I ran across this video recently and find it so right on, not right on because I am some kind of left wing socialist nut, but because I know its truth and have used the science in creating CEO2. In fact, we have never had a failure to engage using this counter intuitive process. Much of what we believe to be true as CEOs is simply NOT. Enjoy.
the world takes no notice
as I strap on my rusty armor
(that chafes at every joint)
and clamber up to sit upon
the skittish steed
that is my Purpose
the windmill takes no notice
as I lower my wobbly lance
and jab my spurs against the flanks
of my tired and wheezing mount
and point myself hell-bent toward the looming giant
the world may take no notice
or if it sees, not care
but for a moment or two
my Purpose is my Self
and for a moment or two
my Life is such
that I feel the wind upon my face
- G.E. Nordell
By Tom Voccola
According to the February 2011 issue of TIME Magazine, a group of accomplished scientists and futurists are predicting that mankind is rushing toward an event horizon called the Singularity, at which time they claim the human species will have the technological capacity to somehow merge with computers to literally become "immortal".
Lunacy? Maybe, but it looks as though many of us will be around to see whether it all pans out, since Singularity experts say it'll be a done deal by about 2045. Says Verner Vinge, author of the book The Coming Technological Singularity, “Within 30 years we will have the means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended.”
Typical reactions to this type of pronouncement range from disbelief to visceral sensations of alarm. Who do these people think they are? Mad scientists run amuck? Super-sized egos playing God? Are they actively working to make humanity irrelevant, by replacing us with machines they believe are superior?
In my view, science is proceeding not because it should, but because it can. Researchers flatly declare that technology cannot be stopped; if they don’t advance these concepts on behalf of humanity, others with less benevolent intentions will. The thought of this kind of capability, in the hands of Ego, is quite frightening; the creation of Cylons, Terminators, Borgs and our worst nightmares could be just around the corner.
I would argue that a better approach to finally unleashing the full potential of humankind is not by using artificial means, but rather, through raising the consciousness of humanity itself and helping us to achieve our natural potential. To help human beings mature and gain the wisdom necessary to meet the great challenges of our time, we’ll need to not only survive, but to thrive and prosper. To succeed, it means that we must consciously decide, individually, as well as collectively, what we truly want for our lives, our children, and our future. And then stay true to our word.
Sound easy? Then what stops us?
In my work with leaders, I've observed that, by far, the biggest obstacle to individuals and organizations achieving their goals is their inability to stay focused and follow through on what they declare they want. Ironic, isn’t it, that the goals we say we want to reach, the dreams we dearly yearn to attain, are what we tend to self-sabotage the most.
Energy always follows focus. This is a universal truth. Yet individually and collectively, we human beings allow our energy to be dissipated by external and internal distractions to the point where we become ineffective in our lives, our relationships and our endeavors.
Think about it. As a Leader, what is your #1 goal, your heartfelt dream? Then consider. How much “noise” do you have in your life that distracts, delays and slowly, insidiously wiggles its way between what you hope to achieve and what you actually complete each day? How many shifting priorities come at you from all sides? Massive distractions like war, politics and economic instability cause disruption on a global scale. Lesser distractions derail us just as easily from within our immediate spheres, like workplace politics, interpersonal conflict, traffic delays or simply getting hooked by the next e-mail, text message, phone call or news broadcast. But the things that really paralyze us come from inside our own psyche, like feelings of overwhelm, fear, anger, depression, inadequacy and stress.
Experts say that the level of harmful stress that the average person lives with is growing exponentially; our fight or flight responses are now triggered primarily by imagined or internalized threats rather than genuine peril from our environment. In ages past, our ancestors had to run from dangerous predators. But today we are unconsciously running from intangibles every moment of every day, while supplements like caffeine help keep the adrenaline flowing constantly – interrupted briefly by inadequate periods of sleep.
Of course, lack of focus and follow-through is a stumbling block for all of humanity, not just Leaders. Our species, through its curious mix of politics, economics and greed, has led us to focus on the symptom rather than the cure. (After all, how much more economically viable do you think it is to treat a symptom than a cure? You get the picture.) So when faced with an issue, people are well conditioned to pile on more activities and layers of distraction in a futile attempt to make the symptoms go away. In this example, stress is a symptom – so why not sign up for classes and activities designed to provide stress relief? A calendar of unfulfilled commitments is a symptom, so let’s add a workshop and some audio CDs on time management. A life or career that is unfulfilling is a symptom, so let’s start looking into the next big network marketing idea that’s supposed to put us on the road to multiple streams of income.
Now, I don’t have anything against relaxation, time management or multiple streams of income — IF they are an integral part of you fulfilling your true Destiny and playing your Game Worth Playing.
So let’s just skip the symptoms and start there, with the cure. What is YOUR Purpose? Your Passion? Your Game Worth Playing? Articulate that, clearly and succinctly, and all other priorities and decisions fall much more easily into place. If you already have clarity on this foundational step, congratulations! You can advance to the next stage and focus on gaining personal Mastery, which will be my topic next month.
Very few of us are likely to change the course of human events by pioneering a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. But all of us can work toward unleashing humanity’s true potential the natural way, beginning with ourselves. We have the tools, the technology, the experience and the teachers to help us uncover and unleash our own Purpose and Passions in life.
So how many of you want to come along with me in ushering a kind of Singularity of our own? I believe, through clarity of Purpose and Self-Mastery, we can truly experience ourselves as powerful, effective, loving Humans Being fulfilled, not just Humans Doing the same things over and over again expecting a different outcome.
