A WHISPER IS THE VOICE & LIGHT INSIDE YOU ... IT IS
THE CONSCIOUSNESS & SPIRIT AWAKENED ASKING TO BE HEARD & SEEN.
DISCOVER THE LEADER WITHIN YOU!
The devil whispered in my ear "You're not strong enough to withstand the storm."
Today I whispered in the devil's ear, "I am the storm."
March 30, 2022
Leadership & Personal Growth
How do you reach your highest level of performance as a Leader?
In developing people to become better leaders, our mentor John Maxwell reminds us that the toughest person to lead is always yourself. When we begin to lead our lives toward the best version of ourselves … there are no obstacles, no challenges, and no conditions that can hold us back from experiencing success and fulfillment!
The process of improving daily as a leader begins from within. And when you take stock of the person you are today and clearly identify the person you want to be, you realize the development in leadership can only happen through the journey of "Personal Growth" --- PG the process of understanding yourself and pushing yourself to reach your highest potential. As your span of control rises, your "Leadership Lid" must also rise … people won't follow a leader who cannot lead themselves.
“As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.” – James Allen
Your future is too valuable to take for granted. Investing in yourself is betting on yourself!
March 13, 2022
Attitude = Altitude
I've never met a happy and fulfilled person that had a poor attitude. These individuals have a "Victor" mentality and they rise higher than the rest because of their attitudes. Like eagles, they soar high above to rid of crows. They choose to be greater than their environment!
When you get up in the morning or when you're having a bad day, do you CHOOSE your attitude? Or are you a slave to your emotions allowing your negative instincts drive your attitude for the rest of your day, week, or years?
Attitude sets the tone for your life! The best way to disrupt negative vibrations is to focus on the blessings of having a job, your health, and relationships. And no matter what life throws at you --- choose an "Attitude of Gratitude"!
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude!" ~ Zig Ziglar
Video Credit: The Tarmac Dancer Strikes Again! - 979480
February 25, 2022
Standard of Excellence
Are you operating on autopilot not realizing your trajectory is to a life less desired?
Most people expect to have rewarding experiences and accomplishments in their health, finances, career, and relationships BUT they embrace normal or below normal standards of thinking. This doesn't work!
The standards you set for yourself ... Choosing to be "Above Average" in anything and everything you do determines the quality of your life experiences. Don't be average ... Do more and be more!
Click at the window below for John's message ...
January 12, 2022
The Art of Influence: Emotions
Have you noticed how you affect people when you enter the room? Do you energize or deflate their morale? Do your team members look forward coming to work when you're around or do they prefer you're away?
“Emotional intelligence is when you finally realize it’s not all about you.” ~ Peter Stark
Emotional Intelligence has been proven to take precedence over IQ in determining outstanding job performance and success in both our personal and professional lives. Like a virus that infect other people, our emotions are contagious and triggers a response that can be felt either negatively or positively.
Leaders understand the importance of setting the tone through culture for their family and organization. To achieve this first requires knowing our instinctive tendencies, triggers, and personality types. And with this knowledge, understanding, and awareness … we become masters of our fate and create the most inclusive and productive conditions for ourselves and others.
Daniel Goleman, best-selling author and expert in emotional and social intelligence shares that we have the primal ability to influence each other through our moods --- our "E-Motions" which is Energy in Motion! Emotions are infectious, invisible, and a hyperefficient mode of communication. Leadership is Influence --- developing our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) gives us the capacity to manage our emotions in positive ways for rewarding relationships!
“The bottom line in managing your emotions is that you should put others --- not yourself --- first in how you handle and process them." ~ John C. Maxwell
December 29, 2021
Daily Whisper: New Beginnings!
Reflecting on this past year, what do you want to improve, change, and create in your life? Your health, finances, career, or perhaps the greatest of gifts … your relationships? Look deeply at your heart's desire --- What in life do you hope to bring to fruition?
A fresh start or an opportunity to start over does not need to coincide with time, an event, or even a person. There is only one requirement --- to reinvent ourselves through our 'Mindset'.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind." ~ Romans 12:2
Mindset consists of our self-perceptions or beliefs that drives behavior, outlook, and attitude. As the wise Socrates shared, "The unexamined life is not worth living" so start by exploring the foundation of your beliefs with these questions:
• What are my fears?
• What are my hopes?
• What does courage look like?
• What am I willing to do and risk to realize my best authentic life?
“People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but they are unwilling
to improve themselves. They therefore remain bound." ~ James Allen
Bet on YOURSELF! To change the trajectory of our lives, it is essential to change from within. The process of improving your life requires reinventing yourself through self-improvement. Growth is the Journey!
Wishing you all a Happy New Year ... Discover the Leader within You!
December 9, 2021
Daily Whisper: Control - Are you holding too loosely or too tight?
The need to be in "Control" is human nature and healthy.
However, when we hold this influence or power over people and take it too far --- exerting too much or too little to no control denies a person's growth and expression of their true nature and talents. Both conditions are disempowering and leads to people's unfulfilled potential and creates dysfunctional relationships. Just imagine when your boss micromanages every decision and move you make … it makes you feel like a slave. What about a manager that doesn't seem to care and value your performance … this makes you feel you don't even matter. Beware! As you control your people's way of life --- their work environment … you are also creating team and company culture. Culture is the air we breathe!
As leaders in our home, my wife and I are often asked how we raised good and responsible children. We shared the importance of understanding boundaries, to show love and to nurture, not to overparent, and to let go. God purposed parents to teach and prepare children to learn how to face the world, especially when they are on their own. Learning to be responsible to oneself leads to maturity. This includes modeling and living by our sacred virtues because our children will naturally fall back on their values when times get tough. By relinquishing control --- we EMPOWER! Our children independently works through and overcomes life's challenges allowing them to develop confidence, resilience, and grit. This principle applies at home as well as in business.
"Leaders become great, not because of their power,
but because of their ability to empower others."
~ John C. Maxwell
December 4, 2021
Daily Whisper: Choosing your Attitude ...
When you get up in the morning, do you ask yourself what this day is going to look like? Or do you choose how the day is going to turn out?
ATTITUDE is your way of thinking* or feeling about someone or something that is manifested in your own behavior. When you do not intentionally choose the attitude on how to live every moment of life, you relinquish control to your emotions --- you become a slave and victim to your emotions. Attitude sets the tone for your life … Attitude is your chosen behavior.
"You cannot change your life until you change something you do every day." ~ John Maxwell
Every morning, we wake up and the first thing that comes to mind is a thought. Choose the right thought to define the start and how you'll finish the day … I encourage you to reflect on things you are grateful for. Nothing new and good can come into your life unless you are grateful for what you already have. Now watch the Law of Attraction work in your life.
Discover the Leader within You!
*For insights on "Mindset", check out Whisper dated 2/5/2021
November 24, 2021
Daily Whisper: Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is the expression of Gratitude … it is a warm feeling of thankfulness towards the world, to people, and especially to God.
Why choose 'Gratefulness' as a state of being and living?
Because "Gratitude is Power"! It is 'Awareness' --- to perpetually count your blessings every single moment of your life, whether it be in good or hard times. To live in a disciplined mindset of thankfulness most especially when things aren't going your way, gifts you with:
1. Positive emotions allowing you to become a more compassionate and kind person,
2. Feeling more alive and live healthier with better sleep and even stronger immune systems,
3. A victor's mentality where you're growing wisdom and become greater than your environment!
Make every single day of your life … Thanksgiving!
Discover the Leader within You!
• mpwrGr8tness.com •
BONUS: Maxwell's Thanksgiving Questions
November 11, 2021
Daily Whisper: Veteran's Day!
Often, we take for granted the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.
When you take inventory of the choices we have and the blessings we experience ... it only came to fruition because of those who sacrificed before us. And some who we will never know that have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.
"Freedom is not Free!"
To all our military servicemen and women that have served and continue to serve this great nation of ours --- God bless and Happy Veteran's Day!
October 19, 2021
Daily Whisper: Success
Is there a "Success" formula?
Given our wants and wishes as individuals and businesses are unique, there cannot be one single formula for success. There are many components that contribute towards success. I believe two of the most important things that greatly influence our ability to succeed are our:
1. Relationship with Failure - Do you see failure as an event or do you embody it? There cannot be success without failure and if you don't fail, then you're probably not even trying. Denzel Washington also shares, "To get something you never had you have to do something you never did." Failing forward is not just allowing your learning lead to knowledge … it's about learning lead to action!
2. Daily Habits - Are your habits creating the desired results in health, wealth, career, business, and relationships? John C. Maxwell shares that "The secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda." Evolve --- break bad behaviors and adopt good ones. Consistency is key in your actions … being disciplined, patient, and focused on your vision of the future will take you there!
