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Diamonds at Your Feet

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Diamonds at Your Feet

Diamonds at Your Feet

When moving through life with awareness, there are gems to be discovered each day, provided you look. It requires you to slow down and see what is right in front of you rather than racing forward to some “better” destination. It takes the willingness to discover what is there even if others may think that you are being silly or impractical. It also may require a dose of childish enthusiasm as it did in the case of our young friend Milan, from Brooklyn, New York.

Milan’s interest in gems began at the tender age of six. What started with digging for stones in the park has now blossomed into a full-fledged passion. Like many children, he was fascinated by a piece of quartz found in gravel or an interestingly-shaped rock found by chance. Then his father introduced him to the field of gemology and now Milan has an extensive collection of books on the subject as well as a small collection of semi-precious and precious gems of his own.

Somewhere in his fledgling studies, Milan heard about an urban tale that sparked his imagination. According to lore, on 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Midtown Manhattan, home to the legendary Diamond District, is a place where you can find treasure. 47th Street is filled cheek by jowl with stores, each more gaudy than the next, hawking gold and jewelry, precious gems and bling, but according to this legend, the wealth was purported to not only be behind the plate glass windows and security systems. Young Milan had heard that if you look hard enough and if you are dedicated to the search, you can find loose stones on the sidewalk itself. He was told that if you take your time, you will find diamonds at your feet that have been dropped by careless couriers or unsuspecting buyers.

A silly notion some might say. Others might scoff at how ridiculous one would look, slowly meandering, nose virtually to the sidewalk. Practical parents might discourage this dream as childish and having no merit. Yet Milan’s parents did not. Both his mom and dad have repeatedly taken him to the diamond district so that he can scour the streets. There he has found two black diamonds, one ruby, four emeralds, six sapphires and fifteen diamonds. His largest stone, a triangular half-carat diamond, has been appraised for $600.

Now at 15, Milan continues to pursue his passion for gems and shiny things and has grown an extraordinary collection. He has also discovered that while finding gems fuels his enthusiasm and creativity, sharing them with others feeds his heart.

We rather doubt that most people have found wealth in the cracks of the sidewalk. It wouldn’t even occur to most people to look. But to us Milan’s childish dream is a gentle reminder to slow down and look at where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing. It is a simple suggestion to go about one’s life with awareness and persistence, for in this moment there are gems to be discovered if only one has the eyes to see.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYCGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here radio show or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment, comes out this November and is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Oh, to speak Zulu

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VoiceAmerica
Oh, to speak Zulu

 

 

It is great being the Real South Africa because we get the chance to meet so many different people.  Today we met a young man who was so excited and wanted to share his culture and language with us.  We told him he had a platform to reach many and he said “I want to do that”.  Check out the short clip of what he said it was interesting.  He was speaking to us about the hit movie “The Black Panther” and how they used the language and how correct it was.  Welcome to South Africa. https://youtu.be/b6dP9azTGFk

One Soul’s Journey Through Time: Remembered Past Lives – With Dena Merriam

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Empowerment
One Soul’s Journey Through Time: Remembered Past Lives – With Dena Merriam

By Dr. Paula Joyce, Ph.D.

 

In a recent episode of my radio show, Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit, Dena Merriam with us about her journey through many lifetimes. These memories came to her while meditating or dreaming. She emphasized that the purpose of karma or the law of cause and effect is to help us, not to punish us. We are on earth to grow and learn how to not cause harm and how to love ourselves and others more. When we see how we keep repeating certain negative patterns over many lifetimes, we can choose to accept responsibility for our circumstances and make healthy self-loving changes. She also talked about how we must learn to listen to our inner self and value the wisdom of our intuitive sense, which is always trying to guide us. There are helpers everywhere in the real world and in the spiritual realm. We just need to ask them for help. Sometimes people enter our lives for a short period of time to help us awaken. When their role is complete, we can let them go with gratitude. To listen to this show, I encourage you to click here.

