Browsing the blog archives for July, 2013

Wake Up Call! – Authentically You


AUTHENTICALLY YOU

Fear about your authentic self is an invitation to new life discovered on the edge of your fears.

I spoke at a writer’s conference about fears I confronted in revealing my authentic self on the printed page. A story that I easily shared in public with others was scary to commit to print. It was a common touchstone for most of those in the room as they spoke freely of their own fears.

I could have allowed my fears to hold me back but instead chose to see them as an invitation to a life of deeper connection with myself and others.

I feared that a personal story might be misconstrued or convey self-absorption. What was my motivation; was a story too raw or unresolved to share? Real fears insisting on my attention.

I’ve discovered that when I can tell a story without needing to explain it there is a new authenticity about my life. A new authenticity in connecting with others emerges.

Call-to-Action:

  • Listen to the fears about telling part of your story

  • Engage them and test your story with trusted people

Notice new levels of authenticity in your interactions with others as you become free to tell your story.

Share a story about fears of authenticity here.

How do your stories shape your heart? – Dad, Welcome as You Are

Check out – Reboot Your Life: How to make a New Habit Permanent

Is disillusionment a positive gift?watch Robert’s TEDx Talk

Here are 3 Reasons to Share Your Story

A New Way to Be Human – available at Amazon, B&N and your local Indie book store.

Join Robert on Twitter and Facebook

©2013 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Kindness Today!


KINDNESS TODAY

A simple act of kindness enlivens you and creates ripple effects that you might never know about.

“I haven’t spoken to you in a long time but I often think of you.” Those simple words from a friend at the other end of the phone were a welcome surprise in the midst of a busy week.

Instead of wondering why we’d both been too busy to pick up the phone I chose to be thankful for his kindness in connecting.

It was the kindness of remembering, of making the time to act on it and being present for a conversation as if it was the only thing in the world that mattered.

So will each day be marked for me by taking the time to acknowledge someone with words or acts of kindness; will an intuitive moment be translated into one of doing; will the opportunities to be kind be seized upon or left to wither away? My friend’s kindness is having its way with me as the ripples of kindness spread.

Call-to-Action:

  • Be attentive to your intuition about others

  • Choose to do a simple act of kindness each day

Notice how kindness creates a circle of appreciating and honoring one another.

Share a story about kindness here.

How do your stories shape your heart? – Dad, Welcome as You Are

Check out – Reboot Your Life: How to make a New Habit Permanent

Is disillusionment a positive gift?watch Robert’s TEDx Talk

Here are 3 Reasons to Share Your Story

A New Way to Be Human – available at Amazon, B&N and your local Indie book store.

Join Robert on Twitter and Facebook

©2013 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Sharing in Joy


SHARING IN JOY

Celebrating the joy of a friend’s success is a privilege of love.

For many years I’ve been intrigued by each step of a major project that a friend has worked on. I’m awed by it. I’ve admired his belief in his work when doors once open to it closed. He was elated recently when a major opportunity to presented itself for his project. I was surprised by my mixed reactions.

Would I allow my protectiveness or my joy for him to be what I focused on?

Surely this wasn’t about me? Acknowledging my feelings of protectiveness for him I was able to be present to his gladness.

My joy began to be translated into how I could practically support him for this potential breakthrough. He said to several of us, “The greatest thing you can do right now is love me and share my joy because it feeds me for my upcoming presentation.” What a privilege of love!

Call-to-Action:

  • Be present to the joys and successes of others

  • Love them generously

  • Offer your own anxieties to the Universe.

Notice how you participation in the joy of another expands your heart of gratitude.

Share a story about participating in joy here.

How do your stories shape your heart? – Dad, Welcome as You Are

Check out – Reboot Your Life: How to make a New Habit Permanent

Is disillusionment a positive gift?watch Robert’s TEDx Talk

Here are 3 Reasons to Share Your Story

A New Way to Be Human – available at Amazon, B&N and your local Indie book store.

Join Robert on Twitter and Facebook

©2013 Robert V. Taylor

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Wake Up Call! – Inspired!


INSPIRED!

The qualities in others that inspire me are a reminder to be attentive to what grounds me.

This week I’ve reflected on two people who inspire me. One is an elderly woman who is filled with gratitude for the simplest things in this slower season of her life. The other is the Dalai Lama who celebrated his birthday. His compassion and kindness are food for my soul.

Instead of only being thankful for them I chose to reflect on why they inspire me so greatly.

The gratitude, compassion and kindness they exude reflect the life they choose to live. They each do so in the midst of knowing disruption and turmoil.

It’s resulted in new attention to the qualities I choose to be grounded in. In the bustle of work and daily life I can choose to be swept along or be intentional. My spirit, mind and heart seem refreshed and renewed with this new mindfulness.

