Inspiration is Power

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The third Monday of January is the observance of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., an American minister, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and civil rights leader dedicated to non-violence. This is a day to honor King’s principles and visions, perhaps best exemplified by his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

When I look at the essence of his words, I see why his speech had and is of such significant influence. His “I Have a Dream Speech” serves as a powerful example of how we can inspire ourselves and others to effect profound change and be our highest vision of ourselves as individuals and as organizations.

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 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 investors, 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, your work, and every role you play.

See what happens.

© 2015 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Guest Blogger Kris Taylor Asks: What Word Should (Might) You Want to Remove from Your Vocabulary?

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No ShouldingToday’s guest blogger is Kris Taylor, the founder of Evergreen Leadership. Kris is a respected colleague and friend with a proven track record of promoting, leading, and implementing positive change.

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I had the opportunity to meet a brilliant young man this week. His list of accomplishments was long, his skill-set was broad, and his impact on others was positive and deep. Yet it was clear that he was struggling with a bad case of the “shoulds” – and the second-guessing that came with it. He should have gone to college sooner, should have had a better idea of where he was headed, should have stuck with his business venture longer, should be in a better job…

We all carry around some “shoulds” – both past and present. The list of past ”shoulds” is long and may include: I should have gone to different school, followed a different major, pursued a different career, tried harder, risked more, married differently, taken that opportunity, stayed with it longer.  And we all have an equally long list of present ”shoulds”.  They might include: I should make more money, have a better house, be a better boss, be a better parent, spend more time at work, spend more time at home, go back to school, exercise more, eat less, be kinder, make more money, work harder, relax more.

I’d like to suggest that you banish the word should (and even need to) from your vocabulary. The words connote an obligation or duty, rather than a choice or free will. “I should get a new job.” is heavy and onerous,  and conveys inaction and guilt. The “shoulds” wear us out – make our load heavy. Our past “shoulds” have us looking in the rear view mirror and beating ourselves up for missed opportunities or perceived missteps. Our future “shoulds” burden us with obligations that may or may not serve us well.

Contrast the thought “I should get a new job.” to these:

  • “I am choosing to stick with this job for the next year.”
  • “I am committed to making the best of this job, even if it is not where I want to be forever.”
  •  “It’s time for me to find a job that is a fit for me.”
  • “I wonder what steps I might take to find a job that is a fit for me.”
  • “I am curious about what I would like in a different job.”

Mary Lore, whose work on Managing Thought inspires me, provides a list of substitute words – that are accountable, freeing and focused. Instead of using the words need to, have to or should – try these substitutes:

  • I am choosing…
  • I am committed to…
  • It’s important to me that I…
  • I could…
  • Based on where I was, I chose to… Today, I am choosing…
  • I wonder how I can…
  • It could be great if…

When I began to substitute these words for my “shoulds” – there was a little jolt. This was followed by a sense of freedom – and letting go of some guilt and pressure I put on myself. I began to forgive myself and let go of past decisions and actions – and make conscious choices in the present. And I began to own the choices I was making – and make them with intention based on what I really wanted, rather than an amorphous obligation weighing on me from some other source.

So see if you can shed some “shoulds” and see what happens.

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

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Kris Taylor has brought together her keen insights about organizations, change and leadership to create Evergreen Leadership.  Over the past 9 years, hundreds of leaders from 50 companies across the country have worked with Kris and her talented associates for help in successfully implementing large scale, mission critical change initiatives. Evergreen Leadership reflects Kris’s signature talent of creating high impact learning programs where leaders emerge with deep insights about their own personal leadership and learn how to lead others in today’s fast paced and uncertain environment.

Resolving Balance? Here’s How to Make That Goal Stick!

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Resolving Balance Mary LoreI will be more balanced.

Does that sound familiar? It may be one of the most popular resolutions made among those who are busy at work and in life. Many of us make this resolution year after year and some of us have gotten to the point where we don’t even bother.