Dr. Paula’s Tip of the Week

My Tip from my e-book, 33 Tips for Self-Empowerment is: Walk the Labyrinth. Find a Labyrinth in your area, indoors or out, and walk it. Before you enter it, say a prayer asking for what you want to release and receive. As you walk into the center, you will release what you no longer need. In the center, you will hear answers from your Higher Self/God. As you walk out, you will be lighter and move more into your true self. Walking the Labyrinth is a powerful form of meditation. Because it is built with sacred geometry, the space automatically creates a profound connection with your limitless higher self, allowing you to hear messages from the spiritual realm with ease and trust. Because no negative energies are allowed into the space, you can trust that the information you are receiving is accurate. You will have easier access to past lives and your soul’s journey through time. Once you have developed this relationship and trust, it is easier to meditate and connect deeply with your limitless higher self when you are not in the Labyrinth. The Reverend Dr. Lauren Artress, who popularized the use of the Labyrinth in current times, started using it when she was having trouble in her own prayer life. This ancient spiritual tool is a great gift and can help you analyze dreams, release fears and illness and help you get in touch with the deepest parts of yourself. You learn to hear the voice of love, the voice that is always trying to communicate with you and lead you on the path of healing, love and well-being.

Dr. Paula’s Silver Lining Story

A previous guest emailed me recently with news that her new book is out and the testimonial she requested from me was chosen for inclusion. As Kac Young and I caught up, I responded to her questions about my life and the weather by mentioning that I had started painting again and how good it felt. I added that the temperatures were in the hundreds but the good news was that my experiment of setting my silk paints in the midday sun was successful. So instead of laboring with a hot iron, I only had to move my scarves outside to the patio. Her response was: “Of course, you would turn the heat into something positive! You make me want to jump through the computer screen and HUG you!!!!!” And that’s what happens when you learn to see the world from a positive perspective. Without a conscious effort, you naturally spread the love and it even bounces back to you with more love. Quite a silver lining for someone whose glass used to be not half full, but empty.

On June 28th numerologist Alice Rosen came on the show to remind us that the 11/2 frequency of this year is requiring us to speak our truth. She shared how dismayed she was that people were not responding to her Facebook posts asking them to contact their government officials. My own experience has shown me that people are slow to respond and often even afraid to voice their opinion in a public way. We are all experiencing a form of PTSD and responding with fight, flight or freeze. People who are not frozen and are able to speak up, must do so. Just because others aren’t liking or sharing something doesn’t mean they aren’t reading it and feeling validated and grateful. They may even be following Alice’s advice. Regardless, we must continue to speak up. A friend, who was born in Germany, said his mother told him that what is happening in the United States right now is just like the early days of Hitler. We must learn from history and not be silent. What I’ve noticed is that the more consistently vocal I am on social media, the more people are liking and sharing my posts. My willingness to be seen and heard is empowering them to do the same. I’ve also inspired people by creating rules of civility on my page. I remove any posts that are not respectful, which makes it safe for people to express their views. If someone violates my rule more than once, I block them from my page. This has been a gradual process for me to go from sharing no political views on my page to sharing information every day. It became clear to me that the spiritual and the political are inseparable. To not speak up was unconscionable. Whether others liked it or not, I had to be able to live with myself and be accountable for what I did as people’s rights were being stripped away. Every now and then I get messages like these new ones from people who I had no idea were reading my posts. One Facebook friend wrote: “Thank you for your wise heartfelt posts”, and another from Instagram wrote: “This is so great. I have to give you a big thanks for all the good vibes you put out on your Instagram page. You’re inspiring more people than you’ll ever know! Sending those good vibes right back to you. Keep it up my friend.” The truth is we never truly know the full impact of our words and actions. It’s rare to get a thank you. We must learn that every positive thought, word and action does put more love into the world and that we are healing ourselves and the world as we continue to choose kindness, compassion and love. That I can use my voice in this way is a powerful silver lining for me since most of my life I went into freeze mode. The fear of being yelled at or rejected started in a past life when I was literally left alone in the dessert as punishment for voicing unpopular opinions. I brought that fear into this life, and it was triggered by an abusive childhood. That fear is gone now, and I stand comfortably in my own truth.

