21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

Courtney-Klein

SEED SPOT signage with CEO/Co-founder Courtney Klein

21st Century Social Entrepreneurship

We all wonder where the world is heading. We see many things that need changing and few who are engaged in the positive efforts that make change possible. Social entrepreneurship is on the rise. SEED SPOT, a Phoenix-based co-working and incubator space, is doing just that – creating positive change. They are doing it on multiple levels simultaneously through their leadership, mentoring and social-entrepreneurship programs that create jobs and benefit the community.

When you walk into the space, an entire floor of a high-rise in central Phoenix, the first thing one notices is the sprawling work space area with the notable signage (see photo) front and center. It is the epitome of a collaborative environment where budding entrepreneurs and possibilities coagulators bring people, places and things into a new order that empowers each entrepreneur. The opportunities to stretch and grow, both personally and professionally, bring entrepreneurs and the help they need for launching and growing their business together in a wonderful symbiosis.

The team includes CEO and Co-founder, Courtney Klein; Director of Entrepreneur Initiatives, C’pher Gresham; Director of Development, Tabitha Branscome; and Operations Manager, Corinn Perry, among others, who demonstrate that good things can happen when the right components can be brought together and shared openly. Their programs bring together community leaders, corporate supporters and mentors that provide an excellent foundation for business and community development.

It is the author’s opinion that this organization is poised to grow exponentially. It is obvious from their success in the community that their leadership methodology is working. Truly, collaborative alliances are key factors in developing processes for positive change in local environments. No doubt over the next decade SEED SPOT will have a profound effect on Arizona. In order to change the current social architecture of our country, efforts like theirs are imperative to facilitate people, places and things toward positive change. This is just the beginning of a large-scale change in how business is done in America.

It is also the opinion of the author that examples like SEED SPOT need representation in both large and small communities around the country. How fast this happens will depend largely on public support and local/national leadership that also aligns with the goals and objectives of positive change through rebuilding our economy with sustainable methodologies. These kinds of efforts deserve our attention and support. Our communities and country will benefit and demonstrate that America is truly a world leader for positive change. It has been questionable to date.

Tell the Truth… Carefully

attitude-lifeHave you ever noticed yourself thinking and wonder why they heck you were just thinking those thoughts? We are so capable of doing so, yet how often do we really notice our thoughts. The wonderful world of science fiction and George Orwell brought us the ‘thought police’ in 1984. Fortunately we don’t have them. What we do have is a body of knowledge that supports what our feelings and thoughts do for our daily experience.

The most common reference is from The Secret which mentions the ‘Law of Attraction’ as being a permeating force within the thoughtmosphere of mankind. What does that really mean? It means that our reality is directly affected by how we feel and think; our experience is often determined by our perception of it. The ‘Law’ simply states that whatever you feel and think strongly will be attracted to you somehow.

Serendipity is ‘Remark’able

Cognitive dissonance, the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions, becomes the challenge we face within. Most of us don’t take the time to learn the sensitivity necessary to monitor our feelings and thoughts appropriately. We engage them without a moments hesitation and often regret what we’ve just done or said as a result. Communication is the core competency few of us have mastered, let alone being able to have that internal dialog that supports our personal growth instead of our categorical demise from the self-deprecating thoughts we usually entertain.

The ‘thought police’ show up in our audience or listeners, though, even when we might not realize it. As an example – be careful when relating your truth to an audience that may not have your depth of experience or intelligence, especially if it is outside your listeners’ box of reality. Gentle hearts with solid foundations are often trampled, yet  recover and grow after being confronted with disbelievers or investigative remarks. Being a mirror for others to peer in, even when aware of the process, is a challenge for the best of us.

Many affirmations can work to help keep the peace within… ‘think the non-thought’ seems to work really well when soul gazing in the eyes of another. As a speaker, I’ve learned to offer that pause for the Cause before replying to questions and sometimes even before I open my mouth. I take a good look at the audience, connecting with the eyes of as many as I can to get a general feedback loop going. That feedback loop is the thoughtmosphere of the audience that is available when one opens to it.

We often realize we have a lot to offer yet show up with a sense of impending rejection… and so we are; until we love completely – including self. I think there was something about that in the same book many are using to justify their condemnation, criticism and judgment. In contrast to the dualistic mindset, my experience is quite different when centered in Oneness… a heartfelt condition where the mind is simply an observer and a greater part of me (the I Am Presence?) becomes totally present. The joy that is there is phenomenal and often precipitates phenomena. Countless witnesses have related stories of connecting with the sound current, the heart pulse of the universe, the Light and beyond.

Serendipitous synchronicities in my own life are chronicled on my website. Many others can be found on the Web as well. Countless stories abound, relating how people connect with their ‘magic presence’ in those moments of synchronicity on the stage of life. Is it an easy process? No, but it gets easier over time. Like any discipline, it takes practice. What is important is the self-vetting process that leads one to a more authentic and heart-felt delivery. Your audience may not call you on your lack of authenticity, but they sure can feel it. They WILL talk behind your back. If you are lucky and ‘present’ you’ll pick up on it and adjust; maybe someone will offer an honest reflection.

Most folks put in that situation will instantly reject the observers opinion and flare their own ego as a result. To the observer it is painfully obvious, yet far too often the observer is spot on in their reflection. Sure, it may not be comfortable… that’s where we grow!

Experiencing Sacred Moments

The resulting feeling from experiencing a serendipitous synchronicity, a sacred moment, is a challenge to articulate. Yet one can best related it as a sense of deep love and connectedness. It is similar to the vocalizing embrace of a lover, a simple heartfelt ‘mmmmm.’ My daily experience is not always centered in Oneness, however, and I roll with the flow when I am aware. I’ve gotten over those who attempt to discount or minimize the value of such an experience. Sharing tasty tidbits magnifies the diversity of experience and offers more menu items to others.

