How I Became Empowered By My “History”

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Hi Kind Reader,

Today I awoke to a wonderful surprise. I’m featured on the incredible Gigi Eats Celebrities as a guest author. Gigi is all sorts of brilliant and powerfully kind in the most lighthearted of ways.

Check out my guest post and Follow her adventures in empowered wellness and health. 

Share the post with anyone who needs a lift in his or her spirit.

Bottom line: Our past doesn’t have to define us; we can redefine our present by choosing to Go Kindly through our life. 

Join me & Go Kindly,

Nanci


Being In A “Go Kindly” Relationship With Myself

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Hi Kind Reader, I realize it’s been a minute… For the past seven months,  I’ve lived the life of an “intentional gypsy.” By that I mean, I’ve been living in the moment. Each day I wake up with the intention to “go kindly” through every instant by being present to a purpose bigger than me. You might say that I’m being in a Go Kindly relationship with myself. 

My journey took me across cities near and far, into and out of various airbnbs, my parents’ guest room, friends’ sofas, and even one memorable night inside of my car. The new friendships and expanded professional networks formed along my trek produced incredible business and personal opportunities to practice Go Kindly in-action.

contributed to “influencer” publications, consulted as a Live Kindly Coach in various capacities, joined a corporate initiative (thanks to my Work Kindly program) to redefine employee engagement, helped realign out-of-balance bodies via Move Kindly sessions and volunteered my time to those that struggle with similar relationship roadblocks to never give up the pursuit of a life bigger than his or her past.

Without one cent of debt to my name and with no “obligations” other than choosing to demonstrate kindness in all that I do, I begin anew every sunrise and recharge each sunset.

For the first time since my first boyfriend in high school, I am single by choice. I always go from one monogamous coupling to the next, without much pause. Letting go of the “status” of being in or out of a romantic relationship defining who I am, is a process directed by “kind” metamorphosis.

Years of conditioned beliefs, stemming back into childhood, that I was worthless without the presence of a man defined my previous romantic relationships. Let me be clear though: No one made me pick my past partners. Regardless of what I’d been told, It was my choice.

Playing small must have fed some need inside of me to remain hidden from possible judgment if I chose to shine on my own.

Successful “baby steps” aside, life without fear as my compass is without parallel. Little by little, “who I am” is becoming more evident and less evasive. Writing is my “spirit” medicine. Delving into the well of words that define a life beyond the confines of convention frees me from preconceived judgment. It is no wonder that the pages of my first book flow each day with more ease than the previous.

As part of my inner journey, I recently chose to invest a large chunk of my savings into an airbnb temporary living situation. The kicker: Being less than two blocks from the pristine sands of the Pacific Ocean in Marina Del Rey, California.

My

My “Happiest Place on Earth”

It’s my version of “Heaven on Earth.” Each night the sunset and I rendezvous for a “nature date.” Tiptoeing while twirling the grains of sand with my toes grounds my heart and frees my mind to see beyond seeming limitations.

Yes I am single, living off my savings, and dreaming big without a concrete idea of what will unfold next. That is true. The funny thing: I’m not worried. In fact, time appears to expand and become more holographic in direct proportion to each moment I’m here. Every day ushers in unexpected invitations to share my Go Kindly philosophy in a new professional arena.

Everything fell into place the moment I gave myself the grace to be me. 

I accomplished more in the past ten days than I have in the past ten months. Inner peace is not determined by your outer environment, but being in a place that provides you space to create is peaceful. Detachment from how unhappy I’d been before now stands in stark contrast to the undulations of joy that flow through me without deliberate choice. Anything is possible when you tap into the power of empowerment.

Being in a Go Kindly relationship with myself means no longer giving away my choices to the whims of others, especially “powerful” men. It also means kindly being me without apology or defense. This philosophy is not a theoretical construct that I teach without personal practice and affirmation of its results. It is a practical path that I reflect in all relationships, including the one with myself.

Stay tuned, kind reader for more Go Kindly stories and reflections from my “Intentional Gypsy” wanderings.

As an example of “serendipity” becoming my new “norm” since choosing to be in a Go Kindly relationship with myself, I stumbled upon this sign while “intentionally” wandering along Abbot Kinney in Venice.

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For those of you that know my lifelong affinity for “All things Alice” you will know why this “sign” was so important to me. It means I’m on the right path and exactly where I’m supposed to be!”

Go Kindly, my friends. We are all in the together.

P.S. I can’t wait to share the new book and complete curriculum with you.

Have a story of you being in a “go kindly” relationship with others or yourself? Share a comment or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you; let’s continue the conversation. All are welcome to join my Go Kindly Family. 


Responding In “Kind”

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Tick tock heralds the nearby clock. Here I sit, staring with intention and yet without focus. The gentle glow of my Macbook’s screen beckons me to caress its keyboard. Hesitation grips my hands and urges me to wait. Time: It is either our benefactor or our captor.

When conflict occurs the inclination is to react “in kind” to the intention of the “other” party. In other words, if the opposition exhibits aggression or attack, our immediate thought is to defend. Just because instinct implores us to follow its lead does not mean that it possesses a mandate. We always have the freedom to choose how to respond.

No one and nothing may usurp our entitlement to choose what power, if any, we grant to external sources to affect our state of mind.

The past couple of years presented more challenges than triumphs and more tears than smiles. Even so, I chose to “go kindly” through my life. You might say that I responded to each obstacle in “kind.”

By no means do I imply that I met these hiccups with passivity or denial. Responding in “kind” entailed me creating space for an outcome that is bigger than me. By meeting a situation or an individual, including myself, with a mindset of kindness, I released an investment in a specific result unfolding.

