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: April 2016

UNIFESTO: The Work of UNITY

This morning, in these early hours, we are exploring unity; a much misunderstood and sometimes even maligned and ridiculed concept, virtue and strength of character.

We often think of unity as a destination.  Ultimately, it is a strength of character that advances us towards just such a destination.

Consider unity, for a moment.  Consider the unity of the hand.  It is comprised of diverse players each with talents, perspectives and capacities; four different fingers, 1 “opposing” thumb that seems to complement, nails and a palm.  Separate, each are very limited.  United, they can have the power of touch or a fist… and they can grapple and maneuver and constructively manipulate.  Beyond the capacity of our brain, our human hand has played a powerful role in our growth as a species; especially that “opposing but complementary” thumb.

If you have not guessed already, unity is a personal favorite of mine (if I have favorites, and I do).  Indeed, it is my personal brand as The Unity Guy™, in my work as an educator and entrepreneur… and the founding energy of Epic Engage™.  I believe it a powerful virtue of leadership, fostering the kind of synergy that makes classrooms, workplaces, businesses, families and communities ever more prosperous and flourishing.

CONSIDER UNITY

Consider, for a moment, the elements of unity and its practice…

  • Seeking the common good.
  • Appreciating differences.
  • Resolving conflict peacefully (and powerfully).
  • Honoring the value of each individual.
  • Being a unifier.
  • Appreciating and celebrating (and loving) humanity.

I have said it before, will again… and say it now.  Unity is not uniformity.  Unity, at its strongest, is based in diversity.  It finds the common ground while celebrating and drawing upon the uncommon differences.  It fosters strategic advantage because it advances diversity of perspectives while strengthening common purpose.  Great teams in sports thrive on it; as do great teams anywhere.

 

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.  — Vince Lombardi

Lombardi understood it.  Dale Carnegie did too.  Aragorn understood it in times of crisis.  Great things happen when can rally the sum total with differing talents and perspectives but a common purpose.  I see it in my annual work building and coordinating a volunteer team of hundreds with the Janeway Telethon here in my home Province… egos left at the door, perspectives brought, talents delivered, and purpose shared.

There is nothing kumbaya about unity; nothimg Panacea or Utopian,  It requires skill and work and commitment.  Indeed, here we are exploring its very need and challenge in governance, economics and more.  It demands seeking the common good, appreciating and building on the differences, resolving conflict peacefully and powerfully, and honoring the value of each individual.  It demands of us that we see the humanity.  Then, we are the unifiers needed to lead with common purpose for uncommon results.

THE EVOLUTION of UNITY

I invite you to check this out

Unity works, when it is worked.  Indeed, and if one truly studies global history in the big picture (removed from episodic circumstances), we can witness an evolution of this strength of unity.  We started with collectives of families as a species.  That concept evolved to clans, tribes, villages, city states, nations, regions, economic unions, and commonwealths.  What were once our enemies are now our friends.  Despite the numerous examples of factions and fighting, in the grand picture, unity is winning.  It is the true force of nature.

As noted, I am not speaking of panacea.  It is not perfection; it is perfecting.  It is a hard fought and hard earned (and growing) unity in its most practical and powerful form.

Schools struggle with unity until they go to the football or hockey game.  Then we wear our colors and cheer our team, while during the week we find our factions.  We have the capacity to unite.

Provinces and States and countries do the same.  In-house fighting turns to a strong sense of unity in the face of external threats.  Indeed, united we stand and divided we fall.  We know this.  We have the capacity for this.  Our families, sometimes torn, will stand together in the face of such.  If we do not have traditional family, we will try to find ours in other ways.

THE SYNERGY that is UNITY

Unity is not some Utopian Dream.  It is pragmatism at its best.  Deep down, we get that.  However, we lose it when we somehow think we are not threatened.  Familiarity and comfort can breed contempt.  It requires vigilance and a deeper reflection and understanding of unity… to live it powerfully and consistently.  And there are reasons to do so.  Peace and prosperity.  Synergy fosters such.

Dictionary.com defines synergy as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.

Yes the practicality of synergy is born of unity.  Churchill understood this when rallying the British in World War II.  JFK understood this.  Any great and time tested leader has shown both an understanding of this… and an ability to manifest it.  That is the virtue and character strength of unity.

THE CHARACTER of UNITY

So, let’s look at this again.  What is the character of UNITY?  It requires vision and strength.  It demands cooperation and understanding.  It is built on initiative, trust and trustworthiness.  It thrives on empathy, flexibility and fortitude.

We have just had a very tough budget introduced here in Newfoundland and Labrador; the product of a global drop in oil prices and a period of expenditures based on the seemingly unexpected nature of that drop.  Indeed, and now …  the blame game begins.  That being noted, and fully recognizing that a multitude of factors have brought us to this point… the political game thrives on blame.  Sitting governments, in power for mere months, seek to justify economic actions in the face of an opposition that was once the government.  Blame is part of that justification… on all sides.  Various interest groups and stakeholders lay claim to the need to be relatively unaffected by the economic reality of the day.  I get it.  We are often driven to protect our own.  In some cases that is hugely justified… for the populations most vulnerable.