Life is full of diversity and our global village is made up of citizens beyond our imagination. After all, even with the theories of hybrid humans, sacred hidden bloodlines or genetic evolution we are here now. We are living on one planet at one time, with one atmosphere to breathe. Our human race need not be one of competition and coercion any longer. Servants of a higher cause have many names today; like coaches, counselors, collaborators as well as doctors, lawyers and scientists.

Sometimes my energy tends to become agitated with impatience and I am not always able to be in a zen space. I have a wonderful reminder with my name and find the challenge to practice zazen a just and prudent cause. There are many practices that people entertain in their daily lives, some more desirable than others. The trick is to recognize which ones actually benefit your life and which ones diminish it. One thing we don’t seem to practice in our society or even in education, where it would make the most sense, and that is mindfulness. I use something like it.

This process begins with feeling my heartbeat in my fingertips as I focus and breathe. Over time and with concentration I learned how to allow that pulse to permeate my entire body until I felt like one big pulsing being. Try it. Be prepared to spend some time in order to practice. There are two primary activities that keep us alive, beating and breathing. Our heart-beat is autonomic for the most part, but our breathing can be a much more conscious activity. It allows you to speak with more authority when sharing your truth.

It is amazing how such a simple practice can change an entire group’s energy when needed, let alone the affect on self. Indeed it can be used to change the energy in a room full of people. Experiment for yourself. No one has to know when you are doing it. That’s the really neat thing about it. I encourage you to embrace the possibility of affecting the groups or even your company with the daily ritual. I call it a ‘pause for the cause’ and taking a short break at your desk or station or wherever you happen to be works great.

Taps… Bring Out Your Dead

The tap on the shoulder that seems to come out of no where, to step into a leadership role, comes whether we choose it or not once we’ve committed to serving the One. It often happens after practicing authenticity imbued with integrity. Whether father, brother, grandfather, friend, lover, frustrated comedian or speck of dust, the attitude of gratitude builds precept upon precept and evokes a greater capacity to see things differently than beforehand. It’s like having a conversation with God in everyone. How would that change your behavior if you considered that before you spoke to anyone, especially if you were angry with them?

Again, we simply want to love and be loved in living life so we learn to pay attention to the flow that brings us that feeling of love. It is imperative in future development of relationships and any practice of spiritual pursuits. It doesn’t matter what position or rank we are in at the time, only that we are there to serve, reflecting from that ‘inner truth looking place.’ Funny thing about the Law of One; in order to serve and be served we must be selfishly selfless. The concept is one that deserves better and more attention, in my humble opinion..

What if we were able to let go of all the fear and ‘negative’ emotions we feel on a daily basis? What might happen? Are we aware enough of our thoughts and feelings to even challenge our behavior?

Chaos to harmony is a natural cycle, yes? What if we began to perceive things from a viewpoint of finding the harmony in the chaos? Would we be able to witness a slow change in the way we perceive? How might our daily living experience change as a result?

I’ll throw this one-liner in now, “A point of perspection dances in the balance of the seer’s vision.” Ponder that one for a bit. You may be called to share your truth and assist in the vetting of individuals, companies, groups and more in the near future. Step up and be fearless.

Sometimes an increase in energy or vibration around and/or within us can throw one into a chaotic condition while learning how to manage the increase in flow. Be prepared to encounter challenges, offering the opportunity to not only change how you respond in the moment but setting examples for those around you. If you need help with a situation, I’m always available to assist. I’m just a phone call or email away. Namaste…

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Leadership in the New Millennium

Effective leaders are rare. They are created through the trials and tribulations of managing or working with people in a variety of settings. Most good leaders have had their fair share of hard knocks that awakened them to the greater potential within their scope of influence. Effective leaders are excellent communicators, able to speak the many languages of the individuals within the groups they lead. Oftentimes the individual perspectives may appear different simply from the type of language they use. A good leader pays attention to the facts and then makes decisions based on objective analysis of those facts, which is not to say that humanitarian factors succumb to the bottom line.

Effective leaders naturally motivate people from their actions, which include showing respect, listening, reflecting, and negotiating through conflict. Efficient leaders learn the strengths and weaknesses of their subordinates and cohorts and utilize group dynamics. Leaders encourage and empower people to achieve success rather than place blame. Leaders have solid vision and unshakeable persistence in achieving a goal. Serendipity follows them everywhere as if their environments are alive and vibrant with creative energy just waiting for an opportunity to manifest a synchronicity.. Their efforts are empowered by their ability to manage and organize both activities and time in their busy schedules.

A good leader is courageous, able to make decisions without hesitation, and maintains integrity of word and deed. Dependability is also a key trait for a leader must always be there for their group. Sound judgment and sensibility are also features of a leader, with loyalty, enthusiasm, endurance, and initiative rounding out the ever-expanding list. These characteristics manifest in a variety of presentations and situations, especially for project managers in process.

Project Manager Effectiveness
Project managers are leaders of small and large groups destined to complete a strategic project plan. Leadership characteristics described above can make or break a team. In all successful project fulfillments, it is the leadership of the project manager that determines the type of success for the project’s members. The most successful accomplishments are met with a sense of fun and reward when goals and objectives are met, all facilitated by the project manager’s leadership. “Persistent leadership is required to make partnering work. Project managers must “walk the talk” and consistently display a collaborative response to problems. Similarly, top management must consistently and visibly champion the principles of openness, trust, and teamwork.” (Gray and Larson, 2001, p. 373)

There is also an emerging element in project management. It was first introduced by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience. (Harper and Row, 1990). He states that, “Instead of accepting the unity of purpose provided by genetic instructions or by the rules of society, the challenge for us is to create harmony based on reason and choice.” This reason and choice are the foundations of project management.

