If You Get Stuck

It all comes back to one issue. For everyone. Almost every time.

Whenever I see blocking or irrational behavior my question is simply “What are you afraid of?” Where’s the fear here. No right thinking – no right action comes from fear. Simple – but not easy.

If you’re a business leader you’ll have no trouble finding things to be afraid of. If they aren’t things in the environment around your business, they’ll be in your business. And if not there, they’ll be inside you.

That’s ok. The last thing we want is to be afraid of fear. That’s being really stuck.

There’s good news about fear: it cannot stand the light. Calling out your fear usually causes it to disappear quickly. If not, there’s probably a deeper fear blocking the first one from coming to light. We need to expose that one.

Fears come from our past. Bad things happened – or we imagined bad things happening – and we project that stuff on our future. Then we worry.

Fear can also be triggered by something in our present which reminds/resembles something bad from our past. Once fear is launched it will fester until it’s exposed. That’s part of our work.

How about a short list, just to serve as a reminder of some of the places our mind visits more often than we’d like. Fear of failure, success, looking bad, making a mistake, hurting another, losing things we care about, losing people we care about, getting caught, getting punished, being judged. Fear of death – fear of dying. It goes on.

The point is that fear is like weather. If we’re operating in a climate of fear, everything we’re experiencing is seen through this cloud. We see trouble everywhere. And where we don’t see it, we make it up.

This fear colors every decision. When we look at it this way, it’s difficult to imaging making good decisions from the cloud. Which brings me back to where I began: whenever I see blocking or irrational behavior I look for the fear.

And then we find that fear and lay it out on the table. It loses its effect. The weather changes. The sun comes out. You can see again. We can check into this fear – where it came from, why it’s there, the message in it today. We can do some healing around it.

And then we can get back into action!

Bring me your fear! First session is Free!

Infinite Intelligence

Winning the game of life requires a strategy that transcends ordinary culture. We don’t learn in school how to succeed. We have to figure it out ourselves.

But business seems to operate in the domain of culture. How can we bring a transcendent strategy to our business?

Connecting with the unseen world seems strange, especially in the beginning, when we first confront notions about a vast world existing beyond what we perceive with our five senses. It’s difficult to explain encounters with this other world to those who have not experienced it – or at least been exposed to its existence.

Here are some words that lay it out clearly:

“The state of mind known as faith apparently opens to one the medium of a sixth sense through which one may communicate with sources of power and information far surpassing any available through the five physical senses. There comes to your aid, and to do your bidding, with the development of the sixth sense, a strange power which, let us assume, is a guardian angel who can open to you at all times the door to the Temple of Wisdom. The “sixth sense” comes as near to being a miracle as anything I have every experienced, and it appears to perhaps because I do not understand the method by which this principle is operated.

This much I do know – that there is a power or a first cause, or an Intelligence which permeates every atom of matter, and embraces every unit of energy perceptible to man…”

Napoleon Hill – Outwitting the Devil

You have to try it – experience it directly – to get a sense of what these words mean and how this idea might effect you life. Accessing the spirit realm for information, guidance, and healing is an ancient art.

Developing your sixth sense takes practice. It’s an interesting practice because it’s a way of living. Once you find Infinite Intelligence it’s doesn’t make sense to live your life the old way – the I’ll-do-it-myself way.

I’d like to show you how this works as applied directly to your life and your business. First session is Free.

When You Can’t Grow

Grow or die. That’s Nature’s way. And the way of business. But here’s the rub: today’s ideas of lean, cost cutting, belt tightening, and downsizing staff all trim the excess capacity necessary to fuel growth. That’s right, businesses need excess capacity to grow.

My father – an efficiency expert, methods engineer, and finally systems analyst – taught me about the three systems operating in every change. He spent his career working in an unusual department of a large utility. His unit was charged with what we now call continuous improvement. Members of the team rotated around the company, each assigned to one department at a time, charged with finding out what was working, what was not working, and what was next, designing new procedures, and implementing them with the department.