THE BIGGER PICTURE

But what if our own were seen at a higher level?  I am not political.  I find it to be divisive, inherently so.  I have long said that ideologies constrain us and ideas free us..  One such idea is unity.  How would unity look in facing an economic fire?  How does unity manifest itself in the face of a literal fire in Bay de Verde?  Unity does not imply that there be no dialogue, no consultation, no exchange of views; but it’s spirit is built on cooperation, not contention… and it is inclusive, not partisan.  It is powerfully built on common purpose and not divided agenda.  It is not kumbaya.  It is hard earned and vital.

@ SCHOOL, WORK and COMMUNITY

What does unity look like in the classroom?  At school?  On campus?  How is it manifested?  What are its strengths?  How does it move from faking it to making it?  How can it be based on diversity, and not uniformity?  What is it’s return on investment for students and educators?

What does unity look like in the workplace and in business?  How is it manifested there?  What are its strengths and capacities?  How does it move from going through the motions and nice words… to reality?  How can it be based on the strategic advantage of diversity?  What is it’s return on investment?

What does unity look like in the community… in the sphere of economic management, politics and governance?  How is it manifested in constructive dialogue and creative problem solving?  What are its strengths for our communities, regions and nations?  How does it move from a nice idea to a working reality?  Do we need an external threat or how can we find it within ourselves?  How can it be based on diversity, and not that bland uniformity?  What is its return on investment for all of us?

THE OPTIMISM of UNITY

Some reading this might say… it will never happen.  But it has, and it will again.  If we can look to and study those times in history… both the moments and wholesale processes… we can find patterns of behaviour and understanding… and a practical optimism that was the force for its evolution.  United we stand and divided we fall is a truth.  It has been born out throughout history.  Short term and personal agendas divide and conquer.  Hard earned unity builds and grows.  Indeed, we are at a time in history, given technologies of communications and war alike… where the capacity to practice unity has never been stronger and the need to do so never been more vital.

Unity is a choice.  It requires optimism and for us to understand the power of …

  • Seeking the common good.
  • Appreciating differences.
  • Resolving conflict peacefully (and powerfully).
  • Honoring the value of each individual.
  • Being a unifier.
  • Appreciating and celebrating (and loving) humanity.

I believe in these words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Note ye how easily, where unity existeth in a given family, the affairs of that family are conducted; what progress the members of that family make, how they prosper in the world. Their concerns are in order, they enjoy comfort and tranquillity, they are secure, their position is assured, they come to be envied by all. Such a family but addeth to its stature and its lasting honour, as day succeedeth day. And if we widen out the sphere of unity a little to include the inhabitants of a village who seek to be loving and united, who associate with and are kind to one another, what great advances they will be seen to make, how secure and protected they will be. Then let us widen out the sphere a little more, let us take the inhabitants of a city, all of them together: if they establish the strongest bonds of unity among themselves, how far they will progress, even in a brief period and what power they will exert. And if the sphere of unity be still further widened out, that is, if the inhabitants of a whole country develop peaceable hearts, and if with all their hearts and souls they yearn to cooperate with one another and to live in unity, and if they become kind and loving to one another, that country will achieve undying joy and lasting glory. Peace will it have, and plenty, and vast wealth.

Still, it is a choice to practice it.  The choice is ours… at school, family, work and community.  My suggestion in these early hours is that we each reflect on our role in fostering powerful and practical unity; one that moves away from bullying and/or getting one’s own way to a place where we work together (and I mean work) to build a bigger pie… and share it while we are doing so.

Have discussions in your classrooms, schools, workplaces, businesses and communities.  What would unity look like?  Study and reflect on the card above.  Consult and dialogue on what a foundation of unity would do for you, all?  Discuss the work and understandings necessary.  Get real.  Get united.  Then, stand and deliver.

ECONOMICS and UNITY

Budget 2016 for Newfoundland and Labrador is out now.  Indeed, it is a tough one, and probably, in amy ways, expectedly so.  The news is still tough.  Tough, indeed.   For each of us, it is time to consider what it might mean… what pains arise from it, how does it affect us as individuals, families, schools, companies, organizations and communities. Which way do we actually go from here?

That requires study and the virtue of discernment.

Seeking full information is crucial, as is reflection.  Thinking things through is paramount to deciding on paths forward.  No doubt, there are voices and forces now challenging the budget in some way, shape or form.  They are united in complaint but not, as yet solution.  Certainly, some hurts or complaints are more dire than others.  Either way, it truly requires us to best discern what impact it has and what sacrifices it demands… and even what opportunities it might create.  Yes, opportunities.

It is not lost on me that, as long as we look for economic respite from cuts and shrinkage, we are not looking for markets and opportunities elsewhere.  It is a big world outside of our 500,000 souls here.  But, that is another blog.  This post, here and now, ties into the news of the day but finishes this week looking at building UNITY.  Yes, unity.  And here we go again.  Let’s explore this further.

ICAN build UNITY

Unity does require work, but the payoff is synergy.   It requires focus but the payoff is powerful effect.  In times of trial, we need it most of all.  One model I have suggested over the years to help in building practical and powerful unity is what I call ICCCCAN or IC4AN.  In addressing any matter, individually or collectively, I suggest you consider these 7 steps to get on both the same and the right page, for you.

1. Clearly identify the core ISSUE.

You start here because going after symptoms leaves you with the problem still.  In order to avoid band aids, we must take the time to discern the core and true issue.  What is at the heart of the particular matter we are facing?  What is the ultimate problem that we need to address in the now?

