Well, let’s start with this past week’s reflections, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Alright, so this past week, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon inspiration. What is inspiration, where does it come from, how can we get more of it, and what do we do if we run out of it. Very important questions. And?
Well, this week I’ve also been reflecting upon the creation of a new series. A series that can encompass a multitude of topics, and, yep, this is it, and inspiration will be the first topic.
Some of these developmental discussions will be longer, and some will be shorter. It will depend.
Alright, for this entry, let’s tackle the first question on inspiration. Ready? Good. Let’s go.
Where Does Inspiration Come From?
I really do love this topic, as it seems so simple, right? Inspiration, well, it’s all around us. Some people say they find nature inspirational, or other people in their lives, such as their friends and family, or coworkers. And, that is beautiful. Truely. Yet, there is something missing here. Do you know what it is? Hm.
It is the viewpoint. Meaning?
That inspiration does not live outside of you. Nope. It lives inside of you. We look outward and place inspiration onto other things and people, yet that inspiration comes from within. Always has come from within, and always will come from within.
Why does this matter to your development? Good question. Here is one, of many, reasons why.
When we know inspiration comes from within, we stop looking outside of ourselves for our own inspiration. Being aware of the source of our inspiration is important to our development, because when we fully realize that our inspiration comes from within, we are not bound to the changing tides of people and things. Simple. And?
Well, we know that change is inevitable. It is part of life. Yep. And, when we get clear on the fact that inspiration does not live in the changing world, that, in fact, it can be developed, and maintained, regardless of external circumstances, we become more powerful. Really.
Does that mean that we don’t ever feel down, or stressed, or sad? No, it does not. We are meant to feel all of our emotions; to feel them, know them, and learn how to talk about them.
And, yet, we can still find our inspiration even during the most stressful times. Why? Because even though we may consider a situation stressful, we know that our inspiration is always there. Waiting for us.
Alright, so what can we do to connect, or reconnect, to our own inspiration? I think there is one thing we can all do that will assist in making our connection, or reconnection, to our inspiration stronger. What’s that?
Make time for yourself. A must.
When we create time for ourselves, to be with ourselves, just for ourselves, we get to know ourselves better. And, the more we know ourselves, the more clear on our own inspiration we become. Really.
Next time, then, when things are really hectic, and you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Stop doing what you are doing, and go for a walk, sit down under a tree and look around, or look up at the beautiful stars in the sky. Stop and just be.
For it is in this space, where your inspiration will find you.
I am always thinking about, learning about, and practicing leadership. Really. Always. It is such an important concept and practice. Yes, professionally, and even more importantly, for me, in every aspect of my life.
Well, that’s what we’ll look at in this new series. There are so many questions to look at and discuss when it comes to leadership. Seriously. So many. Here are just a couple.
Why is leadership such an important concept?
Why is it so important to practice?
Why is it important to understand?
What are the types of leadership?
Why are there so many types?
What’s the right type for me?
How do I become a leader?
And? Oh, there are so many more.
Alright, in this first article, we are going to unpack leadership as a concept and practice. Ready? Great. Let’s get started by defining leadership. Yep. here we go.
Alright, we now have an additional concept in this new definition. Leadership in this definition is also associated with a particular set of characteristics. Yet, which ones? Hm. Confusing.
Well, let’s assuage some of our confusion by unpacking these definitions, shall we? Good. Here we go.
Leadership as Leading People
Right, so leading people. Yes, yes, that is a part of leadership. Or, as I usually like to write, one piece of a whole. The whole you ask? Good question.
The whole of leadership as a principle and practice is a system. And, like all systems, it starts with each of us. The way we think and feel about leadership; our hopes, dreams, goals, and objectives. Yep, all of them.
In fact, all leadership starts with leading oneself. What does that mean?
It means that the way we treat ourselves, the principles and values we believe in, and the way we practice those principles and values are exactly how we lead.
Some people think that you can lead your life at home one way, and then lead your life at work in another way. Not so. Believe me, I’ve tried it. It just doesn’t work.
How you lead at home is the same as the way you lead at work. They are one.
Some of you right now might be thinking, as I once did, that’s not true; I have a set of values at home and a different set of values at work.
However, I am inviting you to consider that, in fact, believing that we hold different values at home than we hold at work is mere confusion. And?
That confusion will seep out into all that we do.
