Global Resilience Solutions > Category:management

Leadership Excellence: Attract and Retain Great People Part 2

So, talented people are breaking down your door. What do you do next? Back to basics. Forget about what other people say your applicants can do (their degrees and references) and forget about what they can persuade you they can do (their interview skills). What can they show you that they’ve done? What are the basic skills they actually need for their job? Tip: in a lot of cases, skills such as writing, reading, research skills, problem solving and constructive teamwork are things you actually need far more than any of the nonsense qualifications that usually adorn job notices.

So, give them some problem-solving assignments to allow them to demonstrate these qualities. Let them show how their skills and creativity can benefit you. All the people who spend their lives colouring inside the lines, all the people who get ahead by kissing asses, all the people who skated through higher education without learning basic skills can be quickly weeded out, leaving you with highly-motivated people ready to contribute.

 

How Not to Keep Good People Around

So, you’ve hired creative, talented people who are willing and able to improve your business… and slowly it dawns on them that they won’t be allowed to do that. Maybe it’s a problem of bureaucracy, poor business processes, or simply poor leadership.

Well, that’s no biggie for the employee. Statistics overwhelmingly show that we are living in a post-loyalty economy. The workforce has finally woken up to the fact that, with the era of stable employment ended due to the bottomless stupidity of corporations, they really have no reason to be loyal to any organisation that isn’t loyal to them. If you won’t let them move forward, they’re not going to stick around.

You may have seen and, no doubt, been on the receiving end of some of the many, many ways in which organisations of every kind squelch or drive out talent. Make a note of these self-destructive behaviours, not only to avoid them when you find yourself in a leadership position, but to know when to jump ship when you see them happening around you:

Overloading your team with menial admin: If you can’t keep the administrative burden contained and within the purview of those individuals who have the talent for dealing with it, don’t expect your people to get anything done.

Poor incentive structure: If your people can’t grow with their contributions, the organisation’s finished. Even in a small business, the employees should grow with the business they’re helping to build. You need to make sure that people get both recognition and remuneration proportionate to their contributions, and above all, that credit is not stolen by their superiors. In many organisations, people who are “politically adept” (I believe that’s the PC term for “slimy”) advance, while the competent and talented (read “too honest”) are left behind. Tap into that pool, and see the difference it makes.

Giving people jobs they’re not suited for: People must be able to build careers where their talent and passion lies, and not shunted into something they hate. Even within the same position, employees may find themselves loaded down with jobs that have nothing to do with what they signed up for.

Constant changes of direction: Even in a rapidly-changing economy, you need to give your people a reliable direction and long-term goals to invest their time in. If you’re always reactively changing direction, if the ground is always shifting under their feet, they’ll just give up trying.

Failure to invest in training: If you want the talents of your people to grow (and some HR departments don’t, lest they ask for more money- you can’t have your cake and eat it too), you have to let them continue their training and form connections in the industry.

These are only the problems that directly affect career motivation. This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on the many other ways in which poor leadership and defective organisational culture collude to crush the morale of employees (Heck, that’s a whole other list with 45 bullet points!).

But the central and most basic cultural problems that drive away talent are a top-down command structure and a cheap-labour approach.

A top-down hierarchical structure is very efficient for producing cars on an assembly line, but for most emerging businesses, it is a talent-squelching liability. Have you ever had a boss who pretended to consult you on some problem and then did the opposite of what you told him was the only sane option? Or announced a major change of direction as a fait accompli?

The problem with both the top-down structure and the cheap-labour approach is that while both temporarily make things simpler and cheaper for management, the organisation will not grow or improve. Management will never know what contributions their employees could have made, because they actively deter them from trying to contribute.

But if you’re among the leaders who’ve realised that the only way forward in the modern world is to make full use of the talents of your people, then you have to meet them half way. If you want them to be loyal, you have to start by being loyal to them. Your people and their talents should be the source and driver of your growth and your direction, and they need the leeway and the incentives to do that.

