135 Avenue Voltaire
Have you ever walked in the forest at the onset of spring. For me, that’s when I see kindness offered to us by nature. All life is growing and renewing. All colors are bold and dancing as the sun sends loving rays through the leaves and branches.
There is no apology. There is no reason. It just “is“. It makes me think of Kindness.
Kindness has no reason. It has no agenda. It just “is“. When we are kind, we glow. It makes us happy because it is the way of nature. For no reason, we show up to serve. For now reason, we show up to give. And without a moment of hesitation we can step back and vanish into the forest, leaving behind us an energy of service and love. This is kindness to me. It’s not about wanting something back. It’s about giving, just because it feels right.
However we feel insider is what energetically comes with us no matter where we go or what we do. Although each person is bound to go through ups and downs, it is important to know how to maintain a heart balance for the sake of consistent our internal and external presence.
It is not impossible to achieve this balance. Even if it is not something that can be learned over night, through practice, we can make it part of our life. Knowing that nothing is permanent; understanding that all things can change and that we always have a choice are some of the factors that can support us in pacing our hearts and keeping this internal balance.
As we mindfully keep this balance, we also mindfully remain aware of the flow of our emotions. This awareness is the starting point to choose how we want to proceed, what actions we want to take or not, what direction to move to, whether to move forward or not, etc. Knowing how we feel and being empowered to balance our feelings, gives us the opportunity to grow as reliable, consistence and balanced leaders
Right about every new year, most of us make resolutions for the year to come. Most of us declare these resolutions with a lot of conviction. It’s unbelievable that less than 10% of those who make resolutions keep them. So, what happened to the other 90%?
Well, some set the bar too high, others get thrown off by set-backs they encounter along the way or others might just not have the means to keep their motivations going.
I was part of the 90% for most of my life. Resolution were fun to make but neither fun nor easy to keep.
A few years ago, my perspective shifted about resolutions. Instead of making resolutions, I set intentions. This felt more gentle, kinder on my soul and right in my heart.
Setting intentions is a heart move not a brain move. It’s allowing ourselves to tune our actions and plans to be in coherence with our heart. So, the question becomes not what will I achieve this year or this month? But rather, how do I intend to make this year or this month meaningful for me? What makes sense and what would bring joy?
It’s interesting to note that through setting intention, letting go becomes easier. Relationships or activities that we are involved in and are not bringing joy, stick out very clearly. And somehow, letting go with love comes naturally. When we let go what is no longer bringing us joy, we automatically make space for something new to come in to our lives. When we set our intentions to only want positive and high energy vibration interactions, that’s exactly what we end up manifesting. When we set our intentions to live healthier and watch our nutrition, it happens more easily than when we say we will go to the gym x number of times a week and cut out x or y from our nutrition.
Setting intentions is both a powerful and natural way to engage, co-create, co-manifest our dreams in partnership with the Universe. It’s about bringing up to the altar of our place of prayer the pebbles that represent our intentions and asking for blessings. In a way, that’s really all we can do; surrender ourselves and our dreams to God. This is what setting intentions means. It’s a space of co-creation.
We each have unlimited potential and infinite possibilities. It’s important to understand that before setting intentions. It’s also important to understand whatever intention you set, it is in a way received by the Universe. You can set intentions for the year, for the day even for the hour. The best way to set intentions is to find a quiet moment to reduce the noise in our minds, to be in a reflective mode. In this way, we allow our greater self to open and express our intentions from this greater self. What can we be in service to? How can we make the best of this year, this month or this day? What would make us and others around us happy? How can we best contribute to the good of all? Such questions will guide us in creating generous and powerful intentions.
When you set your intentions for the year or for your life, then it’s easy to know what to open your energy to, and what to let pass.
Many years ago, I believed that professional or life achievement would be defined by who we know and who knows us.
And then life happened. One disappointment after another; one let down after another. It brought me to deep reflection that I can only rely on God and my relationship with Him.
I learned no matter who you know, who you think knows you – it is meaningless. It is something that has no abundance. It is anchored in a dimension of scarcity, something that keeps us in a position of deference.
The ultimate connection is to God. Only God knows what will happen in the next moment. Only God knows the dreams we have in our hearts and the worries that burden our nights. Only God knows what our mission in life is. Only God is the defining connection. I have experienced such stress relief with this realization. I can pray and present my dreams, my worries, my thoughts to God without fear. I know He listens. I know He answers in a way that no one else can ever answer. He is the Almighty, a God of Abundance.
My job is not to create for me; but to use my gift in service of God. The challenge with God is that He grooms us and prepares us for life. Sometimes He teaches us through challenges and trials; sometimes He sends us insights that change us forever. No matter what means He uses, we only start appreciating the learning once we complete the learning.