We all have preferences. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting something specific to occur. Disappointment and resentment develop however when what “is” deviates from what we hoped would “be.” Allow me kind reader to share an example with you to illustrate my point.

Looking Back

Several years ago I earned a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology with the intention to complete my doctorate soon after. However, a serious car accident and the ensuing injuries and recovery derailed my plans. As the passenger, I received the brunt of the impact from a 100-foot descent off the edge of the road above. It was nothing short of a miracle that I sustained only non-life-threatening injuries.

On the surface, I appeared “fine,” but the constant, searing pain beneath my scapula revealed the actual extent of the accident’s effect. Faced with a choice to push through the physical agony and go forward with school or to take a respite from my studies and focus upon healing, I chose to respond in “kind” towards myself.

The kind approach was to rest and receive assistance to recover on both physical and emotional levels. Denial of the trauma and the after-effects would only magnify the grip fear held within my mind. Only looking at my pain with the guidance of caring practitioners would allow me to transcend my suffering and return to “normal.”

Many well-intentioned friends and family members disagreed with my choice. They advocated continuing to pursue the doctorate. As I said the gravity of my injuries were not shown without the aide of medical imaging. My intuition implored me to trust my instinct to pause, but my rational brain tempted me to follow the advice of my “tribe.” I almost capitulated. However, a DO physician intervened with kindness. He asked me if anyone else had experienced the accident first-hand.

“No, of course not,” I said. “I am the only person who knows how I feel.”

“Exactly,” he said with a glint in his eye. “Therefore, only you should decide your next step.”

Letting Go Of Judgment

Comprehending the liberty his words provided me from the constant doubt and judgment I’d saturated myself with, I decided to defer the PhD. As I’ve mentioned before, kindness and judgment cannot coexist. As long as I chose a mindset of judgment, I denied myself the gift of kindness.

Recovery from the accident was not quick. If there was a form of healing, I attempted it. After a year of suffering, I finally received relief via the intervention of rehabilitative Pilates. Remembering how to be kind to my body was instrumental in the healing process. Integrating my knowledge of psychology along with the physiological aspects of Pilates inspired me to shift my career focus.

Instead of pursuing the PhD I received a certification teaching the only intervention that offered me physical relief from the pain due to the accident: Pilates.

Over the course of teaching Pilates I owned and operated several private studios and saw over 1000 clients for issues ranging from joint instability to pre and post surgical rehabilitation. As soon as clients learned of my graduate degree in psychology the focus of our conversations invariably shifted towards a mind-body connection.

Transitioning With Kindness

It was not uncommon for a client to start seeing me to strengthen his or her “core” and then to transition to an overall “coaching” mix of exercises and emotional intelligence awareness. The transition from “Pilates instructor” to “Mindfulness coach” was not forced nor preconceived: It evolved as a natural progression.

Even after all the success and referrals I received, a dip in business led me to revisit the notion of a PhD. My dream was to become an author and share the insights I’d gathered as a teacher about responding with kindness with the general public. My fear beckoned me to “finally legitimize” my work with the addition of a doctorate. No one except me believed that my credentials were insufficient. Yet, I rationalized that enduring success eluded me because I did not have enough letters after my name.

Sharing my desire to return to school, a friend, who is a noted PhD, asked me the reason behind my intention. “If I have a doctorate, the world will view me as an expert,” I responded.

“But Nanci,” my friend rebutted, “you are already an expert in your own truth. All of your past clients are testament to your skills. Once you believe in you, so too will others. Just start: Get your hands dirty and your feet wet. Write and you will see your actual value.”

Once again two choices faced me: Stay the course towards a PhD or pause and “reset” the direction of my career via writing. After much contemplation I concluded to respond in “kind” to myself by “becoming” what I’d already been “being:” A teacher of kindness. 30-some articles later plus a blog and being in the midst of authoring my first book, there is no doubt that I made the right choice.

If I had allowed fear of not being enough to dictate my decisions either after the car accident or last year, I would not be where I am today. Once I let go of needing to prove my worth to others by staying within the confines of their expectations, I received the freedom to be me without defense or apology.

Kindness was the mechanism that liberated me from living someone else’s version of my life. By creating the space to grant myself the grace of an “unscripted” career and non-predetermined route, I ended up being in exactly the right place at the right time.

Have courage to stand in your own truth and to respond to yourself in “kind” even if it deviates from the popular norm. There is no greater wealth to achieve than that of maximizing your own perceived self-worth.

Has there been a time that you wished you had followed the “unscripted” journey in your life? Or, if you did, what was the experience of responding to yourself in “kind?”

Please share your thoughts. All expressions of kindness are welcome here.

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This post was originally published via LinkedIn


Kindness: How To Disrupt The Duality of Social Media’s Influence

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Yesterday I watched a new TED Talks video with rapt attention. Emerging from a nearly two-decades cocoon of shame and guilt, Monica Lewinsky stood before her captivated audience.  As an articulate “butterfly,” she took flight with her plea for a collective awakening of digital compassion. Her words inspired me to write a new article as an extension of her vision. I am not sharing it for “likes” or “views.” The only reason for its creation: It’s the “socially kind” thing to do.

If even one reader experiences an emotional remedy to a past wrong and receives a glimmer of hope within the present moment, then the effort hit its target.

Let’s all recall days past from our youth. Hands-up if you were ever the recipient of deliberate bullying. Suppose we grant some latitude and say roughly 50% of you, my kind readers, answer in the affirmative. Out of this group, how many of you cringe at the thought of having to revisit those painful moments?

