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Breaking from Ground Hog Day

So it is Ground Hog Day.  Considering the movie of same name, I thought I might launch into February with an idea around treadmills and treading water and getting things done; moving beyond the seeming repetition surrounding getting at things.

I am a multitasking machine; at least I am known to be.  That being said, true multitasking is a myth.  Other than automatic functions, our brains, as they are in function now anyways,  were not built for pure and simultaneous multitasking.  Sure, we can perfect skill in switching gears with almost immediate response but it cannot truly be sustained.

This weekend, my business manager, Nicole Fowler, and I took on the task of re-engineering Pseudio One, the true epicenter of our creative work at EPIC Engage™.  There was much to do and the temptation was, at first, to break it into bits and alternate with other tasks to creative variety and placate my multitasking drive.

We decided against, and pursued a more conscientious and devoted approach.  The result was not only a newly re-created creative space, but additional readiness to take on the next task in sequence.  There is something to finishing a task that readies one to take on another.
Stretching ourselves amongst many projects creates a continual sense of incompletion.  Sure, there are times when multitasking is not only preferable but vital… but it is not a sustainable state.  While I drive, and love driving, a standard transmission, the constant switching of gears will burn out the clutch.  There are times when such responsiveness is necessary but the ideal is to find great stretches where we are in one gear.

That all being said, I am taking this notion to a daily application.  With Nicole recently joining the team at EPIC Engage™, I can now turn my attention to daily projects around blogging, research, distribution of value added ideas and thoughts, and my creative work.  You can expect, and possibly even look forward to, uploads and offerings to either brighten or further engage your day at work and life.  That consistency is now made possible by both Nicole’s presence in our work… and my approach to one project a time.

Engagement, epic engagement, requires an ALL IN mentality.  Sometimes that requires us to be responsive and shift gears.  More often than not, it requires us to put the pedal to the metal and get to where we are going.  This weekend, we did so with Pseudio One and feel the better for it.  See the results.  It is a space wholly conducive to creativity and solution development.  Going forward, I intend to replicate that feeling of accomplishment daily.  It serves to strengthen capacity and build prosperity.

Focus and get it done, whatever “it” is.  See how that feels and works, then stay tuned for more to come.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The Soil and the Tree

As a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, I ever increasingly understand that behaviour modification is often transitory.  It is based on the management of the relationship between actions and consequences.  Still, we do not often make a permanent link to same and will fall back into questionable habits.

Character development is about practicing pre-existent virtues.  Dale Carnegie once said “Act enthusiastic and you will be enthusiastic.”  This has wisdom but focuses on behaviour modification. I would suggest, act with enthusiasm and you will be enthusiastic. This is true of all virtues.  Act with compassion and you will compassionate.  Act with creativity and you will be creative.  I will often refer to the virtues as arrows in my quiver; they are there, permanent and ready to be drawn forth.  They are not conditional.  They are not transitory.  Virtues exist, period.  They are ready to be accessed; to be called upon whenever needed.

When I face a particular situation, applying the 5 steps of strategic leadership:

  • identify the situation
  • analyze the circumstances
  • develop a plan
  • implement the plan through action, and
  • evaluate the results.

… I will consider what virtues are relevant; what strengths of character are demanded.  In so doing, I will foster a plan of action grounded in the application of those virtues.  Strengths of character, according to The Virtues Project™, are accessible to us all.  We draw upon them and practice them.  They are not unlike an ocean from which we can draw strength.  The ocean is there.  It exists, whether we draw upon it or not.

With this in mind, here is a list of 100 Virtues.  Download it.  Have it as a reference.  When facing an issue, examine the situation not strictly from a behavioural perspective.  Consider what virtues are being called into action.  Let that be the foundation.  When developing your plan of action, consider how those virtues need be manifested.  Practice them.  As you do, the character quotient becomes the foundation for the behaviour question.

Behaviour is born of character, but character is practiced in behaviour.  Consider character as the soil and behaviour the tree.  Enrich the soil and watch the tree grow.

Peace, passion and prosperity

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

Raising the Flag

This is not a political statement.  It is not a statement of hate.  It is a statement.

Today, we hear more news of misguided and hateful people claiming they have “avenged the Prophet” in killing innocent people in France.  Their strategy is to divide us.  As a Baha’i, I believe in and love Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, The Christ, The Prophet Mohammed, Baha’u’llah and all the Prophets and Manifestations of God.  I believe that They are united.  Thinking you have killed in Their name is pure ignorance, with horrible and impure action.  Mohammed takes no joy in your actions.  Neither does Jesus, The Christ take joy or pride in the fact that some Christians thought it appropriate to name a nuclear sub after Him, or kill millions in His name.  Still, this is not a religious statement either.