And that, my friends — a planet filled with humans Being their potential — is a future that machines can only dream of.
Yours on the Journey,
One of the important exercises we take our clients through is uncovering the limiting beliefs that hold them back. There are literally hundreds of limiting beliefs, but each person and organization has their own unique set. You might ponder a few of these to see if you have them on your personal list or if they're alive and well in your company.
We call them limiting beliefs because they limit personal and organizational performance by sucking the energy out of people. For example, if we believe that firefighting is normal, we never do anything to put an end to it. We just work harder, faster and longer. This may be seen as heroic, but in fact, it just takes us away from building the company.
1. Fire Fighting is normal
2. People don't care
3. Working more hours will make a difference
4. Empowerment is the same as delegation, but with more rope
5. Managing is the same as leading
6. Bad communication is just the way things are
7. Being an entrepreneur or business owner makes you a CEO
8. The boss knows best
9. People just want to be told what to do
10. People don't change
11. Training is the same as transformation
12. Other CEOs know more than you do about your company
13. Emotions have no place in business
14. The customer is more important than your people
15. The customer knows what they want
16. Leadership always knows what to do
17. Business is separate from one's personal life
18. Performance and behavior can be managed
19. While business is about people, working with people, doing stuff, for people, the stuff is more important than the people
20. Profit is the main reason for a business
21. Education and past experience matter more than personality.
Limiting beliefs in an organization are invisible, destructive and persistent. They keep us disengaged. And the interesting thing is, the person or situation that caused the belief to begin with can be long gone, but the belief will live on until called into question. If you find you subscribe to some of these, well, great, awareness is the first step toward letting go of what no longer serves you.
Now, let's take this to the next level; how many limiting beliefs do you have about yourself, your family, your clients? And how are those limiting beliefs holding you back?
I remember the first time my grandson Chai came aboard Sea Fever. He
was so excited that after just an hour of watching me handle the boat, he sat on my lap and asked if he could steer. I explained that the correct way to ask for the helm was, “Permission to take the helm, Captain?” He quickly asked me using his new language and I returned his request with, “Permission granted, Chai.” and stepped out of the way.
Chai turned out to be a great student, but more than just learning the vocabulary of sailing, he had an intuitive sense of it – a unique ability. As he stood at the helm I watched him over-steer a few times but he quickly fell into the rhythm of the boat as it reacted to the wind and the waves to keep Sea Fever on its intended course. It was simply amazing to see a 7 year old, standing on the seat so he could see over the cabin top, handle a 50 foot boat with such determination and confidence. And boy could he keep a course. Much better that some of my long time sailing partners.
What I taught Chai certainly helped him with the mechanics of sailing, but who he is made him a sailor. In other words, he had what he needed already to be a sailor. He had, for example, a sense of rhythm, a sense of well being on the sea, and an internal confidence to stand up to what many adults have told me is an intimidating sport. He also never got seasick. For Chai to be a great captain, he simply needed the opportunity.
To be a 21st Century Leader, be you.
Not a Ronald Reagan clone. Not a Jack Welsch clone. Not a "Good to Great" clone. They were unique. You are unique. You cannot be exactly like anyone else any more than they can be exactly like you. And that's true for companies, organizations and countries as well. Each is a unique entity based upon their purpose, passion, culture, unique abilities and core values. Iraq will never be America any more that you will ever be Bill Gates.
Yes, we all need to be taught the mechanics of sailing, and that’s true of business as well. But who we are as a human being will determine how well we sail and what kind of leader we will be.
We write and read about successful leaders with the hope of being able to model their behaviors. The idea here is that if we do what they did then we will have similar success. And if you think about it, that's what most business and history books do, they describe behaviors as observed from the outside. If we can see the 25 traits of Good to Great leaders then, it is thought, if we follow every one of them, well, maybe we can build a Great company as well. Tom Peters is always finding the 85 things you must absolutely do right now or die. And oh, if you don't do all 85 of them just the way he says, you’re gonna die! Nonsense.
I am not saying the 85 things aren't smart, aren't good things to consider, but you will never, in a million years, do them exactly like the person or company that originated them did, and so you will never, in a million years, be successful exactly like they have been. One person's best practice can be another's disaster.
As a student and practitioner of NLP (NuroLinguistic Programming) I am well aware of the effect self-talk and language has on behavior and subsequent performance. I also know that modeling is a legitimate technology that one can employ to move a person or an organization forward. Sort of fake it until you make it. But there is one question every self help guru asks themselves sooner or later: Why won't they just do what I tell them to do? Why isn't every one of Robert Allen's students a real estate mogul like he is? Why isn't every one of T. Harv Eker's students wealthy beyond belief like he is?
There is no silver bullet. You cannot be someone else, so stop it.
Begin at the beginning. Who are you? Why are you here? What are you uniquely capable of? Answer these questions and you will be as unique and as valuable as any in the world. And you will have a sense of confidence in yourself no one outside of you can ever give you.
According to Patricia Aburdene's recent book, Megatrends 2010, in which she says, and boy do I ever agree with her, "The cornerstone of effective leadership is self-mastery. But that's exactly what's missing in business today." After working with over three hundred leaders across six different cultures, this has been my experience and contention for over 20 years now. The 21st Century leader must begin with self-mastery before he can ever hope to master the power of empathy and relationships much less the ability to then create a game worth playing.
Be yourself, Captain.
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