It comes as no surprise that human beings retain traumatic memories from our past injuries, whether physical or emotional. For as long as people have formed friendships, they also consciously chose to exclude individuals from their inner circles.

Creating the “circles” is not the issue: banding together to single-out “outsiders” is the problem.

Prior to the digital age, some constraints upon the impact and effect of bullying behaviors existed. The targeted exclusion only had to worry about the local rumor-mill and “grapevine.” With luck, your specific humiliation would not be shared beyond those immediately involved.

In today’s social media-driven, mutable environment, having any of your experiences go “viral” can either denote a positive or negative effect. It all comes down to the subject of intention. If you “intend” to receive fame from sharing your own setbacks, i.e. “fails” then “going viral” is a welcome occurrence and based upon the “15-Minutes” model of business, might even cement your status as an “influencer” with financial omnipotence.

However, what about the flip side? What if you intend to receive “influence” by exposing someone else’s pain? Should that also be a permitted catalyst for your star to rise? Too often the answer to the preceding query is not “no.” Why would we, as society, condone this method to reap rewards from mistreating another being?

For those of you that answered, “yes” to the question posed about bullying in the first paragraph, I have a second request.

Close your eyes and imagine if your shame existed in perpetuity among the annals of the digital “vault” of “fails” rather than only within your own mind. Now, extend that frightful vision to include those closest to you suffering the same fate and then go one degree of separation further with each breath until you envelope everyone in the world. What wouldn’t you do to prevent this nightmare from becoming reality?

All dramatics aside, we are facing a chasm of cruelty. Cyber bullying does not discriminate: All ages, genders, races and creeds are susceptible to being targets. There is an antidote to the poison of viral shaming: Kindness. The visualization that I prompted you to practice above is an example of responding to cyber attacks with empathy and compassion. The more that we see ourselves as the same as “others” the greater likelihood that we will relate to everyone as our “own.”

I’m not speaking hypothetically about the effects of bullying. When I was in junior high, a classmate arranged for the boy I liked to ambush me in front of the entire school with the vitriolic message, “Evelyn (not her real name) hates you!” The reason for my public shaming: Fear. Evelyn feared that I would reveal a secret she told me at a slumber party (she and I were close friends at the time) about her guilt over her mistreatment of her parents. I had no intention of ever betraying her trust, but her anxiety over her secret becoming known, compelled her to conspire to annihilate my social status and self-esteem.

To this day, I can taste the shade of crimson that saturated my cheeks upon hearing those three cruel words uttered by my first crush. As horrific as that event was, I can’t even fathom if my fate befell an adolescent now. It’s almost a guarantee that some onlooker would have captured my humiliation on film and blasted it to every social outlet before I could gather a single fragment of my shattered pre-teen dignity.

Every moment of each day we are bombarded with new digital content. All that is required from each of us is the decision to select our content with consciousness. Before you write a single word or toss an “anonymous” stone virtually, see your digital device as a mirror. Would you taint your own reflection with expressions of hate? Please reconsider your response before hitting a seemingly innocuous “send” or “ok.”

Likewise, if you stumble upon any post gaining status by shaming another fellow being, speak-up against the cruelty and if possible, make your voice heard without resorting to “shaming” the poster. Remaining present and mindful allows you to respond to unkindness with kindness and still set a boundary of conduct and decorum. Next, reach-out to the bullied target. Extend your compassion and encouragement without limit; every “kind” word impacts how we define our perceived self-worth.

Bullies are only as powerful as the fear they incite. Enough is enough. Let’s reset social media by employing kindness to create conversations of influence. We all are capable of being “kindness conversationalists.” It’s only a slight shift of perception to transform our social media perspective.

Technology has the potential to be our greatest legacy of compassionate connection. We are all in this together. No one deserves to have his or her misfortunes become the source of another’s prosperity. If enough of us demand change and are willing to reflect another way of being, then the tides of cyber terrorizing will recede and give way to a kinder digital world.

What are some other ways you can use a “socially kind” approach to disrupt the current state of social media? 

For further reference about developing a “socially kind” social media policy, please visit my past post here.

Let’s continue the conversation. Please feel free to share your thoughts. All expressions reflecting kindness are welcome here.

This post originally was published by me via LinkedIn


How Your Career Choices Reveal The Value Of Your Perceived Self-Worth

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Let’s recall the well-known tale of a little girl named Alice and the fateful interaction she shares with one White Rabbit. As the story unfolds we discover that Alice’s decision to follow the White Rabbit down his abyss-like hole is what leads her to encounter Wonderland. However, what if Alice already decided she was ready to experience Wonderland and the White Rabbit was merely the catalyst to transform her curiosity into reality?

How often in life do we ascribe accountability for our choices to the external actions of another? Alice was not a victim of her relationship with the Rabbit. She was already in a state of mind that welcomed the notion of curiosity and the White Rabbit assisted her journey to know the unknown. At any point in her “following” him towards his rabbit hole, she could have stopped and observed what happened before blindly falling into the depths of the Earth.

It is crucial for each of us to remember the power of our mind’s ability to choose. No matter what fate befalls us, who inflicts pain upon us and when the suffering occurs, we still have the ability to choose how to respond to what occurs.

Throughout Alice’s numerous adventures, she consistently forgets that if it was by her choice that she entered into Wonderland, then it is also by her decision that she may exit.

