Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

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Transcending the Illusion of Success ~ Thriving in Heart-felt and Hard-won Truth

“It takes courage to endure the sharp pains of self-discovery, rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ~ Marianne Williamson I can hear my mother’s concerned voice now: “Vincent, how is your business going? Is everything okay?” My mother loves me dearly, and like many moms, she worries about her child, perhaps more than other moms do because of where I came from, and how I have chosen to travel a highly unconventional route. It wasn’t long ago that I was living below the poverty line for four years, desperately holding onto a dream that was slowly slipping from my grasp. I knew I wanted to be a speaker—to travel, leading groups deeper into […]

Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

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Why Kids Need to Question, Not Conform ~ Unleashing Creativity and the Rascal Within

“Creativity is an act of defiance.” ~ Twyla Tharp My mother will tell you that when I was a child I asked “Why?” a lot. My inquisitive nature was more than just a simple childlike curiosity, though. I was provocative, bent on challenging the facts of life, eager to question conventional thought and practice. Like many kids, there was a little rascal in me who wanted to be different, have a voice, and say No. Little did I, or my mother, realize that this rascal had a larger purpose—to forge a path that brings new thought and possibilities into the world. Questioning is a natural and necessary part of any change process. Asking “Why?”, wondering, imagining, dreaming new dreams, engaging in healthy open discussions, and […]

The Moonlit Forest Path of Inquiry ~ 8 Questions to Nurture the Heart and Creativity of Children

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The Moonlit Forest Path of Inquiry ~ 8 Questions to Nurture the Heart and Creativity of Children

“Who am I?” “What is the purpose of life?” “What brings me joy?” “What are my gifts?” “What really matters?” “What do I know for certain?” “What is it to belong?” “What is it to love?” To nurture the Heart and Creativity of children, we must travel down the moonlit forest path of inquiry asking ourselves the eight questions listed above. These are not questions many of us were encouraged to explore, and so the path may seem dark, strange and unfamiliar. And yet, what are the consequences of a society that only travels 100 feet, a few yards, or stops at the trailhead? How might our reticence impact how we perceive ourselves, life, how we treat children, what we deem as being important? And what […]

6 Keys to Walking the Creative Path ~ Overcoming the Illusion of Perfection

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6 Keys to Walking the Creative Path ~ Overcoming the Illusion of Perfection

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun.” ~ Mary Lou Cook There are many excuses, or stories, we use to postpone what wants to emerge from us and take shape in the world: my creative offerings need to look / sound a certain way; people need to like them, like me; no one will purchase any; I can’t make a living from it; I don’t have time; I need to study more; my offerings need to create aha moments, invite transformation; they need to change the world! They need to be perfect! Because so many of us have drown our creative instincts in self-judgment, it can take a great deal of self-awareness to recognize our limiting stories; and […]

One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

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One Simple Question to Help You Avoid Misunderstandings

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci Assumptions and misunderstandings are a natural part of relationships. Communication is, after all, complex. Like relationships, it is not straightforward. There are plenty of reasons why we would mishear or misinterpret what the other person is saying, and veer off our desired course of discourse. Here are a few… 6 reasons we misunderstand “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” ~ Bob Talbert Skill deficiency – Few of us have ever received communication training. We have been taught how to spell, count to 10, and to know who shot whom in 1910; we have been trained to run a database, create a business plan and file a […]

The Courage to Speak Your Truth ~ 5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Voice

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The Courage to Speak Your Truth ~ 5 Steps to Reclaiming Your Voice

“Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” ~ Barbara De Angelis This may be you… At some point in your life you made the decision that it was no longer safe to speak your truth. In your early years, speaking up led to a scolding from your parents, or worse. Their censure caused pain and engendered a belief in you that speaking up would create even more pain. This belief compelled you […]

Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

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Give People Something to Play With ~ Enrolling Others into the Spirit of Yes And

The more you give people things to play with, the more they can give back to you, and the world! When you practice the Spirit of Yes And, you discover how easy it is to make people smile in the simplest ways. Their smile opens them up to their heart, and more fully allows them to give back. I was standing at a grocery checkout line waiting to purchase a whole pie for a potluck, when an elderly lady in front of me turned around and said, “That looks like a yummy pie!” I was happy! She was inviting me to play! “Yes it is,” I replied. “I plan to eat it all myself!” Grin! I passed the ball back to her. And then she smiled and laughed. I […]

20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

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20 Questions to Enhance Conversations ~ Moving from Yes to Yes And

There are some people who Yes, and some who Yes And. When we share something about ourselves with others, some people respond just by saying, “Cool”, or “Great”, or “That’s interesting.” They offer some form of acknowledgement. That’s the Yes of Yes And. And then there are those who offer an acknowledgment, AND then ask a question that further explores what we shared. They say, for instance, “Wow, that’s fascinating (Yes). What was that like for you? (And)” We love it when people show genuine interest in us. Whether it is simply a check in to see how our doctor’s appointment went, or a series of questions, it feels good when people are genuinely interested in us. It feels like the person cares about us and our […]

Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

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Speaking on Behalf of the Relationship ~ Creating Safety & Openness in Conversation

Beware! Saying “You” in conversations can be dangerous! We all know what it is like when someone says to us, “You need to…”, or “Why are you always…?” It immediately puts us on the defensive. Speaking on behalf of ourselves is effective. Saying I, Me, My, and Mine helps people stay open to what we are saying. But so does speaking on behalf of the relationship. Recently I had a conversation with someone that left me feeling confused. Instead of saying, “You confused me,” I said, “Our conversation confused me.” By using the word “Our” I point to the relationship. I, of course, could also have said, “I feel confused,” and that would have been fine as well. Other examples of speaking on behalf of […]

Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

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Nobody Gets to Be Wrong ~ Designing a Safe Space for Creativity and Expression

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” ~ Ornette Coleman Two things that block our self-expression and creativity is the fear of judgement, and the weight of expectations to do things the “right” way. We hold back in team meetings and other kinds of relationships, fearful that we will receive a disparaging response. A guiding principle for communication that can help mitigate negativity and fear, and create safety for creative self-expression is Nobody Gets to Be Wrong. Imagine conducting all future meetings and general dialogue with this principle in place. What would the implications be? All ideas are welcome Freedom to playfully experiment and get messy Less thinking and more spontaneity More ideas shared […]