Each and everyone of us is gifted with unique capacities, skills and dreams. There is no duplication. We each have our own path and journey to travel. What we need to do is let go of our obstinate egos and surrender to serve our greater gifts. Just surrender. Try it. I guarantee you that you will feel the kind of quiet and serenity that comes from deep within. A sense of assurance that nothing can shake. This is what opens the path for our unique creativity in our very own voice. It’s magic.
I still work hard as I used to. I still dream and work towards these dreams with discipline, commitment and persistence as I used to. But one thing is totally different.
What is different is that once I finish my work; I let go knowing that my work is done. I will not try to control, trigger or induce results. I let go. I simply let it go. What happens then is that when results come, they come in a very sustainable and strong way because there is no attachment. If results don’t come, that’s also fine; it wasn’t meant to be or it wasn’t time yet.
Working with “Faith” makes us bold. It makes us courageous. We become stronger and kinder. We can leap to our dreams despite the doubt or fear that attempts to hold us down. Despite all challenges and odds that confront us; with “Faith” we shall always overcome !
As much as communication is thought of as verbal, non-verbal, visual, etc.; one key part of communication is Listening. “Listening” is just as important if not more important than our capacity to express ourselves.
Why do I think Listening is more important than expression? Well, because unless what we say or want to convey is received and listened to, there is no point in us talking or attempting to express ourselves. To me, Listening is a gift, an offering we give each other as we engage each other in a conversation. The quality of one’s Listening is subject to one’s ability to offer full attention to the one speaking.
How many times have we been in a situation when someone is talking to us and while we nod to emulate listening, in fact, our minds are far out somewhere making plans, making lists, veering off on tangents, ever where else except here and now attentive to the one speaking. There might be several reasons for this. It is too long to list the factors that detract from the quality of Listening, but in general it can be that the person is Listening is bored, thinks that he already knows what the speaker will say, is preoccupied by other thoughts, has no time to give attention, or simply is too tired to Listen. I am not sure that this is the best use of time and energy both for the speaker and the one listening.
Although some cultures might frown on what I am about to say next, my experience has been that it is much more effective and authentic to speak out as a Listener to tell the person who is talking whether we are in the right mindset to listen, whether we are ready, fit and willing to listen, whether there are other preoccupation that might compete for attention and hence it might be better to re-schedule the conversation. This might be in the context of our personal lives and at times even in our professional lives.
But what if, the Listening is to happen within our work and find ourselves obliged to listen to the one talking. What if we get bored. What if we are tired. What if we are just not interested. What then? In this case, it is important to find it in ourselves the ability to generate energy to give our attention to the speaker, even if we are not in the mood for that. It will be important to find within ourselves the will to find some anchors of interest in what is being said. We might have to set aside our own priorities and competing thoughts to give the one speaking the courtesy of being heard.
As much as it is true that there is not a single human being that has never made a mistake, it is equally true that often mistakes can be blessings in disguise. This is because through the mistakes we make, we have the opportunity of finding the way to more wisdom and more knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work.
Genuine mistakes coming from the fact that we just did not know better are the best opportunities to learn. While such mistakes can be financially or emotionally costly, it’s important to remember that mistakes are part of life and a way of growing and gaining wisdom. The greater mistake would be to create guilt around the mistake and carry that along. The best way to handle mistakes and reap the blessings they bring in disguise is to take action. If the mistake was on a personal level; apologize and move on. If the mistake was on a professional level or incurred financial cost, look back to the steps that led to this mistake and create systems to avoid that in the future, even if this means restructuring working methods or entire organizations. The most important thing is to focus on what we have learned from the mistake and taking action so that it does not occur again.
Such perspective on the issue of mistakes bring yet another gift. It is the gift of expanding and deepening our leadership competence. If we know there are lessons in mistakes, as leaders we are able to apologies. We are able to change our course of action and we are able to free ourselves from the pitfall of being blinded by ego. In addition to this, towards our teams, such outlook allow us to be even more supportive to learning. It allows us to have a team that is willing to be creative and innovative without being shackled by fear and anxiety of making mistakes.
Values and Purpose go hand in hand, one influencing the other. Our values are the life principles that we choose to live by. These same values are then the factors that define the vision we set, be it for ourselves, our families or our organizations. The vision gives us the direction, it brings out the purpose for which we wake up each day. This is what can bring a spring to our step. This is what can energize us when progress is slow or when we enter phases of challenge.
Having a purpose is without a doubt a cornerstone for life. An existence without a purpose, unfortunately, becomes one that passively subjects itself to reality. It is hard to be interactive and participate in what makes life without a purpose, without a direction.Being aware and recognizing our values offers us the opportunity to understand how we think and how we work and with whom we can work and think. Values determine the means in reaching the end result.
