Christmas Is A Time For Receiving

Christmas Is A Time For Receiving… What?  I thought Christmas was a time for giving!  Well, yes, it is – and it is also a time for receiving.

It’s been eight months since my new book, Give and Be Rich, was published.  The topic of giving has run rampant throughout every fibre of my being for the past several years now.  Since working on the project, I’ve learned so much about giving, and its flipside: receiving.  I’ve learned that we have a lot to learn about receiving.

Without receiving, we have nothing to give.  That’s easy to comprehend.  But just how much are we willing to receive?  That’s been my greatest personal contemplation this year:  “How much am I willing to receive?”

Without receiving everything that comes to us—the good and the not-so-good—we obstruct the one channel that provides the inflow and outflow of the energies that we can refer to as the ‘currencies’ of life.

This year I have received such abundance: some beautiful packages, and some that seemed to be wrapped in what I like to call crappy paper: stinky, painful, and emotionally charged.

I’d received some brutally honest feedback from myself—that I had to make some major life changes.  And so I did.  A long-term relationship that wasn’t working was ended.  Easy?  No way.  Essential?  Absolutely.  I’m still feeling the pain.   There are still parts of this process unresolved; people hurt; anger, frustration, and open wounds.  I’m receiving it all.  There’s freedom here for all involved, and I know that the only way to get past something is to go through it. I’m fully receiving it.

I’ve also received new opportunities to serve people all over Canada with our work in Conflict Resolution and Workplace Relationships.

I’ve received rich testimonials about the work that we do.

I’ve received feedback on what’s working and not working in my life.

I’ve received the challenges of my relationships with others.

I’ve received better health.

I’ve received a beautiful new place to live, work, and host my favourite people.

I’ve received many amazing new connections with others.

I’ve received money, wisdom, experiences, peace, joy, love, intimacy, friendships, compliments and trust—that there will always be an abundance to receive.

In my contemplation of the question “How much am I willing to receive?”, I have come to the realization that we sabotage ourselves from receiving based on old patterning.  A scarcity mentality keeps us small, and we wear it like a ball and chain, allowing it to hold us back from really showing up and being our authentic selves.  A scarcity mentality tells us that there should be a limit; that we should only receive a certain amount (of good and not-so-good).  Because of this, we modulate what happens in our lives, instead of just feeling worthy and deserving, opening ourselves up fully to let things unfold, and trusting that they are all gifts in the circle of abundance.

You can read more about giving, receiving, and the scarcity mentality in my new book, Give and Be Rich – Tapping the Circle of Abundance.

As you enter this wonderful holiday season, keep in mind that Christmas is a time for receiving.  Remind yourself of all that you’ve received, and be aware of what you haven’t so that you may clear the one channel that delivers everything we need.  You’ll be a better giver for it.  Remember that the best gifts are often wrapped in crappy paper.  Receive them and be rich!

Holiday blessings to you and all those who matter to you, and best wishes for great abundance.

 

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P.S. If receiving is a challenge for you, it may be related to something you need to start giving yourself.  Call us if you need some help.

Entangled Chains

While I was settling into my new home and organizing my jewellery, I was faced with the daunting task of detangling two of my favourite gold chains that were knotted together in a complex mess.

I sat focused on solving the problem for what seemed like an hour, then found some brighter lights to stand beneath with a pin to help pick and pull the chains apart.  I began to see how the bond between these chains was similar to relationships between people, and how conflict and entanglement between two or more can create dysfunction.

How many of us go through life feeling useless or dysfunctional in some way because we’re tangled up in knots of unresolved conflict with the people that really matter in our personal or professional lives?

Resolving this dysfunction is only possible when we admit that there are knots, and that some of them are our own doing, while others belong to those with whom we have become entangled.

Although both chains are quite fragile—similar to the relationships in our lives—the thinner chain’s knots were the most challenging to unravel because they were so tiny and hard to see. To me, this symbolizes issues we have experienced in the past: while they may not seem important today because they happened so long ago, these issues tend to hold us back from stretching out as far as we can and, in a sense, tie us up in knots of our own.  Sometimes these knots are not even wrapped around others, but are formed from completely independent issues; sometimes they’re just a by-product of our own issues.  Either way, they limit us.

