Posts Tagged ‘courage’

humility courage discipline“What do I do when overwhelmed and projects pull me in several directions?” That is a common question. The short answer is, “Practice humility, courage, and discipline.”

Humility is simply appreciating where the boundary is between what I can do and what I can’t do. When on the “can” side get to work focusing on success. When on the “can’t” side see if help is available within the time frame required. If that help isn’t available then it is time to either cut scope or extend the schedule. Another way to state humility is, “I have a place in the universe; it just isn’t at the center.”

Courage is risking action (or being still) when there are no guarantees the desired outcome will be achieved. This doesn’t mean the outcome can’t be achieved. Rather, it is about breaking into new territory and getting away from “same-old, same-old” behavior. Courage can also mean taking action when there are insufficient resources and attempting to get political movement by pushing on power brokers.

For example, risking building a prototype of a product you just KNOW the client will want and doing this BEFORE there is any commitment. “Taking a calculated risk,” might be another way to describe the exercise of courage. Keep in mind; this is different than being foolhardy.  When someone is foolhardy they throw caution to the wind. With foolhardy, think of the firm with no depth that mastered PowerPoint and then was at a loss as to what to do once they win the contract.

Discipline is what brings it all together. There are two ways to define discipline and both are relevant. The first definition is: know your area of expertise and how best to apply it. Practice, practice, practice.

The second definition ties back into humility. You must be able to maintain a sharp focus and broad view simultaneously. Imagine you are a surgeon and want to save the patient. The decision as to whether or not to operate goes beyond your ability with the surgical techniques. It is critical to consider whether or not the patient might die while under anesthetic.

This all adds up to wisdom, the ability to find a balance point among all the principles when the rules are either absent or fail to point in a clear direction. There’s an old saying that sums the challenge of the situation well, “Success comes from experience which comes from failure.” There are no guarantees but without trying you’ll never know. Remember to breathe and take a calculated risk.

As the Paradigm Shifts #T: Turbulence

by Rosie Kuhn on September 7, 2011

To state the obvious, there’s no question we are living in turbulent times. The winds of change are creating upheaval and instability, leaving chaos and confusion in its wake. The almighty dollar upon which we’ve built just about all of our institutions, including religion, as well as a sense of security and stability is rocking and rolling like those areas around the planet that are experiencing earthquakes. Everything is getting shaken up.

In the workplace, job security is getting to be a bankrupt concept. And, if you manage to keep your job, most likely you’ve taken on the work of those who have lost theirs. More stress and fewer fulfillment.

Naomi, a client of mine in San Francisco used to love going to work every morning. Now, with a new CEO pressuring the very small staff to produce way beyond their capability, the strain is such that she experiences overwhelm, frustration and, what we normally call depression. “What’s the point?” Naomi asks, rhetorically.  “I used to love my work, but now I’m thinking of leaving. It’s all too much?”

As a sailor who crossed the Atlantic Ocean, I could see the changes on the surface of the water that tells us whether we’ll be experiencing turbulence or calm seas. We could see miles off in the distance any sea change that was coming our way. We could prepare appropriately and settle in for any turbulence.

Though I fly frequently, I am disconcerted by any turbulence we experience in the air because it is invisible, generally speaking. I look out the window intending on discovering that which is the catalyst for my discomfort. As an analogy, I find that these instabilities we are currently experiencing is much the same; where or what is the instigator of all of this turbulence in all of our institutions, our solar system, in the Universe at large? I find it fascinating!

The invisible catalyst is a known entity to those who know. For most of us though we feel victimized by the unseen forces that have wreaked havoc to our lifestyles, our sense of security and stability. We are losing our ground of being that we thought was us! Every aspect of life is getting a good shake up. The question I pose is what is our role in this shake up? How do we be with the devastation of our life paths that lay in ruin? Is there a way to create stability in an unstable environment?

Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide!

In any work environment, each of us brings with us, on a daily basis, a sense of un-assuredness. And, with that comes stress, worry and perhaps a less then calm and serene demeanor. We feel helpless and powerless in the face of these turbulent times. Like Naomi, the heads of institutions are bringing in the sails, battening down the hatches, throwing access baggage overboard. We are always wondering if today is the day that we walk the plank.

So what’s the solution? Well, since, on a spiritual level, there is no problem, then there’s no solutions required. What is required is remembering who you are in the first place. Who were you before you were a business person, a member of a cultural or religious tradition; before you were a man or a woman? It takes a lot of sifting through the myriad identities that we’ve overlaid upon our essential nature, however, by remembering who you really are, you come to find the calm sea within, realizing that, like Shakespeare says we are merely players on this stage we call THIS LIFE. We can leave the behind our roles, identities and characters. In doing so we come back to the “me” underneath it all.

