Friday, 21 January 2022

The great causes of the gap between possibility and reality

This post is a follow on from this post about being possibility focused, one of the nine future ready skills of Response Ability, the keystone character trait of wise leaders.


There's always a gap between reality and possibility. The more aware we are of the causes of the gap, the more we can take action to eliminate them.

Here's what I see are the great causes of the gap between reality and possibility. What would you add?

Arrogance and Ignorance.

Bullying.

Bureaucracy.

Disingenuousness.

Fake news.

Favouring the few instead of the many.

Ideology driven.

Inadequate risk management.

Incompetence.

Lack of accountability, ethics, self-leadership and leading for others/leading for leaders.

Loose with the truth.

Lying.

Majoring in minors.

Poor planning or no planning.

Secrecy.

Seeking to divide and conquer.

Seeking to rule over others by creating fear of the unknown.

Self-interest.

Self-righteousness.

Unwillingness to be scrutinised.

Waiting to see what the mob does.

The sad role model of all of the above for me is the Federal Government of Australia, the Liberal National Party.

Don't be like them.

Instead embrace the pull of being possibility focused.

Kind regards

Ian

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

The Pull of Being Possibility Focused

The video version of this post is below. It's 4 minutes and 57 seconds.


This article is about being possibility focused. It's the third in a series of nine articles about the future ready skills of Response Ability. You can read the first article about farsight here, and the second about Heartful Disposition here.

I regard Response Ability as the keystone character trait of #wiseleaders. Response Ability is your ability and willingness to make the wisest choices for your own and other people's well-being in the moment, as well as in the short and long term.

I consider myself very fortunate in that I get to play in possibility for a living.

Every week I’m challenged in the Wise Leaders Peer Group gatherings that I host, and in the bespoke work I do with clients, to shine the light on what’s possible. It’s a wonderful challenge. There’s something about being possibility focused that is invigorating. Of course the real challenge lies in turning possibility into reality.

A pathway to achieving possibility


I doubt, even after 32 years of being a professional speaker that I will ever lose my enthusiasm and excitement for the “privilege of the platform”. One aspect I have loved is question and answer sessions after a presentation.

After giving a presentation in early 2006 the first question threw me momentarily and the answer I gave surprised me, so much so I almost couldn’t wait to get back to my hotel room to write down what I said so I wouldn’t forget it! The questioner said “I’ve very much enjoyed your presentation but can you put it all into one sentence? After what seemed to me to be the longest pause I had ever taken I said:

Principle before passion; passion before purpose; passion and purpose during practice = possibility
The audience cheered wildly including the questioner (You had to be there). On reflection these words capture what I am mostly on about.

Principles


For me there are three great life principles, an attitude of gratitude; the law of the farm; freedom of choice. These principles are unchanging and uncluttered by dogma, the hallmark of fundamentalists whether they are religious, political, business or otherwise. 

Fundamentalists believe their way is the only way and create dogma to justify their ideology. Principles don’t change, nor do they favour ideology, they simply just are, and, they can be lived in any number of ways regardless of beliefs, mindsets or culture.

An attitude of gratitude

When faced with a potentially life ending illness forty-four years ago my doctor’s advice was to first have an attitude of gratitude. In order to get well he told me, I must first be grateful. I remember my reply as if it was yesterday. “You’re telling me I may die and you want me to be grateful. You have to be joking!”

In recovery I learned, and I am still learning, a great truth, when we are grateful for what we’ve got we can have more of what we want. The most productive people in history have an attitude of gratitude.

The Law of the Farm

My grandfather, a farmer, taught me this law. Grandpa knew the law as you reap what you sow. He believed as I do that more often than not if you have fertile ground, plough it, seed it, nurture it, you get a harvest. 

Today we phrase this law as what goes around comes around, or you get what you give. In my Changing What’s Normal book I use this law to explain my perspective on many things and how you can choose to use this law in your own way.

Freedom of Choice

We are the sum of the choices we have made and those we haven’t. As history has demonstrated over and over again, regardless of where we were born, and even in the most dire of circumstances, we can live a fulfilling, happy life that influences and inspires others. The most productive people in history make the wisest choices for them on a daily basis.

Of course freedom of choice lies at the heart of our Response Ability.

Living by principles such a these, is in my view the first step to achieving possibility.

Passion


I live and work with all the passion I can muster and inciting passion is very much a part of what I do. Two of my mates who are also experts on passion, are best selling authors Keith Abraham and Charles Kovess.

