Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Barry Lewis Green
and Epic Engage

The Character Leadership Company

TM

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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Iron, Steel and the Slippery Slope

A thought hit me this morn.

Hypocrisy is a slippery slope upon which trust and trustworthiness can slide into skepticism, cynicism and apathy.  If I believe it, say it.  If I say it, act it.  If I act it, commit to it.  If I commit to it, I show faith in it.  Having faith in it, in turn, strengthens belief in it.  But if any link in this chain fails, then hypocrisy shows its subtle but ever intent and growing head.

Truthfulness serves in the face of hypocrisy.  It requires courage to do so, but it strengthens the cycle.  With truthfulness, we believe, say, act, commit and have faith…. in alignment.  With truthfulness, we live our best lives and allow others permission to live theirs.  Truthfulness is the traction that prevents the slide down the slippery slope; true in business, at work, in school, throughout community and in life.  Truthfulness breeds alignment and alignment slays hypocrisy.

Truthfulness is the great educator; and it requires discernment… it is not blind, but tested.  There is work involved in building the links of this chain; but it is noble work.  The strength of this chain gives us traction to avoid the slide.  Our true lives and purpose demand that we honor who we are, what we do and how we serve.  Anything else is a distraction and a disservice, born of some level of dishonesty with ourselves.  “everything requires everything” is a message I keep hearing and I am realizing that it speaks to alignment.  Everything you deeply desire requires everything that you are.

Courage is the iron.  Truthfulness is the steel.  As we build the chain of alignment, we free ourselves from the rust of hypocrisy and its slide into the meaningless.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The Sour and the Sweet

I am thanking Mark Sanborn and Joe Calloway for a special Facebook share tonight.  It relates a commencement message from Ben Horowitz at Columbia University.  My own students need hear this, as does every entrepreneur in the private, public and community sectors worldwide.  Ben essentially slams the understood notion of “following your passion”.  For many, that might seem a little sour.  Personally, I have long believed that we should not confuse our joys with our one passion; our sense of purpose and contribution.  Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art speaks to this.  Find your path of excellence.  There is the sweet.  Sharpen your blades and go to work.  Bring your value to the world.  Commit to your contribution.

So, all I will suggest here, this day, is that you ask 3 simple but powerfully discerning questions.

  • What are all of my joys in life?  Be exhaustive.  Identify “knowledges”, skills, abilities, character traits and activities.  Squeeze every idea out.  This is your starting point.  All but one will ultimately only help in making you grateful; but that is good.
  • In which do I know myself to have real skill?  This question will narrow your joys down to specific skill sets and help you identify your resourcefulness; your tools for success.
  • Which one would I commit daily to develop mastery, excellence and contribution?  Now, here we are talking of real passion… not simply joys and desires and distractions.  We are talking purpose here.  This is boiled down from all of your joys and skill sets to identify what you bring to the table.  What is your contribution?

Now, with that in mind and your skill sets identified, get at sharpening the blades.  Develop mastery.  Use education as that force for excellence, growth and change.  The way is the work and the work is the way.  The world might not need you to save it, but it needs you.  Contribute.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Learning from Your Restless Spirit

“My restless spirit is trying to tell me something.” — Dawnbreakers Collective

A restless spirit has a purpose.  It is not simply chaotic or disruptive.  It is not of the ego, or selfish.  It often results from a sense of a break in either justice or dignity or integrity.  When we feel, in our bones, a sense of deep restlessness or frustration, far too often we will “guilt” it aside, minimize it or chalk it up to some degree of “selfishness”.  It is not about me is an expression I do love and something in which I truly believe; deeply.  Still, there are times when our spirit speaks through every cell in our body, and it demands our attention.

It will call for that attention through frustration, agitation, disappointment, sadness, anger, health issues and more.  Something is not right and it demands we address it.  I have no doubt that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. felt it.  Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa too; and scores and thousands and millions of others who simply had to be true to their restless spirit and answer the call to attention.

