Tag Archives: self-improvement

Choose Your Life – A Tribute to Wayne Dyer

9 30 15 It'sYourChoice DyerIt was a month ago today when many were shocked by the sudden passing of Dr. Wayne Dyer in his sleep the night before. I was especially stunned because I was looking forward to attending his keynote speech at a conference in three weeks. Three weeks! You’ve got to be kidding me!

I had heard his name, but never had read any of his books or material until the summer of 2014 when I watched the movie of his book, “The Shift.” This movie impressed me not only with its message, but also introduced me to this man who possessed such a calmness of spirit. More people need his gentle spirit.

I wondered who the replacement keynote speaker on Friday would be, and then had the thought: maybe they would turn the evening into a memorial tribute for him. And so it was.

The Hay House “I Can Do It” conference/retreat was a weekend of inspirational speakers, each bringing their own insights on personal development. Little did they know that they would be taking the stage individually on Friday evening to share their own experiences with Wayne Dyer and honor his life. It was a powerful evening – a celebration of life.

Dyer’s works were new to me, but there is nothing like seeing a grown man cry on stage to move me to tears as well. These associates were more than that – they were family. At the conclusion of the night, Wayne’s blood family took the stage with his daughter, Skye singing an emotional rendition of “The Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg. The evening was not all tears however! I learned that Wayne had a huge sense of humor, as we all laughed about the story of Jack and the monarch butterfly!

The fact that really made me gasp was when someone shared the story of how August 30 was a key date in Wayne’s life in more than one way. It was on August 30, 1974 that after years of searching, Wayne found his long-lost father, in a pauper’s grave in Louisiana. He had gone there with the intent of spewing years of hate, anger and frustration upon the grave of the father who had abandoned his children at a young age. Much to his surprise, it was at this graveside that Wayne experienced an epiphany, a shift, an awakening to a new purpose, as he found himself forgiving his father. Now free of all this anger, he walked away into a new life of inspiring others. His first New York Times bestseller was published two years later, and the rest is history.

Wayne Dyer made a choice that day. He chose to move towards light and love and away from hate. He spent the rest of his life trying to teach others that they too can make the choices that will create a more fulfilling life. His spiritual awakening was on August 30, 1974 and his spirit passed on August 30, 2015.

What choices do you have to make?

Are you stuck in patterns you can’t break? Do you make excuses for your life? Do you have resentment towards anyone? Do you feel separated from others or from the divine? Have you found the contentment of knowing your purpose?

It’s your choice to seek the answers or stay where you are. Choose the life you want to live.

Because of Wayne’s passing, Hay House has made available several of Dr. Dyer’s books for only $1.99 for the next few weeks. Hello my new Kindle! I purchased five ebooks, and am currently reading “Excuses Begone” and “Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life” concurrently.

Thank you Wayne, for all that you contributed to the world community. I look forward to reading more of your writings and being inspired to continually make choices towards a richer, fulfilled life.

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I Am Not the Same

5 17 15 Not the SameAre you the same person you were a year ago? Of course, you say! The name on my driver’s license is still the same!

There is a quote attributed to the artist Michelangelo in the 88th year of his life: “I am still learning.”

I’ve always loved this quote, since I have always been an avid learner. If we are the sum of our experiences and we learn on a daily basis, then each year after the earth has gone around the sun one more time we should be a different and hopefully better person.

I’m listening to the Hay House World Summit speakers and videos for the second year. If you are not familiar with this event, you still have 11 days to get on board! It is 100 free lectures/interviews (averaging 60 minutes each) and 12 videos about self-discovery, health and success. You pick who you want to listen to and which videos you want to watch. Check it out at: Hay House World Summit

I looked at my notes from last year because I wanted to choose new speakers to listen to this time around. New speakers, new nuggets of wisdom! As I listened to one speaker, I was profoundly moved by her words. I happened to look back at my old notes and discovered that I had listened to her last year. I had missed her in my list!

Why did she impact me so much more now?

Because I am a different person than I was a year ago. I have grown. Now, I was listening from a different place and a different perspective. I had new “ears.” I did not “hear” what she had to say last year, but this year everything was different.

I encouraged a few friends to take part in this feast for the mind/soul/body. One friend said, “I’m fine. I don’t need to listen to seminars now.”

What? I can’t comprehend thinking one knows all you need to know at any point in life. But, if he had listened, he may not have heard anything anyway because his emotional ears were not open.

On the other hand, I was happy to introduce another close friend to listen to a popular, modern-day philosopher, and he was quite moved by the speaker’s presentation. Later, I was happy to have a deep, philosophical conversation with my friend about some new concepts! (We are prone to deep conversations anyway.)

I did caution him that when he listens, to do so with himself in mind, not me. My lessons will take care of themselves! Let each walk on his or her path of self-discovery.

Today’s learning was exceptionally “mind-blowing” – which is probably a very apt phrase. Last year I remember after ten days of Summit, my brain felt as if it had grown several new neural pathways. This year they have spread out the sessions over twenty days to give us more time to listen to more speakers. After only nine days as of today, I can only imagine how I will feel by the end of the twenty days!

I know I will be a different person than I was three weeks ago.

How wonderful to know that if we want to, our learning, our personal growth can continue our whole lives.

Who will you be a year from now?

It all depends on if you keep learning and growing.

When Conversation is Crucial

7 12 14 Talk to Each Other

In these days when people are becoming more comfortable with communicating via text or Twitter, and less comfortable with face-to-face communication, the art of conversation seems like a dying art.