For example, two individuals with a comparable goal of financial success would have a different approach to achieving that goal if one has honesty as one of the values s/he holds and the other individual doesn’t. To say which individual is right and which is wrong would be passing judgement subjective to one’s worldview. Both of these individuals believe they are each right because they both work and live to the best of their ability and according to their level of consciousness.
Bringing up the level of consciousness, my question then is what is it that can be done to continuously evolve and expand our own consciousness and contribute to that of those around us? What is then the role of the leaders we have in terms of how they set their own values and purpose as well as influence that of the communities, companies or nations they lead?
Did you know that the way we start our day greatly affects everything we do in life. So many of us start the day in a rush. For so many reason we transition too quickly from being asleep to opening our eyes. It might be a phone ringing, a child calling or the alarm ringing…. I say from sleeping to opening our eyes because having our eyes open does not always mean being awake. It is possible to have our eyes open but not to in an awoken state. Our minds could still be in a sleep drowsy state for hours sometimes for the whole day, unless we take the time to give our body and our mind the time to wake up fully.
Starting the day with time enough to sit in silence is important. Whether we call that time for meditation, time for prayer or time to just be quiet, the morning time we allow ourselves can grow to be the greatest gift we give ourselves. Before our phones start ringing, before our emails start sounding our smart phone, before our partner or spouse or children call on us, we have the opportunity to take 10, 20, 45 minutes or however much to just be quiet. It is a time to be quiet, to be grateful, to pray, to send gratitude, to allow our heart, our mind, and our body to ready themselves for the day. It is a time to make affirmations for the day or even for life. It is a time to consciously welcome this new dawn and along with it recognize that there are infinite possibilities. It is a time to draw strength and courage, to ask for guidance and wisdom. It is a time to actively choose to show up in our greatest possible self, receiving all that comes our way with open arms.
Commitment is of course at the heart of leadership. It is through commitment that we can carry out challenging tasks to term; it is through commitment that we can overcome all sorts of adversities; it is through commitment that we make it to the finish line. However, as much as we ask of ourselves, our teams and colleagues to increase levels of commitment, we must be aware that “unhealthy” commitment can often be an unexpected pitfall.
What is “unhealthy” commitment? To me “unhealthy” commitment is a behavior or a state of being where we hold on so hard and tight to achieving the goals we set, that loose our ability to be flexible. We loose our perspectives and our ability to adapt the changes around us. It could be changes that open us new opportunities or new threats. Yet, regardless of whether it is opportunities or threats when our commitment is unhealthy, we are unable to respond because we remain blinded by what we are committed to.
Unhealthy commitment can also lead to personalizing the goal to “me” as a person. It becomes an axis of identification. This leads us once more to loose perspective and see everything as a measure of our person. If we succeed it is more likely to go to our head; if we fail it is more likely to equally go to our head.
The most powerful commitment is when we are able to be deeply committed and also able to let it go if need be. We are so committed to that we are hoping to achieve that should someone else come along that way that would do a better job than us, we would be willing to hand over the reins, without any kind emotional issues.
The best way I can illustrate it and also keep it in mind for myself through my work, is as follows. Assuming the our goals are a package. The more committed we are to it, the heavier the package would be. If we have “unhealthy” commitment to it those goals, it is equivalent to carrying the package on our “own” back without support from anyone else, and carry it up hill somewhere. Whereas if we are committed without being attached, it would be like carrying the package in water. So no matter how heavy it is, we can carry it. We can pass it to another easily and we are not drained, tired and out of breath from moving this package. Next time you feel that your package is heavy, check whether you are going up hill with it on your back or if you are rather in a pool with your team and colleagues.
Some goals are deliverable and others just fizzle out. There are five points that I want to share with you about Making a Personal Goal Deliverable.
The term “Coaching” is not new per se. It would be reasonable to assume that most people know what a “Coachis; or what Coaching is, at least it is possible to assume that most people have a sense of what it might be. At the same time, it would also be reasonable that many might associate the profession of a Coach to that of a trainer, or a mentor, or even a counselor or therapist. Yet, Coaching is so different from mentoring, from counseling or even teaching or training.
So, what is coaching?
In a nut shell, Coaching is the process by which an individual client or an organization works with aCoach to bring about clarity, deeper understanding and inspiration to achieve a certain pre-established goal. The Coach is there as a partner who listens, asks powerful questions, probes new perspectives, offers tools to shift perspectives, engages in deep reflection to take his or her client through the journey of transformation.
The way of the Coach is not to dictate answers or impose his or her opinion about how to go about the process. Rather, the role of the Coach is to work with the client to source answers and strategies that are already within the client’s realm of being. As a midwife is there to support mothers birth the new baby; so is the coach there to support the client in bringing to this world the ideas and dreams that have been conceived within.