2. Next, articulate the CAUSES.

Start to get specific on what has gotten you to this place, this space.  Exhaust all the factors that have contributed.  Create a comprehensive inventory of those factors.  They will serve in helping formulate responsive strategies.

3. Then, get clear on the CONSEQUENCES.

For ultimate motivation, get abundantly clear on what will happen if you do nothing about the current issue.  Get it so palpable and taste-able that you know something must change.

4. Establish the CRITERIA for making any decisions.

Here, you set up your Litmus Test… getting clearing on the parameters and limitations that govern any decision… time and money often times are examples… but not always.  Get clear on the real world boundaries that will guide your decisions.

5. Now, look at the matter of CHARACTER.

What will define us in how we answer the challenge?  What strengths of character are most being called upon at this time.  Character is the soil of action.  It is the heart of the solution.  Character guides us too.  Get clear on what virtues you must draw upon to make this work.  Focus on 3-5 go to strengths.

Maybe even do a 5 Card Virtues Spread online here.

 

This is your Character Compass… you have identified the issue, gotten clear on the causes, consequences and criteria.  Now you set your course, founded on character.  And now, you are ready to address tactics.

6. Establish core ACTIONS necessary to address the issue. 

Ground these actions in the discerned and decided character of Step 5.  Alignment is everything.  Consistent action demands it.  If the actions do not align with the sense of character, change one or the other.  Alignment is vital.  Establish 3-5 core actions that must be taken, with consistency and commitment, in order to address the problem.  You can create subsets of activities under the 3-5 but keep your core at 3-5.  Simplicity and focus are indeed crucial.

7. Get clear on what your NOW is…

Then, after you have your strategic analysis and action plan, it is time to kick start this thing.  Here, you get very clear on what your first step must be.  As Shinedown sings “The first step is the one you believe in; the second one might be profound…” .  All in all, this is the launch pad step.

With discernment and diligence, determination and truthfulness, you conduct the first 6 steps.  With zeal and initiative and accountability and commitment, you approach the 7th step and throughout your work ahead.

When we face challenges individually, these steps offer a strong but flexible structure to get clear.  Certainly, for me, over this last year… it has been a true source of help and guidance on my road back to full health, business, work and life.  No doubt.

When facing challenges together, they provide the opportunity to both get clear and united.  Whether addressing personal or Provincial economies, these 7 can be purposeful and effective.  They require work, but they produce efficiency and effectiveness, through synergy.

THE REAL CHALLENGE

I am throwing out a constructive challenge.  This week, around unity, what is one challenge you are facing at work, school or community?  What is the issue you face?  Maybe it relates to the economic news of this day, as a family or business or school or community.  Walk yourself through this process.  How could you see drawing upon these 7 steps to affect constructive change?

Try that out… unity is not easy stuff but it is a phenomenon of creative power… it can illuminate the whole earth, or our corners of it.  Ain’t nothin’ kumbaya about that.  Indeed, in accepting where we are and finding a synergism in hard earned unity to find our best answers, making things change and happen requires zeal, if we are to forge and lead.  Until then, and through it all… these are my considered thoughts.  I wish you…

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Find more posts here … or here… and in our LINKEDIN groups

Besides LINKEDIN… you can find us on Twitter, @epicengage.  … on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global…. and on You Tube.

PPS

Subscribe to Epic Engage on You Tube too.  We are building a cool, funky united community. 

Accept the Challenge?

Recently, we explored acceptance as a strength and some questions around its application at school, work and community.  Now, before anything else, I invite you to engage this video activity.  Be warned of language.  It is not intended to offend, but to demonstrate a point.

Words have less power than the tone of the words; their intention.  I can say hello with love or hate.  Words are symbols and we apply meaning to them; not unlike the swastika that was once a sign of auspiciousness and now we know it for something else.  It is the energy behind the words.  The emotional energy of this video above is one of acceptance; regardless of the words.  Acceptance is a virtue, universal and independent of simple matters of language.

This is not to say that words cannot hurt.  They can, if both intended and received in the spirit of hurt.  What we intend to deliver is part of that process.  What we accept to receive is too.  I have long believed and said that “just because someone thinks we are stupid does not make it so.  It just means that they are not yet brilliant enough to see our own brilliance”.  I am not trying to be smug or cliche here.  But Eleanor Roosevelt said it well…

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

… and that…

Only a man’s character is the real criterion of worth.

Where do you make your stand?

Acceptance is a virtue; a strength of character. It is universally accessible too.  But the real and true question is not whether to choose to practice it or not… but to choose what we will accept.  There are things we must accept.  Then there are things we choose to accept.  The choice of accepting is powerful.  If we accept our lot or the opinions of others then we make powerful choices to yield our thoughts to others.  Sitting on a Hugh Culver organized conference call with Michael Port today, Michael noted that unsolicited opinion is not required to be taken.  When we ask for it, we are demonstrating a willingness to consider and possibly accept it.  That is our choice.

So…

… and here is your challenge for this weekend, or whenever.

FIRST, make a conscious list of things, the givens and facts, that you simply must accept.  Accept them.  Accept their reality.

SECOND… Then make a conscious list of those situations you have a choice to accept.  Accept where you are with each and accept that you have the power to make a difference in staying there.