Many years ago I asked Keith and Charles three questions. Here are their replies

Question: What is passion?

Keith: “It is loving what you do and doing what you love. It is the desire to work towards a worthwhile goal that stimulates your enthusiasm.”

Charles: “Passion is a source of unlimited energy from your soul (or 'spirit' or 'heart') that enables a person to produce extraordinary results. Why 'extraordinary'? Because most people are not passionate about their work, or are not pursuing their passion in their lives, and this is the 'ordinary' level. When you tap into passion, and the amazing energy source that it is, you will perform at an 'extra-ordinary' level.”

Question: How do you discover your passion?

Keith: “You can either list the activities that you love to do with your time or you can list 100 things you want to achieve in your lifetime and see what reoccurring theme keeps on coming through.”

Charles: “I recommend a four step process:

1) Be a Passion Seeker: decide to discover your passion. It's like making a decision to run a marathon: first you have to decide and then take action

2) Be a Detective: look for the clues throughout your whole life, since you were born up till now, that will give you the solution to the puzzle. Ask your parents, their friends, your siblings. Do a chart of your life, showing the ups and the downs, to raise your conscious awareness of your life journey so far.

3) Be the Riddler: once you discover it, it may be a 'riddle' to work out how to earn a living from your passion. I have always found, when advising people, that it is possible to earn money from pursuing your passion.

4) Be the Risk Taker: take the plunge! Take the risk and pursue your passion. Remember, 'the hardest thing in the world is to leap a chasm in two bounds!' I promise that the rewards will be worth it, because you are discovering and pursuing, your soul's purpose.”

Question: Once you have found your passion, how do you keep it?

Keith: “Make sure that you are spending time pursuing your passion each week or day. Focus on the things that count for you, that give you the greatest energy and enjoyment."

Charles: “You keep the passion alive by using the same principles that you use to stay fit and healthy. These are:

Write out your goals in great detail

Read them every day

Don't hang around with energy suckers, or negative people. Get them out of your life.

Don't share your goals with people who might kill your dreams.

Spend your time with passionate people.

Look after yourself physically, so that the machine you live in (your body!) can help you rather than hinder you.”

Living your passion, is in my view the second step to achieving possibility. When we are passionate in applying unchanging principles in our own way, we have unlocked the door to world of infinite possibilities.

Living on Purpose


The Macquarie Dictionary defines purpose “the object for which anything exists or is done, made, used etc; an intended or desired result; end or aim; intention or determination”

Poet and writer Gita Bellin said “success depends on where intention is.” This is a very powerful statement. To change an outcome we must modify or change behaviour, because continuing to do the same old thing expecting a different result is a good definition of stupidity! In my experience before behaviour change is lasting we must first modify or change our thinking and to do that we often must modify or change our feeling and to do that we often have to modify or change our intention or purpose!

So what is your purpose? What was your aim when you got up this morning? What were you feeling and thinking literally? If you are like me the answers to these questions can be elusive and often the day is over before it really seemed to begin.

I believe we humans all have the same broad purpose: to be at peace with ourselves. For only then can we make peace with others. How we find peace within ourselves and then make peace with others is an individual journey.

I have found regular contemplation, reflection, and just plain hard work on the following as great ways to keep myself living on purpose

Knowing my strengths and applying them.

Allowing the strengths of others to make up for my shortcomings.

Seeing my work as a calling and never a job or a career.

Spending a hour a day on my own personal development.

Engaging in activities that give me a sense of purpose.

Knowing and understanding what gives me meaning and pursuing these things with vigour.

Being the best I can be in each moment (and when I mess up, take the lesson and move on).

Continually asking why and why not.

Maintaining positive self talk.

Never saying anything negative about myself or others.

Competing with myself and collaborating with others.

When we combine purpose with passion (bringing everything we are to everything we do) and unchanging principles (gratitude, the law of the farm, and freedom of choice), we have unleashed an unstoppable force for good, leaving only one step left to achieve possibility.

the nitty gritty – practice


Actions do speak louder than words. We can believe in principles such as an attitude of gratitude, freedom of choice and the law of the farm; we can understand passion, “the amazing energy source” to quote Charles Kovess; we can grasp purpose as being at peace within ourselves; however it all means nothing if we do not take this trilogy into all that we do or practice.

12 actions for taking our principles, passion and purpose into everyday life


1) Capture possibility for the next 90 days on one page. Here’s my example. 

2) Read Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s great book The Art of Possibility. 

