While in the Same Storm,

We Are in Different Boats

I was going to blog about the illusion of control, but that will have to wait. You see, an email came to me from an associate that contained a message from an unattributed source. I found the message riveting, as we move through this COVID environment. I share the message with you.

I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial and family crisis.

For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest and time with their mother, father, sons and daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of 4 just received $3,400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 saw $0.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.

–Unknown author

As we navigate our own ships through the storm, may we do so with integrity, understanding, love, tolerance, discernment, and might. 

Mind, Stop Talking to Me, I Can’t Hear the Person I’m Talking To

The mind is a wonderful place…sometimes.  Our behaviors can be triggered by such subtle things that in turn, affect our emotions, judgments and even our reactions. 

I find, that often, as adults, we comply or resist, depending on what is in it for us personally. This assessment is done on such a subtle level and at such warp speed, that it rarely gets questioned or challenged. Yet when definitive statements are made or directives are given, we might suddenly react, rather than respond. We take the statement or directive as a personal affront instead of as a statement to consider.

Our mind is there to protect us. It is built to do so, just ask the paleomammalian or neomammalian brain within. It will tell us when we are being undermined (we don’t want our authority questioned).  It will inform us when we don’t want to engage (this statement I just heard sounds like a challenge). It will tell us when we feel threatened (we don’t want to appear indecisive) etc., etc., etc.

In this COVID-19 abrupt, immediate and for some, extreme changes in day to day life, the need to shelter has led to frustration and aggressive based communication (both verbal and physical, both overt and covert). As you listen to local, state, and federal officials regarding COVID-19 directives, or as you interact with those you are living very closely with right now, use these techniques to become more aware of your response and begin to change how you respond.

Ask yourself if you are reacting to a comment or statement being made. You’ll most likely experience this behavior by having an immediate “reaction” to the comment or statement.  

Next, inquire within, as to what the trigger was that made you react. Then ask yourself, what did this trigger threaten in you in ways that threatened your beliefs, Know your beliefs and values so you can identify what in you can be threatened.  

Of course, it is important to be our best selves. But defending our positions is not what relationship is about. Relationship needs compassion, listening, understanding, and appropriate allowance.

Don’t let your mind overtake your intentions with those you are close to, in this COVID-19 environment. The mind may want you to do what you want, while in society and relationship, the mind has to acquiesce to another presence. This is the environment to understand how to do so (be in relationship) in ways that enhance ourselves and each other. Doing so may be more complex than the effort we had previously been giving it.

So, excuse me mind but I need to say this to you:  Mind, Stop Talking to Me, I Can’t Hear the Person I’m Talking To.

Who is Willing to Step up and Play Big?

I am calling out for a GoFundMe project. But first, let me tell you why I am suggesting this. It seems the government has been doling out a lot of money lately, with more to come. Putting aside politics, it is a phenomenal gesture with, to be expected, guarded questions about the “payback.”  One question I have heard concerns the payback from the businesses agreeing to receive this money. Another question asks how this “bailout” will affect future taxes and inflation. These are relevant questions, for which responses are guarded, whispered, or left for later. That worries me.

I have donated to a few GoFundMe campaigns during this COVID-19 shelter in place and have observed the results and outcomes of these and additional contributions. One was for an alma mater housing its students who couldn’t return home, one was for a restaurant to buy, prepare and deliver food to the stressed and overworked hospital workers, still another for an organization on the frontline of providing shelter to women in transition from homeless to housing. I am delighted to participate but it is not enough. “Who can do enough?” I asked myself.  

There is a giving pledge where billionaires have committed to give away at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropic projects. Now, here is where impactful money resides. Should any of their influencers or they themselves be reading this, I have an idea. Put together a bank for business. Seed it with a portion of your pledge and help those small businesses who need a lifeline. Googling, I discovered that 99 percent of the businesses are considered small businesses-over 30 million; 88 percent of them have 20 employees or less. This “bank” could offer a programs where they become the source that pays back these debts to the government. Have you heard of John Beresford Tipton? He was the fictional gentleman on a TV show, The Millionaire, which you can view on YouTube, who gave away $1,00,000, with no strings attached. We could watch this epic show on our favorite streaming channel. It would eclipse Tiger King.

Business in general, and small business in particular, need to know “someone has their back.” Understandably, they do not trust the government. But they might trust the philanthropist. Who is ready to step up, not by liquidating holdings, but by raising big cash among their peers?

To Keep Trust Thriving, Talk about Trust

Trust, what a loaded word. It carries such weight yet can be broken or withdrawn so quickly. And sometimes, when broken, it cannot be restored.

Trust is a word that I have written about before. Because it is such an important principle, I am looking at it again.

Today, googling trust’s etymology, I see the word strength is added to the word’s origination. Wow, that’s a clue. Strength. For me strength carries an element of integrity to it. When I think of integrity, I am reminded of a taut rope. It has a lot of integrity as it cannot be broken…not easily.