Some individuals are naturally gifted to be coaches and often such individuals do just that in their lives, with or without formally calling themselves coaches. I had the privilege of being under the tutelage of one such great individual, my Grandmother, Lady Almaz Haile-Mariam. Although my coaching competence has been complemented by formal training through my Doctoral Research on Transformation and Change in Human Systems as well as the ICA program and the two year program on Integral Approach with Pacific Integral; I have to say that my core ways of coaching come from what I have learned from watching my Grandmother in action as she coached hundreds of people achieve their dreams. She never judged. She always listened. She always believed in the higher self of all being around her, both humans and non-humans. She always gave her full attention when people came asking for her “coaching” (they would not say coaching, but ask for time to talk). Most of all, she gave her heart and welcomed all as they were fully respecting their dreams and aspirations.
The biggest learning and take away from my Grandmother is that when we coach, we have to be “believers”. Believers in possibility, believers in dreams, believers in human potential and believers in greatness. My Grandmother comes from a lineage of ancient Sages. What I have learned from her, was passed on to her generations back.
And although initially, I had thought I had just learned lessons of life; today I know that what I was offered so generously and what I have learned is much more than that.
May I call it Wisdom, Love, Trust, Peace, Giving, Discipline, Respect, Patience, Tolerance, Harmony…..the list would be too long. So, let’s just say that what I have learned was working and living with Big Heart on the driver’s seat and Witness on the co-pilot seat.
Living with my heart forth and at the same time, being detached enough to be able to witness the unfolding. In my coaching, my commitment is to support my clients in working with Big Heart and knowing how to be a Witness of it all, while at the same time, work is done on this earth in a very concrete and tangible way.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were fully conscious of how you felt. You could hear your heart beat. You could feel the breeze on your skin. You felt the gentle warmth of the sun on your back. And for a moment, there was a sense of gratefulness for what was so in this moment. Maybe you came to be in this state of consciousness through meditation, or it just happened because all things aligned within you and outside you.
Can you imagine how life could if you could sustain this sense of relating to yourself and to that which was around you. Life would certainly be more colorful. It would have more texture. Flavors would be bold. Emotions would certainly be richer. Decision would be more powerful. Reflection would be deeper. In short, each moment with a sense of such consciousness would be nothing short of eternity, allowing us to soak in what is so at the moment while at the same time leveraging this feeling to carry out our lives with greater authenticity.
This is the Power of Awareness. Living with mindfulness gives us the benefit of better understanding both the subtle and the more obvious in our lives. It allows us to know ourselves and all that which affects in positive, negative or neutral ways. Knowing what goes on inside of us, makes our action and non-action be sourced in clarity and authenticity. This is the time we choose words carefully. We language our message out to others and in to ourselves in ways that are constructive full of positive intention. It’s powerful.
But don’t be fooled, Awareness, doesn’t only mean positive outcome. Awareness is neutral. The choice to aim for a positive or negative outcome is ours to make. Someone with negative intentions and established Awareness can very well, use what he or she is conscious of to the detriment of others. It is awareness with well meaning intentions that can generate good around us.
Awareness of our own inner strength, weaknesses, fears and insecurities, dreams and aspirations allows us to better tune our lives to leverage our strength and work on our weaknesses. It is the process of recognizing ourselves as a unique Being, and nurturing our unique gifts that will allow us to show up to the World in all that we are. Showing up authentically is powerful–simply because it is genuine. From this place of authenticity, we can leverage our capacity to live mindfully to navigate through the opportunities and the challenges that come our way. We have the possibility to choose our path in ways that work for us. We can look to others and find inspiration and also know that we need not emulate to be as others are. We give space for our own true-self to emerge. This true-self is powerful, because it is effortless. This true-self is sustainable, because it is that which we are down to our DNA. This true-self allows great socialization with others, simply because that light that shines through will create the energetic field to welcome others into our sphere of existence. It’s just such a beautiful state to be in.
Beautiful doesn’t always mean positive and without problems. Even in our darkest days, Awareness of our inner state allows us to understand what, how and why we feel the way we feel and what we can and cannot do about it. I still find this beautiful, because it is part of the journey of our lives.
Take a moment to be quiet.
Take a deep breath a few times and just let yourself go.
Close your eyes and know that all things are perfect they way they are.
You are unique and beautiful
Powerful to define the path ahead.
What will it be today? Do you choose to enjoy the moment or would you prefer otherwise?
The choice is yours
But what ever you choose, do it with mindfulness.
Do it 100%
Fully aware of your divine self
Fully aware of your power to manifest
Fully aware that you are part of the greater whole
Making Transformation Simple
135 Avenue Voltaire – 1030 Brussels
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