For Previous Shows Like This:

FREE CHAPTER, THE ULTIMATE CREATIVE PROBLEM-SOLVING PROCESS,  FROM MY BEST-SELLING BOOK, NOTHING BUT NET

To learn more about my unique process that removes hidden blockages, helps you solve your most challenging problems, and achieve success with ease and speed, sign up for my newsletter and receive the chapter as my gift: sign up here

CONTACT DR. PAULA TO SCHEDULE YOUR COMPLEMENTARY 10 MINUTE PHONE CONSULTATION

Dr. Paula, The Life Doctor, has helped hundreds of thousands of people improve their health, wealth and relationships through her writing, coaching, and speaking. Contact her today to get started on your personal journey. Recently Dr. Paula Joyce, PhD was chosen by Expertise as one of the 16 Best Life Coaches in Dallas.

Cell: (214) 208-3533

Email:  drpaula@paulajoyce.com

To learn more about Dr. Paula, please visit her website at www.drpaulajoyce.com.

To hear more shows from Uplift Your Life: Nourishment of the Spirit, please click here.

A Beautiful Day in the neighborhood

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Variety
A Beautiful Day in the neighborhood

This morning we had the opportunity to spend some time at the driving and putting range. We are warming up as summer is fast approaching here in South Africa. Living on a beautiful golf estate with breath taking views are a pleasure when you visit South Africa with The Real South Africa. We invite you to join us and experience the South Africa they don’t show you on media. We enjoy each day here and are excited to show you by way of an all inclusive experience with us, just how wonderful South Africa is. Visit our website for more information. www.therealsouthafrica.com  or send an email for more information to info@therealsouthafrica.com  Click the link to view the video to see just how beautiful our days start here in South Africa. https://youtu.be/OHEKoDV2rv4

The dream come reality

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Influencers
The dream come reality

Our dream to live in South Africa started in 2009. It grew until it became a reality 9 years later. It took grit, hard work, determination and lots of personal sacrifice and we are now here. Living the “American” dream in South Africa. We understand that our dream is just that OURS, yet we are compelled to share our story and our journey with you. After several visits to this beautiful country we made the decision to purchase a home so that we may be continue to deliver authenticity in our personal experiences with you. We invite you to take a peak into our neighborhood and journey as we made the one way flight from the U.S. to South Africa to start a new chapter in our life that we can’t wait to share with you. https://youtu.be/-ZQuwbF4L9A Visit our website for more information and book today. The Blanton’s will be waiting to greet you and share their life to give you the experience you deserve.

 

 

 

FROM LOSING TO WINNING

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FROM LOSING TO WINNING

 

LOSING TO WINNING

“It is a complete honor to have Sonya Jones as a guest on my talk show, Living Within the Sweet Spot, this week.

Sonya was the only female finalist in Season 16 of NBC’s TV show The Biggest Loser where she inspired others to carry an upbeat attitude and to live a life of determination. Sonya shares on the show several of her favorite tips straight from her soon to be released book, 44 Lessons From A Loser, coming out this fall. Find out more on Sonya at http://www.sonyajones44.com/

This episode highlighting Sonya can be found on the September 26, 2018, episode of ‘Living Within the Sweet Spot’ show, which is broadcast live every Wednesday 7AM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel. Archives of Living Within the Sweet Spot can be found at https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2751/living-within-the-sweet-spot.

We start of the show off with coaching on ‘never giving up’, a topic that I knew Sonya would have much to offer. She truly is the perfect guest for this show, ‘Losing To Winning”. It is clear to see that Sonya’s passion for encouraging others to achieve greatness in all areas of their life. In the second segment of the show, Sonya offers the listeners first hand advice, encouragement, and tips straight out of her new release soon to be out, 44 Lessons From A Loser. We finish the show with LIVE life coaching from the listeners.