Trust is something felt and perceived so qualities and behaviors that enrich feelings of connection, accountability, reliability, strength, and safety are included in a feeling of trust.

But a disagreement on trust can arise when my definitions of the aforementioned words are different than yours. My sense of reliability may be different than yours and that difference can break trust when I do not meet your definition of what trust means to you. Perhaps, for you, reliability is measured in time: you trust someone who shows up on time, whereas for me, reliability may be built on an attitude of making things comfortable whereas time is not on my radar of what constitutes trust. But your trust of me can fade when I am “late” because, for you, a sense of time is embedded in your framework of trust.

While trust can be so personal while, at the same time, be universal in its application, it is important to ask those with whom you have relationships where trust is an important element, what trust means to them. Doing this can give you the framework of what trust means to them, how it is expressed, and how they see it in others. When you talk about trust, you can build the qualities and behaviors that are necessary to keep trust a pillar in your relationship and you can support each other in keeping trust active and believable.

Trust is important to talk about to keep it thriving.

Wisdom Informs Knowledge

I’ve been thinking about wisdom, knowledge and fact. I wanted to understand and differentiate between the three, for the purpose of clearer contextual engagement.  My thinking has led me to the following about these three concepts.

Wisdom is not knowledge and knowledge is not always fact. And facts are not always fixed, static or absolute.

Okay, so if that is what they are not, what are they? My understanding informs me that wisdom is clear and correct insight, like a revelation Wisdom, in action, applies that which is most suitable, most just, most appropriate at the right times. It is the ability to measure, discard, keep and reveal appropriately. 

Knowledge is derived from the process of experience, learning, and understanding. Knowledge is bestowed upon those who study and who test who distinguish and discern. Knowledge, in action, separates the meaningful, relevant, and important.

Fact is visible as an event, a thing done, an occurrence, achievement or thing evidenced. Facts, in action, are used in data compilation, data research and in providing evidence when appropriate.

Okay, now that we have that taken care of what motivates me to even bring this up? I find, in conversation, it is important to distinguish between the three, so opinions and points of view can be more easily understood. For example, when it is raining outside, I can point to the observation of the action. That is a fact. That the phenomenon is rain is based on knowledge.  Wisdom applies in knowing the purpose of the rain, what it is best suited for and whether or not to act on the knowledge of “rain” and how I share this information and whether I share it.

Wisdom is a behavior I encourage my clients to explore. To do so requires one to reflect, to discern, to examine life from a purposeful and value centric way as wisdom encompasses our values and is feeds purpose. Although wisdom can be confused with knowledge, evidenced by the phrase “I know” so easily spoken, wisdom is not knowledge. Wisdom involves illuminative insight.

That’s what I’ve been thinking.

A Mighty Thank You

When I think of you who have been affected by my blogs

I see shimmering stars light my path

When I think of you who have focused on stewardship

I am touched by a commitment to best practices

You, in your dedication to a richer and more meaningful life

Make me smile from ear to ear with joy

I applaud your commitment to lives and legacies that matter

May your commitment to 2020 give you the capacity to see far!

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged, Is That It?

Judge not lest ye be judged, right? Well, not exactly, but I’ll explain more in a minute.

Twice, recently, I had people cancel appointments with me. I understand that can happen. I have done it occasionally myself. The question I have about it is the firmness in making that appointment to begin with.

It is very important for me to keep my word, as this speaks to a value I hold in high regard. My words carry meaning and intention. This carries through to making appointments. I make them and commit to them. Occasionally, this can create a problem when other possibilities come up that, in my mind, I would rather schedule than that other appointment I already made. But I do not casually reschedule. If I really want to reschedule. I will ask the person with whom I made the initial commitment if we can reschedule. If they cannot or do not want to, I will honor the agreement we made. It was made first.  I do not always see that reciprocated.

Now, back to judge not lest ye be judged. Well that is not always the entire sentence. There are periods, semi colons or commas in various translations of this phrase. The full (or next) sentence reads: Judge not lest ye be judged; for what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measure to you again.” Think about that! I can play by that rule.

So yes, I am affected by rescheduling me. It speaks to me of integrity and commitment. I judge by that.

3 Keys to Keeping Your Life’s Battery Charged

It’s important to keep a car battery in good condition. I know because my car wouldn’t start the other day. My Mazda Miata summer car had been patiently waiting, through the rainy winter, to take me out on a warm sunny day. And of course, with the top down! Well, that didn’t happen.  I went to Ahura (the name of the Miata), to start it up. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Not even the headlights flickered. I didn’t understand, as I had just purchased the battery the summer before. It didn’t have a lot of time on it.

I think you are understanding the problem a lot faster than I figured it out! When I got into the car, and put the key in the ignition, I thought: “This is going to be a fun ride.” Ha! I soon learned that a car battery needs to be “exercised” at least every two weeks to stay viable. I did not know that. Now I do.