People are more productive when they have optimal experience, a sense of flow to their personal and professional lives. Mr. Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” This is the foundation for the highest productivity in any organization.

Project managers of today are successful due to their interpersonal relationships with everyone associated with the project. Providing an environment noted by Gray and Larson means that to incorporate the concepts and a delivery mechanism of optimal performance, Flow has to be incorporated within the foundation of the strategic plan. The attention given to this process empowers the leadership skills of each member of the team. Empowered leaders facilitate action and results, often better than anticipated.

CEO Comparisons
Leadership styles that are successful in one industry may not garner the same results in another. The integrity of James Burke, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, led the company out of a potential disaster when Tylenol’s tampering took place. Instead of following the recommendations of both the FBI and the Food and Drug Association, they recalled the entire supply on the market, even replacing customers’ capsule bottles with tablets. On the other hand, had he been faced with the knowledge that fossil fuel use is polluting air, ground, and waters of the world, would he have recalled the oil?

More often than not in the 80s, CEOs’ management styles were often tailored to their particular industry. Defense contractors had traditionally been led by threat rather than reward; demanding and commanding compliance and performance. Managing by threat creates an atmosphere of mistrust, which is diametrically opposed to current management philosophy. Many companies in this industry now have initiated a variety of sensitivity programs to bolster moral and productivity.

Inspired stakeholder involvement creates opportunity for evolutionary leaps in a learning organization, across the gamut of organizational type or industry.

Code of Ethics
The Project Manager Code of Ethics described in the text begins with:
“Project Management Professionals, in the pursuit of their profession, affect the quality of life for all people in our society. Therefore, it is vital that Project Management Professionals conduct their work in an ethical manner to earn and maintain the confidence of team members, colleagues, employees, clients, and the public.” (Gray and Larson, 2001, p. 550)

The Articles within the Code of Ethics describe the optimal practices of human accountability, creativity, and responsibility. With minor nomenclature changes, it could very well read like the articles for developing any kind of organizational foundation. Leaders, true leaders, exemplify these Articles in their daily living. It is the following of the precepts set forth in these Articles that make them the recognized leaders within the organizations they serve, be it a corporation or community.

In Waking Up – Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential (1986), Dr. Charles Tart postulates our will is largely a mechanical reaction based on conditioning, intelligence is severely limited compared to what it could be, and there is no true self controlling life from a state of genuine self-consciousness. This discovery, not only by Dr. Tart, is changing the way personal and professional lives are working. The attitude of project management reflects this change. The qualities of leadership and project management demonstrate the symbiosis of creating results in life or in industry. There is little difference between the two in our evolving society.

In more practical applications, communities and municipalities depend on these best practices for survival now. For instance, AzDOT partnering meetings engage every stakeholder to create a partnering agreement mission statement with goals for the project team [stakeholders], a code of ethics, an issue resolution plan for jobsite activity and an issue resolution plan for all known or potential issues. The most effective leaders engage the spirit of partnering, create trust relationships with subcontractors by being trustworthy and more often than not bring in projects ahead of schedule and below budget from value engineering addendums. This leadership choice, the partnering meetings, also reduced lawsuits by over 800%. This practice begs inclusion in every commercial and/or community project, especially now.

Conclusion
This writer proposes that a true leader is priceless. Demonstrating the qualities of leadership not only wins friends and influences people; it sets the standard of behavior within an organization. The writer’s perspective of a true leader is one who leads people by example through using a synergy of charisma, tact and skill in handling challenges, concern for the rights and privileges of others and care for the positive impact on people and planet within the scope of their leadership and beyond.

References
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Experience, New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishing.
Gray, Clifford F.; Larson, Erik W., Project Management – The Managerial Process, Copyright © 2001 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Tart, Dr. Charles (1986), Waking Up – Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential, Copyright © 1986 by The Institute of Noetic Sciences

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Values, Morals and Ethics

Values, Morals and Ethics – Personal Ethics and Life

Personal conviction and ethics statement: I will to do good for all, desiring to serve humanity in the highest and BTDext-FB2best use of my mind/body/spirit complex, in the facilitation of a new world order of harmony among people and planet through presenting alternative solutions to community service delivery, participating in local socioeconomic and environmental service programs, development of a solutions-based state-of-the-art model community, and developing a website that promotes these endeavors and more in the change of consciousness necessary for sustainable living on Planet Earth.

It has been said that values, morals and ethics are inextricably tied together. Values are what we learn from childhood; the ‘stuff’ we absorb from our parents and immediate surroundings. Morals are the intrinsic beliefs developed from the value systems of how we ‘should’ behave in any given situation. Ethics, on the other hand, are how we actually do behave in the face of difficult situations that test our moral fiber. In his book, “How Good People Make Tough Choices,” Rushworth Kidder notes four basic paradigms of ethical decisions: justice versus mercy; short-term versus long-term; individual versus community; and truth versus loyalty. He goes on to define the concepts further:

  • The point behind the justice-versus-mercy paradigm is that fairness, equity, and even-handed application of the law often conflict with compassion, empathy, and love.
  • Short-term versus long-term, or now versus then, reflect the difficulties arising when immediate needs or desires run counter to future goals or prospects.
  • The individual-versus-community paradigm can be restated as us versus them, self versus others, or the smaller versus the larger group.
  • Truth versus loyalty can be seen as honesty or integrity versus commitment, responsibility, or promise-keeping.

Expressing one’s personal grasp of ethics and life may not always be understood in the context of the world at large, the immediate environment, or even amongst the intimate others in the household. This is usually due to the fact that every person has some difference, small or great, in the development of their belief systems. Belief systems are established early in life through environments of home, church, school, and social gatherings which help to mold and shape these beliefs.