Today, I am reminded, yet again, of why I do what I do.  Well intended people have long suggested I re-brand from The Unity Guy™.  I will not.  Unity, at its core, is the solution.

Unity is not uniformity.  It is not conformity.  Its true strength is in diversity.  Our differences and our sameness make us stronger.  Those who would divide us see this and know this.  The extremes have no wish for unity.  It is true in geopolitics.  It is true in religion.  It is true in workplaces, schools and communities the world over.  Those who seek to divide us, seek to confine us.

So, how do we move beyond this hideous block to a new level of prosperity?

We talk.  We listen.  We understand that there is one thing that unites us all… the high standard of humanity.  It is our humanity that is our noble birthright.  It is our inhumanity that blocks us from the kind of synergy that eradicates extremes of wealth and poverty, advances true justice and builds a level of prosperity yet unseen.

Is this pie in the sky?  If it is, we had better start baking and climbing.  It is the only real and practical strategy we truly have.  Raising the flag of apathy will not change things.  Raising the flag of bemoaning and despair will not either.  Raising the flag of hatred and ignorance will add fuel to a fire already too large.  Now, raising the flag of unity… the kind of unity that exists in nature… the kind of unity where difference is strength… there is the only truly sane strategy.

Several years back, I created a composition called The Secret Truth©.  Check it out.  Download it.  It is FREE.  I love functional competition; the kind that makes us strive to be better.  But, this insane ignorance and hatred has nothing to do with that.  It is about “us” versus “them” in the most dysfunctional of ways.

In the meantime, this post might lose me “friends”.  It might gain me friends.  It might lose me potential clients and might gain me some.  That is not its purpose.  Its singular purpose is to fiercely lay claim to the work of my life.  Whether it is in workplaces or classrooms, in communities or companies… my purpose is to serve both the strategy and tactics for finding unity as the path out and through.  It is not about kumbaya and holding hands.  It is about working together to build peace, passion and prosperity.

At EPIC Engage™, our collective and growing body of work is all about moving forward together and stronger; about advancing together in thought, will and action.  So, to those who today claimed that they “avenged The Prophet”;  I do not believe you.  To those who would raise the call of hate on either side, I do not believe you.  To those who believe there is a better way to work together and create a world, locally and globally, that works and “gets it”, here I stand.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS: An Anthem by Shinedown; let’s rock this!

The Unity Connection

It is a two-fer today.  Following up on my earlier blog regarding the ups and downs of life and living and working epic, I suggest that, personally and professionally, 2014 was a year of consolidation as growth for me.  With that in mind, 2015 is being approached as a year expansion as growth,

With a new strategic vision and plan in place, characterized by simplicity and alignment, the intent is to focus on execution.  In so doing, I am applying three simple daily steps.  I use the acronym C.A.R.; consultation, action and reflection.  With my one page strategic plan in hand, each day I will begin with a personal consultation with my plan to determine actions for the day, take those actions, and finish the day with reflection on results and growth.  There is no auto pilot.  There is only a daily process of execution using these three steps.

In so doing, I will be documenting reflections in and on various areas as they might relate to how we each can make this an epic year.  That being said, each week, on Saturday, I will blog on thoughts and implications for epic leadership and engagement; through The EPIC Blog.  Here, you will find considered thought around the kind of leadership and engagement and moves us forward together, stronger.

As well, on a daily basis, I will be blogging on personal and professional reflections on my actions and results right here at the Unity Connection.  Here, you will find thoughts, quotes, music, articles and more that relate to unity, diversity, talent, culture, leadership and anything else that speaks to leading an epic life where we find our fit, as opposed to simply “fitting in”.  Here, you will find an array of content that delivers on the notion that “epic leaders unite diverse talent to create cultures of growth”.

If you love great music that engages and inspires… if you love articles and thoughts that engage constructive collaboration… if you believe in policy and good governance over simple politics and the contention of “the game”… if you believe in service on the ground and in your face and heart… The Unity Connection will be a repository to explore advancing together in thought, will and action.  The posts will be daily and can impact, work, business, school, community and life.  I hope you join me there.  I hope you LIKE it.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

An Epic 2015?

Happy New Year! The sentiment is everywhere; but what makes for a happy and prosperous New Year and life anyway?  Is it goals? Is it claiming “abundance”? Is it simplicity?

What makes for true happiness and prosperity?

I see it increasingly in social media. Constantly professing the perfection of one’s life is almost as dangerous as constantly bemoaning how imperfect it is. Truly, positive thinking must embrace the ups and downs, ebbs and flows, ying and yang as sources of strength and wisdom.  Pain and pleasure are both part of life. Bad things happen to “good people” and good things happen to us all. Life is not what happens to us but how we find our character to walk through it.

