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Virtues

A Study of Character Leadership, Part 1

Ivey Business Journal offered this great article on Character Leadership.  First and above all else, we invite you to have a good read.  There is quite a bit to munch on here.capacities

That being said, and given our work at Epic Engage™ all around character leadership, we are choosing to explore this article over the next few Epic Blogs.  To start, we pose some questions to engage thoughtfulness around the subject.

THE CLASSROOM and SCHOOL

  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is character leadership in the classroom?
  • On a scale of 1-5, where are you with this in the classroom right now?
  • What would advance the needle on the previous question?
  • In the classroom, what are 3 practices you could engage to build it?
  • What would be the impact of doing so?

THE WORKPLACE and BUSINESS

  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is character leadership at work or business?
  • On a scale of 1-5, where are you with this in your workplace right now?
  • What would advance the needle on the previous question?
  • At work or enterprise, what are 3 practices you could engage to build it?
  • What would be the impact of doing so?

IN COMMUNITY

  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is character leadership in building community?
  • On a scale of 1-5, where are you with this in your community right now?
  • What would advance the needle on the previous question?
  • In community development, what are 3 practices you could engage to build it?
  • What would be the impact of doing so?

WITH YOUTH

  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is character leadership in engaging youth?
  • On a scale of 1-5, where are you with this in your own efforts right now?
  • What would advance the needle on the previous question?
  • In authentic youth engagement, what are 3 practices you could engage to build it?
  • What would be the impact of doing so?

Amidst the 4 areas addressed, there may be overlap and their may be distinctiveness.  We offer these questions to start the conversation.  In coming blogs, we will surgically examine aspects of the article and provide some additional thoughts and strategies over the Summer.  We invite you to engage and enjoy the ride.

Peace, passion and prosperity.Educator

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

PS

In addition, we are engaging a 60-Day Challenge around character leadership and invite you to check it out here.

PPS

Our work is all about character. We go beyond behaviour to help build character driven, united, and resourceful organizations and communities around the globe.  As part of that work, we offer you …

our FREE buffet of services here.

broadCAST for July 2016: Challenges to Face

The broadCAST™ is a monthly weigh in by members of The CAST™ of Epic Engage™.  Independent experts in their own right, members of The CAST™  are asked to answer a question of simple but possibly profound nature. We wholeheartedly encourage you to connect with these experts.  They each bring great value in service to their work. 

That being said, and for July 2016, we ask The CAST™:

Related to your area of expertise and way you serve, what is one common challenge that you find people facing that needs addressing sooner rather than later?

LAURIE PINHORN SAYS…

One of the first things I help my clients understand is the emotional and psychological process of making behavior change. I want people to understand that setbacks are part of their learning process. We are experts at seeing our struggles and focusing on our deficits. To keep moving forward in a positive direction, we need to stay focused on the positive things we are doing. It is necessary to retrain our brain to see the positives and then give ourselves the credit for all of our successes, no matter how small.  We all have low motivation days and that doesn’t mean that we are losing our capacity for health improvements. It just means that some days are easier than others. Days like this teach us that we can Lauriepush through. Then the next day you need to push yourself you will have the evidence that you can do this! Each time you push through you are victorious!  The internal work such as adjusting all or nothing thoughts, reducing anxiety, taking time for mindfulness activities and mindset work are important parts of our success stories. It takes time to do this work and people are often just looking for numbers to move on the scale or fitting into a smaller pants size. The work-in is often more important than the work-out and it lays down the foundation for long term health and wellness.

Laurie Pinhorn is all about nutrition and whole health.  She is a registered social worker, holistic and therapeutic nutritionist, an Orthomolecular Health Practitioner and a member of The Academy of Naturopaths and Naturotherapists (ANN). She is a passionate speaker, educator and service provider on the subject of nutrition and its connection to mental and physical health.   She works with individuals, families, groups and corporations to design and deliver nutrition and wellness programs to optimize health and performance.  With a diverse 20 year background in clinical social work, holistic nutrition and physical fitness; Laurie’s hybrid of expertise is very unique.   Laurie holds a Bachelor of Science (Psychology and Biology), Bachelor of Social Work, and a Masters in Holistic Nutrition from the Edison Institute of Nutrition, focusing on the nutrition and mental health connection as it specifically relates to Autism, Anxiety and ADHD.  www.lauriepinhorn.com

