Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

As the Paradigm Shifts #S: Sacrifice

by Rosie Kuhn on August 30, 2011

I grew up in Michigan in a large Catholic Family in the 50’s and 60’s. I was taught that sacrifice was the price you paid to get into heaven. In service to this I let go of my wants, needs, thoughts and feelings. What I was left with when I hit my 30’s was pretty much an empty shell of a being and became, to some extent robotic – exclusively looking outside myself for commands for me to follow. I was terrified to think, feel or act on my own volition. Having never been given a copy of the blue prints or the How To Manual for being me, I had no idea what course to steer to get to my true north. Over decades I taught myself how to listen to my internal wisdom and practiced checking inside myself, retracing my steps (from before I could even walk) to rediscover my fullest expression of myself.

In the name of Heaven we make incredible sacrifices. The question is – what is Heaven? More importantly in the context of this series, what is Heaven to you? How will you know when you’ve arrived?

Given that we are talking most specifically about spirituality in the business, I suspect that each one of us has maneuvered into our current roles and positions because to some degree we are wanting to create heaven on Earth, especially when it involves the fact that we spend at least one third of our lives in this environment. What have you sacrificed in order to be where you are right now, in this moment? What I’m really wanting to know is – have you sacrificed the right things in order to have what you currently have? Rarely do I use the word right, so I’m obviously on the way to making a point!

On Tuesday, I spoke to the San Francisco Professional Career Network. These individuals are in the process of once again becoming gainfully employed, however many of them are up against some very stiff resistance (the R word, remember?). Not much different than many of us, they experienced rejection, trauma, abuse, neglect and humiliation in their previous work environment, and as they move in the direction of employment, something stops them. What stops them, and appropriately so, is the memory of what they’ve previously sacrificed for what they thought would provide stability, a role that contributed to the growth and development of their company, as well as a sense of personal and professional fulfillment. They are now having to choose to choose what to choose in service to what it is they want. This time they have the opportunity to choose what to sacrifice from a more conscious perspective.

Everyone has to make the choice to sacrifice that which they are willing to sacrifice: Health, family, personal fulfillment, creativity, integrity, financial stability, trauma, stress, abuse – each of us has our price.

I’m suggesting that maybe what we’ve sacrificed isn’t worth the price. This is a huge spiritual issue for those who have come to believe that financial stability will create happiness. The current global economic circumstances are indicating that, that may be an inaccurate assumption. The wounding that has occurred – that we’ve allowed to occur for the sake of financial viability for many has cost them their lives, their families and their dignity. I don’t think this is working very well – do you?

I’m guessing that when searching your internal database you’ll un-conceal regrets and lost dreams that were sacrificed for what at that time seemed like the appropriate or only choice to be made. All of us have these regrets and losses, yet until we come face to face with them and the emotional well of powerless and hopeless that has never been mined we will continually repeat the circumstance – just different environments and we’ll never allow our essential self to guide us to our fullest expression.

It makes sense to me that many of those individuals in the San Francisco Professional Career Network are balking at returning to the corporate environment. It makes sense to me that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their souls for the almighty paycheck.

Not all work environments are dysfunctional but the fact of the matter is that too many are dysfunctional. My belief is that because most of us were raised in families where dysfunction played a huge role in how we come to see ourselves, how we value and treat our selves and how we choose to choose what we choose, we can’t help but create environments that reflect the same.

I believe that each of us has come to this planet to fulfill a very specific life purpose. My job is to support people in choosing to choose to live into that purpose – fearlessly. This conversation definitely includes the question “What get’s sacrificed?” It also allows evidence to speak for itself; “Has it worked so far to give up what is most essential to your BEING and to you living your LIFE PURPOSE?”

This line of questions emphatically points to the dilemma and what we do in this dilemma. The dilemma is a choice-point where most of us choose to choose NOT to choose, thus experiencing a quality of life that feels stuck, lost, paralyzed, trapped, confused, depressed. SIGH! I know of no one who is allowed the “get out of jail free card” and doesn’t have to actually choose when facing the inevitable choice-point: Now or later – it’s up to you!

I don’t wish this moment on anyone, however, the inevitability of it is what it is. I can’t convince or cajole you to take me seriously. I only encourage you to feel into your heart and soul and reveal, discover and acknowledge your own evidence, your own truth and your own wisdom to know what is yours to do.

Enjoy the exploration!

Flexible Focus #57: Unlocking the Box of Perception

by William Reed on June 9, 2011

A recurring theme in the Mandala Chart is the use of frames for flexible focus. We have looked specifically at themes such as Finding Focus in the Frames, and Inside the Lines. One of the benefits of flexible focus is mental health and resilience.

