Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leadership, Belief and Consistent Actions

It’s important that leaders be consistent in their actions. In this post I’ll explain the connection between our belief system, our intellectual nature (or mind) and how we physically interact with the world around us. You’ll see that our beliefs influence our mind, which provides the faith we need to perform in this material world.

My earlier posts identified the effects of positive and negative core beliefs. These beliefs influence our responses to life and either help or hinder us as we experience life’s impartial events on a daily basis. Notice that the concepts of belief and faith relate to our immaterial nature. That is, we can't see, feel or hear them; but they’re recognizable just the same. Our beliefs are interconnected to our faith and our faith, being part of our intellectual nature, directs our physical body and its interactions with the world and people around us. Let me explain.

Our physical body is a complex, finite organism. It’s completely neutral and is easily influenced by our intellectual nature (henceforth called the mind), which consists of our conscious and subconscious mind, our will, desires and emotions.  Many call this our “Life Force.”  

Our brain (functioning as the CPU of our body) processes information from either our five senses or our mind. Based upon the input received our brain initiates electrical signals that, by way of our central nervous system, cause physical responses in our bodies. It’s important to note that our brain cannot differentiate between real or imagined input.

For example, take a minute, close your eyes and imagine biting into a sour lemon or taking a bite of your favorite food. In a few seconds your body will respond as if the imagined food were actually present. This mind/body connection exists and is real? Our mind can make us sick or help keep us well.  However, as we all know, everything in this physical universe rusts, grows old, and fades away. Our physical bodies are no exception.  

The point is that our body, being neutral, serves our purpose for a finite time. Our purpose during this timeframe is whatever our mind tells us it is. If we believe that our purpose is to be a doctor then our mind will create images to which our body will respond. If we believe our purpose is to become a body builder then again our mind will create images to which our body will seek to adhere. The cool thing is we can change our mind and purpose at any time. However, changing our purpose too often is not helpful and oftentimes leads to stress and confusion.

If you are consistently struggling with your response to life then l suggest that your mind and belief system may not be properly aligned. An aligned mind and belief system allows you to respond to life in a synchronous and coherent manner, which helps you to “Walk Your Talk”.

In summary, leaders are being watched/evaluated all the time. Effective leaders should lead in a purposeful, consistent and coherent manner because their followers must be able to trust them and their responses to life.

If you as an individual or group need help in creating this leadership style then feel free to contact me and let’s see what we can work out. Thank you and God Bless! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Leadership, Tough Decisions and Our Inner Voice

While discussing “The Law of Cause-and-Effect” in my last post, I commented that we should listen to our “Inner Voice.” Since then I’ve been asked a number of questions about this “Inner Voice” and whether or not it really exists. Let me share a few thoughts and an experience with you.

Although there’s quite a bit of scientific debate on this subject, all I can say is that this voice exists for me. Let me tell you why. One day during the midst of several days of continuous around the clock air operations aboard the USS Midway, I was assigned a mission scheduled for a midnight launch and a 2 AM recovery.

As was my custom, I obtained a weather forecast of expected conditions during the launch, along the mission route and in the recovery area. This forecast was for marginal conditions (with rain showers and low visibility) during launch and recovery.

Two hours prior to launch the pilot and I briefed the planned mission. This particular pilot and I had flown together only once previously and had not yet developed the coordination necessary (in the cockpit between crew members) to land a high performance, twin-engine, two-seat tactical jet aircraft aboard a moving target in marginal weather where the deck moves vertically from 0 to 16’.

After the brief I went to the maintenance shack to review any open maintenance gripes on the assigned aircraft. This particular aircraft had some open air conditioning and radio issues that could not be duplicated with the aircraft on the ground. These gripes meant that there was an increased possibility we could lose radio communications at any time during the flight.

Now let’s take a closer look at this picture. I was about to fly in a marginal aircraft, in marginal weather with a person whom I had not developed any “carrier” confidence. On the other hand, up to that point, or any time since then had I ever turned down or refused a flight or mission for any reason. But now, for the 1st time in my life, I heard a voice telling me to “down” this aircraft.

My sense of pride told me to complete the mission but this inner voice kept telling me not to go. I finally listened to my inner voice and downed the aircraft for mechanical reasons. However, that's not the end of the story. During the 2 AM recovery in the midst of the forecasted marginal weather, one of the landing aircraft had a ramp strike. In this case the aircraft struck the back end of the carrier (the round-down) and burst into flames. Luckily the crew (whose ready room we shared) was rescued.

This was the first time I ever recognized my inner voice. I've learned that its function is to guide us safely towards our goals and ultimate life’s purpose. "It" truly knows what's best for us. However because of free will, we choose whether or not to listen to or obey it. This voice can only be heard in the present moment and can’t be heard while our mind is focused in the past or future. It must also be discerned from other voices competing for our attention and can be easily drowned out by all the “stuff” going on in our life.

In summary, let me unequivocally say that this voice exists and is available to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank you and God bless.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tough Times Part 4, Are You at Cause or Effect?

In my last post I introduced the concept of “The Law of Cause and Effect” which simply states: “We choose how we experience life.” Nothing more, nothing less! We can either choose to be at cause in life by taking charge of how we respond to those “not so nice” circumstances that enter into our lives or, we can choose to be at the effect of life by allowing these same circumstances to manipulate us and dictate our responses to them.

I don't suggest that we go around seeking these “not so nice” circumstances. Quite the contrary, I suggest we concentrate on bringing our best efforts to life at all times. But when these unwanted circumstances appear (and they will), I strongly urge that we embrace them fully. Let me provide you with an example.

Growing up in Chicago, I had very little reason to learn how to swim or go near any body of water larger than a bathtub. However, immediately after I began training to become a Naval Aviator I learned that I had to pass a very rigorous swim test. Had I known this earlier, I never would’ve applied for this program. As far as I was concerned, water was for drinking, bathing and cleaning stuff.

The problem was that I really, really wanted to become an aviator and couldn’t avoid this test that stood squarely in the way of accomplishing this goal. Then what I will call “The Miracle” took place. My mind suddenly switched from being fearful of this test and seeking ways to avoid it to embracing it and seeking ways to pass it. Rather than having “tunnel vision” and focusing solely on avoidance I relaxed and began to see a number of ways to successfully deal with my problem and pass the test.

After embracing the idea of learning to swim, I began looking forward to being in the water. It wasn’t easy but for some reason I didn’t mind the hard work. I finally passed the test on my second attempt and went on to earn my “Wings of Gold”. It was a sobering experience that provided me a lifetime lesson.

I successfully dealt with life’s “curve ball” by choosing my response to it. The alternative was to blame the system, curse the darkness and walk around with a sense of impending doom. Since then I’ve learned to do my best at all times, accept life on life’s terms and totally embrace any circumstance or situation in which I find myself.

What’s going on in your life? Do you ever find yourself in unpleasant circumstances or situations not of your choosing? If so, I urge that you stop resisting and totally embrace them by becoming one with them. This is done by learning as much as you can about your situation, spending time in prayer, meditation or deep contemplation (whichever works for you), and then following the advice of your “Inner Voice”. The circumstances in which we find ourselves truly don’t matter. It’s how we deal with them that count.

When we change our way of looking at a problem we take power (become empowered) over the problem. It’s important to understand that “We are far greater than anything we have ever believed ourselves to be”. We don’t ask too much of ourselves, we ask far too little. Stretch your wings and fly. Take back your life! Are you at cause or effect?