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Two Teachers and Some Thanks Giving

This is the Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada and I am encouraged to see the many expressions of thankfulness and gratitude on social media. In a world, where much is in flux and apparent crisis, thankfulness is a challenge but a great place to start towards freedom.

This weekend, we are also officially launching our new website at www.epicengage.com. Our excitement is not simply about what it has taken to get here or the launch itself but where it will lead.  I want to thank Kate Stetler-Holgate and Brian Deckard for all of their initiative, empathy, wisdom and flexibility in getting us here. I also want to thank the growing team in Amy Hiscox, Joel Sweeney, William Murray, Eva Marks MacIsaac and Liz Burt in being part of this evolving process. I am humbled by both your excellence and love for what you each do. Personally, I am thankful for the work I get to do and I try to express that as much as and wherever I can.

That being said, my thought, this day, is about wholehearted thankfulness. Whereas I consider wholeheartedness is the all in virtue and thankfulness the health and peace building virtue, I ponder, this weekend, the value of building cultures where we live thankfulness; where we express it in deeds and words.

Thankfulness for both trials and triumphs is a powerful notion. When we see both challenges and championship moments as opportunities, we start to understand the power of thankfulness. When we realize that trials are intended for us to overcome through adaptation and growing in strength, and triumphs are intended to confirm our success in doing so, are they not simply twin spirits designed to see us advance? Expansion of our capacities requires challenge and tests. Realizing that we have expanded same requires triumph. One simply precedes the other.

Some years back, I coined the phrase “I am about to get better now” in response to a challenge directly in my face. What if we saw crisis as a teacher? What if we saw victory as a teacher? What if crisis was that teacher that said “You can do it!”? What if victory is the teacher that says “See!”?

“Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.” — Baha’u’llah

Ponder this. What if we saw both crisis and victory as teachers for which we were thankful? What if victory and prosperity was a time to prove ourselves successful through generosity of spirit? What if adversity was our best coach saying “Oh you are so ready for this.”?

In the worlds of work, business, school, community and family, I suggest, this Thanksgiving, that we give thanks for both teachers. I also suggest that we live thankfulness wholeheartedly, thanking others when we have received and accepting thanks from others when we have given. Imagine the strength of culture when we do so. Imagine the sense of unity created when we express appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness in words and actions. Imagine the coolness and joy of companies, campuses and communities that do so.

Imagine. Then be thankful for your imagination, and make it so.

Thanks for reading and considering today.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

 

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

 

Wholehearted Words

This morning I had the sincere pleasure, honor and challenge of listening to Kathy Stock share her remarkable story of humility, faith, courage and service.  Justifiably, she met with a standing ovation at the end of her message.

Through her story and even before, my mind was centering on the notion of the power of language.  I found myself in conversation focusing on the adage, “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… and came around to a realization that a well chosen word or sentence can elicit a thousand pictures.  Our language matters; both within and without.  How we converse with ourselves and others matters.  It is not about being politically correct.  It is about understanding the power of language.  It can engage, or it can entrap.  It can dare or destroy.  It can uplift or embarrass.  It can lead or lose, people and movements.

How we engage one another in social and other media… in our face to face and embrace to embrace… is impacted by our words, wisely and mindfully and wholeheartedly chosen.  It is not about being “careful about what we say”; it is about being care-FULL in our intentions.  I desire no debate.  I desire discussion.  Debate has the intent of proving one side right or wrong.  Discussion has the intention of finding what is right.  This begins with language.

Wholeheartedness is the virtue that speaks to what I call our “five gears”.  Driving a standard transmission as long as I have, I am reminded of the versatility and resourcefulness of shifting gears.  Our choice of language is the same.  The virtues that we apply to our messages are the gears of wholehearted engaging and leading.  Speaking with confidence and compassion, detachment and determination, unity and understanding, enthusiasm and excellence, and more… it requires wholeheartedness; a sense of bringing all that we are to what we have to say.  That is leadership at its most noble.

As a business educator, dance instructor, singer, speaker, writer, cartoonist and more, I am reminded, this day, of the power of our words and how we bring the diverse range of virtues to what we say.  I am reminded of the craft that is communications; the instrumentality of language in engaging, leading and uniting.