3) Be crystal clear on your goals but more importantly the steps you will take, one at a time, to achieve your goals. Then detach from your goals and put everything you’ve got into taking the steps

4) Wherever possible add value to transactions and interactions. The extra things we do that usually cost nothing, are often perceived as the most valuable to the recipient

5) Take responsibility for your intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions.

6) Take no responsibility for other peoples intentions, feelings, thoughts and actions.

7) Live in the now. Now is the only moment that matters. The past cannot be changed (we can view it differently). Our best future will take care of itself if we are bringing everything we are to everything we do, right now.

8) On a weekly basis review your actions. Next week repeat what worked and don’t repeat what didn’t work.

9) Always tell the truth as you see it. My father used to say this means we don’t have to remember anything!

10 ) Invest wisely in time. We have 168 hours every week that’s it! I devote a third to work, a third to sleeping, eating and personal time, and a third to family and friends. Whatever your investment, see it as just that, and you will get a return. Forget about time management, it’s investing wisely in the time we have that counts

11) Apply the 80/20 rule; we get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts. Known as the Pareto Principle, the law of imbalance or least effort, this one is worth a lot of thought. Most people are trying to achieve a lot by doing a lot. This principle says do less; just make sure that what you are doing is producing what you want. More with less is possible

12) Whenever you are doing a particular task focus on doing it to the best of your ability and do not allow yourself to be distracted.

Be intense for short periods of focus, then take a break. Choose a period of intensity (45 to 90 minutes) then a complete break for a minimum of 10 minutes before stating something else.

Should you love some help please consider becoming a professional member of Wise Leaders Community. Learn more here.

As a subscriber to this newsletter you qualify for a complimentary place in the Wise Leaders Workshop in February. There are just three places left in the first time option and four in the second. Learn more here.

Kind regards

Ian

Friday, 14 January 2022

Energy flow is a key to self-leadership and leading for others

 I was thrilled to have this conversation with former client and now colleague Dr. Simone Boer.


Here's the model for well-being that emerged during our conversation:

Should you like some help in adopting this is your own best way please contact Simone or myself.

Kind regards
Ian

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Hear your heart before listening to your head

Listen to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the second in a series of nine about the future ready skills of Response Ability. Here's the first post on Farsight.

I regard Response Ability as the keystone character trait of #wiseleaders. Response Ability is your ability and willingness to make the wisest choices for your own and other people's well-being in the moment, as well as in the short and long term.

To enhance your Response Ability please consider The Wise Leaders Workshop, my signature work. In February I'm offering the workshop complimentary. Learn more here.

Heartful Disposition

Our minds are full of stories we told ourselves. Patterns, biases, beliefs and values are some of the consequences. In the moment and in the short and long term we respond or react based on our stories. 

There's a better way to live, learn and lead than reacting.

My book Heart-Leadership has this premise - To sustain being in harmony with yourself, other people, and our planet, we need to consistently hear our hearts first, ask our heads for help second, and engage your hands third. This all takes a lot of deliberate practice before it becomes habitual.

“The only thing that keeps us down and keeps us stuck is our thoughts.” said the Canadian writer John Kehoe.

Reading John’s insight in 1990 was a game changer for me.

My heart was telling me then that I should leave the corporate world and begin self-employment. 

I felt my heart calling me to be more than I was and to do work that I felt could better serve people. 

My head was filled with doubts and worry and thoughts that I was putting my family at risk should it not work.

The expressions ‘doing my head in’ and ‘weighing heavily on my mind’ had a lot of traction.

I followed my heart yet I was full of fear.

Fast-forward 32 years and I am still following my heart. There’s been highs and lows and lots in between.

There have been times when I allowed my head to overrule my heart. The consequences were never good.

There have been times when I followed my heart, only to allow myself to be overcome with doubt and worry and quit too soon. 

Equally allowing my head to rule has also meant hanging onto things for way too long.

Always my life has been better when I have followed my heart, kept a cool head, and move forward with my hands one small yet significant step (quantum leap) at a time.

My deepest insights into to the matters of, and the preeminence of the heart, began on September 15th 2017. My wife Carol received the exciting news on this day of her registration as a civil celebrant. 

On the same day she received the news after many tests that she had cancer of an unknown primary (about 30% of cancers) that had metastasised in lymph nodes in her neck and chest cavity.

Carol’s prognosis wasn’t good and she began chemotherapy almost immediately.

In the next five months she lost her energy, her hair and almost her life.

I became her primary carer. To say that our lives were changed forever doesn’t do justice to what happened.

