We often think of teachers as the kind that come with bodies and are found standing at the front of college classrooms. But teachers can also take the form of written words printed on the pages of a book. Some of my most important teachers have been this kind.
Among the many books that have shaped the direction of my career, that informed and inspired me, I count the following nine books among my favorites. I also include the first book I published as among my best teachers because I learned so much from the women in it and from the process of writing and self-publishing.
Do What You Love and the Money will Follow by Marsha Sinetar. This classic career book is about finding your right livelihood; of attending to the spiritual dimension of work and to living the life you were meant to live. When I discovered this book, I was working in my first career as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor; the first reading of it was interesting to me, but it was not until a few years later that it provided the support and inspiration to make my first career change.
What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. Considered the “Bible of career books”, Bolles entered my life when I hired my first career coach to help me successfully transition from the helping professions into a corporate training role. Mike Kenny, my coach, assigned Bolles’ book as required reading and we used the “daisy petal” model in it to design the work I would do next.
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D. This bestseller affirmed for me the common sense notion that people who were good with other people stood the best chance for lasting and fulfilling success in work and in life. Having good people skills was touted during the 90’s as a key life skill and it remains true today.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The creative side of me loves this best-selling book because it speaks the language of my heart and shows me how to nurture my creative soul. Filled with practical disciplines (ex, do ‘morning pages’ each day) this book encouraged perseverance as a writer/artist and helped me value my creativity and put it to use in my everyday life.
We Are All Self Employed by Cliff Hakim. This book was ahead of its time, and helped me see that the old order of loyalty was gone, and that each person had to take full responsibility for their career. Rather than bemoan the change, this book compassionately supported it and celebrated it. I still refer to it today and assign pages in it for clients to read.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. A book for the ages, I have recommended this book to students and clients over the years for its wisdom. In it, Frankl asserts that “man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.” Even in the bleak setting of a concentration camp, and in the face of great suffering, Frankl and others managed to find meaning and purpose. (I devoted my entire blog last month to this book if you want to learn more.)
The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. This small book is a treasure; if you want to live more deeply, honestly and passionately then read this book. I have given copies of it to dear friends – it makes a wonderful gift to yourself or others.
What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D. A well written book, I love the writers’ style and the content is really engaging. Dr. Baker is director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch and has taught many people how to be happy. There are all kinds of “gold nuggets” inside such as the two issues that cause unhappiness; and how to spot happiness traps. A blend of science and spirituality, this book will teach you important things about bringing more optimism, courage, good humor and fulfillment into your life.
Aging Well by George Vaillant, M.D. From the landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, this book helped me better understand why some people age well physically and emotionally and others don’t. An inspirational look at the science of aging, this book is a reminder that “to know how to grow old is to master the work of wisdom…the great art of living.”
I also count a book that I wrote as one of the books that shaped my career: Bridge Builders: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things. This was my first book and I entered the magical world of writers when I felt that urge to create during a one year sabbatical between jobs. The list of 12 women in the book grew from women I knew who had inspired me to women recommended to me by friends. I learned life lessons from each of them as I told their stories, and the writing took over my life for 9 months – each day disciplined me to wake at 4 am and write for 3-4 hours. Week after week, the women appeared and I interviewed them, writing and writing. I lost 15 pounds because of my single-minded focus on “birthing” this book as its mid-wife. I learned from this experience that I was a writer – and that writing was one of my passions that would forever play an integral part in future careers I chose.
What books have been your best teachers? Which ones inspired you to step out and do something you have always wanted to do? Which books have been on your bookshelf for 5, 10 or more years as trusted companions? We are all so fortunate to live in a country where freedom of speech is our shared heritage; where we can voice our beliefs and tell our stories to comfort, inform, inspire and encourage ourselves and others. Happy reading!
It was1942 and Austrian authorities were rounding up and arresting Jews as part of their annihilation grand scheme. A young Jewish psychiatrist named Viktor Frankl and his wife,Tilly were among those who believed they would soon be among the missing. Viktor had been working on a book describing a new theory of psychological well being, and the couple wanted to try and preserve his lengthy manuscript. Tilly sewed it into the lining of Viktor’s coat. He was wearing the coat when they were both sent to Auschwitz and he was still hugging it to his body when the SS guards stripped him down and confiscated all of his clothing. He never saw the manuscript again.