Consider your intentions.  Consider your words.  Consider your applications of the virtues, the strengths of character.  Are they in alignment?  If not, what do you need to do to make them so?  Integrity as a teacher, leader and human being demands it.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

See You on the Other Side

With the unofficial launch of our new work and website at www.epicengage.com, and plans leading up to something more “official” October 13 (Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the USA), I am feeling the need to take a closer look at the virtue of wholeheartedness.

Often times, we might be prone to think of it as a “big picture” virtue; one demanding a more global vision.  Maybe we think that it implies big picture and long term.  I beg to differ, and contend that wholeheartedness is really an approach to the present and presence.  It is about the now.  Where idealism calls us to the big picture, wholeheartedness calls us to the work of manifesting that picture.  It is the workhorse virtue.  It is the fiercely working virtue.  While the virtue of zeal is that powerful combination of enthusiasm and purposefulness, wholeheartedness calls us to be “all in”; acting without contingency on the big picture.  It is commitment to bringing all that we are to the challenges and opportunities at hand. Wholehearted leaders bring it.  Wholehearted communities at work, school and play… bring it, together.

These next 90 days, Amy Hiscox and I have committed to idealism in building a 90 day WEALTH Plan.  WEALTH is an acronym for when excellence and love take hold… being wholehearted in practice and passion.  The idea is to go massive, seizing and moving forward with strategically aligned opportunities… multiple oars in the water, moving in unison, advancing together in thought, will and action. Amy and I will be coaching one another with the work ahead, professionally and personally. The intent is to be intent; wholehearted, daily, moment by moment… doing the WORK. The way is the work and the work is the way.

We will be sharing results and impact and we encourage you to bring idealism to your vision, and then apply wholeheartedness to the work at hand. Imagine the impact. Imagine the results. Imagine the prosperity.  What big pictures, goals, and dreams do you have? Go wholehearted these next 90 days and see you on the other side.

 

A Launch WHOLEhearted

To celebrate the launch of the new EPIC Engage™ website this day, I thought to simply offer up our definition of the virtue of wholeheartedness, as it is core to our work now and going forward.  As Amy Hiscox and I consulted on the nature of this virtue, we arrived at an understanding of it that encompassed our collective passion for our work, the very work itself and the meaning for ourselves as individuals.

Wholeheartedness is discerning our truth and living it with devotion to purpose by being ‘all in’. ‘All in’ means accepting ourselves so that we can give what we have to the world completely. It is discerning the song we are meant to sing, and singing it with all of our heart. Wholeheartedness is embracing life fully, without holding back, and doing what must be done, especially when it is challenging or risky. We commit with courage to live by what is real, genuine, and sincere. We dare to be real.  We offer ourselves and others the gift of feeling heard and understood, through active listening, and that is part of our service to the world. Wholeheartedness takes us beyond thinking to a deeper knowing of our purpose.  We refuse to sit on the sidelines and that frees us from regret. When we are wholehearted we are fiercely focused on what’s under the surface and really going on. This, coupled with sincerity and zeal, emboldens us to serve while steadfastly keeping our true purpose front and center.  We deepen in wholeheartedness when we choose to empower and not overpower. Even if we stumble and fall, we don’t allow doubt to distract us from what we know to be true. When opportunity comes, we step into it. Carpe diem.

For organizations and individuals, the Practice of Wholeheartedness engages the following commitments and behaviours….

  • I give 100% to all that I choose to do
  • I relentlessly live by my deepest values and purpose
  • I strive to see and hear what is real; it is my service.
  • I honor my own worth by having the courage to be original
  • I am confident in initiating new ideas
  • I awaken the virtues in my soul by choosing to live them
  • I seize the day and every purpose driven opportunity

So, as EPIC Engage, our work moving forward is about making a difference for the difference makers.  For you, going forward, if wholehearted work and living are vital, what does that mean for you and those with whom you work?  Maybe we should chat.

On behalf of the EPIC Engage™ Team.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Come with Me NOW?

This morning, following a productive brainstorming meeting around the advancement of entrepreneurship in Newfoundland and Labrador, and a very cool and fun photo shoot hot on its heels… I found myself returning to office, my home base, my Pseudio. Along the way, Come with Me Now by Kongos was playing on the radio. The windows were down, the music was somewhat up and I was simply rockin’ with the tune. It is part of what I do and who I am. Stopped in traffic, I caught, out of the corner of my eye, a car load of youth who seemed to find it funny. I am not sure if it was joy shared or mockery engaged, but it did not stop me. Indeed, and because I love working with youth, I gave them a confident nod and continued on my way, with a huge smile on my face.

