As I started preparing for the day, I read this statement:
I let go of anything and everything that could delay my good in any way.
Of course, as I so often do, I contemplated how this might apply to leadership.
Leadership is the action that motivates people toward a vision. Therefore, if the vision is the “good” in the above statement, we need to ask ourselves, “What gets in the way that could cause delay of achieving your vision?” In other words, what no longer serves you?
We discuss this topic a lot with our clients. It is a great exercise to stop and check-in with yourself regularly, asking, what no longer serves me?
Some possible delays to our good or vision may include:
Once you’ve identified what gets in your way of achieving your good or your vision, it is time to let it or them go. Time to move into action, ridding yourself of anything and everything that gets in your way. This is the time to start exercising your backbone instead of your wishbone. You are the architect of your life, the author of your book. This is not a dress rehearsal. If you don’t like what you see…change it!
What gets in your way, delaying your good, or your vision?
In love, and without delay,
Dr. Maria TV
“When you contain control of the internal direction of your attention, you will no longer stand in shallow water but will launch out into the deep of life”, as written by Neville in the Power of Awareness.
Recently working with a client, she was so joy-filled in her practice of awareness. Awareness, as she described was like opening gift after gift. She couldn’t wait to see what the next gift contained.
We went on to discuss how amazingly simple is the concept and practice of awareness, and how the gift of awareness is an incredible tool for leadership and life. Sure, becoming aware and practicing awareness may seem awkward at first, but it is like a muscle that hasn’t been exercised for a while. And with practice, awareness will become well-developed and second nature for you.
How do we practice the art of awareness? Below are a few simple steps to move from the shallow water into the depths of life:
When you start practicing these activities, you will start to notice a completely new world. You will wonder when the birds moved into a tree near your back yard, notice how exquisite the mountains or sunsets look, and a host of other gifts that previously went unnoticed. You will find the beauty in new gifts arriving to and for you daily. You will find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
With loving awareness,
Leadership. What is it? How is it defined? Two great questions. Two reasonable questions. Two thousand responses. In my experience, the words leadership and management are used interchangeably in the workplace. In the management and leadership classes I’ve taught over the years, we define them differently, however, recognizing that leadership is a critical part of management. I’ve always believed that defining leadership as a component of management was like saying cocoa is a component of chocolate.
Many organizations use the term leader when defining certain management positions. However, a title does not make a leader. My Grandpa Jaime used to say, “You can put a suit on a bum, but he is still a bum.” One may put the title of leader on a person, and he or she may or may not be a leader.
Most definitions of leadership have one over-arching similarity: vision. Creating vision and motivating followers towards the vision is the fundamental foundation of leadership. If there is no place to lead (vision) and no one to follow, then leadership is absent. I define leadership as the action of inspiring and motivating others towards a vision. I don’t believe it needs to be any more complicated than that.
What are some of the factors of being an effective leader? Here are some thoughts:
This is certainly not an exhaustive list…What would you add?
In my experience, the words leadership and management are used interchangeably in the workplace. In the management and leadership classes I’ve taught over the years, we define them differently, however, recognizing that leadership is a critical part of management. I’ve always believed that defining leadership as a component of management was like saying cocoa is a component of chocolate.
“I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you.” – Roy Croft One of my favorite quotes by Lao Tzu demonstrates influence at its best:
Wow – wouldn’t it be cool to have your team say that about you?
Very rarely am I involved in a conversation about leadership that does not include the topic of influence. I believe that influence is what most leaders seek; although, many will confuse influence with motivation. Motivation is important in leadership; it gets the job done. However, influence, is lasting. Influence is legacy.
Think about those people who influenced your life – in both positive and negative ways. We rarely forget the impact they had in shaping our behavior, thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. I know we eventually forgive those that had a negative influence on us. But…how often do we acknowledge and thank those who’ve had a positive influence on us?
I recently had the great honor to thank two very influential people in my life. It felt great to thank them, and even better to see the looks on their faces and feel the love in their hearts.
What are some steps we can take to grow our influence with others? Below are some sure-fire ways to increase our influence:
As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear, and the next the people hate. When the best leader’s work is done, the people say, “We did it ourselves!”
What are some of the ways you’ve found to influence others?
