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Archive for the ‘Political’ Category

Today I had a unique opportunity in that I got to sit down and have lunch with a unique old friend. He’s not really old in that he is a few years younger than I am but he played a unique role in my life at one time. As you have read possibly in previous posts, I have been a long-time martial arts practitioner and have gotten a chance to experience and practice a number of different martial arts styles.

Early in my training, I had the opportunity to be exposed to a number of styles in which the physical training was absolutely fantastic. The memories of these workouts easily come back to me from 30 or more years ago, they were that memorable. However, it wasn’t too many years into my training when I began to sense something lacking in my training. I was not too far into my teen years when I began to think that there was more to martial arts than punch, kick, sweep, grab, choke, etc… (You get the message…lol)

I began searching for different systems and styles and sometime in the early to mid 1980’s while I was working on my undergraduate degree, I wandered into a Taekwondo school and watched one of their workouts. For whatever reason and for the life of me, I can’t remember why, I decided to give this system a go.

The main instructor was a talented African-American martial artist who appeared to be very gifted – not only physically, but seemed to carry a lot of non-physical characteristics that I found intriguing. I joined up and immediately began coming to class on a daily basis. The main instructor was often not teaching class but had a stable of young, talented martial art instructors that were in training to become certified instructors. It was here that I met a young man named Brian Hamlet.

Brian or Mr. Hamlet as students were instructed to address him was a young man in his early 20’s but you could see that he truly loved teaching and loved the martial arts. I found him to be a kind, energetic, and talented instructor and I found myself spending more and more time attending his class. As the years went by I got rank with this organization and opened my own school. I kept touch with Mr. Hamlet for 4 or 5 years as we trained occasionally together and we both took Kobudo (traditional ancient weapons together).

I left the organization a few years later as I didn’t see eye-to-eye with the organizational philosophy and then struck out on my own and developed my own system.

Mr. Hamlet, while doing a google search found me and found this blog. We began emailing back and forth and finally got a chance to sit down and have lunch and a good visit. It was great fun and I enjoyed going back 20 years and catching up. In talking about the past, we reminisced about our ancient weapons training and some of the experiences we had with our instructor.

Brian continued to train with this instructor after he and I and one other soul were the only black belts in the original group to get our black belt in this ancient weapons system. I did not as with other systems, believe in a lot of the rigid protocol and the “correct answers” you were suppose to give, even if you didn’t believe the answer yourself. Brian continued to train with this instructor and helped him out in many ways for years in demonstrations and promotions until they had a parting of the ways when this instructor opened a martial arts school a stone’s throw away from Brian’s. In my opinion (and many others) this was a disrespectful thing to do as this put this man in direct competition with Brian.

I asked him about how this made him feel and what he did when he found out. He told me was surprised and hurt by the choice of this other instructor. I asked him if he said anything to the man. He reported that he did not. We went on to have a lengthy conversation about his reasons why he chose to keep this to himself and just sever the relationship on his part. It should also be noted that Brian was not the only one to disengage as this other instructor, once he told Brian he was opening a school nearby, never called Brian back.

In Brian’s mind, one does not question the junior/senior relationship. This is very common in martial arts and has long since been a way of training that has come down for thousands of years. The problem I have with this is that the current group of martial art instructors that I have met (and I have met a TON!) in my life don’t have a fraction of the wisdom and spiritual awareness of those Buddhist monks and Samurai of old. Talented physically but their physical skills and knowlege far outweighed their social, emotional, and spiritual skills.

So the question becomes “Are we are Brother’s Keeper?” And if so, are there limitations to who we would offer our honesty and authenticity to?

I can easily see how Brian’s role with this instructor translates into everyday life. So many times we are hurt by our “seniors” and we choose to not say anything. Personally, I feel that this does damage to oneself and the other person. Damage in that we do not “air” our feelings which then doesn’t allow the other person to respond and possibly reflect on their part in the conversation.

There are many layers here and nothing is cut and dried simple. However, I still remain convinced that we are indeed our brother’s keeper when we are in a position to offer feedback. I say feedback because our intervention may be nothing more than a question. In the question however, we may choose the words that cut right to the heart of the dilemma or conflict and in putting it in the form of a question we can minimize the authority, righteousness, ego, or any other form of “I know and you don’t” mentality.