 

The video above applies to a millennial retention effort, although clearly its effects go beyond just that generation. But as you watched it, you may have been thinking, “Here’s a company that half gets it, but only half.” They’re certainly trying to create a pleasant work environment. But that is only half the battle. You can pile on all the cakes you want, but core question for any talented person is, “Are my talents producing positive impact, or are they being wasted?”

You may have experienced organisations that hire “change consultants” to mollify their workforces during a restructuring process. But the problem isn’t the employees’ fear of change. They should be the drivers of change, not its victims. Their ideas and initiatives should be a permanent and abiding source of adaptation for the organisation. This is the bottom line. If your employees aren’t being allowed to contribute on that level, then their talent is going to waste.

 

Teach a Company to Fish…

Every one of you will at some point be in a leadership position, whether in business, the public sector, non-profits or elsewhere. The single most important thing you can do as a leader is attract and retain talented, competent, creative people with the capacity to improve your business.

In order to do that, you need to recognise all of the poor leadership you’ve ever been subjected to for what it really is- the baggage of a bygone era. If you can engage the creative genius of your people from the beginning of the search process and sustain that engagement throughout their time with you, then talent will flock to you. Remember, it’s all about the basics- not management and employee, but what we can create together.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger
~ Anthony S. Rodger, M.A.


The Life-Giving Principles of True Leadership

He who knows men is clever; he who knows himself has insight.  He who conquers men has force; he who conquers himself is truly strong.

-Lao Tzu

 

 

 

Are you seeing disastrous “leadership” around you, perhaps at your workplace or in other organizations you belong to, or in society at large?  Today we’re going to talk about WHY that happens and the critical principles of true leadership.  So if you’re looking at a case of incompetent or dishonest leadership and asking yourself that ever-important question (“What SHOULD this situation look like?”), today you’re going to find some help getting the answers you seek.

Are you yourself in a position of leadership?  Careful… don’t be too quick to say no!  As you’ll soon see, we’re all in at least one position of leadership and we need to make damn sure we get it right.  The keys are here…

 

The Leadership Difference

The manager views people as tools, “human resources,” bits of machinery to be procured according to standardized requirements and fit into an organizational structure.  It doesn’t matter whether the vision into which he tries to fit people is his own or someone else’s- the fact remains that the manager relates to his subordinates defensively, as cogs to be kept spinning and a potential source of problems to be contained.  Especially in the public sector and in high-functioning private-sector organizations, this process of containing employee problems has been developed into a fine art, replete with best practices and proper procedures- all of which is a good thing, as it smoothes the relationship between employer and employee and helps to ensure fairness.

But while leaders would do well to pay attention to best practices, there still remains a leap of consciousness to be made.  The leader first changes him- or herself to change the organization.  Where a new manager comes in with a new agenda, talking about “how things are going to be different now” and telling everyone what they have to do differently, a leader recognizes that for change to be real, it must start at the top.  From this realization, the defensive relationship of the manager to his pesky employees transforms into something very different.  A leader regards people not as interchangeable parts, but as living organisms whose growth will grow the organization.

The objective of a manager is to control and rationalize the people beneath him, to make them less of an obstacle to implementing the models he and the institution have devised.  The objective of a leader is to do everything possible to lead people to substantial achievement and to reward and empower them in order to drive greater achievement. 

 

Principles of Leadership

 

1. You create the organization you deserve.  The tone of the organization is set by the leader.  Subordinates are very attuned to the moods, attitudes and thought-patterns of their bosses, and will mirror them back.  From an energetic point of view, we could even call this entrainment- the boss’s energy sets the tone for the organization’s energy.

If the boss is energetic and optimistic, they will be energetic and optimistic.  If the boss is irresolute, they will be cowardly.  If unsure, they will be unsure.  If thoughtful of them, they will be thoughtful of him or her.  If the leader sets an example, her department heads will set examples.  If the leader gives, they will give. If he or she takes firm and considered decisions, so will they.  If a leader creates cliques, cliques will form against him.  If the person at the top micromanages, the entire organization will be choked as though by a suffocating fume as everyone tries to force everyone else to do everything the way they think it should be done.  An angry and frustrated CEO’s emotions will echo and amplify throughout the organization until it becomes a seething and intractable mass.  The successful leader takes full and personal responsibility for these dynamics at all times.