We refer to a frame of reference, the belief system or perspective which frames our perception and values. Reframing is a core concept in psychology, both in the ability to reinterpret a problem as an opportunity, or the ability to listen to differing opinions with an open mind. It is one of the principles behind meditation and hypnosis, where silence and suggestion reframe the way we see and experience the world. Reframing is what moves our mind in art and in advertising.

Leonardo DaVinci frequently would draw the same object from at least 3 different perspectives. We should not be so quick to think that our current perspective is the only one. This folly is magnified when we try to impose our limited point of view on others, whether it is through education, propaganda, or persuasion.

Reframing is the shift in perception when our eyes play tricks on us, such as with optical illusions. It is the magic behind the magic eye and other stereograms, where 3D images are embedded inside a 2D image, sharply revealing themselves when you look at the picture with eyes slightly crossed or through special glasses.

All of this can be great fun. It is also used by some optometrists as a means of exercising lazy eyes, reducing eye strain. The importance and effectiveness of exercising your eyes is supported by the Bates Method and other approaches to improving vision. There are even yoga exercises for the eyes.

Making the Mental Leap

Scientists, artists, and inventors develop the ability to change perspective in visualizing solutions and solving problems. In business and training, creativity is encouraged through games that help the group achieve a new perspective. A great compendium of such games can be found in Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers, by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo.

What the Mandala Chart can add to this potent brew is the ability to be both creative and orderly in the frames. We have seen in the article on Assessing Your Situation with a Mandala SWOT Analysis how it can add new dimensions going beyond the 2×2 matrix.

Here is an additional way that you can use the Mandala Chart to multiply your mental powers.

Start with a 3×3 Mandala Chart, fill in the surrounding frames, and leave the central frame empty. This is used to capture insights you gain by cross-matching the ideas in the 8 surrounding frames. You could also write out your ideas on 8 notecards and arrange them in a box formation, leaving the central area free. Label your ideas A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, in the manner of the Mandala Chart, but instead of viewing them in a static arrangement, see what else you can discover when you combine them in creative ways.

You can look at rows, columns, or opposites on any axis. You can move cards to new positions and get a new perspective. Substitute new ideas for a potentially limitless range of perspectives, but always within the 3×3 framework. It is the blend of spontaneity and discipline which sparks your creativity. Create a new card for any hybrid idea that comes from mixing and matching elements in the square, but instead of putting the new idea in the middle, set it aside to leave the central frame open for additional offspring of your ideas.

Try to create at least 8 new ideas from this mental cross-pollination, and you will get a sense of the power of the process. Just as in nature, some matches are better than others. Not all combinations work, at least until you are able to make the mental leap and find a new perspective.

Remember that each idea looks different in the light of another idea. Extend this to the art of creative conversation and collaboration, and you truly have a magic key to unlock the box and discover the infinite idea treasures within.

A simple strategy for a good life

by Vijay Peduru on September 3, 2010

There have been lots of books written about changing behaviors like avoiding procrastination, having good relationships, eating less food but in almost all cases, these won’t work. These won’t work because the behaviors are like stems in a tree, if you cut down a stem, they will come back again after some time. Instead we have to attack the root. We humans behave differently and see the world differently by the stories we deeply believe in.  In other words, if you examine the story (root) and change it, the behaviors shifts effortlessly.

Here are a few examples

Parent-children Relationship Stories

If a parent believes the story “that kids cannot be trusted fully and will never listen to us”. Right from a young age, when the parent says something and the kids don’t listen, they shout and make sure the kids listen to them.  When the kids go to school, there will always be clashes. These clashes will continue through out the parent’s entire life till the parent moves on to the next world.

What if the parent looks at his story and says… Let me change it. Let me believe that “Kids can be trusted, if I am trustworthy to them”.  Now the scene shifts and s/he will always be open with them and s/he will make sure that the kids can trust him always with anything, now the whole 50-60 years of the parent’s life will be very rewarding.  I have personally seen examples of both kinds of parents and I am sure you have seen too. The only simple difference is both strongly believed in a story.

Entrepreneur Stories

Richard Branson and Warren buffett believed the story that “life and business should be fun” and so, they choose a profession which they loved. Steve Jobs deeply believes in Zen philosophy which shows up in all of apple’s products (simplicity).

Our life is completely governed by the stories we deeply believe. Most of the times we never know that these stories dictate our life i.e. they are hidden to us like a blind spot while driving.

So, how do we recognize our stories, whenever we are frustrated or things don’t go the way we want, we can stop and say, this is not working the way I want “because”. Whatever comes after the “because” is the story we choose to believe.

We can choose to believe in a different story.

Welcome! to the first post in the Change Management Series. This blog is a simple user’s guide to a change management map, compass, and navigation method. We will look at their make-up and how they work. Later blogs will go deeper into how they work.