To untie one chain from the other, I needed to sort out the different strands.  This was just like sorting through different behaviours and personality styles to really understand that each individual, or ‘chain’, has its own unique qualities.  There’s definitely a parallel to be found between my knotted chains and human relations, too.  We need to seek to understand and accept others’ differences.  Strong and healthy relationships are very possible between two people who accept that one may not be entirely like the other, whether in personality styles, opinion, social preferences or otherwise.  The key is that we need to really want our relationships to work—to be able to talk about things that need resolution, and to bring up what bothers us and give our thoughts and feelings a voice.

Once I had spent some time focusing on the entanglement, I realized I needed some brighter lights to work beneath.  What a difference it made by doing so!  I could finally see how some of the material was positioned and could therefore untie some of the more complicated knots that had eluded me before.  In relationship conflicts, a brighter source of light could take the form of looking deeper into how your own ‘story’—or past experiences—are still playing out today.

An example of one such story belongs to Alison.  A receptionist and member of an office team that I had worked with in conflict resolution, Alison recently admitted that she was feeling edgy toward her organization’s director.  Alison had previously witnessed a conversation in the community where its members had shared their cynical comments about some of the choices and decisions made by the director.  Alison believed the ‘story of doubt’ about her director based on some comments made by people who didn’t even work in her organization and didn’t fully understand the facts surrounding the choices and decisions which they were criticizing.  Once Alison realized that her own story was knotting up her ability to show up to work in a powerful and productive manner, she was able to let go of the doubt, stretch out to her full potential in her role, and do so without an edge.

Conflict is more often than not a layered subject, and the layers often take the shape of old stories from our pasts that remain unresolved.  Peeling back those layers allows us to shine brilliant, natural light on the things that we need to see in ourselves that repeatedly create conflict in our lives.

After considerable effort and several extra tools and lights, I was almost able to free my two beautiful chains from their debilitating entanglement.  There is, however, still one knot which I can’t seem to loosen on my own.  It’s too tight; I can’t see it properly and don’t want to put too much pressure on something so fragile that could break apart permanently.   Sometimes, in these situations, you’ve got to call in an expert to help with the challenges that you can’t unravel yourself, and so off I went to the jeweller for assistance.

In relationships, those last few knots can somehow prove to be the toughest ones as well.  They’re tight, sometimes hidden under the layers of our past, and can be fragile to press down upon for fear of permanent damage.  Reach out to an expert to fully and completely resolve your entanglements in these times.  Give yourself the freedom that you or your team needs to move forward with all of your energies moving in the same direction.

Golden blessings,

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Claim What’s Yours and Be Rich

Do you want less suffering and more connection in your relationships? Learn how you can have more serenity and acceptance toward the things you cannot change, and more courage to shift the things you can, with the following words of wisdom.

In every workplace or relationship conflict, there are always at least two sides to the conflict.  Conflict often stems from one person’s underlying ‘stories’ that are neither heard nor understood by the other person in the conflict. These stories consist of a person’s beliefs, cultural conditioning, and past experiences which make them think and believe that the world works in a certain way.

One of the quickest ways to arrive at a place of inner peace or resolution during a conflict that affects you is to claim what’s yours—to claim what you are bringing into the conflict.

“Aw, shucks,” you might be thinking; “I didn’t really want to admit that I had any part in this conflict. It’s easier and more convenient to direct the blame toward the other person(s) involved.”  Unfortunately, your contribution to the conflict has everything to do with you.  However, by claiming what’s yours, you’ll also be separating what’s yours from what’s theirs.  By sorting out who is responsible for which elements of a given conflict, you’ll likely find yourself left with only half of the troubles you had counted on.  When you learn to identify those troubles, you’ll see that they appear as patterns in other relationships, too.  In doing so, you’ve taken the first step toward causing a major shift in your situation by rooting out your issues and fixing them.

For example, Sue feels that Bill, her manager, speaks down to her.  The disconnect between these two colleagues has festered over time to create a deep-rooted resentment which ultimately prevents them from having a productive conversation about day-to-day issues within their workplace.  Effectively communicating about those issues only serves to bring to light more difficult conversations that must be held, such as about how Sue thinks that Bill is speaking down to her.

Sue brings to the conflict her suspicion that Bill is speaking down to her, but rather than taking ownership of her thoughts and looking inside herself to find clues as to why Bill’s behaviour is triggering an emotional reaction within her, Sue simply blames Bill.