Discover the Leader within You!
October 14, 2021
Daily Whisper: Humility
We all have this insatiable need to be right all the time. However, it really isn't about being right --- it's about getting things right! People's success and failure in realizing true positive transformational change in their lives always begin and end with "Humility".
"Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less." ~ C.S. Lewis
A commitment to becoming the best version of yourself and experiencing the best life offers can only be achieved with a humble heart. Through the spirit of humility and the lens of gratefulness bring forth an enlightening perspective that creates your new reality.
"Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying." ~ Saint Vincent de Paul
Discover the Leader within You!
October 8, 2021
Daily Whisper: Thinking and Doing
“Begin With the End in Mind.” ~ Stephen Covey
What are the things you desire most?
If your current trajectory is not progressing towards the achievement of those goals, you need to examine your thought processes. How we "Think" and "Feel" --- what we "Believe" directly influences every choice and decision we make that ultimately creates our present and future reality. Your past thinking does not belong in the future.
“As you begin changing your thinking, start immediately to change your behavior. Begin to act the part of the person you would like to become. Take action on your behavior. Too many people want to feel, then take action. This never works.” ~ John C. Maxwell
Discover the Leader within You!
October 5, 2021
Daily Whisper: Work on your Dreams!
John's quote below reminds us that most people don't LEAD their lives ... they just accept their life.
We either adopt a 'Victim' mentality where we simply endure whatever comes to us ... or a 'Victor' mindset when we make a CHOICE to live with intention creating our desired future!
Too many people want to be average --- in their finances, health, career, and relationships. Everyone dreams of bigger and better things but not everyone achieves it.
Don't wait for good things to happen, instead --- DO the work to make things happen may it be your health, wealth, and relationships!
Discover the Leader within You!
October 1, 2021
Daily Whisper: Self Awareness
If you're searching for that ONE special person who can change your life forever … Look in the mirror. What you THINK, you become. What you FEEL, you attract. What you IMAGINE, you create!
When you're not "Self-Aware", the noise in this material world will shape the life you never desired. Ask yourself:
• Do you allow your job title define who you are?
• Is your self-esteem based on your external appearance or achievements?
• Are your possessions or net worth defining your self-worth?
• What are the caps to your capacity in --- creating meaningful relationships, being healthy, and living a full life?
Life will always be what you make of it. Taking an intentional journey to creating your best life starts with examining where you have been, where you are now, and where you are going. Each step, one day at a time to your next level of awareness leads knowing yourself deeply … enabling decisive and powerful strides to your life desired.
“Look outside and you will see yourself. Look inside and you will find yourself.” ~ Drew Gerald
Discover the Leader within You!
September 25, 2021
Daily Whisper: Core Values
Have you ever wondered what shapes this reality we call life?
Whether it be our personal lives or in our company culture --- 'Core Values' are the foundation that dictates our thinking and behavior. It also guides our decisions defining who we are and what we are becoming.
Think about it --- Courage, Integrity, Honesty, Trust, Respect, Perseverance, Discipline, Honor ... do you live by these values? Whatever your answer, it's shaping this experience we call life.
"Your personal core values define who you are, and a company's core values ultimately define the company's character and brand. For individuals, character is destiny. For organizations, culture is destiny." ~ Tony Hsieh
Discover the Leader within You!
September 21, 2021
Daily Whisper: Trust
Trust is the hardest thing to gain and the easiest thing to lose.
Trust is the foundation of Leadership! No one can ever positively influence others without trust.
One of the most precious thing we can give others is our trust --- every relationship is built on trust. And we can trace the successes and failures in our lives through our relationships.
"Trust lies at the core of love; there can be no true love without trust." ~ Anonymous
Discover the Leader within You!
September 13, 2021
Daily Whisper: Can you or can't you?
What mindset and attitude do you choose to live in every moment of your life?
In every one of us, there are two wolves ... which one will you feed? The one you nurture will dominate your spirit creating your present and future reality.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
Discover the Leader within You!
September 6, 2021
Daily Whisper: Happy Labor Day!
"The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." ~ Oprah
Discover the Leader within You!
August 25, 2021
Daily Whisper: Attitude
Life offers both obstacles and opportunities, chaos and peace, sorrow and joy ... you get the idea.
To win in life for every condition or circumstance we can ever face is the CHOICE of being a VICTIM or a VICTOR.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
~ Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Discover the Leader within You!
August 17, 2021
Daily Whisper: Humility and the Ego
Humility's enemy is the Ego ... it holds us back from perpetual self-improvement through learning, developing, and growing to becoming our very best.
Beware of the Ego as your blind spots will cause you to live without regard for the feelings or desires of others ... it alienates and ruins any hope for meaningful and deep relationships.
"Leadership is not a popularity contest; it's about leaving your ego at the door. The name of the game is to lead without a title." ~ Robin S. Sharma
Discover the Leader within You!
August 15, 2021
Daily Whisper: LEAD!
A true Leader ENGAGES ... they do not leave things to chance whether it be their personal or professional lives.
Leaders are INTENTIONAL in developing themselves and brings out the best from others ... Leadership is an ACTION SPORT!
Discover the Leader within You!
August 11, 2021
Daily Whisper: NO LIMITS!
“All limits are self-imposed.” ~ Icarus
Every failure and difficulty we face in life offer the most valuable lessons and rewarding growth experiences that always lead to the fulfillment of our dreams and aspirations.
Discover the Leader within You!
August 8, 2021
Daily Whisper: MINDSET!
If your conditions and circumstances around your health, career, finances, and relationships have not improved, examine your "Mindset".
Mentality of yesterday does not belong tomorrow ... when one's limited "Thinking" continues to be foundationally rooted from the past, one can never create and realize their vision of the future.
Find Your True "North"!
Discover the Leader within You!
August 5, 2021
Daily Whisper: INTEGRITY is ...
o Knowing who you are,
o Modeling what you say you are,
o Being vulnerable and taking responsibility when you're not right,
o Possessing the courage to live in your values,
o and most importantly --- LOVING who you are!
Discover the Leader within You!
August 1, 2021
Daily Whisper: Gratitude
Whenever you find that you're not being your best self ... check your "Attitude of Gratitude".
It's the fastest way to gain perspective to center yourself and appreciate this moment in time.
Discover the Leader within You!
July 30, 2021
Daily Whisper: Lead your Life!
How is your story and the memory that is you going to be told?
We only get one shot at life ... don't leave your beautiful life to chance.
Discover the Leader within You!
July 25, 2021
Daily Whisper: CHOICE
"Achievement is a result of the evolution of your thinking and attitude
towards your heart's desires."
The choice has always been ours and no one can take it away ...
Discover the Leader within You!
July 15, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Trust … a Leader's Currency
Trust is the essence of all relationships. How do you feel and rate the quality of relationships with your children? Friends? Business associates? Customers?
"We can trace the successes and failures of our life through our relationships"
Life will always be about people. One of the most valuable lessons I learned to be deemed trustworthy and respected in my career and family life is to do your very best in being honest and authentic in my leadership, especially when tested. Trust has everything to do with nourishing the strength of our character!
Can people count on you? Building trust is like having a bank account where you either make deposits or withdrawals. Trust is a medium of exchange between you and others you desire to influence --- it is reciprocal! Every act either adds or subtracts … however, be very careful because every withdrawal will cost you greater than a deposit. Just think about the times your manager, parent, or friend (and vice versa) "betrays" your trust --- it takes so much to regain that same level of confidence to trust again.
Investing time and energy leads to earning trust even in the simplest moments --- every action or inaction, nourishes the foundation of trust for strong, reliable, and meaningful relationships.
Trust is a feeling of confidence and security … here are some tips in earning and restoring trust:
Model Integrity - this is consistency in your words and actions.
Connect with Compassion - be vulnerable in communicating and seek to understand their perspective with empathy.
Acknowledge Responsibility - develop and build authentic bonds by not passing the buck or making excuses and more importantly, giving credit where it's due.
Ask for Forgiveness - no one can ever be perfect … recognize that reconciliation can only exist with humility.
Establishing trust makes you credible --- you become a more effective and efficient leader ... you will encounter less resistance to your ideas and achieve results faster. Imagine a culture of trust in your home or workplace … it creates a safe place for people to do more and be more together --- it empowers!
If you're struggling with building trust with others … the problem may be within --- Do you trust you? You cannot give what you do not have. The trust you expect from others is proportional to how much you have trust in yourself.
July 8, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Intentional Living
Wikipedia defines "Intentional Living" as any lifestyle based on an individual or group's conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs.
