What Are You Listening For?

By Paul David Walker

As a leader, what you do not hear or misinterpret can be the difference between success and failure. As a sales person, or in relationships, the same is true. Listening to what people are actually saying is the starting point of every successful interaction. Not understanding what Listening1someone is saying is like giving someone directions to your office before you know their present location.

As a CEO Coach and business advisor, I have learned many lessons about listening. I am excited to share some of those with you today. After hearing the lessons, the most important thing for you to do is practice. So I will also provide some exercises to develop your listening skills.

Listening to Tell Your Story

I found that in sales situations I tended to listen only enough to start constructing my story, or sales pitch, in my mind. I would even start taking notes, outlining my response before the client had finished talking. Worse yet, I was deciding which of our standard programs I was going to pitch. I was an excellent leadership consultant, but my sales effectiveness was weak. After listening to my sales approach, my partner suggested a three-day sales and listening course.

One of the first “don’ts” was listening to tell your story, which they explained is the first mistake of all bad listeners. Typical stories were: listening to…

  1. Develop an answer … bingo!
  2. To be right about your view.
  3. To tell your story.
  4. To judge the speaker’s story.
  5. Thinking about something else.
  6. Thinking you already know.
  7. Thinking about your next meeting.

I was guilty of many of these bad habits. The fact that I was processing in my mind while the person was speaking prevented me from hearing their entire story, and so my responses were never on target. The lesson was: don’t think while you are doing intake.

Content is Only 7% of the Story

The meeting leader then asked: once you are not processing while you are doing intake, what are you listening for? If you are listening for content only, then you are missing most of the message. Studies have shown that only seven percent of the message is in the words or content. Thirty-three percent is in the vocal tone, and the balance is non- verbal’s.

In addition, people who are talking to you are struggling to communicate something they may not fully understand themselves. They may be repeating themselves to find just the right way to say something. So, in addition to not processing, I had to learn how to listen beyond words.

Connection and Rapport

I found that if you learn to intake the entire message, and listen beyond words, your level of rapport goes up dramatically. Most people do not listen well, and so when you do, you connect with people at a deep level and they feel heard. One of my clients said, “The main reason I work with you is because you hear me.”connection

In real estate there are three things that are important: location, location and location. In leadership, selling and life, the three most important things are: rapport, rapport and rapport. If you fall out of rapport and start telling your story, you won’t be heard and worse yet, you may be distrusted. No one likes to be sold to. Establish rapport and keep it before you present your story or service.

Integrative Presence

The instructor said that the simple summary of this course is that you have to be totally present while listening and you will naturally integrate everything. After three days of the course, I had a sales call with a CEO, so I decided to practice my new approach. When I walked into the office, since I was totally present, I could see both the CEO and the SVP of HR were in a bad mood. They said to me, “How are you doing?” I told them that I was stressed after driving in LA traffic. They laughed, expecting the standard “I am great answer.” They proceeded to tell me about the events that led to their lousy mood, and we laughed together. The CEO said in jest, “So we all agree that life is crap, at least today.” We were clearly in rapport.

I then introduced myself and asked him to tell me a little bit about his situation and why he had called. I then put all my thoughts away and I felt present as I listened to his story for about ten minutes. When he seemed to be finished, I asked if there was anything else? He went on for another five minutes, and then said, “How could you help us?”

I paused and then said, as my teacher had suggested, the first thing that came into my mind, which was a summary of what I had heard instead of my solution. He was visibly shaken and said, “I had not thought of that, but you are exactly right!” I had heard something he had not fully understood. He went on to tell the HR SVP to have me talk to all his staff. When I explained that I would have to charge him, he said, “You two work it out, but I want you to hear what my team has to say. I achieved rapport, “Integrative Presence,” and heard beyond his words.

That year I won the Sales Leader of the Year Award for our Leadership Consulting firm. The lesson here is that you do not have to consciously process your answers. If you do full intake, your brain is able to synthesize and say the right things.

There is No Substitute for Practice

Remember, your thoughts block your intake. The following is an exercise you can try with a friend. As you listen to a friend try to tell you something important to them, try the following:

[ws_table id=”23″]

As you start to develop the habit of letting go of your thinking, you will notice a sense of integrative presence in yourself, as will others. You do not have to do anything but let go of your thinking. Integrative Presence is a natural state of mind that is interrupted by your thinking. Also, do not take this, or your thoughts, too seriously.

Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include StarKist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling book, Unleashing Genius and his new book, Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at Paul@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

What do I need to have healthy and loving relationships?

By Ellen Borowka, MA

When people usually think of what is needed to have a good relationship, whether romantic or a friendship, many will list out what they want in a lover or a friend. That is always important, but what we bring to a relationship is just as important.

Understanding the other person

First and foremost, empathy is vital to a lasting relationship. We have noticed through working with couples that when the relationship hits those tough spots, the first thing that flies out the window is empathy. It is one of the most difficult things to truly understand another’s point of view, as we are usually too busy thinking what we’re upset about. Most of us are too occupied with our own hurt, anger, disappointment and fear, to be fully aware of what someone else is struggling with. This is especially true when we’re angry or hurt by the other person, like when one partner doesn’t express enough affection to the other.

Some may feel that this isn’t true of them, and that they always strive to understand their partner or friends. For some people, that might be true. However, for the rest of us, this then leads to my next point that is essential to relationships – – self-honesty.

Being honest with ourselves

Now, the first thought might be, “What me!! I’m honest with myself!” Perhaps that is also true, yet we can always be more truthful to ourselves. Many people are not really honest about their part in the relationship problem. We see so many couples where one or both individuals point to the other with the exclamation of “Fix ‘em!” It is so easy for us to see the flaws and imperfections of each other, when what is needed is to look within first for healing.  Henri Frederic Ameil once said, “We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves.”  Couples that have successful, healthy and loving relationships are usually the ones where both individuals admit when they have made a mistake, apologize with sincerity and strive to work on their own issues.

Listening to others

The third element is listening to your partner or friend, which is a very difficult skill for most of us to do well.  We are usually so busy listening to our own internal thoughts and feelings, that we frequently miss not only subtle implications, feelings and body language, but also direct comments.  It is not enough for us to vent our feelings, if we cannot stop and open our minds to listen to the other person.  We all have been in situations where the person we are with just talks and talks without any interest in what we have to say.  Everyone wants to be heard and have someone really care about what they have to say.  It’s also helpful to remember that you don’t have to agree with another person to listen and understand them.