Over the next three years - first at Auschwitz and then later at Dachau -Viktor’s wife, brother, mother and father died in the infamous gas ovens, and he resolved to recreate his text by writing notes on stolen scraps of paper that he hid. In 1946, one year after the Allies liberated all of the concentration camps, Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, was released and became one of the most powerful and enduring works of the century.
The book describes Viktor’s perseverance in the face of crushing labor, sadistic guards and too little food, so on one level it is a survival narrative told from his personal perspective. But it's much more than that to millions of readers worldwide; it is a powerful guide to living a meaningful life. In it, Frankl asserts that “man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.” Even in the bleakness and deprivation of a concentration camp Frankl and others managed to find meaning and purpose. The determination to survive, in order to be able to tell what happened in those camps, was a powerful motivator for Viktor and other survivors of the war.
I have recommended this book to each of the classes I have taught because Frankl's wisdom is relevant today, in spite of the era of abundance in which we are living. In fact, according to a recent survey, 58% of Americans report that they often think about the meaning and purpose of life. Indeed, in most of the advanced world, there is a slow shift in values away from materialism toward the quality of life. As a life coach, I can attest to the fact that meaning has become a central aspect of our work and our lives.
Since you can’t buy a cookbook with a recipe for meaning, where can you turn to begin the search for it? There are two primary ways – embracing spirituality more fully and pursuing happiness more intentionally. To quote the Dalai Lama, “I believe the very purpose of life is to seek happiness. That is clear. Whether one believes in this religion or that religion, we are all seeking something better in life. …the very motion of our lives is towards happiness.”
Embracing spirituality more fully is evidenced by:
· 50% of American Medical Schools offer courses in spirituality and health.
· Many of the illnesses of modern life – stress, heart disease, hypertension – can be eased by attending to the spirit.
· Medicine is more focused on treating patients as whole human beings, and the trend will only grow as medicine becomes more individually tailored to each person.
· The environmental movement that spawns more green products, and builds green consciousness among consumers.
· The proliferation of yoga studios, candle shops, evangelical bookstores, and cosmetics that are good for the planet as well as the skin.
Pursuing happiness more intentionally is evidenced by:
As Viktor Frankl's book continues to remind new generations, the ideal life is not one driven by fear, selfishness and materialism, but it more closely resembles walking a labyrinth where the purpose is the journey itself, not the destination; where we summon the will to move happiness and spirituality into the center of our lives.
Consider your typical workday: do you wake up feeling tired? Do you take a quick peek at e-mails before you eat breakfast? Do you tend to skip breakfast on most days, or grab something lacking in nutrition on the drive to work? Do you work through lunch, eat at your desk or skip it altogether? (More than one-third of American workers regularly eat lunch at their desk.) Do you run from meeting to meeting with no breaks in between? At the end of the work day, do you leave later than you like, but then still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings? How about vacations – do you really get away? (More than 50% of working Americans assume they will work during their vacations, and a Harris interactive survey found that Americans left an average of 9 vacation days unused in 2012 – up from 6 days in 2011.)
Many Americans are unable to juggle what feel like overwhelming demands and achieve any kind of work-life balance. In many companies rewards go to those who push hard and continuously over time and downtime is seen as “wasted” time. Not so, says some surprising research. A new and growing body of studies shows that naps, vacations, daytime workouts, longer sleep hours and more frequent vacations (activities referred to as “strategic renewal”) are far more effective in boosting productivity, job performance and improved health:
The Greater Our Performance Demands, the Greater Our Need for Renewal
When we’re under pressure at work, we tend to follow our impulse to work harder. But human beings are not designed to expend energy continuously; we are made to pulse between bursts of energy and recovery time. You may have read that human sleep cycles follow a nightly rhythm of sleep for 90 minutes moving from light to deep sleep and back again. Scientists have discovered that this same cycle repeats itself during our waking hours. The difference is that during the day we move from a state of mental alertness into physiological fatigue every 90 minutes. Our bodies are telling us to take a break, but we too often override that signal and pump ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own internal stress hormones of adrenaline and cortisol.
Working in 90-minute intervals enhances and improves productivity. We can learn this from watching star performers (musicians, athletes, actors) who practice without interruption for sessions of 90 minutes. They start in the morning, take a break between sessions, and seldom work for more than four and a half hours in any given day. To get the full benefit of their long-term practice, they avoid exhaustion and give themselves time to recover.