He taught me that these three systems inherent in change operated simultaneously in his world – in each change experience he facilitated. The first is The Way We Do It Now. In this system things are sometimes working, but always breaking down. The second system is Design The New System. In this system staff have to drop the work they’re struggling to do in the existing system and devote attention and energy to figuring out the new way. This creates a strain on the existing system. Lots of meetings for example.

But, he told me, people forget the third system – the most difficult one – the transition from the old system to the new system. This middle system requires substantial energy and creates big strain on the old system as resources are used to run the old system and implement the new one. This is one reason why change is so difficult for businesses.

Growing your business requires this kind of change. And this kind of energy. It also requires this kind of resources – enough to run these systems simultaneously. When your existing systems have been leaned and pushed to the max and are breaking down, growth can feel like an impossible burden. It is.

Years ago I learned that, in bringing continuous improvement to a business, as we began opening doors of possibility and doors of trouble, we were really opening Pandora’s Box. Although the idea was to fix each trouble in a way that moved us toward the best possible outcome, we kept uncovering doors behind the doors. More possibilities – more trouble – more things to fix. It became apparent there was not enough capacity to correct everything that turned up. We would have to focus on the critical few.

That didn’t work either. Systems are complicated. And one rule of a system is that if we touch one part, we touch them all. Sweeping change is just not possible for most businesses unless they’re totally failing. The word for that kind of sweeping change is “turnaround,” and it’s usually extremely ugly.

So I began looking for leverage. Small changes that would ripple through the company to bring change organically. These small changes have to do with the deep structures that characterize our work, our communication, our ways of thinking, and our organization. Effecting these small, leveraged changes works. It’s more about people and training than about installing new processes and systems – although that’s part of it.

Even so, capacity remains an issue. Growth requires resources. I am a resource. In addition to identifying and nurturing organic change, I work with you and your organization when you need me to help move action forward and you don’t have anyone with the knowledge or time to devote to growth. I’m often called upon to take on projects that no one has done – not even me. These projects are not always something I enjoy, but over the years I’ve gotten good at taking on this role. I’m a kind of a wildcard for businesses short on capacity to grow.

PS: there’s good news. About 40% of most businesses is waste. I’m always in waste recovery mode so I will generally save businesses a lot more than I cost. And paying me for project work is less expensive than retraining your staff or hiring a specialist.

The Heart of a Business Owner

The business owners I work with have big hearts. They care about people. They care about their work. It’s not difficult for me to see their heart and I love them because of it. I respect them because of it.

But they’ve got a hard edge. They’re firm and they’re in charge. They sometimes have a short fuse. They have high expectations for themselves and those around them. And they judge everyone around these expectations.

In order to protect their heart they project power. One owner told me he learned early that he had to be a tough guy – often the toughest guy – in order to survive. He was just beginning to see that being the tough guy had become a huge block to achieving the high level of success he had always dreamed of.

I appreciate that seeing. It’s often true that the patterns we adopted as kids have led us to where we are today.

Trouble is, as kids, we may have been very clever about developing coping strategies, but we couldn’t know how those strategies would play through our life. It may have looked like they worked to get us through our younger years, but they left scars from not dealing face-up with the problems and trauma we faced then. And they left us with patterns that keep landing us in the same trouble over and over again as adults.

Being able to control our environment and get people to do what we wanted may have gotten us through starting and running a successful small business. But it’s surely going to thwart the kind of growth that requires developing a powerful team and giving them space to fail.

I help business owners put their finger on these old ways – to see where they first appeared and why we adopted them. I help them understand how their patterns played out and both supported and blocked what was important in their life.

And I facilitate their healing to help them see these patterns and begin breaking free of them. Like any shaman, I nurture a bag of tools to work this magic. I also help owners create a space for something new to emerge – something that’s been there all along, I support them as they step into a new level of success.