RAY HOLLISTER SAYS…

What a fantastic question! And the answer is the same for both areas I serve. Self-Absorption is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. When students are too self-absorbed, they tend to fall into the ‘blame game’ regarding failure, difficulties, challenges, and rules. If something doesn’t go the way they want, blame is immediately assessed, and rarely – if ever – does the blame fall on them! Self-absorption gives them false certainty of their innocence; this invariably leads to ‘victim-hood’. Interestingly, the same can be said for those going through traumatic experiences. In this case, self-absorption is a spiraling whirlwind of ‘why me?’ and deep introspection where blame is foisted Ray-300x294upon their shoulders alone. This leads many to simply shut down or break down under the strain of the vicious loop of reliving the trauma and trying to cope with what it all means.  Self-Absorption is not necessarily selfishness, though it can be in many circumstances. Self-Absorbed individuals tend to be intently focused on themselves – what they want, what they need, what is fair to them, how they will benefit, how they will suffer, etc. By addressing this natural tendency early on, it becomes easier for students to recognize that to be successful AND happy, they’ll need to recognize that their individual wants, desires, and ‘rules’ are NOT the driving force of their education. Only their RESULTS are the due to their personal efforts. Likewise, with those going through traumatic experiences, Resiliency becomes a driving factor; recognizing that remaining mired in self-blame, shock, or denial will only prolong suffering, whereas accepting the support of others, moving forward, and overcoming are due to personal choice and effort.  Though it is often unpleasant, changing the characteristic of self-absorbed to self-aware, can make HUGE strides in a more successful and enjoyable educational experience. And though it is often bitter sweet, changing the characteristic of self-absorbed to self-acceptance can turn a broken individual into beacon of light and hope for everyone else.  What state are you in today?

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

MAJEED MOGHARREBAN SAYS…

I help my clients have more freedom, and most people think that freedom is a matter of abundant time and money, which certainly helps… but is not the main barrier to freedom. True freedom is the confidence to be your authentic self. It has nothing to do with time or money, really. The real barrier to majeed-square-web-ready-300x300freedom is the lack of clarity of who you really are at the core and who you really want to be, despite external pressures.

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

TRENT LANGDON SAYS…

I often hear families and individuals comment on the pace of life, the ‘rat race’, and the impossibility of the multiple roles we are expected to fill (that of employee, parent, spouse, care-giver, volunteer,…). Significant research has gone into the impacts of the roles we assume (and those we are forced into) as quotewell as the benefits of having a strong relationship with ‘yourself’. The concepts of ‘work-life balance’ and ‘self-care’ have become cliché in many respects but do we truly know and reward our personal selves accordingly?  Creating therapeutic ‘alone time’ with your thoughts, emotions, and feelings, and intentionally creating opportunities for self-reflection, renewal, and re-generation can be extremely cathartic. The nice thing is…it does not require a huge monetary investment nor a plan to escape into a globe-trotting introspective journey – those Tibetan monks can be a handful! ;). It can simply mean, a dedicated hour for yourself at the local book store, a private walk along your favorite beach, or playing your music, when and where you want…     It’s about intentionality and ensuring these events make it into your schedule.  I strongly believe that an investment in effective personal time can reduce the shock of losing love ones, maintain strong mental health, and truly enable you to enjoy what it means to be ‘you’.  After all, you have so many people competing for your time, what’s one more?

Trent Langdon, M.Ed, Canadian Certified Counsellor is all about legacy and building yours by Trent1-296x300rewriting your ‘game plan’ or rejuvenating your organization’s foundations.  Trent is a strong believer that success and contentment is achievable through actions of integrity and character; for an individual or an organization. With more than 20 years of experience as a CHANGE AGENT for children, adolescents, families, schools, communities, and professionals, Trent can walk with you toward Personal Development and Discovery, Organizational Review and Renewal, and A Career / Life Plan for Teens.  www.epicengage.com

JOEL SWEENEY SAYS….

I help entrepreneurs and business professionals become confident, engaging and effective speakers.  The most common challenge I experience with my clients is that they are looking for a quick fix to their speaking anxieties. They are not ready to do the work necessary to acquire the level of confidence they desire.  The real ‘secret’ to managing your speaking anxiety is commitment: commitment to yourself and Joel-Sweeney-291x300to the process. You don’t learn to become an effective speaker by simply listening to me speak.  I provide insights, feedback and coaching to help my clients create their own unique speaking style. I help them recognize their strengths and work with them to develop strategies to address areas that need improvement. It is up to the client to apply this information. I can’t do it for them. He/she has to take advantage of every opportunity to speak and apply the guidance I provided.  Over and over again I see the person with true commitment achieving the most success on their journey to manage their speaking anxiety. They are committed to themselves and the process.  There is no ‘silver bullet’ solution or ‘magic pill’. It all comes down to how committed the client is. That ultimately determines their level of success. If you don’t have the commitment that you will do what is necessary then you are not ready to take on the challenge of managing your speaking anxiety.