In a recent NY Times interview, Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, described how he incorporated these principles into a business that now helps companies like Google, Cleveland Clinic and Genentech, stating “ Our own offices are a laboratory…renewal is central to how we work. We dedicated space to a renewal room in which employees can nap, meditate or relax. We have a spacious lounge where employees hang out together and snack on healthy foods we provide. We encourage workers to take renewal breaks throughout the day and to leave the office for lunch…we allow people to work from home several days a week …to avoid debilitating rush-hour commutes. Our workdays end at 6 pm and we don’t expect anyone to answer e-mail in the evening or on weekends.”
The workplace of the near future will look at time off as an investment in productivity and at renewal as a key role in creating employee retention, job satisfaction and a healthier life style. In the meantime, consider the power of renewal in how you schedule your work day:
The energy of what you bring to your work is far more important than the hours you work. By managing your energy wisely it is possible to get more done in less time and with respect for the natural rhythm of your life.
Obstacles are what turn simple things we want to do into difficult things. Obstacles can be caused by external forces, like time and money, or by internal ones such as our own habits and fears. They require us to change, and that is universally something that we human beings struggle with and resist. You may remember the well-worn axiom, "If it was easy, you would have done it by now!"
There are hundreds of thousands of people who have overcome both internal and external obstacles to become successful doing work they love; finding long-term lasting relationships; and reaching other significant life goals. If people can cultivate self-respect, confidence and a commitment to their own talents, they can rise above many limiting beliefs and other obstacles to achieve true success in life.
I am a life coach and you may have wondered, “What do coaches do when a client comes to them for help in overcoming obstacles?” For example, a client may enter coaching with the stated goal of overcoming their procrastination. A trained coach knows that all behavior has purpose and takes care of something important to the client. Thus, resolving procrastination will involve addressing the hidden obstacles that are hampering progress, such as learning to stand up to others and say ‘no’ to demands; or learning to focus energy and minimize distractions; or learning to finish less rewarding duties first before engaging in more pleasurable pursuits.
I am going to share with you five strategies that coaches use to help clients overcome obstacles. As you read through them, you may want to consider how you might use them to challenge your thinking, your assumptions and your fears in the same way that a coach might. Think of a real life situation you are involved with, and see if these approaches can help you expand your options and create new solutions.
Strategy One: Ask Good Questions
Coaches have many tools with which to help clients, and asking questions is one of the most important. Here are some questions that a life coach might ask a client in order to help identify external obstacles:
“What makes this so hard to get done?”
“What might you need that you haven’t had in order to reach your goal?”
“If you could identify one primary obstacle you could conquer that would make all the difference in reaching your goal – what would it be?”
“When you have tried in the past to overcome this what got in your way?”
Coaches also ask questions to help clients identify internal obstacles:
“When you think about making this change, what kind of feeling, physical sensation, or other reaction do you have?”
“Even though you really want to make this change, what do you gain by staying stuck and not changing?”
“Relax for a moment and pay attention to what is going on inside your body as you consider the obstacle; where do you feel the pressure or stress from this situation?”
“Not that you know for sure, but just take a guess: What is the critical voice in you saying about making this change in your life?”
Coaches may direct their clients to imagine that the obstacle is gone, and that they are free to act in a new way to attain the desired future they want. For example, a coach may say something like this:
“Let’s imagine that the obstacle no longer impacts you - it has been completely taken care of and is gone - how does that change things for you? How does that make you feel now that you are no longer held back from using your full personal power? What dreams or goals might you now pursue?”
This strategy is related to advice that coaches sometimes give clients to “act as if.” Acting as if they are competent in the face of an obstacle requires clients to suspend beliefs and fears associated with it, and to see, even if only for a brief period, how that feels. The insights gained from a “taste” of success can be revealing and the feeling of empowerment can be highly motivating.
Strategy Three: Learn from the Past
By reflecting on their past successes, clients build courage, and self confidence; they can be encouraged to see that previous obstacles were overcome when they took certain risks or actions that could be duplicated with present challenges. Coaches may instruct clients to think back and reflect on their past actions in this way:
“Tell me about a time when you faced the fear of failure and chose to move ahead anyways, and succeeded - maybe even to your surprise or to the surprise of others. What specifically did you do?”
“When you were struggling earlier in your life and overcame an obstacle blocking your path, what was the turning point for you? How can you apply that learning to this current challenge you face?”
Strategy Four: Face the Fear and Take a Baby Step
Obstacles have the greatest power over us when we let them live in darkness, unexamined, and unchallenged. By bringing them into the daylight, giving them a name and talking about them with a coach, they lose the power to control us. A coach might help a client face fear by asking:
“What is it about this obstacle that makes you feel the most afraid? What’s the thing you are most afraid will happen?”