Most of these beliefs and patterns of behavior are established through the unconscious observations and experiences of childhood in the aforementioned environments. These I refer to as ‘outer’ experiences which are akin to the ‘nurture’ piece of the ‘nature-nurture’ developmental processes. Allow me to use my own ‘outer’ experience as an example. My personal ethics and leadership feeds my enthusiasm for sharing.

I knew that I was adopted by the time I was five. My adoptive parents were ideal by some standards, demonstrating honesty, integrity, and willingness to address conflict with style and grace even in the most difficult of situations. Dad was a tool and die machinist, building plastic injection molds for General Motors optical division and was also a 32nd Degree Mason. Mom was an educator with a master’s degree in Music and English and taught middle school English and Literature.

They were a formidable team for an adolescent with growing pains, encouraging me to challenge and explore my world. My parents taught me that honesty was the best policy, even when the details may not be too favorable. They taught me the meaning of trust which was not being afraid even when I felt vulnerable. Of course that does not mean that I am able to apply that knowledge always, although age does have its advantages.

Where obvious bottlenecks occur in personal and professional environments I still tend to ‘go deep’ in conversations even at the risk of rejection. Paths need to be cleared of trash for solid relationships to develop. Now mom suffers from dementia and dad has advanced stages of Parkinson’s and I’m glad there were no bottlenecks in our relationship as I got older. Oh, there were some years of distance while I’ve been in Phoenix and yet we’re still close.

I also began having metaphysical, or paranormal, experiences around my 6th birthday. I refer to these as ‘inner’ experiences, or what I feel akin to the ‘nature’ element of the developmental processes. Our values, morals and ethics and intrinsic functionality in society stems from this place, although it is the ‘outer’ details that generally rule the scene. For most, the internal experience is often ignored because of the lack of external acceptance or validation. There was a disparity with my parents due to the lack of a frame of reference regarding my metaphysical meanderings which often caused me to question my own reality, by the way.

‘Trust but verify’ builds reliance on others and it is rare that one can find other psychic constituents in the workplace or in life for that matter. Consequently, the balance toward trusting others was often weighted by desire rather than discernment. The discernment came later as I began to understand that not all people were like my parents. Even they kept their distance in discussing certain spiritual experiences or subjects.

The lack of personal experience often creates barriers that are difficult to bridge, if at all. In fact, I found that disbelief and skepticism were more prominent than ever. People were often afraid of what they did not understand and sometimes allowed that fear to provoke unnecessary violence. Fear stimulates a plethora of disconnecting responses. I had learned that life was stimulated by connectedness so this presented a great enigma. How can one close this gap, at times a chasm, so that it can be reconciled or resolved? Personal ethics ascends to personal leadership in the face of seeming insurmountable odds at times.

Others’ motives were not always utilitarian, nor are their values, morals and ethics. Heck, mine weren’t always either. We all have some cosmic conundrums in selfish motivations from time to time. Some live their lives by those motivations. The resulting actions were often misplaced personal libertarian expressions of selfishness without regard to personal boundaries and affects on the environment, fueled by the presence of plethora of distractions from what is ‘healthy or prudent’ to what works for now or provides the most personal benefit. Honesty and integrity show up in the leaders who are willing to bear the cross, so to speak, of clearing the path to success of its garbage.

This process of restoring integrity (the congruence of values, ethics, and morals) can have emotionally devastating affects if one allows the projections of others to rule their lives. People with problems most often will project those problems onto others until someone or something presents a situation that challenges the person to change and provides a safe environment for them to do so. There are others who seem to attract these situations, usually because they have committed themselves to service in some way. The strength of character is reflective of the trials and tribulations one has addressed in their life and empowered by their ability to ascend from emotional manipulation and/or trickery. The proverbial look in the mirror allows us to see what we need to transcend, even in ourselves.

As I got older I learned that the inner life I was leading provided more concrete understanding of the nature of the outer reality and the actions of others. I read profusely for a time, gobbling up the great works of secular and spiritual masters to glean better understanding of my own experiences and to grow personally and professionally. Putting myself in the hot seat at seminars and workshops tested what I learned and tempered my sword of truth over time. I learned over the years that questions asked internally with sincerity are answered in a variety of ways, not always in the moment they are asked. We all still have to deal with human emotions and the occasional absurdity of the actions emotions precipitate.

Whether exposing options changed those actions or not varied from situation to situation depending on my ability to question congruency, the awareness of connectivity, and framing the emotional feelings and sensations verbally so that we could discuss them. Articulation without projection is a most challenging process. Most ‘first responses’ in chelas on the path are projective in nature, often defensive and full of irrationalities. The challenge to change still presents itself as I get older and more experienced with introducing interrogatives that do not put people on edge, although sometimes its fun to watch them squirm. However, insecurity is rampant in our society and even the most innocuous questions too often produce defensive postures. Fear, guilt and shame have ruled our lives for too long.

In my teens the greatest influence came through the Order of DeMolay, which is sort of a young men’s (14-21) Christian-based precursor to the Masonic Order. It was named after Jaques DeMolay, a Knights Templar, who gave up his life rather than betray his brethren during the Crusades in Europe. I was elected Master Councilor at fifteen and at 17, competed at the state Conclave through a speech on filial love and in one-meter springboard diving, achieving an honorable mention for the speech and third place in diving. Receiving the International DeMolay Medal for Saving a Human Life was another significant emotional event at the Conclave.

I had been quick to respond to an event at the public pool where I was a lifeguard the previous summer. I reached an unconscious young girl just after being struck by another diver, having perceived the outcome and entering the water before the actual event. Her parents pursued the newspaper and recognition of my attentiveness. I was just fortunate to have been watching and able to act on the event. Our Chapter Dad submitted the paperwork to the International Council without my awareness. Saving the life of another is a personal blessing for which there is truly no verbal or written example of the heart-felt response. I chose not to pursue the path of Free Masonry, although I honor its foundation of personal service toward the highest good of all even if personal sacrifice is necessary.

