has lived a wholesome lifestyle and diagnosed with a devastating disease receives much sympathy. Yet even those who diverge from the universal criteria for victimization, there are still a significant number who believe they fall into this category. The reasons are several: a victim is one who feels powerless in a given situation. Statements such as "I can't help it", "It's not my fault", "I did nothing to deserve this", "Why me?" are common complaints. They view themselves as completely innocent of any wrongdoing and shoulder no responsibility for what is or has transpired but are quick to hold others accountable (blame).They also perceive themselves as having no choice but to comply with or endure what is has happened and fail to see options that could have possibly prevented or could now resolve that which is unjust.  Very often, those who feel they have been the deliberate target of an wrongdoing feel persecuted and are consumed with self-pity, resentment, bitterness, and rage. In truth, the label of "victim" is a matter of perception alone. The Dalai Lama says that "There are no victims in life, only students." This compelling statement illustrates the power of perception. In any of life's circumstances, how I view myself is critical to how I react to and/or use the event in my life. Going through my divorce, the estrangement from my children, my dad's Alzheimer's, a domestic violence relationship - in each I could see myself as a victim since I was powerless to control, prevent, or correct many of these situations. Or I could choose to learn from each in order that I may grow, become a better person, and share my knowledge with others so that they may benefit as well. That choice is entirely up to me. The first leaves me angry and bitter; the latter grateful and determined. One of the easiest and quickest means of eliminating a victim mentality is actually quite simple. When something unexpected enters our life, we may react by asking: "Why is this happening to me?" We are stunned that something of such an unpleasant nature could actually appear in our life. This question implies that we are being targeted by someone or some unseen force. In truth, there may be those who seek to deliberately hurt me or this could simply be a random act. In any event, I am not immune to so-called bad things happening. However, one simple shift in terminology releases me from the chains of victimhood to one of liberation and strength. By changing the phrase to me to for me I can experience the event as merely a challenge to accept or as a genuine blessing in my life to appreciate rather than a curse or trauma. In truth, there are no bad experiences; there simply are events that enter our lives. How we label and view them and how we choose to use them determines their value, nothing else. One can view a stroke as a nightmare or they can see it as an opportunity to reinvent their life. The reality of what has transpired is irrelevant; all that matters is one's assessment and use of it. Victims believe they have no power and powerlessness is the very definition of anger. Therefore, victims are filled with anger and fear (a root cause of anger) and may experience rage or paralyzing anxiety. They fail to recognize that all humans possess authentic power which is found in the ability to make personal choices - how we view things, what we think and feel, what we say or don't say, how we respond or not, and how we allow life to impact us. That is the only real control any of us have - our ability to make our own decisions. In truth, none of us has dominance over anything eternal, anything outside of the self. I can only influence my surroundings but I cannot control them. Sometimes things work out as I anticipated, other times not even remotely close. I can choose to put forth effort to correct that which I am unsatisfied with or I can elect to accept and be at peace with it. My choice. So how does one move beyond the mindset of being a victim to establishing authority over their own lives, success, and happiness?
  1. Remember that everything that enters your life has purpose and value. The labels you assign determine their worth: good or bad are relevant terms on in the sense that they are dictated by your personal standards. Re evaluate their assessment, removing any derogatory notions and seek the meaning and importance of each. Once its significance is determined, one can find a way to use the experience for a greater good.
Life isn't about truth and reality; life is about perception. The reality of what has transpired is irrelevant; all that matters is one's assessment and use of it.
  1. Check your perception for accuracy. Many times our expectations of life are unrealistic, such as "my life should be what I want it to be". Unmet expectations lead to frustration(another root cause of anger), a sense of powerlessness, anger, and bitterness. Be honest and real with yourself about the unpredictability that life affords all of its participants.
  2. Try to view each situation from every perspective. By gaining a greater understanding of the cause and nature of the event, we are better able to make sense of it. This can lead to a willingness to accept that which we cannot change.
  3. Ask yourself, "What is this experience here to teach me?" Courage, determination, trust, self-confidence, forgiveness: life's most profound lessons are most often found in our most difficult happenings. This, too, adds greater value to what has transpired.
  4. Take control. Are there any changes that can be made to improve things for you and others who have been affected? If so, create a plan and begin putting forth effort. If not, acceptance of those things that we cannot change enables us to move beyond the occurrence with a peaceful determination to get on with our lives.
  5. Forgive those who contributed to what happened. People can be mean-spirited, thoughtless, careless, selfish, and more. Their actions are a reflection of their issues, they are not about you. Forgiving acknowledges mankind's imperfections and releases all judgments. It chooses to put to rest any anger, hatred, jealousy, thoughts of retaliation and so on. Again, learn the lesson, let go of the emotion attached to it, and move forward as a stronger better version of yourself.
  6. Accept responsibility for your role, if applicable. Vow to learn and not repeat the same behavior in the future. Forgive yourself as well.
Buddha says, "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." All of us will experience some type of pain in our lives - physical, emotional, financial, etc. However, when we prolong the pain and keep it actively alive in our minds, it converts to suffering that can last a lifetime and destroy our lives. Remember, victimization is an illusion, not a reality; it is a choice, not a given. It is rooted in our perception of ourselves in the context of an event accompanied  by feelings of self-pity and persecution. Reclaim your authentic power utilizing your ability to choose. In the words of Pastor Joel Osteen,  "You are a victor, not a victim" God created you to rise above and be victorious in every the challenge. You were not created to suffer and fail. Those are personal choices that you need to re evaluate. Stand tall. Face life as it appears. Redefine each event and use them in such a way that  benefits you and those around you.  And in doing so, you will never fall prey to the illusion of being a victim ever again. Q: No one journeys through life unscathed. Each of us faces hardships and challenges along the way. It matters not what enters our life but more importantly what we do with it: how we use it to better ourselves and those around us. Order  The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @   Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google+
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My colleagues and I are often brought into corporations to do teambuilding. Whether the audience is executive management or employees that work on the manufacturing line, the purpose for hiring my organization is to help teams strategize how to be more cohesive and productive. Early in my career it was theory, structure and small group exercises that illustrated effective teambuilding, but that has all changed. Talk is out the window: taste, touch, feel and experience are in.

