FAILURE: Predictor or Prelude?

IMG_9756 RTW

FAILURE: Predictor or Prelude?    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill.   To predict is to use information to support probable future events.   Predicting failure as our future is holding to a tight belief that past performance will very likely be repeated.   Again, Churchill says, Stop…re-think the belief that past failure is a predictor  Again, Churchill states, ” Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Henry Ford also understood failure as Prelude, which means he understood failure as continuous opening, discovering, learning, encountering.   Ford spoke of failure this way:  “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”

What about J.K Rowling, the most prolific and successful writer of the late 20th, early 21st century?  What has she discovered about past failure as predictor or prelude?  She states, ” Failure is so important.  We speak about success all the time.  It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.”

So, I ask you, my Inspiration Impulse Reader, how do you weigh in?  Is failure-to-success a function of keeping on, keeping on as a risk-taker with life’s opportunities to be a continuous, optimistic learn at home, at work and in the community?   I believe so.   I am not familiar with  Eloise Ristad, but I do love what she writes about failing into success:  “When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.”

Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to come alongside a professional who has been grappling with the issue of failure as predictor.   As I have listened with an intuitive mind to this professional talk about the fear of being defined by past failures, I have noticed that failure always seeks a final verdict.   Failure always wants a tombstone.  Failure always says, ‘Let’s settle up.’  Failure declares, “Game Over; Go Home. You’re Done.”

When the predictive mental habit of failure speaks like a hammer hitting your head, it feels like a nightmare you are waking up to daily.   Ultimately, this nagging nightmare can become what we carry into each day and accept as the Truth.

The fact is that the nightmare of permanent, unending failure is a nightmare of a mind  denying the hopefulness of becoming a Forever Learner.   When we transform failure from Constant Nightmare to a Forever Learner, we stop beating our head against a closed door called Success and, instead, we put our hand on the doorknob of the Success door and turn it, ever so gently, with our mental/emotional/spiritual intention to purposefully step forward  into  a new room of learning.

Many people have come my way over my lifetime to tell me how they have beat their on a door of failure they can’t open.  My counsel has  always the same.  Beating your head against failure’s door  will not heal you. Get your hand on the doorknob of Today, and turn that doorknob, knowing your past is never intended to predict anything.  Your Past is life learning leading you forward.  Open the door named Now.  Walk forward with your Past.  It predicts nothing. Simply walk forward knowing you are creating anew.  C.S Lewis understood failure as  Prelude.  He wrote, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

A good week awaits you!  Embrace it.  Pursue it.  See it. Feel it.  Invite your Past to move purposefully with you.

KEN BLANCHARD: MONDAY MOTIVATORS

3-2 Brk Prg #10

KEN BLANCHARD: MONDAY MOTIVATORS   He stands in the Pantheon of Leadership Development.   During my professional career I have had the opportunity to listen and learn from this Marketplace Sage who blends brilliant, down-home substance and style to help leaders understand the fundamentals of positive influence for good.

So on this Monday, I want to provide a bit of Ken Blanchard Wisdom to help guide our day, our week and our understanding of what causes people to become fantastic motivators who shape the good at home, at work and in the communities of their influence.

So, with that brief introduction, let’s experience Blanchard at his best with a sampling from 100 Quotes by Ken Blanchard.   I begin with: The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.  In the past a leaders was a boss. Today’s leaders must be partners with their people.

These three sentences capture the heart of influential leadership in every field.   I have been influenced to produce good work by having mentors work their magic of accompanying and teaching me to step boldly.  Leadership walks with.  Leadership accompanies. Leadership challenges.

None of us is as smart as all of us.  I am always amazed at the power of Group Think.   The synergy of conceiving, birthing, nurturing and finally delivering an idea toward an outcome is so exciting when the genesis of great outcomes is built on the bedrock of shared collaboration.  Let’s hear Blanchard comment, again, on this subject: Leadership is not something you do to people. It’s something you do with people.

If you want your people to be responsible, be responsive to their needs.  Journey back into your professional life  and mentally revisit one or two individuals who were major players shaping you as a professional.  Every Inspiration Impulse Reader who takes a moment will experience the same common thread: Leaders are responsive to the needs of the individual…you and me.  Great Leaders operate with the DNA of caring about the needs of another.