To claim what’s yours in a conflict is the most direct way to identify the underlying issues that are ruffling your feathers.  Own these issues—they’re yours!—and give them your undivided attention.  Seek them out by asking yourself questions about the things that trigger you.

Sue, for instance, might ask herself “Why does the way Bill speak to me trigger my emotions in such a negative way?  What’s the underlying cause of my reaction? When has a similar situation brought up these emotions in my past?” and so on.  In recalling her earliest memory of a similar feeling and situation, the resolution to Sue’s conflict can be found within the questions she asks herself.

When we claim what’s ours, we can also realize what’s not ours.  In any conflict involving two or more parties, others’ issues are not our responsibility. When we can leave others to deal with their issues so that we might focus on our own, we can feel relieved.

This simple strategy may not be easy in practice, so seek guidance.  Education, training, team development, and coaching are but a few of the ways in which you can tap into guidance that is available to you.  If inner peace and freedom from conflict is attracting you, fulfill your attraction expeditiously by seeking such guidance. I would be happy to personally help or refer you in that regard.

Claim what’s yours, know what isn’t, and be rich in healthy relations.  Be mindful of what you’re bringing to and omitting from your relationships.  When you understand your own weaknesses, you can fix them and strengthen all aspects of your relationships in return.  That’s the kind of richness that really matters.

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This article is dedicated to a new teacher and business associate whose work has transformed my world in a short period of time.  To Matt Thorpe & associates, Lise Leblanc, and Sandi Emdin: thank you for sharing your wisdom and experiences, and for seeing, hearing and welcoming me into your circle.

 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

 

If You’re Not Appearing, You’re Disappearing

Recently I delivered inspirational messages for our local Toastmasters club’s tenth anniversary celebration and the M. Thorpe Group’s North Bay Leadership Conference. My message was, “If you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing.”

I joined Toastmasters about ten years to hone my communication and leadership skills and network with other people.  I started appearing at meetings and taking on various roles available through the club, which pushed and pulled me in ways I had never expected.  As a result, my life was permanently stretched and shaped by these experiences, which also provided me with tremendous lift in my career.  Once I had attained the highest communication designation and almost every leadership credential that the Toastmasters organization offered , I left the club.  I felt that I wasn’t growing anymore and needed to expand.

While working with a professional speaking coach, I was encouraged to write a book that would leverage my speaking career, and so I did.  This gave me a ‘reasonable’ excuse to hide out, as authors often do—in a little cabin in the woods where they can write to their hearts’ content.  I hid behind my new role as an author and stopped attending the usual meetings, networking events and community involvement opportunities that I had made a part of my routine.  A couple of years passed before I realized that, despite my reasonable excuse for not appearing, I had been slowly disappearing.

Attending Toastmasters is once again on my list of regular commitments.  I’m reappearing at my local club, and that means more pulling, pushing and stretching into a newer and greater me.

  • What does ‘appearing’ mean for you?
  • How do you need to ‘appear’ or show up to become the greatest you? 
  • What holds you back from ‘appearing’?

These questions are important, and worth finding answers for. Perhaps ‘appearing’ means:

  • Giving 100% in what you’re doing at the time.  While you’re at work, be fully present in your duties.  When you’re at home, be there in body, mind and spirit.
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone and being vulnerable and humble to new and different roles or tasks.
  • Choosing a new perspective or way of feeling about a situation.
  • Initiating a conversation that needs to be held; perhaps one that’s more challenging or difficult than usual, but necessary.
  • Committing to a greater level of service to your beliefs and values, having an open mind and heart, or awakening your spirit.

Whatever ‘appearing’ means to you, it’s something that is calling you right now to become bigger and better.  Listen closely.

What holds us back from fully appearing as we could?  Often, it is our own egos.  The ego asks only one question: “Am I right, or am I wrong?”  Ego is fueled by fear: of not being good enough; of failure; of not being liked; of losing popularity; of not knowing everything. Our ego tries to protect us, but in doing so it also holds us back from appearing as our whole self.  Ego wants us to hide, avoid taking risks, look perfect, and be complacent.

Our egos are not bad parts of us, but things we need to be aware of. Becoming vulnerable, accepting your imperfections, and being patient with your impatience are all ways of becoming more awake and conscious, and more authentically ‘you’: confident, self–worthy, and deserving of life’s greatest offerings.