An organization is like a spaghetti noodle.  You have to pull it from the front- you can’t push it from behind.  Whatever you want done, you have to be the first to start.  Everything to do with mindset is key to leadership.  If the leader has an attitude of unrelenting positivity, a can-do attitude and a practical, constructive mind, then the organization will plough through setbacks like a hot knife through butter.

 

2. Responsibility travels up, credit travels down.  The healthiest corporate cultures are based on this principle, and every successful leader knows it.  When your subordinates have done something well, taken an extra step; they deserve the credit and tangible rewards.  When something goes wrong, you take responsibility.  Be lenient with subordinates and tough on superiors, and teach your subordinates to do the same.

There is nothing more demoralizing than to see upper management raking in the cash when they have steered a company to disaster and mass layoffs, while no one below ever gets a pay raise no matter what they do.  In organizations where this is the case, the resulting dysfunctionality hangs in the air like the stink of a dead woodchuck in the ducting.  A leader must take responsibility openly for his or her own failures and learn from them, or subordinates will not do so.

 

3. Respect your subordinates and share their conditions.  Any leader who approaches his subordinates as though entitled by his greater experience or achievements to some sort of reverence is setting himself up for failure.  Talk with your people, have lunch with them, stay in touch with their problems and concerns, and especially their goals and personal development.  If they have trouble at home or become ill, make sure you give them time to address it.  If they work late, you work late.  If they take a pay cut, so do you.  Erwin Rommel, the infamous “Desert Fox” of the Second World War, was one of the greatest generals of all time and earned the unrelenting loyalty of his men.  How?  When the going got tough, he refused to eat anything different from what his men had to eat.  He shared their conditions so he would always know how far they could go.  You must first be loyal to your people in order to gain loyalty from them.

 

4. Your first job is to grow people.  An organization that does not grow people does not grow or diversify.   Get to know your people.  Ask about their hopes, ask about their difficulties.  Find out what they need and give it to them.  Let them make their mistakes and learn their jobs.  Find out what they can and want to contribute and give them that opportunity.  Your people know their jobs, and as Adam Smith says, a person focused on a particular task will have the best ideas about how to make that task more efficient.  Reward them for good ideas.  Celebrate their achievements.  Give them as much responsibility and training as they can handle.  If you aren’t stretching your people’s abilities and giving them opportunities, they will stagnate.  A hinge that is used constantly doesn’t rust shut.

Your subordinates’ suggestions should be the basis for your greatest successes.  If you fear loss of control from this, do not even try to lead.  Retired US Navy Captain Michael Abrashoff, in his book It’s Your Ship: management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, describes how he got command of a ship which was just about on the verge of mutiny because of its previous commander’s poor leadership.  Abrashoff turned this around through a number of means, one of the most important being to reward the crew for good suggestions, a policy which ultimately made the ship the most efficient in the Navy.  Beyond that, he gave them a sense of purpose, of importance and responsibility.

Above all, find your people’s real talents (which are not necessarily the ones the hiring process cares about) and passions, and find a way to help them pursue them.  This is the shortcut to diversification and organizational growth.  If you do this habitually, you will never need to do anything more to motivate them or increase productivity.  Successful leaders look at the people and skills available to them and look for the best ways to utilize them.  The people and their skills should lead structure, not the other way around.  The more flexible you are around the talents your people bring to the table, the more your organization will prosper.

 

5. If you want trustworthy people, be trustworthy.  This means first of all being trustworthy in relationship to your subordinates.  If the organization cannot trust the sanity, impartiality and consistency of a leader’s reactions, they will not communicate with him, and in not trusting him, they will not support him, and in not supporting him, they will let him fail.  Be straightforward, and they will be straightforward with you.