Joel Sweeney is all about effective communications. He has been speaking, training, coaching and writing about it for over 20 years. He is the author of The Wedding MC Handbook and Little Helpings of Food for Thought. His third book, The Speaker’s Tool Box – Perfecting the Craft of Speaking, was released in the 2015. He is the owner of Professionally Speaking (established in 1995). Joel helps entrepreneurs and business professional become effective, engaging and confident speakers. www.JoelSweeney.com

SHEENA GROBB SAYS…

One common challenge I see with others I work with – particularly women – is that so often we wait until we are in crisis to give attention to our emotional wellness. Making real time to properly process and integrate our feelings should be a regular part of healthy balanced living.  Prevention is key, as many of us are aware.  But not everyone knows how to do this in terms of our emotional health.  Learning to takeSheena 10 minutes a day to tune into our bodies and our emotional states can be one way of overcoming the first challenge I see… learning to finally put ourselves first.

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

BARRY LEWIS GREEN SAYS…

Related to my area of expertise and the way I serve, what is one common challenge that I find people facing that needs addressing sooner rather than later?  Everything everyone else said lol.  Truth.  Still there is something screaming out to me in a whisper.  Focus.  We are constantly running around Focuschasing obligations, responsibilities and dreams.  We need to be thoroughly reminded that multi-tasking is ultimately both a myth and a way to distract us from what is truly important.  Being strategically focused, with our eyes on the prize and our commitment in hand does not mean we cannot have fun.  We can and must, along the way. But busy-ness is not the same as truly taking care of business.  LP Jacks spoke to the idea of the master in the art of living as one who “draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.”  The quote from ‘Abdu’l-Baha says it all, for me.  Focusing our strengths of character can produce the best and even most healthy results.

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™. BLGEPIC 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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Imagine…

Greetings.  I invite you to consider and imagine the power of character.  It is neither theoretical nor naive to do so.  Examples abound.  In doing so, here are some thoughts to possibly consider.  In their totality, they might take an hour or so but are worth the time.  I think so; but even a scan is worth it.

In the spirit of truthfulness and transparency, I am a Baha’i, and I believe in this message… of Neil deGrasse Tyson and of The Universal House of Justice noted just below.

Baha i ViewAs a closing thought (for now anyway) on acceptance, beauty, creativity, detachment, excellence and humility as virtues, my own humble suggestion is that once we “get it”… once we understand that we are truly in this together and accept it fully, see the beauty in it, realize the creative capacity of it, learn to detach from old world views of us and them, and apply the excellence of the human spirit… wow.  One wonders (I  know I do) what could be our possibilities?   There is an inner and outer world of existence awaiting our exploration and realization; infinitely so.  It takes work, and character to do so.  It requires work to see ourselves differently.  It requires a passion for change; and an intent for growth, now.

So, consider…

Power of Character- AcceptancePower of Character- BeautyPower of Character- CreativityPower of Character- DetachmentPower of Character- ExcellencePower of Character- HumilityHow can you practice these six strengths of character in such a away to build a home, school, workplace, business or community that does get “it”; that understanding that we can and must move forward together, stronger?

For now, we are onwards to explore more on character and virtue; in real world terms.  It is my passion and my study, and I believe and contend that our most noble character will bring the kind of unity that results in peace, passion and prosperity at school home, work and community.  It is the message of all Sacred Teachers throughout history.  It is the message of the great visionaries of our times.  It is the message of Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, and all those who see our future as anything but dark, sinister, boring or doomed.  Now, that can set the world on fire in most constructive of ways…. imagine that; but it will require work.  Onwards to that study.

Time to dance the message.

Peace, passion and prosperity, indeed, in deed.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Dream on….

…  and take the epic journey, my favorite song me thinks.

… and a couple of invites to join a small but growing community and/or get on our new cool email list, if you like and dare.  🙂

My Pythonic 5 of Creativity

I came across this the other day… on the creative process of Monty Python.  As an absolute fan of the awkward brilliance of the Python Crew, I found it interesting.  Indeed, as a person of faith both tested and real, I loved the assertive irreverence of this band of comic commentators.  As a guy who just loves to laugh and think, they ignited both for me.  BUT, as a business educator, entrepreneur, Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, and global citizen… I found this post today to be a constructive and raw exploration of some of the virtues that advance creativity.

