Friday, July 29, 2011

Nakuru, Kenya

July 28

Nakuru, Kenya. I have arrived here to facilitate a two-day Leadership Conference (Strategies for Effective Leadership) and a one-day workshop (Discovering, Developing and Deploying Your Potential) for some of our newer micro-enterprise owners.On Monday, I will also head out to go see some of these new businesses.

The town is overrun with tourists who have come for a music festival featuring High School musicians from around the nation. As a result, the room that was reserved for me by our friends and project partners at Farming Systems Kenya was given to someone else. As this individual was part of a group of 60 people who wanted rooms at this hotel, management thought it wise to delete my reservation. Of course, the long-term consequences of people hearing that they cannot trust this hotel to maintain reservations didn’t occur to them. It will.

Gratefully, another room was found so I didn’t have to set up a tent!

Today, I will begin teaching 50 local leaders. Most of the attendees will be leaders of spiritual communities. I say “teaching” but actually I will be facilitating a conversation on the topic. As most of these men and women are use to a classroom setting where the Authority on the Subject Holds Forth (with PowerPoint, of course), they will be surprised that this is not what is going to take place.

Conversations open up far more possibilities for exchanges of information and wisdom than what is possible when one person – no matter how wise and brilliant – does all the talking. This is especially the case when the speaker is from the United States and the attendees are all African. It is an arrogance of the highest order to presume that a foreigner can ever fully understand people from another culture.

How in the world am I going to know that my audience is understanding what I am suggesting if there is no room given for constant, real-time feedback? Anyway –

Today, we will begin with Defining Success.

If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know when you arrive?

If you don’t know where you are headed, how will you know if you are off-course?

If your staff has different and competing visions regarding how they define success, then what do you think is going to happen?

If your community or organization has no idea or competing ideas regarding what success looks like, how many people are going to end up thinking “we have failed,” even if the leadership is happy with present results?

So. The conversation will begin with everyone offering ideas of what success will look, sound and feel like. The real fun begins when it becomes evident that “My ideas differ from Yours … but, of course, Mine are correct.” A great opportunity for pointing out that this is precisely what is happening in many of the communities and organizations that they are leading.  

Stay tuned for the next post, where I will report how the day’s conversation proceeded. If everyone simply stares at me for 8 hours, I will write about the weather. It’s great, by the way: in the low 60s F and dry! Then again, maybe I will pretend to channel God and just tell everyone what they are supposed to be doing!

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Owning Your Power V: Intentionality v "Motives"

When I intend to be a loving person--when my determination is to demonstrate love in ways that others can see, hear and feel this love—my conscious and subconscious mind will automatically begin the process of seeking out avenues to do just this. I will also maintain a consistent awareness as to where I am and am not achieving what I am determining, and then adjusting my behaviors, attitudes and words accordingly. I am not interested in merely feeling loving; I am determining that others will be experiencing this love.

When it comes to motives, however—at least as I am using that word here—calibration and adjustments are irrelevant. “I AM feeling love toward you, whether you are getting it or not. If not, that’s your problem.”

People who are determined to produce X and see that they are getting Y adjust accordingly. My words and actions did not produce X so I choose a different tact. It’s a no-brainer. But it is right here where we discover the difference between those whose intentionality is to produce X and those who only wish to feel X-ing. For many people all that matters is saying, “My Heart is Filled with X.” It doesn’t matter that everywhere they go what people are getting from them is Y.

We see this delusion in many of our politicians. They say, for example, that their hearts are filled with compassion for the poor. The fact that their actions (policies and regulations) create more and more poor people is irrelevant. Results are meaningless. Why? Because it is all about feeling compassionate not about truly helping the poor.

Before you start screaming, “Amen,” however, look at your own life. Are you producing, over time, what you are professing to be your intentions? If you are not, then it is time for a Reality Check.

Owning your power includes taking responsibility for what your power is producing.  

Yes, yes, if your intentions have only been embraced in the last few weeks, you probably need more time to compare your stated intentions with what is being produced. However, if this is not the case, if reality isn’t verifying your stated intentions, then wisdom dictates a change in tactics. Reality also might be dictating you check your actual intentions.

Back in the early 90’s I heard Daniel Tocchini refer to our individual worlds as a mirror. Brilliant metaphor. If my life is strewn with broken relationships—no matter what I profess about my loving heart--these mirrors are reflecting that I must change how I am seeking to demonstrate love or it is revealing a heart that just may be filled with a determination other than what I am professing.

Professing noble intentions may garner the applause of others, but for those of us whose intentions (determinations) are to achieve specific outcomes, applause means nothing and feelings of nobility useless: for us, results and achieving outcomes are what matters.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Owning Your Power IV: Intentionality

Intention refers to a determination to behave in a certain fashion so as to achieve something that is important to you. I believe that one of the major keys to utilizing and managing our power is found at the level of intentionality. Whatever our intentions are—whatever we are determined to do or achieve—is what will inform, infuse and guide the use of our power.  

The fact is that our attention is directed by our intention. I will pay attention to what will move me forward or to what may get in the way of where I am determined to go. Everything else is adjusted accordingly.

