How are You BEING Today?

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Mary J. Lore How are You BEING Today?As I reflected on the recent Labor Day holiday, I realized that we have become a nation of laborers.

We love to labor. We are busy, busy, busy, doing, doing, doing.

When we face a big challenge or a difficult situation, we labor. We cancel vacation, skip lunch, work through the weekend, and stay late to fix the problem, put out the fire, accomplish the result.

To succeed, we labor. We struggle, strive, do whatever it takes. We put in the hours, persevere, expend blood, sweat, and tears-no pain no gain!

Our heads are filled with what we need to, have to, should, and must do. We do things to force ourselves to get motivated. We even go into labor when we are giving birth to our children!

In my Managing Thought® workshops on Inspired Leadership, I ask everyone to think of the best and worst leaders they have ever worked with and what about these leaders made them the best and worst.

The big aha! is that nothing on these lists is about doing. It’s all about being:

Being of service.
Being honest, sincere, humble, trusting, consistent.
Being thoughtful, caring, compassionate.
Being thankful, appreciative, giving, and forgiving.
Being open, receptive, adaptable, curious.
Being a teacher and a continuous learner.
Being energetic, optimistic, fun.
Being on purpose, intentional, inspired, and inspiring.

It’s about BEING a leader.

As a nation, we tend to do in order to become. We have practiced and mastered believing that doing, motivating, forcing – laboring – brings results. It doesn’t. It brings linear, less than 10%, kind of changes, short-term results. And we find ourselves stressed, ill, unhappy, and uninspired.

Being brings step-function changes, profound change, significant and long-term results. And we find ourselves happy, healthy, and energized.

When we are being, we focus on being who we are and what we truly wish to create in any moment. The ideas on how to BE and what we could create naturally follow, naturally flow. Our channels are open, our minds are clear, and remarkable things start to happen.

We start being our highest vision of ourselves. We notice the difference we are making. Our work becomes effortless and we become energized because our decisions and actions are inspired.

Many of us do in order to become – at some time in the future.

When I am being, I am being what I am becoming-right now. I AM my highest vision, I AM inspired, I AM whatever I am choosing to become  right NOW-in this moment and in this moment and in this moment.

Stuff happens all day long. In every moment I have the opportunity to BE what I am becoming.No matter what has happened or is happening. I have the power to pause, take a breath, and wonder how I could BE a leader right now, BE a parent, BE a friend, BE of service, BE thankful, BE happy, BE healthy, BE the change I wish to see in the world…BE whatever I choose to BE.

I invite you to notice when you are operating from a love of labor-when you are busy doing, in a state of fear and force, trying to motivate yourself or others, in the need to/have to/must mode.

Change it to a labor of love and inspiration. Take a breath (perhaps several breaths) and wonder:

  • How can I BE my highest vision right now?
  • What can I create from this?
  • How could I be of highest service right now?
  • How could I help?
  • How could I demonstrate love and ignite inspiration?

Then take some time to be quiet. Take a walk, get some fresh air, exercise, do what you enjoy and WONDER.

We all have the ability to wonder and get our answers.

What’s your M.O.? Love of labor or labor of love? Being or Doing?

How are you BEING today?

© 2014 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

How Mandela Put Managing Thought® Into Practice

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Nelson MandelaNelson Mandela has died. Millions pay tribute to him around the world.

We say that he has changed the world. And he has. His thoughts, words, and deeds have created a ripple effect of considerable magnitude.

I remind myself of everyone who was, is, a part of that ripple effect. Every person who met Mandela, heard Mandela speak, learned of his mission – each person who Mandela touched – made a choice to think differently, powerfully, and create the next version of their highest vision of humanity.

Though it may seem unlikely, each of us is changing the world every day. Every thought, word, and deed each of us has as a leader, colleague, teammate, partner, parent, child, neighbor, friend, teacher, consumer, manufacturer, employer….creates a ripple effect of considerable magnitude.

In every role I play, every day, I am creating my world. I am creating the world – for better, worse, rich, poor, sickness, health. I change the world around me by changing myself.

