Thursday, January 22, 2009

What does YOUR world look like?

I am so encouraged and inspired and excited to be living right now in the United States. There is a sense of possibility and opportunity that is almost palpable. And I love the Internet! We have, at our disposal, an unlimited supply of information, opinion, ideas, and inspiration for absolutely any topic we can imagine.

The interesting thing I'm noticing today as I peruse a few websites is that it is simple to reinforce an already-existing worldview by just scanning a few current events articles.

Since we are predisposed and conditioned to see what we're looking for, we can look at this time of presidential transition as either a very positive thing or a very negative thing and will see exactly what we're looking for.

There are many stories on the internet today about our new president, most with their own twist. Here is just a sampling of some of the headlines from a blog called The New Republic:

"Only Makes You Stronger: Why the Recession Will Revive America"
"Enjoy the Bipartisan Lovefest While You Can - It Ain't Going to Last Very Long"
"Signs Point to Frustration: Why Obama Will Confuse Partisans On Both Sides"
"The Battle of the Ivies! How Harvard Beat Yale In the Democratic Party"
"Was Obama's Speech An Incoherent Mess, A Wonkish Downer, or a Subtle Epic?"

You'll probably click on the article with the headline that supports your already-preconceived worldview, if you're like most people.

Even yesterday in one of the meetings I conducted I heard someone say that he thought Obama's inaugural address was the worst thing he had ever heard. It was depressing and didn't give him any hope at all (he's a very vocal Republican, from conversations I've heard before). How could he have heard it any differently? (And maybe I was affected by his attitude because I'm a supporter of our new president.)

Another topic I've heard so much about in many of my master mind community gatherings is the state of public education, since many of the participants are parents of children in those public schools. I would have to say that, in my very unscientific evaluation, approximately 90% of the comments that come up about public education have something to do with what's wrong in that setting. In fact, that percentage may even be a bit generous.

I'm encouraged, however, by something a friend sent me this morning. Her son is a 7th grader and every year the 7th graders participate in a Courage Retreat. Here's more information about that:

For students to succeed academically and socially, a caring and respectful school climate is essential. It has become a tradition at Horizon Middle School for all 7th graders to participate in a Courage Retreat as a part of the seventh grade curriculum. A team of three motivational leaders from Youth Frontiers Inc. along with a staff of about 30 high school mentors will facilitate the one-day retreat.

The goals of the Courage Retreat are that students:
Understand how fear permits them to compromise their goals and values.
Identify common fears of students their age.
Identify moments of decision between courage and fear.
Commit to one act of courage in their life.

I know there are countless other examples of ways public schools - and school teachers and administrators - are making amazing differences in kids' lives. Why is it that the conversations in most of our social and workplaces settings tend to focus first on the negative?

We are currently planning the Third Annual Bigger Small Talk Summit for June 16-17 in Fargo. Here people will get a chance to participate in dialogue that leads to meaningful and difference-making action in the world. In addition, they will get a chance to discover and name their own Genius under the expert direction and guidance of Dick Richards, author of Is Your Genius At Work? and the powerful blog Riding on Dragons.

People in our community who participated in the Genius Workshop last summer are still buzzing about the insights they gained from that day.

How FAR will you GO for Bigger Small Talk and more meaning in your business and personal life? Come to FARGO June 16-17 for an experience you'll long remember!!

Watch for more information SOON! (The website will also be updated shortly.)

Take part in activities that support the worldview you aspire to. You present results are no indication of your future success, so if you notice that clinging to your present perspective causes you to feel defensive (or offensive), tense, upset or in any way less than joyful, consider opening your heart and mind to another perspective.

You really do see what you're looking for.

What does YOUR world look like?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Does Positive Energy = Positive Results?

It's difficult for me not to be really excited today as we swear in a new president. I know that not everyone is happy about this - not everyone voted for him - but it's difficult not to feel the energy surrounding the events that are underway even as I type this.

I was in Hawaii during the election, and the energy was palpable even in the last state to vote (when the polls closed in Hawaii, the vote was pretty much already decided, which could have had something to do with the 95% vote for Obama - or maybe it was because he was born in Hawaii).

