4 Questions To Challenge Your Perception And Reality

It is important for us to reflect on our stories. You know these stories; they are well-crafted and visited repeatedly for years and sometimes decades. These are the stories we tell ourselves, building beliefs and behaviors based on these tales. As Plato reminded us, perception is reality.Our thoughts create our perceptions and our perceptions influence our emotional, psychological, and physical responses.I read Marianne Williamson’s book, “The Law of Divine Compensation” and was struck by her discussion about how negative thoughts deactivate the divine law, which falls into three major categories: (1) negative sense of self, (2) anger, and (3) guilt. Wow – the big three!This got me thinking how the big three derail other aspects of our life, including how we love others and how we lead others. As we reflect on a negative sense of self, anger, and guilt, let’s explore the following questions in this week’s video:Our stories are sometimes on auto pilot. We need to just flip off the auto pilot switch and create a new story. Close the chapter on the old one and start writing a new story.Think about this:When is the best time to plant an oak tree?Twenty years ago.When is the second best time to plant the tree?Now.When we step into awareness about our stories and thoughts, we come to realize that we can change those thoughts, and ultimately change our lives. What’s stopping you?I would love to hear from you. What new story do you want to create in your life?With love,Maria

4 Aspects of a Love Based Leadership Zone

In an LBL zone, love of Self, Source, and Others are present. We live the words so the words may live.People want to go to work, meaningful work in an LBL zone. A paradigm shift occurs in an LBL zone, where we discover a new way to do business based in part on ancient and traditional wisdom.

In The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran described work in what could be an LBL zone: It is to weave the cloth with threads from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit, And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching. Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

When LBL is practiced in organizations, several characteristics are present:

  • The organization is fertile ground for knowledge creation, a learning organization.

  • Power is shared, as is ownership of the work.

  • Significance and celebration of others is ever-present in an LBL organization, adding to a meaningful work experience.

  • A holistic approach to life, work, and spirituality is a way of life for those leaders practicing LBL, because LBL leaders honor themselves, their Source, and those with whom they work.

How would you describe a Love-Based Leadership organization?

With love,


How These 6 Steps Remove Vagueness From Forgiveness

I have to share this quote with you by Robert Muller, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” Forgiveness is a challenging concept for many leaders. While we understand the idea and we know forgiveness when it happens, the vagueness surrounding forgiveness is illusive.

The ambiguity enfolding forgiveness stems from our questions of how to bring about forgiveness/understanding, and from where it actually originated. To begin, let’s take a dive into the word itself.“For” implies intention to someone, for the benefit of or on behalf of someone or something. “Give” is to pass on, to gift, or convey something to someone. “Ness”, is a suffix that implies a state of being. For-give-ness therefore, is a state of benefiting someone by giving something to him or her.How did we even get here—the need or desire to forgive?We look to practice forgiveness when we are angry, wronged, or hurt. Tormentors come in the form of resentment, guilt, or even shame.

Oftentimes we hold on to anger as a form of power. We feel in control and ultimately powerful when we hold onto our anger, justified in our feelings and hoping that the person we believe hurt us may feel guilty or remorseful for what we perceive they have done to us.Avoiding forgiveness allows us to fuel our anger, feeling justified and entitled in our anger or pain as victims. Avoiding forgiveness is avoiding responsibility.

We are victims because we believe we have no power. Playing the victim role deepens the feelings of pain and anger justification. Each time we replay the event that caused us pain is another attempt to regain respect, acknowledgment, hope, and love. Because forgiveness is a state of being, action is required to move into that place or that state.

Like so many other lessons, avoiding forgiveness is not static. Anger leads to judgment. Judgment leads to blame, and blame leads to resentment.Resentment is really unresolved anger and resentment hurts us, manifesting in stress-related illness, anxiety, or depression. Resentment hardens our hearts paving a path of vengeance. We can lose ourselves in judgment, condemnation, and conflict, all the while wondering why we are not happy or content.Forgiveness is a choice. We take responsibility for our peace of mind and happiness when we choose to forgive. And forgiveness starts with ourselves.