Below I share a few stories of Mandela’s journey that exemplify lessons in Managing Thought® that apply to situations we face every day in work and life.

I invite you to pause and reflect: What am I creating? How could I be true to my highest vision of myself, my highest vision of humanity?

Just because something is common, doesn’t mean it’s normal, doesn’t mean it’s true, or that it has to be true for me. I am sure that Mandela wasn’t the only one who was aware that what was common was not what he wanted or envisioned for himself or others. Mandela took that idea, decided what he wanted: This is what I want. He intended creating it: I am creating this. He wondered how he could create it: I wonder what could I do, how could I be? He practiced and practiced creating it, because practice makes permanent. And he reflected on, celebrated, what was going right.

I often hear people citing statistics – industry, society, economics, cancer survival, personality traits, success rates, obesity – and saying, That’s the way it is. What can you do? You learn to live with it.

To me, statistics are measurements of people who are unconscious, unaware of how amazing we are — that we can create anything we can imagine. I invite you to wonder: What statistics am I citing? What is it I truly want? How could I create it?

Infinite patience brings results. Mandela was imprisoned for over 27 years. For 27 years he waited to assume his leadership role, to make his vision a reality. During that time, he cultivated himself. He cultivated his body. He cultivated his message. He cultivated his relationships. He cultivated his knowledge of the outside world. He quietly, patiently, continued to move in the direction of fulfilling his dream, his higher purpose.

Individuals and organizations often give up on their dreams because it will take too long, cost too much, take too much effort: I don’t want to go back to school. That’ll take five years. We’ve invested too much money in this equipment or this process. We can’t change now.

In our businesses, we look for short term fixes, often rooted in fear. In our lives, we take pills, get divorces – it’s faster than cultivating bodies, our minds, our spirit, and our relationships. We choose between short-term or long term-as if they are alternatives. And they are not.

What’s one thing I could do today that could create long-term and profound change for me?

I can re-act or create. I let go of the past and focus on what I am creating today. When Mandela was released from prison, a great many people wanted to focus on the injustice of his imprisonment, the pain and suffering endured by Mandela, and the oppression of the South African people during his imprisonment. Mandela made the decision and guided his followers to let go of the past and focus on the future they were creating.

We suffer loss, experience tragedy and disappointment in our lives and work. Stuff is always happening that is different than what I expect, I believe, I have learned, and what I hope and envision for myself and others.

When I catch myself angry, frustrated, complaining, blaming, being a victim, regretting, second-guessing, unforgiving – I know that these thoughts and emotions are telling me, at the essence, who I truly am and what I truly wish to create.

I can re-act my past or create. It is up to me. It is always up to me. What am I re-acting?  What could I choose to create?

I notice when I am in Fight, Flight, and Freeze and pause to add light. I change the world around me by changing myself. Many describe Mandela as saintly, citing his ability to forgive those who imprisoned him, tortured him, and oppressed his people. Those who were close to Mandela know that he was not a saint. He experienced anger. He experienced bitterness. He had thoughts of revenge and retribution.

He paused. He wondered what he wished to create and how to create it. He chose to acknowledge his thoughts and emotions privately. He knew that, as a leader, every word he spoke, every action would create a ripple effect of considerable magnitude.

He chose to assume his leadership role and lovingly guide others. He chose to serve as a prototype of a new age and be the change he wished to see in the world.

I notice I am in Fight, Flight, or Freeze. I pause. I wonder. I choose. I create.

My focus creates my reality. Prior to 1990, Mandela was often referred to by world leaders and in the media as a terrorist. Supporters of Mandela believed that it could be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve world wide support for a terrorist. On April 16, 1990 a music concert took place: Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa at Wembley Stadium, London, and was broadcast to more than 60 countries. It was held two months after Mandela’s release from prison. They presented Mandela as a hero and called for people across the world to continue pressing for apartheid’s abolition – to create a free South Africa.

