Standing Rock is Rocking Our World

The growing focus on Standing Rock Reservation and the issues surrounding water, oil, human rights, and earth rights brought up a memory from several years ago.

The morning after the sweat lodge we sat in a circle for our farewell ceremony. Bleary eyed in the predawn cold, something looked and felt different.

Was it just me?

I asked others who had joined our Leadership in Action program. The program was designed as a “pattern interrupt,” to leave, even briefly, from our daily ways of living and experience another cultural perspective.

The idea behind this type of adventure is to continue to move from the information age to the knowledge era. The more you know and understand systems thinking, how everything is connected, the better you can guide the direction of your life and make positive impact on those you lead. This trip was to learn new skills from Native American teachers and bring the indigenous wisdom back to the workplace.

When Is Enough…Enough

This time of year, prepares us to ask “What really matters?”

It’s a tradition to give gratitude as we sit around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Often what we say slips off our tongues without thinking about it. Yes, we’re thankful for our families, our health, a meal to fill our bellies, the team we root for winning the big game.

We stuff the disappointments for this one day.

We leave the “not enough” thoughts on the sidelines.

Yet, they’re there only to be picked up a few days later as we head back to work and school, and start the dash to buying holiday presents and prepare for the parties ahead.

Preparing for anything takes some deep, quiet thinking. When we’re prepared, the peaks and valleys of our daily journey are easier to predict and can be handled with more grace.

How do leaders prepare? How do you prepare for what’s ahead? Here’s a suggestion.

How Todays Trinity of Extremes Affects Us All

Yes, we live in a fast paced world. Yes, we are often at tipping points of stress. Yes, we can do better.

“We are all in it together and no one wins unless we all do.” This mantra sounds good, however, for most of us it sounds naïve. Sometimes the world seems to be spinning out of control and the issues are too big and a single individual, a mere speck in the universe, is too small to make a dent in the issues.

The trinity of today’s extremes are:

Poverty
Climate
Violence
As I listened to the speakers at the Clinton Global initiative I was bouncing between hope, anger and depression.

Hope won.

Big Decisions, Little Decisions: Which Are More Important?

The quality of your life, personally and professionally, is based on how you make decisions.

There is the old way and the new way: hint, the new way is actually older than the old way. The indigenous cultures all knew and still know that everything is connected. Somewhere along the way as we became “sophisticated intellectuals” and “rugged individualists” the idea of inter-connection became old-fashioned.

Take business decisions.

Most companies use a variation of the Gap Analysis. First you are supposed to look at where you are; then where you envision you want to be; and finally create a plan to get from here to there. Simple. It’s like: think, vision, execute.

However, there is a missing piece.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I hear this plaintive cry from executives and middle managers all the time. I hear it from superintendents to elementary school teachers for at least ten months out of the year.

Getting along is what we all want. Right? So, why does it seem almost impossible to get through even a few days without feeling that blood boiling moment of “Not THAT again!” or “Can’t they just zip it?”

I would like to boil this down to some basics for you to think about.

Relationships are hard work.

You can’t learn how to be your best you by reading something that gives you 5 quick tips for happiness.

It’s just not that simple.

Clear The Past To Free The Future: Life Stories Spoken Out Loud Heal Wounds From Our Unresolved Racial War

Charles sat down and wiped the perspiration from his forehead. He looked at the fifteen others in the room and could not decide if he was relieved or simply embarrassed.

Finally John broke the silence by saying quietly, “We really are all truly sorry. Thank you for your honesty and openness.”

That was it.

The moment Charles had been hoping for since he was a little kid. All he wanted was someone to say “I’m sorry.” And now he had fifteen women and men who told him they were sorry for the barbs and taunts and put downs. One by one they had looked at him and said they were sorry.

Charles had just finished telling the story of his life.

What Courage Looks Like

  • MFAAdmin
  • June 20, 2016

Twice a year we do a program for leaders and emerging leaders. It is a four session program spread over five months. Each time I include clips of leaders who have and continue to make a difference in our world.

There are a few staples, like Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.

We choose from a wide array of business leaders, media, the arts, and people who I call “Giraffes” (those willing to stick their necks out to make a positive difference).

Recently I was looking for those who exemplify vast courage to tackle unpopular issues and who are not willing to back down or be bought into silence.

If you have not seen or read Ibsen’s play, An Enemy of the People, it is worth the time to dig into this classic about speaking out when economic issues want us to stay in denial.

That brings us up to the present moment. Watching Dr. Bennett Omalu, played by Will Smith in the 2015 film, Concussion makes us realize that patterns of denial run deep and are sadly, as old as time.

Omalu, a forensic pathologist working in Pittsburgh brought CTE, a form of brain injury to the forefront. It appears to be rampant in the NFL and possibly starting when youngsters play high school and college football.

Ain’t It Good To Be Alive

Last weekend we trekked to Manhattan for the season premiere of ALIVE: 55+ and Kicking.

And what a day it was.

Just being in the presence of the executive producer, Vy Higginsen would have been enough. However, the day brought so much that I simply want to stand up and applaud the entire cast and the brilliance of an idea so needed in our world today.

Vi took the microphone before the start of the show and in her vivacious manner said, “The first 50 years of life are for learning, and the next 50 are for living.” And off we went on a musical holiday of song and story about, well just about all of us. It was about dreams gone astray, dreams fulfilled, happy days, hurtful days, and how to get up and get going, no matter what.

I will be interviewing Vy for my book “GUTSY BREAKTHROUGH STORIES” so here is just a snap shot of this mover and shaker. She is an award winning author, playwright, radio and TV personality. She is full of firsts: first woman on New York prime-time radio, first female executive in advertising, and founder of the Mama Foundation for the Arts in Harlem.

Donald Trump, Pandora And The State Of Our Nation

There was a curious incident during a recent basketball game between the students of two high schools in Massachusetts.

Is it because of Donald Trump?

Or is it just that somewhere on the planet Pandora, that beautiful gal from Ancient Greece, once again opened the mysterious box she was told never to open.

And all hell broke loose.

Pandora opened the box hoping to see gowns of silk and bracelets of gold. Instead out of the box poured all the evils of the world. In the shape of ugly creatures (thugs, if you will). What poured out was disease, poverty, jealousy, anger, corruption, lying, stealing, bigotry, polarization, mean-spiritedness, contamination, war, pestilence, affairs, physical and sexual abuse, gun and knife fights, partisanship and whatever else you can think of that resides in the realm of humankind that we prefer to, either avoid, deny or attack without thought of consequences.

Back to the high school basketball night. The kids at one of the schools with high intensity began shouting at the all-boys Catholic school that it was a “sausage fest.” Yes, you know what they were talking about.

Leadership Lessons How To Raise Healthy Kids To Be Excellent Leaders

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

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