In taking on the role of being my brother’s keeper, I try to be aware of situations in which I don’t offer my wisdom, but instead, I offer something to consider. As mentioned above, this is usually in the form of a question as I find that most people do better when you allow them to discover the depth and insight within the topic. In that way I am offering my compassion and help without coming across as a “know-it-all” or even a junior/senior type of relationship.

I look forward to my next encounter with Brian as it was fun to engage in what I call “verbal martial arts.” If done from the best of intentions whether you are a martial artist or not, there is a tremendous amount we can gain and give by coming from an open compassionate heart. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from a former instructor, and who knows, maybe planted a seed for him to consider.

As always, I’m grateful and open to your thoughts and suggestions.

Blessings,

Ray

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As I sit at my computer I am thinking of the value of “good wisdom.”  Many times in my life I have made choices that I thought were the best I could do at the time, and, from a certain perspective, they were right even though they turned out painful.  I say they were right in that even though they experience was painful; I learned a tremendous amount from going through that particular process.

My question is however, “Do we have to go through the painful and difficult process to get to the wisdom?”

Sometimes I think the answer is yes and sometimes I think it is no.

Haven’t you ever noticed that sometimes we (and others) just HAVE to go through the process ourselves, experience it ourselves to truly know and gain the appreciation or knowledge that we seek?  Nothing sticks in our mind and psyche better than going through the fire, surviving, and then taking it with us forward on our journey in life.

I think though, for me, at this stage of my life, I’d rather listen and honor verbal or written wisdom more than have to go through some of the “trials by fire” methods of achieving wisdom.  In some ways that may seem a bit humorous but I feel that if we are truly open to the wisdom that may be offered at various stages and by various sources in our lives, then we may be able to bypass the suffering and move right into the state of applying the wisdom and receiving its benefits without enduring the suffering of having to live through it.

Makes sense.

Well then, where does one go to get this wisdom?

That is the question, my friends.

This may sound a bit dumb or even naïve to some people but I have truly found this to be the truth.

I find wisdom when I am looking for wisdom.

Yep. 

If I am cultivating and searching out in my heart, my thoughts, my words, and my actions, wisdom absolutely FLOWS to me.  It feels like little droplets of wisdom/rain are cascading down upon me from all sources.  I find wisdom in watching the mailman deliver the mail.  I see wisdom in the way my dog sits up on the couch and looks out our front window.  I hear wisdom coming from me from the little manmade pond my wife and I put in when we moved into our house.

Wisdom is a mindset that if cultivated grows to a place where one can see, hear, and find its treasures in everything we experience.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day regarding the podcast series I am starting called WARRIOR WISDOM.  (You’ll be able to hear it when I’m done at http://rayfaulkenberry.com)  Because we were talking about the beauty of martial arts philosophy that is not the combat application, I find myself drifting into that magical realm of the ancient Samurai warriors who lived and breathed a depth of honor, integrity, love, compassion, and wisdom.  Having spent most of my life studying martial arts, this “energy” is something I love to move in and through each day.  When allowing myself to experience this energy, wisdom and insights pour fourth.

I’ve known this in my life for the last 20 plus years and I’ve never been without the aspects of this FORCE in my life.

I’ve also had the pleasure of working with some amazing souls whom I deeply respected and admired for their depth of wisdom and compassion and willingness to share it with the rest of the world.  Interestingly enough however, those souls did not come into my life UNTIL I was ready and willing to ask/search for the wisdom.  I went LOOKING for it. 

How many of us for whatever reasons don’t go looking for wisdom from other people/sources?

I’m too busy.

My work is to demanding.

I already go to church.

I’ve got some health issues.

When I slow down a bit or when I retire I can pursue wisdom.

I don’t know where to go to find what I’m looking for.

There are plenty of reasons to NOT cultivate wisdom.

Let me say that more clearly:  There are plenty of EXCUSES to not cultivate wisdom.

I have never heard a good reason (in my mind).