Call-to-Action:

  • Reflect on the qualities in another person that inspire you.

  • Be attentive to the qualities that anchor your life.

  • Express thanks for those qualities in you and for the ones that others inspire you with.

Notice how your mindful choices shift your spirit into new gear.

Share a story about inspiring choices here.

How do your stories shape your heart? – Dad, Welcome as You Are

Check out – Reboot Your Life: How to make a New Habit Permanent

Is disillusionment a positive gift?watch Robert’s TEDx Talk

Here are 3 Reasons to Share Your Story

A New Way to Be Human – available at Amazon, B&N and your local Indie book store.

Join Robert on Twitter and Facebook

©2013 Robert V. Taylor

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Nelson Mandela’s Leadership Legacy to Us

Nelson Mandela

This piece first appeared in Huffington Post, July 3, 2013

We have much to learn from Nelson Mandela’s leadership grounded in generosity of spirit, authenticity and moral authority that transcends human divisiveness. Two things stand out about his leadership legacy — his open mindset and the choice to make human calculations rather than political ones.

South Africans adulate his unique transformational leadership of their country. The human family celebrates that, in the particularities of the South African experience, Mandela offered courage and hope to a world too often accustomed to revenge, retaliation, partisan politics, personal gain and lack of vision. It is a vibrant enduring legacy.

During his 27 years of imprisonment for leading the anti-apartheid movement Nelson Mandela was vilified by the South African government as the embodiment of evil. In spite of the prison conditions of Robben Island, designed to crush his spirit, he continued to nurture and expand the vision of the Freedom Charter of the African National Congress which sought a country in which all races would live together in a democratic society.

The attempt to silence and diminish Mandela was an unmitigated failure — a truth acknowledged by F.W. De Klerk, the South African President, whose negotiations with Mandela led to his release from prison in 1990. De Klerk spoke of the moral failure of apartheid’s unjust and cruel divisions.

When Mandela reappeared on the world stage on February 11, 1990 he told the world, “Our long march to freedom is irreversible.” In that moment it was clear he had never left the world stage; he was re-entering it with even greater moral gravitas.

While Mandela’s leadership was marked by a lack of rancor, bitterness or revenge it is useful to think of two constant themes that guided him.

Open mindset leadership. A friend of mine had a private meeting with Mandela several years ago. He confessed his nervousness to me about what to ask Mandela that would not seem insignificant before settling on inquiring about what he had learned about leadership. He was surprised by the response.

Mandela said the most important thing he’d learned is that you have to have an open mindset. As my friend looked quizzical Mandela explained that most leaders rise up through the ranks of an organization and come to office with others expecting that they are owed something by the leader. This, he said, usually creates a closed mindset that leaves little room for progressive or transformational leadership.

In his first year as the democratically elected president of South Africa Mandela provided a clue as to how his open mindset approach would inform his actions. South Africa was scheduled to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the odds were that their own team stood little chance of winning. Citing the pressing problems facing the country, many of his top advisers tried to dissuade him from engaging the predominantly white home team. They were constrained by the closed mindset of the sports paradigm of apartheid in which soccer fans were primarily black while rugby fans were predominantly white.

Mandela chose to engage the rugby team by actively encouraging them to win the World Cup, which they did. His open mindset reinforced his transformational leadership, not by talking about systemic changes or poring over political strategies, but by engaging an entire nation. The entire country was mesmerized by his level of interest in the home team.

Mandela took the race based assumptions and divisions and used them to re-frame a vision of how things might be. He was not willing to be imprisoned in a stultified past. He refused to be confined and defined by the expectations of those who, under his presidency, were part of the new power structure. Courage and generosity of spirit joined together with his open thinking reminding the world of the possibilities of transformative leading.

Making Human Calculations. In the Clint Eastwood movie Invictus, which tells the story of Mandela’s role in inspiring the rugby team, there is a telling moment when one of his advisers warns him to make political calculations about the cost of supporting the team. He challenges that assumption by saying, “It is a human calculation.”

Unlike the dull and politically calculated leadership we have come to expect as the norm from so many leaders, Mandela’s human calculation inspired people to see beyond narrow confines and create a more expansive view of themselves and others.

The human calculation reflects more than just Mandela’s generous spirit; it serves to remind people of the oneness that his friend Desmond Tutu speaks of. It is leadership that refuses to cede decisions to fear and divisiveness, choosing instead to believe in the human goodness discovered in our commonality.

Nelson Mandela is honored to the degree that we embrace the transformative leadership marked by his open mindset and human calculations. Then we participate in the courageous and generous authentic leadership that is his vigorous legacy.

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