We can call that discord. And, that discord will confuse you, yes, and everyone else around you. Really. And, with confusion comes tension, disagreement, and disengagement.
Well, getting clear on your principles and values is a start. As is understanding why you treat yourself as you do; meaning, creating an awareness of yourself for yourself. Important. Then?
Let go of the principles and values that no longer serve you, and create new ones. We are creative beings first, and leaders second. All of us. Create symmetry between the self you are at home and the self you are at work.
You are one person after all. Create the leader you know yourself to be. One step at a time. Then?
Creating leadership symmetry
What are your hopes, dreams, and aspirations?
What do you value and why?
Why are you the person you are today?
Why do you do what you do?
Create symmetry between your personal life and your professional life. As was aforementioned, they are one and the same anyway. Time to connect the two. There is tremendous power in this conceptual and practical example. And, then?
Well, with symmetry and practice, you will lead people. And, you will lead them from a space that is centered and clear on what you intend to create.
Leadership as a Position
Leadership is not a position. Director, supervisor, and manager are a position, or even better yet, are a title.
Leadership is a philosophy and a practical way you live your life. Every aspect of your life in fact. If you think about leadership as a position, then?
You will create separateness between leadership and other aspects of your life. And, as we’ve just discussed, that leads to confusion and disengagement. You from yourself, and your team from you.
It is inevitable. People know when we are genuine and authentic. They can feel it, they can see it, and they can hear it. Simple.
One of the reasons people struggle in leadership is they are not clear on who they are as a human being. Listen, it’s not a demerit. I once had this same issue, and?
It’s hard. Very hard.
When you are not clear on who you are, how can you be clear on who your team is? You cannot. It’s just not possible. What is possible?
Get clear on you
Why are you a leader?
What do you value in leadership?
What types of leadership do you associate yourself with?
What kinds of impact do you want to make in this world?
What change do you want to create?
I could go on. Well, and we will, in future posts. For now, know that there are two things at this stage that are critical.
Understanding your leadership style.
And, we will cover both of these topics in the next two articles. Now, let’s take a look at leadership as characteristics.
Leadership as Characteristics
There are many places to look for and find lists, articles, even whole books on leadership characteristics. And?
Well, it is important to understand these characteristics, yet it is just as important to understand that these characteristics are a product of what leaders believe and think, and how they act.
Meaning, that understanding characteristics are only as good as actually developing a relationship with yourself, and understanding how that relationship will translate into your personal leadership style.
Here are a few leadership characteristics I think are pretty important.
Know there are many more. These are the ones I’m most present to now, and the ones that I’m always present to actually.
Leadership as Life
I prefer to think about and practice leadership as another part of my life. A very important part of my life. Really.
If we think about leadership in regard to taking care of and leading ourselves through life, and then expand that to include the other people in our lives, it’s very important.
Let’s close this first installment with a few quotes, shall we? Good. Here we go.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Inspiration is an important part of leadership. And? Well, the leader must first find their inspiration, as we’ve discussed, and, then? It will go out to everyone else. Fun.
Ah, yes, collaboration is such an important leadership characteristic. Difficult, and yet so much fun and so worth the process.
I am fond of saying to the team I work on something like, you know we chose to institute the collaborative model we use today. It’s not the easiest way to do things, yet we believe it is the best way.
Lao Tzu makes a lovely point here about influence. When a team is rallied around a common purpose or goal, it is infectious, and it is as if the leader simply disappears. In fact, each person on the team, in their own way, becomes a leader. Beautiful.
Alright, we’ve made it to the conclusion of the first entry into this new series on leadership. And, I am excited about continuing it with you.
In the next installment, we will take a look at leadership from the perspective of the self. It is, as we’ve discussed, where everything starts.
And, it is exactly where we will start again next time.
I’ll have more to say about the book at a later date. For now, insights abound inside of the discussion created by the narrator, and Ramana. It is beautiful.
Well, in no way could I have foretold earlier this year, that I would have 200+ of you with me on this wonderful writing journey. And, you know, it’s more than that.
More than writing that is. Much more. How? Yep. Here we go.
The experience I’ve had this year has been unlike any I’ve had before. Why? Well, yes, part of it is the writing. Being back at my computer writing from both my head and heart is, for sure, a wonderful experience.
