Aug 102014
 
Pursuit, Aiming, & Targeting

From the sharp mind of one Viktor Frankl comes this powerful message; it will transcend the ages, as most wisdom and principle based thinking does.

Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.  Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run — in the long run, I say! — success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

Wow.

How would you unpack this quote?   As always on this blog, insight, feedback, and comments are most welcome.

Apply what you read, learn, or hear.

And watch the magic of transformation from Levels 2 & 3 to Level 4 happen!

Sep 082013
 
Education v. Training -- many differences

As it becomes clearer & clearer how much of a difference there is between schooling and education, this particular page and a half in the most recent book that I’m reading (‘On Becoming a Leader’) really stood out to me, and will form the core of this evening’s post.

This conclusion is nothing original, as Twain, Einstein, and others have spoken of it in past  ages, and in the present day, more are making the seminal choice to focus more on education in lieu of schooling. This is a crucial choice, in my view, as what has been described so often as a ‘recession’ (in some cases with the word ‘Great’ added to amplify) wasn’t one — the past 4-6 years have been another of several waves that have been washing away the remnants of the agricultural, industrial, and corporate industrial ages, which is being replaced by the digital/internet/tribal/information age.

Therefore, this is a paradigm change, a ‘tectonic plate’ shift which is completely taking our economy in directions which, if you’re not prepared for them, will make life more challenging. The challenge, though, can be overcome and mastered by focusing on changing the information and the thinking on the front edges; once you work on your honeability, hunger, and humility, you are well on your way to flipping the switch from being reactive to this shift to being proactive.

Mr. Bennis did a terrific job with laying out the differences between education and what he  refers to as training, and which I’d contend is equivalent to schooling, as it is not a revelation that the past 3 eras of schooling tends to be heavily focused on career/vocation/job training in lieu of education. With all credit to him (see pages 42-43), here’s his table with my comments added in >

 

Education

Inductive, tentative, dynamic, understanding, ideas, broad, deep, experiential, active, questions, process, strategy, alternatives, exploration, discovery, active, initiative, whole brain, life, long-term, change, content, flexible, risk, synthesis, open, & imagination.

Training ( *what I’ve made = to schooling as a synonym for this post )

Deductive, firm, static, memorizing, facts, narrow, surface, rote, passive, answers, content, tactics, goal, prediction, dogma, reactive, direction, left brain, job, short-term, stability, form, rigid, rules, thesis, closed, common sense.

 

Bennis caps off his table with these words: “If the list [under education] seems strange to you, it’s because that isn’t the way we are usually taught. Our educational system is really better at training than educating. And that’s unfortunate.”

How true this is. I’d only swap out the word ‘educational’ for ‘schooling’. I, like many, many others have come to realize this when reflecting back, especially after beginning self-directed/liber education.  There’s a reason why past generations were more prepared for the previous shifts that took hold in America and elsewhere in the West:  They were well educated instead of being trained.

Another way ( see previous posts ) that this can be summed up is to look at it through the lens of the Latin language; ‘sensus solum’ would be equal to the latter, and ‘sensus plenior’ to the former. When you are focused on memorizing facts, rote learning, with rules and directions taking the place of ideas ( the “great conversation” ), learning to discover, synthesizing multiple genres at the same time, and retaining imagination and creativity to bring out inner genius, you turn out people into the world who are often unprepared for the shifts that come to the macro economy.

This is NOT an unsolvable problem. It is a challenge that I’ve embraced by walking the pathway I’ve chosen, and which I am privileged to share with others through the vehicle of being an owner with a business wrapped around Resolution 13 missions & Resolution 1 purpose.

May your days this week be filled with exploration, questions which lead you to look up answers in your library of books, and deep, metaphorical thinking which brings a hop to your step.  All the best, always!

Jun 072013
 
Mission --> Submission --> Co-Mission --> Transmission

Mission.

Comission.

Submission.

Transmission.

What do these words signify for those who are pursuing, studying, or are already (servant) leaders(hip)?  They are core themes, and are much like a step-ladder on the way up from the ground floor to being truly significant. We are well past survival ( which 85-95% of the population, regrettably is doing at most/best. ) and beyond success at this point — you, yes you, are pursuing truly making a ‘dent in the universe’, like Steve Jobs talked about before his untimely passing.