Why is accompanying with care  a vital focus of great leadership? Blanchard delivers another gem with these words:  People who feel good about themselves produce good results.   Feeling good about ourselves! Wow, that requires daily exercise, not just in our thought world but in our relationship world.  Feeling good about ourselves  often has a story-line of  mutually share experiences.   Watch any athletic team win a big game and you will always see the feel good story  is rooted in the contributions of many.  WE thrive on accomplishing together.  WE excel pursuing goals together.

This leads me to a final gem from Blanchard:  You have the power to help people become winners.  WE love to win together.   That is the genius of today’s leadership mission, winning together.   In a world that often isolates and separates itself by Us vs. Them,  great leaders pursue the opposite…uniting, bringing together, including and empowering the many to move in the rhythm of One…individualized by the efforts of many.

Our understanding of leadership, as found in the contributions on this subject by Ken Blanchard, rests on a rock-solid foundation.  Leadership stands with others, not above.

Let’s make a week of it, in whatever arena of life with we can exercise our leadership role, to find our way to stand with others, lift up others, and celebrate our shared successes with others.

D.C. MY KIND OF TOWN

george_washington

D.C.  MY KIND OF TOWN   No, not the politics of 2017, but the history that oozes out of everywhere.  As a college kid, American History was my major.  Over the years when I have had the opportunity to visit this vibrant hub of our democracy, I know it has always revealed more of its stories to me.   So, here are a handful of incidental discoveries I made on this 2 Day D.C. DiscoveryTour.  Just know that if you were writing about such a visit, you would  have a completely different list of D.C. TakeAways.

At Martin’s Tavern, we had dinner adjacent to the booth where John F. Kennedy wrote the draft of his Inaugural Address in 1961. All Presidents since Harry Truman have dined at Martin’s.

The Pentagon was built with primarily concrete and mortar in sixteen months.

The city’s grid has four quadrants, NorthWest,SouthWest, NorthEast, and SouthEast. The quadrants imminate from the basement of the Capitol Building.

425,000 individuals are now buried in Arlington Cemetery.  10-12 burials are conducted Monday through Saturday. It is anticipated that by 2025, the cemetery will be full.

At night, you can see the Eternal Flame burning at the JFK memorial when looking from the backside of the Lincoln Memorial.

There are now three memorials to the Vietnam War on the National Mall.  A fourth is now in planning. It will be a visitor welcome center adjacent to the Lincoln Memorial and the major feature of the 4th memorial will be a constantly changing display of memorabilia that has been left at The Wall by loved ones and friends…including a Harley Davidson motorcycle that was left at the wall in honor of one of the 58,000+ soldiers who died or remain missing in action.

Oprah Winfrey donated 13 million dollars to help complete the newest building on the Mall, the Museum of African American History, just recently opened to the public.

The Tidal Basin that reaches down to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial averages 10 feet in depth. If you mess with the cherry blossom trees that surround the Tidal Basin, beware! You will be fined big time.

When Ronald Reagan temporarily awoke from sedation in 1981 while being operated on for a bullet wound, he looked at the surgeon and asked, ” Are you a Republican?”  The surgeon replied, “We’re all Republicans today, Mr. President.”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s original name was Michael Luther King Jr. His father was inspired to change both his name and his son’s name as a result of a European visit where he became inspired by the leader of the Reformation, Martin Luther.

Finally, these words which captures the majesty, the mystique, the memories that make D.C. My Kind of Town: “The price for freedom is not free.”

Memorial Day: Remembering

IMG_9749 RTW

Memorial Day: Remembering.   Originally it was called Decoration Day to remember those who died in service of the United States.  The annual remembrance was borne out of the Civil War, proclaimed by Gen. John Logan, May 5, 1868 on which he issued General Order No. 11 switch stated: “The 30th of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of steer wing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city,village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

5000 participants listened to Generasl James Garfield make a speech at Arlington National Cemetery and decorated 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

Moina Michael memorialized the Poppy as a sacred symbol in 1915 with these words inspired by the poem “In Flanders Field.”