One of my favorite quotes by Lao Tzu demonstrates influence at its best:
“Wow! What a fantastic day! Yesterday, the meeting with Dr. Wayne Dyer elated me. Tonight, I feel a sense of calm excitement. Is that an oxymoron? Maybe, but that exactly describes how I feel.
I have decided to slow down – do maintenance work on my business, a few teaching contracts, and spend time on me! I am going to read, exercise, pray, and meditate. I am going to slow down and go inward. I am going to focus on me, now.”
I wrote this entry in my journal during a conference in Tampa, where many of my favorite inspirational authors spoke. It was the end of the year and the end of an era. The era of which I speak is my era in Corporate America. I left my comfortable, six-figure income to launch my own company, write, and to continue speaking and teaching about leadership. It was both exciting and simultaneously, terrifying.
Entering my 5th decade, I always thought of myself as self-aware. Yes, that is true to a point; however, I did not realize what the depths of having a relationship with myself really meant. I knew it was time to do the work, go inward, and take the deep dive. I was embarking on a journey of the most profound relationship in my life – my relationship with myself.
From a coaching and leadership perspective, I wonder how effective we can truly be in leading and coaching others without really knowing and leading ourselves? We know that most of our coaching clients eventually find the path of growth in their own relationship with self before moving forward in other areas. This is where all growth begins, for us as well as our clients, and we don’t call it “growing pains” for nothing!
As I began my journey inward, I realized immediately that my first step to having an authentic self-relationship began with an exercise in forgiveness. I listed all of those people towards whom I harbored resentment and hurt, with the ultimate goal of forgiving them. Wow –I was surprised when the list got so long. It was a difficult exercise, and yet, so amazingly freeing. I swear I lost 20 pounds at the end of the exercise! During this time, I was working with an amazing coach who taught me a meditation of forgiving these people and myself for holding the resentment and fear. I visualized myself walking to the door of the person’s soul, their true essence, knocking, and asking if I could come in. I was surprised that one or two said “no” initially. That was OK, because I came back later, until they said yes!
Once in, we would sit down and talk, soul to soul, essence to essence. When we sought forgiveness, love filled our space and both of us were free. This beautiful exercise is very effective and simple to do anywhere, anytime, in the safety of our office, or our client’s home.
Time was not my friend, especially in the early months of my journey. As a Type A personality, I was always in a rush, never in harmony with time. It was very difficult for me to learn to slow down and meditate, especially when I had so much to do. A funny thing happened on the way to a relationship with me – I learned a secret: You must slow down to move faster. I would have never believed this a year ago! However, I found that when I did slow down, meditate, and lavish myself with time to think, I became much more productive and completed tasks in shorter periods of time.
The next corner of my journey took me down a path I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to go – fear. As we do with many of our clients, I started to identify underlying beliefs that no longer served me. I identified beliefs about fear that held me back in weight loss, success, and putting myself out there for all to see. Again, with the expertise of my coach, I visualized myself on a track, running a relay. As I tired of the baton, representing a belief that no longer served me, I handed it to God, who ran the next leg of the relay. He was gorgeous with his long flowing hair – I have always been a sucker for men with long hair! As soon as I handed the baton to God, within the first few steps, the baton– fear – dissolved in his hands. As I sit here now, typing this visualization, I still feel the warmth of love filling me, where fear used to reside.
Out of the fear-zone on the journey, the next section of road was a lesson of “stuff.” In June, we went to Detroit to celebrate my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful time and two nights before we arrived home, my sister’s husband called to tell us there was a fire in the mountains and canyon where our home was located. He said we did not have to evacuate, but wanted to know what we wanted from our home in the event there was an evacuation.
As we arrived home, the fire escalated and within one hour of our arrival, a sheriff knocked on the door and told us we were on pre-evacuation alert. I immediately moved our clothes from the suitcase to the washer, dryer, and back in the suitcase. We were packed and ready to move. That night we “slept” in our own bed, but not really. We did not want to miss the mandatory evacuation call, should it come.
The next morning, we received the mandatory evacuation notice to leave our home. We went to my sister’s home, where we again, had to evacuate due to the rage and speed of the Monument Fire. The fire burned for over a week in our mountains and four canyons. Forty homes and a half-dozen business were lost.
One month after we returned to our home, spared by the fire, we had a major flood. Nearly five feet of mud, ash, and debris rushed down the mountains along with boulders the size of Volkswagens, because there was no ground cover or trees to hold them in place. Within 30 minutes of the sludge subsiding, neighbors and friends emerged from their homes, armed with shovels, smiles, and hugs to help those affected by the flood.