True championship does not happen without challenge. “Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity” still implies adversity and Garth Brooks captured this in The Dance. It also implies that gratitude is not simply “counting our blessings” in some traditionally conceived way.  Blessings come in pleasure and pain.  It is about how we face and engage life that defines us. We are not defined by our circumstances, but by how we meet them. Still, those same circumstances exist and are not to be pretended away.

Perfection is a myth… but perfecting is the path and that requires trial and triumph… and being of help and asking for it. It is what great strategic leadership is all about. It is what superior tactics are indeed about. It is in the sharpening of the blades and going to work that we find our strength and our success; at work, business, school, community and life.

Therein is the epic life and story. Therein is what truly unites us.

May your year be positively epic.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Motions, Misery, Meaning, and Merriment

This past week has been one of certain extremes; from caroling with dear friends with G’rilla Kindness™ at the residence of my mother and she hearing me sing for the first time in 91 years… to running the streets of downtown St. John’s on a Saturday night with my G’rilla Soldier™ friends, handing out food and clothing…. to visiting the grocery store and witnessing the misery of people who have more but seemingly don’t…. these and many more instances this past week have left me with one single thought this Christmas Day.

This day, I am of the thought that going through the motions leads to misery. Finding the meaning leads to merriment.  It is in the WHY that we find the joy. 

Too many lives have been relegated to simple survival, and not in its truest terms.  I am talking of the same ol”, same ol’… what I call the conformity of boredom.  Therein lays misery.  And breaking free of it does not have to mean throwing out our lives as they are.  It means we have to find meaning in those lives.

The motions bring misery. 

The meaning brings merriment.

This afternoon, I found myself having Christmas Dinner with my mother and cousin at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home.  A Christian, a Jew and a Baha’i for Christmas Dinner with other residents and family and friends.  This was a community of the moment.  At some point, I felt the urge to sing; and so I did.  Others chimed in… and joy was spread.   It was palpable, taste-able, and unmistakable.  It was a moment of epic, with a room filled with spontaneous singing and joy, all ages and backgrounds included.

Epic leadership is, at times, quite simple.  Bring joy.  Joyfulness is fuller than happiness; deeper, more powerful and resonant.  It is founded on seeing the value in everyone.  It is noble.  It is grounded in being all in.  It is wholehearted.  It is epic, in an everyday kind of way.

For me, beyond the unfolding and amazing service of G’rilla Soldiers™ and the work I continue to love as a business educator and with EPIC Engage™, this past December 9th, I had the blessing to sing in Toronto for the opening of the year of Toni Newman‘s Presidency of CAPS, the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers www.canadianspeakers.org.  It provided me additional meaning going forward; that the path to creating powerful, practical, purposeful and epic unity and engagement is through joy. I am not sure where it will take me but it does bring a smile.  I hope you enjoy.

Because We Believe

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

The Epic Road

Dictionary.com defines epic as, among other things, “heroic; majestic”.  Merriam-Webster adds “extending beyond the usual or ordinary especially in size or scope “.

Dictionary.com defines a virtue as, in part, “a good or admirable quality or property”.   Merriam-Webster refers to it as “a good and moral quality”.

As a Master Facilitator for The Virtues Project™, and a student of character as a basis of leadership, I am increasingly reminded that epic has the characteristics of being a virtue.

If so, I would suggest epic is born of heroism and vision; of nobility and wholeheartedness.  It implies the presence of the virtues of wisdom, courage and certitude.  It is present in the speeches of Kennedy, Churchill and King.  It is present in the speech of Aragorn.

We live in a world demanding such leadership now.  Whether the world of work, or school or community… whether the world of nation building.  We need epic.  And yet, we struggle with manifesting it.  I contend that we need look no further than the practice of heroic courage, wisdom, truthfulness to start.  It is not about being either politically correct or offensive; it is about calling attention to truth and wisdom with nobility and wholeheartedness.

With this in mind, in the days and weeks to come, through a process of writing our next book, I will be offering thoughts around living epic, noble, and wholehearted lives.  I hope that you will join me on the journey of exploration.  It might very well be epic.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Doing is Believing

Some months back, the incredible Toni Newman asked me if I would perform a song to help launch her year as President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.  My first reaction was indeed yes.  But the song being requested was Because We Believe as sung by Andrea Bocelli.  Needless to say, there was trepidation in that yes.  This was out of my ballpark.  My genre is rock.  Yes, I sing Journey and some Triumph along the way, but Bocelli?  Still, I could not refuse Toni; and I could not refuse my inner voice saying “challenge”.

Months passed and I drove to and from work playing and singing.  I tried the song at karaoke and got great and cool feedback.  Still, it was in the car and at karaoke.  Surely, live in front of 250 people from all over the world would be different.  Still, I practiced.  I remembered my new favorite book, the War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  I knew what I had to do.