FINALLY, identify one thing around which you have the power to choose and decide:

  • what you need to accept about the situation as it is currently; there is your starting point…
  • what you need to do to accept your responsibility for making changes to address the situation…
  • what consistent actions you will accept to take on it doing so, and what you will not; and…
  • to accept your decision to take action, by taking the action and being willing to see where it takes you.

As I continue my own deliberate work back from the stroke, and making real and strong progress, this activity has powerful resonance for my work, service and life this year and going forward.  I hope it resonates for you too.

Acceptance brings serenity but serenity is not surrender.  It is freedom, to lose the stuff we cannot change and choose the stuff we can.  What will be your choice this weekend? Get specific and focused on what you most need to accept, and move forward practicing that strength at school, work or community.

And for more help with acceptance, try that mediation again maybe.  🙂

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

A song about choice and what we accept…. I Dare You to watch and listen.

A little rockier version, with lyrics.

PPS

Find more posts here … or here… and in our LINKEDIN groups

Besides LINKEDIN… you can find us on Twitter, @epicengage.  … on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global…. and on You Tube.

Leader ToC™ with Valerie Hess

This month, with our first ever Leader ToC™ Blog Post, we interview Valerie Hess… the CommunityValerie Manager with the Virtues Project™ International AssociationLeader ToC™ (Thoughts on Character) is our monthly series engaging leaders around the world on character, leadership and more.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Hi Valerie, we have known each other for some time now, but it occurs to me that there is still much I would love to know.  Tell me about you?  Who is Valerie Hess?

VALERIE HESS:

For me, leadership training began at age 7, helping my dad in his office on Saturdays. First lessons included: sweeping floors… and once I mastered that skill, learning proper phone answering etiquette. My father was slowly cultivating my character and my entrepreneurial spirit. By age 15, I was an office manager in his Real Estate business and I had also found my Faith community. At 22, now married with children, I began my entrepreneurial career with a childcare business.  A year later, I was asked to become a foster parent for a teenage girl that I had known since birth.  I had no idea, that in agreeing to become a foster parent, I would find my calling, working with troubled youth; a calling that, by age 25, would lead me to open the first of four residential group home programs I would develop and administer over a span of 20+ years. Disillusioned with the systems approach to rehabilitation, I was looking for a program I could believe in that would make a significant difference in the lives of the youth I served.  I discovered The Virtues Project™ at a conference and knew by the end of training that I had found my life’s purpose… “serving the growth of The Virtues Project™.” I became a facilitator of The Virtues Project™, and with a friend opened Virtues Village, a virtues-based product and service company. In the beginning we focused on changing the lives of the youth and families I served and the hospital staff where she served.  I now serve on the Board of Directors for the global association that oversees the growth and expansion of The Virtues Project™.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Some of this I knew but I have a richer sense now more than ever.  Thank you.  That was helpful.  So, specifically, what is it that you do these days?

VALERIE HESS

Currently, I am the Community Manager for Virtues Project™ International Association, the governing body that supports the advancement of The Virtues Project™.  As I said, I am also co-owner of Virtues Village where we create virtues-based products and conduct workshops on the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project™… and a Master Facilitator of The Virtues Project™ where I train individuals to become facilitators of the work of The Virtues Project™.  The Project is core to what I do, needless to say.  But, I am also an advocate and caregiver for my handicapped sister who was born with Cerebral Palsy… and an actively involved grandmother.  I provide care for my youngest grandchild who was born prematurely.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Well, life is full, and good.  🙂  In doing what you do, who do you best serve?

VALERIE HESS

Those who are most vulnerable… and those who serve humanity making a positive difference. Currently, I best serve those who are serving The Virtues Project™ by transforming the cultures of families, schools, workplaces and communities through promoting the Five Strategies of The Virtues Project™.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

So, what are your thoughts on what makes for great leadership?

VALERIE HESS

Being passionate about what you do, act with integrity and value others…  practice idealism.  Care passionately about what is meaningful in life.  Have a vision, and then take action to make it happen.  Be humble.  Consider the needs and views of others as important as your own. Be willing to give and receive help.  Admit your mistakes openly to those you serve and those you lead.  Show compassion.  Be a good listener.  Create the space for others to be able to share their hopes, dreams and struggles.  Trust their journey.  In doing all of that, model assertiveness and integrity together.  Stand up for what you believe is right. Set clear boundaries… and express appreciation often to those you lead both in public and privately; in writing and verbally… provide meaningful compensation/reward where due.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Sounds like a powerful mix.  And I see the power of character in what you describe.  Given all of that, what is one challenge you feel requires engaging leadership at this time?

VALERIE HESS

The decline of our public school system. Often children are unable to learn due to the toxic environments that they are subjected to learn in; where poverty, violence, bullying, low self-esteem, mental disturbance, pessimism, and a lack of moral leadership are some of the factors.   We need to change the school culture to one of safety and caring so that everyone can do their jobs in peace and harmony.  Most of the changes being made today are made from the head.  The true change needed comes from the head and the heart working together.  Character education is a huge key to transforming what is wrong in our schools today; character education that inspires everyone in the culture to aspire to be and live as their greatest selves.  When we know who we truly are… we do better.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Personally, as an educator in public college education here in Canada, I see we share those concerns and passions.  What is the return on investment in facing that challenge, for you? 