Every time I say, I am, I can’t, I don’t, I am creating my focus and commanding my brain to help me create that reality. I am a loser, I’m getting old, I can’t lose weight, I don’t exercise like I should, I’m depressed, I suffer from anxiety, I don’t floss enough, I can’t sell, We can’t execute, We’re a commodity….

What labels am I using that are focused on what I don’t want? I wonder what I could want. What could be my new label?

I can create anything I can imagine. Mandela used sports to help his people, and the world, imagine a South Africa with blacks and whites working together to reach a common goal-and winning. The movie Invictus tells this story.

We often criticize ourselves, our lives, our organizations. We want more balance, less stress, better relationships. We want less debt. We don’t want to be a commodity….

Focusing on what I don’t want and don’t like, does not tell me what I do want. Focusing on what I don’t want and don’t like doesn’t help me to create my highest vision.

When I can imagine me being balanced, being at peace, cultivating a great relationship, growing my net worth and being of highest service and richly rewarded, then I can create it.

I wonder what being _____________ looks like? What are possible things I could do and be if I were living ____________? What’s one thing I could practice? What could be my ritual? When I notice I am not practicing, what’s my do-over? How can I celebrate my progress?

We are changing the world — one thought at a time.

May your thoughts bring you peace and inspire you!!!

 

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

 

What’s Your M.O. – a Love of Labor or a Labor of Love?

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Mary Lore Labor of LoveReflecting on some recent interactions got me to thinking—We have become a nation of laborers.

We love to labor. We are busy, busy, busy, doing, doing, doing.

When we face a big challenge or a difficult situation, we labor. We cancel vacation, skip lunch, work through the weekend, and stay late to solve the problem, put out the fire, accomplish the result, fix it.

To succeed, we labor. We strive, do whatever it takes, put in the hours, persevere, expend blood, sweat, and tears—no pain no gain!

And our heads are filled with all the things we need to, have to, should, and must do.  We even do things to force ourselves to get motivated!

We believe that doing, forcing – laboring – brings results.  I wondered – what if we approached our work and life as a labor of love?  Here are stories of those who took the labor of love challenge.

  • A stay-at-home mom dreaded bathing her two year old. Forcing her child to take the bath, scolding her child for making a mess, and mopping up after made bath time a labor. When she made the bath a labor of love, she took the opportunity to enjoy being with her toddler. They splashed, giggled, and squealed with delight. Bath time became an anticipated event and cleanup became a joyful reminder of quality time with her daughter.
  • A runner realized she’d lost the enjoyment of running. She had to motivate herself to run and force herself to run great distances. She criticized her performance, continually pushing herself to do better. When she chose to run as a labor of love, she went back to her original routine—enjoying the sights and smells of nature as she ran through parks, enjoying the landscaping, and seeing kids play and adults chat as she ran through neighborhoods. Running became fun again, effortless. She looked forward to it and started running marathons.
  • The sales and production team at a firm that publishes several monthly magazines found it hard to meet their sales targets and production deadlines and they struggled financially. Their mantra: You get burned out in this business. You finish a magazine and move on to the next. Your work is never done.  They celebrated hard work and motivated themselves to work harder. When they changed their approach, instead of producing thousands of magazines, they made a difference in the lives of those who read the articles, attended the events listed in the calendar, and utilized the products and services that were advertised. Instead of selling ads, they helped their advertisers grow their businesses and fulfill their dreams. Instead of increasing sales by a certain percent, they were of highest service and in return received dollars, which they used to pay the team for their talents and contributions, who in turn spent their earnings on who and what they loved. They no longer NEEDED to make a sale or a deadline. They were inspired to make a difference and contribute the livelihood, education, well-being, and joy of others. Exhaustion turned into energy and creativity.  Struggle turned into flow and survival turned into thriving.

Deadlines, needing to or having to do something, and making a number are, in and of themselves, not inspiring. They are about doing. Not about being.

We get inspired by helping others so I could get inspired by working together to meet a deadline or to achieve a number – maybe once, twice, or three times.  Meeting deadlines month after month and year after year becomes a burden and uninspiring if the objective is just to meet a deadline or make a number.