I recently read an article in a popular business magazine that suggested video games and online gaming are responsible for the change in what organizations are looking for to help increase teambuilding. I have also heard that Millennials are more action-oriented and need to experience business strategy rather than read or talk about it. Regardless of the origin of change, training in teambuilding is now an out-of-your-seat, participatory experience that reveals vulnerabilities, leadership styles, communication and problem-solving skills, and a myriad of other strengths and deficiencies of all parties involved. The learning is in real time with adequate time built in for feedback, reflection and application in the workplace.

In response to the need for a new delivery style, the training industry has responded with training approaches that can be divided into three categories: simulation, real escape and theme adventure. Simulation exercises have a written adventure scenario, background information, maps, and usually a pressure-sensitive scoring form. There is a group task, individual task and a problem to solve. The timed activity is done on-site and concludes with reflection on how effective the team was, how they could improve team performance, what insights they gained about each other individually and as a team, and how they could transfer the experience to their daily work.

Real escape teambuilding has its roots in gaming, and some give credit to real escape games that began in Japan in 2007. There are many variations of real escape teambuilding, but basically it requires that groups be put into an off-site room specifically designed for the task of finding a way out. The group has to work together using clues within the room to gain their freedom. It is a timed escape at a minimum of an hour. Participants apply communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, and leadership skills to escape. Companies such as FedEx, Frito Lay and 7Eleven have used real escape teambuilding with their employees.

My favorite theme adventure is from a company called Recipe for Success. All of their teambuilding exercises revolve around preparing food. Their exercises are held off site and run for a minimum of two hours. Themes such as Team Breakfast, Chili Cook-Off, and Ultimate Pizza Challenge can be adapted for groups of 10 to 250.The benefits include building skills in negotiation, prioritization, communication, innovation and problem solving. When the task is complete, the team has an enhanced sense of teamwork because they have completed a project that they can see, touch and eat. It is important to note that the skill sets used in theme adventure teambuilding exercises, such as Recipe for Success, are immediate and transferable.