I googled spirituality in business, again, and found more articles and blogs that share the degree to which business people are engaging in spiritual conversations in the workplace.  I’m not making this stuff up, attempting to convince you of the paradigm shift within which we are immersed. I am encouraging you to see how disempowered you can believe yourself to be in this moment, or, you can cultivate awareness and awaken to how empowered you are to empower yourself and others.

Our business institutions are the spiritual centers now. It is where we practice the essential truths of our religious and spiritual traditions. Its where we practice acceptance of what we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference; its where we practice compassion, for there but for the grace of God go thee; it’s were we deliver ourselves from evil for the sake of well-being of every being on the planet as well as the planet herself; its, as Mahatma Gandhi said – being the change we wish to see.

Turbulence? You bet. It gives us the opportunity to discover clarity of knowing there is nothing to fear but fear itself (I’m so grateful for all of those who’ve created these incredibly wise statements.). Discovering, recognizing and acknowledging this Truth is essential to the journey. With this in mind, enjoy the adventure!

This thanksgiving I am giving thanks to the Tribe that came together to help me conceptualize and write my e-book “PINK and Grow RICH“. This e-book came out of my conversations with many successful leaders. While I was speaking to them, I felt something totally shifted in me – a sense of purpose. Why did this happen? I have no idea. But I knew that I wanted to bring to the world their insights so that others can feel the same “sense of purpose” that I had experienced.

Why this is a BIG deal?

Well! this eBook came about when I had no idea how I will connect with leaders and get their time to share their insights. I wanted to know what it took for these leaders to get where they are today. And so I reached out to my network if they would be willing to connect me with someone they thought was a leader. The first connection was  VP of Sprint, I spoke to her and she shared her insights. I asked her if she knew other people and she pointed me to three new people. It was a matter of time that I had spoken to 30 such cool people. And it was the gift of connection that the Tribe shared with me to get access to these leaders. The Tribe was motivated by the common goal and that is the essence of every Tribe.

So, after endless cycles of compiling the information and weeks of writing… the e-book is finally ready and launched on Active Garage under the new Resource section. 

The fascinating thing is that this e-book is a product of social media. All the introductions were virtual, the production of the eBook was virtual, the distribution is virtual and even the delivery is virtual. In this world, we are no more limited to physical or geographical limitations to collaborate and that is why the social tribes and social media are a force to reckon with…. the question that beckons is:

Are you ready to be in the Tribe?

Who in the Tribe should read this book?

  1. If you see yourself as a person who has one valid reason for not to be who you could be from all the possibilities in this world, this simply means you have become REASONABLE and this e-book is for you. You will get an UNREASONABLE Rule Book that outlines 11 UNREASONABLE RULES for success.
  2. If you are someone who does not seem to believe that you have the characteristics of a leader. This eBook offers the 6C Framework – 6 Common characteristics of leaders. This will help you unleash your leadership potential and become responsible for your dreams.

So, get your Thanksgiving gift soon and share it with people who you want to help live a life of their dreams.

Forget Project management. Let’s talk Project leadership!

by Himanshu Jhamb on September 10, 2010

I equate managing to something that is not fully expressed. It leaves out that something, that edge that is needed for getting you across the finish line. The difference in what you do is simple, the result is transformational.

There is a difference between managing the project versus leading the project. Leadership is out there… it screams responsibility and accountability. It is about reaching out and getting what you need to get the job done, fearlessly. Management usually turns out to be working with what you have and making the best out of it (whatever that means!). Leadership is about creating solutions, management is about figuring out solutions. The difference is simple, the result is transformational.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not going all critical on project management. After all, it wouldn’t do me much good if I criticize my own bread and butter, now would it! My point is simply that project managers need to essentially become project leaders. Once you get that distinction, the landscape of what needs to be done suddenly transforms (and so do the results). From personal experience, I spent the first few years of my project management….errr… managing projects. Then, I realized that what I was doing was not doing full justice to me or my client(s)… that realization was the starting point for me to take action so that I lead my projects and not only manage them.

That introduction brings us to the purpose and genesis of this series. Over the subsequent posts, I will share my journey of how I transformed the way I did things in various areas… and I will share the challenges, the fears & the situations I had to face and how I overcame them (some successfully, some not so successfully) with personal examples. Like any other sharing, the real fun and value lies in engagement. The real learning will BEGIN only when you participate in this conversation. So, if you like (or for that matter, dislike) what I write, I invite you to participate, regardless.