I become inspired and achieve significant results when my goals are meaningful, when I truly know that I am being of service, contributing, making a difference, helping – when I do what I love and love what I do.

What’s your M.O.?  Love of labor or labor of love?

I invite you to take the Labor of Love Challenge:

  • Notice when you are operating from a love of labor—when you are in a state of force, trying to motivate yourself or others, in the need to/have to/must mode.
  • Change it to a labor of love – Wonder what difference you are making, how you could help, how you could make it fun.

See what happens.

 

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

It’s a Wonderful World

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Over the Rainbow It's a Wonderful WorldIt’s been 8 years today, September 18th, since my late husband Gregg and I married. At the GOMF French Meadows Summer Camp in 2003, Gregg and I sang the first song we ever sang together–Over the Rainbow/What’s a Wonderful World. It became our song, with Gregg singing the lead and me harmonizing, and we sang it at our wedding two years later. Here’s the video of that special moment for me at Camp two months ago when I could finally sing the song by myself without crying. The clouds are indeed far behind me. Jason King of Portland Oregon is playing the ukelele. We’re at the campfire. Happy Anniversary, Gregg. I am so glad our paths crossed.

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Be Inspired. Inspire Others. What’s Your Dream?

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What's Your "I Have a Dream" SpeechYesterday marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

I remember when I first heard it. Even though I was a young girl, it had quite an impact on me.

I didn’t blink. I got the chills. I knew I was hearing something very powerful. I remember looking forward to being an adult and being able to fully grasp what I had just heard.

Today, when I look at the essence of his words, I see why his speech was of such significant influence and serves as a powerful example of how we can inspire ourselves and other to effect profound change.

He focused on what he wanted, not what he didn’t want.

What I feel and what I experience depends on what I am focused on in each moment. The direction I take and the decisions I make also depend on what I am focused on in each moment. When I am focused on what I want, on what matters, on what has meaning and purpose, I become inspired and I inspire others.

When I am focused on what I don’t want, what I did wrong, what could be better, what is irritating, angering, frustrating, sad, what holds me back, what I don’t have, can’t do, what isn’t fair, or is overwhelming, I am not inspired.

It is when we are inspired that we achieve significant results.

He inspired others vs. motivated.

We often think that when we’re leading or selling, we have to persuade, convince, and motivate others to achieve results.

Motivation does not work–not in the long run. And neither does persuading or convincing. That’s the reason we find ourselves continually needing to persuade, convince and motivate ourselves and others.

When I am trying to motivate myself or others, I am actually in a state of force; and in the long run, there is no power in force. Often, it brings about an equal and opposite reaction.

Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t tell others what they should or shouldn’t do. Or what we needed to make happen or be better.

He said, “I have a dream” and shared his highest vision — authentically, sincerely.

Inspiration is power.

Inspiration, which means to be infused with spirit, ignites a power within. When I am inspired, there is no stopping me, and remarkable things start to happen. When I am inspired, I am in touch with my highest awareness and creativity. I get all kinds of ideas on how to create and expand what I have envisioned.

And others want to help.

Vision, purpose, hope, thankfulness, wonder, and possibility all bring about inspiration.

He shared his dream.

When I work with business owners and managers, I ask them to tell me what their dream is for their organization. Nine times out of ten, they don’t have one. They wax on and on about providing value to their customers, being an employer of choice, and maximizing returns for their investors.

When they finish, I tell them I am not inspired. Because I am not inspired. They weren’t inspired, so they weren’t inspiring, and I wasn’t inspired.

When I ask them to tell me their dream for their life, they look at me with a blank stare because they don’t have one. They haven’t thought about it.

Their first assignment, then, is to write their “I have a dream” speech.

Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Once they start, they can’t stop. They write their dream for their organization, their employees, their customers, their suppliers, their investor, the community.

They see and feel the difference they are making, and they become inspired–mightily.