Conflict is part of relationships

This guides us to a simple, yet difficult concept to accept in life: Disagreement is OK.  Some people just can’t stand it when others don’t agree with them. Disagreement can bring up feelings of self-doubt or rejection.  It could be hard to remember that just because someone disagrees, doesn’t mean they are rejecting us or that we are wrong in our beliefs.  In times of disagreements, we can either live with the disagreement and not let it damage the relationship or find a compromise.

Finding the best solution

Compromise is crucial to successful relationships.  Some couples get stuck at a stalemate – refusing to budge over very big and very little things, ranging from how to raise the relationship2kids to who’s going to do the dishes!  If that’s true for you, then you are in a power struggle where there is only a win-lose situation.  Some people are so concerned with maintaining control that win-lose solutions don’t bother them, however this erodes the relationship.  Don’t allow your relationship is become a battleground!  Win-lose quickly becomes lose-lose in divorce court or relationship breakdown.

Finally, there is a wonderful old saying from Rabbi Hillel, a scholar from 2,000 years ago, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am only for myself, who will be for me?”  It’s important in our relationships to have a healthy balance between loving ourselves and respecting others.  If we take care of ourselves, but can’t reach outside of ourselves to others, then our relationships fall apart.  If we take care of others, but neglect ourselves, then we suffer and resentment builds.  We need both parts to the puzzle to have healthy lives and happy, successful relationships.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2017  This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and her organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management. Ellen has over 20 years of data analysis and business consulting experience and is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development. LCS can test in 19 different languages, provide domestic and international interpersonal coaching and offer a variety of workshops – team building, interpersonal communication and stress management.

WAKE UP!

By Daniel & Ellen Borowka, MA & Nancy Croix

Waking up can be more than just opening your eyes in the morning. It’s setting a tone, finding a theme to center on for the day. At another level, it is becoming more aware of what we need to learn to grow and mature in this brand new day. What we want to be more alert to or recognize in our clock2lives to work on. There are various definitions of “wake” or “awake”. One is to be or remain awake – to keep watch. Another is to rouse from or as if from sleep – to arouse conscious interest. Some synonyms are to stir, kindle, challenge, inspire, ignite and provoke. That’s something thought provoking for this topic! First, we will explore ideas of how to set a tone for one’s day. Then we will look at how to become more aware of ways to inspire, challenge and ignite our growth process.

What’s guiding you?

Daily routines are an important part of our lives. When you wake up to start your day, are you allowing yourself to be guided by the events of the day or are you taking the time to mentally prepare for the day? The first option is leaving everything up to chance. The second option is to take responsibility and make choices for your well-being. A great way to start the day is to think of a quality, which you would like to express during the day. Taking the time to mentally prepare for the day can make a tremendous difference in the day’s events that happen, expectedly and unexpectedly.

Word for the day

This can actually turn your daily routine into an insightful way to wake up. As soon as I wake up, I focus on my word for the day. Once I have the word, I think about what it means to me. I write it down in my journal with the date and then share my word with my family, friends and co-workers. People will come up to me first thing in the morning and ask me what my word is for the day. I like to share my experiences associated with my word throughout the day with people. At the end of the day, I write about my experiences and what I’ve learned. When I find myself feeling sad, afraid or angry, I stop and think about my word to refocus my thinking so I can keep on track and have a healthy outlook on life. I have found that through this process, I learn more about different qualities so it becomes easier when I’m confronted with a problem or crisis. Then I can draw upon these qualities for insight and comfort.

What am I to awaken to?

I also constantly look at things I want to change, improve or resolve in my life. It can be hard to be fully honest with one’s self, as it means uncovering or adjusting how we catching a starrespond to others, handle things or what we truly stand for in our lives. One thing that is helpful to become more awake is to first look at our priorities.

Our priorities in life

Recently, we have been exploring our priorities. Some main areas could be our relationships with others, professional, intellectual and spiritual challenges, and our emotional and physical health. We can ask some questions to determine those priorities. What and who is important to us? Are we taking the time for what is crucial to us? Do we say that certain people or beliefs or activities are important to us then put something else first? Do we pattern our goals, objectives, our lives around these priorities?

Who do we hang around?

A friend once pointed out that who we hang out with reflects where we are psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. There’s a great quote, “Our attitudes toward others and toward ourselves, far from being contradictory, run parallel. How we feel about ourselves is how we feel toward others.” So, who do we spend time with? Are they supportive to us or do they drain energy? Do they inspire us to grow or cause pain and sorrow? Yet, before just cutting someone out of our lives, it’s vital to look at why we have them in the first place. What attracted them into our lives? Do we have someone who is struggling, so we can be the Savior, the one in control or so we can feel better about ourselves? Do we have people who control our lives so we don’t have to take responsibility for when things go awry? Do we seek out people to demean and devalue us to fulfill our feelings of worthlessness or low self esteem? Or do we look to control others so we feel in control and safe? It can be so helpful to look at who and why we have those around us.

Ask questions

Becoming more awake, involves challenging ourselves and what we do. Monitor and ask yourself questions. Why did I do that? What was my ultimate goal – good and bad? Do I follow through on what I believe in or do I let my fears or issues take over? Look at your motives – what is driving your actions, your words to others? When you can answer those questions honestly and take action to revise what doesn’t work well, then you have made some great progress.

When we know why we choose the people, the activities, our beliefs then we are more awake to where we are and what we truly want. At that point, we can start to let go of what or who doesn’t work; redefine our relationships and what we do; or to appreciate that which is around us. Thank goodness that every day we have the opportunity to wake up anew and to explore and enjoy each day.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

falling starDana Borowka, MA, CEO, Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst and Nancy Croix, Senior Operations Administrator of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (LCS) with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”.  They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors.  LCS also has a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. LCS consultants have over 25 plus years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. Dana and Ellen is co-authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA  90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching.  Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Making Successful Changes

By Ellen & Daniel Borowka

I’m sure you’ve had times in your life when making a change becomes a big challenge. Perhaps you want to change how you deal with certain situations or a part of your lifestyle like your diet or exercise. Change is very difficult no matter what we want to change. We start out with good MC900437519[1]intentions then for one reason or another; we go back to the way we’ve always done something. So, how do we make changes that stick?

What is blocking change?