SONYA CAN RELATE:
Before Sonya’s participation on Biggest Loser, she admits to struggling with self-worth and self- confidence.  Sonya had been overweight her entire life and was determined to make a change. Sonya stood on the scale feeling embarrassed and like a hypocrite at 283 pounds in June 2014. Six months later Jones stepped onto the scale and into the hearts of millions of Americans as she dropped a whopping 144 pounds and had lost 50.88% of her body weight.

WE BOTH INSPIRE YOU TO USE YOUR SETBACKS TO MAKE YOU STRONGER AND TO IMPACT THE WORLD:
Sonya has gone on to receive Security Bank’s 2015 Women of Influence Award, was the 2015 recipient of the Greenville College Young Alumnus Award, is currently an outreach representative for Medical HSHS Group and is a certified John Maxwell speaker inspiring many across the country. To connect with Sonya go to http://www.sonyajones44.com/ You can find the below quote on her home screen which I find speaks volumes about her… simply by her quote.

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Faith Infused Living… Reaches Goals Higher!
Niccie Kliegl RN, CLC

 

Please head to HERE to listen to the show, Episode 9/26/18
If interested in being a guest on VoiceAmerica’s Living Within the Sweet Spot, contact Niccie Kliegl at niccie@nicciekliegl.com.

Doing Well by Doing Good: A Case Study For Technology Solutions

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Doing Well by Doing Good: A Case Study For Technology Solutions

 

This blog post is the companion to the Voice America interview with Dale Meyerrose, Doing Well by Doing Good.  We have been hearing about the topic of doing well by doing good for a few years and the concept sounds good in theory. Many people have asked, how do you put it into practice?

According to Dale Meyerrose, in our interview, his belief that it is time to change how technology leaders think about how they introduce products and think about their work. He proposes that they should start with identifying the greatest need and moving from need to technology solution.

He illustrates his views by discussing the company whose board he serves as Chairman, Imcon International, Inc. On September 27, 2018, Imcon International, Inc., Syracuse University and Republic of Liberia Partner to launch a project known as 40 in 2021, A $150 million Blueprint to Digitally Transform Liberia Through Dramatic Expansion of Internet Connectivity.

The following two minute video provides more information about the project.

This blog post is the companion to the Voice America interview with Dale Meyerrose, Doing Well by Doing Good.  We have been hearing about the topic of doing well by doing good for a few years and the concept sounds good in theory. Many people have asked, how do you put it into practice?

According to Dale Meyerrose, in our interview, his belief that it is time to change how technology leaders think about how they introduce products and think about their work. He proposes that they should start with identifying the greatest need and moving from need to technology solution.

He illustrates his views by discussing the company whose board he serves as Chairman, Imcon International, Inc. On September 27, 2018, Imcon International, Inc., Syracuse University and Republic of Liberia Partner to launch a project known as 40 in 2021, A $150 million Blueprint to Digitally Transform Liberia Through Dramatic Expansion of Internet Connectivity.

The following two minute video provides more information about the project.

Imcon International Inc., the developer of the Internet Backpack, a remote connectivity solution that allows users to be able to communicate from almost every location on the planet, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Syracuse University and the Republic of Liberia will collaborate on a far reaching project that will digitally transform Liberia by increasing the nation’s current internet penetration of about 7% to 40% by 2021.

High ranking Liberia government officials acknowledged “the potential significant value to the country, especially the benefits to be gained by Liberia’s ailing Education and Health Sectors”.