I learned the values, morals and ethics of teamwork in school through clubs, group projects and sports and individual participation in transformation: a guide for change support of the team through baseball, golf (medalist my senior year), and track. The competitive spirit was alive within me, yet it was not a ‘win-at-all-cost’ attitude by any means. I had a lot of natural academic talent and physical ability that I took for granted. I realized later in life that my knack for accomplishment stemmed from simply not knowing what I could not do. I missed opportunities because I chose to clutter my head with drugs late in high school and early in college.

In time I learned to be genuine with my affection and my attention; being cautious and sensitive in matters of the heart and a bit bold in exploring life’s opportunities. According to many authorities relationships should be more caring and considerate as we mature. Much later, my involvement in education and child development (divorced w/four children and an unfulfilled desire to be near them) demonstrated that the ‘norm’ during those years is quite ‘me-centered’ and emotional maturity comes later for most, if at all. I’m sure my behavior was quite indicative of a teenager, yet in the quieter moments my thoughts ran very deep.

I graduated 10th in my class of 300 and had no idea at the time that I could have been valedictorian had I put just a little effort toward excelling in academics. My classroom pranks brought my average down as well, having met the challenge of classmates without thinking of personal outcome. Teachers’ kids/preachers’ kids… not much difference. I got caught up in ‘wanting to be liked’ and did some inappropriate things. Academic and athletic abilities came naturally, yet my appreciation for them was diminished by my exploration into pot and hallucinogens. The drugs served two things – emotional escape and, surprisingly, a way to find a deeper connection with life – a paradox that seems to be prevalent in progressive lifestyles. They opened my ears, eyes and heart to new awareness that seemed an integral part of reality.

Still some do not understand this path is only short-lived, a mere stepping stone on the way to enlightenment and not a destination by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately many get caught in the quagmire and never return to reality. Some remain on the fringe and do quite well as pioneers, like Carlos Castaneda and Terrence McKenna. Many more have moved on to greater accomplishments in many fields. I still find that I let secondary priorities affect my efforts to follow my true passions in life, which I sense is the norm for most of us. Daily living offers the chance of many opportunities which call for the ethical and moral considerations for self and others before acting on those choices.

My second quarter in college started off with a real bang. I’d been dating a girl since my sophomore year in high school; ‘breaking up’ with her upon entering college because I was not sure I would be able to maintain monogamy. The first quarter brought some heavy emotional days of missing her so during quarter break I went back to ask her to marry me. I lost it after I found out she was already married, nearly a month prior. I was an emotional basket case for a long time afterward. My heart sunk in devastation and I returned to school determined to give my life to something with meaning. In respect of this I knelt in prayer and asked ‘Father’ to know truth and was willing to die for it if necessary. It was the most intense prayer I’d ever made.

A week later, while in meditation listening to ‘In the Morning Day’ on Journey’s first album, I heard a voice immediately after the lyrics of the song. It said, “Bruce, are you willing to die for what you believe in?” I paused for a moment, checking my beliefs (Christ in an ‘expanded’ view), and replied, “Yes.” Immediately I felt a tugging on my inner being. I let go and turned to see my body as I was moving away from it. O.B.Es were not unfamiliar, as I’d been having them since childhood. When I turned back to look where I was going, I was engulfed by white light. Personal ethics and personal leadership reached a defining moment in the stream of consciousness of my life. I was completely out of control of my senses, yet felt completely safe in the process.

I was only missing tactile sensations inside the light and as an impetuous teen, I asked if there was more. I felt another sensation of movement and found myself in the center of a sphere of pinpoints of light. After recognizing them as points of consciousness, whether in body or not I was not sure as I sure as heck was not, the voice resumed. “These are those that you are to work with in order to facilitate the new world order. It will happen in your lifetime. Know this to be true. Your path will be full of trials and tribulations. Everything you need will be there at the appointed time.  … trust and allow.” At the completion, I returned to my body with a rush of energy followed by a gasp for air, leaving my eyes closed temporarily while getting reacquainted with my body. It was AWESOME!

Returning to my body was in itself a significant emotional event, let alone the previous few moments. I felt my question was answered and I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, consequently told my parents, and found myself talking with a psychiatrist a week later. To this day I still seek answers to the questions remaining from this experience. A blessing in disguise, my tenure with the psychologist helped me to begin to balance my inner and outer experiences, and to find order in my life. I saw him twice before he reflected his findings to me.

After a brief conversation on my third visit, where he revealed his values, morals and ethics in that he shared his view. I was not crazy by any stretch of the imagination. He said that I was going through a ‘spiritual awakening’ of classic nature, only that it usually happened when folks were in their 40’s. He asked me to follow him and we adjourned to the second story of his office in a beautiful historic home in Anderson, Indiana. This resulted in my first tarot card reading, which edified all we had discussed and more. I was ecstatic and intimidated by the ‘truth’ this session revealed.

His advice was to keep my mouth shut because few would understand, especially my adoptive parents who just could not relate to a spiritual awakening instead of a psychologically skewed son for whom they cared dearly and were frightened for his life. At the time I did not know that schizophrenia ran in my mother’s family and fueled their fears. In time the psychiatrist said I would find ‘flow’ (congruency) with my experience and the world. So, I learned that there was much more beyond my understanding of ‘truth’ and it seemed to be leaning toward being everywhere I looked.