To experience success at anything in life requires Intentional Living.
"Until thought is linked with purpose, there is no intelligent accomplishment" ~ James Allen
Our reality is created through our thinking ... it is so important to understand and even challenge our values and belief system as it sets the trajectory of our lives. Intentional Living directly impacts our dreams and aspirations. These can include:
To someday have a family with close, vulnerable, and meaningful relationships for a joyful life,
Having a career that allows you to lead an organization and grow professionally while providing a financially secure way of life,
Retire and start travelling the world as well as following your "other" passions,
Being a person that is physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy, or
For a group, organization, or political party --- Serving a greater purpose and leaving the world a better place.
“You'll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~ John C. Maxwell
Living deep within our hearts is a vision of the future for our desired life. We must realize that achievement is empowered by our choices which leads to creating the conditions for success … in short --- ACT "Action Changes Things"! Intentional Living is about adopting productive habits and consistently practicing these daily to achieve our desired results. Without the will for deliberate action, our desired life is simply a dream that will never come true.
"Begin with the End in Mind" ~ Stephen R. Covey
Ask yourself these questions to ensure you are intentionally on track with your goals:
Am I living with purpose and do I understand why I do what I do?
Is there clarity in my priorities and am I focused on working towards it?
Does my habits consistently line up with the achievement of my goals and aspirations?
Am I doing everything within my control to set myself up for success?
“You're the average of the five people you spend the most time with” ~ Jim Rohn
As humans and singly, we are not built to figure things out on our own. There is no one that have ever achieved success on their own … each of us can credit other people influencing us in every stage of our journey towards success. Wisely choosing our "Inner Circle" --- the right people into our lives to help in our growth and development is essential to realizing all our dreams and aspirations.
Don't live your life by chance and have regrets … LEAD your life! Always remember that people may not believe in you but NEVER stop believing in yourself! Find inspiration in your dreams and aspirations --- LIVE with INTENTION.
July 1, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Story that is our Life
"If you're searching for that one special person that can change your life forever,
look in the mirror …
What you Think, you Become; What you Feel, you Attract; What you Imagine, you Create!"
Every adversity presented a turning point in my life …
at 8, I found courage to stand up to my father when he dishonored our mother,
at 19, I learned independence and grit when I enlisted and served in the U.S. Air Force,
at 31, I gained a deeper understanding of true responsibility when my son and then later my daughter were born,
at 54, I discovered resilience and newfound purpose after losing my job of over 24 years,
and reinventing myself to write my story continues.
Whether we welcome it or not --- the conditions and circumstances surrounding our health, wealth, career, and relationships … will always be subject to challenge and change. The only way we create better lives is dependent on one thing … our "Thinking".
“Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.” ~ Buddha
Thinking is an important mental process as it helps define and organize our experiences for learning and reflection. It then allows us to strategically plan and create the life we've always desired.
Unfortunately, we are biologically wired for "Cognitive Ease" … our brain's preference to process information that is familiar, certain, and safe. This comes in the form of our "Comfort Zone" --- choosing lazy or unconscious thinking instead of healthy and constructive thinking which is empowering.
Thinking requires effort, is hard work, and is mentally exhausting … however, it is an incredible activity that allows us to realize our dreams and aspirations. Thinking is a discipline … it's intentionally recognizing we get to write our story!
Life will always be what you make of it. It's not about perfection … it's about living our best lives. Every moment and circumstance in your journey is an opportunity to "reinvent" yourself through your thinking. Be curious and with humility, challenge what you know and believe because your past thinking does not belong in the future you're hoping to create.
June 24, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Gift of Suffering
You're in good company if you think I must be hallucinating or delusional for saying that "Suffering is a Gift" … even my daughter - Lauren, thought that of me as well.
Work is tough enough as is and when you're not getting support from upper management, it's even more frustrating and disempowering. Also exhausted after coming home from a 12-hour shift, Lauren was understandably upset and depressed about her conditions. Rather than joining in her pain (as misery loves company), I encouraged her to look at the brighter side of her struggles with introspection. I also told her I would have loved to be in her position. Being only 23 years old, she is acquiring managerial experience at one of the world's most valuable companies/world's largest Internet company by revenue, developing her leadership skills, and refining her emotional intelligence skills. With this she realized that even adversity can offer priceless lessons and builds experiences.
"You can't lead a true life without suffering." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Suffering is an unpleasant state that includes experiencing a loss, hardships, misery, distress, or undergoing pain. Life is not without suffering.
The very best lessons in life come from suffering and shapes our becoming! In every difficulty we must ask empowering questions like, "What is this teaching me?" or "How can I leverage this difficulty into an opportunity to … ?". Unfortunately, others do not take time to reflect and explore how these undesirable situations yield valuable lessons for meaningful change --- instead of being "better", they choose to be "bitter". As James Allen wisely said, "People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves, they therefore remain bound."
Suffering … the trials and tribulations of our lives are defining moments to the trajectory of our future self. Suffering makes us more resilient and builds our character. It brings insight, compassion, and humility as we gain deep respect for reality. What is God revealing to you? How are these lessons bringing you wisdom for a successful and fulfilled life? Every adversity brings a learning opportunity ... this is the "Gift of Suffering".
June 17, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Self-Awareness & Blind Spots
As a father, I never intended to pass on any negative traits (blind spots) to my children. Unbeknownst to me, I would act rudely to innocents when something didn't go my way. When I saw my daughter mirroring my blind spot, it saddened me. With self-awareness and vulnerability, I told her I'm responsible and sorry for modeling this behavior that she displayed. Then I asked her to recognize that this is not who she really is and to become self-aware of her own blind spots.
"You can't see the picture when you're in the frame". ~ Les Brown
"Self-awareness" is having conscious knowledge of one's own character, feelings, motives, and desires. A "blind spot" is an area in your range of vision that you cannot see properly but which you really should be able to see."
We all have "blind spots" … which is also referred to a weakness, deficiency, shortcoming, or imperfection. Only by deliberately recognizing our blind spots are we able to step into our next level of awareness --- a higher level of thinking … that leads to living our best lives!
This requires taking honest inventory of who you were before, who you are now, and who you want to become.
Blind spots are also caused by a lack of perspective. Leaders with a "singular perspective" are polarizing and will have major blind spots --- the inability to see the obvious is self destructive. A singular perspective does not value people. Having a "wide perspective" is possessing the ability to understand and relate with diverse people --- this "Connection" drives your effectiveness as a leader.
Tips to overcome "Blind Spots" and increasing "Self- Awareness":
Humility - value people and recognize there is always something you can learn from them.
Inner Circle - surround yourself with individuals that gifts you honest feedback and desires to see you become your best.
Teachable Spirit - have a curious mind and invest in personal growth. Embrace the lessons from your shortcomings.
June 10, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Running your Race
Are you successful enough? Smart enough? Attractive enough? Rich enough? Whatever enough?
If you ever felt you're not cutting it in life, you're not alone. And why does it seem that no matter what you do … "it" or perhaps "you" are not enough.
Our capitalistic culture defines a person's success through wealth, power, beauty, or recognition. Unfortunately, we are suckered into thinking that this type of success is "all or nothing" in life. The need to live up to this definition comes from an early age … comparisons and expectations seeded by our parents, family, friends and society. This then leads to living in a shame culture of "not being enough".
In Brene Brown's research on people's shame triggers, it revealed the greatest fear for men is being perceived as weak and for women is the expectation of being perfect. This study brings profound clarity to our motivations. Shame can be suppressing. Shame can become a distraction and even a barrier to our ability to reach our goals and more importantly, our capacity to create deep and meaningful relationships.
"Running your Race" is a metaphor for life. And life is not a sprint … it is a marathon. Each of us own this personal journey to achieving our dreams and aspirations. To ensure it is "your" race you're running, start by honestly answering these questions:
What does real SUCCESS in life look like?
What does real FAILURE in life look like?
"No fate but what we make"
There is only one race --- we only have one shot at life. Understanding where we are now and knowing where we want to go is very empowering!
LOVE LEARNING! There will be smooth and rough roads --- we will stumble and fall but learning along the way will guarantee new experiences and adventures. Do not seek the approval of others … compete with yourself in being a better version of yourself. Embrace the mindset that "Growth" is the journey because running your race is fulfilling your purpose and living a life of significance!
“There will always be somebody more successful, more beautiful, more talented. You have to realize, you're not running their race. You're running your race." ~ Joel Osteen
May 27, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Culture is the Air you Breathe
Describe the feeling when you're at work … at home.
As you get up in the morning, do you look forward to going to work?
Do you have joy being at home with family?
Does being at work or at home energize or drain the life out of you?