Whatever method your organization uses to promote teambuilding, the desired result is better communication, a more cohesive unit and increased productivity. Talking about teambuilding no longer produces the desired results in today’s interactive market. The employee of today needs to experience in order to learn.

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Managers at every organizational level agree unanimously that one of the most difficult aspects of leadership is giving people helpful, constructive feedback. When asked why, their answers are wide-ranging. Many even have reasons for not praising people for doing a good job. The most common being "if I reinforce everything they do right, they will want more money at performance review time." Sure they will! AND, they will want more money if you don’t recognize their good work as well. Yet, managers withhold a powerful motivator – recognition for work well done – because they fear the reaction. They withhold constructive feedback for the same reason: they fear the reaction. Many managers have confided that they withhold constructive feedback because they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, they don’t want to lose an individual’s cooperation or support, or they don’t want the person to feel worthless, diminished, etc. All of these rationalizations for withholding feedback are based on faulty B. S. (a misguided Belief Set) that people are not adult enough to handle information about their behavior. Not only are people able to handle feedback, they feel cheated when they don’t hear about how they are doing. And, no leader wants to rob people of what they need to do a good job. So, what to do? Don’t tell people that they are doing a good job when they are not. A clear, non-threatening description of what is or is not happening is more authentic. Most importantly, it is helpful and useful to the person who is underperforming. For example, if your comment regarding a direct report’s mediocre presentation is a curt "good presentationit is not only untrue, it is also vague and misleading. A candid, helpful and more powerful reply would be, "Your presentation would have been more effective if you had presented the rationale for your recommendations." Candid, constructive, compassionate feedback frees people from worrying about what you really think. It honors people because it conveys that you trust them to hear, handle and accept it as an opportunity to learn and grow. A feedback-rich work environment is a trusting, productive, and profit-rich environment! . ,"
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"I should have more money" "I should be further along in my career" "I should have gotten that job" "I should be healthy" "I should have my retirement in place" "I should be in school" "I should finish school" "I should be married" "I should get a divorce" "I should lose weight" "I should have said something in the meeting" "I should have just shut up" These are just a few ways that our mind is constantly "should-ing" on ourselves. Because we have over 60,000 thoughts a day, it's impossible to examine each thought to see which ones are "should-ing" So how do you get relief from the "should-ing" syndrome? How do you catch yourself "should-ing"? Whenever you have a stressful thought, stop.  Examine the thought and ask yourself, "Is that true?"  "Is that absolutely true?" The thoughts that give us the most pain, the most suffering, are often  the ones that tell us "You should..." or "You shouldn't...." Where do they come from? Usually from our past experiences; what society tells us to do or don't do; advertisers; our parents; friends; relatives; or the media. You don't have to be a victim any longer When the stressful thought comes up, instead of pushing it down, running from it, or fighting it, just ask yourself, "Is this the truth?" For example, when someone ignores you at work or school, and doesn't speak to you.  The mind will spin a story.  "They don't like me."  "Maybe it's something I said last week." "Did they hear something about me?" Notice how the mind creates a scenario that is more colorful and elaborate than a blockbuster movie.  Instead of trying to suppress the thoughts, ask yourself, "Is that the truth?"  "Do I know that for sure?" The mind is doing what the mind does.  It questions everything.  But, you don't have to be dragged behind the mind like a rider falling off a horse. You are the master of your mind.  You can decide which thoughts you are going to entertain. You can decide to let the stressful thoughts go by doing a direct inquiry. "What is going on here?"  "What am I believing?"  "Is it true?" Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." What he was saying is that we follow beliefs and thoughts that lead us down the wrong path.   We don't stop to think, "Is this the best thing for me to do."  "Am I following the crowd?"  "Am I following what society says I should do, instead of what is good for me?" Gangaji, a wonderful teacher said this, "Society is a cult." When you stop to think of it, that's true.  We drink the kool-aid that society gives us, and follow along without examining beliefs that we swallow. Examine those stressful thoughts. Ask yourself: Is it really necessary to have a body of a 16 year-old when I'm over 30? Will I have loads of friends if I drink a certain beer? Will I be loved if I wear the right clothes? Will my world crumble if Senator Romney becomes president? Will my world crumble if President Obama remains in office? These types of ideas that society gives us constantly become thoughts in our head.  And, if we don't examine them, they become beliefs. Beliefs, the wrong beliefs, become fears.  Before you know it, you're living in fear all because of what you heard in the media, a friend told you, or a family member's fears they project onto you. We can get so tangled up in other people's beliefs that we don't even realize that our stressful thoughts were not coming from us.  They came from other people.  But, when they are not examined, they become our beliefs, and then, it doesn't matter where they came from because we have embodied them. It's an endless circle.  But that circle can be broken, by inquiring about a thought.  Stop.  Ask yourself  "Is that the absolute truth?" Stay awake!  
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The definition of adaption: " To change, adjust or conform to suit a new or different purpose." Adapting for many people can be difficult because they don't want to change.   However, the only thing that stays the same in the world are changes, so adapting is necessary for survival not only in business, but also in everyday life.  Technology today is rapidly changing our world. To adapt, is a crucial principle in sports for a team to win, just like in the workforce for a business to survive and thrive.   Pro athletes must adapt to:
  • new players on their team
  • new environment playing on the road
  • training their body
  • different weather conditions on the road
  • new plays
  • rebounding after setbacks
  • body injuries
  • new challenges on the field or court
  • other player's attitudes
  • following leadership
Great business people must adapt to:
  • new co-workers
  • new policies
  • learning new systems
  • rebounding after company losses
  • changes in the workplace
  • progress
  • other people's moods
  • performing on the road
  • new technology
  • following leadership
  When adaptation is necessary to keep up with changes in the workplace  it's common for staff to grouse and reminisce about the good ol days, but that is living in the past.  Then there are those who are worrying about what changes will come next.  That's not adapting that's living in the future. Some people equate adapting to giving up.  However, a survey of the wealthiest business people in America revealed that adapting was one of their most common practices along with a great attitude to help them prosper. The best way to adapt to any situation is to learn to live in the moment.  This means doing what has to be done without allowing your mind to attach a story to the changes by complaining how things use to be.  This only creates stress and frustration for yourself and others. To become a great business champion, sport the right attitude and adapt.