I would ask you to consider looking into your own personal world and see if you can find a reliable source that you resonate with and begin tapping into the wisdom that is being offered.  Commit yourself to study and contemplate the words that come forth and see if you don’t experience some incredible insights and gifts that will be immediately noticed by yourself and others in your life.

But remember:  You must be open to see wisdom coming.  Don’t think it has to come from a little person sitting in meditation or from a famous yogi or minister or politician. 

Wisdom is everywhere you’re looking.

It’s funny in that my students in martial arts and their parents will often comment about my wisdom.  I find it funny in that wisdom, for me, easily comes from the joy in my heart and the love I feel for this life and all that it entails.  It is easy to love life when you stop and recognize the gifts that pour forth everyday.  I’m described as happy, optimistic, and compassionate.

Really? 

Sometimes I am not that. 

Sometimes you are not that.

Maybe wisdom starts with that simple realization and to know that wisdom resides within in but that we sometimes don’t see or look for it…And that’s okay.

Wisdom for me is several concepts woven together:  Compassion, authenticity, egolessness, honesty, and service. 

I know that when I am feeling these concepts or traits, I am at my best.

When are you at your best and why?

It is a question worth studying.

If you’re having trouble finding the answer, seek out the wisdom of someone else.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts about this topic.

Love and blessings to you always,

Ray

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As I scanned through the newspaper this morning I found an article in the entertainment section of the newspaper that pointed to the fact the comedians have not yet found their stride in being able to poke fun at our President.

I thought about this for a moment and reflected on these words.

According to the article, our past recent President’s of Bush and Clinton gave us so very much to poke fun at, and since they were both in office for two terms, there was literally years of opportunity to find humor in their words and actions, not to mention some of their actions and statements that were not very…how shall we say, Presidential?

For a lot of the country, President Obama represents a drastic change in so many ways.  He is not only the first man of color to be elected to the White House; he represents a drastic change when we are in need of a drastic change.  His ideas have infected those wanting a drastic change in how our government is run and how politicians are to be responsible in doing their job.  He has enthralled a nation of people eager to embrace change and terrified those who are resistant to change.

I personally have never been one to engage in national politics, or even state politics. 

Why?

For me, the answer was simple.

I found the politician’s lied.

There, I said it.

I know it is not a unique idea and I am by far not the first or the millionth person to utter the phrase.  My feelings however in watching politician after politician campaign for one thing and then once elected, don’t follow through.  It became a joke. 

A joke I got tired of listening to.

It’s strange in that my father, who now lives with us, got me more involved with this election more so than any other election I can remember. 

My father, you see is a hard-core republican. 

I am not even sure I can make honest distinctions between what republicans want versus what democrats desire.  I have heard about generalizations but the truth of the matter is I am not completely clued in to the deep and true philosophy of either party… of any party for that matter.

For whatever reason, my father saw and sees fault with Obama.  Whether he believes him to be a Muslim terrorist, hiring crooked and shady people to fill out his administration, or because maybe he holds a deep-seed belief rooted in racial prejudice, I don’t know.  All I know is whenever politics came up, he would argue against Obama.

My wife on the other hand, is an absolute believer in our new President and has been passionate from the beginning about his ideas.

This, you can imagine, made for some strained dinnertime conversations. 

Having the experience I had with dishonest politicians, I was somewhat removed entering the election.  If I had an opinion early on, I would have leaned to Obama as he represents a change from what we’ve been experiencing the last 8 years.  As I was in the middle and not too invested early on, it was interesting to watch my father and wife spar over dinner about politics.

As time progressed and I began looking closer at what was happening, both on the election front and in my own house, I began to sense a shift in my view.  I found myself realizing how much I really was looking for change.  When I thought back on the 2 terms that G.W. Bush held office, I realized that the country was not in a place that I thought was healthy.  The war in Iraq held no end in sight, our unemployment soared, housing plummeted, the budget out of control, recession continuing – yeah, the country didn’t look so good.

I realized that I really did want change so when asked about whom I would vote for, I shared my feelings of a desire for change and that I would support our Democrat candidate.  However, what really struck me was a statement my father said a week or so later.  He and I were in our kitchen and as had often been the case, the conversation turned to politics.  As the discussion grew more intense, my father said, “I just don’t understand how someone of your and Linda’s intelligence can be making this kind of a choice.”