When they share that vision with their teams, their customers, suppliers, and investors, they too become inspired. And they write their dream speech for their role and contribution to creating that vision.

Remarkable things start to happen.

They can’t wait to get together with their partners and families and write the dream speech for their life, their career, their marriage, their family, their retirement….

What’s Your Dream?

I invite you to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech again. And then write your “I Have a Dream” speech for your life and your work.

See what happens.

For more on living with intention, Check Out Mary’s  Guest Blog on Modern Practice on Living and Leading with Intention,  Read or Listen to Mary’s Forward Thinking Reminder: Focus on What You Want, or watch this inspiring video on creating Resolutions, Intentions & Affirmations for a Life Well-Lived.

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

It’s Tax Time! Do Your Receipts Reflect What You Intend for Your Life and Work? Are You Focused on What You Want? Are You Focused On What Matters?

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Do Your Receipts Reflect Your Intentions?To me, digging through receipts and tax papers is a form of reflection. The receipts and papers are key indicators as to how I’ve focused my time, energy, and money.

Each year, I gather receipts and papers to prepare of my parents’ tax return.  In prior years, this process was a no-brainer for me. For years, my parents had pretty much been living each day like they did yesterday. Last year’s receipts and papers presented a much different picture.

There were receipts for prescriptions to calm my mom, so my dad could care for her in their home for as long as possible.

There were receipts for home daycare for my mom, who suffers from dementia, so my dad could run errands, visit with his buddy, and not have to worry about leaving my mom alone or being gone too long.

There were no receipts for lawn care, home maintenance, and repairs. There was paperwork for the sale of their home of 40 years and their move to the senior community so they could focus their time and energy on what matters.

There were receipts for ambulance and hospital stays for my dad who suffered his third stroke because he did not make caring for himself a priority.

There were receipts to move my mom to a new home she shares with other folks who also suffer from dementia and the move of my dad to a 1 bedroom apartment in independent living — all on the same campus. There were receipts for blood sugar test kits, Depends, and natural foods because my dad stopped thinking that he didn’t want to die and started thinking he wanted to live — be happy and healthy, taking care of himself, doing things he loved to do, so he could take care of mom and enjoy their time together.

There were less receipts for medications for my mom who is thriving in her new home where she feels safe and loved.

There were receipts for donations to their church and many other charities because they have always given to those less fortunate.

There were receipts from the bulk food store — for almond bark which my mom loves and my dad buys as a special treat for her.

There were receipts from the Henry Ford and Bob Evans restaurant — where my dad took his grandson who came to visit from Arizona.

There were receipts for a road trip my dad and I took to visit his grandchildren who were vacationing on the west side of the state.

There were receipts for guitar strings and art supplies — because my dad started playing his guitar and painting again.

There were receipts for the sale of my dad’s car — because my dad decided to practice “safety first!” and utilize a transportation service.

There were receipts for the cable company — because he can watch the war channel and the western channel with his buddy and record movies to watch with me on movie night — our weekend tradition.

These receipts and papers — if I just looked at them as numbers — then I’d be focusing on the “doing.”  When I look at the essence, I am focused on the “being.”

I can see and celebrate the intentions we set and fulfilled; the values my dad, mom, and I embody; the obstacles we faced and overcame; the sense of purpose we restored, and how we accomplished so much more than we gave ourselves credit for. I could appreciate each moment, and the flow and process of life.

It’s my intention to make every receipt count, to make every moment count.

Do your receipts reflect your intentions for your life and work? Are you focused on what you want? Are you focused on what matters?

For more on handling life transitions, click here.

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Power of Appreciation: Who Could You See Differently? What Could You Celebrate?

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I was enjoying a rare day at home, working in my jammies, when I got the news that a man I worked with for over ten years had died.  His service was starting in just 45 minutes, so I quickly dressed, jumped in the car, and made it just in time.

His rabbi, younger brother, daughter, and granddaughter shared stories of the difference this man made in their lives: How he listened and took a genuine interest in them, made them feel loved and valued, and inspired them to pursue their passions; how they became lovers of music, dance, theater, and art because they experienced it with him through his eyes; and, how the twinkle in his eye, and hearty laugh, helped them to find humor in every experience, especially in difficult circumstances.