In doing so, we may risk others thinking us self-centered or selfish; and they are right… but for the wrong reasons.  There is a distinct difference in answering the call of a restless spirit, and being driven by ego and unhealthy pride.  I have written before of what I call humble swagger; that deep belief and confidence in why you are here and what you must do.  That kind of swagger is healthy.  It is your optimal health.  Denying it and attributing its call to anything other than noble is not healthy.

Nobility, justice and integrity are virtues of real strength.  They require truthfulness and courage and more. But honoring their call to attention is nothing other than being true to your purpose, and detaching from the distractions and desires that take you away from same.  Pleasing everyone never succeeds.  Honoring everyone does; including yourself.  Listen to your restless spirit.  It is the ultimate education.  Discern its truth, then act on it. See where that takes you.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Education and Development

We are an education company.  We speak to advance character, capacity and creativity based education and learning cultures at school, work and community… cultures that think, act and serve with excellence.

Excellence is about ongoing mastery.  Ongoing mastery is the purpose of education.  Education can, alone, cause workplaces, schools and communities to reveal strengths and enable society to benefit therefrom.

Think about this.  Consider this.

Education can, alone, do so.  While it might be nice to think but minimum wages do not eradicate poverty.  Minimum wages are, by definition, minimum… and cause all other relative wages to eventually rise and impact prices.  It is a vicious though, often times, ignored cycle.  Education can address poverty of both material and spiritual means.  Education opens our minds, exercises our brains and our understanding.  Education that expands understanding, advances both peace and prosperity.  We get the world a little more.  We get each other a little more, with every opportunity to learn.

Yes, at its most noble and practical, education is about advancement and excellence at school, work and community.  It fosters constructive growth and change.  Education is much more than marks, grades and assessments.  The challenge on our campuses, in our companies and throughout our communities is to re-engage education as the force for excellence, growth and constructive change… a force to think, act, serve and lead with noble character, to build powerful communities of common purpose and unique capacity, and to engage flourishing creativity and learning cultures at school, work and community.

For more on education and sustainable development, globally.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Learn, Unlearn, Re-learn and Unleash

In my experience, there are four paths to learning.  First, there is learning as it might traditionally be understood; the acquisition of new knowledge, skills or abilities.  The second is unlearning; that process of deconstructing old and unnecessary learning from the past.  Third, there is re-learning… the remembering of something once forgotten.  Finally, there is unleashing… to be addressed shortly.

As an educator, I see these four processes in classrooms and work spaces, in business and community.  I see it across personalities and circumstances.  For example, for me I recall, as a child, learning of the Brontosaurus.  Quite recently, I discovered that this creature never actually existed as it was created out of the mistake of connecting different skeletal pieces in the wrong combinations.  In learning and unlearning this “fact”, I found myself re-learning the power of discernment and questioning.  True science and exploration understands this.  I was also reminded that unlearning does not happen in a vacuum.  We unlearn through learning in the same way that darkness is eliminated by light.  You do not truly unlearn a habit without learning a new one to replace it.

And this brings me to unleashing.  Fear has no hope in the face of courage; especially the courage to unleash.  These days, we talk much of the conscious and unconscious mind… where learning, unlearning and re-learning take place in various forms.  Still, my belief is that there is something beyond either level of the mind… something called soul.  I believe and contend that it already knows and understands but we have, far too often, silenced it to somehow “fit in” or be practical.  We have, after all, responsibilities in this world.  And so, we can quiet that still small voice inside that knows better.  This is from where ultimate learning comes, in my humble opinion; simply letting down the gates and listening to what our soul already knows.

This week, I have learned, unlearned and re-learned.  That is important in life.  But, in singing tonight, there was nothing short of an unleashing… learning not by doing, but being.  The clarity tonight was palpable.  Taste-able. Tangible.  Singing tonight was incredible, connected and truly inspired.  It was kick ass, and bad ass in the best and most noble of ways.  It was even unexpected.  It didn’t teach me anything.  It didn’t cause any unlearning.  It wasn’t even something I remembered being taught before.  It was simply uncovered and, truthfully, that kind of learning cannot be ignored or forgotten.  It simply is.

Going forward, I say that we need all four processes.  Still, the unleashing requires the greatest courage and reaps the most remarkable rewards.  It demands the courage to be real and see where that takes you.  Now, there is learning.