Virtues- OpennessVirtues- PurposefulnessVirtues- FlexibilityVirtues- DiscernmentVirtues- Unity

These, I saw in the post and its exploration and articulation. I am sure there are more but you may be asking “Why do you offer such this Saturday, Barry?”  Well, I am glad you asked.  🙂

First, I found the read a refreshing little reminder of the genius that was and is Monty Python … these many years later.  They created provocative, silly, insane and purposeful comedy that both entertained and caused questioning of any number of topics.  Secondly, that same read caused me to see yet another example that brings the concept of virtues out from under the fluffy rock we place it so often.  Creativity and innovation are grounded in such character strengths.  Read The Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono and see the six faces of creativity.  Each are steeped in such strengths.  Have a listen to Sir Ken Robinson and consider the strengths of character addressed in his message.  Consider these virtues for a moment.

VirtuesWhich strengths do you and your team, school, family or community believe and contend to be the bedrock of creative cultures?  Practice them.  Find ways to champion them, every day.  Make them part of how you roll… your rituals and stories and all that you do.  Move beyond the theory and concept and even baggage of virtue.  Enter the realm of strengths.  Together, cultivate these strengths of character such that they advance creative solutions at school, family, work and community.

Creativity requires work and strength.  The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is an incredible exploration of same… and I wholeheartedly recommend the read.  In there, you will find any number of strengths of character required by creativity.  You will find what I call “Creativity’s Camelot“.

We need creativity and its building blocks (its Knights of the Court), now more than ever.  The world, and our own corners of it, demand it.  The virtues are the bricks that build such creativity; knights that fight the good and creative fight.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The Dead ParrotSilly Job Interview

Silly Walks

Top Ten Movie Moments?  (warnings!!!)

Global Mind and Heart Sets

These are just my thoughts. They are not criticisms, nor even commentaries.  They are the thoughts of one local guy; a business educator, and entrepreneur… but just one guy.  In matters of economics, I am an observer… not an expert.  Still…

This past week, I saw this news post referencing the 2016 business outlook from our local St. John’s Board of Trade. Indeed, if one follows the news or doesn’t, it is clear that a dive in the price of oil has left this Province with some serious questions… and the need to look inward. Indeed, in a recent post, I suggested that there was a real need to come together.

Indeed.  In deed.

I am no economist, though I have taught it… and I do understand its essential underpinnings.  I also understand that economics is ultimately rooted in collective psychology.  We think, therefore we will be.  There is a self-fulfilling theme running through much of economics.  If we perceive a downturn, we take actions that will often advance it further.  This is not to say that we should not look at things  and events through realistic eyes.  We should.  We must.  Indeed.

In deed.

Still, we must do so understanding the full reality.  This downturn in our economy, rooted in an extensive reliance on and celebration of oil and gas… is a reminder of the need to both go with your core sustaining strengths and not depend on rather large eggs in a single basket.  This is not a criticism of the oil and gas industry.  It is an industry we naturally would want to advance, given its potential for wealth in our Province.  However, I cannot seem to escape the idea that we saw one big egg and went after it.  We collectively hitched our wagon to it.  This applies to any economy that has perceived itself as one that is natural resource driven.  Arlene Dickinson speaks to this in that earlier noted post.  Our ultimate resources are within; ourselves and our people.   They are both sustaining and sustainable.  This is more than cliché.

Still even, that is not my point in this post.

It seems to me that, in our fair Province and maybe other regions of the world, we almost unconsciously examine our own markets with a somewhat “provincial” vision.  We find one or two key resource based industries and build around them.   Should they fall, we all fall.

In a province of some 500,000 in population, our best markets are elsewhere.  They always have been.  Oil and gas.  Fishery.  Tourism.  When it comes to natural resources, we have understood that and, in serial ways, have ridden one industry or another along the way.  We do recognize the commercial potential for international markets; but it is a matter of degree and depth.

Enter the Global Entrepreneur

In commerce and business, we need a world embracing view; not one that simply knows there is a wide world out there but that embraces it.  We need a local economy that is driven by what I call the “Marco Polo” virtue… to be Xenophillic; that robust curiosity for other cultures.  We need a local economy that is driven by supplying to a much larger and more diverse world.  We need a diverse local economy with an increasingly diverse population and the human resources that come with that; unleashed as entrepreneurs based out of this magical, mystical place that we love so dearly.

