Tag Archives: leadership

be an example

Be an Example

“The master is content to serve as an example

and not impose his will.” – Tao te Ching

Good day to you! Before you read any further, let me start by saying that if you believe the above words to be true, you will get a lot out of today’s blog. If you don’t, then hit your “back” button, and hopefully, I’ll have something wiser for you in the next segment.   🙂

This saying really resonates with me. The teachers in my life with the most profound effect taught me with their examples and not their words. I remember my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Kirby, whose passion for Texas history drew me into wanting to learn about the early days of my home state. Recently, my son’s martial arts instructor taught me through his example how to raise my expectations of discipline and polite manners from three-year-olds while still having a lot of fun with them. With perfect form, Master Kim delivers a front kick to a training bag, and while he doesn’t expect his littlest students to do the same, he DOES expect them to listen respectfully to him and to work hard.

Just as these words apply to humans, I believe they apply to The Creator, too. I believe The Creator serves as an example to us in many ways:

  • Plants and trees are The Creator’s example of teaching us patience. All flowering and growth happens at just the right time, in the right season.
  • Young animals and children are The Creator’s example of teaching us to treat life with wonder and a playful attitude.
  • Storms are The Creator’s example of teaching us that the toughest of situations do not last very long, and then there is peace afterwards.
  • Birth and death are our strongest examples of The Creator teaching us about change and transition, a recurring theme in our lives on Earth.

Does The Creator, the ultimate Master, impose His/Her will? I don’t believe so. I believe we have free will, that we will live much of our lives in expected ways because we are human, and that The Creator wants to be a partner in our lives. Hoping for us to consult with Him/Her and imposing His/Her will are very different from each other.

Namaste,  Sheryl

Superstars, Part Two

This is the second half of a two-part blog. If you’d like to read (or re-read) the first half, please click here.

To summarize, The Creator is speaking about the need for us to rise to the top of our respective fields, in the work that fits us. I have just asked Her/Him the question, “What can we do to make this happen?”


 

God: Great question! (Yes, I did inspire that. I wanted you to ask.)

Sheryl: Funny, funny!

God: There are three steps.

First, you question yourself. Question what am I good at? What makes me excited? What comes naturally and easily for me? Then, listen to all the answers. Discounting or tossing out any answers means you are throwing out the possibility of discovering your greatest potential.

Second, be ready for these answers to change as you change. Your life is one of constant change, from the moment your body is conceived to the moment your body dies. When life seems to be at a stalemate, when it is in neutral, or when you are up against a wall or facing serious troubles, go back to the first step. Listen to the answers, again. Make a plan to transition from where you are in your life to where you need to be in your life.

Third, take all the limits off yourself. Imagine yourself being the best ________ (insert your talent) that there is. Expect that the level you will achieve in reaching your potential is the highest possible level. When your mind wants to present you with an excuse why you won’t get there, then stop, decide how that excuse (or fear) is surmountable or unfounded.

Sheryl: This would work with our children, too.

God: Yes, exactly! Help them to go through these steps. Help them to imagine being the best singers, doctors, dancers and teachers that they can be. As they change, give them full permission to change their destinies. A little girl (like yours) can dream of being a dancer but as she grows, she finds she wants to be something different.

Few of us who become our best selves have a childhood story of fighting against all odds to achieve it. Most successful people are the ones whose families supported them in their greatest dreams, even when the world thought they were weird or lost.

So, yes, support your children’s dreams. Show them how you believe, so they can believe, too.


 

That is the end of Chapter 3. I can tell my editor will have a few changes, but no doubt the message of The Creator is clear!

We are given a metaphorical garden patch by The Creator. Tending it to help it yield a bountiful harvest is a way to show gratitude to The Creator, a testament to our personal power of creation and a gift to feed and inspire those around us.

Namaste, Sheryl

superstars

Superstars, Part One

Below is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Talking With The Creator, Book One. This is the first half of Chapter 3, “The Price of Leadership.” I will blog the second half of the chapter tomorrow. Enjoy!

Namaste, Sheryl


Chapter 3, “The Price of Leadership”

God: It’s lonely at the top, but that never bothered me.

It’s lonely for humans when they pursue their true, intended destinies. They have to break a lot of ties. They have to go (often) against what their families want and expect of them. Sometimes, they have to leave friends they have known well.

I would like to say that a life lived to one’s fullest potential is overflowing with joy, but I will be honest: There is a degree of loneliness that goes along with it.

I want you to think of some of the most incredible people now or in history.

Sheryl: There’s Einstein, Moses, Jesus, the Buddha, Mother Theresa, and Maria Montessori. Plus, I can think of sports figures like Michael Jordan and business people like Sam Walton. I know this book is for people of all backgrounds, but my imagination is  kind of limited to American history and Western religions.