We must be brave enough to appear as we are, and who we feel called to be.  We must be brave enough to be vulnerable; to stumble, make mistakes, and learn from them.  We must be humble enough to be willing to see ourselves truthfully, and patient enough to love ourselves proactively.  Being humble is to recognize not only our strengths, but also the opportunities we’re given for self-improvement.

We must feel compassion for where we are and how far we’ve come, and honor ourselves for trying.  We must emerge from under the protection of our egos to appear the way that the world needs us to appear.

As we move into the holiday season, I believe that the best gift you can give to anyone is the gift of really appearing as you are.  Be the gift this season, and remember: if you’re not appearing, you’re disappearing!

Penny

Are You Open for Business?

Are you open for business?  For wealth, good health, or quality relationships?  “Of course I am”, you will answer to the question.  But are you really open?

What is ‘open’? How can I be more open to receive more of what I want?  This article is about being open for all types of business: the business of being a good employee,  employer or successful entrepreneur ; or the business of life, love, joy and enthusiasm.

“Am I open?” is a question I’ve been asking myself often.  “Fully, completely open?” What I’ve learned is that this is an inner energy, not an outer action.  To be open means not to be closed.  When we’re open, energy can freely flow in and out of us.  We feel expanded, enthusiastic, clear, prosperous, energetic, valuable, and worthy—and the emotions that these high-vibration adjectives create.  To be closed means to be blocked someplace deep inside; to feel constricted, tight, negative, stuck or depressed; to close your mind and your heart to something that is stirring up bad feelings.

We close ourselves off for protection.  Our fear and insecurities from past experiences makes us want to curl up in some restrictive place inside, rather than to stay open.  The problem is that we can’t be open to receiving an inflow of energy, and yet closed at the same time.  There is a great collision going on within us when our mind wants to be open, and our heart is working to keep old emotions and feelings pushed down inside.

Imagine you are an entrepreneur, and you’re asked to give a presentation about your area of expertise during a conference.  You remember your primary school public speaking assignment and feel your past fear of standing in front of the class, trying to deliver a memorized talk, but forgetting the words and feeling humiliated.  So being presented with this new opportunity many years later, you begin to close up, thinking that you hate public speaking. Instead of remaining open to the potential you have to share your expertise, and putting in the preparation and practice time that you need to build your confidence, you’re letting the stored energy of what happened 20 years ago block your prosperity today. You’re closed for business.

Now imagine that you are an employee, and you’ve been yelled at or treated poorly by a customer in your past, so a part of you is closed off to protect yourself from ever experiencing that pain and embarrassment again.  So you choose not to work in the ‘line of fire’ dealing directly with customers, even though so many of them are awesome and they need your service.  Perhaps you stay somewhat closed by wanting to privately listen to music as you work, or by finding some mind-numbing way to cope with the tasks of your day. Perhaps you hide in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ department because you feel you are better suited to work under those conditions. You’re closing yourself off to giving and receiving your full potential.  These days, your employer needs your full potential, and you deserve fullness too.

Finally, imagine yourself as a recently promoted manager who now has authority over their previous colleagues. Somewhere inside, you feel a sense of not being completely worthy of the position.  When a difficult situation triggers those feelings of self-doubt, you act out with defensive behaviour.  Although you want to feel worthy of the position, you are snagged on feelings of inadequacy from somewhere in your past, so you close yourself off to the opportunity to notice that there is a disturbance or a block in your energy.

This idea of ‘staying open for business’ will show up in many places of your life if you simply become aware of where you are open, flowing, floating and moving along, versus where you are closed, stuck, restricted, hurting and frustrated.

Hopefully you had an opportunity to read my previous article earlier this summer about fishing—the high risk of getting snagged, and the importance of going back and freeing yourself from the snag in order to move forward efficiently.  Staying open for business is a metaphor, then, for realizing what is getting you ‘caught up’ or tangled in your process of flowing, and then detaching from your own inner issues and past experiences.

You stay open by noticing patterns in times when you typically close.  By noticing, you become aware of your behaviour.  With this awareness, you can make a different choice.  You can feel the feelings, relax, breathe, and release them.  In your state of being and with these feelings, you are allowing the situation to take place.  You can honour it, respect it, and just let it be exactly what it is.  For the entrepreneur, it’s to relax into the idea of preparing for and delivering an effective presentation. For the previously abused employee, it may be to go back in time to revisit the pain and humility felt, and to just let that experience go.  It is not you; it’s only what happened once, so long ago.  For the new manager, it’s noticing what disturbs their confidence, and letting that thing go so they can be more supportive in their role.