We need an outlook that is an out look.

No doubt there are entrepreneurs and leaders and programs like EVOLUTION working towards it, but it still is somewhat superficial.  Collectively and consciously, we still are not quite there.  Indeed, I am no economist; but the strategic part of my brain says look within for our strengths and turn our weaknesses into same.  Then consider the much larger environment.  How can we best serve it?  What do we have to offer the world?  We are a resilient people, born of entrepreneurial stock though we may have forgotten.  Yes, we do have an aging population; but they are skilled and talented… and love this place.  We have but to feed and support 500,000 people.  What are our talents and best capacities?  How can we unleash them?

This is not simply a problem for government.  This requires all hands on deck and all oars in the water.  The Board of Trade post suggests we need to bullet proof our businesses.  With respect, that can be a prevent defense and (while certainly understandable and advisable) it cannot replace a visionary outlook that sees the world of opportunity… from the eyes of an entrepreneurial culture.

This is about more than programs and initiatives.  It is about more than big industry.  It is an education issue and a culture building issue.  Yes, we have a wealth of natural resources and some might even be worthy of our sharpened focus even now.  Still, our talent and capacity does not begin nor end there.  My thoughts are to consider four things directly related; and foundational.  And, they do not require a long time to complete; just a sharpened intent and focus.

FIRST, our character.

What is the character of this place upon which we can all agree, regardless of subcultures and rituals and diversity?  What is it to be of this place, that unites us?  What is our core?  What do we share as an understanding of this place?

Global Mind

Are we courageous, open and creative?  Are we enduring, purposeful and friendly?  What strengths of character define us collectively?  Define it as a starting point.  What do we most value in this culture?  What are our most cherished strengths of character?  What is at our core?  Who are we?  What do we want this place to be about?  This can be answered rather quickly.  Examine the strengths above.  Have the conversation that gets to naming our identity desired.  Why, you ask?  Because…

SECOND, our capacities.

What capacities do these strengths of character produce in such a way that they could be offered to the world?  What services and products are naturally born of these strengths?  What industries?  What commercial capacities arise from our strengths? These are our best eggs in our best baskets.  This is not kumbaya.  It is “be who you be”, “do what you do”… and it is aligned strategy.

THIRD, our creativity.

How do we find and attract others in the world that share in these strengths of character… who want to be here and contribute and bring their cultural and world perspectives to our plate?  How do we advance our cultural strength and diversity, by attracting people who share in our spirit but might have different perspectives, experiences and skills to add to our creativity?

FOURTH, our courage… our entrepreneurial bent.

How do we unleash these strengths in smart and entrepreneurial ways?  How do we align our education and business models to deliver on these?

I offer no specific answers here… just questions.  The answers will come from us all, if we do this right.  But my suggestion is this.  Let us take a moment in our history to answer:

  • What are our collective strengths of character?
  • How can we commercialize them to sell to a much larger and diverse world?
  • Who should we attract to join our diverse, united and creative culture?
  • And how do we readily unleash it to serve the world and thereby bring in revenues, albeit in maybe smaller but more diverse and consistent parcels?

As a business educator, my hope is for 10% of our business and other graduates to set out with the intent of creating jobs, not finding them.  As entrepreneurs, Epic Engage is intent on being a small but global company in its reach and service, with The Virtues Project and beyond.   Our own vision and mission is world embracing.  We intend to serve outward while living and contributing right here.  We believe that a robust community of world embracing and locally committed entrepreneurs is part of the answer.

Global VirtuesSome may read this and think we don’t have time or that this is a waste of time.  Some may even laugh this off.  That would be unfortunate.  My suggestion is what I have told countless business students over the years.  You cannot successfully serve until you know your BEING and your DOING… your VISION and your MISSION.  Without knowing and being able to clearly articulate both… we do not know for what we are fighting or with what capacities we will conduct the fight.   With those firmly in place, and some good defense strategies to protect your behind, you can forge ahead.  Or, as Aragorn might say….

Stand!

This is just a starting point and these are just my thoughts.  But it is a starting point.  May we here in this place and time, or any place wrestling with its future in the present, find our way by starting with who we are, who we best serve, and how we best serve them.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

broadCAST February 2016: What’s Love Got to Do with It?

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 February 2016, the question is:

For you personally, what is the importance of love in your work?