Well, the first piece of the puzzle is looking at what is blocking the change. Sometimes, we just want a problem to disappear, so we make changes as a “fix-it” solution. Fix-its are rarely good changes as they are usually based on unrealistic or unreasonable expectations of a situation or ourselves. Like those times, when we may have stopped eating altogether to lose some weight or took a vacation to fix a troubled relationship. First, it helps to take a realistic view of the situation to be changed and have an understanding of the limitations and strengths involved.

Understanding our limitations

For example, if you want to change a troubled relationship, whether family or work, one should have realistic expectations of both one’s self and those involved. It would be frustrating and unhealthy to expect to be able to change another person or control the relationship to make everyone happy. We can only change our own behavior and ourselves. It’s important to have a balanced perspective of the situation. We can’t expect to make magical changes or to ‘save’ those around us. At the same time, we should not try to underestimate our strengths and abilities. If you have trouble evaluating the situation, then be sure to get feedback from unbiased and supportive friends, counselors or clergy.

Finding our focus

Sometimes, we want to change something that is so big that we feel overwhelmed. So, we end up either trying to put band-aids on this big problem or give up altogether. It’s helpful to focus only on parts of the problem and take one piece at a time. For example, let’s say an individual doesn’t feel good about him or her self. If that person would try to change everything at once, he or she would probably give up. An alternative would be to pick one thing to change, like shyness, and focus on that first. However, whenever making changes in one’s self, please get a realistic viewpoint from others. We are often very demanding of ourselves and may try to change what doesn’t need changing at all. This violates our true self – our style and sense of being, because we deny who we are. Sometimes, the change we have to make is appreciating who we are and that is a big change!

What are my motives for change?

Once you have focused on to a specific and manageable problem, ask yourself some questions about it. Why do you want to change it? What about the situation do you want changed and why? What are you expecting to get out of this change? At this point, motives for the change need to be examined in depth to see if they are healthy reasons. For example, if you want to lose weight to please others or because you don’t like yourself, then there may be bigger issues at stake. Look at what is underneath the problem and ask yourself, “What is really bothering me about this situation?” These issues need to be looked at. Otherwise, the change would only be at the surface, and surface changes do not last very long nor solve the real problem.

Taking small steps to change

Next, consider one small step you can take to begin the change process. An old Chinese proverb says, “The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Change is much easier and less scary when it is done in small steps. For example, to work on shyness, one might begin by saying hi to the neighbors or the cashier at man watering2the supermarket and work up to small, light conversations with others. Then eventually build up to possibly joining a club and participating in activities or committees. The key is taking small steps in change, rather then overwhelming, sweeping changes. A good example of small changes is when I wanted to get back into doing artwork, but froze when I sat down in front of the blank canvas. So, I started out with using crayons and letter-sized paper, and just making shapes and using different colors together. I told myself that the end result doesn’t matter (lessening expectations and self-judgement), and what was important is the experience of creation (refocusing on the true need). This made the process less intimidating so I could get back to something I loved so much. From those small steps, I moved on to using different materials and techniques while feeling more confident in my artistic abilities.

Slow change creates significant progress

Once you have discovered a good small step – put it into action. Depending on severity of the problem, one may need to start out very slowly with the first step and repeat a few times for significant progress to be made. For example, if one is very shy, the first step might be repeated once or twice a week, and work up to doing it daily until one feels more comfortable to move onto the second step.

Celebrate and record your progress

After each step, celebrate your small step even if you feel the result was not as you expected. Remember that when you first started learning something new, like riding a bike, you probably didn’t do it perfectly. It took patience, practice and perseverance. Celebrate your courage, the experience of change, and your desire to take care of yourself. It is important to celebrate and appreciate yourself when you are in the change process. Record your progress and achievements. This can instill a sense of accomplishment as well as help to identify any further trouble spots in your progress.

Support is a necessity

Most of all, support is crucial during change. Seek support and feedback from understanding friends and others. Find a friend who shares your goals so you can help each other in making changes. Recognize that change is very hard and scary. As I said previously, we are very demanding on ourselves. We expect ourselves to be perfect and handle everything with ease. In actuality, we are human. It is ok to struggle and to be afraid as long as we don’t allow the fear or obstacles to block our progress. Give yourself support by challenging self-criticism, and telling yourself nurturing statements daily. Some examples of a nurturing statement are, “I appreciate myself for who I am” and “It’s ok to be imperfect.”

Fear of failure

Finally, a big obstacle for change is our natural fear of failure. There are two quotes that can give us perspective on failure. The first is, “Failure is never final! The only time you catching starcan’t afford to fail is the very last time you try. Failure does not mean we should give up; it just means we have a reason to start over.” (Don Shelby) The second, by Samuel Johnson, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” We may get frustrated or disappointed, and yet, we need to venture on in spite of these obstacles. Change comes through with patience and determination to overcome the challenge that has confronted us.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO and Ellen Borowka, MA, Senior Analyst of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC with their organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. They have over 25 years of business and human behavioral consulting experience. They are nationally renowned speakers and radio personalities on this topic. They are the authors of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

 

Get Real!

By Dana Borowka

How often have you ever said or thought… “Get real”. What a challenge those set of words can conjure up in one’s mind. Being authentic can bring a number of mixed messages based on what we base our sense of reality on. One of the definitions for “authenticity” includes “genuineness or theater mantruth of something”. For example, a genuine book is that which was written by the person whose name it bears along with relating information as to what really happened.

What are we being genuine or authentic to? When we search for the authentic self or request others to “get real”, what are we truly requesting? Are we asking others to view life as we do, and then that would then usher in “reality” into their life? That may be the case in some situations. However, if we are not offering some level of empathic understanding in our daily walk, what kind of connection are we making with others? Whose book are we requesting others to accept as the “genuine” way to “be”?

Viktor Frankel was a psychiatrist and a survivor as a prisoner of war in several Nazi concentration camps. He wrote a number of books about his experiences and the search for the meaning of life. One of his observations I found to be very interesting and wanted to share it:

“Therefore man is originally characterized by his “search for meaning” rather than his “search for himself”. The more one forgets oneself – giving oneself to a cause or another person – the more “human” he is. And the more one is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than oneself, the more he really becomes “himself’. Just consider a child who, absorbed in play, forgets himself – this is the moment to take a snapshot. When you wait until he notices that you are taking a picture, his face congeals and freezes, showing his unnatural self-consciousness rather than his natural graciousness. Why do most people have the stereotyped expression on their faces whenever they are photographed? This expression stems from their concern with the impression they are going to leave on the onlooker. It is “cheese” that makes them so ugly. Forgetting themselves plus forgetting the present photographer plus forgetting the future onlooker would make them beautiful. Forgetting themselves and overlooking themselves…. The humanness of man is most tangible when he forgets himself and overlooks himself!”