"If we fail to adapt, we fail to move forward."

~John Wooden, One of the most revered coaches, winning ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period, seven in a row.

Walter H. Jackson, Msc.D. is a keynote speaker and author of “Sporting the Right Attitude: Lessons Learned in a Trouble Family,” a finalist in the USA Book News Awards.  More about Walter
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I woke up from a dream this morning that made me question: “Really?” It was only the last few seconds of the dream that seemed so profound. It was a children’s choir – all boys, and they were singing a Christmas song. The only lyric I heard was:  “Gift me with my enemies and my ministers.” This is a pretty profound phrase, especially for a group of youngsters to be singing as a Christmas song.

My Enemies

My enemies infuse me with intense emotions – rage, hatred, vile condemnation and contempt. Judgments are automatic, so much so I don’t even know that I’m judging. How I respond, more often than not is a knee jerk reaction. I’m inflamed and my actions inflammatory. I want to violate them as they have violated me based on my sense of what’s right and wrong, good and bad. I want to wipe them off the planet so that I can live peacefully. However … What I know is that my enemies are my best teachers. They reflect what I most hate in the world and most likely (like about 100%) they reflect aspects of myself that I do not wish to acknowledge or own. When my enemies are around, I have no doubt, I have something to learn.

My Ministers

Ministers are also my teachers, my coaches and counselors. They are my thinking partners, who also reflect back to me, through deep listening and questioning, how aligned I am with my highest truths and how I may be ignoring or distracting myself from the ways I’ve contributed to the very violence I hate in my adversaries. These wise beings bring my attention to the learnings so available for me by embracing the enemy as my long lost lover. Sometimes, though, in the company of my enemies I retreat, hide and disappear into a myriad of disguises to protect myself from harm and from looking bad. I may throw stones from behind a barrier and pretend it’s not me at all who is engaged in warfare. I disown my anger, my feelings of righteousness and indignation. “It wasn’t me!” I exclaim with defensiveness and contempt for having been accused unjustly. My ministers inquire regarding my actions, curious as to the origins of my behavior and the thoughts that precipitated them. What has me be blinded to my own truth – in denial (Don’t Even Know I am Lying) of my barbarous attitude and position? We need our adversaries – our enemies to confront us. They bring out the worst in us and provide opportunities for us to truly reflect on the importance, value and priorities of our hierarchy of desires. We need our ministers, counselors, therapists and coaches to reflect what gifts are available for us by engaging with our enemies.

