Tag Archives: reader question

What Is the Question

Ah, New Year’s. Time for reflection. Should we eat, drink, or smoke less? Should we exercise, meditate, and appreciate more? In order to decide what resolutions we should make, we should start out by asking ourselves the right questions.

  • What is the most fun you had in 2011?
  • What is the best thing you achieved in 2011?
  • Whose life did you touch in a meaningful way in 2011?
  • What is the best gift you gave in 2011?
  • What did you do that reduced your stress in 2011?

Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s holiday. And in 2012 be good and be well.

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I Am Thankful

The US holiday of Thanksgiving is tomorrow. For those celebrating, happy Thanksgiving.

Celebrating or not, I spend a lot of time talking to audiences about the power of gratitude. Some of my coaching clients keep gratitude journals and tell me it has changed their lives.

Why? Actually, research has shown that regularly practicing gratitude leads to better physical health, better sleep, more exercise, more optimism, and more willingness to help other people.

So let’s practice some gratitude today. I’m thankful

  • For my mom for driving 2 1/2 hours to bring me medicine when I threw my back out recently.
  • For my kids for their endless ability to laugh, love, and forgive.
  • For my coaching clients for their trust in me.
  • For my new neighbors for welcoming us so warmly.
  • For my in-laws for baby-sitting so often with never a complaint.
  • For my wife for being so appreciative of what I do for the her and my family, even when I wish I could be doing more.

What about you? What are you thankful for?

The Best Meditator Ever

My clients are often ultra-competitive types. So when we talk about meditative practices, they want to be the best. They want to win at meditation. For them, that means being great, right away, immediately, better than anyone else they know. In short, they want to be the best meditator ever.

But meditation doesn’t work that way. Here’s an experiment. Get a stopwatch. Clear your mind and try to think about nothing for as long as you can.

Did you last more than 12 seconds?

Meditation is hard. Clearing your mind for any extended period of time is nearly impossible. It’s a lifelong pursuit. And you can’t will yourself to victory.

The most important technique I teach is self-forgiveness. Your mind will wander. Over and over and over again. You cannot stop it. Don’t worry. Every time your mind wanders, remind yourself, that’s normal. Then forgive yourself completely – no admonishments, release the frustration and self-criticism – and try again to clear your mind.

We are too quick to expect perfection and beat ourselves up if we fall short – in meditation and elsewhere. We need to give ourselves a break.

How about you? Where do you need to practice more self-forgiveness?

You Say You Want a Revolution

Lessons from my author’s retreat (cont.).

Deborah Frieze, author of Walk Out Walk On, shared her model of the cycle of system revolution, that is, how old systems get replaced by new ones. She described the varying roles that people play in the process.

  • Pioneering – Coming up with and pursuing the new ideas.
  • Protecting – Clearing the way for the pioneers and shielding them from the old system.
  • Hospicing – Compassionately caring for the old system as it heads into decline.
  • Illuminating – Helping people see the need to make the leap from the old system to the new system.
  • Clinging (my term, not hers) – Hanging onto the old system at all costs, and fighting the pioneers wherever possible.

What are the major changes happening around you? At work? In the world?

And what role are you playing?

Feel the Need

Lessons from my author’s retreat (cont.).

I spoke with John Renesch, author of The Great Growing Up, about the difference between being an author vs. being a writer.
He said he thinks he is an author because he feels like a cow that has to be milked.
I thought this was brilliant and much broader than the author/writer question. Writing a book is an incredible challenge. To get through it, one almost has to be bursting with the need to get the ideas on the page.
Starting a business is similar. It isn’t something you do because you feel like it. It is something you do because you are bursting with the need.
This is probably the strangest question I’ve ever asked on my blog, but how are you a cow needing to be milked? What is the project or endeavor that calls you to action?

The Whole Truth

Lessons from my author’s retreat (cont.).

Stewart Levine, author of Getting to Resolution, quoted Sharif Abdullah, author of Creating a World that Works for All, who wrote:

We all think we have the truth and the answers. In fact we all have just a tiny piece of the truth and the answers we seek.

We all do this. What is the truth you are seeking? And where do you mistakenly assume you already have that truth?

Leadership Is

In my coaching and my leadership workshops I often ask people to define leadership in a single sentence. The definitions vary but the value remains the same – raising your consciousness about how you can live up to your own core idea of leadership.

Here are a few examples I’ve heard.

  1. Bringing out the best in yourself and others.
  2. Recognizing leadership opportunities and doing something about it.
  3. Setting a vision and driving toward it.
  4. Never being above any job.
  5. Removing the obstacles so others can excel.
  6. Asking people about their ideas.
  7. Inspiring people to do more than they ever thought possible.

So, what would your one-sentence definition of leadership be?