So, when we want others to get real, what is the basis for our request? I’m not sure if anyone can answer such a request with a completely “honest” answer. Rather, we may decide to challenge our sense of reality by asking questions that might include: Am I sharing my inner talents at work and at home? What do I value from deep within myself; and am I expressing those talents with those around me? Or am I just marching through time because…. What is the ‘because’? Why do we do what we do and what is our theater masksmotivation? Who are we smiling for – the onlooker, the photographer… who are we modeling for? If we were to simply “play” as a child, where we would express our inner self, what would we be doing – how telling that could be. Think about that one for a moment.

Deep questions for a deep topic…. So the next time we ask someone to get real, what reality are we asking them to align with. Ask yourself, “What am I aligned with?” Is it to help someone to fulfill a jointly shared vision, goal or objective or just trying to get a point across? We’d love to hear from you on this topic.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

 

How to Deal with Anxious People

By Mark Goulston – First published March 19, 2008, Harvard Business

When your people are anxious – and do you know anyone who isn’t? –their minds constrict. Neuroanatomically that means that the middle mammalian emotional brain has trouble accessing the upper human rational brain (which could put things into perspective) and it takes everything in that person to keep from throwing everything into the lower reptilian “fight or flight” brain where they would do something impulsively that would most likely make matters worse. A Anxious sharkconstricted mind is not open to hearing new directives, much less holding onto or following through on them.

This is an important piece of information for anyone who must get things accomplished through other people – in other words, just about all of us. The more you talk over or at anxious people, the more pressure you put on their middle brain and the more they will close their minds to what you are saying.

Alternatively, the more you talk to an anxious person — or even better yet, with them — the more you alleviate that pressure and the easier it is to access their upper brain and open their minds to you. Here’s a critical point, though: the approach you may think you are taking in a conversation with an anxious person may not be the approach the other person perceives.

How do you ensure you’re handling these challenging conversations most effectively? Pay attention to the body language of the other person – it will tell you how they interpret your approach and allow you to tailor your message accordingly.

Indicators that they think you’re “talking over” them:Anxious talking

They’ll leave the conversation at the earliest opportunity because you’re insulting them by treating them as if they’re not there. They’re thinking: “What a buffoon, I’m outta’ here at the next break.”

Indicators that they think you’re “talking at” them:

They feel like you’re figuratively sticking your finger in their face. They’ll either: a) hunker down in a submissive pose with their chin tucked into their neck if they’re intimidated. It’s as if they’re saying: “Please don’t be angry at me;” or b) they’ll stick their chin out at you and narrow their eyes if they’re ticked off. It’s as if they’re saying: “You can’t talk to me like that!” Do this only in a situation akin to being in overtime in the seventh game of the NBA finals where your players know you respect them and you need them to execute, not think.

Indicators that they think you’re “talking to” them:

They’ll nod from the neck up as if to say, “Yes, that makes sense,” and may or may not follow through. This is the language of doing business as usual. Use this as your usual mode of speaking.

Indicators that they think you’re “talking with” them:

They’ll relax their shoulders and neck as if you’ve moved over to their side and put your arm around their shoulder like a loving parent or grandparent. It’s as if you’ve told them: sailing for biz“It’ll be okay. We can work this out.” This is the language of intimacy. Aspire to this in matters of the heart and when possible in matters of the world and work.

Your goal, of course, is to find that tone and approach that results in your anxious conversation partner responding to you as you want them to. The key is to keep attuned to their unspoken language – the more attention you pay to body language, the more expert you’ll become at reading and reacting to it.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Mark Goulston, M.D. is a business advisor, consultant, speaker, trainer and coach trained as a clinical psychiatrist who honed his skills as an FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone. He is Co- Founder of Heartfelt Leadership whose mission is: Daring to Care and Go Positive Now and is the Resident Big Brother at Business Women Rising and serves on the Board of Advisers of American Women Veterans and Dr. Oz’ foundation, Health Corps. He is a contributor to Harvard Business, blogs for the Huffington Post, Business Insider writes the Tribune media syndicated column, Solve Anything with Dr. Mark, column on leadership for FAST COMPANY, Directors Monthly. He is frequently called upon to share his expertise with regard to contemporary business, national and world news by television, radio and print media including: Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Newsweek, Time, Los Angeles Times, ABC/NBC/CBS/Fox/CNN/BBC News, Oprah, Today. He is the author of international best selling books, “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone and REAL INFLUENCE: Persuade Without Pushing and Gain Without Giving In. For more information: http://markgoulston.com. Contact Mark at: mgoulston@markgoulston.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

 

Feeling Burdened?

By Dana Borowka

How many days go by where you feel burden free? Any? Even for a moment? Most of us tend to feel pretty loaded up with all sorts of stuff on a regular basis. Most can’t even imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have all that “stuff” that literally creates a whirl wind of activity. Imagine what it FeelingBurdenmight be like to not feel burdened with worry, anxiety or fear for even one moment. Some people can’t imagine such a thing. While others seem to find a space… for a moment of peace, calm or centeredness.

Some might ask, “Can anyone ever be at peace?” The answer is found individually. It depends on how closely we identify with who we truly are. If we are constantly reminding ourselves of all the things that we need to do, then we are just running from one thing to the next without some level of fulfillment or an inner purpose. The odds are that we will continue to move from one crisis to the next… if we do not try to be aware of our actions. Remember, it is not the activity that is causing the disturbance – it’s the fact that we are identifying with the worry, the fear, the ‘whatevers’ that are causing the suffering. And you might be passing this energy onto others in your life whether they are work colleagues, family members or those we stand in line with in the market.

So what can we do when we are feeling anxious or burdened? Is it possible to change deeply ingrained thought patterns and how long could that take? It doesn’t necessarily take a great amount of time. Yet, you do need to become aware of what you are identifying with when you are get worried, anxious, fearful, etc. Once this takes place you have begun the change. Then you have a choice. Whether you want to continue with that false identity or re-identify yourself in other ways. This awareness can help to prevent past emotional issues from controlling your thinking and taking hold of your life and actions with others. The old identity may continue to arise and show itself. It may even cause you to identify with it at times and blur your self vision.Man with mirror

Facing our self identity can be a direct confrontation with what you believe is “you”. It is not easy to look into the mirror of our own being nor is it necessarily an enjoyable thing to do. Yet when the pain or discomfort becomes overwhelming then that tends to shed some light on the underlying causes. Your core being is very capable of dealing with what may seem to be very difficult issues within us. Some people may feel that they are “defective” or unworthy and may justify staying in the pit of despair. That is nothing more than a culmination of our old identity holding on for dear life. The more you hold onto the old, the greater the volume can become to avoid change.