The Dilemma

Many of us love to hate! It makes us feel good to think violent thoughts and even go to war for what we believe to be right and true. How can we get even, or better yet, how can we be victorious? What if I consider the possibility that my enemies are gifts? What would that mean – what are the consequences of such a consideration? I’ll tell you right now, I hate the thought of giving up my armor of righteousness and entitlement, because I feel safe, powerful and in control when I can wield them with stealth accuracy. Without them, I believe myself to be defenseless, exposed and vulnerable. I ask myself – what is considered right? What is considered wrong? Who is responsible for the woes of the world? My ministers smile and with their eyes they inquire into my soul’s wisdom for what is true; and I then, for that moment comprehend that I am an accomplice in all acts of violence on the planet. Only by recognizing the seed of vengeance within me I’m able to receive the gifts of freedom from my enemy. Through deep discernment and with the support and empowering nature of my ministers am I able to choose to choose to see myself and my enemies differently. Through the annihilation of my own pretence and the shattering of the barriers of them vs. us, am I truly allowed to realize I am my brother/sister’s keeper, and they are mine. The dilemma as a choice-point shifts when I choose to honor my highest truth and risk losing my attachments, my position, my identity – perhaps even life itself for something much larger than me. I’m working on it!
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A client of mine, Hui Zhong, called me yesterday somewhat distressed. She is in product management as an information analyzer for an international corporation headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA. A few months ago Hui Zhong, pronounced hoy-zong, began reading a book by Robin Sharma – The Leader Who Had No Title. She began practicing some of the exercises, which allowed her to stretch and expand her comfort zone to include more of her authentic leadership style. The dilemma though, is that as she exercises and stretches to expand her repertoire, she’s experiencing growing pains that bring with them discomfort, uncertainty, fear and insecurity. She is finding it distressful and uncomfortable to shift the way she is showing up in her work, uncertain if it will make her more attractive for promotions and all that goes along with them. She knows she’s on the right track with regard to cultivating greater professionalism and effectiveness, yet she is has doubts whether these traits truly make a difference in the corporate world where flash and charm often win the promotion. Is she really doing the smart thing if she’s wanting to gain more visibility and be acknowledged for what she brings to the role of leader? She’s in a dilemma. As we change and grow – as we discard what no longer serves, we find ourselves in the midst of a leap. It’s very exciting and disconcerting at the same time; with practice, the long term rewards will be ease and agility in growing and in evolving in to the person and the leader we say we want to be. There are those who expect that with the right education and the right connections it will be easy to rise to the top. There are those who play the game the right way and anticipate that the right way will get them the outcome they want. No one really knows for sure, and too often we lose our souls in order to find out. As Hui Zhong lets go of her suitable education, connections and playing the game appropriately in service to exploring authentic leadership styles, she is getting triggered and collapses into feeling anxious, weak, vulnerable and unworthy. In the first few moments, she can hardly stand. She reports though that she recovers in a matter of minutes. Hui Zhong is a model of resiliency. There are many who cannot stand being triggered into feeling vulnerable, weak and inadequate, and they do whatever they can to avoid this experience. Their unwillingness to cultivate and strengthen this essential capacity will suffer from the effects of no promotion. Hui Zhong is taking personal and professional risks, that on the inside feels, sometimes, like she’s failing and will never recover. It’s a debilitating momentary feeling, yet she knows that to do it any other way is out of integrity. This intense practice develops muscles required for the type of leaders most organizations are truly hungry for. What’s at stake for Hui Zhong is her personal identity as a winner and as a perfectionist. She’s putting it all on the line because she knows the degree to which her egoic-self is influencing her choice-making, which doesn’t serve her team or her organization in the way that has her feel like a real leader – one who puts aside their own personal needs and desires for the sake of the people she works with and works for. Even though there are tons of books on the market about leadership development, so few people actually take up the practice of shifting their personal perspective to something more. Personal gain vs. professional integrity; the experience and angst of