We say life happens or that other priorities get in the way. Thankfully, these are NOT the reasons that this resolution doesn’t work. It’s how we’ve framed the resolution and evaluate our progress that’s the problem.

We are torturing ourselves!

We instruct our brains to point out every time and every evidence that we are not balanced. So they don’t point out any of the times we are balanced and they certainly don’t give us any ideas on how to be balanced or point out any opportunities to practice being balanced—because that isn’t what we instructed our brains to do.

At the end of the day, when we reflect on how we did, we instruct our brains to focus on everything we did wrong, so we don’t see anything we did right. We feel like failures and berate our selves for not being balanced. We’re not in a state of thankfulness, wonder, vision, purpose or possibility (which brings about transformation) The whole process is a downward spiral and uninspiring.

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

If you really want balance in your life, there are some specific ways to powerfully re-frame your resolution.

  • Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
  • Focus on the NOW.
  • Describe the ripple effect – the difference you’re making by fulfilling your resolution of balance.
  • Tell the story.
  • Acknowledge your progress and do do-overs.

For specific tips on how to re-frame your goals and resolutions to achieve balance,  Click Here to read, print or listen to my full Forward ThinkingTM Reminder, How to Resolve Balance and Make it Stick.

More resources to create balance in your life:

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

Where Did That Thought Come From?

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What-was-I-thinking-Mary-LoreAs I boarded the plane, the gate agent said to me: You have to check your bag. I said: This is my purse and my brief case! She said: Then you have to check your briefcase. If you have a computer in it, take it out!  I took it out and said to her: I can’t believe you’re making me check my briefcase!

On the way to my seat, I told each flight attendant I met: She made me check my briefcase!

I opened the overhead bin and discovered room enough for both my bag and my briefcase! I showed the attendant and asked if I could get my briefcase, knowing full well that it was too late. As I seated myself, I said several more times: I can’t believe she made me check my briefcase. I then told the guy next to me, I have two million miles with this airline, I booked my ticket a month and a half in advance, I get a middle seat AND they made me check my briefcase! I’m seriously thinking about switching to another airline.

I wasn’t screaming. I didn’t even raise my voice. My heart wasn’t racing. My chest wasn’t pounding. In fact, I felt fine. The flight attendants and gate agent were all gracious and reassuring. I had full faith my briefcase was going to be just fine.  I was even thankful I didn’t have to lift it into the overhead bin.

I was also aware that many times before, when agents asked me to check my briefcase, I just smiled and said, I’ve flown two million miles with you guys, I guarantee, I can find room for it. They always obliged.

This time, it was as if I was just going through the motions. I wasn’t really in fight, flight or freeze, yet my brain kept delivering to me the victim thought I can’t believe they made me check my briefcase! And I went along with it  – at least for a couple minutes! :-)

So what was my brain doing giving me these thoughts? Answer: It was doing its job. My brain’s job is to follow my lead, helping me to create whatever I want. It brings to me thoughts and emotions I had in the past that are stored in compartments that my brain believes are circumstances similar today’s circumstances.

If I act on what my brain delivers to me, then I am no longer creating. I am reacting – re-acting past experiences.….which brings me back to the story.

My brain knows my feelings were hurt when this airline “lost” one million of my two million miles and with other policy changes, I didn’t feel valued or special any more. It knows I was considering not making this airline my primary carrier, that I took a few flights with another airline and really enjoyed the entire experience.

My brain, bless its heart, finds these circumstances similar to those in compartments I formed in my teens! My brain thinks I am “breaking up” with my long-time preferred airline! To “help” me make that a reality, my brain delivers to me the thoughts and emotions from way back then  – Point out everything that’s wrong with the airline, maybe start a fight, to justify breaking up and going with another carrier! LOL!

I consider myself pretty practiced in Managing Thought®. Had I not been so exhausted, those slides would not have made into my ViewMaster® and certainly not crossed my lips.