A friend once gave me a cotton seed that had blossomed. It caused me to think of an analogy which I call the “seed and the pod” of our identity. The pod is a protective shell for the seed that will protect it until the soil condition, the temperature and such is just right. The pod may have many things take place that might seem to impact it – gravel may rub against it, it may get washed to a different location, the wind might carry it else where. Yet the seed is not touched by these difficulties for it is always protected by the pod. When the time is right then the seed will begin to do its thing. The roots start to come out and the amazing sprouting process takes place. The seed begins to expand beyond the pod. The same is true for each of us. Our seed – our core being is always protected and cared for. When the time is appropriate we will begin to awaken, to test the soil, to question. At the right moment, we will begin to expand beyond our original handseedidentity (our own pod) and we will realize that we have always been ok… never damaged, never unworthy. We will see that we have always been safe (protected in our pod) and we will prepare ourselves to do what we need to do. Upon taking action, the burden that seemed so natural and normal takes on a different meaning and a whole new world will open up. A world of calm, peace and tranquility that we thought was only a distant possibility will now be within our grasp.

So when the time is right to take action, how do we begin to work through an issue? Well, I find it helpful to ask some questions to break down the problem:

• What bothers me so much about this situation? Try to dig beneath the various emotions to get at what the true focus is.
• When have I seen this come up before in my life? Look at specific events in your life.
• What am I doing that is not working and what am I doing that is working? Explore what your part is in the issue.
• What would my ideal outcome look like? What results are you looking for and are those expectations reasonable and attainable?

Now, we get to the action part of the process. It can be very easy to ruminate about a problem without taking any steps to heal it. Goal setting can be very helpful in making progress with issues. When you make goals, it is more effective to make them specific and measurable. Goals are easier to achieve when you break down the process into small steps that are detailed with time lines.

So, are you feeling burdened? Just the fact that you are asking the question is the beginning of a whole new journey of unfoldment and discovery of the seed that is within. A flying manseed that is filled with many facets and a vastness that one can’t even imagine. With or without the burdens of today, you are unique to yourself and others. Embrace your uniqueness, question the burdens and value the protective pod as well as the seed within.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Dana Borowka, MA, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC and his organization constantly remain focused on their mission statement – “To bring effective insight to your organization”. They do this through the use of in-depth work style assessments to raise the hiring bar so companies select the right people to reduce hiring and management errors. They also have a full service consulting division that provides domestic and international interpersonal coaching, executive onboarding, leadership training, global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training, operational productivity improvement, 360s and employee surveys as well as a variety of workshops. Dana has over 25 years of business consulting experience and is a nationally renowned speaker, radio and TV personality on many topics. He provides workshops on hiring, managing for the future, and techniques to improve interpersonal communications that have a proven ROI. He is the co-author of the books, “Cracking the Personality Code” and “Cracking the Business Code”. To order the books, please visit www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

Deeply Prepared People Create Their Own Weather

By Larry Wilson & Hersch Wilson, Authors of Play to Win

A few years ago, I went on a four-day adventure in the High Country wilderness of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe. We were divided into essentially two types of people. There were the “outdoor” enthusiasts who exulted in being in the mountains, and then there were the rest of us—grumpy city dwellers. As soon as we hit the trail and began moving up into forest, the city dwellers were hit by the realization that it was going to be uncomfortable—cold, rainy, and Mountains & birdswild. In front of us were the Truchas peaks, which we intended to climb. It had sounded like a great idea a month ago, but now they were shrouded in clouds and the rumble of thunder. They looked foreboding and unapproachable. We asked ourselves, “Why are we doing this? It’s going to be uncomfortable and even dangerous—why don’t we just turn back now and admit defeat?”

But encouraged and kept in good spirits by the outdoor folks, up we marched, farther and farther from the comforts of home. We arrived at our camp—a meadow under the sheer pitches of the Truchas Mountains. It was stunning…but our “home” was four makeshift tarps.

We soon discovered that in the mountains the weather rules and it is completely unpredictable. In our four days, it rained, snowed, hailed, we had winds that blew out the tarps . . . and we had a couple hours of sun.

Beyond the unpredictability of the weather—now it was sunny, boom, then it was hailing—were the reactions of the people. The city folks, myself included, got mad and complained loudly and bitterly about the event of the weather—the damp, the cold, and the “Oh, my God, it’s snowing!”  We had expected sunny weather, darn it! And we were mad that it wasn’t happening! We eventually found a bottle of tequila and retired to the driest tarp to commiserate.

The outdoors folks were quite different. When it rained, they put on ponchos; when it got cold and snowed, they put on more layers. When the sun came out, they stripped down to T-shirts and shorts and enjoyed the warmth on their bodies. The difference was that they were prepared, by training and experience, for anything.

What hit me was this: There is no such thing as bad weather, just unprepared people. The weather just happens; it is neither bad nor good, cruel nor pleasant; it just is. We interpret it as bad or good because of how it affects us, but in reality, weather is just weather. All we can really do is be prepared.

On our little wilderness adventure, the prepared people handled the weather with much more calm and creativity than the rest of us did. They were ready for almost anything. They didn’t remain upset when all of a sudden the tarps blew over; they solved the problem and got on with it. It was all an adventure to them. What would they learn this time? How far would their limits be pushed? What would they see? What would they experience?

And that is the clue. In the adventure of our lives, good things happen, bad things happen, and—boom—terrible things happen. In our lives we will each face choices that will pinetreesdetermine who we will become. We will all face the crises of living: pain, loss, death. The individuals with the best probability of responding with courage and creativity are those who are best prepared emotionally and spiritually. Prepared people can handle all kinds of weather; deeply prepared people see the weather as a challenge and as an opportunity to grow.

With work and thinking, we too can become deeply prepared for the rest of our lives. We can become so thoroughly prepared that we begin to positively influence what happens to us; we begin to create our own weather.