cultivating self-awareness while developing leadership capacities that inevitably do lead to mastery; while eliminating manipulations and political motivations, which are inconsistent with corporate visions and statements of integrity. I suggest to Hui Zhong that she herself to be the experiment – an exploration. What makes her valuable to her company, in my mind, is that she is willing to be in the “I don’t know,” finding out what’s beyond the games, and political motivations and manipulations that actually limit possibilities within most organization. She is learning that she isn’t supposed to know or have the easier or right way to move through a transformative process such that she is in – She is only to observe, witness and assess, noticing what works and what doesn’t; then make slight shifts in how she is being and what she is doing; and then, again notice, witness and observe. This is the path to mastery, innovation, inspiration, freedom and selfless leadership. As anyone of us, like Hui Zhong, cultivates the resilience to move through this process we’ll be developing not only the wisdom and mastery but we’ll be able to empower others to explore, witness, and experiment too. This to me is the most powerful form of leadership – making space for others to explore, experiment and discover for themselves innovative styles of leading. The dilemma – that choice-point between one type of success and the other, are each pulling Hui Zhong and keeping her on the fence, though this happens far less so than before. What she is currently practicing – where she is putting her attention, will inevitable bring her into the light, because she is acknowledging and honoring her highest truth. My belief is that this is the sustainable, healthier and more effective way to lead and will inevitable be recognized for its value – growing pains and all. This is not an easy path, nor should it be. We will not cultivate strong and innovative leaders by having them travel the well worn path. To truly be a great leader, each of us will need to become the experiment, embracing the moments when our findings are thrilling and monumental in their effects.
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I am often asked by clients to map out a massive change initiative within their organization.  Change fitness habits, improve nutrition, add pre-shift stretching and improve employee wellness.  As a society we are "I want it now" society, namely give me a pill or a shot and make it all better, but change does not work that way.  Lets examine a few simple ways to bring about lasting change. 1) Map out the course in small but clear steps.  We cant tell employees to get fit, it's to vague.  We must tell employees to do something solid like "do these 3 stretches before every meeting" or all "meetings will be done standing". 2) Utilize team work, peer pressure and herd mentality.  Organizations often under-utilize or neglect the power of group think and herd mentality to move an organization into a state of positive change. 3) Empower all employees.  Any employee from the janitor to the VP must have the ability to step up and champion, lead, design and cajole all employees forward.  Health, wellness and ultimately productivity and happiness are tied together. To make an organization cohesive we must rally the herd while defining a clear and actionable path to employee  fitness, wellness and health.
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From: Sarah, Atlanta, Georgia Dear Dr. Rosie Thank you so much for your blogs. You provide an important perspective and provide inspiration at the same time. I’m beginning to develop my business as a Life and Business Coach. My intention is to work with people who are business directors and leaders. I’ve got to develop a sense of power in order to feel grounded in my coaching. I’ve read your book Self-Empowerment 101 and understand the importance of personal power, however I’m afraid the way that I choose to be powerful will come across as aggressive and pushy. I’m afraid people will see me as arrogant and unapproachable. There’s no humility in this way of being powerful and that scares me. I don’t know where I’ll be crossing the line from powerful to forceful. Would you be willing to shed some light on this process for me? Sarah ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ From: Dr. Rosie Dear Sarah, Thank you for your words and for reaching out with your question. Many people are challenged with the same dilemma as you. Our perception of power is loaded with interpretations that have many of us resist our own personal power. Many leaders could be so much more effective if they’d be willing to own their personal power instead of hiding from it. Abuse of Power It’s easy to recognize and point fingers at abuse of power. We experience it in all sorts of governmental and corporation settings and issues. We’ve come to not trust people in power because of the prevalence of abuse of their power. And, it’s not uncommon for us to see abuse even though it may not be there, because we are looking for it, and generally speaking we see that which we are looking for. Too often