In leading your company through change you have a lot in common with Medieval explorers who studied their maps and ventured into the unknown: On the edge of the known world cartographers wrote, “There be dragons!” The environment is exciting and scary. Like those explorers you need your own map, compass, and navigation method in setting a successful course through an ever-changing environment.

Introductory work helps since the three tools have a surrealistic aspect and take some getting used to. There are two reasons for this:

  1. The tools function as a set. There is no one lead tool. Working well with one requires familiarity with the other two.
  2. The simplicity of the tools can be deceptive. Leonardo da Vinci’s statement, “The sophistication is reflected in the simplicity,” sums it up well. There is much that needs to be taken into consideration and balanced. Progress isn’t linear and at times it can be frustrating. It’s not enough to see it all. It has to be seen differently.

Similar to early explorers, by keeping a steady eye on the goals while being persistent you can succeed…with the risk of becoming totally lost ever-present! The risk is worth it.  The success is not just more of the same. It is a success that is different in kind. A whole new frame of mind emerges.

Those Medieval explorers broke out of the Middle Ages and helped lay the foundation for the Renaissance. That’s the type of change you and your organization can make. Break into the unknown and thrive! Besides, you know that death is inevitable with standing still. So let’s begin.

The Map

In complex, changing environments the map is like something out of Alice in Wonderland. It is always changing. Anytime someone does something the shape of the map changes. The terrain is dancing – never sitting still. Just look at Napster and the music industry terrain. A student writes a peer-to-peer file-sharing program. Traditional CD music sales drop. People become used to getting only the songs they like. The iTunes store appears and legitimizes some of the change to the music environment. The terrain just keeps on dancing. Having up-to-date terrain information is critical. Now, here’s the most important point in making and using maps: everyone in the organization becomes part of a sensing organism watching and listening at different frequencies, feeding information to everyone else, and updating the map. A rigid, top-down, command-and-control approach will fail.

The Compass

You have a map, know where you are and where you want to go. Moving towards the goal requires the organization to orient itself and track its progress. A compass is needed. Like any compass it has 3 components:

  1. A stable reference point- a magnetic north;
  2. A device pointing consistently towards the stable reference point as position changes – a compass needle;
  3. An indicator of the desired direction of travel – the arrow fixed on the front of the compass housing or the front of the ship.

In a changing situation the “magnetic north” of your executive compass comprises your values and beliefs. They need to be rock solid and visible to all. As the organization moves on the changing terrain this stable reference will help them orient and decide what the next action should be.

Your compass needle is the consistent aligning of actions with values and beliefs. As the terrain shifts you modify your behaviors to hold your bearing and stay on course. Those around you shift their behaviors accordingly. You can be trusted because you are walking the walk.

The compass arrow is the plan. It points the way. This plan is tied to the map and changes with the terrain. How fast the plan changes is critical. If the plan changes too fast and too frequently the organization drifts aimlessly. If the plan remains unchanged while the terrain shifts it becomes irrelevant. So, like something from a Salvador Dali painting the arrow changes with the terrain.

The Navigation Method

Moving on an ever-changing terrain requires unique skills and traits. A complex, changing situation has a unique characteristic, i.e., there is no one best path to get to the goals. Rather, there are multiple paths and some are better than others, for now, on this terrain.

Instead of marching in a straight line there is probing in different directions to see what works. Tactics change with the landscape. Where there once was a hill there now is a flat surface and movement is now unobstructed. The organizational structure shifts accordingly.

Here’s an example. Social networking increases the speed and simultaneity of disseminating information. Some organizations are adopting a more distributed structure where the speed and accuracy of local responses to customers’ requests increases while everyone maintains needed connections within the organization. In complexity theory this is called complex adaptive behavior.

Navigating towards goals in this manner requires a constant evolution. Here is where things can again become surreal with another unique characteristic of navigating a complex terrain surface. Taken to the extreme, the goals themselves can change if the organization is to survive. Monsanto shifted from being a supplier of commodity chemicals to being a biotech firm. It saw it was on a barren terrain and jumped to another!

This is not for the faint of heart. In fact, one might wonder why anyone would work this way and how the organization holds together. It has to do with the compass. By publishing your values and beliefs team members can compare it to their own. If they see a fit then they align their behaviors with yours. This is the glue that holds everything together as the organization goes through the stresses and strains of working towards the goals. It is called self-similarity.

Think of a couple bringing the first child home, then the second. A promotion occurs. A recession hits. Their lives can change in ways unimagined. It’s the self-similarity, the alignment of beliefs and values that holds them together. The organization continues in an almost constant state of flux.

In the next blog we will look deeper into the structure and operation of an organization undergoing change.

This introduction to the tools of change management can be taken further. In addition to being beneficial in business I find it quite fascinating. If you do too, send me an e-mail at or visit