Think about it. Once we understand that we are here for a reason—that we are spiritual beings on a human path—then we can start making choices that lead us deeper and deeper into our true selves. We strike out on our own, we make those courageous choices that lead us in directions that we would never before have taken had we settled for just playing not to lose all our lives. As a result, we create our own weather.

When we understand that there is much less to avoid, much less to fear, when we see life as an opportunity to grow, we attempt more, we face more challenges, and we grow. As a result, we get emotionally and spiritually stronger and more like those experienced outdoors folks: prepared for almost anything, exulting in our lives, and creating our own weather.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 This information contained in this article is not meant to be a substitute for professional counseling.

Larry Wilson was an internationally recognized pioneer in change management, leadership development and strategic thinking, and is the co-author of The One-Minute Sales Person and Play to Win. He founded two companies, Wilson Learning Corp. and Pecos River Learning. Larry worked with companies to help them “create the organization that, if it existed, would put them out of business.” Larry passed on in 2009 and will be greatly missed, yet cherished through his books and articles for years to come. One of the things that Larry used to say was “Love your customers so much that they want to refer business to you since who can resist love?”

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Leadership: How to Listen To Your Inner Compass

By Paul David Walker

Cause and Effect Moves With or Without You

The flow of cause and effect move events, stimulate ideas, and drive consumer wants and needs because everything is connected. This flow has a powerful momentum, and moves like the multi-dimensional currents in a powerful river. This force moves forward with, or without, our conscious compassinvolvement. We are all connected to it even if we are not aware of our connection. The more we are consciously in sync with what I call “The Life Force,” the faster, more targeted and powerful are our actions. Like an athlete “In The Zone,” we accelerate our performance with grace and ease.

Imagine how difficult life would be if you are not aware of these flows. Many of us are not. It would be like hiking through a wilderness fog without a compass. Even if you knew you needed to go North, you could not tell which way it is. Likewise, we need an “Inner Compass” to navigate within the flows of cause and effect that influence every moment of our lives, a way to understand where we are, and where the flow of history is going. But what is, and what is the practical use of, our inner compass? A story best illustrates.

What Is Your Inner Compass?

When I was working as a leadership consultant to Don Ross, Chairman and CEO of New York Life, during the summer of 1987, many people were coming to me questioning the Chairman’s actions. He had asked the investment department to slowly move all investments out of the stock market into conservative investments. This frustrated his investment team because the stock market was at an all time high and their competitors were using “High Yield Bonds” and stocks to create gains much greater than New York Life’s. They wanted to play in the game, and Don Ross was telling them to step back.

Many came to me, as Don’s coach, to suggest I persuade him of the foolishness of his actions. I explained that I was his leadership coach and had little knowledge of the financial markets, but encouraged them to speak directly to Don. However, no matter how people pleaded, he would not change course. Several key players resigned and went to more “progressive” companies.

In October of 1987, while I was on site at New York Life, the market crashed. It was the biggest crash since the Great Depression. But New York Life had moved most of its investments out of the stock market and had not invested in any “High Yield Bonds,” known later as “Junk Bonds.” Don Ross was now considered a genius. The financial gain was enormous.

A week or so later, I asked Don how he knew to pull all of the company’s investments out of the stock market three months before the October 1987 crash. He said, “I just knew it couldn’t last.” Everyone in his world thought he was wrong, yet he had the wisdom and courage to do what he felt was right.

Knowing the Difference

When I pressed him to tell me more, he went on to explain that, as Chairman and CEO, he was continuously bombarded with “experts” trying to convince him of completely different lady on compassstrategic directions. Each had incredible credentials and a good story, yet each recommended different directions. The only tool he had to make the final decision was his instinct, or intuition. He said, “Whenever I have gone against my intuition, I have regretted it.”

Don Ross explained to me, “The key to wisdom is to know the difference between your wild hopes and fears and common sense, intuition or true wisdom.” They often seem the same, but they are not. There is a distinct difference in the feeling. One comes from the Ego and insecurity, and the other comes from Wisdom. Great leaders learn the difference and, given this knowledge, develop the courage to act quickly. Don had found ways to live in the present like an athlete “In The Zone,” but with an easier more sustainable feeling I call “Integrative Presence,” or at least he was able to find that state of mind when he needed insight. When I met with him over the years, he was often in the state of Integrative Presence. He was warm, yet seemed to be able to see through people. Insightful, yet he moved with grace and ease.

Courage To Act

All the great leaders I have worked with know how to achieve the state of Integrative Presence, even though they may not understand the nature of this state of mind. They have experienced being connected to something that supercharges their own knowledge. They speak reverently about this connection in private, but rarely talk about it to the press. It just seems too outside the norm for stockholders and the public. But knowing and connecting to wisdom through Integrative Presence is essential for leaders in business today. Markets move quickly, often with little warning, and the wise leader can feel the moving currents. At each moment, like a surfer, the conscious leaders are so present they take advantage of trends as they emerge.

Know How It Feels

When I have asked people to describe how they feel when they experience being “In The Zone” or Integrative Presence, they say things like: confident, at peace, exhilarated, wavy road peoplepowerful, graceful, and present. Some report a slow motion effect as time slows. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told how the five seconds he had to win the NBA championship with one shot seemed like five minutes. He felt relaxed, as if he had all the time in the world, yet he appeared to move like lightning to the rest of the world–the very definition of Integrative Presence. His creativity, within these few precious seconds, was nothing less than pure genius. He was integrating the skills he had learned over the years, his desire to make the shot, and the flow of the moment.

It Is A Natural State of Mind

As I have experienced and studied athletes in the zone or integrative presence. I have found that this state of mind, though not often reached, is a natural way of living. It seems we have lost touch with true presence overtime. Ironically, the art of getting into this state of mind is letting go of what we think we know. As you let go, this state of mind just takes over. You don’t need to train yourself to experience Integrative Presence, you merely need to “let go.” This state takes over your consciousness and supercharges your performance because it is in our nature to live this way.

Sports create highly charged environments. They are designed to bring out the best in people. But can this state be achieved outside this arena? Certainly, if these states of mind that seem to create super human results can be created in one area of life, they should be able to be created in others. While the environment is particularly right for this kind of performance in sports, it is not beyond or separate from this “real world” we all operate within.

The Present Is The Only Portal To The Future?