Now, I am not referring to those whims or desires that come and go, nor am I referring to those intentions we tell our friends and our selves so as to be accepted and respected. (Actually, if you want to know your true intentions, all you have to do is see what you are accomplishing.) Intention generates determination that, in turn, propels us in a specific direction. Your present actions and even inaction reveals your intention.

If I intend to use my power entirely for self –self-promotion, self-aggrandizement, and self-protection— guess where my attention, and thus my power, will be directed? And guess what possibilities for action will be filtered out by my intention?

If, however, I broaden my intent to not only care for self but, in the process, also intend to serve others wherever possible on the quest, then my attention will be broadened to take in these possibilities.

Conscious and Subconscious Process
For many people, much of what they are determined to do is held at a subconscious level. Something happened to them years ago that, by the power of the experience, shaped their intentions.

"My parents rejected me so I am determined to never be vulnerable to love and be loved again." The intention to avoid rejection focuses their attention on rejection: every slight, every raised eyebrow a sure sign of impending disregard. It also potentially creates an intention to Reject Before Rejected.

"As a youth my power was ridiculed so I am determined to aggressively assert my power at every turn." Or, perhaps, I will be determined to hide my power.

When you are clear about your intentions, your conscious and subconscious mind will constantly seek out opportunities for attaining what you intend. It is an automatic process!

If my intention is to generate more income, I WILL constantly be looking for opportunities to make this happen. My intention will guide me in the use of my power.

If my intention is for you to see, hear and feel my love, then I will consistently be seeking out ways to do this. The automatic process will guide how I utilize and manage my power, in this regard.

If I truly intend to be successful in my chosen “arena of achievement,” (Tom Peters), my attention will be focused on doing all that is within my power to equip myself and to do all that is necessary to achieve success. This is where my power will be focused. Conversely, if I intend to stay safe and secure, and to never push myself to the limit, then my attention and actions will be guided toward looking for the easy way, the safe way, only seeing those possibilities that will satisfy my intentions.

If you desire to own your power and to wisely utilize and manage it, then you must begin working on your intentions. What is it I am determined to achieve? What kind of man or woman do I intend to become? How do I intend to affect the world and people around me? Be clear here and your power will automatically begin moving toward achieving what you intend. 

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Owning Your Power III

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. -- Dr Seuss

Utilizing and managing your power requires awareness of self and the world around you, as well as a laser like focus on your intent.  If you are to use your power for your own good and the good of others, you will want to be aware of self while paying attention to the affects of your choices on the world around you and then evaluating the outcomes of your behavior by the standard of your intentions.

Why did I make that choice?
Why did I think that?
Why did I say that?
Why did I behave in that fashion?

What exactly was my intent and is it being realized?

Did my choice move me in the direction I intended?
Are my thoughts (inner dialogue) aligned with my intention?
Are my words moving the conversation toward my intended outcome?
Does my behavior demonstrate my intention?

People who deny their power rarely (if ever) ask themselves such questions. On a subconscious level, they know that to do so would reveal that they are living out of fear rather than faith, hope and love. To examine their inner and outer worlds would gradually force them into a corner where they would have to ask themselves, “What is the purpose of my existence and am I fulfilling it?” Once answered they would have to face the Big Question:

Today is set before you Life and Death: which do you choose?

Are you going to live your life On Purpose or will you choose the death of mindless existence? Are you going to love God, self and others to the extent that fear is being banished from your life so as to truly live as God intended, or are you going to allow fear to extinguish love?

Those who own their power have chosen to live and to love On Purpose and By Intent. Those who yield to fear are choosing death —at least for the time being— and are robbing God, self and others of their full presence, which includes the power of their love, talents, and wisdom.

Choosing Life we choose to own our power.

Choosing Life we choose to pay attention to where we are generating life and where we are generating death and then begin doing away with those beliefs, actions and attitudes that are generating death.

Choosing Life we are choosing to be the person we were created to become.

Choosing Life we begin making choices regarding our words, behaviors and attitudes based on what we intend to accomplish and create in our worlds, by the power of our Life and Love.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Friday, July 8, 2011

Owning Your Power II

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. -- Dr Seuss

Owning your power is the first step in learning how to utilize and manage your power.

Okay, okay … actually, one of the first things that begins to happen is that you start looking back at all those false steps and missteps where you kept giving your power away!

How many times did I seek permission to have an opinion, an idea, or a point of view?

How many times did I look around for an “Okay, you may try that,” when wanting to go in a different direction from that of my friends or family?

How often did I edit myself, so as to not trouble or anger others? And I didn’t do this out of a sense of appropriateness, but out of a default mindset that refuses to take a stand and be who I am, what I am, and how I am in that moment?

How many times did I leave a meeting, party or get-together and no one even knew I was there?

These are all demonstration of not owning your power, or, at least, keeping it locked away.

Utilizing Your Power
Our intent is to learn to utilize our power for our own good, as well as the good of others.

Sometimes you may wish to blow someone’s socks off with your power.