Wow…

That floored me.

It amazes me that people will judge someone’s character, intelligence, and wisdom in life based on a belief!

I know it is common and has been done in the area of religion for thousands of years. 

But I had not experienced in my home.

It shook me but it made me realize that this view is not an uncommon one.  Thousands, millions, maybe tens of millions of people all over the world JUDGE each other based on their likes, dislikes, and what they endorse and support. 

I don’t have to like what my neighbor supports.  I don’t have to agree with him about his choice of clothes, cars, food, movies…or anything else. 

But I do need to honor and respect his choices.

And that is not done by insults.

If we as a planet are to grow, to truly evolve, we are going to have to learn to speak from the heart, and just as importantly, LISTEN FROM THE HEART.  We have to be willing to share our feelings, our beliefs, and our views, and be SUPPORTED at least in our right to share them!  When we cannot share our views then we are in the same place of every repressed, dictator-driven, oppressed culture that ever existed.

Freedom of speech, freedom to practice our religion, and so many other “guidelines” provide a framework for us to interact.  If we do not interact with compassion, honor, integrity, and humility, we will continue to fight amongst ourselves and judge people who don’t have a like mind as inferior, dumb, or ignorant. 

That is not an enlightened way of thinking.

I would hope you would develop a sense of awareness… a sense of being that is tolerant.  I would also ask you to consider creating a sense of being that is honoring of other people’s view of EVERYTHING.  It’s important to discuss anything and everything because that is a tool in which we can grow, expand, and evolve. 

However, we need to feel safe in doing so.

I for one am incredibly excited about President Obama.  I find him to be nothing short of a breath of fresh air and I have a hope and sense that he truly is the “real deal” and he will work hard to get our country on the right track. 

I like what I have heard so far and am excited about what is to unfold.  I am not going into his presidency with pessimism.  Quite the contrary, I am going into with faith, hope, and a commitment to do my part to help this country and world get to a better place.

It starts with a desire to want to do so. 

Honor yourself, those close to you, whatever creative intelligence you feel runs this “show” and have faith.  SEE a future in your mind’s eye… the FUTURE you want to see.

Until next time, may all your days bring you joy and love.

Ray

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Tonight I had a conversation with my daughter, Meg.  Meg has been having a difficult time at school as a certain event has affected her deeply. 

You see, Meg loves to write.  In fact, Meg loves to write so much that in the past she has spent hours and hours writing on a story that she is planning on turning in for the school next year.  I know that sounds weird but one of the big events they have at Meg’s school is something called Young Authors.  It is a common event at many schools and the schools encourage the students to write, design covers, and submit them.  Meg found a home in her creative stories and when she was younger she wrote exciting stories about Barney versus the Tellytubbies in which amazing battles took place.

As time went by and Meg got older her style of writing evolved as did her content.  For the last couple of years she has been writing a wonderful story about magic, wizardry, and the adventures of a young warlock named Roxas.  She has added to the story each year and evolved it into a more sophisticated, in-depth story that has rich, wonderful characters.

Meg is not an extrovert by any means.  In fact, at present she is almost fourteen and still has only a few friends despite the fact that she is one of the most sensitive, kind, and loving souls I have ever met on the planet.  She finds it hard when kids are mean, disrespectful, and lies as she doesn’t come from that place and treasures the things in her life that mean the most – her family, pets, and friends.

Meg had a friend named Maryn whom she used to be close to.  One day Maryn asked Meg if she would read her story.  Meg agreed and read Maryn’s story and shared some positive feedback about it although it was only about half done.  Maryn then asked to read Meg’s story.  Meg had just printed out the 35 or so pages of her story that she had completed so far and handed it over to Maryn.  Maryn vowed to read it as soon as possible and get it back to Meg.

A few days later Maryn brought back the story and told Meg she thought it “pretty good” and didn’t say much else.  What shocked Meg a week or so later was something that she is still troubled over.  Maryn had a new story and amazingly (or not so amazingly) it was almost exactly like Meg’s – time period, theme, story-line…the same.