In no way, kind reader, do I imply that it is “our fault” when unpleasant events do occur, but we still maintain the ability to choose the event’s effect upon us emotionally. Some circumstances seem to be more dire and insurmountable than others. On the surface level, this is indeed a fact. However, in almost any situation, it is possible to discover our way out by reexamining and transforming the impetus for our way in.

For example, one of my earliest career experiences in Los Angeles left me feeling consistently unfairly treated by my client. Being a member of the elite echelon of the entertainment industry, my client was accustomed to getting what she wanted, when and how she wanted it. The fees I charged for my services were paltry in comparison to her earnings. That being said, she still haggled with me for nearly a week over my rates until I dropped them to an “acceptable” level in her opinion.

Desperate to make my mark with my business, I acquiesced to her demands and resented her and myself simultaneously. Couldn’t she see that I was young, hungry and naïve? I believed that possessed something I did not: Power. Somehow my inexperience led me to surmise that if someone who had “influence” deemed me unworthy of a fair wage, she must be right and I must be wrong.

Following my “white rabbit” down the black hole of devaluation, I loathed our sessions and the fact that she arrived five minutes early for each appointment and would “pump” me for the maximum amount of information and assistance even though she was paying me the least of anyone I’d ever coached. However, I felt trapped. Nobody held a gun to my head; I agreed to her terms and I accepted her offer.

After several months of “suffering” through my “abusive” relationship, I amassed an extensive list of gripes and grievances. Sipping my favorite glass of an Argentine Malbec during Happy Hour with my friends, I’d regale in the stories of my mistreatment by this particular client. Usually I’d receive complete support from my inner circle of girlfriends who concluded their comments with the common phrase:“You deserve so much better.”

One night however, I decided to tell my story differently from a perspective of accountability. After weeks of journaling and meditation, I realized a life-changing awareness. Relaying the week’s events from the sessions with my client, I divulged my biggest secret: I did not believe that I deserved better. Everything this client did and said to me was the epitome and manifestation of my “inner critic’s” voice.

Revisiting the first interaction I had with my client, I recognize that she was the perfect client for me. Upon relocating from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I felt inadequate and doubted my fees, even though I received much positive feedback and financial gains from previous clients. Somehow I thought my past success had been a lucky fluke.

Perceiving LA as a “different” type of market and business setting, I chose to play small rather than to think “big” as I had done in the Bay Area. Feeling intimidated by the aura of influence exuded by the “Hollywood Machine,” I expected to be dismissed and accepted mistreatment.

During the Happy Hour reveal of my “ah-ha” moment with my girlfriends, one of my friends asked me what sort of advice I would offer to her if she was in my situation. Without skipping a beat I replied, “Either change the dynamic and purpose of the relationship or leave it.”

Upon hearing my own voice espouse those words, I knew that things would never be the same from that moment.

The next session with my client arrived without haste. True to form, she was five minutes early.

Drawing upon the “speech” I practiced earlier that day, I asked her one question: “What value do you place upon our sessions?”

If my belief of my lack of value brought me into this relationship with her, then it would have to be the transcendence of that limiting belief that would take me out of it.

Perplexed by my query, my client readjusted her eyes, scanning my face for a clue revealing my intention in asking, prior to offering a response. I repeated my question with calmness and certainty. After a few agonizing moments of silence, she at last spoke.

“What do you mean? Uh, I value our sessions a lot. You have helped me in ways no one else ever has before,” she concluded.

My response: “Thank you. I appreciate you saying that. There is no easy way to approach this, so I am just going to speak. I know that you are someone that wants the best and by your own admission, I am the best at what I do. Would you be open to renegotiating our fee agreement going forward?”

Thank goodness my voice did not betray the anxiety gripping my gut. I stated my truth with concise and simple clarity.

My client’s gaze pierced through me. She stood in disbelief for an instant and then laughed gently while saying, “Well, it’s about time, sweetheart. I thought you would never ask. Yes, you are the best. Let’s talk new terms.”

Hindsight reveals to me that my client merely mirrored my perceptions of my self-worth; she was not intending to be “unkind.” Once I believed that I deserved more, she was happy to join me in my new belief. From that day forwards, she became an vocal advocate for the quality of my work. She paid me fairly and referred many clients to me over the years.

Revisiting the adventures of our dear Alice one final time… In the end she realized that her belief in her “dream” beckoned her to enter into Wonderland. Therefore it must be that awakening would free her from the seeming entrapment.

In kind, I “woke up” to my way out of feeling mistreated by my client. I shifted the purpose of my customer relationship with her from one of validating my mistakenly perceived inadequacy to one of expanding the value of my actual self-worth.

What important choices have you made that reveal your perception of the value of your self-worth? Are there any insights gained from this post that could help you to look at your future options differently prior to making a pivotal career decision?

Let’s continue the conversation. Please feel free to share your thoughts. All expressions reflecting kindness are welcome here.

This post originally appeared via LinkedIn


What If You Are Only “32 Favors” Away From Effective Leadership?

It is my hope that reading this post will inspire you to begin your Monday as an opportunity to infuse your leadership relationships with the essence of empathy, compassion and kindness. We are all in this together.

As the editor, Laurie Wilhelm, of “Realizing Leadership” pondered: “Could a model for kindness be used to begin a shift in how we behave as leaders and the impact we have on others? Could this be a leadership growth opportunity to bring awareness to and initiate acts of leadership?”

Before going further, it’s necessary to state a few words of clarification about the terminology of the project and how it can be translated into leadership. While I’ll be using the word ‘favor’ throughout, these actions should be considered acts of leadership which help to develop ourselves into better leaders on an ongoing basis.