our experience with power begins when we are small children. We watch our parents use power in positive and not so positive ways. It doesn’t feel good when they are using power for gain or to compensate for some lack that they are feeling in their own lives. Siblings also have a tendency to use power for the same purpose. Heck, all of us do it in one form or another until we get clear that this particular use of power really isn’t working. David Hawkins MD, Ph.D. has written a number of books that speak to this very issue. His first book Power vs. Force is an excellent source of information on the subject. What you’ll find, Sarah, as you understand the distinctions between power and force is that with power there is an automatic sense of humility that accompanies true power. That may seem impossible that someone could experience their personal power and humility at the same time but when you get it, it makes perfect sense. And the question that arises perhaps for some is why marry humility with power? In a six week course on Transformational Leadership I worked with nine officers of a financial institution in Silicon Valley. Through a couple of processes that helped them distinguish their particular leadership style they realized that rarely were they leading from their own authentic essence of power. Each individual in that room articulated how they were being control freaks (their words, not mine), how they were manipulating and being subversive in getting people to do what they wanted. They each realized that the way they were being powerful created a work environment that was not trusting, resistant to collaboration, back biting and competitive. Through their use of power they did not allow open communication, innovation and team building to take place. Each realized that what contributed greatly to their choice of leadership style was fear: fear of not being respected; fear of not being able to control, fear of not being liked; fear of not getting the job done and fear of being mambie-pambie. I asked the questions “what would shift if your leadership style wasn’t generated from fear – what would show up?” Each of these nine leaders took it upon themselves to openly explore what was possible, and they were amazed with the consensus of answers. Being powerful from fear is not providing their team, their company or themselves with a quality of leadership that they actually want to stand for. The energy in the room shifted as each officer shared a way of being that wasn’t generated from fear. In that particular session something really important occurred. Each acknowledged that if they weren’t coming from fear they would be willing to share more of themselves with the other directors in the room. That in itself shifted the dynamic of the whole corporation. This identified one specific use of power (withholding personally and professionally) that could allow them to feel safe enough to express to each other what wasn’t allowed to be spoken before. This sharing allowed humility to be present in the room; not a meekness or submissiveness, but more of a wholeness of their being from which they could draw wisdom, compassion and collaboration. This is key to healthy leadership and effective use of power. Humility is an interesting human quality. There’s false humility, which is fear-based and there is true humility, which is essence-based. How does a leader emanate power and humility at the same time? By noticing if their decisions and choices are originating from fear or from their authentic wisdom and maturity. “There go my people. I must follow for I am their leader.” Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin (1807-1874) For me this is a statement conveys humility married to power. A leader worth her or his salt is open to hearing what their people are saying, their point of view and their creative ideas; otherwise it would seem to me that leadership is based on the sole premise that “only I know what’s best for my people.” Too many leaders use their power to serve their own egoic-self. None of us like or even respect leaders who don’t have the capacity to really listen and perhaps act on the information from voters, direct reports, anyone in the role of follower. Engaging oneself not from the egoic-self but from the self that is engaged to serve the highest good of governments, corporations, educational and religious institutions and families, allows for their power to serve more than just their egoic-self. Of all the definitions I found for humility, the word reverence resonated most. If we can hold reverence for the position of power we stand in and stand for, and we can hold reverence for those we serve with our power, we can’t help but allow and cultivate a more wholesome environment for everyone to thrive and create. Two questions, Sarah will help you distinguish which form of power you are about to choose: Is what I’m about to do or say more about me or about those I am here to serve? And, Is what I’m about to do or say fulfilling my egoic-self or my highest Self? Enjoy the journey, Dr. Rosie Author of Self-Empowerment 101
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