A leader’s criteria for making key decisions, particularly personnel decisions, must always be openly stated, universally applied and transparent.  A leader may not serve his or her own agendas in dealing with her subordinates.  Rather, the leader must abide by clear and generally understood standards in personnel decisions.  Personnel decisions must be based on the central skills of the job.  Do not ever let personalities lead you to undeservedly favor someone or hold them back.  The leader who treats his organization like a club to be populated with congenial personalities will end up only with a crew of useless sycophants and yes-men.  A successful organization is not an alchemy of personalities, but a check and balance system of differing and talented personalities reinforcing one another’s blind spots and interacting in a courteous and professional manner.

A commander must be absolutely secure in his position, or if he is not, must act exactly as though he were.  To attempt to control communications among staff, to demonstrate inability to tolerate contradiction, to show passive aggression and make decisions based upon perceived personality issues, are all traits associated with insecure commanders and lead to breakdowns of morale and professionalism.

A leader may not under any circumstances denigrate any of his subordinates in front of another subordinate.  Never discuss the relative merits and demerits of your subordinates with anyone.  If possible, train yourself not even to think about these things.  Such opinions easily become self-fulfilling prophecies when you begin reacting differently to different people.  You will inhibit underappreciated subordinates from giving their best and perhaps demonstrating quality you do not see.

The Emperor Taizong, founder of the Tang Dynasty and widely regarded as one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history, not only required his officials to criticize him honestly, but rewarded them for doing so.

People feel trusted when they are given a responsibility and left to carry it out- a micromanager cannot create an atmosphere of trust.

Be honest with your people.  Simple honesty counts for a great deal.

 

6. Protect your people.  The job of a leader is to protect and represent his/her people.  There are three basic elements to this: protection from bureaucracy, protection from toxic influences, and protection from bad leaders.

People should always come before institution, unless the institution has principle on its side.  If institutional red tape or administrative nonsense is harming your people, you have a duty to represent their interests.  If, however, one of your subordinates has done something seriously wrong, you must not stop the truth from emerging.  This has been the institutional impulse in abuse cases in both the Canadian RCMP and the US military in recent years, greatly degrading the reputations of both institutions.

A good leader must never hesitate to weed out those who are doing manifest harm, are acting without professional courtesy on a regular basis, will not be educated and make themselves intolerable to their colleagues and subordinates.  If they are willing to learn and change after being confronted, fine.  But to protect them beyond the point where they have proven themselves unteachable is destructive of morale and cohesion.

Astonishingly bad and unprofessional managers survive because neither the institution nor their superiors have taken the necessary corrective measures.  It is essential to the health of every command structure that demotion always be on the table, not on a whim but as the inevitable answer to incompetence and the abuse of power.  Protecting your people means first and above all protecting them from the abuse of power in any form.

 

7. Teach your people by example to behave honorably, and you will be able to do anything.  A few weeks ago, we talked about principle and how it relates to business.  The first thing to know, then, is why you are in business.  What principles are at stake for you in that business, what values do you take pride in upholding?  If the answer is none, it’s time to think about a new profession.  The most motivated leaders proceed from a positive impact they wish to make on the world.

A leader needs a deep moral center, and must be answerable to it.  No institutionally-given principle can substitute for the inner grounding of comprehensive and constant moral exercise, and no leader can keep herself or her organization grounded without this inner light.

Never promise anyone anything unless as a general and permanent policy.  If you can do something for someone, do it.  If a reward is deserved, give it, though the recipient is your worst enemy.  This will win you the respect of everyone.

Never threaten anyone.  A threat which you may later regret or be unable to carry out shows weakness.  If you see something requiring punishment, punish with a fitting and proportionate punishment, your best friend just as your nemesis, thus showing impartiality.

Reward loudly, thank often, and make a point of looking forward to the person’s next achievement to create a positive attitude moving forward.  Discipline quietly and without undue demonstration.

Treasure your mavericks.  Exceptional people have low tolerances for institutional limitations.

Be without pretension, and prize substance over appearance.  You can have one or the other, in the same sense that a photon may be observed as a wave or a particle but not both.

Cultivate a sense of professionalism and pride in yourself and your people, and especially in dealing with clients.