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What defines effective leadership? Is it merely measured by how many “followers” one’s level of authority may influence? Or is it determined by extending empathy, compassion and kindness to those that one leads?

No matter who you are, where you come from and where you hope to go in your professional career, one shared goal exists. We all desire to be free to be as we are without preconceived judgments by our coworkers and management. Think about it…don’t we all thrive the most in an environment where our talents are seen and acknowledged?

“No pain, no gain” might work to motivate results at the gym, but in a corporate leadership environment, choosing to be kind, compassionate and empathic pays dividends beyond our comprehension. Let’s be clear before proceeding: kindness is not weakness. It does not imply that a manager should condone caustic behavior in the office.

Being kind means meeting someone where he or she is at in the present moment. Kindness is the effect of choosing to be compassionate and empathic towards the needs of another. An effective leader recognizes where his or her team struggles and shines with equal awareness.

It is tempting for a manager to focus on what is not being done and accomplished in the manner the management deems as best practices. However, I propose another way to motivate your team and build camaraderie. It begins with answering a single question: “Are you willing to make the time to be kind?”

Let’s assume “yes” is your response to the query I posed above. You are now ready to start charting a new path towards effective leadership. Your willingness and time are the only prerequisites to undertake the “32 Favors” project.

Why 32? 32 is one more than the maximum number of days in any month of the year. I challenge companies to make the commitment to share kindness one “favor” at a time with their staff and employees. Management teams may choose to begin the project anytime during the year: sharing kindness, compassion and empathy is not only reserved for the holidays.

The scope of the “32 Favors” project includes middle management teams agreeing to collaborate for 32 days to give favors anonymously or openly to their staff. Favors must be specific to leadership actions, confined to the workplace and must be equally distributed. The maximum expenditure for any single favor is $10.

Managers are encouraged to brainstorm together and create a master list of “favors” prior to beginning the project. Examples of favors could be to have one-on-one conversations with staff to better understand their challenges and goals or offering extra mentoring on a specific project or presentation.

It could also be as simple as showing meaningful gratitude for a job well done. The development and execution of the plan must include time scheduled for follow-through.

The staff will not be informed about the “32 Favors” project until the conclusion of the 32nd day. They will be given a survey on the day prior to the first day commencing the project. The questionnaire will measure how effectively their direct manager conveys compassion, empathy and kindness to their staff, from the perspective of the staff, on a scale of 0-10.

The staff will complete the survey again on the conclusion of the 32nd day, but before the “reveal” by middle management. It is hypothesized that the staff will rank the perceived demonstrations of compassion, empathy, and kindness by middle management as higher overall after the completion of the 32 days of favors.

Frequent reflections from the managers about the experience and the effect of participating in the favor process will be collected and received by one member of HR to be compiled into a comprehensive document. Management will share the contents among each other throughout the “32 Favors” project, facilitating greater collaboration and engagement within their group.

Upon completion of the 32 days of “favors,” management will share the document with their staff during the “reveal.” Written reflections or short videos are the preferred forms of content. The ideal platform for the content distribution would be interactive, social platforms via the current company Intranet.

Access to view the material should be controlled in a manner that only grants viewing and comments to project participants. Managers are welcome to keep additional, personal journals, but should keep in mind the information shared with HR will become public at the end of the project.

Once their staff receives access to the management’s daily reflections, the staff will be encouraged to draft their own reflections on being the favor recipients. The same member of HR will add these to the existing comprehensive document to be shared with management the following week.

Ideally, the collective result of undertaking the “32 Favors” project will be increased synergy and enhanced perceptions of compassion, empathy and kindness between management and their staff. Just as James Strock mentions in his bestseller, Serve To Lead, “Doing the right thing – by your customers, your employees, and other stakeholders – is becoming a competitive advantage as we move from a ‘transaction-based world’ to a ‘relationship-based world.”

The caliber of our interpersonal relationships in the workplace helps predict how successful a company will be in the new global economy. “32 Favors” is a catalyst for enhanced positive group dynamics. Companies might decide to repeat the project on an annual basis with new participants or to choose to focus on a single “favor” as their flagship kindness initiative. Employees may also opt to initiate the “32 Favors” concept among each other or to share the project with their friends and families.

Bottom line: We always have the time to be kind.

What is the “favor” (act of leadership) you’d most like to give as a manager or to receive as an employee?

The 32 Favors project can be used as a start of a conscious leadership development plan that builds trust and enhances our relationships. Because it is necessary that our actions are consistent over time, a one-time kind act can potentially send mixed messages and have a negative effect on trust when we go back to “business as usual.” This is why it’s important to give serious consideration about how to proceed with this project to create a sustainable leadership practice.

An earlier version of this post first appeared in “Realizing Leadership” and via LinkedIn

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Where Do You Go Now?

Each of you has the potential to tune into the frequency of your own inner voice and then to choose to listen. The “you” that I mention throughout this piece is universal, though the interpretation and plan of action that concludes this post is specific to me and to my life’s path. However, all of us may come to know who we are by accessing our inner Light.

After awakening this morning in the throes of fear, I remembered to not forget to breathe. With each inhale, calmness entered and with each exhale, anxiety departed. Closing my eyes, I uttered a tacit prayer of surrender.

Upon opening my eyes, I sat at my laptop and wrote these words. Without expectation or censor, I share them with you now.

Below is the beginning of my journey to unlock my soul’s purpose and power.

It is my hope that sharing this experience with you sparks hope within your heart and mind that all of our answers to our most profound questions always arrive right on time.

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down the rabbit hole

“Where do you go now?”

This is your question and such will you have your answer.