It takes more energy to be closed than it does to stay open. Stay open to allow an unlimited inward energy flow, one that fills you until it begins to overflow outward.   Don’t ever close. You will attract everything you’ve ever wanted when you stay open.  Stay open to change, growth, opportunity, feedback, initiative, learning, feeling, being … just stay open.  I’m here for you if you ever need help.

Read more about Opening the Soul for Business, and the inspiration for this article.

Yours in service, and always intending to be open for business,

Fish On! Overcoming Snags

What an exciting way to spend Father’s Day, yelling “Fish on!” often.  Annually on the Father’s Day weekend, my brother, Captain Art, takes my mom, son and I on a weekend fishing trip to commemorate my father and fish his favorite lake.

Captain Art always encourages us to let enough line out so that, as we troll, our bait is moving along the bottom of the lake.  “That’s where the fish are,” he says.  The challenge we encounter is that there are also many rocks, logs and branches along the lakebed, so we get snagged often.  When someone’s hook or line gets caught up, the forward motion of the boat must stop; everyone must reel in before we reverse the boat to release the snag, hopefully without breaking the line and losing the tackle and bait.

This got me thinking about how often in life we find ourselves snagged on something that needs resolving, and whether people chose to stop, go back, and find and fix the issue first before continuing on, or whether they continue despite the snag and risk losing so much in the long run.

In the workplace for example, the best profit, productivity or performance is obtained  when we work in the most efficient conditions possible, just as fish are most easily obtained where it makes the most sense to troll—along the bottom. But, as with the lakebed, the workplace environment is rich with obstacles which may snag us.  However, it’s important to work in these productive areas rather than taking an easier path, because if you’re not on bottom, you’re not amongst the fish.  The most productive zones can be risky; perhaps you might find yourself caught up in something unexpected or unwanted, or in what seems like a time-waster or barrier to your success.

Becoming ‘snagged’ could mean:

  • Uncovering the need for training in a certain area of your career or for your team because times are changing and people need to be skilled to move forward.
  • An unresolved conflict between you and a coworker, customer or relative, or between two departments in an organization.
  • Finding yourself in an unexpected circumstance, and needing to come to terms with where you are and how you got there, so that you can determine the best way forward.
  • Needing to have a difficult conversation or work through uncomfortable feedback so that you can come out stronger in the end.
  • Noticing that a process is not safe for the people involved, and that better safety measures are required before proceeding.

It may seem easier to continue forward without properly unhooking yourself from a snag, but you could risk losing everything if you do so.

This metaphor of fishing close to the bottom despite the possible snags is reflected in many areas of our lives.  In business, we can become snagged often because we are moving so quickly that we are not taking the time to nurture relationships or embrace change.

When our lines get caught and we become held back, we must realize that we have a choice between two options. The first is to take a brief time-out, go backward, find the problem and fix it before we resume forward motion again.  This takes time, but in the long run, you will go faster.  The second option is not the best, but is a shortcut often taken: avoid the snag, move forward anyway, and hope that everything works out.  The problem with this option is that within it lies a bigger risk—the risk of losing respect, trust, loyalty, or possibly even a life.

Snags, therefore, are good things.  They help us see the importance of taking the time to make sure that, although we’re fishing along the bottom, our bait is poised perfectly for the greatest success.  Before you know it, you’ll hear “Fish on!” and maybe even experience a double- or triple-header—when many people in the same boat are elated to discover some real big successes hooked on the ends of their lines at the same time.

Where do you feel you’ve been snagged but haven’t yet gone back to the source to unhook yourself?

In closing, I would like honor all of the men who read my articles.  Tying these important concepts to a sport that many men can relate to is my offering this month, in addition I’ve included some photos that I think you might enjoy.

Best wishes for courage and patience to stop, reverse, and become un-snagged, so that you may move forward more efficiently in the long run, and reap an abundance of fish.

* Dedicated to Captain Art, and my father’s spirit, which calls me to be courageous.

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Motherly Love in the Workplace

As a tribute to Mother’s Day, I wanted to share what I have learned about how men in positions of power are eager to learn the vocal strategies women have been using for years.

 

Over the past 30 years, women have been struggling to establish themselves with undervalued skills in workplaces that have been mostly male dominated.  The power of their voices had been less adequate for upper management than that found commonly in male energy.