Whatever your answer … it lies in "Culture" --- Culture is the environment or atmosphere you're in.
Our "Spirit" seeks full expression of our being … it strives to do more and be more. Our "Soul" desires to be valued and loved … it seeks for home (where "home" is wherever the heart is).
Both our Spirit & Soul are unable to thrive and survive in an unhealthy Culture.
People create and define "Culture". Our Spirit and Soul are either nurtured or poisoned by those around us. There is nothing more suffocating than being around toxic individuals and living in debilitating conditions … it disengages and disempowers!
Think about the best places of great culture … where you truly enjoyed working with people that had your back --- people were respected, supported, and mattered. Or at home feeling free from shame and judgment to be your authentic self --- sharing courageous conversations with your loved ones. In times of struggle and the worst of circumstances, it is those individuals with you that made overcoming any challenge more rewarding.
As a leader in an organization, community or home, you have significant influence in creating culture. From recruiting to modeling behaviors to living core values … the energy and consistency of your leadership sets the tone for "Culture".
May 20, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Are you for sale? Character over Reputation
Some willingly sacrifice character traits like integrity, honesty, courage, compassion, and other sacred virtues for a reputation. Ever-present in politics --- I'm incensed when those we entrusted to lead and serve us … "the people", are only driven to serve themselves.
Character centers on who you truly are and your moral fiber. Your reputation is how others perceive you. Character traits greatly influence the choices we make in life and shapes our reputation.
"If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself."
~ Dwight Lyman Moody
Character is not for sale! Principled ... having character requires self-imposed discipline as it forms your convictions so you are "One with Yourself".
Character is the core to powerful leadership as it builds trust. With trust, respect is earned. Emboldened with trust and respect, people follow since your actions align with your words. John Maxwell calls it Pinnacle level … people follow because of who you are and what you represent --- you possess a "Reputation for Excellence". Examples of such leaders are Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi --- all people of CHARACTER!
May 14, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Money … Are you it's Master or Slave?
At 40, I was a business owner raising a family and there was a period when we did not have any money to buy food. With a negative net worth and not having anyone to go to for help, that was a very devastating and depressing time in my life. No one ever wants to suffer and go hungry. While money isn't everything … being financially secure and stable certainly opens the door for better life experiences. Changing my circumstances required a change in my "Money Mindset" and gaining "Financial Literacy".
"People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan" ~ John Beckley
Money Mindset is your unique personal relationship, attitude, and feelings toward money. It is a belief system driving your conscious and unconscious financial decisions creating your present reality. MM is very powerful --- it determines who is in control because of our emotional connection to money. MM fuels your ability to fail or succeed in your financial goals … it hinders or will lead you to realize your dreams, especially for retirement. Up to age 42, I was financially literate but did not possess a healthy MM.
According to a recent study, 4 in 5 youths failed a financial literacy quiz and 4 in 7 Americans are financially illiterate. The FINRA Investor Education Foundation shared that there is a clear trend of a continuing decline in financial literacy. Unless you were deliberate in gaining a financial education, the lessons learned in managing our personal finances came from what our parents taught us, experiences through life status changes, or money management failures from pure ignorance.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
~ Abraham Lincoln
Regardless of the level of your financial literacy, we all can gain additional insight on how to manage our finances and create financial independence. In addition to books, financial experts, and people who achieved financial freedom, I highly recommend seeing the Netflix series "Money Explained" to gain an additional understanding on how money works:
Get Rich Quick - Understanding and Spotting Scams
Credit Cards - The Game of Plastic Debt
Student Loans - Benefit and Burden of Higher Education
Gambling - The Psychology of Luck
Retirement - A Dream or Reality
My wife and I have been blessed to enter retirement in our 50s. If not for hard work, challenging and changing our "Money Mindset", being intentional in applying financial principles into decisions, and remaining disciplined with spending and saving … we are able to reap and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Now we're passing these lessons to our children and to those who seek our advice.
What is the story you tell yourself when it comes to spending, saving, and your strategy for securing a financial future? Is your MM and level of financial literacy taking you to a place of financial security and stability? An important note: Financial literacy means nothing without a sound Money Mindset … it is like having a car without a driver.
Be INTENTIONAL to exploring your MM and improving your financial literacy. Then be COMMITTED to making smart financial decisions and take ACTION to make your financial dreams a reality. Don't be a Slave to money … be it's Master!
May 7, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Fear Factor
If you haven't heard of the American stunt/dare game show "Fear Factor", you missed out on some very entertaining and visually cringing episodes. It's fascinating to watch how people react and respond when having to deal with their fears.
Aside from the adrenaline pumping scenarios from the FF show, it's more essential than ever to examine the FF we face everyday because how we respond (even in what we believe are miniscule moments) truly shape the way we succeed in life.
"Life is the dance between what you desire most and what you fear most"
~ Tony Robbins
Life challenges and problems ... we all have them. The FEAR of failure when facing these can be paralyzing. Most keep these hidden to avoid dealing with the inevitable. Even worse is when we refuse to tackle these head-on ... it holds us back from living full lives today and thwarts us from realizing our dreams!
F.E.A.R. "False Evidence Appearing Real"
Fear is an adaptive behavior to help us identify threats … these are borne from our thinking --- the logic, memories, beliefs and so on. Whether a real threat or not, it drives our choices and decisions creating the reality we call our life. Fear comes in many forms ... uncertainty, rejection, criticism, failure, success, death, etc. Reflecting on our lives --- how we were raised, influence from family and friends, episodic and semantic memories … allows us to clearly understand how fear shaped our present reality whether it be in our health, careers, wealth, and relationships. It begs the question: How is fear controlling and dominating my capacity to do more and be more?
"Fear is a reaction … Courage is a decision." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
Accept responsibility with humility and summon your courage! Make informed decisions and even when things don't go as planned ... "Fail Forward" as failures are lessons for growth --- we live and learn from it. Failure is never a person … it's an event (unless you egregiously refuse to learn from mistakes). So when you wonder why you feel incomplete, empty, or unfulfilled … it's indicative you've allowed your fears to set the standards and limitations you live by. The choice has always been ours to be a "Victor or Victim" in our own life story. Know deep inside that we always had the power within to conquer our demons, overcome dire circumstances, and be greater than our environment so we can realize our best selves and fully experience life.
"Leading a Life that Matters" require that fear does not get the best of us. The greatest battles occur in our minds --- when I struggle with fear, I focus on my hopes to garner the courage needed to push through difficulties and challenges. In those times I succumb to my fears, I inescapably have regrets. Going forward as I continue to create my best life, I ask myself … "Am I living a purpose driven life that God created me for?".
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
April 29, 2021
Weekend Whisper: One is too small a number to achieve greatness ~ JCM
The first time being promoted to management, I thought it was going to be easy because I was technically sound at my previous position. However, personal production does not equate to people production. When you're responsible for organizational productivity, it's about getting the best and most out of your people.
Being a "Manager" is about "Processes" while "Leadership" is about "People". Each team member desires to know and will ask these questions from their leader:
Do you value me?
Will you help me?
Can I trust you?
Leaders recognize their decisions and actions come from their selfless best --- Servant Leadership. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses, they leverage their people's uniqueness and talents to empower for performance and results. Leaders possess the humility of operating from "me" to "we" and they overachieve because they understand that "none of us is as smart as all of us"!
"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." ~ Andrew Carnegie
April 22, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Clarity through Integrity
The world have always admired America for it's democratic principles, freedom, and equality. Americans understand albeit we seem to be in chaos and divided … deep inside burns our desire to live up and continue to fight for the fundamental laws and principles of the U.S. Constitution. But how do we get there?
We are living a historic moment … on April 20, 2021 --- the case of The State of Minnesota vs. Derek Michael Chauvin returned a verdict that is pivotal not only for healing as a nation, but also for the trajectory towards embodying our ideals as a country. A step forward bringing "Clarity through Integrity"!
Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. It is also the state of being whole and undivided.
Whether it's in our personal lives, business, and communities … INTEGRITY is essential for progress and growth towards our vision, ideals, and aspirations. When we are not living in accordance to our deepest values, our sense of completeness and richness is diminished. We are lost and our moral compass is off.
Think about the times you felt uneasy because you're not living up to your truths --- inside you comes a whisper to right yourself. INTEGRITY is the inner sense of wholeness and expression of your truth, inside and out. Integrity brings clarity to your authentic self!
"Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will." ~ Oliver Cromwell
April 15, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Virtue of Leadership Vulnerability
Vulnerability is defined as openness to attack or hurt, either physically or in other ways. Also describes a person's willingness to show emotion or to allow weakness to be seen or known.