VALERIE HESS

Saving innocent lives from gun violence and suicide.  Raising up morally strong leaders now and for the future. Promoting peace and unity in the world…

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

Wow and indeed.  I hear you, and share in that.  Let me commend you for the nobility and integrity and compassion of your work as a leader globally and on the front lines in powerful balance.

VALERIE HESS

I am thankful for the opportunity.  Thank you for the chance to share on this Barry.

BARRY LEWIS GREEN

My honor and pleasure.

 

Over the coming months, around the Thursday of each month… we will continue to engage and explore with experts and leaders around the globe.  We invite you to join us.

Until next month… peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Our work is all about character.  We work hard and joyfully to help build character driven, united and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you more posts here or in our LINKEDIN groups at:

… and on Twitter, @epicengage 

… and on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global

… AND on You Tube.

You can also join our STRONG SCHOOL™ GLOBAL… a free 30+ video and exercise based program around personal leadership.

 

The Vital Nature of Acceptance

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. – Buddha

Today, we are examining ACCEPTANCE as a virtue of leadership on campus, in companies and throughout communities.  In our first and very personal post on acceptance, a couple of weeks back… it was an unexpected opportunity to pay tribute to two remarkable people and friends who manifested acceptance in everything they did.  Still even today, amidst life, processing their untimely passage… I realize that, this too and for me, is a journey of acceptance.  It does and should take time.

And tonight, the eve of the first anniversary of the passing of my mother… yet another reminder.

With that and them in mind, this post poses some questions around the virtue and its application at school, work and community.  Remembering that its practice and manifestation is demonstrated in these affirmations and confirmations…

  • I receive my tests with humor and grace.
  • I seek the truth in all I experience.
  • I accept the things I cannot change.
  • I trust that there is some good in whatever happens.
  • I accept my intimates as they are.
  • I trust that I am a person of value.

… let us question and discern their real world application.

FIRST, I receive my tests with humor and grace.

How would this look in a classroom, as an educator or student?  How would it apply to the reality of literal test results and evaluations?  How would it impact receiving a lower than expected grade or score?  If we saw results as starting points and accepted their reality, knowing that we can go from there… what would that look like?  How would it impact our approach to receiving class schedules or interacting with new class mates and students on first days?  As educators, how might it impact our own evaluations of students and, indeed, our own evaluations of ourselves or from others? What might it look like in the workplace and in our communities… and on Boards… in working with what we have and working with others?  In facing trials, how would acceptance fulfill a healthy and effective role in defining starting points?

SECOND, I seek the truth in all I experience and I accept the things I cannot change.

What would this look like in the classroom, boardroom, staff room, community room and beyond?  What would this look like in how we dialogue and consult with one another?  What would be the impact on our aims and agendas if we saw what was real and true and worked with that?

THIRD, I trust that there is some good in whatever happens.

How can acceptance be a strength in the face of life?  See Carl and Tina for that.  See Malala for that.  See anyone who is facing physical, mental, emotional or material challenges and how they explore their resilience.

Consider the power of genuine acceptance in building resilience.  Acceptance is not surrender.  It is seeing what is for what it is, as a starting point or reality for living our best lives and working our best work.  It moves us from complaining to constructing.  It is the horse that healthy and real optimism rides.

FOURTH, I accept my intimates as they are and I trust that I am a person of value.

Now, imagine the power of acceptance in building both courage and confidence; in ourselves and others.  Imagine how acceptance can be the basis for real and genuine encouragement as students, educators, leaders and more.  Consider how acceptance can build esteem in all with whom we work and live… and in ourselves.  Acceptance does not imply that we settle.  We just understand where we are and when we are… on the path at school, work, community and life.

This is our work; exploring and advancing character… moving from behaviour to character as the truly sustaining source of excellence.  Ponder these questions above and more.  Ask yourself… how would acceptance empower and engage in your life right now? For me… with the memory of this night last year with mom… acceptance is a virtue of powerful and resonant importance.

Before I finish… let me say…

Love you mom… and dad.  I accept you both for you were and are… and I accept that you have moved on.  Sending love, and honor your way… and hope to do you both proud.  Miss you, but thankful for you both.

Thanks for allowing me that.  🙂

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Find more posts here … or here… and in our LINKEDIN groups

Besides LINKEDIN… you can find us on Twitter, @epicengage.  … on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global…. and on You Tube.

AUKwords is Coming

AUKwords is coming!

Over a month ago, and following my last CT Scan, I wrote this post on LINKEDIN.  What’s it gonna be indeed?  In it, I wrote of my love for cartooning.  Since that time, I have pondered where I take that.  I use it in my workshops and training to demonstrate capacity and a process of learning that I engage.  But, I want more of it.  So, starting this week, and once a month, right here… I will be producing what I call AUKwords Cartoonumn™.  It is born of a long held idea of using cartoons to help deliver on messages.  AU is the symbol of gold.  K is the symbol for king.  Auk is a seabird.  And it is all in honor and homage to my fave comic strip of all time… Breathed’s Bloom County and Opus the Penguin.  So, it all comes together, for me.For you?  My hope is to engage with a “funny” and maybe address a question or an answer along the way; driven by matters of character, capacity and creativity.  Once a month.  So, for now… I do fiercely and unapologetically believe in the nobility of the human race and help build strong and inspired cultures at school, work, family and community… where everyone counts and contributes.  AUKwords™ will be another creative vehicle in doing so. 