As an integral part of the project, Imcon International will provide Internet backpacks for 6000 schools as well as edgeware, through its partner VMware, to the Republic of Liberia for education, healthcare, rural community and government use, connecting the internet to all schools and hospitals throughout the country. The project includes a project-based learning curriculum through Imcon’s education partner One Planet Education Network (OPEN). Through its partnerships with Humanity.co and OrbHealth, Imcon will also implement a nationwide broadband network dedicated to the nation’s Education and Healthcare system and deploy and maintain Liberia’s first Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system. The newly established non-profit Imcon Liberia Foundation will drive the goals of 40 in 2021. Syracuse University iSchool will lead research, education, cyberphysical network design, and implementation for the Liberia project.

“The Internet Backpack is a revolutionary technology and a groundbreaking solution with multiple applications for use across the planet,” said Mr. Loud of Imcon. “This alliance will dramatically jumpstart our ability to extend our proprietary technology and effectuate positive change for underserved people as well as for those in remote areas without access to standard connectivity. The Liberia project is the first of many projects we envision rolling out on a global scale over the coming months and years.”

“We are pleased to take part in this project with Imcon and lend our technical and research expertise to this important endeavor to increase Internet connectivity across Liberia and other locations around the globe,” said Dean Liddy. “The iSchool is deeply committed to leveraging our academic and scholarly resources to improve the world around us.”

This project is a shining example of cross sector and cross-country alliances to address challenges facing the country of Liberia. It is also an example of how a technology company evaluated their product compared to the applications it could address. They selected education for Liberian children because this application would provide the greatest good to the highest number of people. By looking at the greater good, this company is creating an organization where many employees and partners will engage because they make a real impact on the world. They will not need to offer the artifacts other companies do to motivate employees whose primary role is to make stockholders more money with limited regard for the social impact.

We are certainly not opposed to companies paying dividends and creating value that provides stock appreciation (that is how many of us fund our personal retirements). We do submit that there is an opportunity for more companies to expand or even shift their focus to add doing good to the equation and still delivering strong business results.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Maureen Metcalf, CEO and Founder of Metcalf & Associates, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach whose 30 years of business experience provides high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations.

 

 

 

 

Is this Africa, South Africa?

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Is this Africa, South Africa?

On one of The Real South Africa’s nightly ventures we happened upon this little gem, right in the middle of Rosebank. Rosebank is an area in Johannesburg that is filled with all things South Africa, Food, Fun, Shopping, Fellowship and positive vibes. We stopped briefly for a snack and drinks at this bar inside the Hyatt Hotel, One 9 One. We were amazed by the sights and sounds as we always look for the beauty in this place. The outside oasis is lined with a water feature, palm trees and gas lit fire pits. Enough sounds to ignite your emotional senses. The sounds of the birds that line the trees followed by a slight breeze, comfortable seating and a nice drink all but make you forget that you are in South Africa.

We long for the days where we can relax worry free and everything we see is simply beautiful. South Africa takes us there each day. We invite you to watch our quick video of this little oasis and join us for your own personal experience and peace that is found in South Africa. https://youtu.be/t3o7P_Zanzs  Please visit our website for more information http://www.therealsouthafrica.com and sign up for exclusive deals on travel.

 

 

The Business Case for Diversity

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Business
The Business Case for Diversity

 

This is a guest post by Troy Mosley. It is the companion to the Voice America interview on Increasing Inclusion to Drive Results and Build a Better World aired October 19, 2018 with Troy.

The Information Age has made the world smaller. Technology gives consumers greater access to worldwide markets in seconds. The near real-time accessibility of information brings people closer, sharing and reacting to the same data across oceans. This “smaller world” makes many feel like global citizens and increases market competition. Consumers are now more selective about purchases and  often choose brands that reflect their values over those with the lowest price point.

Businesses that understand this shrinking effect are postured to dominate global markets for the foreseeable future. A key component to selling in dynamic global markets is having a diverse workforce that can connect with this broad customer base. As a twenty-year combat veteran and health administrator I have studied inclusion, diversity, strategic planning and leadership principals, and developed an appreciation for what drives consumer behavior. In military planning circles it is said that “the best way to stop a tank is with another tank.” Similarly, the best way to sell products and services to women and minority groups is to have women and minorities in your R&D, IT, Marketing, and Operations departments. This isn’t just diversity for the sake of diversity, but a varied team of professionals in key positions with the requisite education and training to help develop and implement your company’s strategy.