And, yet, you know what I’ve enjoyed most? Connecting and interacting with each of you. Really. I’ve had such a wonderful time reading all of your work. Such an inspiration. All of you.
From the exposes on spirituality, leadership and self-development, to the wonderful poems, fictions, artwork, pictures, challenges, recipes, and book reviews. All of it. Every single ounce of it. I love it all.
Know this. Ready? Good.
You are very much appreciated. Each of you. For being with me on this journey. From my heart to each of yours, thank you; and, thank you for allowing me to read about you and your life. A wonder.
I look forward to continuing this journey with each of you. As a matter of fact, it’s just about time to go check out what all of you have been up to. Fun.
Right, well that’s about it for this entry. Well, just a minute, one more thing, okay. Ready? Here we go.
Remember, when things get tough, and goodness knows we’ve had a lot of that this year, keep breathing, keep doing, and keep moving yourself forward.
You are an inspiration. You are beautiful. You are loved.
Anyone can create a why, right? You get a prompt, why do you do what you do? You answer. Yet, that’s not quite it. If your why is disconnected from your authentic-self, people will not be attracted to it; why?
Because they will know/feel that you are being inauthentic.
It is, then, super important when creating our whys to be the authentic human being you know yourself to be. Let go of preconceived notions of who you think other people believe you are, and write your why from the space of who you know yourself to be. Important.
See, creating a why, or a purpose statement, is not about pleasing someone else, it’s about you. About the person you are today, the person you are creating yourself to be tomorrow.
When you get clear on your purpose, and convey your why from a place of authenticity, people will be attracted to it. They will see themselves in you. And, when someone shares their why with you, you’ll know if they’re being authentic, and, if they are, you will probably be attracted to them.
You. Yes, you dear blogger.
I’ve been following more and more sites the past couple of weeks, and have been truly inspired by all that I’ve read. From food recipes to articles on grief and trauma.
In the event someone hasn’t told you recently, you are making a difference in the world. Each one of you.
Human connection is such a wonderful experience, and to connect with each of you, though distanced we are, is such a joy, and honor.
My cousin literally just sent me a new message via LinkedIn, and shared with me a beautiful story about the Good Night Lights. Have you ever heard of this? I hadn’t. Take a look. Beautiful, and moving.
I went to the site and was moved to tears. Why? Well, it is, yes, a beautiful story. And, then, it got me thinking about each of you, and the work you continue to do on your individual websites.
See, it isn’t about moving an entire population of people, or providing them access to you and your ideas, all at the same time. It’s about touching one person at a time.
One person, then becomes two people, which eventually becomes thousands, as many of you can attest to; and, thousands can become millions.
You are an inspiration, and I thank you for the opportunity to know you in the way I do today.
Here are three quotes on authenticity that I love.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown
Alright, so I’m driving home from the store about an hour ago, and it occurs to me that music, like many things in life, is a paradox. Well, that is, the music that one likes and listens to may be seen as a paradox. Do you know what I mean? No. Hm. Okay, let me try it this way.
What I actually mean is that human beings are paradoxical; and, that the things we think, feel, and do can be seen as paradoxes, which includes the music we like, and the music we listen to.
Let me show you.
Here is a band I’ve loved all of my life. As I’ve written about before, I was scheduled to see them play the month that my dad passed away unexpectedly. A difficult time.
Well, I recreated that possibility about 6 months later, so got to see them play in Santa Ana, California last fall. I love all of their albums, and songs, yet this one is more present for me today.
Ah, yep, Bad Religion. I hadn’t seen them in, oh, should I say? Alright. It had been 20 years. That is a story for another day.
Anyway, as much as I love Bad Religion, I also love this.
Mm. Billie Holiday. Love that. Beautiful. And, let’s not forget about this.
Oh, and then this.
Alright, alright, though there is so much more to add, I’ll stop now. 🙂
What I am writing about to you today, is to listen to what you love. Especially when it seems like a paradox. It’s for you, no one else.
Likewise, do what you love to do, be who you want to be, and cherish all the apparent paradoxes that you know and feel about yourself. They are a part of you. And, guess what?
They aren’t really paradoxes. Not really. Because they are a part of you, those things that you love, that inspire you, that move you, that touch you, they are one. They are you.
And, when you are inspired, everyone around you will also be inspired. It works like that, and is fun like that.