I recently visited Dr. Abell on a whim while visiting my family. I dropped by to see if he remembered me and to give him signed copies of my books. I was in luck and only had to wait a couple of hours. He only works one day at week at 77, and I happened to show up that day. Well, he didn’t remember me. We did have a wonderful peer to peer conversation, sharing some stories of what we’ve found in our explorations. It only took 37 years. 🙂

It took a couple of decades to get the picture focused a little bit better through a starting a family, a cross-country move landing in Phoenix, Arizona, and a professional career that took me into many different industries. Metaphysical experiences were even more profound during this period and I feel they even helped to drive a wedge between my wife and I, eventually resulting in our divorce after 12 years of being together and birthing four beautiful children. Releasing emotional attachment to that whole scenario was the most difficult experience I’ve had, yet the essence of it has guided my life continually. I know that all things are connected, we just need to understand how and that emotional attachments are vastly different from ‘connections.’

I had and still have many questions regarding this supposed ‘mission’ I have been given. How was this ‘facilitation of a new world order’ all going to come to fruition? What are the ethical and moral considerations for engaging others? My professional background has become fairly extensive yet pales in comparison to those I hold as icons and leaders in various professional fields. As professional opportunities presented themselves, I began to conceptualize an environment that would demonstrate leading edge technologies in all fields and how they would work together in harmony with people and planet. It had to include every best practice and element of a global community on a micro-community scale.

Eventually the plan began to develop with enough detail that I could at least write an overview of the project, eventually becoming Genesis II. Some years later I met with Carl Bimson, a 91 year-old founder of a bank in Arizona, to share our Genesis II plan. He still had an office in the Valley National Bank building in downtown Phoenix and was available to talk with people by appointment. Mr. Bimson thought it was well thought out and suggested I go find the pieces. Quite unexpectedly, he then went on to explain how his wife’s psychic gifts and card readings had helped tremendously in his business and banking career. What a shock that conversation was… He and two brothers facilitated about 70% of the business development in the progress of Arizona’s growth.

After some time of considering Carl’s advice, I began my Master of Business Administration in project management in 1994 to continue the process of finding the pieces and knowing what to do with them when I did. Now, after achieving certification as a Hypnotherapist and in my second master’s program, I seek to continue the plan and assemble an organizational plan, including all necessary policy development, organizational duties and responsibilities, and management philosophy that will empower the assemblage of a team of dedicated professionals to take Genesis to the next level of development.

Meanwhile, we continue to develop Be The Dream (.biz, .com, .info, .net, .us, .ws – .org is now part of the Global Peace Youth Org and their Be The Dream Campaign honoring the 50-year anniversary of Dr. King’s speech.), our bridge of nonprofit and for profit endeavors, as an exemplary leader on the Internet through demonstrating the concepts of the community in a micro-economic environment. In a sense we are connecting the dots of commerce, education and community through our Cultural Creative ways. Ideas and visions need to have creative outlets, which meant that I had to learn a new skill – web development. What is interesting is that I truly have no idea how these concepts will accepted, let along embraced, by the corporate and/or philanthropic community. I am just a guy with ideas and a vision.

Over the years our values, morals and ethics moved us toward much development work and are we beginning to seek out potential backers and investors for the project. My personal ethics statement applies to the intrinsic dynamic of these projects, empowering results in our quest for success. Even though I’ve done extensive reading on a variety of subjects dealing with the socialization processes, actualizing these endeavors is proving to be quite the challenge, necessitating reflection on my personal code of ethics regularly. Am I really cut out for this? How do I/we engage others and fulfill their needs in the participative process? It is in this process that I am able to facilitate collaborative efforts in larger groups with others who have similar or congruent ethics and are doing something in their community about sharing them?

This will continue to be a great challenge and hopefully secondary priorities will become less distracting and invasive. Faith in ‘doing the right thing’ is imperative throughout the process. I have learned that my own concept of ‘time’ and fruition is often incongruent with the ‘divine’ timing and I am reminded of the need for humility, releasing my personal criticisms of where I ‘should’ be now and allowing the faith and trust in the process to resolve all concerns. It becomes more apparent as we grow older that cleaning up, clearing up, and moving on with refined moral and ethical behavior is the key to success…. everywhere.

Now, having joined with a compatible life partner, we have launched into this program together in order to ‘force’ ourselves to take the next steps in making our dreams reality. I moved on from education to Life Coaching as my ‘next-step’ in acquiring the skills necessary to help bridge inner and outer worlds in others. My partner is currently teaching gifted children in district school. We both tend to need to be in positions where we are compelled to do what is necessary because it is a requirement of the process. Some people work best that way. It seems that most successful people also follow this pattern of creating situations where they have to perform, meet deadlines and rise above the pack to achieve their dreams.

Everything turns out to be a process as time goes on. Utilizing the Internet to help ‘spread the word’ will undoubtedly meet with mixed results. As much as I have learned and know there is much more that I do not. I feel awed and inspired by this discovery process, engaged by the thrill of the next event. I have to rely on serendipity to move this project forward, where patience is a primary factor. I’m encouraged by the personal involvement and visionary efforts of a growing number of concern planetary citizenry, addressing the basic ethical and moral decisions within the scope of service to self and service to others. My hopes are that through this Master of Arts in Organizational Management program I will find more ways to make things real, practical and pragmatic, and continue to grow personally and professionally.

This paper was originally written in 2002 for Leadership 520 – Organizational Ethics, while enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organizational Management program at the University of Phoenix in Arizona. Additions are italicized.

The Process of Critical Self-Reflection

8-aspectsSelf-Reflection

The process of critical reflection of assumptions empowers one and many to view influencing details that determines the ability to find consensus and harmony in any situation. Harmony does not mean the absence of conflict, merely the creative buy cialis 20mg use of it to resolve issues that inhibit cooperative and collaborative relationships in professional and personal environments.

The article presents perspectives of human patterns and the avenues available to establish collective understandings of beliefs, intentions, values and feelings to facilitate a ‘common’ reality that is workable for everyone. Critical reflection of assumptions is used to enter into a discourse to assess alternative beliefs, predicated on universal principles. CRA is used in Transformational Theory, Assimilative Learning, Objective Reframing, and Subjective Reframing for adult learning.