MAJEED MOGHARREBAN SAYS…

Love is everywhere–ESPECIALLY in your work. Love for what you do is the passion and dedication you put into your life’s work. Love is the empathy you have for your customer’s pain. Love is the community you create around your brand, your mission, and your purpose. At some point in the Majeed Mogharreban- lovepost-industrial revolution work world, management gurus thought it would be more efficient to treat workers like machines instead of human beings. As such, the rise of the logical, analytical, leave-your-messy-feelings-at-the-door, worker drone became the archetype to follow. Now, we are in the middle of a shift. This shift is part of a collective tipping point in human consciousness, and it is a call to come back to love. People crave to work with people they love. That includes co-workers, customers, owners, shareholders, community members and beyond. Love attracts love.  When you love your customer and you love your work, life is good. Love, Majeed.
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…

It was really hard for me to add to what Majeed wrote… he captured my thoughts so well!! Here’s a little more to go along…  At one time I believed that finding or creating our dream job… something we REALLY love… was an essential part of our happiness.  I still believe that we each have a Sheena Grobb- loveunique gift to nurture and give the world… and when we find it, a natural love for our work is present.  But I’ve also learned that allowing love to flow into whatever it is we’re doing… from the exciting to the mundane… is a life practice worth exploring. WE are love.  When we give ourselves to everything… everything changes.  When we allow ourselves to BE love in all that we do, what we DO takes on a quality of beauty, creativity, and transformation for others.

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 teacher, I think that the idea of ‘love’ in my work comes from my absolute desire to help every student that wants to learn; to help them develop and grow to become the best they can be and see versions of themselves they never thought possible. When this passion is alive, it pushes away my William C. Murray- lovebarriers to teach well, including my ego, so that I can do anything to help someone else understand an issue. You want to write your business project on cows instead of hotels because you grew up on a farm and right now the only way you understand the topic is by referencing cows?  Cool – love it! I need to talk about buying toilet paper for 5 minutes to craft a link in your head with economies of scales? Done – love it! I also find that, as a learner, when I’m listening to someone who shows love for what they do, my barriers to learn, including fear and doubt, are pushed aside, opening new pathways of discovery.

William C. Murray 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

TRENT LANGDON SAYS….

The more I processed this month’s question, the more I began to realize that “love in my work” and “love for my work” were one in the same for me. I Trent Langdon- lovewas attracted to the teaching role (and eventually that of a school counselor) for the humanistic approaches and opportunities to make a practical and real difference for my students, their families, and the community. I have been fortunate to witness genuine and unconditional displays of love by people of all ages as well as work with those who struggle to see the love that exists in this world or require immense support to find a basic love for themselves.  It is the subsequent satisfaction and reward from my daily activities that drive the “love for my work”. Care-giver and community outreach roles continue to be quite rewarding for me and lovedrive my passion to instill values of mutual respect and empathy within my own children and my students.

Trent Langdon, M.Ed, Canadian Certified Counsellor is all about legacy and building yours by rewriting your ‘game plan’ or rejuvenating your organization’s foundations.  Trent is a strong believer that success and contentment is achievable through actions of integrity and character; for an individual or an organization. With more than 20 years of experience as a CHANGE AGENT for children, adolescents, families, schools, communities, and professionals, Trent can walk with you toward Personal Development and Discovery, Organizational Review and Renewal, and A Career / Life Plan for Teens.  www.epicengage.com

RAY HOLLISTER SAYS…

Love is the keystone of a blessed life.  Love is a critical element to my work; so much so that it is more accurate to say that love is infused with everything I do.  For many – me included – this principle is rooted in faith. For me, ‘Love’ takes center stage in Scripture that resonates very deeply for me: “…And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”, and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and Ray Hollisterwith all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.“  Clearly, the key to this is infusing my faith in my daily walk; I see no commandment to separate my ‘private’ life from my ‘work’ life, so Love becomes the centerpiece – the guidepost – for my actions. Thus, Love is of the utmost importance in my work. Let me end with how I started: LOVE is the keystone of a blessed life.

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

JOEL SWEENEY SAYS….