Learn, Unlearn, Re-learn and Unleash; most of all, unleash.  See where that takes you.  I will.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

The Leadership of Letterman

Just reading this LinkedIn Post;  a Top Ten List of the lessons of leadership from David Letterman.  Like David Kahn, I am a fan.  Still, I was reminded by his post… of what it is I like most.

#10 Be irreverent.

#9 Be silly without being a clown.

#8 Share the spotlight.

#7 Remain in control.

#6 Be your own worst critic.

#5 Don’t be fooled by other people’s hype.

#4 Don’t be fooled by your own hype.

#3 Show gratitude.

#2 Recognize how you are perceived.

#1 Continually seek happiness.

Leadership is a much discussed and debated concept.  Ultimately, I believe that leadership is about education at its very best… engaging, encouraging and empowering.  As an educator and entrepreneur, it is not lost on me that great leaders understand real world education ignites excellence, growth and change.  The qualities in our Top Ten List here serve the notions of character, capacity and creativity alike.

Strong CHARACTER is born of strength, zeal, cooperation, confidence, discernment, acceptance, tolerance, gratitude, understanding and joyfulness.

Advanced CREATIVITY and CAPACITY arises from challenge, innovation, collaboration, assertiveness, critical thinking, humility, thankfulness, awareness and fun.

Letterman carved his path, and blazed his trail.  His approach to entertainment was of the TEN and more.  That being said, as leaders and educators, we can look at this list as a source for learning and growing on our own paths.  For me, manifesting irreverence in the healthiest of ways, not believing the hype, and being a joybringer… these three are most resonant as we move our work in excellence, growth and change forward.  I most want to nobly, humbly and joyfully challenge in the work we do with campuses, companies and communities.

Which speak most to you now?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Commitment, Chapter 2 … Short and Not So Sweet

Earlier today, I wrote honestly about two revelations regarding commitment, plus a question to you.  I hope you read and engage the message.

Still, there is a third revelation fully realized today.  Commitment is best served with joyfulness.

My infinite friend and business manager, Nicole Fowler, and I are on a 90 Day Health Plan drawing upon the guidance of Tonya Whittle of TW Fitness.  We have been doing well; very well.   Yet, the times we are most successful have included joy.  Today, we rolled on by the pizza aisle.

If you are on your own journey towards optimal health and want to have fun doing it, engage us here as we will be blogging this whole process of having a laugh getting healthy and strong.  We are committed to purposefulness and joyfulness and we will get sustainable and sustaining results.  Join us there.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Note to Self

‘Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’

W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951

 

I have found myself pondering the virtue of commitment.  Through unintended conversation and personal reflection, I have come to two resonant conclusions. First, I have been one holding to the ultimate value of commitment.  I have proven myself committed to commitment, as a virtue.  I believed in a quote that was shared with me years ago, anonymously. “Commitment is doing the thing you said you would do when you felt committed, long after you no longer feel committed.” Second, I have come to understand that, while commitment is a virtue, the real question is to what are you committed?

Truthfully, I consider myself successful and blessed.  I have found myself in positions and roles which I have loved.  I have a small and remarkable circle of very good friends.  I have had parents from whom I have learned valuable lessons and received love.  I enjoy being the person that I like to think I am.  That being said, my path through past “relationships” has been marked by my first understanding of commitment.

Before I go further, let me say that I write this only for me… I may be completely alone in this experience, but it is mine… and it is real.

Though these aforementioned relationships ended or, at least, transformed… at the time of their “ending”, I fought hard to see them continue.  Fiercely.  I wanted them to continue.  I was quite willing to make whatever changes were necessary to do so, even at the expense of who I was and liked about me.  It was not out of fear of loss but a profound dedication to commitment.  “I can make this work; we can make this work” was my battle cry.  I found honor in the sacrifices I was so clearly willing to make.  The relationship was more important than the people in it.  I found some strange sense of nobility in that.  Please understand that deep inside I knew I was giving up on pieces of me; pieces of me that I valued… but, it was a “noble sacrifice” at the alter of making the relationship work.   That was my perceived calling.