Do I criticize myself? No! I thank my brain for sharing! Chuckle at myself. I’m thankful that I’m aware of my thoughts and that I can choose the thoughts I want to rule my world. I acknowledge I am exhausted and I make rejuvenation a priority. I state my intention, my highest vision of myself, in bringing this relationship, any relationship, to a graceful conclusion which gives my brain a new slide to put in my ViewMaster. :-)  I thank the guy next to me for hearing me vent, smile at the flight attendants, put my tray table up and sit back and enjoy the flight.

What’s in your ViewMaster®?

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

What Was I Thinking?

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What-was-I-thinking-Mary-LoreI made a post the other day on Facebook, which prompted a number of people to ask me what went through my head. As the “queen of” (lol) looking AT my thoughts, I thought I’d share what transpired between me and my brain during the course of just ten minutes.

To give it context, here’s my Facebook post:

OMG! My flight is boarding at the farthest gate. I go to the Delta club to get hot water & discover I don’t have my wallet! I run all the way back to my car, find my wallet, run back to the club, fill my thermos & make it to the gate just as they were closing the door! Thanks to the Delta Club women who let me keep my luggage at the club, to those who let me go b4 them at security, & to P90X cause the run was effortless!

So. what was I thinking?

My Brain: I have looked everywhere. I do not have my wallet. Oh my God!, Where’s my wallet! I don’t have my wallet! I need my wallet! I have no way to pay for my expenses!

Me: How can I manage without my wallet?

My Brain: My license is required to get the rental car.

Me: I wonder when the next flight is.

My Brain: Ask!

Me to ladies: When is the next flight?

The ladies: Not till tonight – 5:50pm.

My Brain: It’s a 3-hour flight. I have dinner with the chair and his wife.

Me:  I could cancel the dinner. (That didn’t feel right.) I want to go to the dinner. I wonder where my wallet is.

My Brain: I used it to use the new parking lot feature. It’s a new process. I don’t remember putting it back in my purse. I remember putting it in my lap. The last times I put things in my lap they fell on the ground or under the seat. On the ground! Someone could take it. What am I gonna do without my wallet?

Me: (Calmly and lovingly) Everything always works out fine.

My Brain: Yes! That time when I dropped my purse in the parking structure someone turned it in to the Delta counter and they tracked me down and got me my purse just in time for the flight. That was amazing! And then there were all the times the plane was delayed – something good always happened. I met a great contact. I got most of my book written because of flight delays!

Me to the ladies:  Is the flight on time?

The ladies: It’s boarding! You have to go back to the parking structure?  You’re NEVER gonna make it.

Me: How can I  get there and back the quickest?

My Brain: Without the briefcase I can run up and down the escalator to the tram and go quickly thru security.

Me to the ladies: May I put the briefcase  in the closet? I can go thru security quickly.

The ladies:  No we can’t do that. It’s not our policy.

Me to the ladies:   I know. I am asking you to trust me. How much time do I have?

The ladies: Ten minutes until the door closes.

Me to the ladies: Let’s give it a shot! I put the briefcase in the closet and ran out the door. I arrived at the tram just as the doors were closing.

Me: I am thankful I have the gumption to run thru the closing doors. I am thankful I can run and react quickly. I am thankful I left my briefcase in the closet. I am thankful I had the ability to help the Delta ladies go from “You’re never gonna make it!” to “Let’s give it a try!” and I am thankful they let me put the briefcase in the closet.

My Brain: Another adventure at the airport! Remember the time when I looked at my boarding pass wrong and I thought the departure time was the boarding time and had only fifteen minutes to get from the parking structure to the plane and I made the flight! And there was the time I missed the flight and I sat at the gate and the plane pulled back in for a technical difficulty and they let me on the plane!

My Brain: When I stand here, I am first out of the tram and first down the escalator.

Me:  I am thankful I know how to position myself so I am first out of the tram and down the escalator. I am thankful I chose these shoes for today! I am thankful that someone is already standing at the elevator and they already pressed the down button. I am thankful that my floor is first.