There is an old expression: “If you love what you do you never have to work a day in your life.” I love what I do. Because I love what I do I am excited about starting every day. I am excited about what the day holds for me. I am excited about what I can accomplish. I am excited about the people I’ll connect with and the impact that I will have on them. This excitement makes me passionate about my work. That passion allows me to put all my Joel Sweeneyenergy into what I am doing. There is another expression that comes to mind: “You get what you send out.” This is sometimes referred to as the “echo effect”. I am blessed to be surrounded by good friends and supporters. They are a source of inspiration. I know that if I want to sustain that support and inspiration I need to provide them with a similar experience. I love the people I engage with every day. It is a great feeling to realize that you have made a positive impact on those you interact with. When you love what you do you are energized. When you realize that you are making a positive impact it is gratifying. Loving what you do and who you do it for means you are doing something that you want to do, not something that you have to do.

 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

 

BARRY LEWIS GREEN SAYS…

The contributions this month are diverse, deep and rich.  What can I add?  Some years back, I read Stephen Covey’s take on love as an action.  In so doing, I thought that if it was an action (and I believe it is; what we do for others with joyful excellence and our work results in the feeling of love) then it requires a process which I then coined as LOOKING inside ourselves for our strengths, seeking OPPORTUNITIES to apply those strengths where needed, having a VISION of how applying them might make the world or our corner of it better, and then ENGAGING to do it.  I still hold to this being how we might Barry Lewis Greenapproach our work, studies and life; bringing our best to whatever we do.  Still, as a Master Facilitator with The Virtues Project™, I know that LOVE is also a virtue, pre-existent.  Without ever saying the words, I had a father who taught by example that love was an action at work and in life.  I had a mother who did so in teaching me it as a virtue.  Bottom line, I contend that love of work is the building block for excellence.  We will invest the time, attention and diligence to give it our best, and become better in the doing.  With my speaking, teaching, writing, cartooning and singing, I love what I do.  I strongly suggest we all find that expression of love in our work, whatever it might be.

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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Keep Talking

Last week, we were asked to “Let’s Talk” and many, so many, responded.  During this day of talking out mental illness and wellness through #bellletstalk, I wrote this on Facebook.

I am encouraged by ‪#‎bellletstalk‬. I am encouraged by the real message from real people. Mental illness is real. You do not simply think or train it “away”. The solutions are myriad and diverse, based on the person. They require work over a lifetime. There is help and hope in medicine, care, and understanding. From meditation to meds to meaningful relationships… all are needed. But one solution is common and real. Conversation and acceptance. Therein lies mental wellness. Peace.

Then, I came across this post on building trust in the workplace.  At the time and still, it got me thinking.  We need cultures of trust in order to address and support mental wellness.  We need leaders who will champion same.   I was planning a review of the virtues we have examined thus far and thought it appropriate to offer a visual summary and maybe a question with the building of trust in mind and heart.

Making a case for addressing mental illness and wellness is certainly not a challenge.  And Bell Lets Talk and other fine organizations are doing their part.  Still, given my deep belief in the practical exploration and application of character, I cannot ignore looking at Acceptance, Beauty, Creativity, Detachment, and Excellence  as potential practices for leaders and workplaces seeking ways to build trusting and trustworthy cultures of encouragement and strength.  Consider these 5 strengths of character.

Virtues- AcceptanceVirtues- BeautyVirtues- CreativityVirtues- DetachmentVirtues- ExcellenceConsider a culture at school, family, work or community that fearlessly supports mental wellness.  How would these 5 strengths of character support wellness initiatives and real world, real time cultures where we feel free to understand and engage wellness… physically and mentally?  How could they guide our initiatives and our conversations, individually and collectively?  Imagine the strength of such a culture; its ability to optimize rather than stigmatize.  Imagine the potential unleashed by removing the need for the masks.

So, my question is this.  In consulting with your team, school, family or community… how can you engage these strengths to guide and advance such a culture, and the real conversations necessary to do so?  Start that conversation and find your way.  We are all the better for that kind of leadership.

Let’s keep talking.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

Michael Landsberg

Clara Hughes

Mary Walsh

and consider

no more silence

… and a song with a message from Lisa Dalbello

Learning from Kim and Yoda

For some fun and purpose, have a watch and listen to this tune by Kim Mitchell.  I have always loved this song for its joyfulness and truthfulness.  It is campy, catchy and connects on a message.

“I know there’s a lot of feathers but not much chicken.”

As we finish up some thoughts on excellence, I am purposefully diverted to the virtue of humility as well.  Consider both by pondering the Virtues Reflection Cards from The Virtues Project.

Virtues- ExcellenceVirtues- HumilityLifelong learnerstrive for masterywork in progressresilient, not perfect.  Personally, I contend that perfect as a noun is a myth, but as a verb… it is humble and excellent, and real.