Nike is a prime example of how to leverage diversity to connect with consumers. In September 2018, Nike launched an ad campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of the campaign and the motto “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick became a household name by refusing to stand for the national anthem before games to protest police brutality and racism. President Trump suggested that those kneeling for the national anthem were “Sons of Bitches” who should be fired. The day after Nike released their ad campaign some costumers videoed themselves burning Nike products. Nike’s stock fell 3% but rebounded to 4.2% by week’s end. Nike’s online sales jumped 25% the following week and their stock is now trading at an all-time high. They had the guts to take a huge risk because Nike’s staff is among the most diverse in the industry. They were able to understand and connect with their consumer base in a way that positively impacted their bottom line.

Women influence 70-80% of consumer spending and make up 51% of the work force, yet comprise only 5.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. This gender imbalance exists in virtually every industry from fashion to finance. The numbers for ethnic minorities are similarly striking. Blacks constitute roughly 13% of the US population, and spend an estimated $1.3 trillion on consumer goods annually, but make up only 2% of fortune 500 CEOs. This lack of representation directly correlates to missed opportunities for increasing market share in a rapidly changing consumer base. So what can an organization do increase its diversity?  Ah, I’m glad you asked.

Steps to Increasing Diversity in Your Organization

  1. Awareness. What is the demographic makeup of your organization? And that of your consumer base? If your personnel generally reflects your desired base, well done, keep up the good work! If your organization falls short on reflecting your ideal base, read on.
  2. Inclusion. This means creating a culture that values diversity and removes barriers that could prevent under-represented groups from fully participating. And inclusion starts at the top. Leaders set the tone for organizations through what they do and what they evaluate. Minorities are familiar with marginalization; they can smell insincerity a mile away. If you are insincere about establishing a culture of inclusion you will fail.

The military can offer many lessons on inclusion. The armed forces ended the practice of segregation in its ranks in 1948, six years before the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education. Women achieved pay equity in 1943 and were admitted to previously all-male uniformed service academies in 1976 when women still needed male co-signers to obtain credit cards. Today, women comprise 5.5% of flag officers (CEO equivalents) and 17% of the total force. Black generals come from a long tradition of women and minorities advancing to the top ranks since the early 1970s. These achievements didn’t happen overnight. They were made possible by a serious commitment to building leadership that reflects those they serve.

  1. Recruitment. If you are unable to find personnel with the perspectives you lack, you may not be looking in the right places. Talent can be found everywhere; opportunity can’t. Often when we think about recruiting, our thoughts immediately venture to Ivy League or other elite institutions. If your search begins and ends there and you still can’t establish a diverse management force, widen your aperture to include paths less travelled. America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) turn out thousands of minority professionals annually.
  2. Objectives, Metrics and Measures. Establish objectives, metrics, and measures to gauge your success before launching your inclusion strategy. Develop concrete, quantifiable goals related to your inclusion efforts and diversity program. Metric development specifically for inclusion is something you may want to consider outsourcing to a consultant who specializes in such work.
  3. Think Broadly. Don’t limit your strategy to the traditional definitions of diversity; give consideration to generational, regional, and socio-economic diversity.

Technology will continue to have a shrinking effect on global markets for the foreseeable future.  A diverse workforce, who are trained, strategically placed within one’s organization, and part of an inclusive corporate culture will become an increasing part of an organizations’ agility, and strategic positioning within markets.  Diversity is not only ethically prudent for businesses, it is a sound practice that yields positive returns.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Troy Mosley is a healthcare administrator by training. He spent the first twenty years of his professional life serving as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He was raised in Jacksonville Beach, FL raised in the 70s and 80s in an upper middle class, predominately white community. He has always enjoyed writing, history, and is obsessed with the ideals of American Democracy, fair play, and inclusion.
He recently published Unwritten Truce: The Armed Forces and American Social Justice.

