Tag Archives: retreat

The Feeling of Greatness

Lessons From Retreat Series (123, 4)

It’s not that I’m great, it’s that I was told I was.

I often write about the power and importance of positive feedback. At my author retreat I spent four days with sixty people who share this conviction. And not by design but rather out of habit we all spent a great deal of time telling one another how wonderful they are. Four days of sixty people telling you you’re great does something to you.

It gives you a feeling of greatness.

Greatness makes you believe you can achieve, solve, resolve, persevere, improve, attract, engage, win, entice, intrigue and lead.

It makes you believe you can change yourself and the world. And believing is the first step toward doing.

That’s the feeling of greatness. Who are you giving it to?


Reading List

Lesson from my author’s retreat (FINAL INSTALLMENT).

On the first night of the retreat each of the authors gave a 60-second promo of their books. The room was filled with brilliant authors, several of whom’s books I’ve already read and found genius and inspiring.

Here’s the reading list I made this year:

Up the Stream

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

David Korten shared with me a lesson from his graduate school experience.

A man stands at the side of a river and sees a baby flailing about in the water. He jumps in to save the baby. Back on the riverbank he sees another baby in the water and repeats his heroic action. This repeats again and again and again. While the man’s actions may be viewed as heroic, what is truly needed is for him to head upstream to see why all of these babies are falling into the river in the first place.

We too often address the challenge we see rather than looking upstream. We need to more often seek out the root causes, both on a large scale (e.g., Why is this system failing?) and a small scale (e.g., Why did this person act in this way?).

What’s Your Meme

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

“A meme is ‘an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.'” (Wikipedia)

E.g., The Lone Ranger is a meme of American society. Reality TV has spread the meme that any one of us can be plucked into fame and that, in fact, 15 minutes of fame is a highly desirable end.

The folks at smartMeme believe that perhaps the best way to change society is to shift the memes.

I think if I could change any meme to reshape society it would be to replace lotto dreams with a desire for spiritual fulfillment.

What meme do you think we most need to replace to improve our society?


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

How aware are you really? Sitting in a group of authors we chewed on these questions:

  • What are your greatest gifts?
  • How are you using these gifts?
  • What color is your elephant? (I.e., what is the thing other people know about you but would never say to you?)

Crash Course

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

Many of the authors there were activists doing extraordinary work to make our planet a better place. David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, shared an analysis of the five main reasons our society is on a self-destructive path.

  1. We are in a competitive race for resources (among companies and countries).
  2. Our regulatory/reward structure encourages accelerating that race almost regardless of any consequences.
  3. There is a limit to the resources available.
  4. Our population is increasing beyond the planet’s capacity to provide for a globally growing middle class.
  5. Our country’s dominant story about ourselves is one of empire – that dominance and winning are the highest ideals to pursue.

His solutions revolves around localization – around building local economies with tighter communities that live more in balance with the natural resources surrounding them. His magazine Yes offers ideas for how to live this more localized life.

What to Hunt

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

When you are looking for a job (or hiring), what is your top priority?

  • Skills – you have the knowledge and abilities to do the work well
  • Values – you agree with what the company stands for
  • Personality – your temperament matches the tasks of the work
  • Compensation – the job pays a lot
  • Life style – your life outside of work will be what you want

This conversation wasn’t new for me, and I assume it isn’t for you. Yet discussing it with Ruma Bose, author of Mother Teresa, CEO, I was struck by how poorly most of us order these priorities when we choose our work.