Let’s start with mission. The ground floor of a 5-10%’er, so to speak. This is deep, the petri dish where genius is born, and where potential is developed. The benefit of having your mission detected ( a term coined by Viktor Frankl, when discussing mission’s cousin, purpose ) is that you are able to lasso your true potential, bless others’ lives without expectation of return, and to truly benefit society.

Here’s a list of missions – with metaphorical thought, you may be able to come up with others beyond the below:

Feed the hungry.

Clothe the naked.

Liberate the captives.

Educate the ignorant.

Spread beauty.

Heal the sick.

Spread prosperity.

Restore families.

For me, I have two: spread(ing) prosperity & educat(ing) the ignorant. What is/are yours?

From here, we go deeper — level/stage two —  submission.  Don’t mis-interpret the definition or the context; this is a healthy and effective type – it is a mark of a truly successful person striving for significance who submits to a mentor: his/her thinking, taking direction, and realizing that there is a whole lot that you don’t know.

A great mission is worth submitting to; you are developing your genius, which is inborn within you, and oft-times lies fallow due to a lack of a vehicle, or the best quality information, to bring it to fruition.

A simple question to help shape:  Who is it for?

How about taking another step up that all-important creator/builder ladder?  Stage/Phase three is comission. Mission detected; check; submission to mentorship and more; check.

Co-mission includes two cores: omission & tribes/community.

First, face up to things, events, and persons that are blocking you from the first two phases, and stopping you from moving into a 5-10% leadershift mindset. Begin to omit these from your day to day life.

Second, you’re ready to travel the roads and carve a pathway as you polish your genius, much like a diamond. Is it not far, far better to be positively associating with those who have also detected their mission and submitted? Working together in a tribe and pulling together under the banner of something like ‘restor(ing) families’ = profound and powerful, is it not?  As a sidebar, recall that Jim Collins discussed a similar concept in ‘Good to Great‘ when he explained the ‘putting the right people on the bus’ mantra. Community is a skeleton key to so much great in our ever changing internet age!

We’ve now reached the final stage: The ladder has been scaled & you’ve learned so much on this Resolution 13-themed journey!  This is now moving into transmission. How do you take a stand between where the world is, and where you want the world to/should it be?  Ah, the power of service is so very strong!

At this point, you have turbo-driven your genius; you’ve empowered it in the direction of making a difference all the while being humble. After all, turning your mission loose on the world could lead to a big ego, and other maladies of (non) leadership without the proper grounding. Leadership can be defined in the context of this final phase as changing the world regardless of whom gets the credit.

How do you transmit the most effectively? You channel all your work, efforts, successes, strengths, challenges, fun, passion, connections/relationships, and failures/mistakes. With ”force of will“, you have charged your own motor and go out to impact the world positively. As you achieve this, please don’t forget to act like a window and hand out the credit to your community, and give the glory to God. You are just here for a whisper of time, and maximizing that time on this journey will make your life so fulfilling.

Are you willing to explore, think independent & inter-dependently, and commit to these steps?   I hope you do, and will join me. Thank you ever so much for reading!

———————-

With every fiber of my gratitude, I extend gracious appreciation, thank you’s, and applause to Mr. Oliver DeMille, whose rapier sharp intellect, humble-ness, and service before self was beyond evident in the audio talk he gave that forms the entire backbone of this post.

May 162013
 
Planting shade trees ...

Planting shade trees is a metaphor that, when drawn out, leads to a clear understanding of the value of building and creating a legacy that will far outlast you.

When you plant something that takes time to take root, you quite likely will not be able to partake in the benefits of what you’ve done; however, if you grasp the immense value of paying something of value forward, you won’t bat an eyelash, since it was the very ACT of planting the tree(s) in the first place that gave you the leadership achievement.