People fear being vulnerable … no one wants to feel hurt and be exposed to judgment, shame, and embarrassment.
Most of my adult life I operated from the truth that a leader must be flawless, unwavering, should have all the answers for control, and always in command of emotions and situations. However, a false sense of self-image and self-worth is destructive in creating genuine life experiences and relationships. Suffice to say, I was anemic in Leadership Vulnerability.
In years past and even today, leaders in all walks of life as well as in our homes are AFRAID of being vulnerable because of the uncertainty, risk, and emotional disconnection that can result in rejection and abandonment. Yet, the only way we can develop meaningful and deep relationships require us to get out of our comfort zone and relinquish the need to be perfect.
"To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable … to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength." ~ Crissi Jami
Practicing vulnerable communication is creating intentional connection --- for having a "Connection" is to possess a sense and feeling of belonging. However, vulnerability IS NOT about over-sharing or broadcasting. When you're operating from an egocentric standpoint to get attention for self-validation or to people-please for personal gain, then this becomes an act of manipulation --- not connection.
Vulnerability is foundational to Authentic Leadership! It also requires a Growth Mindset (see WW 2.5.2021). The KEY to "Communicating to Connect" is Vulnerability. Not being perfect but opening your heart, being curious, and understanding why you are sharing a part of the true you. Just like "being real" with your child, you must be authentic to your employees. Today's workforce as well as our children do not respond to some of the "old school" management and parenting styles. No pretending … No falsehoods … Not a know it all. Vulnerable communication is a precondition to healthy relationships that can only be built on mutual respect, honesty, empathy, and trust.
"Vulnerability is the essence of connection and connection is the essence of existence."
~ Leo Christopher
How will you shape your Leadership Vulnerability as a strength to create more meaningful and deeper relationships?
April 8, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Virtue of Courage
Virtue is Moral Excellence! COURAGE is defined as summoning the strength to face uncertainty, adversity, danger, pain, our fears, and standing up for what's right. It's being BOLD and BRAVE to act on your beliefs despite feeling uncomfortable and frightened. Courage supercharges the mind to bring out the very best in ourselves … it fuels faith, hope, morality, grit, and the true hero within!
"Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without it, no other virtue can be practiced consistently." ~ Maya Angelou
If you're falling short, ask yourself --- Am I living courageously and daring greatly? Our life is a story built around COURAGE … how it is written each opportune moment depends entirely on YOU. This is Leadership Courage!
As Leaders in our personal lives, business, and society … practicing COURAGE --- especially in difficult circumstances define the trajectory of our lives and more importantly ... defines who and what we are.
Every single decision made presents an opportunity to living courageously and creating this reality we call life. Think how different and how much better your relationships, career or business, and the world would be when we choose to be:
"The Man in the Arena"
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Living a life of courage is to be real, being your best, and leaving this world with meaning --- making your mark and to be remembered by those known and unknown to you because of the value, influence, and impact you made.
Virtues are foundational to our humanity and leads to fulfilling our purpose . It is not about being perfect nor is it about the outcome of losing and winning as our spirit longs to do more and be more --- to live in COURAGE and INSPIRATION! A better world demands every one of us to return to our virtues … to do our best in living a life with strong moral and ethical principles.
Endeavoring forward … How will COURAGE shape your becoming?
April 1, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Leadership is Influence!
Our definition of Leadership is shaped by those we admire and aspire to model. Abraham Lincoln, Adolf Hitler, Donald Trump, Genghis Khan, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Steve Jobs --- All imperfect but can either be examples of great or atrocious leadership ... Leaders as well as leadership qualities come in a variety of colors and flavors.
When you really reflect and think about it, the most influential people that helped mold our leadership mindset and attitudes were our inner circle throughout our lives consisting of our parents, family, friends, mentors, and even strangers.
While "Leadership" is seen as the action of leading a group of people or an organization, Leadership begins and ends WITHIN! John C. Maxwell shares that the hardest person he ever had to lead is himself … isn't this so true in our own lives?
"You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself."
~ Harvey Firestone
The highest form of Leadership is SELF-LEADERSHIP: For most, we have been led to believe that our present reality were shaped purely by chance and circumstance … but in truth, LEADING our lives is a CHOICE. Choosing to be GREATER than our ENVIRONMENT. Choosing the virtues and values to create the legacy we live and leave behind in our journey of becoming!
March 25, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Opposite Sides of Pride
Pride is defined as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from achievements. It is also consciousness of one's own dignity.
"Good Pride" helped my mother raise three children on her own, become a very successful cosmetologist to the rich and famous, and earn great respect among family and friends. "Bad Pride" strained their marriage. I don't remember much about my father's accomplishments but my hope is that he had "Good Pride" in bringing me and my sisters into this world. I do know his "Bad Pride" poisoned his capacity to humble himself to support mom's success and fight for his family.
Pride can be a funny thing … it shapes one's personality and good moral character. It creates the trajectory for reaching a full life or an empty one. Pride can build dreams and it can destroy lives.
Good Pride aka "Wholehearted" are those coming from:
the birth of your child,
working hard and accomplishing your goals,
feeling satisfaction for simply being a better person one day at a time,
leading a cohesive team through challenges and achieving success,
finding love, and other rewarding experiences.
Bad Pride aka "Small Self" are those coming from:
taking pleasure in comparing yourself (operating from conceit) and seeing others as inferior or unworthy,
bullying and putting others down,
judging others while unwilling to accept feedback or constructive criticism,
feeling entitled and embracing arrogance,
and other supremacy thinking without regard and respect for others.
Good and healthy "Pride" is born in the heart --- it is an affirmation linked to self-motivation, self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Such as a feeling of satisfaction from an accomplishment or achievement … this leads to humility and gratefulness! In taking pride with oneself, it is an appreciation of the journey taken. Good Pride is also the understanding that nobody is higher than anyone else, as much as no one is lower than anyone else.
Bad and toxic "Pride" is born in the mind not so much from competence but from the deadly sin of superiority. It inflates your sense of self-worth and distorts reality. Bad Pride causes the heart to become swollen. The exaggerated thinking and feeling from one's sense of self-importance and self-admiration fuels the ego. When you're prideful, you cease to learn and grow. The ego is selfish … it has no desire to give oneself to add value for the greater good of others. (For more on the "Ego", refer to WW dated January 8, 2021.)
"A proud man is always looking down on things and people;
and of course as long as you're looking down,
you can't see something that's above you."
~ C.S. Lewis
Pride with humility is a blessing experienced … Pride born from personal superiority is a curse. Which side of pride have you chosen to live in?
March 18, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Living a Life with No Limits!
What is your vision of the future? What does a happy and fulfilled life look like to you? Whatever our desired outcome --- one thing rings true … the journey getting there has NO shortcuts!
In the natural --- we want things done our way, on our time, and our terms. However, reality tempers our expectations and teaches us that getting the most valuable and important things in life requires us to be more than ordinary … to be better than average … to push beyond our limits!
Whether it be in our love life and relationships, business ventures or careers, quality or standard of living, accumulation of wealth, and the attainment of holistic health … succeeding in every facet of life requires a constant evolution of our thinking --- to question our belief system (B.S.) because “Growth is the Journey”!
To remain still in our thinking is to be lifeless. Just as stagnant water turns stale and becomes an incubator for bacteria and parasites, the flow of running water is allowing our minds run freely without limits and thrive in life rather than deteriorate in emptiness. The way we think about our limitations were borne from the past … it may have been placed by our parents, family, teachers, friends, and everyone else with a scarcity mindset. Be wary of the caps people put on you but above all, be on guard on the caps you put on yourself.
“You can be successful if others don’t believe in you, but you cannot be successful if you don’t believe in yourself!” ~ Venkatesan Krishnamurthy
Living a life with no limits is being "Extra" ordinary … extra thinking, extra effort, extra patience, extra etc. John C. Maxwell shares that "Achievers choose what losers won't and pays the price that others don't". Motivation determines what you do … Ability determines what you're capable of doing … Attitude determines how you do it --- be EXTRAORDINARY!
Awareness + Ability + Choices = Capacity (from John C. Maxwell's book NO LIMITS)
In 1855, Track and Field’s most famous barrier was the 4-minute mile. Most believed this feat to be impossible because of the belief our fragile human body and heart could not take the stress and punishment. Not until almost 100 years later that Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
What about you? What barriers await for you to break through?
March 11, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Parenting is Leadership … Leadership is Parenting!
Growing up without a father to look up to, there was an emptiness in my soul. I'm blessed to have a strong mother who did her best raising three children on her own … but parenting is truly a team sport.