 

The habits of men over workplace history has been to be loud, refuse interruption, general eye contact or look down on their subjects, non-interactive and maintaining attention and control by force.  This was considered effective, and taught was a way to control employees, but it doesn’t serve human relationships today, as it did years ago.

 

Women used their female energy and natural habits of reassurance, listening, supporting, sharing emotional experiences, and bringing out the best in others.  These were irreplaceable skills in the lower levels of a company in the past, but today are being sought in the balance of good human communication and emotional intelligence.

 

For example, women in business have the ability to surrender, give way, and allow things to unfold, rather than feeling the need to control every outcome.   They are influential with others by inviting them to contribute and express themselves, rather than lecture.

 

A balance between male and female energy is a place of absolute strength and absolute vulnerability.  This is the middle way. What this means is to have power when appropriate, yet vulnerability when necessary.  It’s like having a velvet glove, over an iron fist.

 

Today men in positions of power are eager to learn the vocal strategies women have been using for years.  There is definitely a place for motherly love in the workplace.

 

Happy Mother’s Day,

 

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“To recognise fear in yourself and have compassion for it in others.  To have CHOICE, to have STRENGTH, to have GRACE” ~ Patsy Rodenburg, director of voice at the National Theatre.

For an in-depth look into her work, read her book, Well-Tuned Women

A Pat on the Back Pays Huge Dividends

Recognition is the most powerful human motivator in the workplace.  It costs nothing, and pays back huge dividends.

Many people think that money and perks are the best motivator, but money often gets applied to bills, and perks quickly forgotten.  The power in verbal recognition is that is strikes an emotional cord within people, and they never forget how they felt.

 

 “A pat on the back is just a few vertebrae up from a kick in the pants but is miles ahead in results.” —Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

People won’t always remember what you told them or taught them, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel—whether it’s good or bad. There’s humongous power in giving others affirmation. Praise, recognition, and acknowledgment help others feel self-value.

 

“If you want to knock the chip off someone’s shoulder, give them a pat on the back” – Church sign

Whose Role Is It Anyway?

In the workplace, people think praise should come from the top; in other words, praise is the role of management. I disagree. It’s everyone’s responsibility to contribute toward creating the corporate culture in which they want to work. For a positive culture, you’ve got to first be positive. Part of being positive is sharing gratitude for all that’s in your life or workplace. We often overlook what is and instead think and talk about what isn’t.

The next time you walk into your place of employment, count 100 things you are thankful for, and then verbalize some of your gratitude toward the people who created these things. “I am thankful for this security system that I must pass through because it keeps me safe. I am thankful for clean hallways and lights to guide me in.” Those are two. Can you think of ninety-eight more? Everyone on your team can praise one another as well—for example, “The hallways smell fresh and clean today, Joe.”

Catch People Doing Things Right!

Be the one who notices your fellow employees, friends, or family members doing things right, and speak to them about it. You’ll contribute to a very positive corporate or family culture—one in which you’ll want to work and thrive.

 

“Your team members are the co-creators of your dreams and aspirations.” —Napoleon Hill

 

Earn huge dividends this month by paying forward some sincere and well deserved recognition to those in your work family.

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Read more recognition tips here from the Recognition Professionals International website.

Business card sending made easy and affordable.  Try out this service https://www.sendoutcards.com/ptremblay/

Penny’s March Blog Post: Letting People Know Who They Are has a Significant Ripple Effect

Love is a Verb (Team Development)

You’ve heard me talk or read my work about love in the workplace, and how relationships are key to success in business.  When we treat customers, colleagues and managers with love—respect, appreciation, quality service, etc.—relationships flourish, as do productivity, sales, co-operation and more .

Just how do you ‘love’ the people that you spend your days with—especially when you may not have chosen them to be on your team in the first place?  Is it just a feeling you either have or don’t?  Do you buy it, or earn it with service or quality work?

A way to ensure that love lands in your day, every day, is to consider ‘love’ a verb.

Love  is something you do.  It’s the small and big things: the random acts of kindness, surprises, extra support, smiles, conversations, pats on the back, compliments, patience, kind thoughts, compassion, and many other acts of doing something for someone else.

Love is the glue that bonds teams together, and clients to businesses. Love is also priceless—it does not have to cost a cent.  The currency of love is our heart energy.  We all have it, and can tap into it if we open up.