Meg didn’t know what to do with this turn of events.  She came home and we talked about it and Meg left the conversation and planned to ask Maryn about the sudden change in her story.  When she confronted Maryn, not only did Maryn deny it, she quickly tried to move the conversation away from this sensitive topic.

Although we have had many conversations with Meg about this, she is struggling with this sense of betrayal and what to do about it.

The truth is I don’t have any easy answers for her. 

Being betrayed is something many of us have experienced.  I have had wonderful, spiritual people tell me great things and how they would help me achieve things that would truly help and bless the planet, and in the end, they lied, took my money, and never make amends or apologies.  I have had business people look me in the face and lie time and time again in order to make a sale, no matter what facts were fabricated, embellished, or misrepresented. 

What to do?  What should Meg do?

Not an easy question for us to answer – whether it is how to deal with it in our own lives or in the lives of our kids or employees (if we are fortunate enough to have one confide in us to this extent).

The answer lies within the individual and what they want to accomplish.

Let me explain that by looking at the case of Meg and her old friend Maryn.

Meg has been deeply hurt by the theft and dishonesty of Maryn.  Meg, in not being a hugely outspoken or extroverted soul, brought this to Maryn’s attention only to have Maryn deny and dismiss it.  This does not mean it didn’t happen and the pain that Meg feels is real.

But the question remains, what does Meg want to do to rectify the situation?

She knows to error is human and to forgive divine, but how does one do that when you’re 14 and one of your few friends lies and betrays you?

Heck, how do we deal with it in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s… and beyond?

For me, and I’m only speaking for me, is that I owe myself the right to feel whatever it is that I am feeling and not feel guilty about it.  If I am hurt and feel violated then I have that right to feel that one and no one can or should tell me not to feel that way.

I then have to decide on what level of honesty I want to share with those involved.  And that is where the dilemma and our choices begin to shift. 

Many people tend to blow it off, they rationalize that there is nothing they can do about it, and try to let it go.  The problem is they don’t let it go.  Some get angry and get loud, judgmental, call names, and some even resort to violence.  Regardless, most if not all of these choices do not address or resolve the hurt and pain within the individual who felt violated.

What to do then?

I told my daughter Meg what I’m about to tell you, and this is something she and everyone else who has ever felt violated has to make a decision about.

What I do is simple.  I simply tell the person from my heart what they have done as clearly, as honestly, and with as much compassion as I can what I have observed they have done and how it has affected me. 

This may sound simple but often times this simple sentence can take a very long time to get out as many times thoughts, emotions (strong ones) and opinions find their way to the surface.  It does not always come out so easily or perfectly.  However, if I stick to the plan of speaking from my heart in the above method, I feel soooo much better.

The goal is to not stuff it, rationalize, or act on it in a manner that is unclear, can be misunderstood, or could make the relationship worse.  Once stated, have faith that the process will unfold in a manner that will help each party.  What I mean by that is that whatever comes from your honest and heartfelt analysis of the situation will be an opportunity for both you and the other person to grow – but you have to want it.  You have to want to grow and evolve from this situation.  If not, you’re just going to rationalize your position as right and the other person’s as wrong and you will polarize yourself from this person.

I love my daughter and have faith that she will make the right decision to move through this situation with grace and wisdom that will serve her throughout the days of her life. 

I pray that I have the wisdom to do the same.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Blessings,

Ray

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For the past couple of months I have been posting information, ideas, and stories.  I have been given the task from my media consultant to find “authentic voice.”  What is my authentic voice you might ask?

Well that is a good question.

When I think of my authentic voice I think about those things that mean the most to me.  I think about speaking from my own truth – my own viewpoint of how the world works.   However on the way home on Friday night from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference with my media consultant, we had an interesting conversation.

An important point:  My friend (the media consultant) had just spent the whole day before the conference driving up from Los Angeles which is not a short drive.  Upon driving into the city she spent the next few hours picking up and shuffling friends from the airport to their hotel.  Only after that did she make the additional hour drive out to our house only to arrive around 10:30 that night. 

She then worked at the computer for an additional hour as she was presenting at the conference that day and needed to get her powerpoint presentation in order.  So, with only a few hours of sleep, we both got up and headed into the city for a stimulating day at the conference.