You ever wondered how we came to be? What were our motivations and why did we make certain choices that shaped this reality we call life? Looking at every stage of our lives, our thinking went through an evolutionary process that was and continues to be greatly influenced by our nature, nurturing, and environment. In the center of these three conditions are our "Parents" or those we consider to be our role models. Our "Leadership Style" and modus operandi for leading and managing people can be traced from our own knowledge and understanding of "Parenting".
There is no perfect parenting style and most of us didn't get a DIY manual when we had our children. Our parenting skills were borne from lessons growing up and forged through experience. Think about it --- our beliefs, values, fears, attitudes, were all passed down. Good or bad modeling … our parents helped shape who we are today and only through conscious awareness will we determine the trajectory of the life we aspire to create and attain. In addition, we need to understand that a principled parenting approach is never about perfection … instead it is based on flexibility, not strict rules.
Every parent's desire is influencing their children to become better versions of themselves. One of the most meaningful and effective ways of doing this is "Living by Example". Modeling --- the way we think, act, and feel that aligns to our virtues, especially during the peaks and valleys of life's journey IS a powerful relatable story that they will hold dear in their hearts and embrace in their lives. This behavior modeling process leads to observational and social learning wherein they begin to mirror those qualities and values. Consistently practicing in words and actions is living authentically where there is clarity to becoming … this is being a "Leader" of one's life.
The most valuable benefit from developing parenting skills is gaining the ability to "Communicate and Connect"! Our greatest joys come from relationships … at work and most especially at home. You don't have to look far to see examples of healthy and inspirational Parent-Child relationships. In our family, my wife and I worked together to build deep and meaningful relationships with our son and daughter. This continues to be paramount in our lives because the investment of "being there when they need us most" yields a lifetime of returns that are priceless!
"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings." ~ Ann Landers
Parenting is Leadership … Leadership is Parenting --- Influence your children and people under your care to do more and be more. As Leaders … WE are designed to pull greatness out of people!
March 4, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Valuing Others
Every single one of us have a need to feel we matter ... to be worthy. Knowing your existence has value requires to feel understood, appreciated, loved, respected, and a sense of belonging.
"Leadership is Influence!"
When you value people, you influence them. To be valued is to feel empowered to do more and be more. How do we show we value others?
The Golden Rule - "Treat people the way YOU want to be treated."
The Platinum Rule - "Treat people the way THEY want to be treated."
Application of either principle is based on how much we know the person and ourselves. Valuing others start with mutual respect … understanding we all have unique personality traits and values are foundational to meaningful connection. Recognizing and acknowledging another person's "world" means relating to their needs and sensitivities.
"You cannot give what you do not have."
Have you noticed how you treat people correlates with your own self-worth? "Self-Worth" is the opinion and sense of value you place on yourself. When we look deeply with honest reflection, we see both the beauty and the beast within. To move forward and create our sense of self-worth that aligns with good moral virtues is not about being perfect … it is about intentionally striving to just being better each day and growing to become the person (even when we're alone) we enjoy being with. From this, we begin to embody what it means to feel valued!
John C. Maxwell encourages to see everyone we meet as a 10. Assume the best and expect the best from them because when you do, you will naturally treat them as such and make them feel valued.
February 25, 2021
Weekend Whisper: The Art and Science of Listening
The most effective and best leaders are listeners. They take time to hear and understand people and as such, develop strategies and encourage action in directing the future and success of their organizations. Even in our personal relationships, the people we enjoy being with are the best listeners because they "relate" to us.
Communication always require Connection. Connection exist between people when they FEEL seen, heard, and valued.
Take for example parent-child relationships. An authoritative approach that instills fear, judgment, and dominance does not encourage transparency and vulnerability. The child will never feel safe to share their true feelings, emotions, and anything they view important. However, when a parent listens to their child with mutual respect and trust enabling them to feel heard and valued, honest and difficult conversations become much more natural. Always we must remember their life experiences will be unique to ours and we need to understand THEIR world.
Studies reveal that communication is 7% verbal, 38% vocal, and 55% visual. 93% is non-verbal! This includes gestures, volume/tone/pitch/silence of voice, facial expressions, and body language which are "unspoken language". Non-verbal communication is what we need to be "listening" to through careful observation … this is all about "reading beyond the lines".
It's so true we learn more from listening than by talking.
To become a better listener:
Be intentional, present, and remove distractions.
Be objective, curious, and seek understanding.
Engage, avoid interrupting, and allow them to empty their thoughts.
Ask questions and obtain clarity when needed before responding.
Closing the Gap … Ask yourself as you develop your listening skills:
• Is what I'm hearing consistent with what I'm seeing?
• Do I have a full grasp of the picture they are painting?
• Am I truly empathetic to their message?
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel."
~ Maya Angelou
February 18, 2021
Weekend Whisper: What does it mean to live an authentic life?
Authenticity at it's core is embracing who you really are by acting within your values and beliefs. It's about "Daring Greatly"! In her book, Brene Brown shares that choosing authenticity means:
Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;
Exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are made of strength and struggle; and
Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe we are strong enough.
People trust and follow AUTHENTIC LEADERSHIP! In a world where social culture defines success by a person's title or status, position of power, wealth and possessions, choosing to live an authentic life becomes an afterthought. But at what cost when we continue this path?
It's so disappointing when leaders … people chosen to serve are more interested in their self-interest and self-preservation. Whether in politics, business, and personal lives … some willingly and unwillingly give up their virtues choosing to lose their true selves --- selling their heart, spirit, and soul for fame, fortune, and power. Also often, we wrongly desire to always being right for the wrong reasons … a wise spouse learned this lesson well. A true Leader understands that it doesn't matter who's right, it's about getting things right!
There is nothing more unnatural and exhausting than pretending to be somebody we're not and in the process, losing our moral code. To constantly seek for approval is to lose sight the true purpose of our creation. One can never experience freedom and peace until they're living their best selves. Executives, Public Servants, Teachers, Parents … no matter your role in this life, our divine responsibility will always be to serve others and to leave this world a better place.
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are." ~ John Wooden
February 11, 2021
Weekend Whisper: "A Life defined by Courage and Fear"
Wow … can't believe it's already February. A new year, birthdays, and important life events have a way of forcing us to reflect on years past and look upon days ahead. One common denominator creating our present reality are those "Choices" we made in this journey we call "Life".
No matter our best intentions, reflection reveals whether those choices and decisions came from courage or fear. Regrets come from choices made from the "Fear of" … rejection, not being enough, failure/success, feeling unloved, losing control, the unknown, being who you really are, and so on. Naturally wired for certainty, we instinctively choose from a place of comfort emotionally and physically. What's worst is when we allow the fear cultivated by others dictate and create the limitations of our lives.
Those we admire most are the ones living in truth, dreaming big, taking risks, and putting in the work ... those choosing to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. Only through Courage not Fear, can we create our best fulfilled lives.
"There are two wolves fighting inside us ... Courage and Fear. Which wolf will win?
The one you feed!"
February 5, 2021
Weekend Whisper: What's your "Mindset"?
Mindset is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone.
We can choose to live in a "Positive/Abundance mindset" or "Negative/Scarcity mindset". Here's how to distinguish yours:
Positive or Abundance Mindset:
• Believes in possibilities and finds win-win scenarios ... Plays the Infinite game.
• Faces their fears.
• Embraces change and sacrifice.
• Looks at challenges as opportunities ... operates in a creative space.
• Has a "Victor" mentality.
Negative or Scarcity Mindset:
• Believes in limitations and win-lose scenarios .. Plays the finite game.
• Afraid ... allows fear to paralyze and fully express themselves.
• Resists change and making sacrifices. Views challenges as obstacles and operates in survival mode.
• Has a "Victim" mentality.
A curious mind leads to learning ... and learning leads to growth ... and growth leads to new experiences and possibilities. The choices you make is the life you create!
"People are anxious to improve their circumstances but are unwilling to improve themselves. Therefore they remain bound." ~ James Allen
January 28, 2021
Weekend Whisper: "Hope and Grit is a function of Struggle"
After losing a few games of chess, grandson says to his grandpa that he was tired of losing and he wants to win. Grandpa responds, "Well, you wouldn't want me to lose in purpose, do you?"
Every one of us, in the natural, have no desire to lose in any aspect of our lives. However in reality, the most important lessons are learned when we experience adversity, struggle, and failure. In Brené Brown's book "Daring Greatly", her research reinforced the importance of letting go and allowing our children find their own way rather than rescuing, protecting and intervening at the first sign of any challenge or struggle.
Whether a parent or a person in a leadership role --- if we want those under our care to develop competence, resilience, confidence, and their valuable sense of self-worth … we have to let them experience struggle --- to fail forward! It is within our power and responsibility to make them realize their strengths, talent, skills, and values. To push and nurture them in their journey is to help them build higher levels of HOPEFULNESS and GRIT!