God: Not to worry, everyone who reads this will use their imaginations to find their own heroes and heroines who depict people who lived to their fullest potential.

My point is, think of the lives of these people. Most were considered weird, strange and anomalies at some point or other. Most of them, if they reached fame in their lifetime, had serious doubts as to whom their friends really were. Who wanted to be in their company just to get a picture or autograph and who was really interested in making the investment to be a friend? Many are considered leaders and worshipped. It’s a challenging life.

Sheryl: You’ve said that this is what they wanted. They brought it into their lives.

God: Yes, and the world is better for that. Becoming a superstar in any realm is a person’s invitation and acceptance of everything that comes with it.

What is funny is that I would find it most satisfying if everyone — well, if most people, anyway — would reach their fullest potential. Then, there would be a huge population of superstars who could all hang out together and appreciate each other’s amazing talents and gifts.

Sheryl: So, I could be at the park with the other moms and kids, and someone would say to me,  “Hi, I heard you have a book signing soon.” And I would say, “Yes, and I read that you’re a guest lecturer at the local university.”

God: Right! And pretty soon, we’d have a lot fewer anomalies, and a lot more people who fit in with each other because they were superstars together. They would be in different fields or specialties, of course, but their striving to be their best selves and developing their unique talents would bind them together.

It wouldn’t be so lonely at the top, would it?

Sheryl: No, it wouldn’t. With more people being true to themselves, there would be more happiness and satisfaction. How cool is that? (smiling)

What can we do to make this happen?


 

Yes, The Creator gives me an answer! Come back tomorrow to read it!

 

Mindfulness in Business

“Mindfulness is the energy of attention. It is the capacity in each of us to be present one hundred percent to what is happening within and around us. It is the miracle that allows us to become fully alive in each moment.”

“Knowing that you are on the right path  is the greatest happiness. The greatest happiness is having a job that you like and that expresses your understanding and compassion. Happiness, responsibility, and mindfulness are interconnected. A businessperson begins the path to happiness by taking care of himself first. With practice in generating the energy of mindfulness, he’ll be able to receive the joy and happiness he deserves and he’ll have the capacity to care about the well-being of others.”

– from The Art of Power, by Thich Nhat Hanh (1926 -)

What is done well is done with mindfulness. I think about my favorite sushi bar, my favorite airline, and my favorite hotel. What these places all have in common is the delight they take in executing the fundamentals of their trades with precision. They pay attention to even the smallest details. And they focus on the care of their customers.

May we all bring this level of service to our customers and employees alike.

Namaste,  Sheryl

Conflict

“Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.” – Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993)

“Your higher self is always nudging you toward a resolution of the conflicts that you experience in your life, so that you will have room for serenity and harmony.” – Wayne Dyer (1940 -)

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by  demons, heaven or hell.” – Buddha (563 – 483 BCE)

I invited three experts to join us today: Two modern and one ancient. All share with us about the idea of conflict.

Norman Vincent Peale repeats the adage, “Pick your battles.” One day last week, I was having a particularly hard time getting my toddler son ready in the morning. He refused both a fresh diaper and a change of clothes. As Peale would say, I retreated on getting him into play clothes but insisted on the clean diaper. My son and I were both happy.

Wayne Dyer reminds us to take care of our conflicts, because doing so brings peace to our lives. How many times have you read that conflicts are repeated in our lives until we solve them?

The Buddha points out that self-control solves the greatest conflict of all. When we control the words that come from our own mouths and actions that come from our own bodies, we realize the highest levels confidence and power.

Namaste,  Sheryl

 

Part 4 of 5: Attitude

Except-ance: viewing people and situations through a filter of exclusion

Endure-ance: viewing people and situations as though they are painful and in need of change

Accept-ance: viewing people and situations as proper, normal and inevitable

(Clicking on the highlighted words above will take you to previous blog pages. On those pages are further descriptions of these ideas, in addition to their positive and negative aspects.)

Today, let’s look at real life, attitude and these ideas together…

Real Life Example 1:  Exercising. How do you view staying in a healthy physical condition?

  • If you “except” it, then you may exercise but you limit yourself to do what you’ll do, always being cognizant of your weak shoulder or the weather or the conditions of the gym. You’ll never get 100% out of your exercise, because there are too many reasons not to do it, and because you will not partake in exercise that gives your body a chance to go beyond its limits.
  • If you “endure” it, then you exercise but you feel discomfort and pain. You complain about it, too. You will also not get 100% out of your exercise, because you cannot appreciate the positive results of exercise.
  • If you “accept” it, then you, too, may feel discomfort and pain. What’s different is that you appreciate that you are getting stronger, maintaining a healthy weight, and all those other benefits. Just appreciating that you are doing things to make your body healthier will, indeed, make it healthier!

Real Life Example 2: A Difficult Female Family Member. How do you deal with her?