Mostly, this is about demonstrating ways their heart must come forward and get into the game without them feeling weak or overly fearful about losing control. Their big heart is the key to their big power – and their passion. We’ve got to free their heart to lead them into the great work they were always meant to do. Their lives and the lives of the many people they touch depend on it!

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Creating

Here’s why creating is important. If we’re reacting or responding – like we do most of the time – we’re doomed to walk a path dictated by our past. Creating brings something new.

But here’s the rub: creating also springs from the past. Or does it?

I recently got wind of a new way to look at creating. As I work with it, it feels powerful. And wonderful.

Here’s what’s not new: creating begins with a dissatisfaction. There’s an urge toward a new possibility. It can look like a want or desire, but I think it’s better to frame it as a possibility.

My guides say to avoid laying on whys, whats, and hows. Just a movement towards a new possibility.

The next step is to check for alignment. Alignment with every aspect of self – higher self, mind, unconscious, body – even ego. Alignment with the Universe – guides, spirits, Source. It is here that the possibility gets tweaked until the words – or the expression of the possibility – feels pleasing to all concerned and accurately represents the highest good for all concerned. This is important because the Universe always works for the highest good of all. If I’m aligned with that, then I know my possibility must manifest.

Now we project ourself into the future – to a space and time where this new possibility fully exists. Spend some attention living in that place and allowing some details to show up. It’s just important to feel like you’re grounded there – in the unfoldment of the new possibility. It’s important to connect with it.

Here’s the new part: see the Now from this new place. Look back from the aligned future at the Now. Ask this simple question: What did I do Now that moved me directly toward this future? Come from the future in asking about what to do today.

Apparently this is a key to Neville’s writings. I somehow missed it when I glanced through his work. I’m sure we can learn more from him.

The point is that this way of seeing has us creating From the desired future – having the aligned result inform today’s actions. I find it’s a great way to focus on what’s important in the Now.

And it’s a great way to make sure that I’m not stuck creating my future only from the trouble of my past.

Starting Over

Big change is usually not easy. Sometimes, it’s necessary.

Evolution takes baby steps. Mostly. Until it makes a leap. Leaps are unpredictable – we don’t know when they’ll come or where we’ll land. We run our daily lives around incremental progress; we always keep our eyes open for possible breakthroughs.

The step before breakthrough is breakdown. Things stop working. There are too many old problems. Fixing no longer does the job. You can feel it.

Sometimes it’s your computer systems that break down. Maybe it’s your marketing that stops working. Could be your employees aren’t getting it done. Maybe a product or service or supplier reaches the end of its life.

Then we stop. Look with clear eyes at what’s working and what’s not. Re-examine our mission and our dreams. Check in with the market. Feel deeply into the space that is our business.

From this seeing – this space of questioning – a new path emerges. Energy and attention begin shifting to the new ideas. The new way comes to life.

In a moment, a decision is made. In this moment, both breakdown and breakthrough exist simultaneously.

Then the gears begin to grind as the old comes apart. Some old pieces are salvaged – some re-purposed. Some are discarded. New processes are taking shape. Resources are moving to their places in the new order.

The transition from one system to another is itself a system. It demands attention and energy. This required energy is difficult to muster in the midst of managing a crumbling old system and reinventing a bright new one. Implementing in transition is tough!

It gets even tougher when we’re hanging on to old stuff for reasons that don’t support the transition. Old beliefs. Mindless conventions. Hoarding. This is when we must make a clean break with the old and jump fully into the new.

I recently blew up my old business model. My website was hacked beyond reasonable repair. My needs have changed. I want to bring myself more fully into my work. It was time to start over.

And I am glad. I could feel the staleness of my old ideas. I could see they weren’t working. I could feel my unhappiness. I could see how stuck I had gotten.

I feel much lighter today – more in motion. We’ll see what shows up from here!