Sometimes you will want to hold your power close to the chest, waiting for the opportune moment.

Sometimes you will want to show-up larger than life (authoritative), but at other times as a fellow traveler (approachable).

Pay attention to how your presence affects those around you and then manage your power according to your intended outcomes.

Have you ever known a very attractive man or woman with high energy who was oblivious of his or her affect on those around them? People left and right misinterpreting their every word and move. “He touched my shoulder, he is interested in me,” “She paid me a compliment, she likes me,” “They ignored me, those arrogant idiots,” and other such misunderstandings that could have been avoided had Ken or Barbie been paying attention.

Paying attention, he could have said something that would have placed the kindness in its proper context. Paying attention, she could have defused his increasing infatuation by some light humorous comment. Paying attention, they could have easily spoken or nodded their head in friendly acknowledgement of those across the room staring at them.

As you own your power, people will be attracted to your presence. Some are subconsciously attracted to your unique power because they intuit you can help them in some way. Others find your presence inspiring. With each of these, you will want to note the motivation and manage your power accordingly. By the way, you will also want to guard against allowing these people into your inner circle too quickly. They want something from you, which is all fine and good, but is NOT the basis of a lasting friendship.

Then there are those people who, having denied their own power, seek to live vicariously through you. The problem here is that, in the majority of cases, these people are vampires who will suck the life right out of you. If you are a generous hearted person, the temptation will be to give them some of your power so as to help them reignite their own. This rarely works. If you do choose to give them some of your power, have a cut off-date in mind, or at least note when you find yourself wanting to avoid them, or getting angry over their impotency. “Time to go.”

Of course, some will resent you and your power and go out of their way to either sabotage you or become overly aggressive with you, proving their power is superior. No one is allowed to eclipse her light. No one is allowed to appear more powerful then him. If this is your boss, then you will want to manage yourself accordingly. If this is someone you can stay away from, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Small minded and insecure people are dangerous. 

(Owning Your Power III coming soon!) 

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Owning Your Power

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You're the guy who'll decide where to go.   
-- Dr. Seuss

You have a unique power: the power to love, the power to achieve, the power of your own way of being. You can deny this power, you can give this power away, or you can own it.

Denying your power, you may use it but with a complete lack of awareness so that you are oblivious to what is happening (for good or ill) to your self or those around you.

Denying your power, you reject the person you were created to become, obviously believing that you know better than God.

Giving your power away is the choice of allowing others to live their lives through yours, to think their thoughts through your brain, to speak their words through your voice.  

Giving your power away is synonymous with giving away your freedom, as well as the responsibilities that go with it.

Why would any of us make such choices?

Some of us simply do not want to be responsible for our lives. “Let somebody else drive the car … I’ll just sit here in the back seat. It’s so much easier.”  Well, yeah, if you don’t care where the car is headed and that there just might be a God who is not amused by your giving away what he gave to you with a very specific intent for how you were to use it and where you were to drive it.

Some of us refuse to own our power because of the fear of not being able to manage it. Power can be destructive. We love repeating, “Power corrupts!” I mean, come on: we have all witnessed powerful people leaving a string of damaged people, families, businesses, or nations in their wake. Wisdom here demands that we just not pick up what will inevitably lead to destruction, eh? But there remains the nagging awareness that in shirking our own power we are choosing to be a slave to others, choosing to not live as the individual we were created to be, and choosing to not love others with all the power that is uniquely ours.

Interestingly, some power-deniers love living vicariously through the lives and achievements of their powerful friends, church leaders, and such. These people often assuage their guilt over not owning their power by saying that they are here on earth to serve these powerful people. Maybe. But, if you are one of these “servants,” I have a question for you: Of what use is your impotency to the powerful?

Refusing to own my power, I go through life relating to others out of weakness. Rather than my seeking to be to you and for you the person whom God created me to be, I seek to be whoever you need me to be. Your beliefs, values, needs, and vision is all that matters: mine are irrelevant. You can degrade my beliefs, spit on my values, ignore my needs, and nuke my vision. After all, you matter, I don’t. (Of course, when I speak of “my” beliefs, values, needs, and vision in this context, I am referring to those memories of who and what I wanted to be, before I gave away my power.)

Owning your power means that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” People who own their power know that, because these Rights are God-given, they do not need the permission of other people or Institutions to pursue those Rights.

Owning my power means that I accept full responsibility for the world I have created and am creating. Powerful people never choose to play the victim.

Owning your power means that there is no longer a tin-cup shape hole in your heart that compels you to go through life seeking alms from others. As a creation of God you have value. When you enter into relationships, it is with a desire to share that value with others. When you enter the marketplace, you seek to trade value for value, not your weakness for the “charity” of others.  

In owning my power I recognize and respect in others the same unalienable Rights. I relate to you as freeman to freeman, not as freeman to slave. By the way, this includes those men and women who choose to behave as slaves. However much they insist that I am responsible for their life and happiness, I choose to treat them with the respect owed to a freeman, refusing to play the role of slave-owner.

(Coming Soon: Owning Your Power II

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2011