The most amazing thing about love is that the more you give out by doing for others, the more you have left for yourself.  Love is infinite. It has no limits. You never run out; love just keeps growing when you take action on it and give it away to other people.

As we near Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to shower your workplace with acts of love.  Here are some examples of bringing love into the workplace:

1.    Show a customer some special attention by telling them how important they are to your business or organization.

2.    Be open to a change in the workplace that you’ve been resisting, and tell the person who is spearheading the change that you will buy in and play full-out.

3.    Give your assistance to someone who needs help, and tell them that, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, you are offering some special support.

4.    Verbally praise, recognize, or acknowledge someone for a specific thing they do or have done that is valuable to you or the organization.

5.    Wish three people in your office a Happy Valentine’s Day, and tell them why they are so special to you.

6.    Go with the consensus of your team, even if you don’t agree with the direction.  Consensus means that everyone’s on board.  Tell the team that you’re doing it out of love or honour for the team’s goals.

7.    Hold positive thoughts about someone in the office who you know needs some T.L.C. (Tender, Loving Care) at this time.

8.    Forgive someone in your workplace who has done you wrong previously, or ask someone for forgiveness if you have been the wrong-doer, to free you both from the grudges of the past.

9.    Hold that difficult conversation that you’ve been putting off with someone, and approach it with deep listening to understand their side of the situation first.

10.    Have a group hug!

Love in the workplace is just as sweet as candy, has no calories or refined sugar, and leaves a great taste in the mouths of both the giver and the receiver long after its transference.  (Of course, chocolate is a welcomed offering as well, and can be made extra-sweet when presented with a verbal recognition or appreciation of someone.)

Please remember, every day of the year, that love is a verb.  It is something that you do, and it builds and maintains loyal relationships upon which strong business can be leveraged.

To love and be loved is like feeling the sun from both sides.  Best wishes for an amazing Valentine’s Day week!

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“When you love people, you have no time to judge them.” ~ Mother Theresa

Presents or Presence?

Presents or Presence?  What do people want?  Which will you give?

As the calendar year ends, we enter the holy season—the holidays—and magically begin to open ourselves to more giving and more receiving.  When I stop to think about the gifts that mean the most to people, I think of connection, wisdom, acceptance, understanding, compassion and love.

When we can believe in someone, see them for who they are, and understand them to a point of feeling compassion and unconditional love for them, then we can be present with them.  That is the gift that people seek beneath the materialism of good gestures: to be loved, noticed, heard, understood, and felt.

How can your presence be a gift in your world?  In your workplace?  In your home?  Who are you a gift to at this very moment in your life?  What is it that you do that makes you a gift to those people?  Please take time to contemplate your answer.  This is precisely where your presence makes all the difference in your world.  This is where you are the hope, the miracle, the blessing and the love to those who need you the most.

Paramount to being able to give these things to others, we must also be able to give them to ourselves, and receive these gifts by letting them in.  When we strive to be our best, it is a gift to those we love.  When you live in a way that gives people hope, you can inspire them too.  They may think, “If she can do that, then I can do it too”, or “If he has overcome those challenges, then I can strive harder to overcome mine.”

When we lead our own lives and strive toward the highest version of ourselves, we could be bringing even a tiny bit of light into someone else’s darkness—in the form of comfort, safety or guidance.  You may lead yourself in hopes to inspire a certain person who does not follow your lead.  Remember, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.  Don’t look for those you are not inspiring, but instead find evidence of those you are inspiring and stay motivated to walk your path of being their gift of hope, light and wisdom.  Remember that wherever you are on your path, there is someone behind you who has bigger challenges.  Be the gift of presence to that person.  Likewise, there is also someone ahead of you, and that person will most likely be a gift to you.  Receive them.

Motivation seems to come from wanting to get more. The prospect of more money, time, fame or recognition drives us to want to do what it takes to have these things, but permanent abundance and prosperity come from looking more deeply into what you can give to the world.  When asking “What can I give? How can I serve? What are my highest behaviours?”, we find more than motivation.  We find hope, determination, perseverance, and a sense of purpose.

So this season, don’t look for the gift; be the gift.  Don’t look for the light to shine on you; be the light.  Don’t look for the love; be the love.  Rather than looking for the blessing, be the blessing.  Don’t ask for hope; be the hope.  Don’t expect the miracle; be the miracle.

Give your pure presence to others.  There is no better gift.

Blessings for a wonderful Holiday season,

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