So, in answer to “What’s it gonna be boy?”.

AUKwords™.  Hope you tune in.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

While driving behind that bus that day, this song by Shinedown was playing… in some ways, it is still kind of appropriate.   Oh yeah.  🙂

 

PPS

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Education from the Roots Up

Here is an interesting read on education.

I invite you to have that read.  It examines some thoughts around factors for success in our students … factors that focus on supports and relationships.  In many ways, for me, it speaks to defining the character of our education.  What factors can realize the greatest potential?  After all, education is not simply a dumping of data… it is a realizing of potential; when best empowered and practiced.  So…

  • What virtues make for a powerful, effective and responsive education system?
  • What are the foundational strengths of great education?
  • What are its highest qualities?

Is it enthusiasm and zeal?   Responsibility and accountability?  Excellence and idealism?  Strength and confidence?  Combinations of same or others?  What are the foundation blocks of education that inspires, engages and fosters excellence?

Our work, and that of The Virtues Project™, focuses on character as the basis for leadership, education and development.  Indeed, we are inspired by this body of work and its relevance in education, at work, in prisons and throughout  communities around the globe.  Next week, we launch into a longer term process of exploring individual virtues or strengths of character as they might apply at school, work or community.  We will be looking at moving from behaviour to character, because all consistent behaviour is born of strengthened character.  Character is the root of consistent behaviour, not unlike the root of a tree and its relationship to the strength of its branches.  So, we will be examining same.

In the meantime, I offer you this recent post on the Purpose of Education and I invite you to put on your Character Lens and ask yourself what qualities make for a great and effective education system?  What are its strongest roots, in support of great and inspired learning?

Taking care of the roots builds a healthier and stronger tree.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

With this in mind, we offer The Miracle Worker, as an example of great education and in tribute to the late great Patti Duke.

PPS

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The Science and Action of Character

I invite you to watch this video on The Science of Character.  I also invite you to consider this collection of virtues; the strengths of character.STRO

Over the balance of 2016 and into 2017, we will be taking a discerning and deliberate look at a range of virtues, their opportunities and challenges, and ideas around their application at school, work and community.  For now, I simply invite you to consider which of these virtues are most important to you at this time in your life.  Ponder which ones have the greatest return on investment, as you practice them.

  • What are three that are vital for you now?
  • What are the specific returns for you or your team that will come from manifesting them at school, home, work or community?
  • How will you practice them?

Then, starting next week, we commence a systematic exploration of both the science and art of virtue and its impact on our lives.  This ain’t the soft stuff.  It is the good, hard and noble stuff.

FOR NOW… Here’s a thought and exercise.

A really good read on body languageHave a read.  See what is of value for you in your interactions and communications.  While I am not a fan of over analysis, there are thoughts and ideas here worthy of consideration, going forward.

That being said, with The Character Lens in mind, I might humbly suggest that body language is born of matters of character.  Behavior is a result, a symptom, of character.  It is true that the practice of character is a behaviour but it is more like a snowball effect; character drives behaviour which drives character.  Ultimately when we are watching body behaviour and language, we are looking for something deeper that it speaks to… character.  We do it in interviews, on dates and in watching movies.  We are looking for manifestations of character in behaviour.

So, in preparation for our upcoming year long examination of some 52 strengths of character and their application at school, work and community… I invite you to consider 3 virtues that you most admire.

Then, drawing upon what we call trait and behavioral theories of leadership… ask yourself this question, for each of the three virtues chosen.

What behaviours manifest themselves when this virtue is practiced?

In doing so, you are putting on the Character Lens.  More importantly, you are going deeper in recognizing and discovering the character of leadership and how it is found and encouraged.  Now, we start moving towards the kind of leadership that is powerfully aligned and authentically inspiring.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Some music to set the mood… music of character 🙂

PPS

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Besides LINKEDIN… you can find us on Twitter, @epicengage.  … on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global…. and on You Tube.

The In’s and Out’s of Responsibility

Over the past few weeks, I am seeing quite a few references and memes on Facebook spreading the message that the world does not owe you anything.  The translation often times is suck it up.

While I understand the concerns around what we call a sense of entitlement, I also have observed that all generations experience this sense, feeling owed for something they believe deserved.  The difference is to what each generation feels entitled.  But that is another post to explore, sometime down the road.  For now, I simply question the spirit of this claim that the world does not owe us anything.  While independence and personal responsibility are virtues to be admired and respected and honored, the proliferation of these messages seems very first world and born of opportunity.  Claiming that the world does not owe you anything when you are born into a region of the world of relatively high affluence… well let me respectfully say that that is almost too easy.

Let us say you are born into economic squalor and violence.  Oh, I am sure that there are some who find their way to survive, but not without help along the way.  My point is this.  Read the virtue of Responsibility.

I am accountable for what I do.  Yup.  That certainly speaks to the world not owing me anything.  I keep my agreements; that does too.  I give excellence and focus on my own part.  Indeed, these do too.  And I make amends for my mistakes… it references the sentiment of the world not owing me anything.