“If you were to give your fear a name, what would you call it?”
“I’d like to give you a homework assignment. This week, take a small step each day toward doing the thing you fear; pay attention to how taking that step makes you feel. Then give yourself 10 minutes to write down a few notes about the experience to track what is going on in your thoughts, feelings and awareness. Bring the notes with you to our next session and let’s explore together what you’ve identified.”
Strategy Five: Change the Perspective
Coaches help clients gain a new perspective by helping them see the Big Picture, by using emotional detachment, by seeing circumstances through a different lens, and by building the assurance to act with confidence. Coaches reframe issues for clients by asking questions such as these:
“What will this look like to you in ten years? What will seem the most important part of this challenge to you then?”
“Think about the importance of this obstacle in relation to your health, family, and spiritual growth. How important is this in the overall scheme of things?”
“What if this obstacle were placed in your life to prepare you for what you were born to do; how would that change your perspective on it?”
“How is your response to this obstacle affecting your family and friends?”
“If you had all the time, money and resources to overcome this obstacle, how would it change your perspective?”
As you can glean from these strategies, once we become aware of what is really holding us back and how we participate in that self-limiting process, we are then free to change and that freedom leads to more freedom. Something gives in us, fortune smiles on us and luck, providence or coincidences happen as if a dam has broken, and our authentic life comes rushing to meet us. The choice is always ours: to feed our attention to our obstacles or to feed our attention to our desire for happiness in life. The first will bring us more obstacles; the other brings us the courage to change.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, and forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Poet and author Maya Angelou
It’s February and we associate this month with our hearts as we recognize Valentine’s Day, honor love, and celebrate lovers. With a nod to these sweet activities, I want to take a different path and talk with those of you who are on a job search. I want to discuss the hidden power of your heart and the remarkable role it plays in job interviews.
First, some very simplified definitions: When I refer to heart power, I mean that your heart is the seat of your emotions, the container that holds such spiritually charged feelings such as compassion, forgiveness, and empathy, and it has an intelligence which rivals that of your brain. The heart communicates more often with your brain than vice versa, and it is 5,000 times more powerful (to learn more, see The Heart’s Code by Paul Pearsall or visit www.heartmath.org).
The heart is beating in a Human Energy Field, a fluid world of radiating energy, continuously moving and changing like the ocean. Modern science tells us that human beings are made up of molecules and magnetic energy. These can be measured as electrical currents in the heart (with an EEG) and as magnetic fields around the body (with SQUID which stands for superconducting quantum device). Everyone has an energy field that broadcasts emotions much like radio waves broadcast sounds to an audience. (To learn more, I refer you to Hands of Light by Barbara Brennan.)
With these understandings in place, let’s consider how your heart influences your feelings about an organization during an interview, how the hiring official’s heart influences feelings toward you during an interview, and the combined effect of both hearts on the hiring decision.
How your heart influences feelings toward an organization during an interview
Some career experts estimate that it takes experienced recruiters approximately 90 seconds to form a first impression by scanning a resume. If that initial assessment is positive, candidates are then invited to come in for a face to face interview. The average interview lasts 45 minutes. Not a lot of time, but enough for you and your interviewer to make a major decision about whether or not you will be invited back. Interviewing is stressful, so your heart is probably beating faster than usual during interviews. This means that you will be paying attention to what is happening in the interview but also coping with a rise in stress hormones, doing more shallow breathing than usual, and experiencing an elevated blood pressure. In short, you will be in the fight or flight mode.
Your heart has intelligence, and is a second brain in your body; it will pick up the interviewer’s energetic signals that typically operate below your conscious level of awareness. Your heart will help you make a preliminary assessment of the interviewer’s energy – to determine if it is positive or negative. Because the interviewer represents a company, your heart‘s assessment will also influence your perception of the organization that employs him or her. (We’re all familiar with this process: we go into a store, someone waits on us who is really fun and nice to talk to, and we walk out later feeling good about the store for having hired such a great employee.)
How the hiring official’s heart influences feelings toward you during an interview
The hiring official’s heart is busy, too, receiving your energetic signals and interpreting your energy as positive or negative. The official does not have an easy role; in fact he or she is quite worried about making a poor hiring decision. This is a costly mistake, a waste of training and orientation resources, and is not easily undone. As a result, the official’s heart is most likely beating faster than usual, blood pressure is rising and while the conscious brain is attending to managing the interview successfully, the brain in the heart is analyzing and assessing whether or not you are a risk worth taking.