His children and grandchildren all nodded in agreement with every word. I was nodding, too.

And then, I remembered that when I was working with this gentleman, I didn’t appreciate these qualities. I was busy being focused on the work to be done and his ability or inability to get the work done. My head (at that time) was filled with thoughts of judgment and criticism because, in my opinion, he didn’t seem to enjoy his work, he wasn’t getting results, and I prided myself in being the queen of results.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote:

To laugh often and love much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

Hmmmm….. What I focus on is what I see. What I focus on is usually all that I see. What I focus on creates my reality. Because of my focus, I missed out on truly experiencing the joy of this man. I missed out on appreciating and utilizing the gifts, the success, he was bringing to the table.

I wonder… What could have happened (for me, for him, for the organization) had I asked him about all of the loves of his life, and saw the world for a moment through the light in his eyes? What could have happened (for me, for him, and the organization) had he shared his life experiences, his love of the arts and what inspired him? What could have happened had our breaks and lunches and social events been infused with the spirit of the arts and children?

How might we and  how might I have approached our work differently? How could our results have expanded had we ignited our creativity, invoked our state of wonder, and revitalized our energy? What difference could we have made, how much greater could our results have been, had we and I approached our work with joy and aliveness?

As I reflect, I could beat myself up because of what I didn’t think, say, or do at that time. Instead, I choose to acknowledge and celebrate myself.

I am always in the process of creating the next version of the highest vision of myself. And today, the new, evolved version of me can SEE him and appreciate him. The new highest vision of me celebrates me thinking differently, powerfully, seeing and experiencing the divine spark in everyone one and everything, including myself.

I acknowledge and celebrate that I have grown from the Queen of Results to the  Queen of Significant Results! The Queen of Infinite Results!

Who could you see differently at work? At home?  What could you appreciate about them? What difference could that make? And what can you celebrate about you?

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Valuable Lessons I Learned from My Cousin Bernie

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Mary's Cousin BernieMy cousin Bernie died.  He was 69 years old.  Thirty three years ago, the doctors said he had six months to live.  When he was a child, the doctors said he wouldn’t live past twenty one.

Before the term was considered socially incorrect, Bernie bore the label “mentally retarded.”   Later, he was called “special” and that, indeed, he was.

I loved Bernie. I liked Bernie. I admired Bernie.  I learned a lot from him.

Take it All In

Bernie is the oldest of 23 cousins on my mom’s side of the family.  We gathered often—30+ Italians in close quarters—and it got pretty boisterous.  Bernie always had a sense of peace and content. While he didn’t actively participate with the many cooks in the kitchen, or the adults playing endless rounds of Canasta, or the kid’s games, or the singing and dancing, Bernie did participate. He was present. He had a twinkle in his eye and a satisfied smile, as he breathed in the “all” of everyone around him.

Listen

Bernie made it a point to have one-to-one time with me (and the other cousins.)  I always felt listened to when I was with Bernie. He adjusted our chairs so we were face-to-face. He looked me right in the eyes and used my name – Mary Jeannine – often. He asked open ended questions. He repeated what I said to make sure he understood it.  He started the conversation by telling me what we talked about in our last conversation and asking me what happened. Once, I hadn’t seen Bernie for over ten years and he remembered and asked me about our last conversation!

He expressed empathy and helped me to love and appreciate myself: Oh Mary Jeannine – you can run so fast, you love to sing, I love your smile, you must be so smart, you are so lucky…

When we were done talking, he always thanked me for the conversation and shared how much he enjoyed our little visit. Oxford once said, “Being listened to feels so much like being loved, we can’t tell the difference.” Bernie gave me the experience of being listened to. Bernie made me feel loved.

Give and Receive Compliments and Mean It

At some point in life, I started the practice of deflecting compliments. I didn’t say thank you. I’d point out how I could have been better. I’d say I was lucky or I didn’t deserve it. I felt obligated to come up with a compliment in return.