At any rate, it's amazing to watch CNN right now and see so many people so excited for the new world we seem to be on the brink of experiencing.

One of my master mind groups is currently studying Peter Block's newest book "Community" which tells us that in order to create a new future, we need to resolve our past (not forget it, just complete it, to use the language from the book) and declare a new future to live into.

It's really no different when talking about individual communities, businesses or a nation - the process is similar. Energetic and hopeful conversations create new energy which attracts people into new results. Or as Block points out in "Community," creates conversations which touch, move and inspire to join in the new possibilities.

Back in March of 2003 I participated in a life-transforming educational opportunity called The Landmark Forum, and I ended up completing the entire curriculum (the Advanced Course and the Self Expression and Leadership Program) which used as its foundation work by Werner Erhard, which Block is referencing in his newest book.

I have lived a different life since learning those distinctions in 2003, and was reminded of the power of that information to transform lives when my good friend Chris Young called this morning to tell me about his profound experience at the Forum this past weekend.

I'm so excited and encouraged for Chris in his life, but also for us as Americans and really for the world as we create a future distinct from our past, not by ignoring the past, but by completing it - realizing that everything that happens to us individually or collectively is important to getting us where we find ourselves right now.

I'm excited that our new president has the Audacity of Hope and a powerful voice that can call us to action around this new energy. This will be as true for us individually as it will be collectively - and I know it starts with me.

What future are you creating for yourself by your own declarations, in your families, businesses, activities, communities and the world?

I KNOW positive energy creates POSITIVE results because I experience it every day. What are your results showing you? It's simple to change those results by declaring your future. And that power is in YOUR hands today. The results we can create and allow in our world are powerfully exciting!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips For A Better Life

OK, I admit it - I've become rather obsessed with Facebook.

Well, maybe that's a bit strong. But I do check my friends' status at least every day - just to kind of keep up with people. I know there are a lot of wacky things there - like sending people virtual drinks and hitting them with virtual snowballs. I don't pay much attention to those things. I want to get to know people and find out what they like. Ultimately I'd like to grow my business, and I need to know what people are interested in and what they're seeking out so I can better position my business to help them achieve what they want.

Today one of my friends posted this slideshow with tips for a better life. It's another of those things you really probably already know. But as we've discovered over and over at this blog, it's not really what you already know - it's what you DO with what you know that matters.

So here is a list from this great Facebook site by Nithya Shanti, via Krystal Pine. The list is a little different than the slideshow, but they're both fabulous. Enjoy!

Tips for Better Life

1. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
3. Sleep for 7 hours.
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Play more games.
6. Read more books than you did the previous year.
7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
9. Dream more while you are awake.
10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
11. Drink plenty of water.
12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
14. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
15. Don't have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
16. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
17. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
18. Smile and laugh more.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don't compare your partner with others.
24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
25. Forgive everyone for everything.
26. What other people think of you is none of your business.
27. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
28. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
29. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
30. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
31. The best is yet to come.
32. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
33. Do the right thing!
34. Call your family often.
35. Your inner most is always happy. So be happy.
36. Each day give something good to others.
37. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
38. Share this with someone you care about.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Another for the "You Already Know This Stuff" files ...

It's January. It's Fargo, North Dakota. It's snowy.

Yep. That's part of the beauty of living here - we get snow in the winter. The picture here is looking up the steps of my deck from the patio. A daunting task.

It's just that we've never - in the history of our state - ever gotten this much snow in one month.

According The Forum, our official newspaper yesterday:

"The numbers are in: This wasn’t just the snowiest December on record in Fargo-Moorhead. It was the snowiest month – period.

"The previous record of 31.5 inches set in January 1989 was shattered Tuesday as 8.8 inches of snowfall brought this month’s total to 33.5 inches as of 6 p.m., according to the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, N.D. That also beat the previous record for December of 29.2 inches set in 1927."

Here's a song from one of our local (county) radio stations. I'm not a country fan, but this song gives you one aspect of what a traveling band might have to think about if coming to Fargo for a gig.

(Oh, guess I can't post the clip, but here's a link.)

I'm inspired now to go take more photos tomorrow, so watch for an update from snowy Fargo (it's snowing again tonight!).

Happy 2009!