In each circumstance, I am thankful for the courage of my partner.  While they had their own challenges, their true strength was their commitment to finding their best path, within or without the relationship.  Though they were willing to do some work, they, to their credit, were not willing to give up on who they were, at all.  Were there issues of their own?  Indeed.  But, what is abundantly apparent to me now is that they knew what they wanted and to that which they were truly committed.  I cannot speak to their own paths since but I can say, with clear resolve, that their courage in the face of my commitment was wise.  They worked at the resolution of things but were not willing to surrender any pieces of who they were; and I commend them.

Had they approached the situation with my then understanding of commitment, possibly we would have remained.  Possibly.  Certainly, it would have been as reasonable facsimiles of who we truly were, always accommodating.  Please, do not misunderstand.  Relationships require balance, in all things… in the small things.  Still, my understanding now is that, while they require healthy balance, they should not require toil.  I write this for my own understanding only.

So, my point?  Commitment is noble.  The virtue is beautiful and worthy of our practice.  Still, commitment first requires truthfulness, to ourselves and others… before, during and possibly after our connections and relationships.  What I am realizing today is how much I want and need to shine in my work and my life, as me.  What I am realizing today is that, in the words of one of my partners (and I paraphrase)… “be you, shine, and walk in that direction and see who shows up”.  This is my new understanding of commitment.  Commit to be you at work, in business, at school, in community, in family… and see who arrives.  Commit to you and commit to those who share your path.  Then see where that takes you?

A favourite quote of mine is this….

O SON OF SPIRIT! Noble have I created thee, yet thou hast abased thyself. Rise then unto that for which thou wast created. — Baha’u’llah

Ultimately, here is my question.  For what were you called or created, however you understand that to be?  Rise to it, and see who joins with you.  There, you will find the relationships and work that matter.  To thine own self be true and committed.  This is true in business, at work, in education and life.   I needed to type and read this note to self.  If it resonates for you all the better.

Peace, passion, prosperity and true commitment.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

Appreciation and Value

Appreciation.  It can be defined as a feeling of being grateful or an ability ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something.

Today, we engage a special road trip, personally and professionally.  We head for Heart’s Content, the birthplace and childhood town of my mother.  During her recent illness and passing, I learned even more of her early years.  I learned more of her early life; and later years.  Her father was Superintendent of the Cable Station, a place of vital importance in the history of communications and the world.  Without exploring the details here, suffice it to say that I gained a deeper appreciation of her life, her opportunities, challenges… and more.  I came to know Marion MacDonald Green that much more.  My appreciation grew beyond my love for her as mother.

We are dedicating the spirit of our company to her strength and grace and perseverance.  This trip is part of that dedication.  Appreciation is a virtue.  It is the mortar that builds relationships, personally and professionally.  Those relationships are investments, and appreciation strengthens them.  It requires us to see those with whom we work in new and better ways; customers, colleagues and more.  It allows us to see the good around, behind and ahead of us.  It strengthens our spirit, through gratitude.

Here are some thoughts on appreciation.   Practice appreciation.  See where that investment takes you.

Appreciate you mom.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Whether you agree or disagree with the “punishment fitting the crime”, I would consider that this is about respect.  What you say or do in and amidst the confines of your circle of “friends” is your business, mutually consented upon.  Still, we too often think of professional sports as “where the boys play”.

I am a huge NFL Football Fan.  I believe in the honor of the game.  That being said, the hideous behavior of some elements of fandom has nothing to do with sport and “the game”.  It has everything to do with bullying and some primitive grab for a sense of power.  It’s “just a joke” should more be a descriptor of the behavior, not the “humor” such as it is.

Honor the game.  Honor the beauty of the game, whether it be football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, cricket, chess or whatever.  Leave the Neanderthal attempts at humor to your “backrooms” amongst those who will accept it.  I love me some fun, but not at the expense of the dignity of others.  “Round here, I call that bullying and thuggery.  If you take pride in that, it says much about your state of character, as it is right now.

Get to the game, support your team, have a blast… and respect others’ dignity.    Now, there is a fan.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  You just found out what it means to me.

Peace, passion and prosperity… without ripping others.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

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