She wrote: “We cherish,too, the Poppy red that grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies that blood of heroes never dies.”

For you and I, beneficiaries of the sacrifice of 1000’s, we can pause in this day of relaxation simply to quietly,silently say “Thank-you, America’s timeless heroes. We hold you in our hearts in a special place of honor.

With gratitude to all who have served our nation, we remember you on this day.

Note: wikipedia provided me with the historical content of this Post.

FILLING A NEED: YOUR HIDDEN TREASURE

3-2 Brk Prg #10

FILLING A NEED: YOUR HIDDEN TREASURE  I’m back!   There I am holding my hand out to you.   It’s another busy week.  Are you in the Driver’s seat ready to pursue  your passion and, in doing so, live your purpose?  If so, I have something energizing to communicate to set up your week for robust influence for good.

There’s a treasure buried in your mind and heart.  This treasure is not simple sentiment.  It is primal causation. It is your pearl of great price.  You are an owner of this pearl…this special gift that is yours.    This treasured gift wants your attention.  Otherwise, it just stays buried, hidden as a periodic emotional sentiment rather than the precious gold of discernment.

The treasure?  Today, you are here for a reason. You are here to fill a need.  What is the need?   It is love’s regard for The Other.

Yes, there are so many other things on your acre of life…right on the surface of it…that grab your attention to tell you something different.  These other things focus on detail management.  You are told to be capable managing money, emotions, relationships, decisions….all details of life management.

Management of these things is actually intended to invite you to dig deeper to find the hidden treasure found as the common ingredient in all of these life management skills.  The big treasure:  Fill a need.

In the movie, A Dog’s Purpose, that came out earlier this year, Bailey, the dog,learns the one lesson of Doghood: filling a need.   After many incarnations with many owners, Bailey discovers that there is one  big insight that puts a dog’s life into the deep waters of understanding: Bailey discovers he has one overriding need to fill: licking and loving.

This is our hidden need to fill, as well.  It is our treasure.  No, of course.  You’re not a dog.  You are  a breathing human living the most highly evolved expression of awareness,self understanding.   Humans are on planet earth to discern their hidden treasure of love’s expression and practicing it.

What’s the human story of licking and loving?   The  world you lick is your intimate touch daily at home with family, at work with colleagues, in the community with friends.  Your world is not meant to be divided into those who deserve your touch and those who don’t.  No, our world is meant to be loved.

What is the lick of love?  I bet you know.  It’s regard, recognition, learning and practicing love’s expression for the OTHER.   It’s not an easy task.  It’s impossible to pursue the need to fill the world with love’s expression when we believe it is offered only to those we believe deserve it.

So here is your Monday Morning Magic stretch to grow your understanding of filling love’s need.  Look for someone today who initially bugs you.   It could be the guy who cuts you off while you are driving.   When such a moment arrives and you think Idiot, go deeper.  Go to  your hidden treasure.  Say to yourself.            “He/she’s not an idiot.  He /she is like me trying to manage a hectic world.  I fill the basic need of my life by giving a lick of love, my generous heart, to another. ”

Try it. You can do it.  Then, do it again.  It’s your big picture tasking this week: fill a need. live love’s expression with the growing generosity of your discernment.

GETTING STARTED WHEN YOU’RE STUCK

rabindranathtagore383735

GETTING STARTED WHEN YOU’RE STUCK    You may be standing on the shore of a new week asking yourself if you can get in your boat of life to take a journey that appears daunting, challenging.  Such a challenge can come wrapped in a variety of packages:  doubt and fear; lack of information; health issues; need of help but no clarity about where the help can be found.

No doubt, you, my Inspiration Impulse reader, could add a condition that has caused you to to stand and stare at unfamiliar or  treacherous waters.  Let’s talk about this experience.

Recently, I reconnected with a friend from long ago.  The circumstances were rather unusual.  As it turns out, the re-connect has revealed a serendipitous reason: My friend is staring at turbulent life-waters, asking how to get into her boat of life to journey with a sense of trust that the journey is doable even though it appears daunting.

