Leadership – The Long-Term Investment

Recently, my wife and I were in Chicago with our three grown kids to attend the oldest child’s graduation from college.  As we were walking around the city, my wife reminded me how leadership development is a long-term investment with a lifelong payoff.  Seeing our kids interact with each other, we quietly smiled to ourselves, excited to see how well they treated each other and the other people around them on the street.

Don’t kid yourself, they’re normal human beings, like the rest of humanity.  While they were growing up, they fought with each other over all kinds of things.  Arguments happened among them just like they did among any other siblings.  And, yes, it took them a while to work out the wavelengths that they best operated on individually and as a trio.  But, eventually, they figured it out, and now it’s awesome to see.

Where did the leadership investment part come in?  Every day.  Looking back, it was hard to say “No” when we needed to, and it was hard to say “Yes” when we needed to.  By far, though, the hardest thing was knowing the difference!

We knew how we wanted them to turn out (or at least hoped they would…), so we treated it like a twenty-year investment program in each of their lives.  Meaning, we prayed with them, prayed for them, talked with them, showed them how to live, showed them how to forgive each other, and put the rest in God’s hands.

No, we were not perfect parents.  But, we found other parents who seemed to be doing a great job, and we adopted some of the methods, techniques, perspectives, and attitudes that they used and lived out every day.  Whenever I would lose patience with our kids, my wife would remind me of our overall purpose.  I’d calm down, ask them to forgive me, and start over.

Likewise, we always encouraged them (or reminded them) to be kind to each other, kind to strangers, and kind to themselves.  But at some point, we realized that showing them with our actions was more powerful than lecturing with our words.

A tongue lashing might have caused us to feel better because we vented our frustration of the moment, but what kind of example would that have set?  …Especially when they could then mimic that back to us, being justified by our own example, first displayed.  So, we did our best to teach respect by modeling how to act with each other, showing them with our actions.

Day-after-day, month-after-month, and year-after-year, the investment began showing true fruition of the law of compounding interest.  As Einstein said, “The Law of Compound Interest is the eighth wonder of the world.”  …Okay, he was referring to money, but I’m looking at that universal law from the perspective of an investment in other people’s lives that will multiply into millions upon millions of lives reached in positive ways over the next three or four generations…

I’m not saying all of this as a self pat on the back.  Far from it.  I’m saying this as someone that lovingly looks at three grown kids who have been investing their own love and kindness in others around the world.  And, this is to remind you that all of your own hard work in your own family really is worth it.

Like other long-term investors, we have been seeking a long-term return of healthy future generations, and we still are.  So, instead of a final analysis, this is more of a checkpoint in time.  Now, we’ll help our grown kids map out their own life investment plans for their next twenty years — and beyond.

Let us know if we can help you do the same.

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NOTE: If you like this article, share it!  Adapted from an upcoming book.  For books published, go to www.Amazon.com/author/reep.   Also, find more articles at www.RaisedByAVillage.com

 

Transferring a Winning Mindset

Somebody asked me recently, “How do you transfer a winning mindset from one person to another?”  Short answer: it’s a process.  I wish it were as simple as magically wiggling your fingers next to your head and then pointing them towards whomever you want to help…but, it’s not.

However, it can be done.  Meaning, yes, you can transfer the information, ideas, and perspective from yourself to someone else.  But, there are two sides of the equation: 1) what you give; 2) what they figure out.

To hold up you side of the bargain, you give them the tools, steps, and processes that are associated with the ideas or concepts you’re trying to pass on.  Depending on the topic or situation, you may have to model or show them by example what you’re trying to convey.

What they’re responsible for is to figure out A) whether or not they have the “want to”; B) how to internalize what you give them; C) how to use it as their own.  As they take in your information and figure out how to put it to use, they will grow in the capacity in which they were hoping to.

Teachers can talk and talk until they’re blue in the face, but students aren’t going to use any of the new information until they’re ready to make it their own.  As the old adage goes, “When the student is ready, a teacher will appear.”

Sometimes, people already have the tools or know the steps they need, in order to succeed or grow.  It’s just a matter of timing, so that the realization of having it kicks in.  You may only need to turn on the proverbial “light switch” of their understanding, or simply show them where the switch is.

“What?!  It was there all along?”  “Yep.”   …is a common conversation that people have aloud or in their heads.  So, no, you’re not alone in this thing of realization or learning.