Empty your sense of self and act as the leader who is responsible for your team, and you will not have to worry about making mistakes.

Prize truth for itself and stand up for your principles.  Doing this consistently will ground and cement your team with purpose in a way you can you can barely imagine.  This is where real loyalty is born.

Never ask a subordinate to do something dishonest- otherwise, the message you send is that dishonesty to get ahead is alright.  Dishonesty will multiply in the organisation, destroying trust, cohesion and morale.  (There are exceptions, usually to avoid harm caused by a stupid rule, but this is something that you both have to understand.)

 

As you embrace these principles, you will find your leadership style changing.  Managers who bluster or expostulate at length or shout at subordinates where no matter of principle is at stake are weak.  A real leader knows how to inspire obedience and make corrections with a few well-chosen, quiet words and nothing more.

It is absolutely unacceptable for a leader to let his or her decisions be dominated by either fear or anger.  This is the sign of a weak leader, and there is nothing more dangerous, particularly when they start making “tough” decisions.  The art of balance in tough situations is not the province of the tough-minded, but of open and confident minds.

A leader must not abdicate moral responsibility to rules or orders from higher authority.  You alone are responsible for your team’s actions until the moment you resign.

Leaders must support their subordinates in achievement to the hilt, push them to develop their talents and follow their passions, show them that they can do things they themselves had never dreamed, and make sure that they correct their mistakes.  Every failure is merely an obstacle to be overcome.  To take this attitude, even on a small scale, on a team, with your family and friends, or in business, public administration or politics, will have an immediate and positive impact on the people around you and on your personal resilience.  Measure the leaders you see around you by these criteria, and you will be able to spot real leadership when you see it, and protect yourself from weak leaders and managers.

 

Embracing the principles of leadership is fundamental to building your personal resilience.  How so?  Why are these principles so important for you if you don’t feel you’re in a position of leadership at the moment?  These principles are vital to your resilience whether or not you’re in an official leadership position right now because true leadership is NOT a position; it’s a state of being.  Every true leader is first and foremost the leader of his or her own life and that is the very foundation of personal resilience.

 

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Dealing with Your Impossible Boss – Strategy

Why Stick Your Neck Out?

First, because you need to preserve your own resilience and sanity, and second, because of your moral obligation to the people around you. 

If you’re stuck with a boss who’s making your life miserable, chances are he’s making at least some other people feel that way too.  Typically, the results are increased illness and absenteeism, declining productivity, and greater staff turnover, to name just a few.

Unfortunately, incompetent and / or self-serving leadership is something we’ve been trained to accept at all levels in our society.  If you want to change this, then start where you are and make it perfectly clear that you’ll accept nothing but competent, inspired and, above all, honest leaders. 

The following strategy will work for nearly any scenario, whether the boss is a cynical manipulator, a mentally ill person (such as the narcissist we discussed last time) or just plain incompetent.  The reason for focusing on the narcissist last time is that these people head for positions of authority faster than fleas head for s_ _ t.  That’s because they have a driving emotional need to be the center of attention, praise and admiration.  The corridors of power are full of them.


The Strategy for Resilience in the Face of Poor Leadership:


Look at the big picture.  You have decide whether to a) endure the situation or b) eliminate your boss.  Enduring is a good strategy if the person will be moving on before long and you can put up with it until then.  “Eliminating” means getting the boss removed.  Yes, in most cases that means he’ll become someone else’s problem, but there’s nothing you can do about that.


The “Endure” Checklist:


1. Make the boss look good and provide ego support.  Yes, it goes against the grain, but it will make your life easier.  If your boss is a narcissist, this a an absolute prerequisite.  The narcissist whose ego you don’t stroke will see you as an enemy or at least as irrelevant.  Always remember, you may need your boss to sign your leave form, approve funds for the conference you want to attend or something else.  So don’t burn your bridges just yet.


2. Be a good listener.  The more you listen, the more the boss will consider you useful.  Also, this will enable you to gather more information, should you ever have to switch to the “Elimination” strategy.