"If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep learning. That way, their children don't have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence." ~ Carol Dweck
January 24, 2021
The road to recovery from this Pandemic as a nation and for our world will take hard work, authentic and courageous leadership!
As leaders at any capacity, we will have people that adds or takes away value in serving our purpose in life.
Dr. Fauci has served American public health in various capacities for more than 50 years, and has been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan. A question we must ask ourselves when we have wise counsel around us is "How does my inner circle serve me to serve others?"
God's purpose for every one of us in this world will always be "Service to Others". That's where the letters of the word JOY comes from --- Jesus, Others, and lastly You. Only by understanding this eternal order can we find the path towards our life's purpose.
Discover the Leader within You!
January 21, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Healing starts within!
Do you have a fractured family or had broken relationships? We all have ... while some continue to accept this reality as their life, others have taken courage and humility to move from past hurts to creating their best lives.
"Family" comes in the form of being Americans to our nation, team members for an organization, and being a relative or friend in your own family. To build UNITY in any family needs CONNECTION --- which is embodied with a culture of "Love and Belonging". And the first step towards healing will always begin with ourselves. As Mahatma Gandhi shared, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
Healing from within requires:
The Crucifixion of the Ego - to remain authentic and honest with who you are and embracing our imperfections. Perfection can never be achieved and no ever wins when they fight the truth.
Quit the Blame and Shame "B.S." Game - taking responsibility and gain the understanding that every challenge and failure are opportunities for growth. BS never adds any value to your own self-worth nor will it serve a positive influence on others.
Accept, Love, and Reinvent Yourself - Life's circumstances inevitably forces change on how we think, act, and feel about ourselves. Remember and return to your core values as these are guiding principles to becoming our best self and defining our self-worth.
To nurture your journey, I'll be holding two Transformation Tables for our CYW "Change. Your. World." movement. This is a values-based leadership development experience from John Maxwell's new book. The CYW journey is FREE and only requires a commitment of 1 hour once a week for 6 weeks beginning February on Wednesdays/Thursdays at 6 pm PST. Space is limited so send me a PM at jy@mpwrGr8tness.com to reserve your spot!
January 14, 2021
Weekend Whisper: Kindness … an inherent quality of compassionate leaders.
"It's one thing to be taught kindness, it's another thing to be touched by it."
Before my daughter Lauren started her first ever job as a manager in Amazon, she expressed both excitement and anxiety. Taking a position of responsibility always brings stress as one navigates to become proficient to meet the expectations from above as well as those that are under their care.
Her work ethic not in question, I told Lauren that she will succeed in management. However, I shared that her ability to do really well depends on her leadership because "Management is about Processes and Leadership is about People".
Our ability to create a high performing and productive team always stems from leadership. I encouraged her to listen for their needs and set every team member up for success. To be consistently honest and to value and treat people with respect … always being KIND!
No one ever puts their best foot forward working for someone who is dominating and mean --- there can be no joy in work. Kindness is "Compassionate Leadership" … the ability to inspire others through encouragement and empowerment! Kindness should not simply come from an act and an unwilling heart … it arises only when you explore and find the goodness inside you.
“You can accomplish by kindness what you cannot by force.” ~ Pubilius Syrus
January 7, 2021
Weekend Whisper: EGO = Edging God Out | Edging Growth Out
Donald Trump's tenure showed how his ego defined and ruined his legacy as the 45th President of the United States of America. Let this be a lesson for all of us as leaders of our lives.
The "Ego" as defined by Wayne Dyer is an "Idea" we carry around which has 6 components:
I am what I have.
I am what I do.
I am what other people think of me.
I am separate from everybody else.
I am separate from what's missing in my life.
I am separate from God.
An egocentric person ignores reality, refuses to acknowledge their blind spots, and embraces narcissistic behaviors. We all have an ego and for some, it can be so large that it destroys everything that is good in life and this world. The ego is selfish … it has no desire to give oneself to add value for the greater good of others.
To keep the ego in check:
1. Carefully choose your inner circle.
2. Give them permission to help you improve and hold you accountable for positive change.
3. Focus on personal growth and give conscious effort to just being a little better each single day.
"When the ego dies, the soul awakes."
December 31, 2020
Weekend Whisper: A New Year brings renewed hope with fresh beginnings!
Like most, I welcome 2021 with great anticipation. It allows us to start over and create better outcomes may it be in our careers, business, finances, health, relationships, and ultimately … our life experiences.
It is within us to "define" what we become or "confine" ourselves to the limits of our mind. Adopt a new mindset as the possibilities are exciting and endless!
Wishing you all the best life offers ... 2021 here we come!
"You have to let it all go … Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind." ~ Morpheus
December 18, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Laughter - the Organic Cure for Misery!
In Dr. M. Scott Peck's book "The Road Less Traveled", he cites that contrary to how we were taught to believe life is easy --- "Life is difficult". It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old … everyone faces adversity in every season of their life.
What makes things worse is when we take ourselves too seriously. This adds needless stress, anger, sadness and can potentially lead to depression. As we grow up to becoming adults, we make "choices" that create the world we call our life. These choices come with responsibilities which increases the stressors in our lives.
Laughter is the weapon at our arsenal to manage the uncertainties and challenges of life. Here are some of the advantages of laughing more:
It releases Endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are our homegrown feel-good chemicals. Best of all, it's not a narcotic!
Laughing releases Serotonin --- a neurotransmitter having the same brain chemical with similar effects to antidepressants and SSRIs. It is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness. Serotonin also helps with sleeping, eating, and digestion.
Research showed that laughter has a anti-inflammatory effect protecting blood vessels and heart muscles from the damaging effects of cardiovascular disease.
Social laughter is like spreading a healthy virus … it's contagious and a shared release of endorphins through groups promotes a sense of togetherness and common bond. Laugh with family, friends, and co-workers!
No one will ever be without problems. Life will not always be kind and when times are hard or you feel low, ask yourself: Are you giving yourself a good dose of laughter? Laughter is truly the best medicine and it revives/refreshes/rejuvenates. If it's not part of your daily routine, intentionally incorporate laughter in your lifestyle. Make it part of your healthy daily diet!
"As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul." ~ A Jewish Proverb
December 11, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Purpose + Passion + Commitment = Dreams Realized!
People who achieved so much in life exhibited three critical qualities to reaching their goals while living a life of significance --- Purpose, Passion, and Commitment. Whether it is in your health, wealth, and relationships, I believe each of these are essential to accomplish any goal.
First, one has to define their PURPOSE: What is your intention or objective? Is it for better health, to be financially independent, have meaningful and productive relationships, or to live the life God created you for? Adding Rick Warren's perspective from his book "The Purpose Driven Life - What on earth am I here for?", he answers in page 1 … "It's not about you." Purpose gets you up every morning … it is your Motivation!
Second is PASSION … it is the fuel that keeps the fire in your heart burning! Passion elicits our emotions and causes us to focus even more to a point we lose our sense of time and ourselves to the joy of work. I also believe that turning your Pain into Passion is another empowering approach.
Thirdly is COMMITMENT … is the foundation of great accomplishments --- it is about Action and Ownership! Taking complete responsibility and dedicating oneself to persevere through any and all obstacles. Too often, people don't quit on their goals and dreams … they quit on themselves.
If you're struggling with knowing your Purpose, Passion, and Commitment, here is what I share with my children: No matter where you are in life, do your very best! Find purpose in the things you do and the role you're currently serving. Bring in passion knowing that applying yourself to any task helps the greater good. Be committed and faithful to the process. In applying these principles, your journey will open doors of opportunities and you'll be surprised with the life you've created.
Purpose moves you ... Passion drives you … Commitment makes you!
December 4, 2020
Weekend Whisper: True Joy comes from Giving
Unless you're the Grinch, the Holiday season brings out our selfless and generous nature even more. While we think of gifts coming in the form of toys, jewelry, electronics, and other fascinating objects of desire, the most special gift we can give others is ourselves!
But before you do, ask yourself … Would you gift YOU to yourself?
Gifting starts within:
1. LOVE Yourself - Why? Because you cannot give what you do not have. Avoid negative self-talk because the most important person you're going to listen to is yourself … Speak and Think positively as your voice echoes into your spirit and resonates outwards to your personality.
2. BE Yourself - Be your authentic and best self! Be vulnerable … don't pretend or try to be someone else to please other people. Living for the approval of others is not living … it's a false reality, exhausting, and unfulfilling. Freedom comes from being at peace with who you are and staying true to your passions that adds value to people's lives. Be patient, be forgiving, be kind, be loving, be compassionate … within. What grows inside manifests itself outside!