To make this choice, we experience a miracle.The process of experiencing the miracle of forgiveness is perception shifting. The change in attitude comes to us through grace. Cultivating a practice of forgiveness first begins with self-forgiveness. Dr. Robin Casarjian describes six steps to practice self-forgiveness in her book, Forgiveness:

  1. Acknowledge the truth.

  2. Take responsibility for what you have done.

  3. Learn from the experience by acknowledging the deeper feelings that motivated the behaviors and thoughts for which you now feel guilty and hold yourself in judgment.

  4. Open your heart to yourself and compassionately listen to the fears and calls for help and acknowledgment deep within.

  5. Heal emotional wounds by heeding the calls in healthy, loving, and responsible ways.

  6. Align with your Self and affirm your fundamental innocence.

By practicing self-forgiveness, always remember to be gentle with yourself, suspending judgment, allowing and receiving miracles in this holy space. The miracle and shift in perception and attitude gives us insight about others and ourselves.I would love to hear from you. What is the first step you are willing to commit to today to move you into self-forgiveness?

With love,


11 Things Good Leaders Let Go Of

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.

Hmmm…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:

  • Underlying beliefs that no longer serve us

  • Ego

  • Clutter (literal and physical)

  • The need to be right

  • Noise (literal and physical)

  • Fear

  • Poor health

  • Lack of sleep

  • Lack of knowledge

  • Lack of anything…

  • Toxic relationships

Once you’ve identified what gets in your way of achieving your good or your leadership 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!I’d love to know your leadership thoughts below. What gets in your way, delaying your good, or your vision?

All my best,


Service Paves The Path Of Leadership

Organizational and leadership models throughout history, and still today, are like authoritative kingdoms. The ruling king or queen sits on their throne (corner office in the executive suite) and the serfs and subjects (subordinates and “team”) support them in any way necessary. Oh, we have the right words today—team, collaboration, and empowerment—unfortunately, in many organizations actions do not match the words.

We know consciously and unconsciously these models do not work; however, we don’t know how to replace them.We just simply have to turn away from fear and stare right into the face of love. In those beautiful eyes, we find our answers. Service paves the path of leadership.

Through love and a love-based leadership model, we serve others, our Source, and ourselves. To make this miraculous shift in our perception about service, we must consciously be aware of leading with a service-mindset versus a sales-mindset.Many leaders I know lead with a sales-mentality, seeking “buy-in” from those they lead. They obtain buy-in through persuasion, manipulation, and control. These techniques can be effective, but the leader will not get long-term commitment.

A service-mentality shifts from “what can you do for me?” to “what can I do for you?”This is similar to the phenomenon in marketing and product development happening today. Find out what they want and we’ll build it replaces the old mental model of build it and they will come. Leadership focus is on service instead of self-interest, and the ego is not going to like it!When leaders shift from sales to service-mindsets, organizations shift from a kingdom culture and hierarchical structure to community.

I am not describing Utopia or something found only through rose-colored glasses; I am describing what can be, and what is in some organizations and communities.By serving and giving, we are more successful. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we serve, the more we are served. This again demonstrates that to wherever you put your attention is what you will manifest.

I would love to hear from you! How do you recognize when you are being sold to? How do you demonstrate service instead of sales?

With love,


7 Practices Incredible Leaders Never Neglect

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:

  • Develop an awareness mindset. Think of awareness like breathing. Breath is required for life, just as awareness is required for living. Without awareness, we just go through the motions.

  • Begin with self-awareness, going inward instead of observing outward.

  • Just stop…thinking, doing, planning, and just be still (start with just a few moments and build your time each day).

  • Write or journal every day. Don’t worry about editing or even what you will write. Just write whatever comes to you. You will see some patterns emerge.

  • Sit with those thoughts and reflect on what you have written.

  • Expand your inner, self-awareness to the external world; only this time, look and listen to the small things like the hum of the air-conditioner, the chirping of the birds, or the very tiny ant moving in front of you.

  • Listen to what is not being said at the next meeting you attend. Observe the way your team members talk and move. What comes to light that you previously missed?

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.I would love to hear your thoughts, which of these steps could you most apply in your daily life?

All my best,