But much of this virtue speaks to what I also call our response ability.  The world may not owe us anything but part of responsibility is how we can be of service to others.  If we are each responsible to ourselves, we develop a sense of independence which is a strength.  Still, when we practice responsibility to others; well that is the other side of the coin.  In fact, we can and should both offer and seek out help from others because no one does it alone; whatever it is.

Cliches are cliches because they speak a truth.  The world does not owe us anything.  But cliches can be dangerous too, when we do not think them completely through.  Responsibility is both personal and social.  Maybe there would be less calls for help if help was more readily offered.  We are here for ourselves and others, and we should be building cultures and communities that encourage both.  Personal responsibility is a strength.  Social responsibility is as well.  The former without the latter is self-centered.  The latter without the former is lacking self care and attention.  We need both.

I recently experienced Batman vs Superman,  and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I will see it again.  Without spoiling it, the closing message had much to do with being there for each other and for the world.  No, the world may not owe us anything.  But, we owe it to ourselves and others to practice responsibility inwardly and outwardly.

That is response ability.  We need it in school, in our families and companies and communities.  It is called having the backs of those around us.  Check it out.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

and CHECK THIS OUT.

PPS

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Why Education?

An interesting, broad and even deep post on education in the US these days…  to maybe lesser degrees (excuse the pun) in Canada, but there are linkages.  Poor sentence structure, but you get the point.  🙂

Then, there is this classic from Sir Ken Robinson.  With all of this, I am moved to pose the question… what is the purposefulness of education?

Is it to find a job?  My favorite and toughest, Professor Rolf Hattenauer, back in the early 80’s … he left us all with the idea that it was to teach us to think.

I believe this to be so even more today.  Consider this, a little outdated but on the conservative side, if you will.  The pacing, seemingly, has only increased; and it can be overwhelming… especially for education.  Why are we learning?  For what purpose?

We cannot predict jobs and careers even 5 years into the future anymore.  Technology and culture are both changing so very quickly.  The world is evolving in some way, shape or form at powerful rates.  With this in mind, I believe and contend that we need to expand upon Professor Hattenauer’s message.  Indeed, we still need to consider professions and trades and arts and sciences.  But education must return and advance to a process of forging character, capacity and creativity to meet the needs of an ever increasingly changing world at work and beyond.  These are the pillars of great learning that is adaptive and resourceful…. and strives for excellence, growth and change.

We are.  We are indeed.  In the coming weeks and months we will explore these three pillars in closer detail.  For now, ask yourself what is the purposefulness of an education as we climb deeper into the 21st century?

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

Find more posts here … or here… and in our LINKEDIN groups

Besides LINKEDIN… you can find us on Twitter, @epicengage.  … on Facebook, at Epic Engage Global…. and on You Tube.

and… you can join our free online STRONG SCHOOL Global, filled with over 30 short videos and exercises for personal and professional growth; offered in simple service.

broadCAST April 2016: What is Your Hobby Horse?

The broadCAST™ is a monthly weigh in by members of The CAST™ of Epic Engage™.  Experts in their own right, members of The CAST™  are asked to answer a question of simple but possibly profound nature.  For April 2016, the question is:

What hobby or activity or passion brings you your greatest joy and what about it does that for you?

MAJEED MOGHARREBAN SAYS…

Being a father, playing with my kids has become my newest passion hobby. A young child is the personification of joy, discovery, and total presence. It’s incredible to witness and it inspires me to embody those same attributes. Before having children, I would have told you that the hobby that brings me greatest joy is travel. I love the challenge of figuring out where to go to get where you are going and the opportunities it affords to meet great majeed-square-web-ready-300x300people from all walks of life. While I still travel from time to time for work, I prefer to be home with my kids these days. In a way, travel is a means of finding joy outside of myself while spending time with my kids creates joy from the inside. Either way, enjoy your journey.

Majeed Mogharreban is all about entrepreneurship.  He owned and sold five successful businesses and traveled to 24 countries before he was 21 years old.  After early success in business, now his mission is to support the next generation of entrepreneurs to make a difference doing what they love. With clients ranging from the United Nations, to start-up businesses, to an Olympic gold medalist, Majeed helps you discover your strengths and your passions so that work is meaningful and fun. His book, Winning At Life, is a guide for young people to make a plan and win at life.  www.majeedm.com

 

SHEENA GROBB SAYS…

My favourite activity is the one that arises from freedom of choice and circumstance!  That’s the best!!  It’s when I get to pick up a book and get lost in someone else’s world for a while… because I’ve calmed the demands of my own.  It’s getting to write a song spontaneously… because I was free and available to follow the natural impulse to create. It’s getting to practice yoga when my body actually feels like moving and expressing… and not just Sheenabecause I could squeeze in a class.  My greatest joy follows my natural impulse.  Then everything is my favourite activity!!