The impact of both of your hearts on the hiring decision
The decision-making journey culminates through the following process:
· On the energetic level the hiring official’s heart experiences your energy field and this contributes data to his or her powers of perception that confirms or negates the earlier first impression based on your resume.
· On the energetic level your heart experiences the energy field of the hiring official and this data either confirms or negates the first impression you formed from the job ad and the phone call made to invite you for an interview.
· On the material world level you are both engaged in observing the appropriate social skills of shaking hands, exchanging pleasantries about innocuous things like the weather and traffic, and noticing one another’s body language, eye contact and voice tones. Questions related to the job and your previous work history are asked and answers are given and weighed against criteria known to the interviewer but not to you. How well you each do these things – the degree to which you are poised or awkward – contributes more data to the decision making process each of you is compiling.
· On the intuitive level both of you are sensing if there is a good match for the job and the organizational culture. Silent, internal questions are being answered by the interviewer such as “Do I like this person?” and “Would this person fit into our way of doing things?” and “Would the team be comfortable with this person?” Silent, internal questions are being answered by you such as "Do I like this person?" and "Do I want to work here?"and "Can I imagine myself being happy in this environment?"
By the end of the interview a decision has been made in the hiring official’s mind and heart to either invite you back or to end the interview, thanking you for your time. Likewise, by the end of the interview your mind and heart have also made a decision to either accept an invitation to proceed further or to thank the interviewer for the opportunity while expressing your belief that you are not the right candidate for the job. It has taken about 45 minutes.
Human beings are a combination of intricate systems that include an energy field, a brain with intelligence, a second brain in our hearts that also has intelligence, five senses that report data, and a sixth sense that reports intuitive knowledge. Many of us are largely unaware of how effectively and efficiently these work together in decision-making. It is also interesting to note that once we've made a decision the logical, rational part of the brain between our ears will eagerly confirm the validity of our decision, and defend it to anyone who may question it. That’s the way we are wired.
So, this February, thank your heart for its wisdom and its ability to work so well with your other brain, your senses and your intuition. It is truly a Valentine’s gift every day of the year.
One of the year end programs I contributed to was a collaboration between Louise Dunn, founder of the forgiveness coaching program in which I am certified, and a colleague, Rhonda Wundrum, a talented massage therapist and spiritual advisor. We titled the program, "New Heart, New Mind" and I want to share some of my remarks with you in the hopes that they will bring you new resources by which to help yourself achieve the goal of inner peace. If each person is at peace in themselves, then the world stands a greater chance of finding peace globally. Every person counts.
The Mayan culture looked at mid December 2012 as the "end of time"; it wasn't a literal end of time, but rather a shift, a movement towards global transformation, whose time had come. The old world has been breaking down in order to achieve a real break through. Old institutions are no longer viable so we see the collapse of dictatorships that have separated people and fostered imbalance in their societies. We see technology and the Internet bringing global discontent and protests close to home where we are all part of the process of reinvention. We feel a part of the changes borne of discontent and outrage and we take up the causes of women and girls, for example, in faraway lands through a process of global citizen action, political awareness and action, and philanthropy delivered with love and compassion. We see that in the age of the Internet there are no "secrets" able to be maintained; there is no place to hide, so all wrongdoing is exposed and justice is served.
The old world was a world of separation and lack; a world of survival of the fittest; a world in which greed-based environmental destruction equaled wanton human destruction. It spawned global poverty, war and an "us vs them" mentality and a "win-lose" philosophy.We will continue to experience some of these things as 2013 unfolds; more unrest, discontent and rebellion - all of it a transition process designed to bring the world into balance.
The new world brings a new emphasis on "Me-We" with its attendant collaboration and cooperation as the primary means of expression. This Age of Stewardship is one in which harmony and unity are found through our common goals and interests, rather than in our differences. We will work to protect the environment, wildlife, and urban ecology with clarity and purposefulness and with interdependent actions to achieve constructive changes on earth. With mindfulness and service to others, we will demonstrate the truth of what scientific evidence now reveals: we are all interconnected. Human intuition is the navigator of the Soul and it helps steer the direction of the conscious evolution we are now birthing across the planet.