I lost much and gained more during this year. I lost my attachment to “things” and gained an appreciation for my family, friends, and neighbors. I lost my fear about money, and gained gratitude for the wealth and abundance already in my life. I lost a sense of arrogance, and gained humility in service to others. I lost my busy-ness, and gained the power of now and presence. I lost my mindless activities and gained awareness that my thoughts and feelings are my best friends. I lost my unconsciousness and gained awareness. I lost the ego view of myself and met me. The year of The Monument Fire…was a good year.
With love, joy, and gratitude,
Intuition is a power tool that successful leaders use. I found through work with my clients that many of these leaders have to re-learn how to use intuition. In most of our corporate and work experiences, we learn how to not listen to our intuition. I remember years ago in my early corporate career, the president of the company asked a question and I eagerly responded, “I feel that…”. He quickly cut me off and said, “Maria, I don’t care how you feel, tell me what you know”.
I am sure you too, have had similar experiences. These types of experiences shape the way we work. Many times over the years, I spent massive amounts of time creating spreadsheets to provide empirical evidence for what I intuitively knew.
I am not advocating throwing logic out the window. I am advocating that we use all of the tools in our possession to make the best possible decisions. We move into a danger zone if we hinder our decision-making process by not using both intuition and logic. Why would we want to stifle ourselves?
So how do we re-learn intuition and develop this amazing power tool?
Just remember the acronym, I N T U I T I O N and follow these simple steps:
Imagery › Allow the intuitive mind to use the images and symbols of the right brain.
Non-judgment › Suspend judgment and honor the flashes of knowing from the intuitive mind.
Thankfulness › Practice gratitude and thankfulness. Gratitude is the portal through which abundance flows.
Uncomplicated › The intuitive mind is uncomplicated and brief. The logical mind is long-winded!
Impressions › First impressions are usually correct – honor those intuitive insights.
Time › Take time to relax and quiet the mind. Intuition flows more readily in a space free of tension and stress.
Instant › Intuitive insight can come to you in an instant. Recognize this phenomenon and do not dismiss it.
Open › Be open to new insights through free association. Allow your intuitive mind to take you on this journey.
Namaste › Honor the soul knowledge of others.
What are your experiences using intuition? Again, thank you for sharing your insight!
To your intuitive success,
I write and speak a lot about fear versus love. Fear is easy to identify. We definitely know when fear starts to creep in; our body becomes tense, blood pressure starts to rise, and feelings of anxiety emerge. Fear is not a good feeling! Why would we continue to go there repeatedly? Where love and spirit are internal to us, fear and ego are external. Turning to others for approval or acceptance, points us in the direction of ego, external to ourselves.
When we live in the past, we live in the ego. Reliving those events, involving externally generated relationships, can cause tremendous pain or hurt. Each time we choose – yes, it is a choice – to live in the space of fear, we give away our power. We give it away to people or circumstance – an external event. When we retain our power, we are empowered, living in a place of love and spirit.
Fear paralyzes us. True, fear can be a motivator, but it is not sustainable. We cannot be motivated and live in fear for long periods without paying the physical, emotional, and spiritual costs of fear and stress.
Moving away from fear is one thing, but how do we actively develop love and ultimately integrate it with our leadership? In Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance, I outline eight steps to help develop love of self, love of source, and love of others:
When we align ourselves with love and spirit, abundance and joy flow into our lives. What other steps would you add to develop love of self, love of source, and love of others?
As a leadership coach, I am always excited when a powerful question or statement crosses my path or better yet, slams me in the face! Yesterday, I had such an encounter. Seth Godin got my attention when he stated, “If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader”. He was talking about the discomfort we sometimes feel as a leader and furthermore, when we identify the discomfort, we’ve found a place where leadership is needed. His list includes:
I DO love those moments that move me out of my comfort zone and into what I call a “seat squirming” state. I know when I start squirming, I am onto to something, and that something is usually growth!
Of course, I also like to state things in a positive frame, so my list may look something like:
My list not only feels good when I put it on, but it moves me beyond comfort to electric energy. What are your thoughts? Comfortable? Discomfort? What would you add to the list? As always, I truly appreciate your insight.
With electric energy and love,