My Brain: I parked by the divider. If my wallet fell, no one else would have seen it. There’s no wallet on the ground. If it’s not in the car, go to Delta baggage check in first. That’s right off the elevator.  That’s the easiest place for someone to turn it in.

Me: I am thankful I assumed someone would find it and turn it in. In the old days, I would have assumed someone would steal it!

My Brain: Check around the seat. No wallet. Check the console. That’s where I put everything!

Me and My Brain: Yeah! Wallet found!

My Brain: Remember to lock the car! Remember this new parking process! Remember to put my credit card back in my wallet and my wallet back in my purse.

Me: I like the new process. No ticket to concern myself with. Here we go!

My Brain: Do we have enough time? Oh right – Don’t concern myself time.  Time expands when I stay present.

Me: Yes! Let’s glide through this! Quickly, smoothly, gracefully!

My Brain: Yes that has always worked in the past.

Me: I am thankful, the Monday morning priority line to security has shortened. I wonder how I can get thru security quickly.

My Brain: Ask folks if I can go to the front. People always want to help when I ask.

Me to man at the very front : May I go in front of you?

Man: Sure.

Me to man: Thank you!

My Brain: Wow! I didn’t even have to tell him I was late. He just trusted me.

Me: I am thankful that I am trust worthy.I get thru security quickly. I run up the escalator. The tram is right there! I am thankful I left my briefcase in the closet. I am thankful I had the ability to help the Delta ladies go from “You’re never gonna make it!” to “Let’s give it a try!” and I am thankful they let me put the briefcase in the closet.

Me: I reflect on the significance of vision and purpose, focusing on what I want, not what I don’t want.

My Brain: What if I miss the flight?!

Me: Everything always turns out all right.

My Brain: Remember the time when my parents and I missed the flight to get to Colorado for my wedding rehearsal dinner. We spent the day at the airport having a nice dinner, nice conversation. It was relaxing and a wonderful day. They routed us through Indianapolis! Maybe there’s a flight to Fort Lauderdale.

Me: (I’m smiling) Another adventure. Another story!

My Brain: When I stand here, I am first out of the tram and closest to the club. The reason I went to the club was to get hot water for the thermos. If  I hadn’t gone to the club, I wouldn’t have known I didn’t have my wallet.

I enter the club.

The ladies: You made it! I can’t believe it. You don’t have time. Get to the gate!

My Brain: It only takes a second to get hot water. The hot water on the plane tastes like chemicals. They have bottled water on the plane. That’s at the back of the club.

I get the hot water. I thank the ladies! We run out the door and down the escalator. I hear the announcement: Last call for the flight!

My Brain: A78 is the very last gate! I might not make it! It’s not possible! These shoes are not working! I want to walk. If I walk, I won’t make it. Oh well I did my best.

Me: That doesn’t feel right. Those are victim thoughts!

My Brain: Wait! This is that big moment when most people decide to give up. That happens in sports, that point of decision. It’s a shame, most people give up right before they succeed.

Me: Let’s see how we can succeed.

We round the corner and can see the gate. The agent asks: Mary Lore? I say yes!

Me and My Brain on the jetway: We did it!

My brain: I’m thirsty. We didn’t get water at the club.

Me to the flight attendant: Do you have any extra of those little water bottles? I am so thirsty.

Flight attendant: Here, take two!

I take my aisle exit row seat. I slide my briefcase under the empty seat next to me.

Me: I am thankful for the seat, for the empty seat next to me, for the water, for everyone and everything that contributed to me making the flight.

I look at my phone. All that happened in 10 minutes. I am amazed! I celebrate all that I accomplished in ten minutes.

I notice I am not out of breath! I celebrate my physical fitness. Way to go P90X!

I realize that I glided easily and effortlessly, gracefully and joyfully, the entire time. I acknowledge how far I’ve come.