I am reprinting here, with permission from my friend and author Laurie Baum (www.lauriebaum.com) inspired by the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, ten suggestions she has for how to stay aligned with your soul and spirit in 2013 and beyond:
1. Focus on your heart. The energy of your heart is 5,000 times more powerful than that of your other organs, including your brain. A strong awareness of your heart, of giving, of charity, of compassion, of empathy, will raise your magnetic resonance and guide you to the right people and places in 2013 and beyond.
2. Meditate. Focus on your spiritual eye in the center of your forehead, become aware of your breathing and inwardly chant Om. This activity will align you with your soul and Spirit and raise your personal magnetic resonance so all of your needs are fulfilled.
3. Think positive thoughts. Positive thinking raises your magnetic resonance and attracts you to—and to you—the positive outcome on which you focus.
4. Visualize what you want to create – and you will electromagnetically attract the object of your visualization.
5. Pray. Your prayers for yourself and others raise your magnetic resonance and increase the magnetic field of the person you are praying for —as well as for the planet as a whole.
6. Affirm. Affirm in your mind repeatedly throughout the day the positive reality you envision for yourself and others.
7. Give as much as you can. Charity opens the way for abundance to come to you.
8. Practice gratitude. Gratitude paves the way for more of what you are thankful for to come to you.
9. Raise your magnetic resonance through physical methods – get plenty of sunshine, clean water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and feel the beneficial effects of negative ions (positive energy) from moving water, rivers, oceans, waterfalls, or even rain – God’s way of cleaning the earth to bring positive energy.
10. Simplify. Lower your expectations, especially the unrealistic ones. Focus on what is important. Let go of the rest.
And here are some interesting and useful websites, too, that I can offer you:
www.vistarfoundation.org Vistar is dedicated to accessing, exploring, and sharing the power and potential of Collective Consciousness for collective awakening, co-creation and communication
www.birth2012.com Through the Birth 2012 movement many of today’s top cultural leaders, bestselling authors, religious leaders, and musicians join together for a collective shift to a new way of living. This global movement aims to unify people across the globe.
www.theshiftnetwork.com Organization that empowers a growing global movement of people who are creating an evolutionary shift of consciousness that in turn leads to a more enlightened society, one built on principles of sustainability, peace, health, and prosperity.
www.smallplanet.org Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé founded the Small Planet Institute in 2001 to further a historic transition: a worldwide shift from the dominant, failing notion of democracy — as something done to us or for us — toward democracy as a rewarding way of life: a culture in which citizens infuse the values of inclusion, fairness and mutual accountability into all dimensions of public life. They call this Living Democracy and to date have 7 books written to help guide and inform others.
www.barbaramarxhubbard.com Considered one of the leaders in consciousness studies, Barbara’s website provides education and inspiration on the topic of Conscious Evolution which takes place when we intend to grow in consciousness and use our increasing awareness to guide our actions and achieve a positive future.
www.growingpower.org Inspiring communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, creating a just world, one food secure community at a time.
www.newmomentumfhu.org - Mission is to create a better life on and for this planet through the evolution of human consciousness and the transformation of human relationships, by encouraging mindfulness of our interconnection and by the power of selfless love. A 501 c3 nonprofit established 2006 to increase efforts for human unity.
www.artofhosting.org A global community of practitioners using integrated participative change processes, methods, maps, and planning tools to engage groups and deepen human understanding, respect, collaboration for engagement as facilitators for World Café and other such organizations.
My best wishes to you for a Happy New Year during this time of transformational change. If I can be of help to you during the year, please reach out and connect via phone, e-mail or Skype. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and at (317) 730-5481.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” President Teddy Roosevelt on Labor Day, September 7, 1903
As we approach the end of 2012, the season of Thanksgiving presents a good time for job seekers to seriously rethink work; to plan for economic surprises; to envision short and long-term career adjustments. If you dream of a new job, or feel unhappy in your work, or sense that you have outgrown your current position, take advantage of the next two months at year’s end to increase your awareness of what the new marketplace demands of you and the steps you must take to create your right livelihood.
Creating the work you love requires self-discipline and discernment – the ability to know what to do without being told. No one else can tell you when to stay or to leave, or precisely when and how to exercise your courage. But you can use your time wisely as a resource and dig deeper into finding your authentic vocation.
Work is Global
It is a basic human need to want to have a job. And it’s always been the case that there are many new jobs coming into the marketplace with opportunities to compete for them. President Teddy Roosevelt’s observation is still true today, but what’s different is the competition for jobs is now on a global scale. The old foundation is gone and we are in an era of redefined loyalties, expanded options, and a transformed job market.