I know I am getting to the point in a round about way but it is important to set the stage that as we were driving back from the conference, we were both stimulated and excited from the day’s event, but both very tired. 

Even though we had previously had several conversations and she had looked at the vast majority of my writing and had listened to the various projects I had in mind, she still was searching for the root that was “my voice.”  The car ride became a never ending question and answering session of her asking, “What else?” 

It’s funny in that I began answering the question by logically answering about the vision I had for helping evolve consciousness.  The only problem with that is that consciousness is such a vague word to a lot of people.  It is a term that is somewhat… out there

I continued on to say that I wanted to help people come to know that themselves better and by doing so they could make healthier choices both in their personal and professional lives.

“What else?”

I thought for a moment.

“I want business people who either are in business or who are thinking of going into business to come from a place in their heart that honors themselves, their families, their employees in a way that is very different from the traditional work model.  I want business owners and employees to care more deeply about their relationship and what they are doing and not doing for each other.”

“What else?”

By this point, I knew we were digging and trying to flush out the true essence of what I wanted to speak from. 

I thought for a moment and felt myself drop deeper in to my heart.  When I spoke a few seconds later I could feel an energy welling up inside of me.

“I want people to realize that this moment, this breath that they take is so precious and that the people in their life are there for a reason and a choice.  I want us to learn to go inside our heart and love from a place that honors that part of us…”

At this point it was hard to continue because the emotion was spilling over and I told her so.

“And that’s the voice to speak from,” she said softly.

I let the words settle into the depth of my being as the truthful impact of this statement hit me.

“Yes.”

I can write about a lot of things ladies and gentleman.   I have wonderful academic credentials and certifications that look very impressive on paper.  (To me anyway… hee)  But as much as I honor those experiences and documents, the true essence of what I have to say doesn’t come from a Ph.D. or license. 

The essence comes from my heart.

It comes from a place of compassion and reverence for life.

My life and your life.

That is magic. 

That is emotional. 

That is the essence of my life and the mission.   

So while I may talk about politics, psychology, martial arts, or even esoteric terms life consciousness transformation or planetary sustainability, the true message I want to convey revolves around the fact that life is so very short.

It is short and it goes quick.

Death is coming for us all but in that time between the first gasp of a newborn and the last sigh of someone dying there is an opportunity.

That opportunity is about learning how to love.

I said it.

I know it sounds fluffy.

I know it is part of the soft skills.

It is my mission.

It is your mission.

You don’t have to believe it, but…

That doesn’t mean it is not true.

The more we fight it, the more that we rationalize ways of doing and being and creating that takes us away from this goal, the farther we get from achieving it.

Ponder this in the quiet spaces of your mind and answer me this:

“When is it NOT the time to learn and practice how to love?”

That is my mission.

As they say in the Mission Impossible show and movies:

“It is your mission – if you choose to accept it.”

I hope you do.

As always, I LOVINGLY look forward to hearing from you.

Ray

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I was in the gym other day doing one of my workouts when I overheard a couple of guys talking while they were working out.  I’ve been going to the gym for several years and although people come and go, the same core groups of men and women have been there during that time.

Due to the close proximity of the pieces of equipment, it was easy to hear what these two guys were saying and the tone in which they were speaking was definitely not positive.

They were ragging about the owner of their company going on a long 6-week vacation to his villa in Europe while the company was downsizing.

The bitterness in his voice was unmistakable. 

Never in history has it been MORE unpopular to be the CEO of a company.

Most people have a current view of CEOs or business owners as scary, dishonest, money-hoarding individuals who are only concerned about their own well being and the money they can stick away in some type of off shore or tax-deferred account somewhere.

You know what? 

In a lot of cases they are right.

I can’t open the paper or turn on the news without the hearing about another corporate business scandal where the chief executives are taking massive pay-outs, golden parachutes, and bonuses while the main working force in the organization gets benefits slashed, salaries cut, or laid off.  It is in such a state that people are staying in absolute CRAP jobs with no benefits, no breaks, and no room for advancement JUST To KEEP A JOB!

Never before have we in America had to deal with the growing problem of working in a “sweat shop consciousness.” 