A few days after her first chemo treatment, which involved five hours sitting while being injected with drugs, we were in our lounge room watching TV. 

I happened to glance at Carol only to see her eyes rolling and her losing consciousness. I called the hospital emergency number given to us and there was no answer. I then called the ambulance emergency line to be told by the operator to slap Carol hoping to wake her and then to keep her awake until the ambulance arrived.

I followed instructions and with great fear experienced the longest 19 minutes of my life with Carol barely conscious when the ambulance officers entered our home. 

After connecting Carol to machines and getting her to stand her blood pressure dropped 30 points and they explained to me that they would give her some drugs to stabilise her and then take her to hospital.

As they wheeled her to the ambulance I burst into tears and felt an acute loss of energy only to be reassured that everything would be fine.

A hour lately when I got to see Carol in the emergency ward she had recovered quite a bit. It was explained to me that she had had a severe reaction to the chemo drugs and required a hospital stay for a few days to recover.

We learned in the next few months that Western doctors know about chemicals and trauma recovery. In the main we learned the hard way that they know very little (with few exceptions) about human energy and human well-being.

Carol got well primarily through her own resilience. She enhanced her gift of being able to learn about all the options and choose what resonated with her heart.

In essence over time Carol changed her energy vibration/frequency with the help of changed diet, exercise regime, and the use of sound waves and frequencies through rife and scalar machines.

She also learned to hear her hearts connection to the present and future and pay less attention to her head’s connection to the past.

Of course I benefited greatly from the numerous conversations we had and continue to have. I participated too in the changes Carol was making in my own best way.

These conversations, observations and changes prepared me well for my own cancer battle and enabled me to change my energy vibration/frequency as well.

Fast-forward to now and I can report a sustaining of what I have come to call Heartful disposition which I describe as "I hear and follow my heart first and engage my mind second." 

To get to sustaining Heartful disposition myself I had to tell my mind (out loud) to shut-up for several weeks before hearing my heart first became a habit. This was despite over forty years of practice through meditation in quietening my mind!

Heartful disposition is a key to responding wisely in the moment. My daily inspiration is these words attributed to Viktor Frankl yet probably not his words (see my backstory here).

Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

These wonderfully wise words are imprinted on my heart. The more I live by them ensuring I hear my heart before engaging with my mind, the more I respond to other people in ways that are uplifting for them, and the more I make the wisest decisions for myself.

I encourage you to make hearing your heart before listening to your head a priority in your life. Drop me a line should you wish to share the joy and success this brings you.

Kind regards

Ian

PS please note that there are still some places left in the special complimentary Wise Leaders Workshop in February. Two time options meaning you can participate at a comfortable time wherever you are in the world. Learn more and register from here.

Friday, 7 January 2022

Capturing possibility on-a-page is a great focusing tool

I'm one of the pioneers of Plans-on-a-page. 

I swear by them as one of the most magnificent tools there are to keep us focused on what is important to us.

I first created a plan-on-a-page in my notebook with a trusted direct report in August 1989. I called it a Performance Possibility Plan-on-a-page.

I had 24 direct reports at the time in multiple locations and 1000’s of mile apart! My deep desire was to find a way to keep everyone on the same page collectively and in individual locations.

People started calling them PPP’s and this label is still used by many of my clients today!

In the last couple of years Plans-on-a-page have evolved to Processes-on-a-page or as an alternative.

Processes-on-a-page is a snapshot of the rituals and routines or practices being followed. Below is my own example. You can download it here.

Below is my current plan-on-a-page which I now call Possibility on-a-page. You can download it here.

Whatever you choose to label them on-a-page documents are a remarkable way to:

1) Keep focused personally, for a team, for an organisation.

2) Help you and others (particularly those people to whom you have promised to deliver value) to be accountable.

3) Sustain a shared-view with your performance possibility partners (colleagues, mentors) and possibility peers in areas you have agreed are significant. 

4) Own your piece of  the execution quilt (see below) or jigsaw.

5) Capture in one place the quantum leaps (small yet significant shifts) you’re taking to move from current reality to possibility (your next reality!).

6) Ensure performance reviews are valuable and uplifting and focused on current reality.

One of my most prized possessions is a small quilt my Grandmother Ruby Sherriff made over 50 years ago. I have wonderful memories of her and husband Fred. They lived less than a mile from me when I was a boy and so I was a frequent visitor to their house. 