What are some of the apparent paradoxes that make you the human being you are today?
Do you ever feel stuck? Like you are doing the same thing every day, getting the same result, and wondering why this is so? Yep. Happens to all of us at some point in our lives. In fact, it is possible that it happens often.
On any given week, I would say that I get stuck multiple times. True. Really. I have no issue owning my stuckness, as it is inside of being stuck that you learn to become unstuck. How?
Well, let’s take a look at 4 things to notice and 4 ways you can, right now, today, if you choose, move from stuck to unstuck.
1. Notice Frustration and Worry
When we are stuck, emotions like frustration and worry arise more often. Why? Because internally we know that the actions we are taking are not working. They are, rather, a product of being in a rut. Or, being stuck.
Yes. Why? Because it is an impossibility for anyone to know everything there is to know on any subject or topic. Really. Impossible.
1.What can you do if you are thinking, feeling, and acting this way?
Once you notice your frustration and worry, stop what you are doing. Really. Stop. Take a break, and think about the thoughts you are having. Are you considering all options? Or, are you merely reacting to the situation at hand? Important distinction.
Then, ask someone their opinion. Seriously. Often, when I am stuck, it is someone else that shows me another way forward. The coolest part about this? That you get unstuck and learn something new at the same time. Pretty cool.
2. Notice your own fear, especially of the unknown
Yet, like anything we do, it gets easier the more we practice getting out of our own way. When you experience fear about an action you are thinking about taking, more than likely it is a product of an innate need to look good or be right. Yep.
We are so concerned that we might look silly or foolish, we don’t take action, or we take action within a limited framework. Which, when you really think about it, is kinda silly and foolish.
In order to become unstuck from our fear, we must be vulnerable;and, take the action there is to take, especially when we feel nervous. When you are nervous, you are growing. Yep. At that moment, you are growing your own developmental spectrum.
2. What can you do if you are allowing fear to keep you stuck?
Take the actions anyway. Move forward. Let go of the need to look good, and be right. When we are stuck in looking good or being right, we cannot grow. There is absolutely no growth with that mindset.
A growth mindset is about being open, vulnerable, and the practical knowledge that we know way less than there is to know.
Learn to become comfortable in not knowing, and looking silly. You will find that when you take action from a standpoint of not knowing, and being okay with “looking silly” that people will actually respond to you. Why? Because they have the exact same fears. The exact same. When you get outside of your fear, you will inspire them.
3. Notice when you are avoiding situations, tasks, or contexts
Because we are actively resisting a situation, task, or context, which means in that area of our life, we are stuck. Yep. When we avoid, we don’t move forward. We standstill. Stuck.
Further, when we avoid, we can also feel off, and not so well. Frustration, worry, and anxiety can be higherbecause internally we know we are avoiding something that needs our attention. See, we can’t get out of ourselves. Even when we think we can get out of it, we can’t.
However, when we are open to our own avoidance, we can actively choose to notice it, and begin to consider how to move forward. It doesn’t mean that that area of our life will move forward all at once, or simply. Noticing our avoidance, however, does mean we are now open to creating movement.
3.What can you do when you are being avoidant?
Pay attention to those situations, tasks, and contexts that you are avoiding. When you notice them, stop yourself and ask, why. Why are you being avoidant? Get to that reason if you can.
Whether the reason is at the surface or not, begin to consider things you can do to move forward. Once you choose an action, take it. No matter how small. Take that action. It will be uncomfortable. Especially at first.
Remember though, it is inside of the continual actions we take every day that comfort will come. And, comfort in what is uncomfortable today will come. It will.
4. Notice when you are holding tight to your current reality, and begin to let go
It is the same as being stuck. When we hold tight to our current reality, we cannot let go. Impossible. We are then stuck. Essentially, holding onto our current reality is being stuck. They are synonymous. Why?
Because you cannot become unstuck from that which you are stuck to. We must learn to let go. If we do not, we end up living in a false reality where things are static and do not change. Yet, that is not the real world. The world changes with or without our consent. Just look at the current reality right now.
4.What can you do when you are holding tight to your current reality?
Practice letting go. Choose an aspect of your life that you believe you are stuck in, and begin to consider what about that current reality you can live without. And, let go.
Once you’ve let go of that aspect of your current reality, create something new to fill that reality, to move forward.