9 Things You Must Do for Your Brain

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Business
9 Things You Must Do for Your Brain

This is a guest post by Jon Wortmann, executive and mental coach, and speaker. It is the companion to the September 11, 2018 Voice America interview where he discusses Resilience: Don’t Get Hijacked by Your Brain.

Very few of us have been taught how to keep our brains healthy.

We know too many sweets are bad for our weight. It’s easy to remember too little sleep will affect our mood. Every child knows that a Band-Aid is the answer for a scrape or cut. But what about our brains? What are we supposed to do when our minds won’t stop spinning? What do we do when we feel stressed all the time?

Each of these nine behaviors will not only make your brain healthier, they are free and everyone can learn how to practice them.

1. Talk to strangers

The first thing most of us don’t realize our brains need is strangers. As I waited for the airport shuttle after a business trip, I struck up a conversation with a well-dressed, younger man. He had just returned from Dubai, and was in Boston for a gaming conference. I asked what he did. He was one of the world’s top Halo players doing demos at the conference. He was also a travel agent who flew to the Middle East for less than $300. He was writing a book on how I could too. He told me all the secrets. In a 10-minute conversation, I was intrigued, entertained, and already planning my next travel adventure.


Research shows talking to strangers makes us happier
. The why is what’s so important. Our brains are constantly stressed these days by too much to pay attention to. We feel on edge because we don’t know where to focus. That’s simply the alarm in your brain, your amygdala, overreacting. Talking to strangers immediately gives you something to focus on. You get a shot of adrenaline from the alarm because you want to make sure this person is safe, but you also begin, sentence by sentence, to feel incredibly engaged. Suddenly your fear of the new or unknown dissipates and your frontal lobes, which have to fire for your alarm to turn down, are in full gear. You enjoy the novelty of a fresh conversation. And in the future, there is a powerful kicker. You will see strangers as a potential friend rather than a certain threat.

2. Go away

Every brain needs time away. If the simple idea of a vacation doesn’t reduce your stress, consider one of America’s great thinkers. If Thoreau doesn’t leave Concord, Massashusetts and go into the woods, would he ever have become a celebrated writer and environmentalist?

Thoreau was away from his normal routine as a tutor and handyman. And in those two years, he was his most prolific and arguably successful as a writer. You don’t have to go far or spend a lot of money. He was two miles from home living off selling a few crops. But that’s not the only evidence that going away was good for his brain. When you read Walden, you realize being away, he had the time of his life.

3. Reframe everything negative

The third thing you must do for your brain is known in organizational behavior and political science circles, but not often enough in ordinary life. The technique is called reframing. Imagine your boss just yelled at you in front of the whole team. The negative thought that sparks your alarm is obvious: I am a failure. The possible reframes, however, are invaluable in jump-starting the rest of your day and your brain health. Imagine immediately, even in the middle of that scene, thinking, “Well, at least he noticed me.” Or, “That wasn’t fun, but it proves I can handle being embarrassed.”

When you reframe, you make an ugly thought into a positive one. It is not just positive thinking because you can’t lie to yourself and think you enjoyed the yelling. What you can do is think how the experience was valuable. When reframing becomes a habit, your alarm doesn’t have negative memories of experiences to shut you down in the future.

4. Reappraise everything painful

The twist on reframing is called reappraisal. Many thinkers and therapists use reappraisal as a synonym or type of reframing. I separate it here because it is too valuable not to emphasize. Reappraisal is making meaning out of an ugly situation. The boss yells, you think, “I’ll be ready for him next time.” Or, “I didn’t enjoy that, but now I know how to prepare for meetings differently.”

Reframing takes the negative out of a memory and the weight out of a difficult moment. Reappraisal deepens the experience into a learning moment. When you learn, your brain gets healthier because it isn’t afraid of a future threat. The boss will yell again. Now you know you can deal with strong emotion. Your brain won’t forget that you believe there is no moment you can’t handle.