Transformational Theory

Transformational Theory (Mezirow, 1991,1995, 1996), which uses reflection, maintains human learning is promoted in communication through assessing intentions, values, moral issues, and feelings which requiring the use of critical reflection of assumptions. Transformational Theory holds that CRA is not a panacea or provides some transcendent experience to resolve conflict. Rather, it presents the process as a ‘best practice’ compared to other options that have been used in the workplace.

Assimilative Learning

Assimilative Learning, as used by psychoanalysts, pertains to adjustment or accommodation to a difficult situation by accepting it as conforming to one’s desire. This process moves one to act according to regulative principles, a way of thinking or behaving deemed more functional or acceptable. This seems to characterize the way adults learn to adapt to change, using tacit judgment to move forward to constructive results.

Objective Reframing

Objective Reframing examines established definitions, theories, and practices to better understand the paradigms influencing decision-making. Using critical reflection of a premise and defining a problem can lead to transformative redefinition and ‘problem posing.’ The objective of this process, in the all its facets, is to improve performance.

Subjective Reframing

Subjective Reframing examines psychological or cultural assumptions to reveal conceptual and psychological limitations.

In all of the above situations, critical reflection of assumptions is used in discursive groups to assess and manage flow of communication relative to outcomes desired within those same discursive groups that are commonly found within the workplace environment. The task for a manager is to creatively translate the use of critical reflection of assumptions and discourse to effectively facilitate conflict resolution in the workplace.

Questions:

What are the tools available for creating an atmosphere where critical reflection of assumptions can be used effectively? How can one facilitate the use of such tools in environments where human communications are predicated on form, fit and function of critical path assessments?

Potential Answers:

Human resource development programs using a combination of psychoanalytic assessment tools and facilitation training for employees are one possibility. Cultural diversity and sensitivity training for managers is another, as they can then affect communication in their respective departments. Team building or collaborative alliance training outside of the company’s environment is yet another possibility that offers professional development through reliance on others as well as self.

Critical path assessment, defining the basic fundamentals of production, can be introduced through various scenarios involving critical reflection of assumptions. One such opportunity would involve discovering the logic path used to streamline production processes, eliminating wasted resources and labor costs as a functional goal. Another would use interpersonal skills development to better affect communicating goals and objectives to a diverse population within the workforce.

Personal ethics statement: I will to do good for all, desiring to serve humanity in the highest and best use of my mind/body/spirit complex, in the facilitation of a new world order of harmony among people and planet through the development of a state-of-the-art model community and website that promotes this endeavor.

The Challenge to Change

CelebrateChangeThe Challenge to Change

We know, or at least some have a sense, that all things are connected – a holistic model of consciousness permeates creation. Quantum sciences are pointing toward this as fact now. We still choose to separate ourselves from others today, though.

Fear is being promoted at the very top of national leadership across the world. Even when prompted to contact or communicate with another, our ‘logic’ often prohibits the interaction due to fear of misunderstanding, rejection or threat of appearing less than what we think we should.

Can we affect change where primary belief systems seem diametrically opposed? Can we offer a solution? Do we really want solutions? It has taken us centuries to arrive at the present conditions. Can or will it change in a few years? Will we rise above fear and embrace a new way?

How can we open our minds to something we’ve never experienced? What if we were able to acknowledge the obvious? Our minds and hearts are still in opposition, we fear what we do not know or have not experienced.

Oftentimes a new experience brings such a ‘rush’ of energy that we confuse it as a threat rather than a thread in the fabric of our evolution. We lock up – the fight or flight syndrome so common in psychology.

Are these our only choices? Do we have yet another choice yet unexplored? We can rise in consciousness but we actually take the mandatory rollercoaster ride to get there. It is our unconscious patterned desire for continued separation that inhibits our ability to connect, a pattern so deep and in such conflict with self/Self that wars are fought across the planet because of it.

Ancient Mayan and even Sanskrit terms in use today indicate we might want to consider some alternatives. ‘In lakesh’ (I am another you) and ‘Namasté’ (internal and external obeisance to thee) both acknowledge the oneness in self and others.

The humble bow of recognition that is part of many cultures moves us closer toward a sense of unity or at least understanding. It is more than respect. I am challenged to see and sense myself in another, even with the extensive experience and knowing of this truth and an attitude of gratitude. What about those unaware?

The Internet brings us closer in communication and yet further apart from physical communion with others. What do we really want anyway? The hot new belief system says we can attract what we want by identifying what we desire, giving it attention, and allowing it to happen.navigate

Easier said than done, yet it warrants further consideration for sure. Implementing an action plan that creates the magnet for the desire to manifest is the key that we seem to ignore, thinking that we can defy known scientific rules: potential energy remains at rest until acted upon.

Conversely it is an obvious strain in feeling and logic to eliminate the concept of identifying what we don’t want in order to move closer to what we do. Still the objective is to create, co-create or construct new thoughtforms of a stronger magnetism that allows matter and spirit to coalesce in accordance with this new living awareness. I’ve heard it called ‘structural tension’ as an element in the creative process. How do we make the process simple?

Simplicity of being, doing and having is the goal for all spiritual seekers, allowing the greater consciousness to permeate their worlds and guide their daily movements. Simple gratification and validation is also the goal of most individuals in daily living, unconsciously desiring to love and be loved in the spirit of oneness. We talk a good line, but the result is tainted with pushing or pulling energy to move as many mountains as possible with as little effort as we can muster.

This is not to say that humans are lazy, yet they do tend to avoid the stretch to actually make things simple in their daily lives, let alone shift into a heart-centered awareness. Once a heart-centered awareness is achieved, though, the knowing moves us toward more prudent paths.

Our perceived intelligence often convinces us not to listen to the still small voice within, even after a so-called ‘spiritual awakening.’ We rarely challenge the notion of duality, yet it is the stumbling block laid before us in our quest to find balance and harmony.