Then I had a visit with Bernie, who was full of compliments for me. As I deflected each compliment, he paused, looked me in the eye and said, “I mean it, Mary Jeannine.” And he repeated the compliment – with emphasis.

He was steadfast in helping me to receive and absorb the gift of his compliment and give him the gift of my “Thank you.”  He helped me to really see and appreciate the “all” of me, the true me, and build upon that me to create the next me.

Focus on What Truly Matters

When Bernie asked me about my work, he asked a lot of questions. What set Bernie apart was that he didn’t ask about the doing. He asked about the being.  He had a knack for getting to the heart of my work:  Wow –You get to be around all those beautiful plants!  Wow—You grow flowers that go into bouquets! Wow—You get to fly in an airplane and meet new people! Wow—You help make machines that keep people alive! Wow—you wrote a book that people can go to a library and read! …. When Bernie talked about his job, his face lit up as he spoke about how glad he was to help others.

Bernie helped me focus on what truly matters. He helped me rise above the doing and reminded me of the joy and significance of every job I had.

 It’s One Thing to Be Intelligent and Another to Be Happy

When I was ten years old, Bernie said, “I’m not smart like you, Mary Jeannine.”  I was taken aback. I hadn’t really thought about being smart—or not. I tried and couldn’t imagine not being smart. Nor could I imagine how I could handle knowing that I wasn’t smart and worse (in my mind), others knowing I wasn’t as smart as them.

I didn’t think that if I was told I was mentally retarded, that I could love myself, be content, or have the courage or strength to be with other people. At that moment, I felt a profound respect and admiration for Bernie.  He wasn’t smart.  He was kind and loving and compassionate. He appreciated and expressed appreciation for everyone and everything around him. He was happy and he brought happiness to others.

Remembering Bernie

Andy Rooney once said, “Most of us end up with no more than five or six people who remember us. Teachers have thousands of people who remember them for the rest of their lives.”

I am certain that Bernie has thousands of people who will remember him for the rest of their lives. And I am one of them.

I am so glad he was born, that our paths crossed, and that I got to experience and learn from the miracle of Bernie.

 

© 2013 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

What is Your “I Have a Dream” Speech?

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What's Your I Have a Dream Mary J. LoreI remember when I first heard Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Even though I was a young girl, it had quite an impact on me. I didn’t blink. I got the chills. I knew I was hearing something very powerful.  I remember looking forward to being an adult and being able to fully grasp what I had just heard.

Today, when I look at the essence of his words, I see why his speech was of such significant influence.

He focused on what he wanted, not what he didn’t want. 

What we feel and what we experience depend on what we are focused on in each moment.  The direction we take and the decisions we make also depend on what we are focused on in each moment.  When we are focused on what we want, on what matters, on what has meaning and purpose, we become inspired.

When we are focused on what we don’t want, what we did wrong, what is irritating, angering, frustrating, sad, or what holds us back, what we don’t have, can’t do, what isn’t fair, or is overwhelming, we are not inspired.

It is when we are inspired that we achieve significant results.

He inspired others vs. motivated.

We often think that when we’re leading or selling, we have to persuade, convince, and motivate to achieve results. Motivation does not work–not in the long run. And neither does persuading or convincing.  That’s the reason we find ourselves continually needing to persuade, convince and motivate ourselves and others. We are actually in a state of force; and in the long run, there is no power in force. Often, it brings about an equal and opposite reaction.

Inspiration, on the other hand, is power. Inspiration, which means to be infused with spirit, ignites a power within. When we are inspired, there is no stopping us, and remarkable things start to happen. When we are inspired, we are in touch with our highest awareness and creativity. We get all kinds of ideas on how to create and expand what we have envisioned.

Vision, purpose, hope, thankfulness, wonder and possibility all bring about inspiration.

He shared his dream.