3. Maintain your boundaries.  Narcissists and some other personality types will readily invade your personal space and your free time.  Don’t let them.  Be firm.  Enduring does not mean putting up with just anything.  Likewise, don’t tolerate verbal abuse of yourself or others.  Many of these personality types have bullying characteristics and all bullies are intimidated by people who stand up to them.  If your annoying boss is rational, he may respect your for taking a stand.  Remember that narcissists and the like can never respect you, but the can FEAR you, and that’s very useful.


4. Build your support network.  Find others you trust who see the boss for what he is.  Keep your communications with these people open.  This group will provide emotional support for you, as well as preparing the groundwork in case you need to move to the Elimination strategy.




The “Eliminate” Checklist:


Make sure you’ve already put in place all elements of the “Endure” Checklist first.


1. Using the support network you’ve built, make sure everyone starts to document immediately and then create some method of pulling together everyone’s documentation.  Document all your interactions with the boss, complete with date, time and who said what.  Documentation is king and without it you’ll get nowhere.  


Likely you’ll find people haven’t started to do that.  Explain the importance so that people will go back and start putting their documentation in order.  Document the results of your boss’s mismanagement too. 


2. Based on the documentation and checklists like the one in the previous post describing a boss with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (and others for the psychopath, the sociopath, Anti-social Personality Disorder and other conditions) come to a best guess on where your boss may fit in.  Remember, he may be simply incompetent or someone who does bad things just because he can.  


3. If you have a strong feeling you may be dealing with someone who’s not rational, such as a narcissist, make a clean copy of your documentation and remove his name.  Then take the facts to a reputable psychologist who would be willing to read it.  If the psychologist says you’re probably correct, great.  Even better if he or she is willing to write a letter to that effect.


4. Bring others into the discussion.  These could include your boss’s boss, your union, your organization’s employee assistance program, the HR folks or others.  Essentially, you’re surrounding your boss totally. 


5. Assess your next step.  The essential question here is where do you take your information to get your boss fired or otherwise removed?  Do you go to the CEO, the Board of Directors, the media, the internet?  This depends on your specific situation.  

                                                              ———–


If you follow these steps, you’ll keep yourself sane, healthy and resilient no matter how bad the situation is.  Do not allow yourself to be abused and manipulated by these people – life is too short.  Take responsibility for your own resilience and you’ll never regret it.  


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger


Dealing withYour Impossible Boss

Over the last few posts, we’ve talked about some of the traits of an excellent leader, including personal honor / integrity, a strong sense of duty – which entails a desire to serve – and “fanatical” loyalty to the people he or she works with.

Unfortunately, as you’ve probably noticed, true leaders are very few and far between.  In fact, chances are that your current boss falls far short of that.  Worse still, there’s a good chance you’re working for someone who’s making your life miserable.  And if you’ve spent just ten years in the work force, it’s almost impossible that you’ve never worked for such a person.

Part of building your personal resilience is learning how to handle these people decisively and effectively.  The alternative is wasting a lot of emotional energy, staying miserable and having little to show for it in the end, except maybe lots of stress and ill health.  


One reason why most people do waste so much emotional energy dealing ineffectively with a bad boss is they make one critical false assumption.  They assume the boss is fundamentally a rational, sane person who is choosing to do bad things, either through inexperience or through “malice aforethought”.  And yes, that’s sometimes true.  There are lots of bad bosses who know the difference between right and wrong and consciously choose the latter.

In a large percentage of cases, though, that’s just not the case.  Instead, you’re often dealing with someone who’s clinically ill with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Anti-social Personality Disorder or something similar.  How can you spot the difference?


Let’s focus on Narcissism for the moment.  Your boss may very well be a narcissist if:

  • He (I’ll use the male pronoun here, although there are lots of female narcissists in positions of power) is charming and has considerable acting skills
  • He’s arrogant and abusive when he thinks he can get away with it
  • He’s got an inflated self-image 
  • In his eyes, your company is really all about him, not about the official mission statement
  • He’s really good at manipulating people emotionally
  • If at any time he has taken credit for YOUR work, you know how it feels!
  • He has zero EMPATHY with others and isn’t emotionally capable of anything except feigned empathy and emotional intimacy
  • He’s a control freak and a micro-manager
  • He requires a lot of ego stroking
  • He surrounds himself with “yes-men”
  • He constantly invades your personal space and free time, since he has no sense of personal boundaries (you are, after all, just an extension of him, a tool)

Sound like anyone you’ve worked for?  If not, count yourself lucky!