5. Meditate in a way you look forward to

The science on meditation is clear. What’s not for most people is what method to use. Here are three quick options to consider. For at least 12 minutes a day: Sit and breathe, imagine yourself in your favorite place, or repeat a mantra or prayer. Never forget there are many styles and methods of meditation. Don’t meditate correctly; meditate in a way you can practice daily.

6. Transfer blame

Reattribution is the therapeutic technique of exploring alternative causes for events. You spilled the milk. No, someone else forgot to screw the top on tight. You missed a deadline. No, new information means a later delivery to get the project right. You lose your family’s fortune betting the horses. You say to your spouse, “I got bad information.” Obviously, the last example is playful, but in every case where you can take the burden off your shoulders, your alarm in your brain calms down.

This doesn’t mean you don’t take responsibility in your life. It means that certain things we experience are truly a result of causes beyond our control and recognizing that in many instances allows your brain to produce less stress hormones.

7. Find the mindfulness that works for you

Mindfulness is the art and science of being present. Myriad studies have proven it reduces your alarm. Less alarm heightens your ability to manage negative emotion that could lead to disease like depression. Maybe most valuable is mindfulness helps us engage in complex thinking. Want to be successful in the global economy? Your brain needs mindfulness.

The secret to brain health and mindfulness, however, is finding the ways that work for you. For some of us, mindful eating thickens our gray matter where sitting and breathing drives us crazy. Some of us love moving slower where others who can’t imagine changing the pace of their lives. But even fast movers can listen more mindfully to be more present.

The best way to find what works for you: experiment. The forms of mindfulness you stick to are the ones that will make your brain healthier.

8. Leave the crazy people

Maybe not right away, but eventually, you have to take time away from the crazy peopleand environments. This doesn’t mean you leave your spouse at the first sign of trouble. It means that each of us has a different tolerance for drama. If yours is constantly being challenged by the people in your life, you will melt down. Too many meltdowns is a clear sign. When your brain isn’t healthy, it sends stress to remind you its time to make a change.

9. Forgive everyone

It’s simple, and I saved it for last on purpose. In our mad, mad world, this may be the most important thing you can do for your brain, and it can have brilliant side benefits. Studies have shown people who don’t forgive experience more stress and negative health impacts like spikes in blood pressure. The stress reduction with forgiveness, however, produces emotional benefits like less restlessness, nervousness, and sadness. In one study where forgiveness was part of an acupressure technique, participants were even able to maintain weight loss. Think about it this way. If we don’t forgive, we know we experience more stress, and we might even get fatter. Doesn’t that make the choice of whether to hold a grudge or let go easier?

These nine behaviors aren’t always intuitive and they definitely take practice. But even adding one of them to your life will give your brain some relief and grow the good stuff between your ears. Find the first one that seems most attractive and start today. We have the power to take care of our brains.

As a reader of this blog and listener to the interviews, please consider enrolling in one of the innovative leadership online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching through our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills.

About the Author

Jon is an executive and mental coach and speaker. A graduate of Carleton College and Harvard, his books have been #1 best sellers in 22 categories on Amazon. His work has been featured in O Magazine, Elle, The Huffington Post, Fox, Fast Company, and Psychology Today. His three books Mastering Communication at Work: How to Lead, Manage, and Influence, The Three Commitments of Leadership: How Clarity, Stability, and Rhythm Create Great Leaders, and Hijacked by Your Brain: Discovering the Path to Freedom From Stress teach leaders the essential communication, leadership, and stress reduction skills that make them the kind of people others want to work with, and the kind of managers, executives, and coaches that produce teams of leaders.

He began his training career in 2005 with a division of Time Warner, and has since worked with Fortune 500, start-up, universities, and non-profits to improve resilience, executive and board communication, client relationships, and leadership.

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