When I work with business owners and managers, I ask them to tell me what their dream is for their organization. Nine times out of ten, they don’t have one. They wax on and on about providing value to their customers, being an employer of choice, and maximizing returns for their investors. When they finish, I tell them I am not inspired. Because I am not inspired. They weren’t inspired, and so they weren’t inspiring.

When I ask them to tell me their dream for their life, they look at me with a blank stare because they don’t have one. They haven’t thought about it.

Their first assignment, then, is to write their “I have a dream” speech.

Sometimes it’s hard to get started. Once they start, they can’t stop. They write their dream for their organization, their employees, their customers, their suppliers, their investors. They see and feel the difference they are making, and they become inspired—mightily. When they share that vision with their teams, their customers, suppliers, and investors, they too become inspired. And they write their dream speech for their part in that vision. Remarkable things start to happen.

They can’t wait to get together with their partners and families and write the dream speech for their life, their career, their marriage, their family, their retirement….

I invite you to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech again. And then write your “I Have a Dream” speech for your life and your work. See what happens.

 

For more on living with intention, read Mary’s Vistage Executive Street Blog Living and Leading with Intention and watch this beautiful and inspiring video on Creating a Life Well-Lived.

If you’d like to help Mary teach millions of people how to change their thoughts and their lives, go to www.managingthought.com/PBSPledgeSpecial.

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

The Winter Solstice: A Day to Pause, Reflect, and Feed Your Spirit

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Winter Solstice Mary J. LoreThe word “Solstice” is rooted in two Latin words: sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “to stand still” because it appears as though the sun and moon stop moving across the sky. To me, celebrating the solstice serves as a beautiful reminder that my life is a part of a larger order, always changing, always renewing. So it’s the perfect time for reflection and re-affirmation of what matters most and what I wish to cultivate in my work and in my life.

I use rituals to celebrate the winter solstice in ways that have meaning for me.

Me – I  make a day of it. That’s me. I’m on a mission.  :)

I light candles and play music that inspires me. I take a walk, take in the fresh air  and the magic and beauty of everything around me. I meditate longer than I usually do — with special healing meditations for myself and the world.  I drink special tea and I fast. I take my self-assessment and watch my video and I notice the thoughts that come to me:  The celebration of accomplishments; the recognition of the values I embody, the relationships I have strengthened, the obstacles I have overcome; and the observation of what’s lingering, what’s out of alignment with the me I am in the process of creating. I write in my thankfulness journal. I re-affirm my commitments, prepare new ones. I do a lot of wondering and  just going with the flow.

Again, that’s me.

What could your ritual be?

  • Visit a place outdoors that’s special to you—a trail you can walk or a field you can lie down in, a hillside or rooftop perch that provides the perfect view, or a quiet place in your mind.
  • Watch the clouds, the trees, the sunset
  • Take a walk
  • Write a poem
  • Read a book that inspires you
  • Reconnect with someone
  • Make a list of what you are thankful for
  • Make a list of loving wishes for your family, friends, co-workers or the world
  • Reflect on your aspirations for the coming months — creating the next version of your highest vision of yourself
  • Prepare a simple meal of organic grains, winter vegetables, and herbal teas
  • Eat alone and enjoy the solitude of your own company
  • Bathe in epsom salts
  • Breathe
  • Meditate
  • Be silent
  • Light a candle
  • Sing a song

If you have children in your life, you might organize some special activities to share with them, such as:

  • Identifying winter plants on a short walk
  • Spreading a pine cone with peanut butter and bird seed and watching from a window as the birds eat from it
  • Drawing pictures of winter scenes in your neighborhood
  • Cutting pictures from magazines that remind them of what they are thankful, pasting them on paper and then talking about it
  • Writing an acrostic poem in which you use “solstice” as the root word and use each of its letters as the beginning of a line in the poem.
  • Watch together from a warm window as the sun sets and give thanks for both the darkness and the light.

What’s one thing you could do to re-establish your connection with nature and family and what matters most to you? What’s one thing you could  do today to feed your spirit and nurture your soul?

For additional ideas and inspiration, take a look at these:

 

© 2012 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.