Sheena Grobb Singer/Songwriter and Speaker… is humbly amazing. “It is without a doubt a masterpiece of songwriting and soundscape. Really incredible, soulful music. She will definitely get a huge audience in time, trust me.” Alex Wharton, Abbey Road Studios. A songbird from the age of two, songwriter at ten, with 3 albums under her belt, a nomination for the Western Canadian Music Awards, and over 500 tour dates across Canada, the US, and the UK, Sheena Grobb (one of Canada’s best kept secrets) is spilling over. With the release of her newest album, The Breakless Heart, mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London, and a life changing music video created by Lindsey Nelko (past choreographer with So You Think You Can Dance), Sheena is embarking on her most meaningful project yet – The Living Compassion Project™ – inviting others to “unlock their lives” through sharing their stories… as she begins to share hers. www.sheenagrobb.com

 

WILLIAM C. MURRAY SAYS…

As a bit of a workaholic, I spend a great deal of time nose-deep in research journals and textbooks. Although this academic curiosity is rewarding, the joy in my days comes from the small one-on-one moments with my students where I can improve their journey. I love getting the opportunity to work with them, be it engaging more deeply in a conversation about industry issues or providing them with a helping hand over a hurdle they find william-murray-296x300particularly challenging. My mentor and I would often refer to this as ‘the juice’ – the good stuff that energizes you through the act of selfless giving so that someone else can achieve success.

William C. Murray, PhD. is all about humanizing our business in two core ways: providing amazing service and building strong relationships. His passion for service excellence comes from years of hands-on experience in the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors. William is an author, story teller, an occasional painter, and a full time teacher with over 15 years of experience. He holds a PhD in management with a focus around meaning creation, language, and sensemaking.  www.williamcmurray.ca

 

JOEL SWEENEY SAYS….

Without question, my favorite hobby is music. I have been playing guitar and singing for over 40 years. It is an integral part of my life. There are not too many days when I don’t play a tune or two.  There is something magical about leading a group of people in a fun and friendly sing-a-long. Everyone enjoys themselves and quickly become lost in the music. The trials and tribulations of the day melt away as they enjoy the moment.  I am Joel-Sweeney-291x300not technically proficient and that’s okay. I don’t need to be for the type of music that I play. A good friend and I have been playing together for over 15 years. We play for most of the retirement homes in our city. We treat our music as if we are playing in an old fashion, Newfoundland, ‘Kitchen Party’. We choose songs that the audience knows, so they can sing-a-long, clap their hands, tap their feet or even have a ‘scuff’ (dance) on the ‘kitchen floor’.  There are no shortages of special moments when we play at the retirement homes. It is not unusual to see a resident in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s suddenly respond to a song they recognize. It might be something as simple as tapping their fingers or mouthing the words. In that moment you know that you made a special difference and it is a nice feeling.

 Joel Sweeney is all about effective communications. He is a professional speaker, trainer, facilitator, personal coach and author of The Wedding MC Handbook and Little Helpings of Food for Thought with his third book, The Speaker’s Tool Box, just released in the Fall of 2014. Through his focus on communications training and his keynote speeches, Joel helps individuals and organizations maximize their potential. His messages are thought provoking, entertaining and laced with connection, humor and enthusiasm. www.JoelSweeney.com

RAY HOLLISTER SAYS…

What hobby or activity or passion brings you your greatest joy and what about it does that for you? My hobby/activity that brings out the most joy is Golf. Interestingly, it also brings out the most frustration! But I sincerely find it to be 2 sides of the same coin of growth. Any bad shot on my part is purely – and solely – MY doing! And the beauty of this is that the opposite is equally true; any good shot on my part is purely and solely MY doing. Golf for me represents life in so many ways and serves as a reminder that I can translate what I learn on the course to my daily life. When something Ray-300x294wonderful happens, I am quick to ‘take credit’, I need to be cognizant of when something does NOT go my way – and I need to be just as quick to take responsibility for when my actions produce results that don’t match my expectations. Another great joy of golf is the beauty of the courses and wildlife that can be encountered along the way. Again, it serves to remind me that I can take the same attitude in life; I can revel in the beauty of the ‘landscape of life’ as well as enjoy the ‘wildlife’ I encounter on a daily basis. Golf elicits passion, joy, and growth for me every time I play. And it is comforting to know that I can do the same with my daily living by applying the same principals to my life. So let me end with this; FORE!!!!!

Ray Hollister is all about resilience and potential. He works with organizations to reveal extraordinary resilience and unlimited potential in everyone.   His powerful presentations will not only energize and inspire you, but also reveal how YOU can make radical, immediate changes to how you perceive, handle, and experience adversity resulting in experiencing life in a new and thrilling way.  www.rayhollister.net

BARRY LEWIS GREEN SAYS…

Hobby, hmmmm.  I love me some cartooning and miss my dancing Salsa (but that shall return).  I love crafting the written and spoken word too.  I love Super Hero flicks and watching epic movies and stories.  I love geography, history and travel too.  This is starting to sound like a profile on a dating website lol.  BUT, the one thing that comes to heart and mind that I would never want taken away, for the pure joy… is singing; singing my music.  Music that has meaning and soul… particularly in the rock vein.  WhenBLG I sing, I truly lose myself in the music.  Teleportation has nothing on it.  🙂  That being said, I have done little training, but this year… that changes.  This hobby is a craft to me and it is time to give it it’s full due.

Barry Lewis Green is an educator.  He is a dynamic motivator.  Yes, he is a motivational speaker of substance.  He is an expert who speaks.  Barry is The Unity Guy™. EPIC Engage™ is an extension of The Unity Guy™. It is a team with a mission born of Barry’s work.  He is about epic and noble leadership and wholehearted communities at work, school and everywhere; advancing together in thought, will and action. He is about uniting diverse talent to create cultures of growth. www.epicengage.com

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