A colleague who works at a medical training company told me that the young medical school graduates she trains have difficulty maintaining eye contact. They are more comfortable with their smartphone screens. These are the healers of the future?

Even before this new technology came along, people have had difficulty in facing conversations that could be described as crucial.

What’s a crucial conversation?

A discussion between two or more people where stakes are high, opinions vary, emotions run strong, and the outcome greatly impacts their lives.

Most people are uncomfortable with conflict and would rather avoid a crucial conversation out of fear that the conversation will go terribly wrong. Avoiding the inevitable never works. The issue remains. The other two ways to handle a crucial conversation is to face it and handle it poorly, or to face it and handle it well.

I think we can agree that two of the common instances of a crucial conversation are when we are dealing with either our partner or dealing with our boss! We just can’t get away from it! Communication is key!

Sometimes a crucial conversation can arise without warning and we have to face it without dodging. Wouldn’t it be better if we had the proper tools?

The New York Times best-seller Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, outlines seven principles to follow to become a master of conversation.

One: Start with heart – What do you really want for yourself, for others, for the relationship?

Two: Learn to look – for the warning signs when conversation turns crucial, the signs that people don’t feel safe. Nothing kills the flow of dialogue more than fear.

Three: Make it safe – Apologize when necessary, repair misunderstandings, commit to seek mutual purpose.

Four: Master your story – Be aware of your emotions and be able to separate facts from emotions. Be aware of emotionally charged words. Don’t be the victim, the villain, or the one who is helpless.

Five: State your path – Maintain respect while sharing your facts, and ask for others’ stories. Be tentative and encourage testing the waters.

Six: Explore others’ paths – Listen. Ask them to tell their story and mirror to confirm feelings.

Seven: Move to decide – Decide from the beginning how a decision will be made, whether by an outside authority, consultation when many are affected, voting when there are a number of good options, or consensus when everyone honestly agrees to one decision.

The most important thing to remember is that by not facing an issue, you may have already lost the battle. We can regret the things we say, but more often that not, we can regret the things that go unsaid.

A simple, heart-felt conversation may turn out to reveal that a problem was all in your mind from the beginning. There is so much to gain from that crucial conversation.

For more in-depth information on how to hone your conversation skills, pick up a copy of Crucial Conversations.

A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talk to each other, instead of about each other. Practice true conversation.

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Shepherd And FlockDoes anyone remember Theory X motivational management? In 1960, Douglas McGregor, an American social psychologist, proposed his famous X-Y theory of management. Both theories are still referred to in the studies of management and motivation.

Theory X is the “Authoritarian Management” style based on the premise that the average person dislikes work, so must be faced with the threat of punishment so that he/she will work towards corporate objectives. Theory Y is the “Participative Management” style where work comes naturally and the responsible employees will apply self-control and self-direction in the pursuit of objectives, without external control or threat of punishment.

I met many “Theory X” managers in my early career, and one rather scary story comes immediately to mind. A co-worker told me one day that the department Vice President had become upset after overhearing employees laughing. He said to his secretary, “We can’t have laughing here!” What? Yes, this is a true story! No punishments were dealt out, but the fact that the words were spoken is rather unnerving.

Fast forward several years to when I worked for Marriott, where we operated on the principles of its founder, J. Willard Marriott Sr. who said, “Treat your Associates the way you would like to be treated – provide them every avenue to success. Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers.” Happy employees lead to happy customers and happy profits.

This falls more in line with the philosophy laid out in a wonderful little book I was introduced to a few years ago.

In The Way of the Shepherd: 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People
by Kevin Leman and William Pentak, an entirely different perspective on management is told in short story format. A young MBA student named Ted is mentored by an eccentric and brilliant professor. Jack Neumann, who just happens to own a flock of sheep.

Over the course of seven weeks, Jack assists Ted in coming to understand seven ancient principles of shepherding a flock of sheep, as well as people: Knowing the Condition of Your Flock, Discovering the Shape of Your Sheep, Helping Your Sheep Identify with You, Making Your Pasture a Safe Place, The Staff of Direction, The Rod of Correction and The Heart of the Shepherd.

Each of the book’s seven chapters focuses on a different principle of effective supervision, offering in simple, everyday terms very powerful lessons in leading others. Principles include:

  • Get to know your flock, one person at a time.
  • Your choice of people can make flock management easier or harder.
  • Build trust with your followers by modeling authenticity, integrity, and compassion.
  • Keep your people well-informed.
  • When directing, use persuasion and not coercion. When your people get in trouble, go and get them out.
  • Regularly ask about your people’s progress.

Most of all, have a heart for your people. Quite a change from the old school, right?

As a result of reading The Way of the Shepherd, the following strategies jump out as immediate steps you can take to improve your leadership style:

  • Get out of the office and interact with the people on your team.
  • Get to know what is important to them as people, not just workers.
  • Remember that it is the people who get all the work done. They are your greatest asset.
  • Treat each person as an individual, not just a member of the team.

What kind of leader are you? Maybe you should take a look at shepherding. You can be a shepherd leader wherever you are, at work, in any civic or volunteer organization, at a parent/teacher association or at your place of worship. The simple lessons taught by Leman and Pentak are things we rarely think about. If you care about the people you lead, this short but insightful book is a must read. Get a copy of The Way of the Shepherd: 7 Ancient Secrets to Managing Productive People
Create a green pasture in your workplace or organization today.