You go back to the beginning. You go back to the point you chose fear. You go back to the point you believed the lie. You go back to the point you chose to forget what you really are and ever can only be: Light.

You do not need to defend what you are or how you reflect it.

Others will marvel at how you carry it, but might not recognize that it is a shared thing. You will stare directly into it’s rays and yet not believe it you who is the source of its power.

How can you not remember this is who you are in truth?

No matter what guise you try and accomplish here, it has no effect on you. No one can give you what you have already. By sharing something with another it does not mean you are robbed of its presence in your own being. You simply share a splice of it.

It’s as if you made a single cut into a lasso and extended the length of the-now-straight rope…you still hold the one end in your hand and the ends connected together still form the original loop. It only appears as though the circle disappeared.

Since you have asked for help, it shall be given. You know exactly what to do. You do not need to wonder. You are only here to reflect light. No more and no less needs to be done.

Indeed, it is true that you get to choose “how” you do so, but you cannot choose “if” you do so. Others see in you the chance to see their self as they really are within the Universe. That is the gift that you offer.

You are terrified by your power and strength. You worry that it will be seen as a threat and that others will punish you for having something that they believe they do not.

However, it is not your responsibility to prove to them that you are not a threat. Your only responsibility is to demonstrate that you are the same. No theft occurred: The Light belongs to each and every one of you already.

You just chose to see the Light as not being lost from you. Your innocence that others see and try to cloak in darkness is not yours to ever lose. It is firmly intact just as you are in the loving embrace of God.

There is nothing you can do to hide your true self from others. They see it amongst the shifting shadows. It shines brightly and beckons them to return “Home” and to awaken from the nightmare.

You chose to be a reminder. Now, you need to remember the reason for your choice was not for others but for yourself.

It as though you tied a string around your wrist as a reminder to gently wake-up from your illusions. There are others here who made similar choices. They recognize that decision quietly in you and you in them.

To many, you just seem a little out of place and hard to understand, but for some reason greatly attractive to them as well. Do not be afraid of their stares and eyes. They cannot consume you, but you need to recognize genuine hunger for remembering Light versus the false belief that they could ever take Light from you.

For the latter type, you need not feel compelled to help them remember because their intentions towards you are not pure. Your greatest power over them is to grant them no access to the belief that they could ever have effect on adulterating your essence.

It is your responsibility to not let them add to their own guilt. You must draw a line around you that connects with both ends and forms a circle. Only light abides in this circle; darkness cannot pass nor enter. It is impenetrable to darkness, but you must chose to make it and others will sense its presence and bid you no harm.

You are not being unkind to create this barrier; you are demonstrating to them that only light may come towards you, since that is all you may ever extend. If that is the only possibility for you, then it must be possible for them as well.

It is their choice when they want to remember, but never if they will. Your circle shields you from harm from those who chose to forget their Light. But, you must remember how to make the round shape.

You made it long ago beyond time and space but forgot to see the two ends connected and therefore allowed a sliver of darkness to creep inside. Silly child, you forgot to gently remind yourself that you merely forgot what is true: Light can never know an end; it merely exists and extends and can never be overtaken.

Now that you remember all that you chose, will you know what to do for the next.

You need to stop trying to protect yourself from a non-existent threat. Surround yourself with likeminded others. Travel and journey across the land and through the skies.

It is what you chose to do in a dream you dreamt long ago.

Now, go and start. Teach yourself this lesson in choice and decide to remember every time you cross paths with another. Look up, be tall and shine kindness gently. If you make a space for others to come and see the Light, then they will find you.

You are a teacher. Your students are waiting patiently for your class to begin. But you must first remember the curriculum already exists and needs no creation, only sharing.

Go and build your circle and your center in the place best suited for you to remember Light and teach the healing you have been denying to yourself. Do what you know already to do.

You need learn nothing more here from here. You are ready to remember and choose not to forget that it was your choice all along.

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And so, it is. Today begins the first words of the story I’ve shied away from sharing. I shall call my first book, “The Wonderland Paradox.™” Let’s begin our journey together down the “rabbit hole” of consciousness and into the epiphany and awareness of the value of kindness as a universal currency.

Stay tuned, kind reader… “Twas brillig…”


KQ: Why Effective Leadership = A High “Kindibility” Quotient

Tape Measure Heart

Quick, what five adjectives come to mind when you hear the term “effective leadership?” Now, pause for a moment and attempt to draw a relationship between each of the words you chose. For the sake of the remainder of our time together today, kind reader, let’s say that every item on your list has a positive connotation.

Yes, you read correct, a “positive” connotation. The reason for the association is because we naturally assume “effective leadership” leads to a beneficial effect. If this is true, then why are we so often hesitant to implement approaches to leadership that originate from the heart?

Can it not be said that the underlying source of any new direction is also reflected in the tone of the outcome? In other words, in order to have a “positive” impact as a leader, don’t we need our intentions and mindset to source from a place of kindness?

No one is excluded from the capacity to cultivate leadership from the seeds sown by the possibilities of kindness. That is to say, we are all able to be kind and to maximize our “kindibility” in every aspect of our life. “Kindibility” is the product of integrating the possibilities of kindness with emotional intelligence, mindfulness and positive psychology.

Leadership from a mindset of high “kindibility” aims to create the space to solve problems and fulfill needs by ensuring the best possible outcome unfolds that is bigger than the individual leader’s ego. It is surrendering a personal agenda in favor of a collective creation of creative legacy.