You might ask, “If you are in the present, “How do you create the future?” Here is my answer. Imagine the world is a dance floor and the rhythm and flow of the band is “The Life Force,” which infuses everything. The multidimensional flow of the band seems irresistible to some, yet others stand against the wall not knowing how to jump in, and many are not even aware of the dance. They have heard people talk about it, but can’t seem to hear or feel the flow of the music. Those who feel it deeply dance like gods and goddesses in the middle of the floor creating a vortex of energy and motion that draws new dancers into their circle.

The band, which represents “The Life Force,” naturally lures people onto the floor to dance in a rhythm and harmony that seems to come from outside them. Of those out on the floor, many dance out of rhythm most of the time, but have moments of grace. Others have a routine that they have worked out over the years which works for them, but only captures a small part of the rhythm. Some have a routine and experiment momentarily with new movements, but mostly go back to what they know. Those who feel the music deeply dance adding rhythms and counter rhythms and seem to be an extension of “The Life Force” that passes through the band.

Without knowing, many start to follow the waves of energy coming from the leaders and the overall quality of the dance improves. At some point in time, magic occurs. The beauty and energy of the lead dancers is so compelling that the band itself is drawn into the dance creating new rhythms and flows as the Life Force, the band, and the dancers join and create new realities.

Start With The Present Moment

“The Life Force” creates Life and Life influences “The Life Force,” just as the band creates the rhythm and flow and changes, because the lead dancers’ energy becomes dancingpart of the rhythm and flow. The only way to create the future is to engage, like the dancers, with the rhythm and flow of the present; and by doing so you become a co-creator. It is not about wishing and hoping as the popular book “The Secret” would suggest. The various rhythms and flows of business markets are subsets of the rhythm and flow of “The Life Force,” which animates everything. Both can be influenced in the manner just described. Great leaders have discovered and mastered this secret.

There Is No Substitute For Practice

The flow of market wants and needs is like the complex themes, harmonies, and rhythms in music. Your team must spend lots of time dancing with those rhythms to know how to influence the flow of the dance. Your team, products and services must dance first with the rhythm and flow of the present, then lead. There is no substitute for this kind of presence in your target market, and like dancing to a good band, or being in “The Zone” in sports, it is a blast! The energies of the market will feed you and your creativity will lead the flow of the market.

Your inner compass lets you know the difference between your thoughts about the flow of cause and effect, and the actual flow. We have to practice to know the difference between the feelings that come from our thoughts and ego and our natural wisdom. Knowing how to access our natural wisdom is the inner compass. Having this compass helps us walk with the wind of “The Life Force” at our backs and in our hearts.

Your Inner Compass & Hiringgear people

According to Dana Borowka, CEO of Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC (www.lighthouseconsulting.com) and author of new book, Cracking the Business Code, creating a foundation for strong leadership requires the right people. Hiring the right people is key to future growth. If you would like additional information on hiring, please click here to see an article on this subject.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 

Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling book, Unleashing Genius and his new book, Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at Paul@lighthouseconsulting.com.

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Why Meditation Improves Performance

By Paul David Walker

As business leaders we need to have a clear picture of present reality in order to make effective decisions. Meditation is a practice designed to clear the mind of stress and distortion, and allow you to experience present reality.

Over time our minds become filled with thoughts and beliefs that were placed there both consciously and unconsciously. We have defined experiences and recorded them as wavy star peoplebeliefs. Thought patterns have developed over the years, some of which are helpful and others are not. We are bombarded with ideas, advertising and images from TV and movies that stick in our memories. These thoughts often circle in our minds causing fear and stress.

All these thoughts and beliefs were filtered by our mood at the time we experienced them. If we are in a good mood, we tend to record a more positive message; if we are in a bad mood, it will be more negative. When we recall this information it is also filtered by our mood at the moment of recall. The bottom line is our mind is full of highly distorted information that is often conflicting.

Meditation helps to clear the mind and leave room in our consciousness to experience the reality of the moment. The flow of cause and effect is highly complex and, in order to be successful business leaders, we need to be able to see present reality with a minimum of filtering from the thoughts and images filling our minds.

When working with teams of engineers, I enjoy asking if anyone has invented a successful time machine. Of course, they always say no. Then I ask, “So you are certain that no one can travel to the past and the future?” They laugh and agree. Therefore, there is no reality outside of the present moment. The future is a speculation, and the past is what we have recorded in our memory or in writing, which is, as I said earlier, highly distorted.

Yet how much of the time do most leaders spend traveling to the past and the future in their mind? I would suggest, too much. The best leaders realize that being able to live in the present moment is the secret to both personal power and strategic advantage. They learn to see through false realities and connect with true reality.

An Example from Sports

After watching Florence Joyner win the hundred meter dash, the TV interviewer showed a super slow motion playback of her run. She was about equal with the field through the middle of the run, and then she leaped out way ahead of the field to win the race. The interviewer played the run again, and just as she put distance between her and the field, the interviewer stopped the tape and pointed to the screen and asked, “What happens right here?” Florence answered, “I just let go.”

She stopped thinking about the race and slipped into what sports coaches call “The Zone” and, of course, her performance accelerated dramatically. She was integrating all her training with the reality of the present. Being able to find your way into “The Zone” is critical for success as an athlete. Some respond to pressure by “clutching” and thereby reducing performance, and others slip into “The Zone.” Michael Jordan was famous for performing better under pressure, as are many successful athletes. As a leader, is this true for you? When the pressure is on, do you call for the ball?

Integrative Presence

Sports coaches realize that if athletes think too much about the past and the future, they will miss the reality of what is happening in the present. The future extends from the present, not from the cognitive frameworks in your mind. Those who can let go of their thoughts will find it easier to integrate their actions with present reality. In business, I call key to weatherthis “Integrative Presence.”

If an athlete can create this state of mind, so can a leader. If these states of mind that seem to create super human results can be created in one area of life, they should be able to be created in others. While the environment is right for this kind of performance in sports, it is not beyond or separate from the business world. The most effective leaders have mastered Integrative Presence.

Integrative Presence unleashes genius in any endeavor. Integrative Presence, as I define it, is collaboration with the natural flow that extends from the present integrated with the knowledge, intention and consciousness of an individual or group. Integrative Presence allows you to integrate all the realities of the moment simultaneously while combining them with your intention. Those who master this will Unleash Genius within themselves, and the people who follow them, to create new realities once unimaginable.

Business is much more complex than sports, but the state of mind that creates Integrative Presence is as important for leaders as it is for athletes. The best leaders are able to achieve this state at will. In a board meeting or when closing an important deal, the best leaders can be in the present while integrating their knowledge and all the events that are happening around them simultaneously.