In a mass media/consumerist/un-dreaming culture, those that plant the shade trees are defining success not in terms of what’s in it for them, but rather, what’s in it for the next 2-3 generations. That kind of thinking used to be far more common, and it is a mission field of mine to restore it, step by step. When you have detected your purpose, and piggyback your reality onto your vision, it clears up any and all misconceptions or desires to live in the ‘now’.

A tree that protects a future generation from a dearth of wisdom, from poor information, from a lack of dreaming and goal setting, or from become a debt serf, or any of a number of other negatives, is a tree worth buying, planting, nurturing, and watching grow.

Re-defining success in one’s life may require completely rebuilding many things, however, the payoff will be a ripple effect that will not only transform you from the inside out, as it did me, but additionally, it can and will save a marriage, create principle centered servant leaders, pull some out of debt and teach them the huge difference between investment and expense, and restore and promote the eight meanings of freedom.

Have a terrific ‘thank you’ Thursday & I look forward to many stories of those who start planting!

Feb 252013
 
The Responsibility of Leadership - Illustrated

This illustration came from a talk that Mr. Bob Burg, co-author of ‘The GoGiver‘ and other books, gave a couple years ago – I recently felt compelled to transcribe it anew from an audio track recorded that evening.

There’s a lieutenant who is getting ready to camp with his troops during World War II. He is educated ahead of time by his commanding officer, who said:

 

Lieutenant, when your men have been fed, and if there is any food left, then you will eat. And, after your troops here [ in camp ] have been bedded down, if there’s a place to lie down, then you will sleep.

 

Be very prepared for leadership. It is a calling, a mission field, and far beyond what you may have been led to believe if you have been immersed in the mass media portrayals of leaders.

Yet, if you want to grow your leadership ability, even from ground zero, it is most certainly needed & you can do it. Just get the right mindset = serve 1st; always be humble; grow daily; fail often; learn from each mistake you make (PDCA); dream & visioneer constantly. All of these tend to be contrarian in our society/Western world, however, leadership requires sacrifice, which is the production of sacred things.

I wish you nothing but the best on your journey.

Aug 312012
 

Today’s blog post is the second in a monthly series that I plan to post for the rest of 2012.  I hope all the readers of this blog find as much inspiration, value, & encouragement in these as I intend there to be :)

 

August’s movie recommendation from the vault for eagles ( eagles soar = leaders ) & rascals ( those climbers who strive to be part of the 5-10% riding the success curve of LIFE ) is 2004’s re-imagining of the classic tale,  ‘King Arthur‘.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I am the fortunate & blessed owner of a business that gives me the privilege of serving others and blessings their lives by helping them grow in 8 ‘F’ categories – this review will focus on how King Arthur’s script ties into numerous of these, including Following (leadership), Faith, Friends, Fun, Family, & most especially, Freedom.

The movie begins in the mid 5th century, A.D., and swings from the Black Sea up to Hadrian’s Wall, which was built three centuries earlier, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian, to separate Romano-occupied Britain from the natives ( Picts; in the movie, known as ‘Woads’ ) who were very tribal and considered the Brits their enemy. At this historical point, during antiquity, the Roman Empire was essentially a dead letter, as swaths of what is now Italy were being over-run by barbarian invaders from southern & north-central Europe. However, in a time long before the information age’s 24x7x365 communication, up in Britain, only a small select few, inc. Bishop Germanus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germanus_of_Auxerre ) were keenly aware. In fact, it is the Bishop who informs Artorius ( at this point, he is now the commander of a group of Sarmatian knights ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarmatians ) ) that the Romans were planning to withdraw from Britain, and leave the Picts (Woads) to deal with the invading Saxons, who were coming from what is now Germany, and pillaging the countryside north of Hadrian’s Wall.

Suffice to say, the Sarmatians were not free; earlier on, it was established that when the Roman legions beat the Sarmatians on the battlefield, in order to avoid death, they (and their sons) had to serve 15 years under a Roman commander, without the ability to negotiate terms, and at threat of death far away from their homeland near the Black Sea.  Artorius, however, had been a benevolent commander who put these men ahead of himself, and had shown himself to be a character (integrity x courage) based servant leader.