Drawing upon the proven measure of emotional intelligence, Emotional Quotient (EQ,), “kindibility” seeks to extend its reach beyond the workplace and into personal relationships. A high “kindibility quotient” (KQ) equates with a great propensity to base decisions and perceptions upon creating conditions to manifest the possibilities of kindness, emotional intelligence, mindfulness and positive psychology in action.

Whether you are the “leader” of a multi-billion-dollar corporation or the “head” of your children’s carpool, the possibility to practice “kindibility” always exists.

Being kind does not mean being a pushover or a doormat. It merely means checking your own ego at the door and being willing to let go of any investment you have in a specific outcome unfolding.

For instance, management at the workplace need not fear appearing “soft” by tapping into the infinite well of “kindibility.”

True strength is not being forceful in order to make others do your bidding; real power emanates from creating the conditions for others, including yourself, to choose the best response to each situation.

By no means am I saying that you cannot have a preference for an outcome, just do not be invested in only a specific result occurring. If we as leaders pre-judge the end to any event, we might miss the “holy-grail” catalyst for change that our preconceptions blinded us from discovering.

We are on the verge of a new consciousness regarding the concept of leadership. Gone are the days of “command and control.” Today is the dawn of the first steps in the pivot towards leading from “kindibility.”

Could you imagine a world, a workplace or a relationship where the heart and mind coexisted peacefully as “decision makers?” This “utopia” is the reality of high KQ leadership.

What can you do each day to increase your KQ as a leader?

Let’s use today as the catalyst to begin the lifelong journey of maximizing our KQ and leave a legacy of leadership by “kindibility.” I’d love to hear from you.

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A similar version to this post was originally published via LinkedIn


How I Discovered The “Secret” Formula To Inner Peace In 96 Hours

Possibility

Have you ever felt as though you are passively watching your life rather than participating in it? Have you caught yourself looking for the “hidden cameras” of what must be the hit, new reality TV sensation and not your actual “real” experience?

If your neck is now slightly sore from unconsciously nodding to these two queries, rest assured kind reader: You are not alone.

On this day of remembrance for an integral “influencer” who encouraged all of us to “dream” about the possibility of peace, I hope this post will inspire you to have faith that a peaceful possibility to any situation in your life is just around the corner.

The Portability Of Inner Peace

Not so long ago, in only 96 hours, time “passing” took on a new definition. Some moments it appeared to lag with agonizing cruelty and other instants fleeted far more quickly than my preference. The only constancy: I had no control.

What made these 96 hours significant you might ask? Well, it was within these hours, four shy of 100, that I realized the secret to experiencing inner peace. It is simpler than you might think and more challenging to apply than you could possibly fathom.

Is your curiosity piqued? I know mine is… and I am the author of this cryptic cobweb of words. All kidding aside though, let’s delve deeper into the concept of inner peace.

Since the beginning of recorded oral stories and storytelling, humans sought to comprehend the enigmatic state of “inner peace.” All types of spiritual thought leaders espoused various paths to find it. The irony is that we only must “find” something if we “lost” it in the first place.

Furthermore, the only way to loose something is if we already have it. Therefore we’ve already experienced “being” with it as long as we conclude that we are now seeking to “find” it. Do you follow that logic, kind reader?

It is imperative to suspend any disbelief you might possess for just a few more moments in order to fully understand those clarifying 96 hours that I mentioned earlier. Are you with me? Great, then take a deep, gentle breath and let’s continue.

The first few of the 96 hours began with pain. The word has so many different definitions. For the sake of this article, we will agree that “pain” equates with perceived suffering.

I chose the term “perceived” because of the subjective nature of all pain. What is “excruciating” for me might or might not be true for you. It is all a matter of perspective that determines our perception.

Now that we are on the same page as to what pain entails, let’s revisit those first few hours.

Pulsing without respite, my stomach twisted and gurgled in dread of the sight my eyes encountered. Time slowed even though I silently beseeched it to pass: Before me sat the slumped spirit of my formerly nearly unwaveringly steady mentor. Fear crept over her pained face as she caught whiff of my apparent apprehension.

How could this be? When did this start? Why is this happening?

These three questions flooded my inner thoughts with relentless rapidity. I felt as though the floor underneath my feet opened and that I would surely tumble into the baneful bowels of the earth below. Nothing could undo what I had witnessed; there was no “reset” button to take back what my ears had heard.

There was no denying it: my mentor’s seemingly sudden spiral into the abyss known as “age-related adjustment issues” had begun.

The only question I could muster to my shaken self, “Now what?”

In a single instant, time went from lightening fast to molasses slow. It seemed to oscillate between these two states without rhyme or reason. Over the course of the next 72 hours, the extent and severity of my mentor’s condition revealed itself.

One moment she would be present, thoughtful and calm. The next, she could fly into a rage over a seemingly insignificant “trigger.” She consumed vast amounts of sugary foods and snacks without restraint or awareness.

The rapid cycling of moods and emotions left her ravaged with regret that quickly gave way to massive moments of torrents of tantrums and rants. She sheepishly shared the psychic pain that plagued her mind. Her head ached and she desperately dug through every nook and cranny of her life for any remedy or relief.

Perching precariously on the edge of a “stability” ball that I convinced my mentor and her husband to purchase in that past year for core strengthening, a perfect picture and vision of “peace” emerged within my mind. Shaking my head to clear this utopian fantasy from my consciousness, attempting to re-focus on the presenting problem, a keen awareness effortlessly emerged: It is within chaos that the true quiet exists.

Peace occurs when we choose to “resist not” and “cling not” to what is happening in our lives. It only is present when we let go of what “should” be and instead fully embrace what “is.”