Then last weekend, the time had arrived.  The Conference opened on Saturday evening.  Many of my unofficial but personally acknowledged mentors were there,  Joe Calloway included.  Toni.  Many friends and colleagues. On Sunday night at the CAPS Foundation Fundraiser, our band ELEVATION performed and we had an incredible time rocking out.  But that was rock and my joy and comfort.  That night, I found myself Skyping with my best friend Lisa and she asked me to sing it.  It was emotional.  It was a great feeling… but it was still not “the show”.

That next morning was rehearsal, and it went flawlessly.  Still, it was not “the show”.

You see, the song was not only Bocelli.  It was not only in front of a sizeable international audience.  It was not only a commitment to Toni and her leadership and friendship.  Warren Evans, the wondrous founder of CAPS passed this year.  We all missed him.  There was intense emotion and this song was, in large part, dedicated to his legacy.

Gulp.

But I believed.  I believed in Warren, in Toni, and in the people who had come to this place.  I believed in CAPS.  I believed in my best friend Lisa.  I believed in my friends and family, including my best little dog in the world, Panda.  Most importantly, I believed in my God, my father and my sister in the next world and dedicated it to them.  Moments before being called up, I thought of them all.  I got my mind off me and my heart on them.  The cue came, and I entered the stage, closed my eyes with Bocelli in mind and sung like I have never before.

There were comments of great kindness afterwards, from musicians, singers, speakers, writers and all.  I was overwhelmed.  I was not overwhelmed by any sense of talent.  I was overwhelmed by the realization that doing is believing.  The way is the work and the work is the way.  A wolf does not “hope” he can hunt.  He goes hunting… he works his way, develops his skill.  Nature is filled with examples of doing as the path to believing.

Since then, I have a heightened realization that action is everything.  And everything requires everything.  Doing dances with being, intensely.

You want something.  Do it, work it, craft it.  Dance with it, through the stumbles and even the falls.  The magic, the real magic, is not simply believing, but acting as if you believe.  The feeling will follow the action.  And the action requires work.  In my work and play going forward, with educators, youth, service providers, leaders and more… this is my enhanced modality.  The way is the work and the work is the way… we sharpen the blades and go to war each day.  The good fight desires it.  The great fight demands it.

By the way, that ballpark? I knocked it out of there.

Do, Believe. Be.

Peace, passion and prosperity

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

Soldiering ON

As I start 3 days of learning, speaking, and singing at the 2014 CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) Convention, I am awaking this morning with a thought around words.

We grew up with the adage, “sticks and stones”, but language does matter indeed. Sometimes it can hurt, and sometimes we must reclaim words.  I choose to reclaim the word soldier.  It is who I am.  It has real meaning for me.  A soldier gets up each day, suits up and goes out to do their work.  They persevere, humbly so… with an approach to the work that is sacred.  The way is the work and the work is that way. That was the way of my father, and it is my chosen path as well.

This weekend, I have work to do.  It is joyous work, but it is work.  The soldier that is Barry Lewis Green hopes to engage other soldiers who reclaim the title and the language, moving away from the conception of violence and towards a fierce, fundamental approach to going forward.

I believe in the work, and I believe that real and hard earned lessons and success ultimately rely on getting up each day and being the soldier, the one who fights for and not against; the one who works and battles through both trial and triumph knowing both are temporary and that true joy is found in getting up and moving forward, relentless and undaunted… with both zeal and ardor.

So, this soldier will fight for a more diverse, united and prospering world at work and community.  This soldier will fight for youth and the capacity they have to rightfully and powerfully build a better world.  I will fight for justice and peace; and it will be a good fight.  It is the good fight.

Today, and these next three days, I fight for learning. I fight for bringing it, full on. I fight for unleashing. So soldier, for what will you fight? Go do that, and I hope to meet you along the way.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Tired

A poem (such as it is) which I felt moved to write this evening after a steady line of posts on Facebook about the insanity that is Black Friday.  It speaks to me, as it might possibly to you.

TIRED

I am tired of the complaining, the draining and the staining of human heart
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the whining, the dividing and the striving keeping us apart
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the hating, the breaking and the waiting on hope to start
I am tired, but not; just tired of…
I am tired of the horrid, the sordid and the lurid all making their mark
I am tired, but not; just tired of…

But no, wait… I am tired

I am tired; newly tired, freshly tired with new wheels
Ready to roll, to own control of my soul, strong as steel
I am tired, freshly tired, yes I am newly wheeled
Ready to drive, strive and thrive, heart unconcealed
As a warrior of peace and service; a joybringer mighty, impervious; A Gorilla Soldier.
Standing for the force of good; marching like I knew I could; living my life all the BOLDER.
Let me DO, to let it BE.

 

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

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