Advancing the narrative forward, Artorius/Arthur had to lead his men on a final mission before they received their Roman paperwork which said they were free.  This mission required amazing levels of courage – testing everyone to their breaking point and putting them in mortal danger from both the Saxons & the Picts/Woads. During this time, it is established that there is a family based tie between one of the Picts & a woman that Artorius rescues, and the relationship with his knights is established with broad brush strokes – you really get to know what makes each of these men ‘tick.

Without spoiling the rest of the script for those readers whom might not have seen this movie and/or haven’t in a while, I will move on  🙂

So, from my perspective, what does this movie teach us about the “F’s” mentioned above?   a LOT.

1. Family

– Artorius/Arthur’s family life is shown in flashbacks & during scenes as he reflects back & looks forward to a day when he doesn’t have to spend most of his waking time fighting simply to survive to return to Rome as a conquering hero (all the while putting his knights’ lives ahead of his own.  Thick skin = soft heart. )    Family is simply the cornerstone of every age there ever has been —  from Antiquity/Iron Age, to the agricultural, industrial, corporate industrial, and presently, the information/tribal/connected age.

2. Fun

– These men certainly have their fun times!  Even in such a rough & tumble era with very little of what we all now take for granted, they have a grand time when they aren’t on the next battlefield.  Fun, when had in the right dosage, for the right reasons, is crucial as part of a personal growth journey.

3.  Faith

– Arthur is unquestionably a Christian. This is shown very early, when he says a prayer to God on behalf of his men before this final mission. You also see the contrast to Germanus, who is more ‘religious’ than a Christian, and to Arthur’s best friend, Lancelot., who has no faith – he having been apart from his family for 15 years, and not converting from being a pagan to his commander’s faith.

4. Friends

– These Sarmatian knights, with little choice but to migrate to Romano Britain and be held captive, lacking in many of the eight meanings of freedom, and being apart from their birth families and friends thousands of miles east-bound, learned, over time, to place their trust ( character x competence ) in Artorius.  This trust led to bonds of friendship being created that kept these men from turning on each other even when the pressures of losing & certain death awaited them at most any turn, esp. north of Hadrian’s Wall.

5. Following { Leadership }

– Leadership is influence ( http://www.moneymatters101.com/books/launch.asp ) and beyond …

One of the best, by far, definitions was coined by leadership experts, Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward, in their landmark book, ‘Launching a Leadership Revolution‘ :

Leadership is the influence of others in a productive, vision-driven direction and is done through the example, conviction, and character of the leader

Arthur is a true and unquestioned servant leader. He exemplifies this above definition; his life was productive — having grown to be a Roman commander through the define/learn/do process by modeling his father’s example before him, it was visionary, in that he knew how to win, how to be successful, and how to put service to others ( his knights ) ahead of his own self-serving (ego) needs. And, his character and conviction were a sterling example to his fellow Romans ( including Germanus ), his men, and numerous others – even one of the Saxons!

6. Freedom

The capstone of this review = freedom. Freedom is NEVER free. Never was this more true than in this era!  See above re: the Sarmatians, let alone the peoples who had to slave away daily just to survive behind Hadrian’s Wall, or those Romans were were over-run by the barbarian invaders to the south — although this latter group surrendered their freedom in trade for complacency, false security, comfort, and hand-outs.  ( read this classic :   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_History_of_the_Decline_and_Fall_of_the_Roman_Empire for much more )

Freedom is so well defined by Oliver DeMille. I consider him to be the most renowned expert on this “F” alive today;  his books and audio recordings, available through my business, are must reads and must listen-to’s.  He would likely concur that Arthur was a true patriot, and lover of freedom; again, without giving away too much of the plot/script, let’s say that as the movie reaches its crescendo, Arthur realizes his purpose, and puts his life on the life for his legacy and destiny to be written!

To wrap up this review, even considering the number of likely historical inaccuracies, I can unequivocally recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in personal growth/change, leadership, freedom, & success.  I find that spending time around eagles, and climbing with them is the only way to live a purpose-ful life.  I pray that you found this blog to be interesting, inspirational, and infomative!    Many regards, blessings, & well wishes on your own personal success trail!