When you give somebody else the tools, steps, and processes for how to do something, they don’t have to be complicated.  Over and over, people have told me, “Just give it to me in plain English.  That’s the best way I learn.”  So, I’ve tried to do that.  It doesn’t always come out that way, but that’s the goal.

Also, tools are just that: tools.  They aren’t meant to be the be-all, end-all.  They’re only a part of the greater recipe of success.  They’re the foundational pieces of equipment that can improve somebody’s chances of success.  The same thing goes for steps and processes.  Nobody wants dozens of steps or a complicated process.  They want it to be simple.  So, translate it in your mind and make it so.

Our minds have an amazing ability to capture information, learn new things, and quickly turn them into frameworks of “Ah ha!” moments.  After a while, those moments will become second nature to us, and we’ll expand that new framework in ways that connect with the other vast knowledge and experiences we already have.

Hopefully, you’ll get to see the beauty of that growth in others, as you transfer your winning mindset to them.

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NOTE: If you like reading Marty’s articles, please tell others about them.  He can be reached at martyjreep(at)yahoo.com.  This article was adapted from one of his upcoming books.  For ones currently published, go to www.Amazon.com/author/reep.  

Also, find more of Marty’s and his sister Janet’s work at www.RaisedByAVillage.com

 

Ocean Calls (poetry)

The ocean calls my name –
It shouts for my existence.
So, I appear before the water’s edge
And walk forward into it.

Likewise, the heavens declare the glory
Of the king above the earth,
And all of mankind knows
The Master rules with love.

Though kingdoms rise and fall,
Capitulation will not bring forth
A resolution of timed response
Against forces that persist and prevail.

Times will seek the heavens’ reach
And draw unto the world,
When kingdoms fall – the all-in-all –
Yet end will never come.

“Shine forth the heavens,” glory speaks,
“And give unto the end.”
We will see the endless round
And start it once again.

Time will pace itself throughout
The rounding of the sun
And all throughout heaven’s hold
Hate will be undone.

Capture not the rising light
But follow where it may
And in its brief beauty short,
“Glory on this day.”

The range of rage will rise and fall
It casts about to grab,
Yet when it finds its wanted catch
It will forever mourn.

Be still, bestow, allow the love
Speak and tell the truth.
When all is told in midday’s breath,
The world will be subdued.

Ancient words do greet us now,
And resting on their souls
Are utterances deeply drawn
From lands that’re ne’er foretold.

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Dancing Among (poetry)

Riding a wave and dancing among stars,
We glide across the celestial floor,
Making our way from center to side,
Back to front, there and across.

Our toes touch down,
Then break away,
Lifting into the sky
Scents of vanilla on paradise.

Music jumps and shines
Hour upon hour
And then slows.
Beats go down,
And bring with them a ventured look.

To the side,
Morning breaks and carries forth its light.
Day enters our minds
Awakens our senses
And leads us on to the next
Opening ridge.

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Stillness (poetry)

Stillness of the moment
Is a welcomed friend.
Lives are calm,
People at peace,
Roads not traveled,
Solitude amplified
Across time and space
To include sounds and feelings.
If you listen carefully,
You can hear the dust falling
From the mantle to the bricks below,
From a window to the floor.
The quiet is gentle on the ears,
A welcomed friend
In the midst of constant strangers.

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Gift of Synesthesia

Synesthesia - picture - final

A few months ago, I learned that a mental process of mine had a long Greek name associated with it.  I set out to discover what this mental process was, who else had it, how it helped or hindered us, and how best to take advantage of what I have come to call the “Gift of Synesthesia”.

Earlier this year while walking into work, a field of rye grass and the leaves on a row of eucalyptus trees were going back and forth in rhythm with the blowing wind.  I stopped and stared because I realized that the rye heads and eucalyptus leaves weren’t just moving – I sensed vibrations coming off of them (stronger than normal), perceived lines and waves in my mind, and heard the whole as a symphony in my mind.  It was profound.

At first, I thought I was imagining things and then realized I had joined their symphony by the simplicity of my standing there.  I was swept along in the movements, riding the waves of motion.  Later that day, I checked again – yep, same sensations.  Then, I started thinking about how I used to see and sense similar things when I was a kid, a teenager, in my 20s, 30s, etc.  I realized it was the same.

In trying to figure this thing out, I researched “sensing vibrations from things you see”.  Came across some articles, which led me to others, which led me to “synesthesia”, which led me to youtube, which led me to an interview with some synesthetes.  One of them closely expressed what I was feeling.  I was so excited that I started crying.  Finally, this thing wasn’t weird!  It had a name!