Employers know how hard it is for people to find work as the unemployment rate soars and company after company goes out of business or is rocked by another greedy scandal perpetrated by their beloved CEO.

Fear is now keeping millions of people in their job.  It is not the desire to help the company or grow, or evolve although that hope and desire is still locked within them deep in their heart.  No, people are staying in jobs by the millions because they are afraid of losing their job and they have a mortgage, a spouse, kids to support, bills to pay.  They feel locked into their job as they must meet their financial obligations.

It is time those in the business community – those in power to step up and live from the depths of the BEST PARTS OF THEMSELVES. 

Those in power need to be approachable, open, honest, and sharing a vision so pure, so honest, so inspiring that we as employees get up and cannot wait to get to work and do our part to move the company farther down its goals.  We do this because we realize the company’s goals in a lot of ways are tied to our goals. 

However, this can ONLY be true if we have the right management, the right CEO, the right organizational philosophy to support this vision.

Sadly, very, very few organizations are in a position to truly honor the best within their mission.  Few CEOs are living from a place of honesty and integrity and therefore the title of office of the CEO will continue to be thrashed and dragged through the mud as more and more CEOs and their accountants “cook” their books in order to satisfy shareholders or make an additional dime.

Yes, CEOs are scarier now more than ever.

I remember working in a drug treatment program about 20 years ago and we were doing some good work and helping a lot of people overcome their addictions.  When times go tough, the Executive Director downsized the organization and got rid of those counselors that were getting the highest ratings on evaluations and who were the most educated.  When I brought this up to the President of the board, he not only knew this but he even added, “He is doing this because he knows those with less education or not as apt to question anything he does or the way he goes about doing it.”

I looked at the board president with my mouth open, amazed at what I was hearing.

“You do know he has got counselors that he is keeping that can’t even write case notes, and that actually write at a third-grade level?”

“Yes,” he said. 

“And you don’t see any problem with this?”

“I am here as president of the board because I support the Director and no matter what happens or how he runs it, I will continue to support him.”

I couldn’t believe it and there wasn’t much else to say. 

To this day, the organization runs poorly and is still run by a “dummy” board that refuses to serve the clients they are paid a ton of money to help.

However, I believe there is a movement brewing that will reverse this scary trend.

I feel there is a movement in which more and more enlightened CEOs are coming forth with the level of honest and integrity that will not only make business more solvent are profitable from HONEST bookkeeping methods, these same individuals will inspire, and endear their employees to them by coming from a place of compassion and service that will provide a level of commitment and motivation that will help shift and shape their employees life in every way.

ROAR! 

That is truly what I believe.

I for one will be building out ALL of my present and future companies with that goal in mind.

If you are thinking about going into business or you are currently running a business large or small, ask yourself this question,” Am I truly coming from the best and highest place in my heart for the concern of all my employees, my family, and my community?”  If you can’t answer yes, it is time to do some serious soul searching.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts!

Blessings,

Ray

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I remember as a child growing up watching a lot of television and movies.  There weren’t hundreds of different channels as there are now but I still found time to plant my fanny in front of the tube a lot as a child. 

I remember hearing that when people used the word transparent it usually wasn’t complimentary.  I guess I’m thinking of scenes in which the guy is trying to pick up on the girl and it was so obvious what he was doing that she would get disgusted and say something like, “Your motives are so transparent!”  As a result, as a teenager I associated transparency with a sense of negativity.

I have done a one-eighty.

I have found that transparency, when coming from the right consciousness is an amazing gift to anyone who witnesses it. 

Think about it.

If I am not hiding anything, if I am willing to share with you what is actually going on in my heart, you will have a real look inside me.  I would be showing you my authentic self.  This is a good thing – A very good thing.

I cannot tell you how many experiences I have had both in my personal and professional lives dealing with inauthentic people – people who are NOT transparent.  These are people who are hiding things, holding back, afraid, keeping their own agenda.  Now I’m not saying that you walk around disclosing everything. 

However, THERE IS a time and a place for everything. 

Over the last dozen years or so, what we have heard about corporate America is anything but transparent.  You can turn on the television and listen to a variety of CEOs justify why they received their mega-million dollar payout while the company is looking at bankruptcy.  What about the CEO who had no idea his books were “cooked.” 