As with the other suggestions, you can focus on smaller aspects of your life where you are stuck first. Practice, practice.
When you’ve practiced letting go in smaller aspects of your life, you may be ready to try something larger. Take it one step at a time. Slowly. There is no hurry here.
Alright, there are 4 things to notice, and 4 ways to move from stuck to unstuck. Remember, being stuck is a normal part of life; and becoming unstuck is a wonderful learning experience.
Moving from stuck to unstuck is a developmental growth process. You simply need to be open to notice when you are stuck, and then to take a different action in that area of your life.
My invitation to you
Notice when you are stuck. Be at peace with it. It is okay, normal. Once noticed, create a new action in that area of your life. When you’ve created that new action, create the next one, and then the next one. And, so on. I think you will be surprised at what you get back.
Vulnerability is a wonderful gift. When we choose vulnerability over fear, we open ourselves up to learn more about ourselves and all of humanity.
For a long time I chose fear. Not so today. In the spirit of vulnerability, here is a video I created last week on the importance of being vulnerable.
I am inspired by everyone in my life, and everyone I meet. All of them. This past week, I was particularly inspired by a colleague of mine. Terri Houde is a Corporate Trainer, works on our team, and created the following video about an upcoming video series. Check out vulnerability in action. Inspiring.
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” -Helen Keller
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.” – BRENÉ BROWN
There was a time when I thought about creativity within a very limited framework. A framework that associated creativity mostly with art. However, what I know to be true today is that creativity is an unlimited framework. There are no limits.
Within this unlimited framework, here is an insight, an inspiration, and a quote.
You are it. Look for the answers you are seeking within yourself. They do not reside outside of yourself. They are within you. Have been, are, and always will be.
Create the life you want to live into. Create the future from the future. Always look within, then look forward. Make connections between that which you know to be true, and the future state you are creating.
A vision, your vision. You are the creator of that vision. Live it today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.
Visionaries don’t wait for someone to hand them a guide to life. They create it everyday. One step, once action at a time. Each day, every day.
And, guess what, you are a visionary. We all are. We just need to get out of our own way. How do you know when you are in your own way?
When you deeply want to do something, try something new – you know, that funny feeling you get in your tummy when you get excited or nervous.
Well, when we feel that, and know also that we are inhibiting our own creativity because we are concerned about what someone might think or say, we are in our own way. In that moment. And, when it passes, and we don’t act, we can also feel upset, yes, and also disempowered.
Disempowerment does not feed creating your vision, and living into it. Empowerment does. Yep. If you are feeling disempowered, don’t fear, you can also move yourself out of disempowerment and into empowerment. You can.
There is a difference for me in thinking about something and actually doing that something. I’ve been thinking about writing my whole life, and have only actually written during a very short period of it.
A couple of years ago I read the book by Stephen King, called On Writing. A great book, by the way. In that book King asks you to practice writing by imagining a situation taking place in a house, and you have to write the character, yourself I think, out of that situation. Out of the house.
I did that, and have started several other stories, including the one on this site, yet have, to date, finished none. So far.
Yes, I wrote in college, and even completed a thesis. Yet, that is not the kind of writing I’m talking about. Writing a thesis or a dissertation is about thinking. I’m talking about the kind of writing that comes from the heart.
The kind of writing that moves, touches, and inspires people. Maybe even puts people into action in their life.
Now, I am not insinuating that the book I am now working on will do that. Yet, in the book I am now working on I get to write from both the head and the heart, which is also distinct.
The difference, for me at least, is that I get to let go of the way I normally think, and get in touch with a totally different aspect of myself. Maybe this is a normal experience for those that write often. I would not know. It is, however, an experience that I like quite a bit.
As for writing, I don’t think I like it all that much. Especially the editing process. Difficult. Yet, there is a very real release in writing, which is quite intoxicating. And, it does provide that outlet for the release of ideas, which I do have many.
For me the distinction on writing from the head and the heart is where you create from – are you creating from that thinking part of yourself, where you are analyzing every aspect of the paper or book to ensure it is reliable and valid.
Or, are you writing to write. Writing from the heart, which only really requires that you can stick with it until you have all of the ideas out of you.
Both forms of writing serve a purpose. Both are needed. For me, I have just realized in the last couple of years, that while I do enjoy reading both kinds of books, from the head and the heart,