I think that humility and excellence ultimately walk hand in hand.  Excellence, true excellence, demands understanding that we are a “work in progress”.  It demands that we understand that our quest for excellence requires us getting that we are not there yet.  Humility is not about beating ourselves up.  It is about understanding that we both matter and have work to do.  We are enough, for now… but there is a journey. Great champions, beyond their bravado in the game, know this.  You cannot take things for granted and you cannot assume that you have “the answer”.  To master anything, you are always the student.

Why do I say this?  Well, for 30 years I have been in the leadership training and development field.  I have learned from a wide range of incredibly gifted and humble people who understood that they were students at best.  I have been blessed to know them and learn from them… and I pray that I will continue to be so blessed with those who have been in my life, are in my life and who will come into my life.  I intend to learn for a lifetime.  The words of Desiderata speak to me on this…

DesideracaIt speaks to me of humility and excellence, walking hand in hand.  Champions who have stood the test of time; they get this.  You are not “the answer”.  As soon as you think yourself it; the master, the guru… you are not.  What we all are, if we but realize it, is a part of the process of our respective crafts.  You might advance your craft.  You might even set records… but others will come to break them.  You honor the craft, on the field, at work or in life.  Substance comes from humility and the desire for excellence.  It is the meat of true and enduring and legitimate service and success alike.

I have long said that the world needs no more gurus or speakers.  It needs and cries out for humble and learning servant leadership, willing to hear and develop and, by example, lead.  We need no more messianic messages.  The answers we seek to the needs of the world require our humble search for excellence in our chosen crafts.  Tonight, on Facebook, I wrote…

Find your niche of service… what you do best and for whom you do it. None of us are “the answer”. Each of us have “an answer” to a particular need. Find that need, serve it and the world is a better place.

Then, I saw this video by Tim McGraw.

And then, this pic….

True LeadersThey are all speaking to me, this night.  Yoda never sought out and preached.  He shared his wisdom and demanded excellence, but he sought not to preach, but to teach.

YodaHere is the way I see it.  The greatest teachers are the life long students.  The eminent masters are the humble wayfarers.  They see themselves not as “the answer” and run from titles like guru.  There are many in this world who are working and earning the right to offer their own piece of wisdom… and together we each, if we do our humble homework, bring our piece of the answer to the table.  We find our niche… how and who we best serve; and we approach it with humility and excellence… knowing we are not THE GAME.  We just get to play our part in it.

So, to walk with excellence, I suggest that we walk with humility.  Mastery will take care of itself when we do.  Then, we go beyond the feathers and get to the chicken.  Then, we truly serve.  Walk and work with humble excellence.

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy™

The 2 Faces of Excellence?

Thus far, we have examined acceptance, beauty, creativity and detachment as virtues; as strengths of character.  Acceptance empowers us to see and fully recognize where we are, whether having lost and finished our season or won the championship and setting sites on a return; literally or metaphorically..  Beauty engages us to see the potential, wherever we are.  Creativity is that virtue of mapping the way to where that potential lies.  Detachment allows us to do so, with discernment, thoughtfulness and mindfulness.

Next up, excellence.  Excellence is often seen as a result when, at its best, it is a virtue; an approach to achieving results.

Virtues- ExcellenceSo, when and how do we practice it?  Watch this clip from Alan Stevens out of London… on the comfort zone and excellence.  It is an interesting take on the zone and our approach to it.  It got me thinking that excellence really has two faces… the approach to preparation and the approach to delivery.

In Joe Calloway‘s work and his latest book, Magnetic, you get the sense that better is different; that better is your strategic advantage.  We get to better by crafting and practicing.  We get to better by working on it; and that requires an approach of excellence.

So, excellence is a virtue practiced in the preparation.  It is a result in our work delivered.  Maybe this is the connection to Alan‘s commentary on the comfort zone.  When delivering our service or product, the preparation is to ensure that we are in our comfort zone upon delivery.  This makes sense to me.  We work hard to put ourselves in a place where we can deliver on excellence, by practicing excellence in our preparations.

Excellence is a virtue… a strength of character.  It is practiced in our learning the craft.  It is demonstrated in delivering the craft.  It has its time and place… in the preparation and the delivery… and the follow up.

Speaking of follow up… in our next post, we will further explore the matter of excellence.  Until then…

Peace, passion and prosperity.

Barry Lewis Green, aka The Unity Guy

Some musical excellence in delivery… consider the practice that got it there.

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