“It wasn’t my responsibility.  The accounting division handles all the fiscal documentation and reporting.  I’m as in the dark as you are!” 

GAG!

Business scandal after business scandal has rocked the image we held of a corporate CEO as being a person of the highest quality. 

When I was young, I thought the owner/CEO of the company was the leader – the one with vision and integrity to look out for the company and all of the employees they had been blessed to have work for them. 

Payouts, bonuses, cooked books, liquidation of huge shares of stock, and golden parachutes are just a few of the terms now associated with the modern CEO.  No longer to people hold the view of a CEO as integrity-based, honest or compassionate.  In fact, it is just the opposite.
Now more than ever people see CEOs as greedy, corrupt, dishonest, and completely self-centered as headlines bombard us about CEOs taking massive profits out while the company goes down the tubes.  What level of communication and honesty are they showing the world?  Their employees?  Themselves?

The image of the CEO has been badly damaged as never in history has the image of corporate America been so frowned upon. 

Why?

When we as a CEO look to serve ourselves first we forget the role we agreed to play.  I don’t mean CEO.  I mean the leader of the company – The steward of the company and its vision.  When we seek our gratification above our employees and the company we have lost track of the consciousness, vision, and responsibility in which we were given.  We’ve lost something even more important in the process – ourselves.

A decade or so ago when these corporate scandals started breaking, at first I felt a sense of anger at those CEOs who betrayed they responsibilities to the company.  However, as time moved on, I realized my anger gave way to something much different.

Sadness.

I felt and do feel a deep sense of sadness when I hear of a CEO who has “cooked” their books in order to meet a quota or guideline.  I feel sad when a CEO takes a huge bonus when the company is laying off hundreds, sometimes thousands of employees.  I feel sad because even though they’ve walked away with a pile of money, they left a part of their soul that will never be recovered and it will leave them scarred. 

Running a business can be one of the most gratifying things we can ever experience. 

Having a business with employees allows us to take this to an even higher level.  We now have someone (perhaps many) who believes in us and our vision.  They want to believe in us.  They want to follow the vision we, as their CEO, have put forth.  They have put their faith in us to support them in this path – this journey of business and creativity.  We have been put (or put ourselves) in a position to lead. 
 
Leaders and GOOD CEOs lead – they don’t cheat, lie, or steal.  (Not in my book anyway)
 
Leaders and GOOD CEOs look out for their employees in a variety of ways.
 
Leaders and GOOD CEOs walk a path rooted in service – service to their employees, their families, their community, and to the planet.  In living this life of service – in essence, by living a life serving others they get to enjoy the benefit and they in turn, will be served on a much higher, more elevated level. 
 
Don’t be afraid to be transparent.  Be willing to share what is underneath.  I promise you that none of those around you will think any less of you.  In fact, you may find that people will begin to think more of you. 

It is my personal goal to be as transparent as possible.  I want you to know what I am thinking.  I want you to know what my business is doing.  I want you to be able to see my accounting books and see what our income was, what our expenses were, and where we donated our time and resources.

It is in no way a negative thing to be transparent in business.  It may not be common, but then again, how healthy do you think corporate America is at the present time?
 
Exactly.

Transparency. 

Look at it and strive to peel back some of the layers of the onion that hides the true you AND your company (whether you own it or not!)  Peel back the layers and allow people to see the beauty that is inside.  Remember, part of the beauty is honoring that which may not seem beautiful.  We have all done things, said things, and thought things that was not necessarily nice or healthy. 

Owning it and moving on is a part of leading from a healthy perspective.  Being able to own up to it, admit it, apologize for it, and then learn from it and move on is another sign of mature and healthy leadership.
 

It’s also being transparent.

Telling a loved one how much they mean to you on a regular basis is also transparent.
 
Are you getting the message? 

Being transparent whether in a conversation, playing with friends, working in a business, AND ESPECIALLY running a business is an amazing thing.
 
Think about it and if it makes sense, strive for it.

Just my thoughts.

As always, I’m open and receptive to your thoughts and ideas.

Ray

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