The truth is anything can cause your conscious mind to let go of comparative thought and find Integrative Presence. It would be impossible to catalog all experiences people have had. What is important is to know the difference between the two states of mind. Meditation is a practice that will help you find your personal road map into this powerful state.

eye of lifeWhen I have asked people to describe how they feel when they experience “Integrative Presence” they say things like: confident, at peace, exhilarated, powerful, graceful, focused and present. Some report a slow-motion effect. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told how the five seconds he had to win the NBA championship with one shot seemed like five minutes. He felt relaxed, as if he had all the time in the world, yet he appeared to move like lightning to the rest of the world–the very definition of “Integrative Presence.” His creativity, within these few precious seconds, was nothing less than pure genius. He was integrating the skills he had learned over the years, his desire to make the shot, and the flow of the moment, without interruption from his thoughts.

Most people have experienced this state of mind; the question is what percent of your life is spent in this state. The art of getting into this state of mind is letting go of thoughts and connecting with the flow of events in the moment. Meditation is practice for your mind and body. An athlete must practice their sport, a leader must practice disciplining their mind. Meditation is a time-tested form of practice.

There is no Substitute for Practice

As in sports, there is no substitute for practice. Knowing how to move from “normal thinking” into Integrative Presence comes from practice. Take time to connect with your peak experiences and observe how you transitioned yourself. Find ways to still your mental chatter and connect with the present, and you will become a much more effective leader and a happier person.

Meditation Technique

The following is a simple meditation technique that can help you clear your mind. It will help establish an inner road map to stillness, which allows you to flow with present reality.

1) The Right Environment: Find a quiet place and arrange to have no distractions or interruptions. A special place in your home or a place out in nature. It is especially important in the first stages of meditation to find a special place. It helps you move towards stillness naturally. Over time you will be able to meditate anywhere, at any time, even as you walk through hallways.

2) Sit Comfortably: You want your body to be at ease. Find a chair that is comfortable and sit up straight; be sure not to cross you arms or legs. Sitting up straight in a way that you will not have to move should one of your limbs fall asleep is important.

3) Three Deep Breaths: Take three deep breaths and hold the oxygen in as long as you can on each breath, and let the oxygen out suddenly once you can no longer hold the air.

4) Breathe Normally: Return to your normal breathing pattern. Close your eyes and put your attention on your breathing process. Follow your breath in and then out. Notice the rhythm and depth of each of your breaths. Spend 2-3 minutes just following your breath with your attention.

5) Imagine a Beautiful Place: Imagine yourself in a beautiful place in nature. Choose a favorite spot or create a spot that would be ideal for you. Each time you begin meditating come back to this place. It will serve as an anchor for peace and help you to relax each time. Once you have felt the peace of this place, use it as a background and return your attention to your breathing.

6) Let Go of Thoughts: As thoughts arise in your mind, do not resist them. Practice observing without processing, and then letting go of them. You can imagine them floating up happy jumping guyinto the sky or being absorbed by nature. As you let go return your attention to your breathing.

7) Deepen Your Breathing: Once you have found your natural rhythm increase the depth of your breathing. Inhale 10-15 percent deeper and exhale 10-15 percent deeper. Play with this deeper rhythm until it becomes natural. Continue to let go of thoughts as they arise.

8) Notice Stillness: Notice that at the moment you fully inhale, just before you exhale, there is a still point. Likewise, after you have fully exhaled, there is the same still point. One, the inhale, is full and the second, the exhale, is empty. Notice the difference.

9) Fall into Stillness: At times when your total focus is on this deeper breathing process, you will notice the stillness inside you. Let your consciousness fall into this stillness. Let go and don’t be afraid; it is your destination. Stay there as long as your ego will allow. It might take a number of sessions before you achieve this, but it is worth the practice and discipline.

10) Open Your Eyes: In about 20-25 minutes gently open your eyes without moving and notice the world around you. Notice your state of mind and journal your experience.

11) Take This State of Mind With You: Practice staying with this state of mind as you get up from your chair and walk, focusing on your breathing as before. Find a rhythm between your steps and your breath. Count how many breaths per step until you find a comfortable pace that is a little deeper than normal. This will help you begin to integrate this state of mind into your daily life.

12) Do Short Meditations: Once you have mastered this practice you will be able to take a few minutes to clear your mind between meetings or even with short pauses during meetings.

Meditation creates the same state of being that Florence Joyner and other athletes achieve when they are in “The Zone.” Your consciousness will deepen and widen and you will be able to perform more effectively. Remember, there is no substitute for practice.

As you continue to meditate, you will find the quality of your thought improving. You will have great ideas and find it easy to solve problems. Creating this space of stillness within you leads to Integrative Presence. Meditation is a powerful tool for those who are creating the future. It helps with idea generation and stress reduction. If you are a leader, you need both to be successful.

For more tips, please click here listen to our teleconference audio link.

Paul David Walker is a Senior LCS Consultant and one of the few CEO coaches who has worked with numerous Fortune 500 CEOs and their key staff members for over 25 years along with many mid-cap organizations. Some of the organizations that Paul has worked with include Star Kist Foods, Von’s Grocery Stores, New York Life, Anne Klein, Rockwell International countless manufacturing, global utilities, service and consulting organizations. Paul is the founder of Genius Stone Partners, and works with domestic and international companies to improve their bottom line today and planning for the future. Paul is the author of the best selling book, Unleashing Genius and his new book, Invent Your Future – 7 Imperatives for a 21st Century. You can reach Paul at Paul@lighthouseconsulting.com.

Permission is needed from Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC to reproduce any portion provided in this article. © 2014 

If you would like additional information on this topic or others, please contact your Human Resources department or Lighthouse Consulting Services LLC, 3130 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 550, Santa Monica, CA 90403, (310) 453-6556, dana@lighthouseconsulting.com & our website: www.lighthouseconsulting.com.

Lighthouse Consulting Services, LLC provides a variety of services, including in-depth work style assessments for new hires & staff development, team building, interpersonal & communication training, career guidance & transition, conflict management, 360s, workshops, and executive & employee coaching. Other areas of expertise: Executive on boarding for success, leadership training for the 21st century, exploring global options for expanding your business, sales and customer service training and operational productivity improvement.

To order the books, Cracking the Personality Code and Cracking the Business Code, please go to www.lighthouseconsulting.com.