Continue reading

The Noble Leader in You

Nobility. Personally, I consider it the most foundational of virtues. It is the basis of the belief that we are of real value, and that others are as well. It is of dignity of character and execution alike; and it is of authenticity. It is manifested in how we believe, think and act; demonstrated through spirit, mind and body…. whether that of the individual or organization or community.

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Keeping Real, the Dream

I am an idealist and glad for it.

Do not confuse cynicism for critical thinking. Discernment is a virtue of considered thought; powerful indeed. It crafts possibilities out of looking at situations for what they are and need to be.

Cynicism assumes a state of being in things that is less than noble and good. It will find what’s wrong, like discernment. The difference is it presumes things are truly flawed at core.

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Uncommon and Common Unity

Unity in diversity. No doubt, there are many who might see it as a paradox. I am not one. Indeed, I see it as genuine, real and powerful; and our best hope. We are different… in mind and body… in size and speed and color and belief and thought. We are different. Certainly, in any give space, at work or school or community…. we are different. That is a reality.

We are also the same. We are the same as certain people on some things and the same with others in other ways. It is truth to say that in any given space, we are all different and we are all the same and we have some things in common with some and then other things in common with others. So, how are we all the same? What is our unifying piece and peace?

I suggest as a human being, as The Unity Guy™ and as a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™… it is the realm of the virtues. My complete body of work and my last 10 years with The Virtues Project™ tell me that they unite us as humankind, across individuality, personalities, social groups and cultures alike. We may not yet feel we are strong in all of the virtues (or sometimes even desirous of practicing them), but we have common access to all of them. We can practice them all. Indeed, it is both our birthright and responsibility.

Going forward, I will be blogging on virtues as the basis of character, strength, leadership and unity. For now, I dare you to consider how every human being on the planet has the potential to access these things we call virtues… from acceptance to zeal and everything in between. They are our common watering hole, if we but choose to visit. My path, going forward, will be to explore our common heritage and legacy in ways that will constructively impact leadership, contribution, peace and prosperity for all.

Join me.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy™

Make or Break

When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. — Abdu’l-Bahá

In these times of seemingly increasing strife and conflict, and both apathy and contention… these words are quite powerful and important. Still, I am thinking, this day, that they speak to a simple and vital process for growth in all things constructive.

We do not break habits well. We struggle. What if breaking a habit was as simple as making a new one? What if each time we were prone to do one thing, we replaced that action with another? What if we made the singular commitment that each time we felt driven to conduct some action, we chose another action in its stead?

I have read and heard that it takes some 21 days to create a habit. Find some habit that you wish to change. Decide not to break it but replace it. Let your practice be not one of simply “stopping” but “changing”. Let the power of both commitment and practice work for you. For these next 30 days, choose that something that you wish to change. Decide into what you want that habit to change. Then, each time you feel moved to perform the old habit, perform the new. Change it.

See where that takes you.

In the meantime, I might strongly suggest that “When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace.”

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy™

Five Points on Strategy

Part of powerful, practical unity is knowing where we best serve. Where do we best fit in terms of service?

When considering the strategy of your organization, text book discussions would suggest your options are resource based, environmental based and innovation based views. I might suggest there is more.

First, yes… we should consider developing strategy from that resource based view. Look within for strengths of which you can take advantage. What talents and capacities currently exist within your operation? Look at your resources with respect to people and otherwise. Create an inventory of your best strengths. Great strategy starts from our strengths.

Secondly, view your company strategy from the environmental point of view. Look without. What are the strengths and challenges of your competition? What needs exist outside of your organization and who is best serving each? Where do you exceed others in terms of answering those needs? What conditions exist which might provide clear opportunities, going forward?

Third, consider your strategy from an innovation point of view. What can you do to consistently stay ahead, keeping competing sources in a constant state of catch up? How can you be leading edge?

These are typically your choices as suggested in strategic management theory.

Still, let me suggest two other points to consider.

Fourthly, approach your strategy from a consistency point of view. What can you do consistently well, building an unmatched level of trust in your audience? What work can you consistently master such that those you serve can truly rely on delivery of same?

Finally, endeavour to find the meeting place of these four considerations. Where do your greatest strengths and opportunities and your best powers of consistent innovation and delivery meet? That intersection can guide you to a powerful and focused strategic plan.

Give these five points some thought. The exploration will continue…..

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, The Unity Guy™

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