Synesthesia is basically a blending of the senses.  Some people perceive colored numbers, taste colors, see the entire number line, or see a calendar that rotates in their minds.  For a more complete definition with links and references, check out: wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia.

So, then came the questions, “Why didn’t I understand this thing 40 years ago?!  20 years ago?  10 years ago?”  When those frustrations re-occur, my wife reminds me, “Well, you didn’t, and the past is the past.  But, now you do – so use it to move forward.”

Okay.  Now what?  How do I best use this for the next 50 years?  I’ve been asking around, learning more, and looking into some possibilities.

From what I understand at this point, my synesthesia manifests itself in multiple modalities.  There are lots of different reactions in my head to the various inputs.  Each sense evokes a unique response at times, while some senses constantly blend together multiple things.  Wednesdays are muted-green; Mondays are blue; etc.  Recently, when I was looking through a collection of pictures from a friend, I saw a pink flamingo and “Tuesday!” came to mind.  I know – it might sound weird – but there you have it.

I believe that’s where part of my intense creativity comes from.  I haven’t always known what to do with the artistic words, images, paintings, pictures, poetry, music, and lyrics that have appeared in and flooded my mind over the past four decades.  I’ve expressed some through books, songs, and teaching.  But I’ve filed away many others in my brain, waiting for the right time.  Maybe that time has finally come.

Another example that comes to mind is a car I bought from a friend who was moving out of town.  Carnell smoked a lot and used a particular gel air freshener to cover the smokiness in the red Lincoln.  Every time I got in that car, I told him that it smelled “purple”.  We laughed about it.  But he finally understood what I meant when I discovered that one of his air freshener gel cans had slipped down inside behind the glove box next to the heater core.  So, that thing was just pumping out a deep cherry-purple smell every day!  I finally got rid of the odor in the car, but every time I smell it in the aisle in a store or in an office somewhere, it immediately takes me back to Carnell’s red Lincoln…purple.

Also, if I tilt my head a certain way while looking at the computer screen, some of the letters turn green or purple.  Other words pick up a reddish or yellowish hue around them.  Now, that might just be the lighting of the screen, but either way it’s pretty darn cool.  I tell myself that the letters are all just plain black, and they won’t distract me.

Sounds are especially a hot topic for me – always have been.  So, I’ve carried earplugs with me for the past 20 years.  At parties and sports events, I wear them to take the edge off, yet can still hear conversations just fine.

I tried to talk about this “thing” with others when I was 5 or 6 years old, trying to understand it.   We were out on the playground at school, and the trees and grass across the road were blowing in the wind.  I asked one of the teachers, “Why do the leaves do that?”  “Do what?” she asked.  “That,” pointing at them moving.  She looked at me a little confused and replied, “Well, the wind’s blowing.”  I looked back at her and said, “No, I got that part.  I know that.  But what makes the vibrations come off of them?”  She grinned slightly and said, “You have a very creative imagination.”

After a couple of years of mentioning it or asking people about it when was young, they implied that I was making things up, that I was nuts, or was just being weird.  So, I kept it to myself.  But, it’s still been there every day – just didn’t know what it was.  Now I do.

Since realizing what “this” is, I’ve decided to let it run.  It’s been a very fun couple of months!  I feel like I’m finally me, again.

If you think you may have synesthesia or know someone else who does, I would love to hear about your/their experiences.  You can also find out more by answering some questions at www.synesthete.org .  The site is run by a research lab at Baylor University in Houston, TX.

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Today’s Perspective (poetry)

Perspective sits back
A little farther than normal, today.
Today at the table
It’s about two and a half feet away,
But it looks like it’s miles.
Actually, I know it’s only a little bit –
Instead of far –
But the whole perspective thing,
It adds flavor to the moment.

Sometimes the moment just disappears
Into the oblivion of the past,
But this moment –
It holds my attention longer and stronger,
Because it presents itself as different.

If I wanted to, I could allow it
To change into a perspective
Of Alice In Wonderland:
Shrinking tiny
Or growing giant beyond control.
But instead, I allow it to come and go,
Maintaining a fortuitous hold on its power.
It won’t run wild unless I let it,
And in this case…no, it’s not the time.

Perhaps in the future at some point
It will be to let it go full bore
And take over for a while…
To enjoy the ride it will bring.
But not yet.
Controlled perspective for now.
I know it’s there,
And I can see it across the table
Winking at me.
Yet, it keeps its distance.
We have a healthy respect for one another.
It works well this way.

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