How does this relate to living a meaningful life?  You think, because you exist, that “things” will work out in your favor because you want it to.  Life has conditions and like a battery, life has best practices that need ongoing “exercise”, for best results.

When you feel run down, energy wavering, unmotivated, or floundering, it may be that your life’s battery is rundown. What can you do to recharge it?

First, you want to know what is truly important to you: not the things that are important, but rather, the values and principles that you live by and stand for. Are they responsibility, commitment, security, humor, integrity….? Take the time to know yours.

Second you want to know what your purpose (aim, intention) in life is, using your values as the principal components to define your purpose.  Along with defining your purpose, you need to determine your mission (releasing your purpose). Together, these provide the target (purpose) and the springboard (mission) for action.

From here, you determine your goals and objectives, add your timelines to them and set times to review, edit, and tweak.

Just like keeping your car battery in good order, you can keep your life in good order.  It is merely a matter of knowing how and following through on the best practice actions. 

You may not even know there’s a problem until there is a problem with your car or life battery. Now you have tools to help you recharge your battery.

If this sparked a thought or inspiration for you, write a comment. Let me know what you think on recharging your life’s battery. I would love to hear from you.

Learn Where Life and Money Intersect for Money Mastery

I received a call from a gentleman who was referred to me. He was concerned about what his kids would do with his money, once they inherited it.

He told me he spent fifteen years building a company that he sold to another company for a generous profit. He said this new cash and stock infusion was significant to him. It represented an achievement he had worked hard to gain. He knew that the money was enough for he and his wife to live on and enough for his kids to benefit from but that’s not what he wanted the money to do. “I don’t want the money to provide so much security that life becomes a series of reality tv like experiences for my two teen age kids, caught up in the moment without any particular drive or interest. They’re already putting pressure on us about increasing their allowances and buying them new cars. It’s gotten tough on my wife and I to deal with this without feeling resentful.”

As our conversation continued, he revealed that money was never given to him as a child. He had to work for it. His wife also never had a lot growing up although she was given her parents’ car when she was 16 with the knowledge that she would have to turn it over to her brother when she was nineteen and he was sixteen. They couldn’t understand or appreciate their children’s covert and overt demands for money.

After a couple of meetings to understand their concerns and objectives, we decided to put together a 3-part financial program for the family. The first section was the “Financial Conversation.” This gave the kids an opportunity to express what money meant to them, their experience with money and what challenges they had with money. Their parents could only ask questions if they needed clarification on what was being discussed, not questions to judge or criticize. Then the parents had a chance to talk about what money meant to them, their experience with money and challenges they have faced with money.

Doing this in an environment where each participant felt like they could say what they wanted without fear of reprisal or judgment was crucial.  Each member came away from that meeting with a greater understanding of what money meant to themselves and to each other. This created a bond between them which we are now using in an exercise which involves an experience around money that the kids are doing as a team. They will report on their outcomes at the next meeting.

It is important for life and money to intersect so they can support each other rather than conflict with each other. It is critically important to do so in families where money matters so money and life can each be talked about with understanding and purpose rather than with judgment and directives.

When Trust Wavers…

Family dynamics can be challenging at times. I am reminded of a situation where one family member, a sister, asked her brother why they had stopped talking to each other. Silence was her reply. After asking the same question a few times, and getting silence as the repeated response, she got up from the table and left. That was the last time she engaged in conversation with him for years.

Her family had a history of mistrust. Behind the scenes, there were not so subtle attempts by most family members to influence the remaining parent in directing how and to whom her assets should be dispersed.  Family gatherings were polite and casual as family members placated their elder mother in hopes it would rebalance her estate plan in their favor.  The sister witnessed this behavior and chose not to participate in it, thinking that having a well-mannered relationship with all would prevail in the end.

Years later, after their mother had passed and the will was read, this sister, who had forged an independent life for herself while still reaching out to her siblings, found she had been completely omitted from any estate distribution; no assets, no jewelry, no books, no mention, no nothing. It wasn’t the assets she felt she deserved, it was the omission of her in any way, that hurt her.  She felt like she really did not need to be there.  It was embarrassing to feel that she really wasn’t part of the family. The brother, who responded to her in silence years before was the executor or their mother’s will. As the sister later learned, there had been some underhanded tactics used to try to convince the mother of one sibling’s family’s “wonderful” intentions while undermining the intentions of the other siblings.

Family members, as trust wavered, found ways to undermine ones that had weaker positions in the family while elevating themselves. It destroyed the family harmony. After the mother’s passing, and will was read, lawsuits were filed, letters of betrayal were found, and the family was destroyed.

Is breaking trust and family discord really worth it? IT is a tough question to ask and very important to consider, when cordial harmony mask darker intentions. People will rebuild family units but consider how much stronger a family can become when trust and harmony are nurtured.