There are billions of people in the world trying hard to achieve the prize of a good job, one that carries with it the feeling of contributing to something worthwhile. Significant numbers of job seekers have found the job of their dreams with a good salary and a sense of doing work that matters, but there are many more that have not. What’s contributing to this uneven playing field?
There are two primary trends responsible - globalization and innovation in information technology. Both forces are moving the world closer to a single market for labor. Competing for good jobs with other qualified workers used to take place in the city, state or region where you lived, but now you may be competing against workers who live in different countries.
Contract Work is Here to Stay
Companies are buying services from a growing contingent of part-time, contract and temporary workers - an inherently more flexible work force. In the U.S. in 2010, the number of part-time workers reached a new high of almost 20% of all employees. Getting a contract job (what may be called a “bridge” job) while you search for your ideal work is a smart strategy that can lead to unexpected full time work.
Education matters more now, not just in developed nations, but worldwide. Studies show a high correlation between a good education, higher earnings and a reduced risk of becoming unemployed. In response, novel initiatives are emerging in higher education such as the Stanford University program, Coursera, which offers the best instructors teaching the most “in demand” courses for free to students living around the globe. Using technology to advance their reach, the University offered its first free technical course in early 2012 and more than 160,000 students signed up!
Naturally this has created a good deal of attention from other schools and many are beginning to emulate Stanford’s pioneering innovation while others are challenging the model. For an overview, go to TED talks to see a video featuring Coursera co-developer Daphne Koller at:
Things You Can Do Right Now to Manage Your Career
Consider this: given the current state of the recovering U.S. economy, it will take you just as long to find a poor job as it will to find a good one. Why not look for a good job, then, one that fits you and makes you feel alive and engaged?
Here are some things you will need to take responsibility for in order to win in the global job market:
· Know yourself, your skills, your interests, and your passions. Your individuality is the greatest talent you can offer an employer and the greatest foundation upon which you can build a career.
· Be prepared to work far harder to get an employer's attention in your job search than you may have previously thought necessary.
· You will need to market yourself better and consider a broader range of employers than you might have previously thought of as part of a full job search. This includes “bridge” jobs that help pay the bills until you find your ideal job.
· Be judicious about what you put on the Internet and “clean up your act”. Facebook and other sites are now regularly visited by human-resource departments and if they find anything negative or embarrassing about you, they are likely to simply pass you by in favor of other candidates.
· Use social media to your advantage. In spite of the Internet, a successful job search is still about networking and the people you know, but social media has changed it from an art into a science. For example, LinkedIn, begun in 2002, has become an integral part of the job market used by jobseekers and recruiters equally. It has about 120 million members; more than half are outside the U.S. and many are professionals earning $100,000 a year or more. The website enables professionals like you to locate mutual contacts who can introduce would-be employees and employers to each other. These personal recommendations may increase your chance of success more than applications or job offers made to total strangers.
· Adopt and practice the attitude that we are all self-employed. Even after you find work for a company that pays your salary, you had best continue to act like someone in charge of their own destiny by owning your individual, authentic contributions on the job, along with the ability to collaborate within a team, and the willingness to make extra efforts along the way to help the team “win.”
· You must continually reevaluate what you need to succeed and survive because change is a constant. What looks like chaos in the marketplace can actually be a good thing for your growth and for your career reinvention - if you are open to learning and willing to take responsibility for your own destiny.
That last bit of advice is in keeping with the approaching Thanksgiving season – as we pause to remember the first Thanksgiving and the brave Pilgrims who risked their lives, fortunes and well-being in order to create a new life in a land that they had never seen. Let their courageous example encourage your heart, and their perseverance inspire your spirit in this season of gratitude. As they did, use all the means at your disposal, especially your passion and your enduring vision, to serve your dreams and reach your destination.
Did you know that there are 20 million Americans who practice daily meditation and experience its gifts of health improvement, inner peace, spiritual inspiration, and an overall sense of well being? I am one of them and I can attest to the role that meditation can play in helping you tune into your intuition, and strengthen your other healthy living practices.
Meditation is not new; in fact, it’s been practiced for thousands of years and was originally meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and the mystical forces of life. These days meditation is more commonly associated with relaxation and reducing stress and is considered a part of complementary medicine, like yoga, acupuncture and massage.