To give you a little preview, here are the topics I plan on touching in this series. I will keep adding more depending on what comes to my mind and the level of engagement we reach.

  1. Unforgettable Kickoffs
  2. Relentless Planning
  3. Courage vs. Stupidity: The thin line
  4. Bidirectional trust
  5. Community of Help
  6. Anticipating Change
  7. Kick Panic
  8. Fearless Negotiating
  9. Improve your Improvisation skills
  10. Navigate like the conductor

Enjoy the posts!

Character and Personality #7: Courage

by Gary Monti on August 17, 2010

Tiger Woods’ difficulties with his swing and Mark Hurd’s (HP’s CEO) inability to fill out expense reports correctly could have a great deal in common – complexes. With Tiger there was admission of adultery repeatedly with different women. Hurd’s situation was different and a lot more bizarre since he settled out of court for sexual harassment in which there was no sex (this was validated by the woman who was the victim and accepted the settlement) and which did not meet HP’s criteria for sexual harassment.

However, he did spent $20,000 on the woman that was mis-reported and could have been a clerical mistake by his assistant since nothing apparently happened. Is that clear to you? If it is, let me know how you figured it out.

In a very public way they both show how trying to succeed simply by ego (the parts of the psyche that have been developed and are the basis of initial career development) has limits and the desire to be complete (integrate the parts of the psyche pushed down to please others) as Self will, when denied, erupt and wreak havoc without any regard to the consequences. In both cases it was sexual indiscretion (or at least in Tiger’s case since Hurd didn’t really do what he settled out of court for and over which he left his job as CEO of one of the world’s top computer firms.)

The bigger issue is the repressed parts of the psyche yelling, “Hey, over here! Ignore me at your own peril!”

Is there anything unique about how they both are behaving? No. As we go through life we all experience the same self-sabotaging behavior in some form (which doesn’t have to be sex) at one time or another. So, empathy is the order of the day for both gentlemen.

A healthy leader embraces his/her complexes and actually works to provoke psychic integration. Most of us, though, step away from doing this proactively due to fear over loss of security, position, control, power, money, or something else to which we are clinging. The belief is it is easier to just keep on doing more of the same hoping that it will work for us as it has in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Refusal to listen to and address those noises coming out of our psychic basement can have disastrous results. For most of us, though, it feels easier to just do something equivalent to turning up the stereo and drowning out the sounds, hoping those things that go bump in the night will just go away. When we do that those entities in the basement just get angrier and stronger. They combine to form what Jung called complexes. Eventually, these complexes break down the cellar door and burst onto the scene. Usually they time it when we have company present; company important to maintaining our hold on what feels important. A real train wreck results.

A term used for these embarrassing situations is “acting out.” A complex sweeps over us and we become a bystander watching the strange behavior play itself out. That is what Woods and Hurd have done – acted out. A common response in trying to repair the situation is to pretend the complex isn’t there and diminish the significance of the problem. The dark cellar is avoided. Ego-based behavior continues until something technical is done to try and stay off-topic, e.g., get a new coach to work on one’s swing. Sounds nice but if the issue is due to a complex, it will just sit there nudging Tiger with every attempt at swinging correctly until the healing occurs.

An Inside Job

A recurring theme throughout these blogs is what occurs in the business world is a reflection of something going on internally. Hurd and Woods exemplify this. In line with this it is sad to see HP’s response to the situation (but that is fodder for a later blog on honesty). So, if the business, career, etc., is to be saved what’s the answer? Save yourself rather than the things you want to cling to. Do it proactively. Do it daily.


When Woods spoke publicly for the first time after the car accident and coming out of rehab he spoke with wisdom and humility. He owned having drifted away from himself and others and believed the solution was returning to his Buddhist roots. He nailed it! Does everyone have to be Buddhist? No. What’s needed is finding a path that leads to opening the cellar door and inviting those scary entities up into the light to integrate into a life in community.  The big surprise at that point is seeing there was nothing to be afraid of and those hidden parts are actually quite powerful and beautiful! In line with this, good book that is a simple read is “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron.

There is one caution, though. You could find out there is a need to do something different, requiring a letting go or transformation of the things being held onto. There’s no way of knowing without taking the journey. The one guarantee is NOT taking the journey will insure the loss of those possessions. This is one reason why I put such a heavy focus on risk management.

Change Management

So what are the implications of all this for business? Here’s the big secret.  The piper has to be paid. There is no easy road. Smart money bets are on the leader that not only opens but takes off the cellar door and works to be complete.

Is this difficult?


Can there be pain associated with it?


Is it rewarding in terms of becoming happy, trustworthy, competent, and capable of being a good team player as well as a leader?