My friend has opened up to me about what it feels like to be on the shoreline looking out at seas wondering whether there is a hopeful, encouraging, purposeful opportunity now awaiting her.   We are now in the midst of dealing with this question.  I would like to share with you three valuable insights that are common to this particular moment called GETTING STARTED WHEN YOU’RE STUCK.

a.  Start with the following premise about standing on the shoreline looking and wondering: You are not incompetent, weak, or a failure for discerning this need in this moment.  So, find someone to stand at the shore with you.

b.  Define what kind of Trusted Advisor you need at your side.  The Trusted Advisor role is specific to the nature of the situation.  If the issue is financial, you may be needing to find a trusted financial advisor; If the issue is health, you may need a health advocate as a temporary advisor to help you navigate your way through the complexity of information you are trying to understand.  If a Trusted Advisor is needed as a Sounding Board to identify conflicting thoughts and feelings, ask yourself, who could be that person.  If you don’t know where to start, seek out someone you know who has worked with such a Trusted Advisor.  Collaboration is the key purpose for finding your Trusted Advisor.

c.  Remind yourself:  The shoreline where you stand seeking guidance is purposeful.  Be alert to every silent script of thought running across your mind that says: Just get over it and get going.  When you hear that unproductive script running on automatic repeat, have a ready-made recipe reminder to corral this thought.  Here is the recipe reminder:  I purposefully pursue collaboration to get me back into the waters; I don’t use self-condemnation.

These elements are three important ones that constitute a Clarity Conversation we can choose to explore when we know we are stuck and we also know we can do something about it.

Monday Morning Magic is always driven by opportunity.  Carpe Diem!

Best to you,

Russ

THE DAY WE DISCOVER OUR WHY

3-2 Brk Prg #10

The Day We Discover Our Why     No matter when in life we encounter the mountain top moment of embracing Our WHY, it is a Keeper for Thriving not surviving.

William Barclay once stated, “There are two great days in a person’s life-the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

I was 8 or 9 when I met my WHY for the first time.  My dad took me to a Los Angeles cathedral to listen to Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, who was now known as America’s Positive Thinking Pastor with the writing of his all-time best seller, The Power of Positive Thinking.

The LA Sanctuary was jam-packed when we arrived. So, Dad and I had to stand in the vestibule.  Dad was determined to hear this man speak so I was not offered an early exit!

There I was, peering through the sanctuary doors where my eye had a direct gaze on the altar and podium.  When Dr. Peale was introduced and walked to the podium, I saw something unusual.  He stood at the side of the podium, without notes and simply offered up a one-way conversation with his audience that was mesmerizing and captivating.

I have no idea what he said that day.   But, I know I came away from that gathering with a profound glimpse of my WHY: Someday, I would be doing what I saw this man doing: speaking with inspirational, enthusiastic joy.

Now 63+ years down the road and at the back-end of a professional career in church and non-profit ministry,  I realize, in retrospect, that encountering my WHY at an early age was an opportunity for me to frame a life journey about  understanding my relationship to the Divine and having a voice to give encouragement to others to do the same.

What is common about you and me…each of us… who  encounter our WHY…whether it happens at age 8, 38,58, or 78?   Here are  6 things I know about discovering our WHY:

Our WHY is a gift given to us.   It is the distinctive difference maker that allows our life to carry a one-of-a-kind signature of authenticity.

Our WHY introduces us to people and experiences to grow our capacity to express our WHY.  This means that our WHY does not grow without giving ourselves over to being teachable.

Our WHY hungers for authentic expression. This means there are no 2 WHY expressions exactly the same.  The DNA of living Our WHY is about a distinct demonstration.

Our WHY is meant to express good.  It elevates the world we touch.  It is never purposed to do harm or to diminish.

Our WHY always looks outward to others to honor, respect, appreciate and affirm.   Our WHY is not better than; Our WHY is simply one instrument in an immense orchestra of consciousness, where all instruments are invited to make music for good, conducted by the Divine impulse of the Author of  Light.

Finally, Our WHY is always seeking to expand and connect.

Today is a great day to be living out Our WHY.  Make  it so.  It’s Monday Morning Magic.