Even science and religion strive to find harmony in their expressions of reality and thousands of books have been written on the subject of Unity… unified field theory to universal love, M Theory to The Masters of the Far East and much more. How can we simplify?

Would it be easier to simply look at the existing systems in our global economy, for instance, and focus on developing life-friendly processes and protocols? How can we better manage our resources, both human and material, while promoting a sense of unification without subjugation?

We are faced with choices on a moment to moment basis, pushed and pulled by this or that to make a decision about our lives, great or small. Granted some do not want to choose, they simply want to follow or be told what to do so they do not have to be accountable or responsible for their actions. It is far easier a path to be led than to lead. It is a challenge to think, let alone change.

Something to consider is that challenge and change are only 3 letters different. Take out the ‘lle’ and change is automatic. I like to offer that the ‘lle’ stands for ‘liability, limitation and excuse’ and all fall into the personal capacity realm first, but extend into the group, organization or team when facing goals and objectives. Consider the identification and systematic elimination of those items in yourself and/or your organization. What might happen as a result?

The Most Common Fear

be successfulWhat do you think is the most common fear in business today? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of dissolution? Fear of the market? Fear of regulations? Fear of whistle blowers? According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, 19 million people have specific phobias, such as crossing bridges or tunnels; 15 million have a social phobia, e.g., public speaking; and 2 million have agoraphobia, when sufferers avoid places where they previously had a panic attack. Those who have one phobia likely have others too. (Forbes-Allison Van Dusen, 12.14.06, 12:01 AM ET)

Now these are common personal fears, but what about how those translate into the business environment? It is this writer’s opinion that the most common fear is ‘losing control.’ Years of project management and organizational observations edify this perception and it shows up most commonly as micro-management or the feeling that you have to ‘do it all.’ The lack of trust in the leadership/management team diminishes their ability to perform. Oftentimes the opportunity to develop a strong management team never appears because of the ‘energy’ of the leader/owner/CEO. How are you ‘controlling’ those around you? Do you carry unspoken and unfulfilled expectations of your cohorts? What are they?

The answers to the latter questions are the first things you need to put on the table. The expectations and questions that evolve from the discussion will literally set you free inside. That may be uncomfortable at first because you’ve never done it before, never allowed yourself to be vulnerable in sharing for fear that you might hurt someone’s feelings maybe. Or you think you might have expectations that are too high. If you never voice them, how can you expect any kind of commitment to them? Can you match them with your own expectations of your personal performance? Oh my…. you might fail. You might make mistakes.

What is interesting is the anxiety-driven decision-making process is obviously not the best practice for management, let alone for the survival of the company. The mental constructs for the organizational development often don’t see the need for making sense common – jobarchy – the job/project is the boss and everyone wins. The ‘anxious’ feeling is often misinterpreted and mismanaged in the ‘flow’ of optimal experience. Quite serendipitously engaged, this same feeling often is the same as the ‘creative spirit’ showing up in consciousness. It actually shows up in the body’s sensations first.

Now, there is a choice when the feeling shows up. Anxiety results in being afraid, angry, ignorant and immobile in the process of making sense common and providing good leadership decisions. The paradox is that same feeling opens the door to change, of doing things more congruent with flow only the experience is lacking validation because of past choices. The challenge to change appears and invites participation. Is the perception of control that important when it stifles the possibilities for growth and escalation of revenue?

People naturally want to do the right thing right when supported in the workplace, whatever the function. Happy people get more done in less time with less supervision and often reduce costs with value engineering choices that better use resources, both human and material. As a leader, you have to be vulnerable. The paradox of being vulnerable is that it allows the inner strengths of your team to emerge. Your business SWOTT has just taken and evo-leap with the new skill set capacity for application you’ve invited to the party.

Let’s look briefly at what others have said about this process. Peter Senge states, “Learning disabilities are tragic in children, but they are fatal in organizations. Because of them, few corporations live even half as long as a person – most die before they reach the age of forty.” The anxiety model keeps you from execution, the most critical part of leadership. Larry Bossidy writes, “Many people regard execution as detail work that’s beneath the dignity of a business leader. That’s wrong. To the contrary, it’s a leader’s most important job.”

NOW is the most important time you can engage as a leader. The desire for control takes you out of the present moment because it does two things that divides your attention. First, you think of past failures and undesirable results. Next, you move into some future view of mixed-messages that craft an equally dismal result if certain things don’t happen. How is that effective management? You’ve got the team, right? So let them go and do what you’ve hired them to do, just make sure they’ve got the resources to execute your plans.

Your strategic planning needs to have the buy-in from all your team, your organization cannot perform well when the plan is nebulous or without specific action items assigned to each component of the plan. Years of facilitating projects, from community events to multi-million dollar product lines, public events and construction projects have demonstrated that clear codes of ethics, mission statements, goals with objectives, issue resolution action procedures and work breakdown structures with a schedule make for smoothing out the bumps in the road to success. Let go of your fears and ask for help from your team.

For entrepreneurs this process is a little different because you need the help of outside resources. The critical needs are addressed in your business plan, a flexible document that is your roadmap to success. If you don’t have one, it’s hard to manage the details and the desire for control is exacerbated because all the details are in your head or loosely detailed in notes or charts around your workspace. Take the time to craft a plan, put your business on the path it deserves so that you can solicit help to achieve your dream. If you need help, that’s where people like me come in to take your full color dream and help you turn it into a black and white system for execution.

If you do have a plan, share it. You’d be surprised how the natural law of attraction can draw the people you need to execute it. There are a growing number of organizations with helpful people that can provide classes and workshops, office space and networking opportunities that can energize your passion and purpose in achieving your dream, too. Check out The Vault in Colorado for a great model.