I am thankful for all I am, all I have, all of my blessings.

My brain stores this in its Anything is Possible, Being Fully Present and Airport Stories compartments.

I sit back and enjoy the flight.

And that’s what I was thinking. :)

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Daily Thought Cultivation

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Daily Thought Cultivation Mary LorePracticing Managing Thought is a lot like pruning a tree. When I prune a tree, I first decide what I want. What’s the purpose? Do I want fruit or flowers? Health and vitality? More or less shade? A certain shape? Height or width? I decide what I want and prune accordingly. I take out the dead and diseased wood. I take out the suckers – the branches that are sucking the water, the nutrients, the light from tree. I prune to fulfill my purpose and I pay attention to the daily cultivation of that tree—how it’s watered, how it’s fed, its environment, and its exposure to natural and unnatural elements. In taking care of the tree’s daily cultivation, the tree resists stress and is less susceptible to insects and disease and can thrive in its full glory.

When I manage my thoughts I decide what I truly want, what truly matters to me in my life and work. I watch my thoughts and let go of the thoughts that are dead and diseased and the thoughts that are sucking up my time, energy and money. I choose and focus on the thoughts that serve my purpose. I pay attention to my daily cultivation, how I’m fed and watered, my internal and external environment. Less things bug me or dis-ease me, I fulfill my purpose and I thrive in my full glory!

The current theme of my Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day is Daily Thought Cultivation. There are three posts a day offering guidance on how to turn what is significant to you to reality by daily cultivation of our minds, bodies and spirits. Follow or visit Managing Thought on Twitter or “like” Managing Thought on Facebook to receive them as they post or come back to this blog daily and view the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right-hand menu bar.

For additional practical guidance on cultivating your thoughts, check out Chapters 16-18 of Managing Thought.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Experiencing Happiness Every Day

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True HappinessIn the workshops I do, whether we are discussing a life well-lived, a job well-done, a great relationship, a corporate culture, or a well-executed strategy, when we ask what is the essence of what we truly want, the answer is always happiness. Corporate leaders, blue collar workers, moms and dads, sixth graders, teens, seniors, spiritual advisors all want to be happy. “The pursuit of happiness,” is listed in the United States Declaration of Independence among the unalienable and sovereign rights of man. The Dalai Lama teaches that the purpose of life is happiness.

To me, there are two kinds of happiness – emotional happiness and true happiness. Emotional happiness is momentary. Fleeting. It doesn’t last and attachment to emotional happiness eventually results in its opposite—sadness. True happiness, on the other hand, just is. It remains steadfast no matter what happens. We all have the ability to choose and experience true happiness – every day – at work and in life.

The current theme of my Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day is Happiness. There are three posts a day offering guidance on how to transform negative thinking and focus on what you want to achieve happiness. Follow or visit Managing Thought on Twitter to receive them as they post or come back to this blog daily and view the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right-hand menu bar.

For my Forward ThinkingTM Reminder on happiness, click here to listen to audio, download a PDF or read online or click here to read a blog post on the topic.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.

Remember to Focus on What You Want

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Focus on What You WantMark Twain said, “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”

The results we achieve – bad, good, or significant – depend on what we focus on in each moment.  Focusing our time, energy or money on the wrong things in these challenging times is something we can’t afford to do. And in my experience, most of us are focused on what we don’t want. Do you know what you are focused on in each moment? Are you focused on what you want? Or on what you don’t want? Do you even know what you want?

The current theme of my Daily Inspiration Thoughts of the Day is Focus on What You Want, not What You Don’t Want. There are three posts a day offering guidance on how to transform negative thinking and focus on what you want to achieve significant results. Follow or visit Managing Thought on Twitter to receive them as they post or come back to this blog daily and view the Daily Inspiration on Twitter feed in the right-hand menu bar.

If you want more on this topic, click here to download a PDF, listen to audio or read online.

© 2011 Mary J. Lore and Managing Thought LLC All rights reserved.