Think of fictional characters like Cruella Deville, Anna on the series “V”, or Ben from “Lost” and you’ll get the general idea.  Just keep in mind that not all narcissists are outwardly cruel or abusive.  Worst of all, narcissists are such excellent actors and manipulators that they’re really hard to spot.


In one organization I worked for, there was one ladder-climbing manager who was demonstrably incompetent, thoroughly disliked and whose decisions were just short of ruinous to the overall mission… yet he ended up in the number 2 position!  That’s how good these people are at acting and how poorly equipped most people are to recognize and combat them.


Some among them are so adept at making others feel good that few suspect their real agenda.  And those few have a really hard time making themselves heard.  After all, how can something that feels so good be SO wrong?  


Next time, I’ll share with you some concrete strategies for maintaining your personal resilience in the face of ANY kind of bad boss, including the narcissist.  


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

 


Meditation: Why You Need to Change Your Paradigm

One of the greatest RESILIENCE-BUILDERS out there is the regular practice of meditation. More and more people are taking up meditation for a variety of reasons, ranging from stress-management to seeking inner peace to enhancing their spiritual life to controlling their inner energy (Qi).

Unfortunately, most people are not getting nearly the benefits their meditation practice has to offer simply because they’re making a culturally ingrained mistake that every Westerner is pretty much bound to make…

…they meditate when they meditate; then they get up and switch their brain into the same old stressed-out “daytime” mode they’re so used to.

Hear this: your meditation’s effectiveness can be easily quadrupled by simply avoiding that habitual mental shift.

“Great,” you say, “but just how am I supposed to do that? My kids need their lunches made and a ride to school. My boss is on my case about that report and I’m run off my feet!”

SHIFTING YOUR FRAMEWORK

Fair enough. Let me explain… You’re obviously familiar with the idea that whatever you focus on, especially with strong emotion, grows and eventually becomes your reality.

So if you insist on focusing on how insanely busy you are and how everyone is making demands on you, then that will become your reality. Let’s call it the “fundamental background” of your life. Incidents will come and go throughout your day, but this “fundamental background” will always remain -ever-present and unchanged.

Suppose you decided to change that. What if the calm and centeredness of your meditation practice could be the NEW fundamental background of your life? What if your focus were constantly on that instead of on your problems and challenges?

For one thing, you’d have a lot less stress. Unpleasant incidents during the day would barely phase you. You’d be more effective and productive, since the meditative mind is always more effective than so-called “waking consciousness”. And you’d be more deeply relaxed, so your health and resilience would naturally improve.

“YOU STILL HAVEN’T TOLD ME HOW, DOC!”

Mea culpa – guilty as charged! So let’s get to that part now…

Here’s a step-by-step method you can use to get started. Keep in mind this won’t change your life overnight because your old habits of mind and body are SOOO deeply ingrained.

1. Meditate first thing in the morning

2. When you’re ready to finish your meditation session, remind yourself that maintaining your meditative mind, the awareness of your inner being, is going to be the “fundamental background” of your day.

3. Become aware of the delightful PHYSICAL sensations of meditation as you go through your day – the rhythm of your breathing, the inner energy contracting and expanding, etc.

4. By focusing on these sensations, strive to keep your mind and emotions clear and calm.

“Can’t be done,” you say? Nonsense! Generations of experience show that people living in far more challenging circumstances than yours and mine trained themselves to do this and reaped the awesome benefits of health, immunity, longevity, inner peace and spiritual insight. That’s why…

…you can too!

To learn about the SILVER BULLET for mastering meditation, whether you’re sitting, standing, moving or doing anything at all, go here:

http://www.warriorcoachinginternational.com/hara.html

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger




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