3. INVEST in Yourself - Remain curious, teachable, and coachable. A lifelong learner creates a life filled with adventures alongside meaningful relationships. What's your personal growth plan? Tony Robbins shares that one of the biggest mistakes people make is to obsess only over making money instead of improving the quality of life for themselves and the people they care about.
4. GIVE Yourself - Your are a gift to this world … even in small acts, you become a blessing to others. An encouraging word, a simple act of kindness, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a hug ... it is a wonderful legacy when one leaves a part of themselves to another soul.
PASS IT ON!
In the here and now … the greatest gift we can ever give in life is our ability to love. Not in our capacity to receive love, but in our power to give it! This is the only gift that truly keeps on giving. And what's more special, is that you already own it! ~ Anonymous
November 25, 2020
Weekend Whisper: thanks·giv·ing … the expression of gratitude, especially to God.
I love the way Thanksgiving disrupts our normal lives and allows one to take a deep breath to simply appreciate.
If you're running on autopilot and locked into the busyness of daily life, gift yourself time to reflect on the things that truly matter!
“The Root of Joy is Gratefulness … it is not Joy that makes us Grateful; it is Gratitude that makes us Joyful.” ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast
November 19, 2020
Weekend Whisper: The Feedback Dilemma
"Feedback" or some people refer to as "Constructive Criticism" is often undesirable and uncomfortable because although helpful, it implies judgment and challenges our sense of value.
If you're like me, you take pride in who you are. However, this becomes unhealthy and destructive when our EGO (Edging Growth Out | Edging God Out) gets in the way of bettering ourselves. Reflecting on my career and personal life, the most rewarding experiences and seasons of advancement occurred when I listened to feedback and used it to improve my conditions and circumstances. This is a perpetual process.
As a leader at work and at home, reflect on these questions:
Have you given permission to people to share honest feedback? Value your inner and outer circles.
Are you embracing feedback by not making excuses for the behavior? Get over yourself because you can never see your own blind spots.
Do you provide feedback to your colleagues and people under your charge? People want to know how they are doing.
Is your heart open to being a better husband/wife, parent, son/daughter, or friend?
Are you sharing feedback to help improve the lives of the people your love
Check your intentions when giving feedback. This is not about manipulation because as a "Leader", your purpose is to bring out greatness in others. Feedback is the key for engagement, connection, and production. One can never achieve mastery without feedback. Feedback is truly a GIFT!
When my ego seems to be getting in the way, I remind myself this verse:
“Truly I tell you … unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." ~ Matthew 18:3-4
Humility is the door to embracing feedback. A child's heart is born innocent and their mind tremendously curious … they yearn to learn. There is no ego, no shame, no need for approval … this beautiful vulnerability and open-mindedness is the mindset we all need to strive for if we are to reach our best selves.
November 12, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Am I Bigger on the Inside than on the Outside?
Reflection and evaluated experience can do miracles in one's life. As a leader in our home and my professional career, I grew to appreciate and understand that my journey could have been more meaningful and fulfilling. Realizing I could have done certain things differently, taking responsibility for the conditions and circumstances of my life was the most important first step.
Anything inside one's heart and mind will always manifest itself on the outside. My lack of self-awareness, failure to overcome blind spots, refraining to equip myself to know better, and my worst enemy - the EGO, were all contributing factors to fallibility. Pretending to be bigger on the outside than on the inside is exhausting … when one starts working on the inside (heart, mind, spirit and soul), the outside naturally becomes better and bigger --- it is liberating because you're now living an empowered and authentic life!
Three important qualities that make up a leader are "Character, Honesty, and Integrity". People listen, rally, and follow because these qualities inspire trust and confidence. You're not only projecting an image, you're also modeling the best of yourself … it is the talk and walk because words are matched with consistent being and action. As leaders, we can never achieve more and rise above the limits of our character, honesty, and integrity.
John C. Maxwell shares that "Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership" and "Leadership is Influence". Here are some tips to become bigger and better on the inside:
Value people more than position … treat people with dignity and respect.
Inspire others by being inspired within … people can always sense your energy and passion.
Secure leaders appreciate and acknowledge others … praise and give credit to people's work and achievements.
Do not abuse power. Instead, influence and empower! The challenge for a leader is not to use power.
Extend grace and forgiveness to others. This helps create a connected culture and safe environment allowing growth and innovation.
Acknowledge and apologize for your mistakes. No one is perfect and people know you're not perfect … Humility is the ultimate trust and confidence builder.
To become bigger on the inside than outside requires us "To Dare Greatly!". Brene Brown shared to dare greatly is to embrace vulnerability and imperfection … to live wholeheartedly and to courageously engage in our lives.
November 11, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Sacrifice ... a message for our Veterans
During a session discussing "Sacrifice", one person shared how they couldn't see themselves give up their "life" for their secure reality.
"Freedom is not Free!"
For some of our military servicemen and women, they paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can have the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today. I believe "Freedom" and "Democracy" are synonymous.
To all our military servicemen and women that have served and continue to serve this great nation of ours ... God bless and Happy Veteran's Day!!!
Our hearts and thoughts are with you all as you keep our country safe ... to our son, Joshua Nathan Ybanez ... you're always at the top of our minds --- Love ya son! ~ Jonathan Ybañez, Malou Espiritu-Ybañez, Lauren Marie Ybanez
"Home of the Free, because of the Brave!"
November 6, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Legacy … How will I be remembered?
The film "Clouds" reminded me of how fragile life is and that death does not discriminate. Based on the true story of 17-year old Zac Sobiech whose life was cut short from a rare bone cancer … it depicted the thoughts, feelings, and emotions we all share as humans when we face adversities beyond our control.
It is an undeniable fact that everything in life is subject to change and nothing in this material world last. Whether it's our possessions or wealth, position or power, fame, fortune, beauty, health, and life itself … all have it's time. Legacy is our "Quest for Significance" --- to touch a heart ... to matter now and when we're gone.
I believe our LEGACY is directly tied to our PURPOSE because every single day, we CHOOSE how we will be remembered. Legacy at it's core is leaving a part of your Soul and Spirit in this world. Do your best to LIVE passionately each day because every heart we touch and what we do for others remain and lives forever!
"You don't have to find out that you're dying … to start living." ~ Zach Sobiech
October 30, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Forgiveness … an essential path forward towards vulnerability, to a free spirit, and to living our best lives!
For the longest time, I didn't know I wasn't apologizing properly. While saying "Sorry" seemed enough for me, I discovered it may not be enough for others. To come full circle and obtain some sense of closure, we all need to get it right.
Being human is being imperfect … to have faults. Unfortunately, it doesn't help when we don't truly understand how to wholeheartedly apologize to make amends. The worst part of our imperfectness is our blind spots --- when we unknowingly wrong or offend someone. To be unforgiven … is to be imprisoned to the past as it holds us back from advancing to our best selves and growing relationships forward.
Dr. Gary Chapman's (author of the Five Love Languages) research revealed insights on the "Five Languages of Apology" or when saying sorry isn't enough:
Expressing Regret - Honestly and sincerely saying you're sorry.
Accepting Responsibility - Intentionally and clearly stating you were wrong without excuses … remove "But" in your vocabulary.
Making Restitution - After wronging someone, ask what can you do to make it right.
Genuinely Repenting - Recognizing you can do better, identify the steps to making positive change.
Requesting Forgiveness - Plead for forgiveness. Whether it is given or not, you've taken a bold step towards connection.
While we act to forgive, we may never forget … however building trust starts with an apology. And though we think this only applies to people in our lives, the MOST important and first person we need forgive is OURSELVES. Forgiving and Leading starts within!
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." ~ Lewis B. Smedes
October 23, 2020
Weekend Whisper: Who are you … really. Are you hearing yourself?
Your "Inner Self" is defined as who you really are on the inside and we spend a great deal of time with our thoughts. I believe that to "know thyself", you must start with your Soul and your Spirit.
Whether you're a person of faith or not, exploring your "Soul" and "Spirit" leads to another level of self-awareness that makes for a healthier mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical state of being.
Soul was born perfectly and abundantly as it came from God (Grand Overall Designer)! It IS the FACE before you were born. Sometimes, it'll speak through our conscience because when something we've done doesn't come in alignment with our values, it creates disharmony from within. Your soul will always seek for home.
Spirit is what encourages us to keep moving. It isn't static … it's DYNAMIC! It seeks to do more and be more. For all of us, it comes in the form of wanting to better ourselves to fulfill our true being and purpose.
"You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level." ~ Eckhart Tolle
October 16, 2020