  • If you “except” her, then you will hardly give her the time of day. You will never get to know much about her at all.
  • If you “endure” her, then you will visit with her and spend some time with her. However, you’ll also complain about her and think of different ways that she could be a nicer person.
  • If you “accept” her, then you will try understand her fully and completely. This may lead to your discovering things about her that make you want to spend more time with her. It may also lead to your discovering things about her that make you want to   have no interaction with her.

Real Life Example 3: A New Business Venture. What do you do with this possibility?

  • If you “except” it, you are likely either to summarily approve it or reject it. You will not have enough information to be wise in whichever decision you make.
  • If you “endure” it, you may entertain it, but you will have to have proof positive that it will work in order to approve it. You will probably delegate the investigation of the venture to someone else.
  • If you “accept” it, you will take a holistic approach to it. You will ask if it fits into your existing business, if it is feasible, if it will be profitable, etc. After investigating it to a natural approval or rejection, you will be able to make a wise decision about it.

Can you think of other examples to share with us? Please leave your comments below.

Namaste, Sheryl

 

Help Others, but only When Asked

“Don’t want people meddling in your life? Don’t meddle in others’ lives, especially children, partners and extended family members.” – Sheryl Miller

Why do we think we should have a say about the lives of other people, especially those people who are very close to us? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t like it when others give me unsolicited advice about how to live my life. It’s one thing if I ask for help, but it’s quite another when someone else feels they must share their opinion about me or something I’m doing.

The Creator of All sets the example of how to be active in another’s life: She/He is present, is quiet, and is observant. She/He is helpful when asked and will share an opinion when asked. The Creator loves us so much that She/He knows we have to make mistakes and learn from them, and thus, does not interfere.

As the creators of all that is in our own lives, we can give others what we appreciate: The gifts of non-judgment and non-interference. Can we be available to help our loved ones when asked and honor their uniqueness and personal decisions at the same time?

Namaste,   Sheryl

Great Power is Within!

“He who has great power should use it lightly.”

– Seneca The Younger (4 BCE – 65 CE)

Have you ever considered that everyone has great power?

Let us think about the She/He whom we understand to have the greatest power: The Creator of All. Have you thought that our freedom to make our own decisions is The Creator using power lightly? Or that The Creator’s quiet voice is leading us gently?

What is power, if it is not the freedom and ability to make and execute decisions for those in our control? What is power used lightly, if it is not the conscious decision to step back, let those around us make the best personal decisions, and then lead the outcome?

Think of any great sports team or corporate team or civic team. It doesn’t matter. Think of the great power of the leader of that team. Now, consider how the team works. (They all work the same, by the way!) Each member of the team is giving his/her best personal effort. The leader recognizes each member’s strengths and gently weaves together an organization that not only capitalizes on each member’s talent but also brings forth genuine enthusiasm.

Great Power… Doesn’t it start with leading ourselves? The one for whom we have the greatest control? What if we go inside, quietly, and consider our own strengths and how we can gently organize our personal lives?

And guess who’s waiting inside to help? (smile!)

Namaste, Sheryl

What is Soft is Strong

“Water is soft, fluid and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong.” – Lao Tzu (6th Century BCE)

When someTHING rigid and unyielding, like a problem or obstacle, comes into contact with someONE rigid and unyielding, like a person with control issues or a preconceived idea of the way things should be, then nothing productive happens. Imagine two billiard balls bumping up against each other. They can bump against each other all day and neither is changed in any significant way.

Now, imagine the soft power of water. Imagine a large sandcastle at the beach when the tide comes in. Does the water simply knock down the castle? No. Is it soft and persistent? Yes. The sandcastle has no power to resist the water, and eventually it is knocked down with the beach being returned to its flat, natural state.

We can power through problems, too, when we use softness and persistence. Think of the water softly attacking the sandcastle, making openings in the walls and then filling them inside and outside until the castle is down.

How can you become gentle, soft and persistent? How can you find ways to softly approach your obstacles from different angles? Can you look at the situation from a distance, from many different angles, and then be prepared to experiment with different fluid, soft ways of dealing with it and/or working around it?

Namaste,   Sheryl

Trust Yourself

“We must trust  our own thinking. Trust where we’re going. And get the job done.”

– Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010 CE)

Having an intimate, direct relationship with The Creator of All can only boost our self-confidence. I ran across this quote looking for wisdom about Inner Peace, and it is definitely one of my revelations for the week!

When I consider the times that I communicate with The Creator about what I am thinking, I realize that nine times out of ten, S/He verifies my thoughts. Rarely am I corrected in my  thinking. The Creator made me with my own individual strengths and weaknesses, and S/He brought me to this life on Earth at just the right time, for just the right amount of time.  All I need is trust in myself and physical effort to fulfill my life’s work. Talking with The Creator smoothes out doubts that come from me and others.

Namaste, Sheryl