As with prayer, anyone can practice meditation; it’s simple, inexpensive and doesn’t require any special equipment. You can practice it wherever you are – while out for a walk, waiting in a doctor’s office, or at home alone. Meditation can wipe away a day’s stress and bring you a sense of calmness, even if you practice it only 5 minutes a day. You can aim to build up to 20 minutes, half an hour, or longer, and many people find a morning meditation an ideal way to start the day. If you are thinking of including meditation in your daily routine, here are some tips:
· Put your expectations aside - Don’t get trapped into thinking that something is “supposed to happen” when you meditate. Just accept what does happen because even when it seems nothing much is going on, meditation is bringing positive changes on a deeper level than you may be aware of in your body and before long, you will notice these inner changes becoming more visible in your outer life.
· Thoughts are not your enemy – Allow your thoughts to arise and dissolve. Don't expend efforts to focus on them, trying to rid yourself of them. They are the natural products of your mind; as stress is released during meditation, and as you practice over time, thoughts will naturally subside on their own without any added effort.
· Sit with your spine straight – A straight spine not only prevents a sore back from developing during or after meditation, but it also helps the energy in your body flow. You can imagine that the base of your spine is connected deeply into the earth’s core - like a tree’s roots going down into the ground - and the energy running straight up your back to the top of your head, and then continuously looping back down the spine to the base and so on. There are also small round pillows you can buy at yoga centers to help keep your spine straight, or you can stretch out on the floor with a small pillow under your knees to help keep your spine straight.
· Set an intention of love and compassion - This gently focuses your mind on two positive emotions that are uplifting and inspiring. You may experience a sense of bliss for a few seconds or longer during your meditation as a result. Do not become attached to the feeling; just allow it to arise and dissolve, the same as random thoughts.
· Don’t feel badly if you fall asleep – You can always start over or you can stop. With practice, you will be able to meditate deeply without falling asleep while in a state of full relaxation.
· End your meditation with a beautiful thought or inspiring phrase - Dedicating your session in this way brings a soul resonance to your practice. A simple dedication from Tibetan Buddhist tradition is “May all beings be happy.” One of my personal favorites is “May the sanctuary of my devotion bring love and healing to the earth, air, water and universe, so that the Highest Good of all may be served.”
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born. “ Anais Lin
Here is a simple truth about happiness: one of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy, especially your dear friends. Friendships are one of the keys to lifelong happiness and health. Where would we be without our friends?
Here are four important ways to be a great friend:
1. Give your support. One of the best parts of friendship, along with the feeling of intimacy it brings, is the feeling of support it provides. Be supportive when your friend has bad news, of course, because we all know that sharing difficulties reduces the weight of our stress and worries. But also be supportive when your friend has good news because celebrating with someone who has your best interests at heart actually increases the happiness you both feel – a true win/win outcome.
2. Don’t criticize a friend’s sweetheart, spouse, or child. Being kind and sincerely generous with your praise of the significant others in your friend’s life strengthens the relationship you two share with one another. It’s like saying that you admire their good taste in mates or life partners, and you admire their talent for raising nice kids. That’s affirming and another form of support.
3. Don’t gossip or reveal secrets told to you by your friend. We share some of our most intimate thoughts, feelings and information with our friends; confiding in one another is one of the most satisfying and life-giving aspects of these loving alliances. If you reveal secrets to others, or gossip about your friend behind her back, the friendship will be destroyed. Great friends act with integrity to protect and shelter a loving friendship, and, as such, are loyal and trustworthy.
4. Show up. There are times when a friend asks you to come to an event that you may not want to attend, such as an out of town wedding, or a party on New Year’s Eve. Do your best to show up in spite of your reservations or reluctance. Being a great friend means that you are willing to occasionally make a few sacrifices and accommodate to her needs. It’s a two way street – she will return the favor someday in the future and each of you will contribute to each other’s “emotional bank accounts” making your friendship stronger and closer.
These four actions will help build a foundation that will weather many of life’s storms and bring you a deep sense of satisfaction and joy. Hold your friends close to your heart and love them as the gift they are in your life.
Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness, as possible.” For many people boredom can be one of those “little things” in life that brings unhappiness, dissatisfaction and discontent.
Boredom, however, can also be a wonderful gift that offers us the chance to grow and find inner peace. Here are four ways that you can transform boredom into a new purpose:
Boredom is a state of mind affected by our self-awareness, our thoughts and our attitudes. Turning boredom into a positive experience is a transformative activity that brings new energy, new light and new inspiration into your world.