When we let go of the past and cease dreading the future, we access the present moment. We learn to pass through time rather than denying its existence.

If I desired to help my mentor, I needed to forget “who” she was for me in the past and to let go of who I feared she would become in the future.

To fully be of the highest service to my love for her, I needed to be with her as she is in this moment and only this moment.

Everything had to transpire exactly as it did, when it did. There are no “accidents” when it comes to joining with another out of love rather than fear.

Recalling all of my past studies in emotional intelligence, mindfulness and conflict resolution, allowed me to kindly participate without an investment in a specific outcome unfolding. Above everything, I had one overall goal: Empowering my mentor to thrive at her highest possible level.

In 96 hours my mindset went from fear to faith. Of course it flip-flopped several times back and forth between the two states of being, but in the end, I chose to remember the ever-presence of peace.

What is the seemingly “secret” formula to inner peace? Well kind readers, it all comes down to the following: Choose to “resist not” and “cling not” to the passage of time.

Instead, walk gently and “go kindly” through time with the faith that you can be peaceful in any instant that you choose to be fully in the present.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr kindly urged us: “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

How would you define your personal formula to “inner peace?” Was there a defining moment for you to devise this formula or was it a series of events?

Let’s use 2015 as the catalyst to begin the lifelong journey of desiring to be present and to mirror Dr. King and leave a legacy of kindness. I’d love to hear from you.

A similar post was originally published via LinkedIn


The #1 Reason Why You Should Approach Relationships Without “History”

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Why does it require someone lying on his or her “deathbed” in order for us to be willing to forgive, apologize or say, “I love you?” Can you imagine what your overall life and relationships would be like if you interacted with everyone as though it was the last encounter between you and them? Does the thought of putting this idea into practice sound a bit overwhelming?

Well, fear not, kind readers, allow me to share what happened when I approached each relationship from the present moment for 24 hours.

For an entire day I pledged to maintain a present moment focus with all of my relationships. As I formulated this plan after posting an article on New Year’s Eve, I meditated and visualized my heart opening. I made sure to add the caveat to my intention: “…and to forgive myself gently if I forget to stay present with any relationship.” After all, none of us is perfect.

New Year. New day. It was the first day of the first month of 2015.

Instead of a traditional “resolution” to get better in some area of my life that I lacked proficiency, I chose to explore deeper something that I already purposefully practiced: Being kind. How does one expand skills related to kindness you might wonder? It turns out that the answer is yet again as I’ve mentioned in past posts: Simple but not easy.

Isn’t it perfectly peculiar that no matter what aspect of kindness we dissect, the approach to practicing it is the same? It always boils down to relinquishing complexity.

What I mean by “complexity” is any thought you choose that does not require you to first let go of any investment in a specific outcome unfolding.

Sauntering out of bed as the first rays of sunlight pierced the bedroom curtains on New Year’s Day, I hazily recalled my mindful choice the night prior. The first test for my “resolution” was greeting my father, whose house I was staying at for the holidays.

Seeing my Dad working diligently, seemingly unaware of my presence in the room, even though it was barely morning, I realized the temptation to stray from the “now” and wander into the past or future.

There were many days of my childhood where I walked into a similar scene: my father working with laser focus, barely looking up from his tasks to see me standing next to him.

Rather than bringing that past experience of feeling dismissed into my present, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and let go of needing to feel distant from my Dad. Instead, I looked upon him with kindness. Smiling warmly, I threw my arms around him and wished him “Happy New Year!” Sensing my genuine desire to connect, my Dad softened his attention and returned the embrace, grinning the whole time.

The slight pivot of choosing a mindset of kindness was the catalyst to a fantastic day with my family. Each time I was aware of feeling tempted to step back into the “past” or “forward” into the future emotionally, I stayed rooted physically and psychologically into the present moment.

Whether it was attending a family brunch, meeting new people at a neighbor’s New Year’s Day party, or just passing someone on the street, I approached each interaction with kindness and did not attempt to manage the interpersonal exchange to ensure a specific outcome unfolding.

The biggest take-away for me: How much happier and at ease I felt.

Seeing through the eyes of kindness prompted kindness to become my default more times than not. Each time I chose to be kind and to therefore be present, I felt less tension and urgency to control how things transpired.

The beauty of this approach is that you can universally apply it. You can test it out at the workplace, in your personal life and of course, with yourself.

Kindness is meeting someone where he or she is at in the present moment and that definitely includes extending that same grace to your inner self.

Of course there were instants of brief mindlessness during my 24-hour trial. For example, I did falter once. I took offense to someone absconding the last frosted holiday cookie from the brunch spread, even though she had already indulged in a plateful, but my desire to feel slighted did not last long and I forgave myself for the slip.

As you’ll recall from the beginning of this post, none of us is perfect and that definitely applies to being mindful about being mindfully kind.

The overall experience and effects from a single day compelled me to continue the practice each day after. Some days are tougher than others: The Covered California hotline, COSTCO, or “perfectionist” family members all posed colorful challenges. However, as long as I remembered to gently forgive myself when I strayed from the present moment, I usually returned to viewing life through my filter of kindness rather quickly.

In 2015, let’s all resolve to do our best to become more aware of opportunities to practice kindness and to forgive ourselves when we forget. Your relationships will define your legacy. What better one could there be than one forged upon being kind?

Will you join me in 2015 and do your best to stay present and to pivot towards a mindset of kindness with all of your relationships? Are you willing to begin today?

Let’s use 2015 as the catalyst to join with me on the lifelong journey and desire to leave a legacy of kindness. I’d love to hear from you.

This article was originally posted via LinkedIn