A vivid memory is Nana making quilts. There'd be a piece here and another over there etc and then one day it would magically come together as one and yet each individual piece stood out. 

Little did I know then that Nana's quilts would many years later inspire a remarkable idea. 

In business strategy is like a compass and execution a map. For your strategy to be executed every employee needs their unique piece of the map. Capturing possibility on-a-page is a great way to capture your piece of the quilt, as well as being a great focusing and collaborating tool.

Should you love some help in creating your own on-a-page focusing tools please give me a shout. My number is +61 418 807 898.

Kind regards

Ian

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

Wishing you an eagles farsight in 2022

You can listen to the podcast version of this post here.

This post is the January 2022 edition of my monthly Wise Leaders Newsletter. When you become a subscriber several of my events are complimentary. Learn more and subscribe here.

When I was boy I had an imaginary friend called Jack.

My mother used to tell people "he thinks he's real."

For me Jack was real. 

Of course much later I discovered that our minds don't know the difference between what's real and what's imagined.

Jack and I used to imagine being eagles and able to fly anywhere.

This was the beginning of me being in awe of eagles, a fascination and sense of wonder that is very much with me today.

Recently I was forced to spend 10 days in hospital after my system crashed in response to immunotherapy. (the good news is that along with radiotherapy, the treatment has worked and I'm now just dealing with side effects).

During my time in hospital I invested energy meditating via music to aid my recovery. With headphones on I was often in a blissful state despite significant physical discomfort.

I played one of my favourite songs 'Up Where We Belong'  the Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes version, many times.

I love all the lyrics, yet the following stand out

"Love lift us up where we belong

Where the eagles cry

On a mountain high

Love lift us up where we belong

Far from the world we know

Where the clear winds blow."

In meditation I go to what I call my Far Sight place. There's no bias, prejudice or conspiracy theories in Far Sight land. This is the place where I can see possibility with crystal clear clarity and see who I need to become and what I can do next.

Many people showed cared and compassion in all kinds of ways while I was in hospital. One colleague in The Right Company Con Christeson saw me with an eagle and so I was overcome with joy when she let me know.

On that day I was reflecting on a long drive across Australia in 2001. I had been booked to fly via Ansett Airlines from Adelaide to Perth on Friday the 13th in order to be there for the birth of our first grandchild. 

My wife Carol was already in Perth. Of course this was the time of the terrible 9/11 attack. Ansett airlines went out of business a few hours before my scheduled flight. I was unable to get a flight on another airline. Not a bus ticket or train ticket available either.

I decided to make the thirty-six hour drive which I had completed once before (not on my own). 

Leaving home at 1.30 PM I drove seven hours on the first day and stayed overnight in Ceduna. 

On the next day I drove fifteen hours only stopping for petrol and food. There's a straight stretch of road for about 150 kilometres. I was 'flying' along this stretch when I saw what seemed like a cloud over the highway just ahead. As I slowed down and came to a stop I was amazed at what was in front of me - a giant wedge-tailed eagle with wings fully extended (about 2 metres wingspan) lifting a kangaroo carcass off the road.

The image has stayed with me and when I close my eyes I remember with great clarity.

A few days after returning home from hospital we purchased this model eagle.

This is something I've been going to do for several years.

Of course he's called Jack and we are currently making his new home comfortable.

I was thrilled on the day that the guy who made Jack, Ray from Bellarine Gardens Nursery, carried him on a sack truck and put him in the car on his own.

I was not yet physically able to help. On arriving home Carol and our neighbours Keith and Fran, their daughter Sian and her boyfriend Nathan were all involved in getting Jack into place!

Now every day I get the opportunity in the morning sunlight to meditate in the land of far-sight with help from Jack.

If you were to go where the eagles cry, far from the world below, what would you see about who you can become and what you will do next?

I wish you and yours an eagles far-sight in 2022.

Ian

PS Farsight is one of the nine components in your Response Ability. Holding space for you while you enhance your Response Ability is my work. In February there's an opportunity to join me complimentary to adopt this model in your own best way. Learn more here.




Thursday, 23 December 2021

Helping you enhance your Response Ability, the keystone character trait of wise leaders

In 2022 my focus is on elevating wise self-leadership by helping you to enhance your Response Ability, the keystone character trait of wise leaders.

In the short video below I explore each of the nine future ready skills that I believe you need to master in your own best way to thrive in this time of great uncertainty.


In February 2022 I'm offering a unique opportunity, with my compliments, to enhance your Response Ability. Learn more about this here.

Kind regards
Ian